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Arch Stanton (Cornwall, England.)

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Criterion Collection: White Dog [DVD] [1982] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Criterion Collection: White Dog [DVD] [1982] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Burl Ives
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: 14.15

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dogs Dinner, 5 Nov 2013
A Californian actress runs over a big white Alsatian one night and whisks it off to the vets, in order to try and get it patched up. The vet succeeds and she has a new best friend, but that best friend has a real ugly streak, which leads to it viciously attacking people or disappearing, only to come home covered in blood.
With the actress now concerned it may be an attack dog and worried it may have to be exterminated, she takes it to an animal trainer and discovers to her disgust that the dog is in fact a 'White Dog', a dog which has been bred and brainwashed for the sole purpose of attacking and eating black folk... Which leads to her have no option other than to bring in the only dude on the planet that can help ~ a black, exotic animal trainer, who attempts to de~programme the race hate out of Whitey...

Surprisingly good this one and not as exploitative as it could have been. It poses some interesting questions, has some nice attack sequences that don't go over the top and is kept fairly exciting throughout by director Fuller. The cast are generally good, not least of all 'Hans' (and others) playing the white Alsatian, who puts in a really stellar performance. The storyline is obviously quite controversial, with some heavy handling, which leads to a little Sunday morning 'Lassie' style melodrama and plot holes that don't quite sit right with a modern audience, but that kinda comes as expected and I don't care about that anyway. Oh, and it's got a nice twist in the tail (sic) at the end.

My friend Alan is a big fan of this movie, having encountered it on pre~cert VHS back in the day and is convinced the Criterion version is cut, missing several mutilation shots, especially during the relentless and nasty church attack. . . Personally, I think time and memory can play tricks on you and it was never that gory in the first place.?

*****MINI SPOILER*****

This has an awesome scene, in which a sweet old guy and his two adorable young grand daughters call at the actresses home, in answer to the advert she's placed in the paper. Complete with cute smiles and a box of chocolates, as a thank~you, for taking care of their runaway pet dog! Needless to say the actress isn't very impressed with them, for what they've done!!

*****OVER*****

A solid horror thriller that deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

4.5/5


The Mindscape Of Alan Moore [DVD] [2003]
The Mindscape Of Alan Moore [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ DeZ Vylenz
Price: 14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panel Beater., 3 Nov 2013
Documentary in which co(s)mic writer and social commentator Alan Moore allows the viewers into his thoughts and processes behind the ideas that give way to his output..

As viewers we get bombarded by occult imagery and psychedelia as Moore discusses life, the universe and everything. His style both whimsical and yet profound.
Some casual viewers may find his ideas a little fringe but they'll be few and far between, given the somewhat esoteric nature of the dvd release anyway. I have to say I personally don't find Moore particularly 'out there' and generally think he talks a lot of sense, having come to many similar conclusions over the years myself, which is probably on account of our use of the same 'idea~space', eh Alan...
Of course if you somehow did stumble across this by accident and it wasn't up your street, you could quite conceivably jump to the conclusion that Alan is a rambling, over opinionated, weirdy beardy who has nothing concrete to back up his dronings, is clearly away with the fairies most of the time and has an ego a mile wide!
Regardless of what your opinion is on the fellow (like I said I'm a fan!), I think the dvd should be more widely seen, if for no other reason than the fact it is highly entertaining. This being the third time I've seen it since it was first released.
The dvd is a double disc with plenty of extras including tons of interviews, a making of, a commentary and trailers.
5/5.


Kill The Irishman [DVD]
Kill The Irishman [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ray Stevenson
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: 2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Luck of the Irish., 20 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kill The Irishman [DVD] (DVD)
An Irish orphan grows up on the mean streets of Cleveland, inevitably with few prospects he ends up working as an unskilled labourer, but with a keen mind and violent temperament it's not long before he gets machinations of grandeur. He soon begins to run the local union but his next step, in cracking the Mafia is unlikely to be as simple...

It surprised me this one, it's based on the true exploits of Daniel Greene (who I'd never heard of!), an American~Irish villain and FBI informant, who it seems, was operating throughout the 60s and 70s in Ohio. Who along with his gang had a complete disregard and dislike of The Mafia, which lead to an ongoing blood feud and several contract killings over the years.

