Friday, December 25, 2015

The Magic Sword A.K.A. St. George and the Dragon, St. George and the Seven Curses, The Seven Curses of Lodac (1962)

An American fantasy directed by Bert I. Gordon, starring Basil Rathbone.
The adopted son of a sorceress falls in love with a princess whom he sees in a magic pool. The princess is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer and the young man seeks to save her. However, he has a rival also seeking the princess who accompanies him on his quest.
This was actually pretty good. I like it because it was lo-fi and cheesy. The special effects were antiquated and mostly based on film editing and forced perspective. These included a fight against a giant and little people like in Darby O'Gill and the Little People. The plot was straightforward, with few developed characters and lots of extras. The style was very much of the time and the video featured extremely bright and saturated colors. The princess gets very high female anatomy points, even through her dress. Overall, it's good if you want a fun, cheesy flick. Don't expect miracles though. I rate it adequate.

Below (2002)

An American war horror directed by David Twohy, starring Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Holt McCallany, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Flemyng and Dexter Fletcher.
An American U-boat in WWII picks up some British sailors from a sunken ship. Strange things begin to happen and a back-story of conflict between commanding officers on the U-boat develops.
This definitely failed to hold my attention. On my 3rd try, I got through watching the whole thing with only minimal breaks. The under-developed characters and murky plot were not aided by whispered dialogue so quiet as to be inaudible. The visual style was very dark, but correct camera exposure maintained clear definition. I guess the only good thing was camera-work. Quick cuts, natural movement that made sense and many wet scenes necessitating waterproof gear are something worth mentioning. Overall, I think the pacing was just too slow. I rate it poor. Watch something else.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Gutterballs (2008)

A Canadian horror slasher directed by Ryan Nicholson.
A pair of bowling teams get in a fight at a bowling alley and decide to have a competition the following night. A femal bowler is raped by the men on the other team when she goes back in to get her purse. The night of the competition comes and people begin to disappear.
All of the actors in this film seemed to have Tourette's syndrome. The production quality was quite low, but fit the classic slasher style. There was some nudity including female anatomy points, but I am unable to award male anatomy points for the cock-shots with genital mutilation. With a simple plot that only twists quickly at the end and extremely shallow characters, this is not what I would call a good movie. My favorite part was the ball waxing machine insulting people. I'm rating it o.k. You might want to check this out if you're into low budget horror flicks.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Brother's Keeper (1992)

An American documentary directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.
One of four elderly brother farmers is accused of his brother's murder. The local community rallies around him to prove his innocence.
This was pretty good. The 3 living brothers were all timid country farmers who wouldn't hurt a fly and the authorities obviously tried to frame them. There were some revealing scenes involving interviews with the brothers and their community in which they were clearly identified as simple country folk. My thinking was that even if it was actually a murder, it was a mercy killing to put the sick brother out of his misery. Going by my previous documentary standards, there was lots of talk and no techno music. I think that the filmmakers did a good job of accurately portraying their subjects and subject matter. The only fault that I found was some of the interview audio being so low in volume as to be unintelligible. Overall, it was a heart-warming piece about simple farmers who were falsely accused of murder and proved their innocence. I rate it adequate because it wasn't quite eventful enough to get my good rating. Definitely worth watching though.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)

A Walt Disney fantasy directed by Robert Stevenson, starring Sean Connery.
The village idiot in an Irish town has adventures with characters from Irish folklore. The king of the little people ends up owing him wishes that he always ends up wasting.
This was suggested by my professor at college as an example of forced perspective. After learning a little about this technique, I was unable to figure out how some of the shots in the film were made. They involved depicting the main character normal size, with other full size actors depicted as being very small in comparison. I figured out a few of the instances of this, but the dancing scene at the bottom of the well (picture) blew my mind. The plot and characters held my interest and the production value was pretty decent for the date. I think that it being a Disney film led to good equipment and use of it to make clear audio and video recordings. The style was very much of the time, with that Disney fantasy element included. Pacing was pretty regular and kept at a decent clip throughout the duration. I'm rating this good because of the special effects techniques involved in making it. Knowing about video production helps when watching this.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Street Dreams (2009)

An American action film directed by Chris Zamoscianyuk.
A young skateboarder practices with his friends while failing out of high school and having family problems. If he does well enough in contests and sending videos, he will be sponsored by a skateboard team.
I was hoping for more skating and less drama, but this wasn't bad. It included critical elements of the skateboarding scene such as displeased parents, shifting alliances with friends and cop trouble. The characters fit the story well and the plot was a little soap-opera, but alright. The pacing was good, with smooth transitions from slow parts to action scenes. The style was not too shabby, with some good editing and video effects here and there. The soundtrack was almost entirely aggressive rap music, which isn't my favorite genre, but fit the movie. I'm rating it o.k. because it was fine, but I wouldn't watch it again.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Magic Serpent A.K.A. The Mystic Dragons' Decisive Battle, Sea Serpent Wars, Kairyu daikessen (1966)

