Tuesday 5 November 2019


Birds of Prey (1930 - b/w) - Quota quickie with C. Aubrey Smith.

Grand Hotel (1932 - b/w) - One of these films that because it started a  raft of cliche, is basically unable to be watched without irony.

Secret of the Loch (1934 - b.w) - Ealing/Basil Dean hokum, a comedy in Loch Ness, with a surprisingly effective blown-up iguana shot underwater,

The Loves of Joanna Godden (1948 - b/w) -Another identikit period vehicle for Googie Withers.

Ghost Ship (1952 - b/w) - Dermot Walsh and Hazel Court in another mundane maritime thriller. Lots of waiting around train stations.

Quatermass Xperiment (1955)/Quatermass 2 (1957) - Kill me. I prefer Pit and Conclusion.

Search for Bridey Murphy (1956) - Godawful Oirish reincarnation schlock.

Davy (1958) - MGM Ealing flop set in a Victorian music hall in the modern day. Harry Secombe. Introduces a young child actor named Peter Frampton, who is not the singer, but instead became like his father, Harry, an award-winning makeup artist. The last Ealing comedy. Blackface follies. Ron Randell has a lot of dye in his hair.

The Man who Wouldn't Talk (1958) - Anna Neagle, a non-American-accented yet supposedly American Anthony Quayle and Zsa Zsa Gabor star in an intriguing though average courtroom drama. Judge is John LeMesurier. Also features an American-accented Patrick Allen, which is weird, because with an American accent, he doesn't sound like Patrick Allen.

The Penthouse (1967) - Another grim psychodrama from Peter Collinson.

Smashing Time (1967) - Lurid, astonishing yet also hatefully vulgar, but definitely a record of London at the time. Lynn Redgrave's turn is almost too good. She is too much the grating Northern gal she is playing.

Las luchadoras vs el robot asesino (1969) - Rene Cardona directs this dire wrestling film only notable because it unofficially uses as its main baddies, the Cybernauts from the Avengers (Steed and Mrs. Peel Avengers, obviously, not the Marvel lot).

Tropic of Cancer (1969) - Forgettable Henry Miller adap with Rip Torn on a Parisian sex holiday. Sheila Steafel pops up somewhere.

Girl on a Motorcycle (1969) - psychedelic bollocks.

Slecna Golem (1972) - A Barrandov romcom about a robot lady.

Dragon Story (1974) - Bruce Li plays Lee in a tawdry biopic that shows Betty Ting Pei as a promiscuous bitch.
Bruce Lee's Deadly Kung Fu (1976) - Bruce Lee (Bruce Li) works in a Chinese restaurant and kicks arse with very terrible production values.
Bruce Lee: The Man, The Myth (1976) is another biopic starring Li, shot all over the world. It's shabby but ambitious.

Hot Potato (1975) - Jim Kelly is Black Belt Jones in the official Black Belt Jones II.

Won Ton Ton - the Dog that Saved Hollywood (1976) - It says Michael Winner directed this, but judging by the cast, style, even some of the crew (John "Bud" Cardos" on 2nd unit), I wouldn't be surprised if Al Adamson was involved.

Ebony, Ivory and Jade (-1976) - Colleen Camp, Sylvia Anderson (not THAT Sylvia Anderson) and Rosanne Katon in Filipino women-in-prison escapee Olympics schlock. Has a vaguely Scottish American/Britoid-accented Hong Kong News TV newsreader. Rewatched.

Stay Hungry (1976) - Typical New Hollywood dreary-whimsy from Bob Rafelson. Introducing Ahnult.

The Billion Dollar Fire (1976) - Terrible Romanian-Italian disaster movie starring Stuart Whitman, Woody Strode and Ray Milland.

American Tickler (1977) -Godawful Chuck Vincent anthology comedy.

Nurse Sherri (1978) - Carrie-like nurse movie with a demonic cartoon blob monster that looks like it's animated by Bob Godfrey. Yes, it's Al Adamson.

Straight Time (1978) - Dustin Hoffman does his schtick. New Hollywood boredom.

Sweater Girls (1978) - Terrible, horribly cheap, very 70s-looking sexploitation with an oddly catchy faux-doo wop song that sounds extremely 70s despite its 50s pretensions. The poisoned dwarf herself, Charlene Tilton pops up in a pre-Dallas bit at the end, that seems to be  a sequel hook.  And she literally looks like she's playing Lucy Ewing, shorts, hairstyle, everything. She's about as 50s as a Betamax.

Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) - It's the film I imagined age 10, but it's quite obnoxiously in your face bar the music.  Plus every Ramones song has the same tune.

