Wednesday 25 July 2018

50 films (2 refs) -mainly adventure, lots of Asian/Soviet stuff, adventure, sci-fi, Hackman,Supercops, Hatari, Diaboliques, Doc Savage, Crackers

The Dion Brothers (1975) - Stacy Keach and Frederic Forrest play Virginia miners who turn to crime to get money to open a seafood restaurant yet don't know what scampi is. Keach is great, and Virginia looks lovely, like a nicer Wicklow.  It begins as a happy-go-lucky comedy, but kind of gets New Hollywood delusions. It could have been a nice little comic adventure - but it loses its aim, and instead tries to become a tragedy.

Dead Run (1967) - Peter Lawford in a Eurospy film by Christian-Jaque. Interestingly shot, but just another Cold War runaround.

Hatari (1963) - An unmemorable plot, basically just an excuse for nice African scenes and John Wayne to go hunt some stuff. Wayne's non-western/army films always seemed to be travelogues. This does have Baby Elephant Walk as a theme, and Bruce Cabot as a Native American about as convincing as the Indians Showband.

Secret of the Ice Cave (1989) - Unmemorable Cannon shite with Michael Moriarty, Sally Kellerman and proto-Wossy Steve Blacknell.

Speed Driver (1980) - Fabio Testi in awful motor racingsploiter.

The Big Bustout (1972) - Turkish-set Corman/Von Theumer women's prison/Magdalene home escape movie, with Vonetta McGee. The ladies escape disguised as nuns. Gordon Mitchell plays a German. There's a Cockney tomboy. Rubbish.

Les Diaboliques (1955 - B/W) - Not my thing. It's odd how the tone goes from silly comedy to thriller. It's proto-Clemens.

A Bronx Tale (1991) - De Niro's autobiographica. I try to get into gangster stuff in New York, but it doesn't click. Tedium.

Jean De Florette (1986)/Manon Des Sources (1987) - Looks gorgeous, but the plot doesn't grab. Probably because it influenced so many ads. I was waiting for the close-up on the wine label. Blame Stella Artois for my indifference. This does have Depardieu and his big nose.

Bog (1978) - So bad characters' billy-fluffs are caught on camera. Worse than the Loch Ness Horror (1981).

Bonditis (1968) - Familiar voices litter this terrible, sub-Carry On Swiss Bond spoof, amateurishly telling the story of an Adrian Mole-esque dreamer fighting overaged boy scouts.

Deadly Games (1989)  - One of the most inventive, original and underrated horror films to ever come out of Europe. As someone whose major male figure in his childhood was his grandfather, it speaks to me on a level few other horrors do.

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) - Picturesque slasher rubbish.

Oniwaban (1974) - Toho feudal suspenser. Lots of crazy folk in masks.

Shaolin Hellgate (1979) - Shaw Brothers kung fu horror - a few odd touches, a strange curtain-faced baddie, similar in tone to Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974, a film which I do like, and it has also has David Chiang). Confusing but stylish.

Butterfly Murders (1978) - Not a big wuxia fan, but this Tsui Hark epic has plenty of visual interest.

Day of Wrath (1985) - People watch telly outside in this Gorky film Soviet sci-fi set in the US.  Humourless treatise on humanity.

vlci bouda/Wolf's Hole (1987)- From ex-Barrandov staple Vera Chytilova, this is basically a Czech slasher, with teens straight out of an East German ski catalogue, including two Velma-ish twins. No bloody slayings. Just a poisoning here and there. Actually, their hosts turn out to be aliens not unlike those in Quatermass Conclusion. Eventually, they escape.  Slow, but it does get interesting. Their escape via homemade ski-lift is memorable.

In The Shadow of Kilimanjaro (1984) - Unmemorable baboons try to eat John Rhys-Davies. African savannah movies like this always are hard to recall, see also Savage Harvest (1981).

Dance of the Dwarfs (1983) - Murkily shot Peter Fonda jungle mess. South American setting made redundant when a jeepney appears.

gospodin oformitel (1990) - Lenfilm period drama/sorta horror - like Tourist Trap by Merchant Ivory. Not very interesting.

Access Code (1984) - Bland Martin Landau conspiracier.

Zeiramu (1991) - Another visual but rather ugly and obnoxious Toho monster fest.

Ultra Q (1996) - Tokusatsu movie, adap of the Japanese TV series. Lots of damage, but it never wows and grabs you.

The Last War (1961) - I'm not a big fan of kaiju films, but I really enjoy the more serious Japanese sci-fi films. There's a craft to them that American SF films, with a few exceptions (Harryhausen) lack. Even what would be stock shots are loveably crafted miniatures of London because they want to use as much of them before they blow them up. This also has fake news bulletins from NHK, RAI. and "SBC". This is stodgy drama-wise, but it's astonishing visually. Stars Frankie Sakai, Yabu from Shogun.

