Saturday 22 September 2018

54/51 inc. Westworld - Freaks, Christmas, North Sea Hijack, Canadian SF, Twilight's Last Gleaming, Visitor, Wise Blood, 12 Chairs, Breaker Morant, Blunden, 60s comedy, Euro-action, 70s horror, Sammy Going South

Tried watching NFB pirate films, but they're all the same.

Live Wire (-1992) - Pierce "Peter" Brosnan fights terrorists using unwitting suicide bombers. A lot of pre-9/11 stuff made about how the US has never had a terrorist incident.  Ben Cross does "the Rickman" role. Dareisay it, I'm not the biggest fan of Mr. Brosnan. He's to Roger Moore what Big Tom is to Johnny Cash. Clement von Franckenstein plays a mad scientist with his unique "I want to be Herbert Lom" acting style. Only lasted 15 minutes.

Scrooged (1988) - The faux-shows are good, but I found it at the same time, sentimental and obnoxious, and a bit too 80s comedy "wacky". The Elfman score doesn't help.

Tried watching A Christmas Story (1983), and I understand why it's unknown here. It's that very American sentimentality. But there's bits of weird humour that kind of gel with me, the lamp. Darren McGavin's great. It works in bits, but other times, the more kiddy stuff doesn't quite do with me. Some of the vignettes are great, but it's bitty.

Freaks (1932 - B/W)  - It feels incomplete, for obvious reasons. It's not a good film. It's almost a proto-reality show. But it is fascinating.

Norman's Awesome Experience (1989) - Canadian attempt by the makers of Lexx to do a bland if sometimes attractive Canadian Bill and Ted-via-Asterix. See also Terminal City Ricochet (1990), a similar Canadian video-sci-fi "comedy" that doesn't work.

Twilight's Last Gleaming (1976) - Probably Aldrich's best film, shot like a cinematic comic book, excellent use of split-screens, a incredible cast even though it is overlong.

The Visitor (1979) - It is way too overlong, but it is so extraordinary. John Huston as a Polish-named Time Lord sent by Franco Nero as Space Jesus to rescue a female devilchild, from Mel Ferrer as a corporate representative of Satine. Shelley Winters as a good Mrs. Baylock. Glenn Ford and Sam Peckinpah appearing. Lots of nonsense involving birds. Lance Henriksen as a stepfather. Kareem Abdul Jabaar as himself. The epoch of Italian exploitation.

The Food of the Gods (1976) - Most of Bert I Gordon's stuff I'm not a fan of, but this although quite dreary has an attractive, unusual Canadian setting and British Columbia locations, though the silliness of the giant chickens does tonally crack that. It is better than Gordon's silly Joan Collins Floridian ant-camp Empire of the Ants (1977) and the TV movie-ish faux-Gordon cowpoke drudgery of Kingdom of the Spiders (-1977).

Wise Blood (1979) - More Huston. Not quite my film. It feels a bit tonally awkward. The setting seems to be  an afterthought. It feels like it should be the 50s, but the budget wasn't there.

The 12 Chairs (1970) - Early Mel Brooks comedy, forgotten. It's odd. Frank Langella and Dom Deluise try to help/hinder Ron Moody in finding a diamond sewn into one of the titular seats. Very Jewish, with lots of Benny Hill-like spedup chases. It's a bit too Fiddler on the Roof for my tastes. Moody and Langella's styles don't quite gel. Nicholas "Rumbold" Smith pops up. It's an oddity. Not that funny. But it is an interesting folly. The finale includes some Brooks madness.

Amazing Mr. Blunden (1972)-  "you skinny slut!" Seen by the previous generation as a classic. It's almost.  It's overwhelmingly charming (the end credits!) but sometimes it's a little too genteel. Diana Dors is a little too hammy. She's not a convincing threat (plus Madeleine Smith is too likeable, and Dave Lodge is wasted). Bette Davis was considered for Wickens. And I think she would have been more convicingly monstrous, especially if she had done her "posh voice". Dors is a little panto, a bit Grotbags. The plot's a little clumsy too, the whole grave and potion stuff padded. The time travel stuff doesn't make sense. Lawrence Naismith is so brilliant, though, as is Graham Crowden.  I remember it being considerably darker. If they had gone for the darkness that colours the exciting and rather creepy climax, rather than slapstick...  Garry Miller plays a time-traveller called Jamie, having done so in the titular role in a blatant Doctor Who knockoff the year before.