Home Movies (1979) - Self-indulgent student film education project staged by Brian De Palma about Keith Gordon fawning over Nancy Allen, while Kirk Douglas plays God.

Night Games (1980) - Here's an oddity. Roger Vadim directs an erotic thriller where his latest discovery, future Ferris Bueller's mom Cindy Pickett hallucinates a lesbian flapper nightmare in a Los Angeles that is clearly the Philippines, because Golden Harvest coproduced so they had to shoot in Asia. It feels extremely cheap and it looks ugly, but there's a John Barry soundtrack, which sounds like various other John Barry soundtracks, e.g. Frances or The Betsy, or Moonraker.

Serial (1980) - They tried to make Martin Mull a movie star, in this strange, not very funny satire. I watched it, because it has Christopher Lee when he was living in California, doing a rubbish American accent as a gay biker. It's weird hearing his voice trying to sound swishy, and say "ass". It's like seeing Prince Philip in a leather bar in Texas. It also feels like a riposte to TV's Soap.

Sahara (1983) - Some Arabs have Jewfros, because this is a Cannon film made in Israel. Others are just John Rhys-Davies. John Mills enlivens the proceedings as a Cambridge don named Cambridge, but another erotic film for the under-twelves with Brooke Shields.

Fantasy Mission Force (1983) - A cameo from Jackie Chan is only part of this strange, confused anachronistic WW2-ish mess.

Surf II (1984) - Some neat touches i.e. the fake-split-screen kitchen-set don't help me. This is another teen sex comedy that I find baffling and annoying.

The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985) - Will Vinton stop-motion animation known for its creepy transvestite devil. There is something uncanny valley about his bulbous-nosed, realistic-eyed animation. His style is undoubtedly unique and beautiful in its way, but there is something eerie about his style. As someone who was raised from birth on Aardman (during the period when they seemingly did every ad campaign), I find his wrinkly clay-people slightly creepy.

Maxie (1985) - very TV-ish romcom with Mandy Patinkin and a reincarnated Glenn Close.

Crawlspace (1986) - Tight, claustrophobic, tacky Klaus Kinski thriller.

House (1986) - bland, tv-esque, unfunny horror-fantasy.

Tough Guys (1986) - Despite Douglas and Lancaster's natural charm, this feels very blandly mid-80s. It even has a Kenny Rogers theme.

Stranded (1987) - Albinos with bad haircuts and spotty skin conditions kidnap Ione Skye and Mad Maureen O'Sullivan. Actually, a family drama staged like a horror.

Lady Beware (1987) - TV-movie like thriller with Diane Lane in Pittsburgh. Dreary.

Hollywood Shuffle (1987) - Helen Martin is fun, but it feels kind of bland, though it still looks several dozen times more expensive than it allegedly cost. There are a few good jokes, though. But it's very 1987.

Da (1988) - A nostalgic but stagey thing that is archetypal of every Irish film made between 1987 and 2004, i.e. non-stop tourist board-infused nostalgia for a time that never quite existed, despite Dalkey looking nice and being based on Hugh Leonard's life. Barnard Hughes is a bit stage-Oirish, but he looks like Dublin street poet/kids TV host Pat Ingoldsby. Martin Sheen's accent comes and goes. Very episodic, just a series of anecdotes.

Judgment in Berlin (1988) - Only Sean Penn's presence (because his da directed) would hint that it wasn't a TV movie.

Bad Dreams (1988) - Bland, unoriginal Elm Street-ish cult killer movie, despite Richard Lynch.

Les Patterson Saves the World (1987) - Tasteless, ugly (Hugh Keays-Byrne in nipple tassels), but being Barry Humphries, there is an odd vulgar charm. Joan Rivers is the US president. Abu Nivea is clearly some stock footage and some roughly assembled facades. The stuff with Dame Edna works far better. It's in the same cinematic universe as Howling III and Return of Captain Invincible, but it does too much to shock. It has a talking, trouser-suited, red-haired Madge Allsop. A rewatch.

Matewan (1987) - The kind of US indie filmmaking I find uninvolving. I prefer this kind of thing as documentary.

Deep Space (1988) - Terrible Fred Olen Ray schlock with an alien fighting Scottish-American kilt-cop Charles Napier.

I Hired A Contract Killer (1990)-  Jean Pierre Leaud, Margi Clarke and Ken Colley appear in a Scouse Aki Kaurismaki film. Also featuring Walter "yes, he was in Only Fools and Horses" Sparrow, Nicky Tesco of the punk grup the Members,  Tony Rohr, Miss Marple showrunner T.R. Bowen, Joe Strummer, It passes, doesn't do much.

