Saturday, April 25, 2015

Grendel Grendel Grendel (1981)

An Australian animated musical comedy directed by Alexander Stitt.
The main part of the epic poem, Beowulf is told from the monster's perspective.
So unique! The animation looked like a combination of traditional cartoon and cut paper. Superfluous musical numbers punctuated the film's main points, with vocals by Grendel, the dragon, clams, Hrothgar's "shaper" and an inept warrior. The humor element was mainly in character design, plot and Australian dialect dialogue. This was aided by a lighthearted presentation. My only problem with this was that much of it was too dark and nebulous in the video. If you're looking for good animation, this is definitely worth watching. I rate it awesome.

Riders of the Whistling Skull (1937)

An American Three Mesquiteers western directed by Mack V. Wright.
A woman's father is an anthropologist who is missing. She teams up with a group of cowboys to look for her father and the lost city that he was searching for. Together, they find the city and fight the indians there.
The plot and characters were clearly communicated, but the audio and video were horrid. The audio was muffled and distorted. The video was blurry and full of artifacts. I rate this poor because it's better than ROTW Pines, but definitely not good. You probably should not watch this.

Riders of the Whistling Pines (1949)

An American western directed by John English, starring Gene Autry.
A singing cowboy is tricked into thinking that he has killed a man who was about to report an insect problem. The man who is really the killer wants the insect problem to continue so that his lumber operation can harvest the trees that the insects kill. The singing cowboy is found innocent in court and embarks on a job to spray poison to kill the insects while the lumber baron gets another plane and sprays another poison. It's too complicated.
The complex and convoluted plot was filled with characters that were barely identifiable. The poor quality video made matching faces with names even more difficult. The lumber guy has a mustache and a black hat so you can point your fuckin' fingers and say "That's the fuckin' badguy!" and Gene Autry (poison spraying goodguy) wears an ornately embroidered cowboy shirt. Because of how poor the communication was, I'm rating this bad. Only watch it if you want to spend the whole time trying to figure out who is who and what they are doing.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Riders of Destiny (1933)

An American western directed by Robert N. Bradbury, starring John Wayne and George Gabby Hayes.
A singing cowboy encounters a shot sheriff and a young woman who has just robbed a stage coach in the desert. He lends the woman his horse and leaves the sheriff for dead, sneaking aboard the stagecoach against the will of it's drivers who want to kill him. In town, he finds that there is a dispute over water and land rights involving a corrupt businessman.
According to Wikipedia, this was the first pairing of John Wayne with Gabby and featured a soon to be abandoned dubbed singing theme because Wayne was not a singer. The plot and characters were clearly presented and it kept my attention through the whole 52 minutes. The audio and video were decent, given the early production date. There were some instances of breaking the 180 degree rule, with characters moving one way, cut, they're moving the other direction. The most notable was when the male and female leads were leading their shared horse to the barn. The title sounds like it could be a Rhapsody of Fire song. Overall, it was not too bad, but definitely not good. I rate it tolerable.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cleopatra (1970)

A Japanese Animerama animation directed by Osamu Tezuka and Eiichi Yamamoto.
A team of scientists from the future transport their consciousness into the bodies of historical figures in ancient Egypt.
This is the second film in the Animerama series, following A Thousand and One Nights (1969). It was a little bit wierder and made a little less sense than the first one. The plot was not as good and there were too many characters that were not developed well enough. The animation style was mostly cartoon, with live action mixed in the beginning and end. There were some odd WTF moments like the kabuki portrayal of Ceasar's death scene. There was just as much cartoon nudity, but it didn't seem to be as effective as ATAON. There was even closer depictions of intercourse, with cartoon bodies rubbing together, but to no avail. You just can't top something like that. There were more crude jokes in the dialogue, which I did appreciate. I rate it good because it was unique and stylish and all that, but nowhere near as good as the previous year's adventures with Aladdin.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ride Ranger Ride (1936)

An American western directed by Joseph Kane, starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette and Kay Hughes.
A Texas ranger shows up with his team to help the military protect a supply train. He finds that he is in direct competition with a military leader who is unwilling to accept help and a group of indians who are counting on one of the military men to leave the supplies unguarded.
I noticed the silent film style speeded up fight scenes and the comic relief characters most when I watched this. The plot was clearly communicated and characters identifiable. They fit into standard western roles, but that seemed to work out just fine. The black and white video was a little bit blurry/grainy and the audio was primitive, but I saw and heard everything that was going on. The pacing was very quick all the way through and barely slowed down at all. The humorous elements contained an indian chasing a ranger to scalp him and a weathered old trail hand who used snuff to cause others to sneeze. I'm rating this o.k. because I've seen much better and much worse.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Thousand and One Nights A.K.A. Senya Ichiya Monogatari (1969)