Tried Breaker Morant (1980) again, and it's not quite my film. It's well-acted, well-made, but slow as hell. It's a war film, an unusual one, but still a war film.

Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery (1975) - Altmanesque comedy rubbish with Gabriel Dell, quite well-preserved for his age and Barbara Harris.

Roaring Fire (1982) - Early vehicle for Hiroyuki Sanada as a cowboy warrior.  Very odd. Good action but contains Frat comedy,  Japanese Nazis, Sonny Chiba and a ventriloquist's dummy clearly voiced by a woman.

Cancel My Reservation (1972) - Interesting for the wrong reasons, Bob Hope's final starring vehicle, pushing seventy,  a throwback old dark house vehicle with added preachy subplot about Indian land rights. Odd tone. Cameos from Bing, John Wayne and Johnny Carson, all looking adrift in the very low budget, sub-TV surroundings. Typical 60s/early 70s comedy programmer, TV-ish production values, ageing star, jokes that don't quite land.

Law and Disorder (1974) Low-key, low-laugh, plotless wanders. Wambaugh-ish cop comedy with Carroll O'Connor and Ernest Borgnine, weirdly produced by Michael Medwin and Albert Finney.

Perils of Pauline (1967) - Terminally camp, overwrought pilot, theatrically released, Terry-Thomas in Dick Dastardly mode, Pat Boone as the hero, white jungle tribesmen and more in excruciating "comedy".

Pyro - The Thing Without A Face (1964) - Partly British-shot Spanish erotic thriller/horror with Barry Sullivan, sub-Bava lighting with Eurospy turgid action and a House of Wax aesthetic. Climax similar to Horrors of the Black Museum.

Le Gentleman of Cocody (1965) - Bland but attractive Jean Marais actioner. Some neat stunts, but sub-Bond hijinks.

The Steagle (1971) - Baffling countercultural com with Richard Benjamin changing identity and blowing up a western town. The PD print doesn't help either.

The Ski-Bum (1971) - Charlotte Rampling in countercultural snow-dung.

The Deadly Trap (1971) - Bland, nonsensical almost-giallo by Rene Clement, with Faye Dunaway and Frank Langella.

And Hope To Die (1972) - Jean Louis Trintignant, Robert Ryan and Aldo Ray in Rene Clement heist in Canada. Too slow to make an impact. Too long, too.

Rider on the Rain (1970) - A third Clement. Charles Bronson in a more serious film than usual. Not quite my thing. Star Marlene Jobert is Eva Green's mammy. Tiresome relationship drama.

End of the Game (1975) - Jon Voight and Maximillian Schell in the latter's vanity project. Giallo-ish. But forgettable. Even the end car flip and the assassination on an airport conveyor belt fail to register. Perhaps hard-done by the grainy print and lack of English version.

North Sea Hijack (1979) - I want to like this film much more than I do,because Moore clearly relishes the role, but he's rather too unlikeable. Ffolkes is not a comic monster, he's just a ridiculous grotesque. And the hostage situation is rather boring, "Norway" is clearly Galway, Anthony Perkins is a good solid villain, but it almost feels too small. Something with the scale of Raise The Titanic may have suited, rather than the hostage of Jack Watson with a hurdy-gurdy accent. "Both my parents died in childbirth".

Le Marginal (1983) - Belmondo and Henry Silva in half-hearted French actioner.

The Master Touch (1973) - Kirk Douglas in Typical Eurocrime. Good chases but little else.

Hard Contract (1969) - James Coburn in bland Eurothriller. Like a lot of these thrillers, dated.

CIA contro KGB (1978) - Dreary but attractively shot suspense gubbins with Dennis Hopper, Joseph Cotten, Bruno Cremer, et al. Sudden ending.

Fuzz (1972) - It looks good, but it's tonally all over the place, being an Ed McBain adap.