A Japanese samurai kaiju fantasy directed by Tetsuya Yamauchi.
A royal child is taken from his home by a kung fu and magic teacher when his parents are killed by a dragon that was summoned by a rival samurai. As an adult, he encounters adventures which lead him to return to his home and battle the evil samurai.
Great! This was cheesy and lo-fi, but that's why it's so good. The kaiju monsters were really cool. They appear at the beginning and end of the film, but the middle gets bogged down in politics and too many characters. There were also other special effects in the smaller scale action scenes scattered liberally throughout the duration. What we've got here is good style and special effects, but somewhat lacking in plot, characters and pacing. I rate it awesome because waiting for the monsters was worth it.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Curious Female A.K.A. Curious Females (1970)

An American erotic science fiction directed by Paul Rapp.
In a future controlled by a "Master Computer", morals are very different and sexuality is far more open. A group of people meet to view illegal old films.
This was more about the film being shown to the group than anything happening in this "future". There were momentary sections interspersed of the future group commenting on the film. What they watched was called 3 Virgins and followed the adventures of 3 young women in 1969 who were the only female virgins in their area. The style was definitely '60s and '70s psychedelic. The plot, characters and basically eveything else took a back seat to female anatomy points. The virgins did look pretty good. I'm rating this o.k. because I require more out of a film than just boobs. It wasn't bad, but was definitely not good.

The Boy God A.K.A. Roco, ang batang bato (1982)

A Phillipino fantasy directed by J. Erastheo Navoa, starring Nino Muhlach.
A boy is born and his parents are killed by a local gangster. Living with his grandmother, the boy finds that he has super strength. He uses his powers to fight vampires and werewolves in his home town and then goes on a mystic quest to reach the world of the gods.
This was very similar to kung fu of the time. The underexposed video with bad dubbing was exactly like kung fuvies. The beginning of the plot was slow to take off and the interesting middle section was over too quickly. The ending was extremely inconclusive as well. The characters were good and I liked the main character, Roco/Rocco. Overall, not a bad flick for fans of lo-fi kung fuvies. Anyone else will probably dislike it. I rate this adequate.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Adam and Eve A.K.A. Adamo ed Eva, la prima storia d'amore (1983)

An Italian adventure directed by Enzo Doria and Luigi Russo.
Adam and Eve are in the garden of Eden and eat the forbidden apple. Suddenly, things aren't so great anymore and they face countless difficulties.
This was not so great. The plot and characters were presented clearly, but I did not like them. The pacing was kind of jumpy, with slow sections between action sequences. The style reminded me of spaghetti westerns. My favorite part was the poorly made "running from the boulder" scene. I'm rating it o.k. because had it's lo-fi charm, but was not good.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Enter the Void (2000)

A French thriller directed by Gaspar Noe, starring Paz de la Huerta.
A drug dealer is shot when police try to bust him at a bar. What he experiences afterward is shown.
This has officially displaced all other contenders for "Worst Film Ever Made". In every one of the other films in the running, we get a clear view of something. Actors are visible, maybe we can see where they are, you get the idea. Some Kind of Monster may be grown men bickering and bitching for 3 hours, but at least we can see their faces. Not the case here. It looked like they hung the camera from the ceiling in an orbitron (human gyroscope) fair ride and just let it spin wherever it wanted. ALL of the shots are underexposed and too dark. EVERY light in the film blinks, flickers and flashes. Most of the time, the camera shots were out of focus. A good percentage of the video was pointless footage of walls, floors and other urban structures, but not good enough shots to see what these items were. The ENTIRE soundtrack consisted of electronic feedback with the sounds of human suffering over it. Although it does take skill to make a movie this bad, I'm going to have to rate it shit. Congrats, Gaspar. You have officially made "The Worst Film Ever"!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

An American adventure drama directed by Wes Anderson, starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman.
A trio of brothers reunite aboard a train in India. One of them has their trip planned out, with an itinerary and an assistant. As they travel, their lies are exposed and the truth comes to light that each of them is hiding things from the others.
I was looking forward to this because I liked Wes Anderson's other films. It was not disappointing, but also not as great as I had hoped it would be. The actual substance of the plot was quite sparse, but it was communicated well. I didn't like the characters and thought that Adrien Brody did not look like he was related to the other brothers (who don't look like they're related). They all had long noses and that is where the similarities end. They all seemed like lying jerks the entire time. The camera-work and some of the musical choices were the only things to identify this as a Wes Anderson film. It's possible that my idea of Anderson's filmmaking has been skewed by watching Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, but not his other work. Regardless, the sideways-trucking camera shots and almost Tim Burtonish music were the elements that linked this to the other films by this director. Though nowhere as good as the aformentioned films, this wasn't bad. I might watch it again at some point. I rate it adequate. You might want to consider seeing it.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