A Japanese animation directed by Eiichi Yamamoto.
A young water seller in Baghdad falls in love with a slave woman in a market. When he can't pay for her, a dust storm disrupts the procedings and he steals the woman, setting off a seemingly endless chain of events.
Such style! Being the first X rated cartoon ever made and Japanese, I had a feeling that it would be good. The plot was epic and characters memorable. The pacing kept time with events, slowing down and speeding up accordingly. The animation did not look like stereotypical anime because that style was not yet developed in 1969. It looked more like American animation styles, with some unique twists thrown in. Who would think of using live action shots in the middle of a cartoon? So unique! The soundtrack was mostly psychedelic rock, which I liked and found fitting for the time period. This is about as lewd and crude as Fritz the Cat. Animated boobs and butts cannot be counted, but there are no depictions of genitalia or penetration. All of the sex is implied, but there is a rape scene. Aladdin is seen smoking a cigar and getting drunk and there is a nobleman who gets high on his own handmade designer drugs. This noble's son eats something that he calls cordial as an aphrodisiac that makes him blow orange smoke from his nose. Some of the more violent scenes were a torture scene with badly timed screams and a fight between a triclops and a roc. I'm rating this best. It is a must see!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Randy Rides Alone (1934)

An American western directed by Harry L. Fraser, starring John Wayne and George Gabby Hayes.
A cowboy finds several men dead in a bar, including the man whom he was sent there to meet. The outlaw responsible alerts the sheriff so that he will find the innocent cowboy among this destruction. The dead bar owner's daughter helps the cowboy to escape and he helps her to defeat the outlaws who killed her father.
I did not recognize Gabby when he wasn't playing the old sidekick role. At first, I thought the film would be silent because of the primitive video and speeded up horse riding, but it turned out to be a talkie. Throughout the duration, this silent film visual style could be seen. The pacing was fast to fit a complex plot into 52 minutes, but the plot and characters were clearly presented. I'm not spoiling the ending, but in the last shot, the cowboy and bar owner's daughter turn away from the camera with arms around eachother instead of kissing. A kiss would have required tall Mr. Wayne to bend down quite a bit to level his face with Alberta Vaughn's. I rate it adequate. It was pretty good, but not a keeper.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Rage at Dawn (1955)

An American western directed by Tim Whelan, starring Randolph Scott and Forrest Tucker.
A secret agent stages a train robbery to join an outlaw gang and with the help of local law enforcement, defeats them.
This was boring and desultory. The pacing was really slow and the plot dragged through the hour and 25 minute duration. The fake train robbery, romantic interest and supposed outlaw's cooperation with local authorities made the plot hard to follow and I feel that it was not clearly communicated. A few of the main characters were easily identifiable, but everyone else was just a big jumble of people. The audio and video were as I would expect from 1955, basically average. The style reminded me of better westerns made around that time like Bells of San Angelo, Rio Bravo and El Dorado. I'm rating this poor because They could have done better and I didn't like it.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Public Cowboy No. 1 (1937)

An American musical comedy western directed by Joseph Kane, starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette and Ann Rutherford.
A cowboy hunts a gang of outlaws who are using technology to steal cattle.
This was actually pretty cool. In the first scene, there was a cowboy riding backwards with a mask on the back of his head to look out behind him. We got awesome camera angles in a chase scene and creative editing during Smiley's song about the detective in which he changes costumes. The music was that hokey old honky-tonk style that I like so much and there was a gag with two men in a cow costume attracting the attention of a bull. If you're looking for a western of the 53 minute variety, this is it. I rate it good.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Paroled to Die (1938)

An American western directed by Sam Newfield.
A cowboy is framed for a bank robbery by a politician and his gang of outlaws.
This was a really old style film. The total lack of music was definitely a negative element, with much of the audio being horse hoof sound effects. The plot was not clearly communicated and the characters were difficult to identify and keep track of. There was one shot that I liked, a closeup of the cowboy putting a bandana in his pocket. It was the only point in which something was being clearly communicated. Pacing was quick with the 54 minute duration, but it failed to hold my attention for even that short amount of time. I have to rate this bad because it was not worth watching.