Last Embrace (1979) - Jonathan Demme's slavishness to Hitchcock ends up with something rather boring indeed, a sort of De Palma photocopy.  The climax is interesting, but with a confused antagonist, it just looks a bit silly.

The Hospital (1971) - Altmanesque in some ways, Diana Rigg and George C. Scott fail to liven up a script.

7 Women (1966) - John Ford's Tenko. A little stagey, not quite my sort of film. And some of the yellowface is laughable. And there's a shoehorned in cutesy music number. But it is unfairly neglected. Anne Bancroft as a feminist action heroine is something. The end with her dressed as a geisha is both laughable and oddly striking.

Grizzly (1976) - It feels like a family mountain adventure movie, and not a good one, with shoehorned violence. All rather hopeless.

Prophecy (1979) - Flawed, slow and dull, Grizzly with a bigger budget and an ecological element. Robert Foxworth tries his best, Talia Shire looks like Anita Harris, Armand Assante is grossly miscast, and the difference between studio and British Columbia is obvious. The baby mutant bear is a neat visual, but it's so forgettable otherwise.

Orca (-1977) -  Rewatching it. How stupid is Richard Harris' character? The character does seem authentically Irish (most of which I imagine was down to Harris), but he's such an eejit, that it becomes tiring. It's not that he's a top o'the morning stereotype. No, he is exactly the sort of person you avoid in a village, because you know they'll put you in trouble and always blame you. He's like a proto-Rubberbandit, Sillybilly Boathouse. How does he think he has a chance with Charlotte Rampling? Some of the lighting is very gialloesque. The soundtrack is great, but it just needed a rewrite. It's slightly too serious for its own good.

Rewatching Westworld (1973). I've never really felt for it. I always found it kind of cold. The Medievalworld and Romanworld I slightly prefer, but they feel chintzy. I know it's an amusement park, but it feels too chintzy. Even the Medieval robots have American accents. James Brolin is annoying.

History of the World Part 1 (1980) - The prehistory stuff is nonsense. The Roman stuff and the Spanish Inquisition musical number are great, the French Revolution is not good until Milligan turns up being silly. The Universal Little Europe lot is especially obvious in the Roman scenes. There's 19th century-style buildings in Rome! Still, Jews  in space.

Fiend (1980) - Typical Don Dohler dreck, bar the interesting Readybrek glow effect.

Dark Echo  (1977) - Eastern European horror with Karin Dor and Department S' Joel Fabiani. Dreary, with synth-soundtracked ski footage shoehorned in, as are a skull-faced captain, gypsies, fishing, Satanists and yet it is still boring. 

 Screams Of A Winter Night (1979) - Was this shot on local TV news videotape?   

Night of Bloody Horror (1970) - Typical amateurish US independent horror dreck.

Dr. Heckel and Mr. Hype (1980) - Oliver Reed in bemusing Cannon answer to Love at First Bite, about a monstrous Noo Yawk-accented scientist who turns into an English gent. Prolific small actor Tony Cox makes an early appearance as a leather-jacketed pint-sized tough.  Jackie Coogan is a cop.  Being a Cannon film, Yehuda Efroni is shoehorned in.

Shadow of Chikara (1977) - Joe Don Baker in a rather dull western posing as a horror.

The Pack (1977) - Joe Don Baker versus dogs. Better than the same year's David McCallum film Dogs.  Features a creepy treehouse. Still ridiculous, and rather dull, and saddled with uninteresting characters, but attractively shot. Directed by Robert Clouse, who seems lost.  The end shot of slow-motion canines climbing stairs and getting burnt alive almost as ridiculous as anything in Night of the Lepus. Somehow, they kill the other dogs but merely tie up their own dog, which is cured unlike the others. Soppy end theme.

Nocturna - Granddaughter Of Dracula (1979) - A strange oddity, "Armenian"/French-Vietnamese belly dancer Nai Bonet's vanity project casts herself as John Carradine's reluctant grandchild. She is terrible, moreso than bland, supposedly straight but  very camp gay Aussie stud Anthony Hamilton, somewhere between Joe Longthorne and Barry McKenzie. Yvonne De Carlo plays Dracula's ex-wife, which means she's technically Lily Munster's mother.  Sponsored by Sunkist, ironically. Gloria Gaynor allegedly conned into doing the theme. The Bonet family crop up in the credits a lot, alongside future director Robert Harmon and  future composer Joel "son of Jerry" Goldsmith.