American Mary (2012)

A Canadian horror directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska, starring Katharine Isabelle.
A young woman is in school to become a surgeon and works at the local hospital as a nurse. She begins receiving strange phone calls before auditioning for a job as a stripper. At the interview, she is asked to save a man's life who has been mortally injured. Upon arriving home, the phone calls continue and she meets up with the caller, who wants body modification surgery. The main character quits medical school and takes up this new line of well paying work, but all is not well. Invited to a party with the doctors, her old professor rapes her. Things get weird and complex from there.
Is that Paz de la Huerta? NO! Possibly better: It's Bridget from the Ginger Snaps movies!!!! The characters are really good and I as a viewer felt instantly enamored with the main character. Her bodyguard was another cool character. The plot was definitely engaging and I was rooting for grown-up Bridget all the way through (although thinking that she was Paz de la Huerta). There were many convolutions and twists in the story that kept things interesting as it became more and more complex, but still easy to keep track of. The style reminded me of Nurse (2013) with dark settings and some hard lighting for night shots. Overall, this was absolutely brutal, gorey and fantastic all the way through. I rate it best! WATCH IT!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Contracted (2013)

An American horror directed by Eric England, starring Caroline Williams.
A lesbian woman has sex with a man because a friend gets her drunk at a party. Following this incident, she begins to notice increasing health problems and hears that the police are looking for the man or any information about him. Soon she is having drama problems with everyone she knows and bleeding everywhere.
This was pretty cool. The rising action and quickening pace really made the film. It starts out really slow with slow motion video of flowers being sprayed with water and rises to the point where the main character is racing from one place to another, bristling with problems. The plot was good and presented very well. I liked the characters and having the main character so dynamic, surrounded by static characters was a good idea in this case. The photography was pretty good. I could see everything clearly and they even put some artsy-fartsy on it at points and had it blend in well. Overall, if you like thriller horror action flicks, this would be one to check out. I'm giving it one of those solid green "good" ratings that I like so much.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Europa Report (2013)

An American science fiction directed by Sebastian Cordero, starring Christian Camargo, Anamaria Marinca, Michael Nyqvist, Daniel Wu, Embeth Davidtz and Dan Fogler.
A team of astronauts lands on Europa, a moon of Jupiter. They are looking for signs of organic life in the water and ice.
This was pretty boring. An hour and 24 minutes of technical problems with our space gear. Snooze fest! The plot sucked and the characters were not properly developed. I have to rate it bad because it featured no CG underwater adventures with wild aliens.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Snowpiercer A.K.A. Seolgungnyeolcha (2013)

A South Korean science fiction action adventure directed by Bong Joon-ho, starring Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner, John Hurt and Ed Harris.
A new ice age has been created by a failed solution to global warming. All of humanity now lives on a train that travels the entire world at high speed, with a hierarchal class system based on compartments. A leader in the low class tail compartment leads a revolution to reach the elite nose of the train.
This was pretty good. We've got some good characters in a mostly good plot with a unique premise. There were many majestic arctic shots of the train travelling through snowy landscapes and many action scenes of conflicts along the journey from back to front. The style was new movie 2000s+ too perfect, but it worked for a science fiction flick. Some of the action scenes were crappily shot with too much editing, too many different camera angles and shot styles in too little time. Some sections of the plot got a tad muddy and the version that I got did not have English subtitles for when the security expert junkie was speaking. For some odd reason, I found the woman in white depicted here to be irresistably attractive. Overall, I think it's worth watching and was generally a pleasant experience. I rate it adequate. You might want to watch this.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Sacrament (2013)

An American horror by Ti West, starring Joe Swanberg and Amy Seimetz.
A film crew goes to a religious commune to meet a member's sister. Things are strange when they arrive and only get stranger.
The documentary found footage style of this film gave it it's flavor and style. The rising action is matched by sloppier shooting to show the filmmakers being in distress while filming. The pacing gets faster as the film progresses as well. The plot and characters were secondary to style and pacing in this case, but still good. f you want Blair Witch style found footage in a similar horror action genre with better lighting, this is the way to go. I'm rating it good because I liked it. You should probably watch this.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Nurse 3D (2013)

