Monday, 31 October 2016

Marty Feldman

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

The Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin.

Probably the best of the Peanuts TV specials and meanwhile a Halloween season classic; story, plot and animation perfectly handled.

Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987)

(Dutch VHS cover)

Lisa e il diavolo (1973)

A hallucinating woman flees to a mansion full of corpses and sees the devil and other evil beings.

Wildly surreal (and sometimes just odd and confusing) horror movie that does manage to recreate the complex logic and atmosphere of  a nightmare.

Halliwell (no star): "Baroque thriller that constantly teeters on the edge of absurdity before finally falling."

Maltin**1/2: "Truly strange, surreal psychological horror tale filled with hallucinatory imagery."

Michael Weldon/Psychotronic: "A confusing horror movie...It's Savalas' best Italian film."

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Myrna Loy

White Dog (1982)

A trainer attempts to retrain a vicious dog that's been raised to kill Black people.
Unusual drama with a strong but pessimistic anti-racist message; cheaply made, but effectively so.
Halliwell*: "Oddball thriller that attracted unjustified criticism as a racist work, which prevented it from obtaining a proper release."
Maltin**1/2: "Interesting but downbeat drama, undeserving of the controversy and preposterous charges of racism that kept it from being released." 

Michael Weldon/Psychotronic: "After finally finding somebody to direct this controversial project, Paramount chickened out and decided not to release it. White Dog has played to good reviews in Europe..."

Inger Stevens

Paddington (2014)

A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home and finds himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, where he meets a kindly family, who offer him a temporary haven.

Lovable combination of animation and real-life movie is great tasteful entertainmenr for kids and adults alike; nice touch to see Nicole Kidman as the villain.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)

(Designed by Nichola Bruce for the Edinburgh Film Festival)

New acquisition: Watchmen (2009)

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Raid on Rommel (1971)

In 1942 Libya, a German-speaking British Intelligence officer uses former British POWs, some dressed in German uniforms, to fulfill a secret sabotage mission inside German-captured Tobruk.

Mediocre war adventure on a B-movie level - quite a waste of talent.

Halliwell (no star): "Dispirited low-budget actioner apparently first intended for television."

Maltin*1/2: "Poor excuse to utilize old desert footage (mostly from TOBRUK) and new faces in worn-out WW2 actioner."

Blood and Sand (1941)

Schtonk (1992)

An art forger and a journalist desperate for a big story create biggest press scandal in German history: the Hitler Diaries.

Typically unfunny German satire that doesn't realize that the true story it is based on is in itself so unlikely and wildly amusing that it didn't need the exaggerations of a comedy.

Halliwell (no star): "The heavy-handed farcical treatment of an hilarious true story provides little amusement, although it was a great success in its home country."

Tony Curtis

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

A fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case.

Basically a courtroom mystery this movie has more to offer with its beautiful and poetic cinematography and a splendid cast, and Henry Fonda's portayal of Abraham Lincoln is meticulous.

Halliwell***: "Splendid performances and period atmosphere are rather nipped  in the bud by second-feature courtroom twists, but this is a marvellous old-fashioned entertainment with its heart in the right place."

Maltin***1/2: "Not so much a historical document as a slice of Americana, filtered throuth the sensibilities of director Ford and screenwriter Lamar Trotti. The early episodic portion of the film, covering Abe Lincoln's formative years, includes some of Ford's most lyrical moments, luminously photographed by Bert Glennon."

Saturday, 22 October 2016

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Fortress (1992)

A man and his wife are nabbed at a future US emigration point with an illegal baby during population control and sent to a high-tech prison.

Sci-fi actioner is well-made, but mostly on a B-movie level; OK, if taken as mindless entertainment.

Halliwell (no star): "An efficient action film in a science-fiction setting, but one that is unable to escape from its own over-familiar scenario."

Maltin*1/2: "Intriguing premise is sabotaged by weak acting and a weaker script."

Michael Weldon/Psychotronic: "This is one of the best by Gordon..."

Federico Fellini

Borrowed Time (2015)

A weathered Sheriff returns to the remains of an accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget.

Animated Pixar short succeeds in this attempt to make a dark adult cartoon movie; the freak accident itself, however, appears like a comedy gag gone wrong.

Mosura tai Gojira (1964)

The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)

In 17th century England the children of a village slowly convert into a coven of devil worshipers.

Fairly successful period horror with a few interesting scenes, but marred by an overladen and confusing plot.

Halliwell (no star): "Moderately frightening, rather silly but at least original period horror comic."

Maltin**: "Richly atmospheric horror film with erotic undertones, somewhat gruesome at times."

Michael Weldon/Psychotronic: "An effective, serious witchcraft thriller..."

Phyllis Calvert

Wake in Fright (1971)

After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.

Bitter satire of life in Australia's outback is very convincing and realistic, especially considering the 'tragic' ending; well-played and with some good cinematography.

Halliwell*: "A convincingly brutal picture of a community whose interests range from homosexuality to a bloody kangaroo hunt."

Maltin***: "Intriguing film...Unlikely to be endorsed by Australian tourist commission."

Friday, 21 October 2016

Robot Monster (1953)

Good Ol' Freda (2013)

A documentary in which Freda Kelly looks back at her career as lifelong secretary for The Beatles.

Wonderful documentary focused on a lovable person on the hidden side of fame, but still offers little insights into the stars' lives and the music business.