The cast I really enjoyed, with a number of usual suspects, like Sorvino, Lo Bianco, Gunton, Davi and Walken etc etc delivering the high standards (albeit in often typecast roles) we've come to expect from them over the years. Sure Stevenson as the lead didn't play his role with as much charisma as you'd of liked, but he was after all playing a criminal, and on the whole, these parts are far too regularly glamourised anyway. D'onofrio was really good, with Vinnie Jones' oirish accent sounding a bit dodgy, but as always he looked the part, so I'll let him alone. Leaving us with Val Kilmer, who although didn't do a bad job, was most at home in the bar scene, and I just wish he would be given the role of a dying Elvis soon, so that he might finally lose some weight!
Anyhoo, there's plenty of action, mostly in the form of car bombs shredding people or guns going off, and the violent story kept me interested throughout, meaning that if you like 70s period gangster films, true stories about underworld renegades, or for that matter, productions of Celtic interest, you will no doubt like this, a lot...

The bog standard dvd contains a very interesting documentary on the real Daniel Greene, with lots of talking heads who were involved in the events at the time. Recommended
4.25/5.


Gladiator [DVD]
Gladiator [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cuba Gooding Jr.
Price: 5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Ropey dopes., 19 Oct 2013
This review is from: Gladiator [DVD] (DVD)
When Vanilla Ice's little brother is forced to move to a ghetto, due to an unfortunate series of cliches, it's not long before further cliches ensue, forcing him back into the boxing ring. However due to his natural abilities at handling cliched situations, he soon begins to fight his way to the top and live the rags to riches dream cliche, until a big fat cliche, in the form of Brian Dennehy, as a vicious boxing promoter, tries to force him into a whole world of cliches that he doesn't want to be in...

Actually I'm being a tad mean here with the synopsis, because in spite of it's well worn characters, situations and storyline, Gladiator is still quite a lot of fun, benefiting from having a number of very likeable performers, a great little soundtrack and plenty of boxing action. Which although hardly realistic, is nontheless moderately bone crunching. Like I've said, the story is nothing new and it's unlikely to tax anyone but I hadn't seen this since it's original release on VHS and enjoyed every minute of this rewatch (rematch?). The locations and presumably wintery filming dates were well chosen, giving the ghetto a suitably bleak feel and look, which adds to it's charm.
For some reason I have a strange desire to see this film semi remade by an eastern European country. Just to see how they would handle the story.
Those of you who enjoyed this, would possibly also like Midnight Sting ('92).

The extras were non existent but the picture quality was nice enough.
3.5/5


Master of Flying Guillotine [DVD] [2002] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Master of Flying Guillotine [DVD] [2002] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Yu Wang
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Blind Panic, 16 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After one armed boxer Jimmy Wang Yu kills a couple of bad guys (see The One Armed Boxer), their psychopathic kung fu master gets wind of this and vows to destroy the one armed man that beat them. So the blind, evil, kung fu master disguises himself in shaolin robes and takes with him his hellish weapon of choice. . . The deadly flying guillotine, setting off on his trail of vengeance, murdering anyone he hears with only one arm..
In the meantime the heroic one armed boxer has set up a kung fu school and is teaching his students all manner of nifty tricks, until he gets a message, inviting him to fight in a tournament organized by the rival but honourable, Eagle Claw school, and after much excited persuasion from his pupils, Jimmy agrees to take them, in order that they might watch and learn of the different techniques on display.
The day of the tournament begins and many fighters attend, with many different styles facing off, often resulting in brutal outcomes, but as the first day is coming to a close, one man with a heart full of hatred and a fist full of flying guillotine crashes the party and smashes the place up looking for his one armed victim!!....

This film is absolutely awesome and without question (well, according to me anyway), one of the greatest tournament flicks ever made!! Wang Yu writes, directs and stars in this superb kung fu spectacle. The action choreography is by brothers Lau Kar Leung and Lau Kar Wing and they pull out quite a few stops in order to give us some truly surreal and memorable moments of Hong Kong cinema. There's a ton of crazed violence and action, as Wang Yu tries to save his students, a kung fu chick and his own neck, from a few bad guys, who've now sided with team Psycho Monk and his flying guillotine. At times, Wang Yu having to prove that even heroes must cheat and be totally ruthless when necessary, in order to beat a potentially superior opponent.
The action is totally out there, the opening score/scene rocks, and the bad guys come straight out of your worst kung fu nightmare!
Yes it's silly, and disbelief must be suspended at all times, but boy is this some outrageous nonsense, and over the years, I'd forgotten just how much fun this is..!