Space Amoeba (1971) - This is not one of the serious Japanese sci-fi films, sadly. The thing about Japanese monster movies is I find the physical performances, scripts and dubs annoyingly jokey, in an Avenger-ish way, but the cinematography and model effects tend to be super. Craftsmen's films, rather than the cast and writer's. Look at how the later Godzillas become samey. This again is nothing the same. Ideas from every other Toho monster fest crop up. Skull Island-type locals, check. Wide-eyed beatnik-y type, check. The titular Monster from space, Yog is a one-eyed rubber octopus. It's rubbish.

Dogora (1964) - This is what I'd thought Space Amoeba would be. It's slow. A few good model shots, aside, it's the same Toho jokery. More gangster film than sci-fi.

Atragon (1963) - It's an interesting lost kingdom concept, a bit bonkers (i.e. cassettes from Mu). but the dub is awful. Everyone trying to do velly solly voices. You can't take it seriously. Thankfully, these films are always quite visual. But it isn't great. Childish, and not as weird as it could be. It's a rerun of L'Atlantide, with a funky sub. Latitude Zero is better.

Battle in Outer Space (1959) - Some shonky spacecraft miniatures, the Earthbound bits better than the space bits. Gave up on this an hour in.

Warning from Space (1956) - Amateurish Japanese invasion schlock with musical numbers and cardboard space-starfish. From Daiei.

The Berlin Conspiracy (1992) - Godawful Corman Cold War gash.

The Package (1989) - Cold, unlikeable, cable special-like Gene Hackman actioner set in Germany.

Company Business (1991) - Confused vehicle for Gene Hackman. Blandly glossy. I'm tired of a certain type of mainstream thriller.

Missile-X (1980) - Ted V. Mikels/Amir Shervan-produced Eurospy film, has Peter Graves playing a spy (what else?), Curt Jurgens as a homosexual,  and often bare-chested, man-breasted villain with a tongueless henchman lover,  John Carradine as a Mittel European scientist, it's a bit dull in places, but it has an energy to it. And made from the point of the view of the baddies. Also shot in Iran just before the revolution, and shows how un-Middle Eastern it looks. It could be Birmingham. Some of the leads are stiff, but it has enough energy and enthusiasm, directed by Leslie H. Martinson. It never gets as insane as it should be. It perhaps needed a few moments of action, though, a decent second unit. It's energetic but it isn't fun or actionable.

Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975) - Yes, people slate this film, yes, some of the performances are awful. But Ron Ely is good, and it has enthusiasm, but the plot kills it. Having it in the South American desert, on Western sets cheapens it. Captain Seas is a dire villain, more like a sitcom authority figure. It wants to be a big film, but it looks like a Sid and Marty Krofft production. I saw this as a kid. All I remembered were the songs, which were Sousa marches with lyrics by Don Black. The endless montages initially keep it up. Why does Monk have a pig? God knows. That just adds. They just didn't market it that way. Why is Doc meditating nearly naked in the snow? Why is an Indian climbing a skyscraper? What are the green wrigglies? They call his helicopter a Whizzer as technically the helicopter wasn't quite invented in 1936. Everything has the logo on it, as if for marketing reasons. It feels an awful lot like Police Squad, and if it had gone the full-on spoof route, it would have worked better. There's a few inventive touches, like the robot airplane used as a suicide bomb. But once we meet the villains, it gets a bit silly. It feels like a TV pilot. The ending is bonkers, i.e. giving the villain a lobotomy at Doc's own private hospital in New York state that is out there in the public, named after him and all.

Crackers (1984) - Louis Malle's Disney Channelesque, annoyingly quirky heist waster.

Piraty 20 Veka (1979) - Soviet martial arts North Sea Hijack. From Gorky film studio. Lots of mechanical action, humourlessly staged.

The Pendragon Legend (1974) - Hungarian Welsh-set old dark house runaround from Mafilm, takes a while to set up, attractive but loses something in translation. Plus it doesn't make sense.

Black Magic (1975) - Begins with a period bit, but thankfully for someone like me who isn't a great fan of wuxia, we cut to a 70s construction site. Interesting locations in Malaysia. It takes about an hour though to get started, to the point I thought I was watching something else.  It's not great, though the ending is mental, going from gothic horror to tokusatsu.

The Oily Maniac (1976) - More Shaw genre stuff. This may be genius, it's not a good film, it's a typical kung film with a monster as a lead, but the monster is brilliant.  It goes from animation of black substance to this dripping humanoid who leaves his victims in what is supposed to be oil, but looks like watercolours.

The Ultimate Warrior (1975) - Backlot bound Yul Brynner vehicle, feels like a bad western with kung fu and post-apocalyptic decorations.

The Light At The Edge of the World (1971) - Brynner and Kirk Douglas fight over a lighthouse with a pirate ship thrown in. Not very interesting.

The Super Cops (1974) - Not my sorta thing, a Wambaugh-ish cop movie.

Farewell Friend (1968) - Delon-Bronson melodrama, not much action, more of a neo-noir. It's a well-made film, but I don't get it. I found it tedious.

Warhead (1977) - Nothing happens to David Janssen in Israel.

The Invincible Six (1970) - Stuart Whitman, Elke Sommer, Curt Jurgens, Ian Ogilvy and a brownfaced Jim Mitchum fight in Iran. Forgettable capers in deserts and bars.

No comments:

Post a Comment