Cheeky (2000) - Faux-British Tinto Brass porno-vid. It looks nice, but there's nothing of interest on screen beyond muff.

Hey Arnold! The Movie (2001)/The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002)  - Both relatively cheery, fun adaptations of Nicktoons, though both stifled by trying to get a plot of ninety minutes.

US (2019) - I found the opening fun, and Lupita N'yongo is great, but I found the monsters a bit silly, though the twist is a killer, why "Red" speaks like Bane.
Also saw N'yongo in Little Monsters (2019) - a daft, amiable but useless and predictable zombie-comedy from Australia

In Fabric (2019) - A confused, arty mess, Are You Being Served as Euro-smut-art.

Watched after initial updating.

The Great Gabbo (1928 - b/w) - A musical interrupted by creepy interactions between Erich Von Stroheim and a young wooden Gay Byrne.

Becky Sharp (1935) - Notable only for being in early color, gets across the grating nature of the lead of Vanity Fair, but quite a stagey production.

The Man with the Golden Arm (1955 - b/w) - Sinatra having problems like he did off-screen.

Sapphire (1959) - A fine piece of work. A difficult story of a mixed-race girl who is murdered when her race is discovered captured well. An excellent depiction of the British-Caribbean community at the time. Great performance by Earl Cameron as her brother. Paul "Jekyll" Massie's angrily stiff.

Blind Corner (1963 - b/w) - Edgar Wallace-ish quickie thriller, highlight being an appearance from Eurovision vet Ronnie Carroll.

The Sadist (1963 - b/w) - Cruel and memorable despite being a slapdash Arch Hall Jr. vehicle.

Tomorrow at Ten (1963) - There's a bomb disguised as a golly. - which is a good excuse as any. William Hartnell is a guest star. Robert Shaw waits until Hollywood sees him.

The Violent Enemy (1967) - Dreary Oirish terrorism paddywhackery shot in Enniscorthy with Tom Bell, Susan Hampshire, Ed Begley Senior and the inevitable Noel Purcell.

Man of Violence (1969) - Typically grotty British crime-exploiter, directed by Pete Walker, notable for a bizarre plot turn which brings the action to an Arab state.
See also Walker's The Big Switch (1968).

The Only Way (1970) -Tepid Scandinavian wartime resistance drama with Martin Potter and Jane Seymour.

A Day at the Beach (1970) - Grotty experiment with Mark Burns and Beatie Edney as an uncle and niece who find a souvenir shop run by gays Peter Sellers and Graham Stark, camping it up. An ugly, obnoxious, strange failure.

Sweet Saviour (1971) - Troy Donahue in Manson schlokc, the highlight is a bunch of middle-aged hippies talking openly about cock.

Night of the Strangler (1972) - Nasty, bleak, badly-shot racially-charged exploitation with no strangling, starring Micky Dolenz.

The Man Called Noon (1973) - Undistinguished British western with Stephen Boyd, Richard Crenna and a nice faux-Morricone Bacalov soundtrack.
See also Hannie Caulder (1971) and David Frost's Richard Roundtree/faux-Indian mute Roy Thinnes vehicle Charley One Eye (1972).

The Blockhouse (1973) - Peter Sellers does serious, but he still does a Clouseau voice. Depressing, slightly too-well done story of a bunch of men (Sellers, Charles Aznavour, Peter Vaughan, Per Oscarsson, Jeremy Kemp) trapped in a bombed and collapsed-in storehouse in WW2.

The Second Coming of Suzanne (1974) - Voxpop-heavy Gene Barry/Sondra Locke/Richard Dreyfuss movie, part of the based-on-a-song boom. It is an impenetrable, dreary, psychedelic vanity project for Gene Barry funded by his fee from ITC's the Adventurer, based on and soundtracked by Leonard Cohen's titular song.

Adventure in Denmark (1973) - Weird attempt to crossbreed a Christina Lindberg Scando sex pic with chop-socky.

Point of Terror (1973) - Rubbishy psychodrama with Dyanne "Ilsa" Thorne and Tom Jones-ish vanity-driven club singer Peter Carpenter.

House of Terror (1973) - Gaudy, incompetent murder mystery that astoundingly got nominated for a Saturn award.

Malatesta's Carnival of Blood (1973) - Insanely shoestring, lacklustre wandering about a carnival with Herve Villechaize and a drag gypsy.

Barn of the Naked Dead/Nightmare Circus (1974) - Professional-looking Alan Rudolph nonsense with Andrew Prine, not much of a circus.