Master Wu Chang Sang: "You are a vicious bastard! You've killed innocent people in this tournament for no reason. I intend to make sure you won't do it again."

Master of the flying guillotine: "You get out of my way! You old has~been! I want that One Armed Boxer and nobody is gonna stop me!"

The dvd (Region 1 Ultimate Ed.) is a pretty good print. Both dubbed and subbed, with trailers and a fairly insightful commentary.
5/5


The Rat on Fire
The Rat on Fire
by George V. Higgins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.83

4.0 out of 5 stars You dirty rat.., 12 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Rat on Fire (Paperback)
An unscrupulous Jewish landlord is forced to go to extreme measures when his tenants continually refuse to pay rent due to the squalid conditions of his properties. So along with some fairly unsavoury 'associates', he formulates a plan to torch the building and claim on the insurance, all with the help of a corrupt fire marshal.
The cops however are for once one step ahead, sort of, and are formulating their own plans to bring them to justice..

Really solid, Boston set, character crime novel. The story is almost exclusively dialogue driven (so stick with it while it establishes the characters by introducing them back and forth), and chock full of Higgins's usually colourful lowlifes. Although the story mostly centres around a police sting, you would hardly say that this is a tale of cops chasing robbers, as the lines soon get blurred. With plenty of bad language, grotty black humour and very few 'likeable' characters, which are all well painted by Higgins.

If you like hard boiled crime then this is highly recommended.
4.25/5


Passage [DVD] [1979] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Passage [DVD] [1979] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ James Mason
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: 11.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swastika Jockstraps!, 6 Oct 2013
A scientist and his family are unhappily marched across The Pyrenees by a grouchy Basque shepherd, who has been reluctantly hired to help guide them to safety, free from the evil clutches of the rascally Nazis. Unfortunately though, they are pursued by the psychopathic Capt. Von Berkow of the SS...

Directed by Thompson, this WWII action/adventure seems to get unfairly panned in my opinion.
Christ, it's worth watching just for McDowell's antics as the SS Captain alone! Which are absolutely brilliant. Really entertaining... He doesn't half get to doss about. Delivering some priceless dialogue ~ as he tortures, kills, burns and sodomizes his way through the support cast!! He wears a jock strap with a swastika on it and does Hitler impressions with a comb moustache! Whilst James Mason, Anthony Quinn and everybody else make some sort of futile attempt to keep the film PG rated!
I'm not surprised this has quite a few detractors given it's content.
I don't care if it's not popular to like this film, I really enjoy it.

So, if you fancy watching a violent action adventure film and don't mind a spot of overacting and bonkers characters, then this is a great piece of entertainment.

Certain aspects of the Col. Hans Landa character (the best thing about Inglourious Basterds) are blatantly ripped off McDowell here.

This print looks like a bootleg to me, however it is widescreen and very clear.
4.5/5.


Blow Out [Blu-ray]
Blow Out [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ John Travolta
Price: 12.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sound as a pound., 6 Oct 2013
This review is from: Blow Out [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Horror film sound recordist Jack Terry is forced to get some new stock library sounds when he decides his are old hat. So he heads out one night and whilst recording some wind, he sees a terrible accident take place. A car careers off a bridge, but Terry just manages to jump in and save one of the occupants, a young lady. But by the time they get to the hospital, evidence is already beginning to be covered up and in Jack's mind the accident is starting to look less accidental by the minute...