An American horror directed by Doug Aarniokoski, starring Paz de le Huerta.
A nurse dresses slutty to lure married men into cheating on their wives with her so she can kill them. She tries to befriend a co-worker, but the other nurse finds out about her crazy past.
This was AWESOME! I loved it! Very well made with good plot and characters. The camera-work and editing were seamless. The style was just far enough over the top to be really cool without being cheesy. The hospital setting for a horror film was great and I really liked the ending. This even gets female anatomy points for the main character on multiple occasions. When everything is so good, there's just not much to write. I rate it best WATCH IT!!!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Der Todesking A.K.A. The Death King (1989)

A German horror directed by Jorg Buttgereit.
Various people kill themselves in various ways over the course of a week while a rotting corpse decomposes.
This is a great film for the whole family. Wives and children will really dig it. It was recommended to me by the same person who recommended Necromantik, so I knew what I was in for. There was really no plot and the characters were different in each scene. This character change was necessary because the ones from the last scene died. The style was similar to Necromantik. The pacing was slow to start, but settled into a regular groove eventually. Because I prefer death to come on the field of battle with samurai style honor or in a kung fu battle, I was not impressed. I'll give it a strange pink rating because it's just not for me. It was well made and all, but not what floats my boat.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mutant Girls Squad A.K.A. Fighting Girls: Legend of the Blood of the Iron Mask, Sentō Shōjo: Chi no Tekkamen Densetsu (2010)

A Japanese action adventure by Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura and Tak Sakaguchi, starring Naoto Takenaka, Kanji Tsuda, Suzuka Morita and Asami Sugiura.
On a girl's 16th birthday, she finds that she is a mutant called a "Hilko". Hated by humans, she slaughters everyone at a shopping area and is recruited by the Hilko clan. There she is trained to fight and sent on a mission to kill humans. She befriends 2 of the other Hilko girls and together they face the corrupt Hilko leader.
This was better than Dead Sushi and The Machine Girl, but it's pretty much impossible to be better than RoboGeisha. The style of the film was very similar to the other films made by this team, which I have described in other posts. Good action scenes and good firehose blood spray. Overall, if you think that Japanese school girls with weapons coming out of them is a good idea, you will like this. I rate it awesome. WATCH IT!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dead Sushi A.K.A. Deddo Sushi (2012)

A Japanese horror comedy written and directed by Noboru Iguchi, starring Asami Sugiura with special effects by Yoshihiro Nishimura.
A young woman whose father has trained her as a sushi chef and kung fu fighter runs away from home and finds a job at a hotel. Businessmen from a pharmaceutical company visit and anger a local vagrant who used to work for them. Before vagrancy, the man was working on chemicals to bring dead things back to life and he releases the chemicals, turning sushi into monsters that infect people and other sushi with the same.
This was better than Machinegirl, but not as good as RoboGeisha. The characters were decent, with the best being a cute little singing egg sushi that befriends the female lead. The animation and voice-acting of the sushi reminded me of the Evil Dead films. In fact, I could point out several similarities in camera-work and plot presentation as well. This film was very similar to RoboGeisha, but the premise was somewhat lacking. Undead monster sushi would be a cool idea for a short, but it doesn't stand up well as a feature length film. That's really the only difference. I rate this good because I was definitely entertained, but it fell short of being epic and legendary.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

RoboGeisha (2009)

A Japanese science fiction written and directed by Noboru Iguchi, starring Takumi Saito, Naoto Takenaka and Asami Sugiura with special effects by Yoshihiro Nishimura.
A geisha saves a politician from being killed by assassins and tells him the story of how she became "RoboGeisha, maiko of steel". A corrupt businessman found her as her sister's servant and trained her as an assassin, adding mechanical weapon upgrades to her body. She finds a grieving group of activists whose relatives have been abducted by the businessman and trained as she was.
I'm really into Yoshihiro Nishimura and Noboru Iguchi's films right now. This seems to be the best, alongside Tokyo Gore Police (2008). The camera-work is really good, clearly showing all of the action and using good angles and video effects to add impact. The plot was clearly presented and characters memorable, but I had trouble keeping track of which sister was which at times. Although heavily reliant on CG, the special effects were amazing. There were some actual physical special effects involved too. Overall, this film is way over the top, action-packed and fun. I rate it best. WATCH IT!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Yuma (1971)