Frankenstein all'italiana (1975) - Comedy with Aldo Maccione. Ropey, has a curly-haired doctor and a monster makeup not unlike Peter Boyle's, showing an attempt to remake Brooks. An American flag shoehorned in raises a single laugh, as does an out-of-tone Hallelujah. But these aren't intentional titters.

Man With the Transplanted Brain (1972) - Dry, forgettable French ripoff of Seconds with Jean Pierre Aumont.

Don't Look In The Basement (1973) - All the worse, all the more stupid considering it's set in a mental home.

Blood And Lace (1971) - Gloria Grahame in forgettable, bloody proto-slasher set in a home for the world's oldest orphans.

The Love Butcher (1975) - Quite odd split-personality horror, attractively shot, but so ridiculous and inept in other respects, it resembles a vaudeville giallo.

The Hearse (1980) - Bar one dream sequence, this solo vehicle for Trish Van Devere fails to deliver.

Sammy Going South (1963) - It's beautifully shot, the kid's a bit hard taking used to, the story takes it time, Edward G. Robinson doesn't appear until over an hour in, though he is great, Harry H. Corbett's basically doing Air Ace Harold Steptoe.  Though the whole hunting subtext is a little unfortunate.  It's a mess. And the story of a boy and his newfound father figure is kind of lost within.  But it's a beautiful mess.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

1 TV - 38 + 8 refs = 46 - Red Dawn, Creeping Flesh, Kusturica, King Kong, La Boum, Lassiter, Amityville, late 80s British genre stufff, Leo the Last, Weird Mob, Caprice, Tower of Evil, The Big Fix, UHF, Happy Mother's Day, Love George, UHF, Separate Tables, Bergman, Cape Fear, Tarzan, Danny Kaye, Road Games, Road to... The Fan, Eyewitness, Madigan, Eye of the Cat, major studio thrillers

St. Helen's (-1981) - A made for  HBO (with some odd money from the BBC) disaster movie starring Art Carney with a bombastic score by Goblin coupled with a bunch of country songs with lyrics "Here's to you, Harry Truman, you show the pride of a great human!". Tim Thomerson has a moustache. Endlessly padded, the final ten minutes are all second unit with voiceover. It's bland as hell. Features dialogue like "you know the bulge is growing".

The Big Freeze (-1993) - Bob Hoskins, Eric Sykes, Donald Pleasence, John Mills, Spike Milligan as Hitler in some Finnish coproduction that feels like an episode of Chucklevision.  Bland. Peter Skellern cameos.

The Love Child (1988) - Peter Capaldi does his godawful Cockney accent, in a insubstantial play.

The Creeping Flesh (1973) - One of the last Lee/Cushing teamups. From Tigon, sadly it's a mess. It's basically a serious version of the Oddbod subplot from Carry On Screaming with bits from Horror Express and a Hands of the Ripper-type female antagonist. Nothing really fits. It's slow, and doesn't quite make sense. Like The Asphyx (1972), a botched attempt at doing a tragedy, when it is otherwise so silly.

Red Dawn (1984) - It's a mess. Milius adds some intelligence, but bar Swayze, the cast are interchangeable. Nice to see Vladek Sheybal turn up. It kind of halts. It's a good half hour too long. A good cast is wasted in small roles.

Black Cat, White Cat (1998) - Emir Kusturica makes the same film again. Features Yugoslavian Colin Blakely (with hair curlers) and Jimmy Nail. Casablanca refs. Same tacky quirkiness.

King Kong vs Godzilla (1962) - Padded out, apart from a few accidentally comical bits - mainly the smoking, brownfaced Japanese Skull Island natives and the impressive squid attack, typical Toho nonsense.

The Amityville Horror (1979) - It's hokey as hell, hard to follow, very TV movie-like, Margot Kidder even though she is playing the mum of three kids is put in very jail bait-y outfits and pigtails, it's overlong, it's almost saved by Rod Steiger's over-acting. And of course it's all based on a lie.