Abby (1974) - The Exorcist as blaxploitation as a William Castle-type film.  William Marshall looks good in a pith helmet, which is incongruous, and his son Terry Carter is about his own age. Marshall gives it gravitas, alongside Juanita Moore, but it feels very shoddy, but that is probably because the only available prints are fifth-generation bootlegs as Warner IIRC technically own this, even though it was AIP, because of the similarities with the Exorcist. Which is bull. Because here it is a twentysomething black woman.

Seizure (1974) - Early Oliver Stone exploitation weirdness with Jonathan Frid haunted by psychedelic imagery of Martine Beswicke and Herve Villechaize. Even Stone rightly thinks it's bobbins.

Mandingo (1975)/Drum (1976) - Apparently, my uncle Tommy was a big fan of these books. James Mason's funny Australian-Cajun-Yorkshire accent is the highlight of Mandingo, a sexploitation film on the scale of Gone with the Wind. That's the idea. It's American history with tits.  But in a way, that makes it more true. It depicts the full horror of slavery. Drum despite having the black cast returning feels like a cheaper movie. It feels like a Corman knockoff, but then again, New World vet Steve Carver was behind it. Instead of Susan George doing a Carry On-level accent, we have Rainbeaux Smith.

Winterhawk (1975) - Ambitious low-budget western, sweeping but kind of preachy. Soldier Blue for the family. With Leif Erickson, Elisha Cook, Woody Strode, Denver Pyle, LQ Jones...
One of Charles Pierce's TG4-friendly westerns. See also Greyeagle (1977). Which like Winterhawk is not the exploitation film you expect it to be. It also has faux-Native American Arthur English lookalike Iron Eyes Cody. It's basically a rehash of the Searchers played for romance, Lana Wood playing a young adult Debbie Edwards-type kidnapped because she's actually a half-breed.

Sasquatch The Legend of Bigfoot (1976) - Fake documentary complete with cast list, padded out by Grizzly Adams-ish western hijinks.

I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now (1976) - Terrible, wannabe-zany comedy terribleness with Bob Dishy, Bill Dana, Joanna Barnes, Severn Darden, Richard Libertini and Pat Morita and some racist caricatures.

Cozzilla (1977) - A psychedelic fan-film reedit of Godzilla recolorised and reedited by Luigi Cozzi.

Blood Brothers (1978) - Very televisual post-Scorsese family drama about New York Italians with Tony Lobianco, Paul Sorvino and Richard Gere.

Pacific Inferno (1978) - Dreary vehicle for Jim Brown in the Philippines.

Savage Weekend (1979) - Dreary, boring, sleazy Cannon upstate slasher.

The Ghost Dance (1980) - Amateurish but ambitious Native American slasher.

Wolf Devil Woman (1982) - Incompetent, bizarre wuxia from Ocean Shores, also known as Wolfen Ninja. Sadly no New York/Manchester hybrid accented supercops flinging throwing stars at she-wolves.

Oxford Blues (1983) - Typically obnoxious US teen sex-com with Rob Lowe that is notable because Michael Gough and Alan Howard get weird billing that pitches them after the various ten stars (and Aubrey Morris) but in massive blue letters together and not with everyone else, to show they are more prestigious. `

The Killing of Satan (1983) - Future Filipino senator Ramon Revilla fights a caped Satan in a quarry.

Bridge to Nowhere (1986) - Tried watching this teen Kiwi Deliverance with Bruno Lawrence as a mad bushman before. It's dull.

Nomads (1986) - Who thought Pierce Brosnan could do a French accent? He can't even do an Irish accent. Typical 80s video market-aimed music video-like dross by John McTiernan.

Jack's Back (1988) - Jack the Ripper copycat killer James Spader is pursued by cop James Spader. Very 80s cable filler. I.e. most of it is there to be fast-forwarded.

Zits (1988) - Plain kidvid about a Goonies-ish band of kids involved in KGB espionage.

I bought A Vampire Motorcycle (1990) - Neil Morrissey plagiarises Brain Damage. If Frank Henenlotter directed an episode of Boon.

Catholics (-1973) - Ultimately unsuccessful Irish HTV religious dystopia.

The Dain Curse (-1978) - Even in three hour cut down form, this Dashiell Hammett miniseries with James Coburn and lots of fake Britoid accents feels overstretched.

Rainy Day Woman (-1984) - Rustic Play for Today that still can't get beyond the rural BBC perimeters despite supernatural ambition.