An American made for TV western directed by Ted Post, starring Clint Walker, Barry Sulivan, Kathryn Hays, Edgar Buchanan and Bing Russell.
A new sheriff comes to a lawless town. Cattlemen are running wild, a Mexican boy is stealing stuff and the local indians are being denied services that their treaty should grant them. The new law man has to solve all of the problems before the shit really hits the fan and all hell breaks loose on him.
This was pretty good. The plot was clearly presented, but I would have simplified a few sections to clean it up a little bit. The characters were memorable, but I would have included more of the Mexican boy and the hotel woman. I noticed some good camera-work that clearly showed everything that was going on. The video was a little grainy and the sound not the best, but it wasn't too shabby as far as a/v quality. Pacing was very quick to fit the complex plot into the hour and 14 minute duration. I think the style was right because it reminded me a little bit of Rio Bravo (1959). Overall, an enjoyable western. I rate it good and it's a keeper.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wildfire A.K.A. Wildfire: The Story of a Horse (1945)

An American western directed by Robert Emmett Tansey, starring Sterling Holloway.
A pair of horse catchers catch a good horse.
This was hokey to the core! A Hank Williams soundtrack would have been appropriate. Besides being banal, boring and hokey, there were disruptions. Audio and video artifacts and distortions were frequent and more entertaining than the actual film. People talking and then multiplying themselves while doing a techno remix of what they're saying can do that. I rate this poor because it was representative of the time period in which it was made, but technical problems and being boring are unforgivable.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Under California Stars (1948)

An American western musical directed by William Witney, starring Roy Rogers, Trigger, Jane Frazee and Andy Devine.
Roy Rogers returns to his ranch home to celebrate 10 years of making films. His horse is stolen by a neighboring rancher and held for ransom.
I was trying to avoid this type of movie by skipping the rest of the black and white westerns, but that has apparently not worked. Color video does not help to differentiate this film from the vast herd of others just like it. Andy Devine helped a little bit. The plot and characters were clearly presented, but everything was standard, predictable and mediocre like the rest of Roy's westerns. I'm surprised that nobody called him on this in all the time he was making these loads of crap. Oh well. I rate it tolerable.

White Comanche A.K.A. Comanche Blanco, Rio Honcho (1968)

A Spanish western directed by Jose Briz Mendez and Gilbert Kay, starring William Shatner and Joseph Cotten.
A half-white, half-redskin man has trouble fitting into society.
The actor was NOT a half-anything and didn't even have makeup on to make him look the part. He was all white and the viewer knows it. The plot was muddy and characters were definitely not memorable. Apparently, this is one of the worst movies ever made. I would beg to differ. There was a little bit of coherent plot and 1 identifiable main character. They even did a mirror trick with the camera to make people and horses disappear! I'm rating this poor because it sucked fuckin' donkey nards, but I've seen way worse! This was actually pleasurable to watch compared to the  five hundred and fifty sixth Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette black and white western in which they sing the same songs and defeat the same villains.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Long Days of Hate A.K.A. This Man Can't Die, I lunghi giorni dell'odio (1968)

An Italian spaghetti western directed by Gianfranco Baldanello, starring Guy Madison.
A former outlaw is now undercover and working against outlaws. His family gets involved in the conflict.
This was really unclear and seemed thrown-together and unprofessional. The plot was hard to follow and the characters difficult to identify and keep track of. I was constantly wondering who was on the screen, how they related to the other characters and why they were doing what they were doing. The lack of non-diegetic music also harmed my opinion of this film. There were some good camera shots, but amidst this mess, that didn't really matter. I rate this bad.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Sundowners A.K.A, Thunder in the Dust (1950)

An American western directed by George Templeton.
Assholes argue with eachother over land and murder.
I got to 56 minutes and had to turn it off for lacking plot. Seriously, who wants to watch arguments for an hour and 23 minutes? There is another Sundowners movie from 1960 that was nominated for a plethora of Academy Awards. This is obviously not that film. I rate this shit because I had to turn it off. DO NOT WATCH!

The Proud and the Damned A.K.A. Proud, Damned and Dead (1972)

An American Columbian western directed by Ferde Grofe Jr. starring Chuck Connors and Cesar Romero.
A group of cowboys are on a mission in mexico from one general, run afoul of another and when the 3rd lets them stay in his town, they piss him off too. While in the town, 2 of the cowboys fall in love with women who they are forbidden to engage with. Then battles happen.
The plot was pretty epic and had identifiable and memorable characters. There were some relatively dry and boring sections, but the forbidden love and fighting made up for those. The audio and video had no problems, but I was glad that I know some Spanish because there were sections in which the language was spoken without subtitles. Although technically sound and relatively interesting, something rubbed me the wrong way about the style. I didn't really like the camera-work and there was too much soundtrack music that did not add to the film as a whole. Overall, worth watching. I rate it adequate.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Hanged Man (1974)

An American made for TV western directed by Ken Trevey, starring Steve Forrest, Dean Jagger and Will Geer.
A man who killed another man (possibly in self defense) is hanged, dies and comes back to life. He then protects the widowed wife of the man he killed from outlaws who want to shut down her mine.
This wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. The plot and characters were presented relatively clearly and there were no audio/video problems. The plot was a little vague and boring in some parts and only the main character was developed. overall, it was a regular western. I rate it o.k.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Gun and the Pulpit (1974)