La Boum (1980) - Syrupy. soundtracked by Vladimir Cosma. Baby Sophie Marceau in a sort of fully French Little Romance. A BIT PROBLEMATIC. With a voyeuristic nana. The mother works as an artist for Pif comics (a French comic that included such characters as Corto Maltese and the previously covered-on-here Docteur Justice).It just goes on and on. Now, just want to see teen Marceau as her character from The World Is Not Enough, Star Cops-era David Calder as her henpecked da trying to handle his terrorist teen kid, and "Bobby Carlyle", as he was in The Bill.

Lassiter (1984) - Tom Selleck, Bob Hoskins, Warren Clarke in very televisual Golden Harvest wartime heist caper. A bit of a Nutty Hijack. Begins with Harry Towb as some sort of Cockney-American-Jew bedding Belinda Mayne, who gets promptly sexually asaulted/pickpocketed by our hero. Jane Seymour appears in her second British-based heist movie with a moustachioed American lead.  Nicholas Bond-Owen pops up somewhere.

Electric Dreams (1984) - Bland, MTV-influenced romcom, faux-American setting hence the likes of Don Fellows, Miriam Margolyes and Patsy Smart. Produced by Virgin.Steve Barron directs.

Forbidden Sun (1989) - Steve Barron's mum and Robin Hardy's Greek minotaur-ish nonsense.

Perfect Murder (1988) - Stellan Skarsgard and Naseeruddin Shah in a tonally all over the place, blandly put together Merchant-Ivory action thriller. Madhur Jaffrey costars.

Consuming Passions (1988) - Palin/Jones anthology play remade for TV.  It has the feeling of an ad. Weird seeing a tarted up Prunella Scales as the secretary of Freddie Jones, Tyler Butterworth trying to be like his father. The trouble is the chocolates look cheap, the plot is far-fetched beyond belief (wouldn't there be cloth in the sweets?) Clearly padded beyond belief. The bits with Vanessa Redgrave are sub-Confessions. Everything's a little too broad. Redgrave is godawful. There is no real call for her character to be there. Pryce is a little too OTT.

Dream Lover (1986) - Depressing dream-thriller with Kristy McNichol.

The Grotesque (1995) - Alan Bates and Mr. Sting pop up in baffling old dark house thriller. Lost in whimsy.

Leo the Last (1970) - Boorman tries to make a Red Triangle film, erotic surrealist shite. Ram John Holder turns up.  Elements of the Barry McKenzie film and Bed Sitting Room.

They're A Weird Mob  (1966) - Michael Powell-directed Australian comedy.  Not funny. Lead Walter Chiari is a vacuum. Cast includes John Meillon, Chips Rafferty, Anne "Helen Daniels" Haddy and Skippy stars Ed Devereaux and Tony Bonner.

The Trygon Factor(1966) - Stewart Granger and Susan Hampshire in Avengers-ish krimi. Due to the heavy Brit content and director Cyril Frankel, an Avengers/ITC vet, there's a definite ITV on-film adventure series vibe, rather than a German vibe.

Caprice (1967) - Doris Day is mutton dressed up as lamb in this spy vehicle. Richard Harris plays an eejit in Backlot Paris, with a hairstyle that makes him look like his fellow Bull, Niall Toibin. Dated, sexist mod nonsense. Features Batman product placement. Edward Mulhare plays the toff boss/secret big bad, his sidekick/cover being chemist Ray Walston, who it turns out is a transvestite who dresses up like Old Mother Riley, and was in love with Day's dad. Because trans = murderous psychopath.

Tower of Evil (1972) - All-ageing star horror. Robin Askwith does American. Resembles an ITC TV series with blood and nudity. Derek Fowlds does Roddy McDowall. It's an 80s slasher but made in the style of the Persuaders. A mess, especially with the revelation it is some sort of Lovecraftian cult.

Tried watching 1989's The Tall Guy and 1992's The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish - both bland, post-A Fish Called Wanda farces with Jeff Goldblum. Couldn't make it quite through either.

The Card (1952 - B/W) - Typical 1950s period comedy. Alec Guinness looking freakishly youthful.