Westinghouse Studio One - The Rabbit and A Bolt of Lightning, on crappy watermarked Alpha Video prints. Which negates any quality. Everything sounds and looks like dinner theatre witnessed from a distance.

Seen on ok.ru

American Madness (1932 - b/w) - I don't think 30s America appeals to me.

Great Expectations (1934 - b/w) - Tacky, very American, almost Huck Finn-like depiction of Victorian Britain on the Universal lot. Valerie Hobson and Francis L. Sullivan appear in a premonition of Lean.

No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948 - b/w) -A silly faux-American gangster epic with musical sequences.

Svengali (1954) - Oddly Hammeresque, but pre-Hammer. Hildegarde Neff seems too hard-faced, too world-weary for innocent Trilby.

Gorath (1963) - Another Toho rehash of a disaster.

Dr. Crippen (1963 - b/w) - Rather staid perioder, with a cheery period tone against the grim story. Pleasence doesn't sound American.

Father Goose (1964) - Overlong, sub-Disney thing about Cary Grant, Leslie Caron and some posh schoolgirls.

Hotel Paradiso (1966) - Annoying farce with Alec Guinness and a wasted cast wandering around an artificial Paris doing "eccentric" performances.

The Big Silence (1968) - The most pessimistic, nihilistic but rather beautiful western made. Great Morricone soundtrack.

The Cats (1968) - Alias the Bastards. A Giuliano Gemma-Klaus Kinski spaghetti western set in the present.

Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter (1968) - Oh Jesus, Herman's Hermits go around Manchester with a greyhound. Cloying, barking musical that is an ode to swinging Manchester.

Alex in Wonderland (1970) - Self-indulgent, boring art by Paul Mazursky about a brilliant arty filmmaker played by Donald Sutherland. Twaddle.

The Weekend Murders (1970) - Strange faux almost-British Italian comedy whodunnit, not a typical giallo, but something resembling the drama bits from Jon Pertwee's Whodunnit (created by Lance Percival,) or the Richard Madeley Cluedo show, with a few British character faces including Lance Percival and the otherwise dubbed Chris "Eric Pollard from Emmerdale" Chittell, Ballard Berkeley and Richard Caldicot plus various Europeans trying to pass themselves off as English. Gastone Moschin is basically Colin Welland. Like a lot of continental thrillers set in Britain, it actually makes the effort to have a black character in the mix. The old dowager character is very unconvincingly aged. It is a mess, going from silly Italian comedy to gore-strewn, voyeuristic stuff more common in Italian horror. Characters keep pretending to be bloodily eviscerated. The ending plays a potentially bleak, nihilistic conclusion for Abbott and Costello-ish jazzy guitar-soundtracked laughs.

Horror of the Blood Monsters (1970) - A potentially interesting melange of pulp imagery done for nothing with no enthusiasm and lots of stock footage, badly recolored. John Carradine tries, but this is another Al Adamson mass of padding.

The Cat O'Nine Tails (1971) - Early Argento, nice score, but very contrived. Basically a crime film with giallo/krimi overtones. Not quite my thing.

The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971) - It's a load of nonsense, being a giallo. Well-photographed nonsense, but still utterly ridiculous.

Hell's Bloody Devils (1972?) - Typical Al Adamson melting pot of unfinished nonsense.  Spies, bikers and Brod Crawford c.his appearance on the Late Late.

Lepke (1974) - Tony Curtis plays a Jewish gangster in this pre-Cannon Menahem Golan film. Nothing special, feels slightly above Roger Corman's similar gangster schlock. The period settings look comparatively lush. Features former JFK impersonator Vaughn Meader as Walter Winchell, and Britain's finest thesp, Clement von Franckenstein as Bugsy Siegel.

The Human Factor (1975) - A rather uneventful Italian Eurocrime, sponsored by Mattesson's Sausages (I'm not making this up) starring George Kennedy as an early internet pioneer who is targeted and goes Bronson after his family (including Danny Huston) are murdered. With John Mills, Barry Sullivan, Raf Vallone, Rita Tushingham, and Shane Rimmer. A nice Morricone soundtrack.

The Magician of Lublin (1979) - Terrible Golan-Globus Jewish period drama with Alan Arkin, Shelley Winters, Louise Fletcher, Valerie Perrine and Lou Jacobi going oh-vey-the-top as Kate Bush sings. Arkin thinks he can fly.

Five Days One Summer (1982) - Connery does incest in a weirdly sexless film, going more Merchant-Ivory than Just Jaecken. Dreary. Yes, I overuse that term, but this is dreary, because it is about mountaineering.

Rewatched Yves Montand in Le Menace. Great truck-stunt at the end.

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