An American made for TV western directed by Daniel Petrie.
A gunfighter narrowly escapes a hanging, finds a dead preacher and impersonates him in the next town. Outlaws run the town and the gunfighting preacher encounters conflict with them.
This was pretty standard and mediocre. The plot and characters were presented clearly and there were no audio or video problems. Just a regular western. I rate it o.k.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Belle Starr Story (1968)

An Italian spaghetti western directed by Lina Wertmuller and Piero Cristofani, starring Elsa Martinelli and George Eastman.
A woman outlaw falls in love with a man outlaw. She shares her back-story with him before they plan and execute a robbery.
This was pretty cool. The video was a little grainy, as expected from the date and the audio was slightly muffled. There were also some underexposed scenes. These imperfections did not distract from the film though. The plot was clearly presented with the main characters being well-acted and memorable. The pacing was just right: slow enough to let you enjoy what is currently happening, but fast enough to keep things moving. I think that the best part was the overall style that was relatively common in these late '60s and early '70s spaghetti westerns. I didn't notice amazing camera-work, but neither did I notice that it was bad. It blended seemlessly into the film as a whole, which is what is supposed to happen anyway. Overall, this is a very good western and one of a very rare few with a female main character. I give it one of those nice, solid green ratings that I wish I could give more frequently.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Texas to Bataan A.K.A. The Long, Long Trail (1942)

An American Range Busters western directed by Robert Emmett Tansey.
The group of cowboys finds a truckload of Japanese rifles, helps to load horses and go to the Philippines.
This was very, very standard. I've reviewed so many westerns. Please refer to my other posts for descriptions of what makes a standard western. I rate it tolerable.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Stanley A.K.A. O Réptil Maligno, Slangerne angriber, slangerne dræber, Ormarna (1972)

An American horror directed by William Grefe, starring Chris Robinson.
A young snake handler runs afoul of a fashion designer and a go-go girl's pimp. He uses his snakes to get even when conflicts arise.
This was pretty lo-fi and underground, but that's why I liked it. It came in a set of some massive number of horror movies 4 to a disc from Walmart. The main character's affinity with reptiles played ever so nicely into the sleazy '70s style of the film. They were doing the right type of low budget horror flick at the right time and accidentally got it right. The production quality was horrible and it generally looked a little on the sloppy side, but sometimes that's what is needed. This film has what multi-billion dollar CG Hollywood flicks lack: authenticity. It really is a sleazy, underground, low-budget horror movie about snakes and that's why I like it. You can't fake that, no matter how many dollars you throw at it. I rate this good.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Take Me Back to Oklahoma (1940)

An American western musical comedy directed by Albert Herman, starring Tex Ritter.
A gang of outlaws are systematically shutting down a stagecoach line for their own evil schemes. A singing cowboy and his comedic relief sidekick arrive to defeat the outlaws.
This was stereotypical and poorly made. The plot was not clearly communicated and the only identifiable character was the sidekick. The audio was standard for the time (poor) and the video was worse. Again, the musical performances were mimed and lip-synched. I could almost hear the director saying "smile real big and wave the violin around so they can't tell that you're not playing it" as the actor sawed away with his fretting hand fisted on the strings. I'm rating this bad because it was poorly made and I didn't like it. Probably best left unwatched because it can't be unmade.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stagecoach to Denver (1946)

An American western from the Red Ryder series directed by R.G. Springsteen.
It's complicated and I really don't want to deal with the plot on a piece of crap like this.
Every shot was underexposed. The plot was overly complicated, muddy, murky and vague. The characters were stereotypical and had back-stories that were not included in this film. Seriously, this is the WORST western I've seen. I rate it shit. DO NOT WATCH!!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Springtime in the Rockies (1937)

An American western musical directed by Joseph Kane, starring Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette.
A ranch foreman averts disaster in mixed up dealings over land and sheep between a rancher who is out for money and innocent college girls who have just moved in.
The complex plot was followable, but not as clearly presented as I would have liked. The characters were identifiable, but stereotypical of the genre and time. Audio and video as expected. The only thing to note is Smiley Burnette's repeated use of low vocals during his songs. I rate it poor because I just didn't like it.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

South of Santa Fe (1942)

An American western musical directed by Joseph Kane, starring Roy Rogers and George "Gabby" Hayes.
A singing cowboy and his sidekick help a woman who owns a mine to summon businessmen to visit and hopefully invest in the enterprise. A city gangster poses as one of the cowboys in their riding gang and a kidnapping of the businessmen and hero cowboys takes place.
This was pretty standard. Plot, characters, audio and video as expected. The only thing to note is the live musical performance and wild dancing of a pair of kids. I rate it tolerable.