Drop Dead Darling/Arrivederci, Baby (1966) - Forgettable Bluebeard-goes-mod comedy with Tony Curtis. Tony Curtis plays himself as a child, a wife-killer.  Noel Purcell turns up. Warren Mitchell AND Lionel Jeffries.

The Big Fix (1978) - Tonally all over the place Richard Deyfuss movie. Universal add a TV movie quality offset by Jeremy Kagan's Altmanesque New Hollywood aspirations. It doesn't know if it is a comedy, a relationships drama or a mystery.

Happy Mother's Day, Love George (1973) - Ron Howard mopes about Nova Scotia/New England in bland TVM-like thriller with Patricia Neal and her real life daughter Tessa Dahl. Gets quite bloody, as Dahl stalks about in a school uniform.  Cloris Leachman pops up.  Bobby Darin pops up, of all people (sadly not played by Kevin Spacey pretending to be a teenager in a bad wig, but you can't have everything...)

UHF (1989) - It feels firmly in the Ernest/Peewee Herman mould, with Weird Al's lead in a similar role, though he isn't called Weird Al. Caught between this and a Kentucky Fried Movie-type thing. Gormless sidekick Trinidad Silva,who died during filming reminds me of Olivier, in his mannerisms.  Some gems - the Dire Strait/Beverly Hillbillies parody, but it's hit and miss like every anthology. Maybe it is because I am Irish, and the UHF scene seems exotic, but the more filmic parodies seem to work better.

Separate Tables (1958 - B/W) - Not my sort of film. It's well-made and well-acted, but it's like a noir Fawlty Towers without the jokes. Lancaster's accent is odd. Plus Niven doesn't look like Niven.

The Serpent's Egg (1977) - Bergman does concentration camp sexploitation. It feels sleazy. It feels dirty. The 20s setting feels more like Nazi Germany. Dino de Laurentiis' involvement makes it into a pure exploitative nonsense.

Cape Fear (1962 - B/W) - I'm sorry, but I realise this kind of US-based thriller or noir just doesn't appeal.

Tarzan And His Mate (1934 - B/W)/Tarzan Finds A Son (1939 - B/W) - I'm not a Tarzan fan. Weissmuller's idiotic galute is a travesty of Burroughs' intelligent he-man. There is some fun stuntwork, but it's too hoary, plus it takes ages for Tarzan to appear. And Maureen O'Sullivan leaping about screaming - she does sound like her awful daughter, but more of a West Brit. Some obvious doubling for Cheeta.

Just been watching Danny Kaye's Knock On Wood (1954 - where he suddenly transmogrifies into Jon Pertwee in long shots when the film stock changes and we go from the lot to real locations that look nothing like the master shot). Kind of a hard tonal thing. Everything's serious, then he jokes, then he does a comedy musical number, then things serious again. If everything was a little OTT, it'd work. On The Double (1961) has 1950s cars in WW2-era London, and is a bit cliched. I'm not a fan of military humour. Margaret Rutherford does a strained Scottish accent. Diana Dors is a baddie. It gets a bit silly. Though the Dietrich-drag Nazi cabaret artiste bit clearly influenced the Simpsons' backstory for Grampa. It's a Sunday afternoon timewaster, but it's a bit slapdash.

Road to Morocco (1942 - B/W) - I'm not a big fan of Crosby and Hope. 30s/40s musical numbers bore me. The patter gets tired quickly. I like the more off the wall stuff, all the stuff with the camel, and the slapstick, but its not quite my thing.  The talking camels are fun. And so is the ending.

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) - Rather simplistic and childish EC comics-type stories told in a jokey, insubstantial fashion. The odd LE-centred cast including Roy Castle, Alan Freeman and Kenny Lynch help with this. A tone more suited to It's Trad, Dad than flesh-creeping terror. Includes a poster for itself. The voodoo subplot with Roy Castle is nonsense, just a few musical numbers held together by a vague revenge subplot.  The whole chimp artist in dungarees joke is a bit ridiculous, too. Amicus have not quite gotten into the horror groove yet. Torture Garden (1967) is more successful.