Really solid, early 80s, paranoia thriller this from De Palma. Travolta (who I don't normally care for) does a great job and nails his part, and it's always good to see both Lithgow and Franz in anything. Nancy Allen's 'Sally' character didn't quite work right for me, but I suspect that was De Palma's fault for not reigning Allen in and directing her properly, not that she ruins any of the proceedings by any means. Some of the set pieces are a joy and are cleverly woven with a fine eye to detail. The ending is really good, although it may not suit all viewers.
The Arrow Blu Ray looks great with the fireworks at the end looking fantastic. I hadn't seen this since the early~mid 90s and was surprised at just how much better it was than I remembered. Most certainly worth another viewing and a high point in De Palma's career.
4.25/5


Ninja Terminator [DVD]
Ninja Terminator [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Harrison
Offered by FUNTIME MEDIA
Price: 2.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Lady Penelope's wig!, 6 Oct 2013
This review is from: Ninja Terminator [DVD] (DVD)
A golden ninja statue is stolen from the last secret ninja clan, by some other ninjas!?! Apparently this ugly, cheap looking statue is magic and has the ability to turn its ninja owner into an invincible fighting machine. The statue is split up into three parts with Ninja Master Gordon...err Harry, (Richard Harrison) getting one part, and the others going to his ninja acquaintances.
But when the baddies kill one of his friends and steal back part of the magic statue, Ninja Master Gordon is left with no alternative other than to send in his best man Jaguar, to get it back. Especially as the baddies are now closing in on Ninja Master Gordon...

Another Godfrey Ho 'ninja' opus hits our screens, with all the usual madness we have come to expect. The story is total lunacy, the effects are poor, I mean really poor, and the dialogue is unforgivable...........But wait..........., because at least this has action footage stolen from a proper Korean kung fu film!! ('Stafferyui bulcheonggaek' AKA: Uninvited Guest) In which we actually see the likes of Hwang Jang Lee (albeit he seems to have stolen Lady Penelope's wig!!!!!) and Lam Chi Foo face off in some okay chop socky punch ups.
And in spite of it's shortcomings this is actually a hell of a lot of fun, and given the right level of medication, there is a lot of hilarity too be had with its sensational displays of:-
Shurikens being thrown into live crabs; teleporting ninjas wearing black eyeliner, battling to the death in super speeded up fight sequences; slimy, unerotic sex scenes; state~of~the~art, talking, robot ninja death messengers ~ which are in reality, cheap pound shop toy robots, and finally, jaw dropping dialogue which includes lines like "A last cigarette? Mwahahaha, well I guess so, as it's unlikely you'll catch lung cancer, before I kill you!"

If you like films that are SO BAD they're unintentionally funny, then be my guest, as these are absolutely chock full of crazy delights.
And a great deal of fun can be had from trying to guess what sound bites/riff/piece of music, has been robbed (often unashamedly, from big Hollywood blockbusters) from where.
Needless to say I will be reviewing more of these in time, in the hope that my sacrifice will be enough to warn you of their mind bending dangers. A thankless task, I am sure. The cheapo Brit 'Hollywood' release dvds seem to be uncut these days, with the missing footage restored.

3.5/5 This is one of the better ones.


The Ninja Squad [1986] [DVD]
The Ninja Squad [1986] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Harrison
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty in pink!, 6 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Ninja Squad [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
Ivan the Red Ninja gets a monk on when 'Supreme Ninja Master Gordon' refuses to face him in a battle to find out who is the most double~hard ninja master ever.
So in retaliation, Ivan goes hunting down all the remaining ninjas, stealing their ninja super powers, by defeating them and taking their sacred ninja powered headbands. While 'Supreme Ninja Master Gordon' sits down a lot and reflects on this..
In the meantime, his best student Billy has returned home (to the Philippines!?!) and finds his neighbourhood has been twinned with down~town Damascus, during his absence whilst off ninja training, and his trailer park has become over run by baddies who kidnap his little sister...

He's got a bloody brass neck on him has Godfrey Ho for making these cheap assed 'ninja' films in the mid eighties! They're almost always absolutely terrible.. and this one's no different!
They often star Richard Harrison as Ninja Master Gordon and are some inept hybrid of crap foreign action movies, made on a budget of twelve pence, nicked from wherever, then spliced together (this one being the philippino actioner 'Hatulan si baby angustia'), complete with all new 'mystical ninja babble' footage.
The action in this one is A~Team standard at best, spiced up with Harrison posing in a fluorescent pink and silver ninja onesie. The acting and (more so) dubbing is atrocious, the effects are laughable and the story, some sort of mental Highlander rip off, for ultra camp Power Ranger enthusiasts, makes no sense whatsoever. . .

2.75/5 Feel free to liberally add or take away stars willy nilly, dependent on your tolerance of this films ridiculousness!


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