Song of the Gringo A.K.A. The Old Corral (1936)

An American western musical directed by John P. McCarthy, starring Tex Ritter.
A Texas ranger, who is supposedly an outlaw on the run, gets hired by an outlaw boss to expose the gang's crimes and win the heart of the crime boss's daughter.
I don't follow plots well when people are pretending to be someone they're not or when lies are involved. The characters were pretty clearly presented, but stereotypical of the old western genre. The video was blurry/grainy but fairly visible. The audio was about as one would expect from this type of film from this time. Again, I was disappointed that here was this famous guitar-slinging, singing cowboy, yet he was miming his guitar playing. This became painfully obvious during a scene in the garden when he was playing for the boss's daughter. His hands did not move, yet the audio had guitar playing. An interesting note is that this was Tex Ritter's first film. Overall, standard and as expected. I rate it o.k.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Son of the Renegade (1953)

An American western directed by Reg Browne.
A man becomes an outlaw by winning a gunfight and recruits a gang of harriers. Unfortunately, a sheriff moles his way into the gang and breaks it up. When the old outlaw dies, his son inherits the family ranch and the father's reputation.
The heavy narration in the first section was working well, but it ended with the life of the father. Then they brought in way too many characters without back-stories and tried to cram in as many sub-plots as they could until the 56 minute mark. The style was classic western, with good settings and clear camera-work. Cowboy costumes were top-notch and the leading female villain was an extremely attractive, but unknown actress. It looks like they had all the right stuff to make a western, but only half a plot. Yes, I'm giving them flak for lack of planning. I rate this bad. There are so many better things to watch.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Psychedelic Messiah (2014)

A documentary by Adam Miller.
In extremely exhaustive and in-depth study of history, religion, agriculture, gender and drugs is presented, accompanied by classical music and art.
OH YEAH! This is the kind of stuff that I spend hours looking for online and rarely find. The audio was about 95% clear, with some small volume fluctuations and audio artifacts. The video was nothing less than FUCKING AMAZING! As the narrator speaks, relevant pictures and videos are shown to fully illustrate the points that he is speaking on. The narrative takes us from a war between ancient Rome and the Jews all the way up to the zombie apocalypse films of today. Some of the more detailed sections were about how ancient Romans "cultivated" or "tamed" strong and wild plants by placing them among and grafting them onto other species. This is then applied to the Romans editing the Jewish texts to basically make a mockery of them. Another related section was about portraying Jesus as feminine with a purple menstral robe and associating him with the feminine aspects of the mushroom. I got a detailed education in mycology and the life-cycle of mushrooms while watching this. At this point, my rudimental understanding of the vast subject matter begins to degrade, rather than promote the film. It was very well made and I enjoyed it. Some folks who are not interested in deep analysis of this subject matter may find it to by dry and boring. Video game fans will notice the Sephiroth theme from Final Fantasy VII later in the film. I rate it best. WATCH IT!

Six-Gun Rhythm (1939)

An American western musical directed by Sam Newfield, starring Tex Fletcher.
A cowboy turned football player returns to his hometown to find that his lawman father is missing and a gang of outlaws now run the town.
This is very representative of the old western genre. It had a charismatic lead male singing cowboy, ridiculous comic refief sidekick, outlaws, editing mistakes, audio and video artifacts, loud dead-air hiss and spotty camera exposure. If you pay careful attention, you'll notice that Fletcher plays guitar left-handed (even though he mimes this activity in the film).
Wikipedia has a little info that I really like about Fletcher:
"He drove from town to town with his own 16mm print of "Six Gun Rhythm," custom made Martin D-42 guitar and his cowboy outfits in the back seat. He would perform a few songs, show the picture, sign autographs and then move on to the next town. This action is what many believe to be the reason the B-Western has enjoyed such a long shelf life and has been held in such high esteem among collectors, as it would have otherwise been virtually unknown."
For being such a prime example of the genre, I rate it adequate and the Wikipedia quote made me decide to keep it. If you've been watching or reading about these '30s and '40s westerns, this would definitely be one to watch.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sing, Cowboy, Sing (1937)

An American western directed by Robert N. Bradbury, starring Tex Ritter.
A singing cowboy and his sidekick happen upon a disaster scene where a freight wagon has been destroyed. They deliver the dead bodies and lone survivor to the nearest town where they work to find the criminals responsible.
This was old and not very clearly presented. I lost the plot a few times (partially from being distracted) and had trouble identifying some characters (same reason). The video had artifacts, mostly vertical white lines and the audio wasn't great. Overall, this is low on the quality scale of old westerns, but not annoying. I rate it tolerable because it wasn't terrible.