The Fan (-1981) - Sub-De Palma larks. Michael Biehn is obsessed with Lauren Bacall, and tries to kill her. James Garner is trying to get back with her. Score by Pino Donaggio, but the in-film musical is written by Marvin Hamlisch and Sir Tim Rice. Dick Bush is the DOP. It feels lusher than other horrors of the period. Soundtrack also weirdly features the Specials and the Selecter. Yes, Biehn is a Two Tone fan. Features a Strawbs album in a shop. Biehn does very good "shocked face", as Pauline Black sings. It does capture the upper-crust New York, and such sights as casual-fonted shopfronts. Kt then gets increasingly sleazy, and unlikeably De Palma-ish. Features Biehn cruising in a gay bar. Basically, this is the dark side of stanning.  Then, other sides, it is very classy and romantic. It's a mess. And a not very good one. The musical looks terrible. It's all disco catsuits and rhinestones, and backdrops that belong in a made for TV variety special and not actual sets. It doesn't seem to have anything resembling a plot. The influence of producer Robert Stigwood is abundant.

Eyewitness (1981) - Bland neo-noir thriller with William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver. Not even Christopher Plummer and young Morgan Freeman, when he was still America's Derek Griffiths lighten this up. The only weird thing about is its obsession with horse stunts.

Madigan (1968)- Despite Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda, this New York-set thriller feels like a TV movie. It did spawn a series with Widmark, even though he dies at the end. But hey, it didn't stop George Dixon, did it?  Maybe, Madigan, like Dixon went to the police-heaven of Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes. After all, in the TV series, he is partnered with George Cole. Michael Dunn pops up. It's offputtingly cheap.  The locations don't feel authentic. Dozens of similar films of this era, mostly with George Peppard, i.e. 1969's Pendulum.

Eye Of The Cat (1968) - Bland, stretched Universal backlot horror. Again televisual. Clemensesque nonsense involving Eleanor Parker's lungs and Laurence Naismith as her doctor. Sitar-plucking hippies thrown in to keep it fresh. The cat hardly appears.

Doppio Delitto (1977) - Never realised that Italian comedy vet Steno (who might be their Gerald Thomas) directed a giallo starring Marcello Mastroianni, Ursula Andress and Peter Ustinov. Indeed, the funky Riz Ortolani soundtrack and upbeat opening feel more suited to a comedy. It feels rather too light and breezy and inconsequential. No wonder it's forgotten.

American Dreamer (1984) - Another flop Tom Conti comedy. Maybe, as I watched it on a French VHS, but deathly dull.

Also tried the Getaway, but half an hour in, gave up. Peckinpah is so cold and alienating.

Sacco and Vanzetti (1971) - Italian docudrama set in the US, shot in Ireland, interesting soundtrack, not my kind of film, despite Cyril and Milo turning up. And Edward Jewesbury from Crown Court, in a courtroom.

Roadgames (1981) - I'd probably like this film a lot less if it were American. The Australian setting is that little more relatable and unusual. It's got a great lead in Stacy Keach, a daft sense of humour ("there's a man with balls"), even though it is not a comedy per se. It's a sterling mix of horror and thriller and adventure (the soundtrack by Brian May going towards the latter). The killer's modus operandi is grotesque, in a good way. Incredibly tricksy (the whole cliff-trick), though it does slow a bit once Jamie Lee Curtis appears. But the climax is great (though a little murky at shot, needed more neon in the streets). Even though the resolution is a lot left to be desired. But the first half is great. And the ending...

Comfort and Joy (1984) - It took me a long time to get this Bill Forsyth film. Because it takes a while to get going, but ultimately this tale of DJ Bill Paterson fighting rival ice cream families is worth it. Especially once you've been to Glasgow.

Hit List (1989) - Bill Lustig-directed  Mafia boredom with Lance Henriksen, a Blessed-esque Rip Torn and a drunk Jan Michael Vincent. Realised I'm not quite the right man for 80s/90s action films.

City of Blood (1987) - South African murder mystery, sixtysomething lead Joe Stewardson has a younger girlfriend. Quite bland, even though the performances are all good. John Carson plays the safari-suited Prime Minister, having recently moved to South Africa at this point. Interesting but rather too arty for its own good.