Paradise Canyon (1953)

An American western directed by Carl L. Pierson, starring John Wayne.
A government agent cowboy joins a travelling medicine show in order to find outlaws who are running a counterfeiting operation.
This looked older than it actually was. By the use of speeded up video that seemed like silent film style, I would have guessed '40s at the latest. The plot and characters were decent and it easily held my attention through the 53 minute duration. As stated, the style seemed ancient and the pacing was all over the place. I didn't notice any amazing camera-work, but it wasn't bad. The video got shaky at one point, which may have been due to damage to the original film. The audio was very quiet and some sound effects were inaudible, but I could hear enough for the story to make sense. Overall, it was not bad, but not good. I rate it o.k.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Painted Desert (1931)

An American western directed by Howard Higgin and Bert Gilroy, starring William Boyd, Helen Twelvetrees and Clark Gable.
Two cowboys find a baby in the desert and begin a lifelong feud by aruing over the child's name and caretaker. Years later, the baby has grown to a man and the feud is still on.
This was prehistoric, boring and poorly made. The acting was horrid, with most folks "announcing" their lines. The plot was dull and not clearly communicated. I won't talk crap about the audio and video because of the early date, but let's just say I did not find them amusing. The lack of non-diagetic music also hampered enjoyment of this film. I rate it shit because I turned it off at 42 minutes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Pal Trigger (1946)

An American western directed by Frank Mcdonald, starring Roy Rogers, George Gabby Hayes, Trigger and Bob Nolan.
A cowboy rides his mare to a ranch where a stallion is being shown and the two fall in love immediately, disrupting the show and angering the rancher. The cowboy tries to get permission to breed the stallion and mare, but is denied. When the escaped stallion is shot after copulating with the escaped mare, the cowboy is blamed.
This was pretty much standard fare. I do recognize that the film had a different plot than most westerns of the time because it focused on horses, rather than the men riding them. However, the shooting style and sound were so similar to standard American cowboy flicks that the difference doesn't matter quite so much. The characters were identifiable and easy to keep track of and the pacing was alright, bordering on moving too quickly. I rate this tolerable because it is so similar to so many other films in the genre.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Red River Valley A.K.A. Man of the Frontier (1936)

An American western musical directed by B. Reeves Eason, starring Gene Autry.
A singing cowboy arrives in a town near a dam that is being built. There are problems surrounding the dam, with workers wanting to quit because they are not being payed and some men wanting to blow up the dam with dynamite in order to claim the land for themselves.
When I watched this, the main thing that I noticed was how old it is. Everything is done in a very '30s fashion. The plot was a little hard to follow and many of the characters were unclear as far as identification and keeping track of them. I liked the hokey old music, but some people would not find it suiting to their tastes. My favorite songs were the ones performed in the saloon with a trio of musicians switching instruments frequently. The pacing was pretty quick and only got faster in the action scenes at the end. The audio was decent, but very midrange-biased. The video had some improper exposures and some artifacts. Due to antiquity and some aspects being unclear, I will rate this tolerable.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lights of Old Santa Fe (1944)

An American western musical directed by Frank McDonald, starring Roy Rogers, George Gabby Hayes and Trigger.
An old man runs a dated rodeo show that is losing popularity. The owner of a more successful rodeo proposes to the old man's daughter in hopes of combining the two rodeos. A singing cowboy steps in to sort things out.
The video was amazingly clear for this early date and I liked the hokey, old music. In fact, I'm beginning to like the Roy and Gabby team. The plot was not communicated very clearly and was vague in some places. The recycled characters from every other singing cowboy western were pretty stale, but worked alright for this one. It seems that there were many 55 minute westerns created around this time that are hit and miss based on luck. Some have a hokey charm and others are just shoddily crafted filler. I rate this o.k.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Law Men A.K.A. Lawmen (1944)

An American western directed by Lambert Hillyer, starring Johnny Mack Brown.
A marshall poses as a cobbler to catch bank robbers.
This was just very old and outdated. The plot and characters were not clearly communicated and much of the video was underexposed. What I saw was a murky cesspool of antiquated western elements. I have to rate this shit because I turned it off.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

L'uomo di Santa Cruz A.K.A. Kid Vengeance, Vendetta (1977)

An American Israeli western directed by Joseph Manduke, starring Lee Van Cleef and Leif Garrett.
A gang of outlaws attack a family. They kill the parents, but the daughter is hiding in their wagon and the son is wandering in the desert. The son returns to find his mother being raped (before being killed) and hides nearby, eluding the outlaws. Another, less skilled group of bandits try to hold up a black miner at a bank, but end up shooting one of their own team and being held up by the miner. Eventually, the paths of the miner and son cross and they team up to defeat the outlaw gang.
The late '70s was a good time for westerns. The slightly gritty video lends itself to deserts and cowboys. The plot of this film was a little more complex and there were more characters than the average cowboy revenge flick. These added complexities were clearly communicated and all of the characters were memorable. The camera-work was relatively straight forward, but done quite well. The pacing really slowed down and let you enjoy the scene without dragging. There were some creative executions performed while the kid was alone, stalking and killing outlaws. The "less skilled" outlaw gang served as comic relief and contained some entertaining characters. Overall, there is nothing wrong with an augmented cowboy revenge flick from this time period. This one even did enough things well to earn my respect. I'm rating it good. This would be one to watch.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Kentucky Rifle (1955)