Silver Spurs (1943)

An American western directed by Joseph Kane, starring Roy Rogers, Smiley Burnette, Trigger and John Carradine.
A newspaper woman and her secretary are sent by her boss to marry an unknown and wealthy man who owns land in the country in order to get a "hot story". When they arrive, they find that the man is corrupt and she befriends a singing cowboy, with the secretary befriending the cowboy's sidekick. Together, the team work to expose the corrupt businessman and his gang and secure land raights to allow a railroad to be built.
The complex plot was clearly communicated and most of the characters were easily identifiable. The pacing was really fast to fit all of this into 53 minutes and the style was standard for '40s westerns. The audio and video were decent and clear enough to not cause problems. There were some really good action scenes involving men, horses, wagons and cars in which I noticed good camera-work. Overall, not too shabby. I rate it o.k.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Macross: Do You Remember Love? A.K.A. The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?, Chōjikū Yōsai Makurosu: Ai Oboete Imasu ka, Super Spacefortress Macross, DYRL (1984)

A Japanese science fiction anime directed by Shoji Kawamori and Noboru Ishiguro.
A giant space station is attacked by giant male alien warriors. A pilot then takes his singer girlfriend out for an illegal joyride on a fighter-jet/robot and they are captured by the aliens. Upon escaping, they land on Earth to find it completely destroyed and discover an alien spaceship/city from yet another race of beings. They are rescued and a final battle is fought between multiple space-based civilizations.
This was typical of '80s anime, but that's why I liked it. The video was very good and they did a great job of traditional anime. The version that I watched was English dubbed and missing some audio. The epic plot was clearly communicated and the main characters presented well. I think I've covered style pretty well already. The pacing was very slow, but this allows the viewer to get comfortable with a scene before moving on to the next. Overall, standard, but good '80s anime. I rate it adequate.

Sheriff of Tombstone (1941)

An American western directed by Joseph Kane, starring Roy Rogers and George "Gabby" Hayes.
A cowboy sheriff impersonates a corrupt sheriff to expose the leaders of a town as criminals.
This was pretty much what I've come to expect. Some vagueness of plot and few clearly defined characters, lo-fi audio and video that are still audible and can be seen. there were not many musical numbers in this one. Because it blends in with the crowd so well, I will rate it tolerable.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Shadows of Death (1945)

An American western directed by Sam Newfield, starring Buster Crabbe.
A good cowboy has a bearded friend who runs a shop. There is an outlaw who breaks matches and a romantic interest as well.
This was standard and badly presented. The plot and characters were not clear, except for the leading man and his friend. The style looked more like 1925 than 1945 to me and the pacing didn't really matter. I didn't like it, but it wasn't annoying. I'll rate it poor.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Seven Alone (1974)

An American western adventure directed by Earl Bellamy.
The true story of the Sager family of pioneers is depicted in a fictionalized account. The parents die and the oldest son, who has only caused mischief, leads his siblings to finish their journey.
The plot and characters were pretty much clearly presented. There were some slight gaps with lack of information. The storay was also a little on the sappy side. The audio sounded alright and the video was in color and looked o.k. to me. The pacing was on the slow side and the style was very much of the time. Overall, it wasn't bad, but not that great either. I rate it o.k.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Savage Journey (1977 1983)

An American western adventure directed by Tom McGowan, starring Maurice Grandmaison.
Religious pioneers travel, take many wives and settle land.
If it weren't for the blatant mormonist propaganda, this would have been a really good movie. The video all looked really good with nice, clean shots showing exactly what was going on. The audio was a little rough, but not too shabby. The plot and characters were VERY clearly communicated. I watched this in about 3-4 chunks between doing other things and STILL the plot popped for me! I was interested in what was happenning all the way through. For me to be that distracted and still keep track of the movie, it has to be very well made. I'm rating this adequate and it's a keeper. The detracting factor is the obvious religious overtones.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Savage Guns A.K.A. Era Sam Wallach... lo chiamavano 'così sia', His Name Was Sam Walbash, But They Call Him Amen (1971)

An Italian spaghetti western directed by Demofilo Fidani.
Cowboys... ummmm... outlaws... I seriously don't know what the plot was.
This was pretty terrible. I normally like '70s spaghetti westerns, so it takes some really shitty filmmaking to make me dislike a film of this genre. The plot and characters were not clearly communicated. I got who the main character was, but that was it. As typical with this style, the video was good and they had some good shots, but to no avail this time. The audio was deafeningly loud. I have to rate this shit.