An American western directed by Carl K. Hittleman, starring Chill Wills and Sterling Holloway.
A group of settlers become separated from their wagon caravan and stranded when a wheel breaks. The wagon is carrying a load of guns for a man who does not want them left behind and a pregnant woman. Tensions among the group increase as time passes, supplies dwindle and repairs slowly take place. When indians find the stranded wagon, there are misunderstandings which lead to conflict.
This was alright, I guess. The plot and characters were clearly presented and the acting was not too bad. Camera-work was straightforward and standard, but clearly depicted the scenes. There were some crossfade/dissolve edits to show time passing as the settlers worked to fix their wagon. The pace was medium with some fluctuation up in action scenes, but not much slowing down in the less eventful sections. The audio and video were what I have come to expect from the mid '50s. Overall, this is as standard as a western gets. I would use this as a prime example of my o.k. rating. You may want to watch it or skip it.

Joshua A.K.A. Black Rider, Joshua the Black Rider, Revenge (1976)

An American western directed by Larry G. Spangler, starring Fred Williamson.
A black man returns home after the civil war to find that his mother has been killed and the outlaws responsible have stolen the wife of the man who owned his mother as a slave.
This was very VERY poorly made. The repetitive soundtrack made anger rise in my heart with it's 3 single-bar songs. The acting was terrible. Let me explain: When you watch a normal movie, the actors work to convince you that they are the characters and the director works with them and the camera crew to convince you that you are seeing events pertaining to the characters and the plot. In this film, it was painfully obvious that the actors were just people standing there and saying lines or pretending to be in a fight. Some of the camera shots had good composition, but I didn't feel that the director was trying to convince me in the least bit that these things were happenning. The pacing dragged like a tricycle with no wheels. The female actresses were either mostly so similar looking that it seemed like one woman playing multiple parts or it actually was one woman playing many roles. Besides camera shot composition, there was only one other positive part of this film. Joshua ties one of the harriers to a tree and a gun to another tree. He then uses a wet strip of leather to tie the trigger. The leather dries, shrinks and KABLASTO! A creative execution. I have to rate this bad because it looked like it was planned and acted by novices.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Jesse James' Women (1954)

An American western by Don Barry de Acosta A.K.A. Milton Poimboeuf.
Jesse James is in town with his gang of outlaws. While there, he has mutiple simultaneous relationships with the local women.
This was pretty bad. The video was blocky and pixellated. The audio was gritty and muffled. Though it looked and sounded bad, the acting was the worst part. The sheriff and his daughter were the worst actors. In the saloon, there was a line of dancing girls who could not coordinate their movements and were all wearing different dresses. It was the sloppiest line of dancing girls I have ever seen. On the plus side, there were some good camera shots in the ending gunfight. I have to rate this bad. Don't watch this unless you like Howling: New Moon Rising (1995).

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Top 13 Illuminati Bloodlines and their mind control (2012)

An American Prophecy Club documentary by Fritz Springmeier.
The guest speaker talks about pyramid schemes, satanism, nepotism and incest.
I remember seeing some of Fritz's other videos a while ago, but don't remember the exact content. He may have been included in an aliens/ufos compilation. This video looks very old and I sincerely doubt that it was made in 2012. For example, the Prophecy Club has since changed their logo, backdrop, stage setup and projection system. Seeing a 2012 date on a video that includes a transparency projector leads me to believe that it was uploaded, not made in 2012. Of course, no other sites have a date for it. The sound was very low, but decent quality. Fritz's speech covers lots of material very quickly and his voice drones monotonously, but there is lots of good information. I rate this adequate because most of this was not news to me, but there were some details that I found interesting.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In Old Santa Fe (1934)

An American western directed by David Howard and Joseph Kane, starring George Gabby Hayes, with a musical appearence by Gene Autry.
A cowboy and his sidekick are run off the road by a woman driving her car. She crashes as well and catches a ride on a passing stagecoach while the duo tow the car to town for her. The men from the stagecoach are villains who trick the cowboy's sidekick into gambling everything the duo owns on a horse race that the villains are planning to cheat at. The cowboy will not give up his horse until he finds who is responsible for injuring it and making him lose the race.
This was pretty standard for old westerns. The plot was easy to follow and the characters easy to keep track of. The audio and video were very primitive, but not bad. Gene Autry's musical numbers came as a set of 3 performed in a dance hall at about the halfway point of the film. Wikipedia identifies this as a screentest for singing cowboys that was successful. If you look closely, you will notice that Autry has a fretboard inlay of his name on the guitar. Overall, this was a very standard western of the time. It may have been a formative film in the singing cowboy genre, but 81 years later, it just seems to fit in with that crowd. I rate it o.k.