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Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.)
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Sea Wolves [DVD] [1980] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Sea Wolves [DVD] [1980] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Gregory Peck
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: 2.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Them good old boys were "wearing" whiskey and rye., 31 Mar 2014
Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and adapted from James Lensor's book, Boarding Party, The Sea Wolves gathers up a gang of stalwart actors and pitches them into a war time drama.

Clearly taking its lead from The Wild Geese, pic itself is based on the exploits of the "Calcutta Light Horse" band of men who enacted "Operation Boarding Party" during World War II 1943. Their mission was to scupper German ships that were sending communications to Nazi U-Boats that were sinking British merchant ships. It was a group made up of old volunteers who had the extensive army knowledge needed to make the mission a success. So who to play these wily old soldiers? Enter Messrs Niven, Moore, Howard, Macnee and, erm, Peck, who sneaks in as an honorary Brit.

It's all very grand in a robust flag waving way, making the Sanatogen taking men look as heroes being an honourable thing. The formula is adhered to as the men are put through a number of familiar training scenarios whilst showing stiff upper lippery in the process. Roger Moore gets to play James Bond in a war film, in a not wholly convincing romantic sub-plot, and once the mission finally arrives, as the men storm the enemy ships, it's exciting and suspenseful. If only half an hour had been cut out of the run time! For sadly there is not enough material here to sustain a two hour movie, director McLaglen labouring to hold our attention in readiness for that finale. 6/10


Tarzan Collection (Tarzan and the Mermaids,etc.) [DVD]
Tarzan Collection (Tarzan and the Mermaids,etc.) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Johnny Weissmuller

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Tarzan up to one of his tricks., 31 Mar 2014
OK! The mermaids of the title here are actually pearl divers who require Tarzan's help to topple their evil leader. Oh and said evil leader has set himself up as a false God, thus enslaving the islanders with religious fervour.

Filmed at Churubusco Studios in Mexico, Mermaids is the final appearance of Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan. It's no great send off for the man who had worn the loin cloth with distinction. It's standard fare, with the franchise looking as tired as its iconic lead actor. However, it moves along at a good clip, introduces us to the lovely Linda Christian and director Robert Florey inserts enough under water battles (with men and creature) and cliff diving escapades to keep the pic zippy. Boy is away in England studying, but Jane (Brenda Joyce) is around looking delicious and not at all jealous of Tarzan bringing home Mara (Christian) after she escapes a planned marriage to evil false deity guy. While Cheeta, bless her, auditions for the role of Duane Eddy.

Harmless lord of the apes fluff all told, but instantly forgettable into the bargain. 6/10


Johnny Handsome [DVD]
Johnny Handsome [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mickey Rourke
Price: 11.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Walter Hill's undervalued neo-noir., 31 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Johnny Handsome [DVD] (DVD)
Johnny Handsome is directed by Walter Hill and adapted to screenplay by Ken Friedman from the novel "The Three Worlds of Johnny Handsome" written by John Godey. It stars Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Elizabeth McGovern, Lance Henriksen, Forest Whitaker, Morgan Freeman and Scott Wilson. Music is by Ry Cooder and cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti.

John Sedley (Rourke), AKA: Johnny Handsome, has a severely disfigured face, when he and his only real friend are double-crossed by two accomplices during a robbery, Johnny is sent to prison and his life reaches a new low. However, hope springs in the form of Dr. Steven Fisher (Whitaker), a pioneering plastic surgeon who offers to give Johnny surgery that would give him a normal face as he attempts to integrate back into society. With a new face making him unrecognisable, there is scope to enact revenge on the two people who killed his best friend and had him put in prison...

Walter Hill knows his film noir, anyone who has seen The Driver knows this. Here for Johnny Handsome, Hill takes a lot of the fantastical elements of noir and dresses it up admirably as a violent revenge thriller. A box office flop and something of a kicking post for big hitting critics of the late 1980s, it's a film that now can be seen as being very much in tune with its influences.

The charges of it being too bonkers, too violent and too much of a "B" movie homage just don't add up, because what is on offer is good solid meaty neo-noir cinema. A protagonist with an affliction, medical shenanigans, hyper femme fatale, over the top villain and a stoic and sarcastic gumshoe type copper. All of which operate in a sweaty and luridly coloured New Orleans. Add in Hill's eye for aggressive action sequences and it's neo a go-go.

Hill gets strong performances from his cast, ensuring emotional bonds are not over egged and a clamour for sympathy and understanding kept to a bearable level by the actors playing the "good" guys "n" dolls. While giving Henriksen and Barkin licence to sizzle with sinister glee is astute and perfectly in tune with the material on the page. Leonetti's photography has the requisite pulpy noirishness to it, and the familiar twangs of Ry Cooder are never a bad thing in a Walter Hill movie.

It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but those complaining about missed opportunities regarding rehabilitation - or that the liberal doctor turns out to be clinically wrong in his reform beliefs - really are missing the point or unaware of the world where something like Johnny Handsome lives. From the kinetic misery at film's start, to the "ever so in tune with film noir" finale, Johnny Handsome is well worth a look by anyone interested in noir's updated version. 7/10


The Purge [DVD] [2013]
The Purge [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Lena Headey
Price: 5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Purge is in Purgatory., 30 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Purge [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
You know, I can't bring myself to write a full and expansive review for this film. With mainstream horror it actually doesn't matter what you put down in type on internet forums, your rating is all that matters and will be equally reviled or lauded as being right or wrong!

Of course there's a hint of sarcasm in what I write, not that I'm trying to provoke a response either way, it's just that with something like The Purge, it's guaranteed to be divisive.

As it happens I enjoyed the film but found it utterly frustrating, a waste of a smoking hot premise that resorts to home invasion clichés as dumb characters do dumb things.

The lead villain shows great promise but is sadly under used, and the snarky asides at work in the narrative (you know, preoccupation with violence, America is a bad gun loving place etc) get lost in the formulaic broth.

Still, action is fun, the violence imposing, and cast perform adequately in lieu of the material. But horror lovers should approach with caution... 6/10
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2014 5:21 AM BST


Die Die My Darling [DVD] [2006]
Die Die My Darling [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Tallulah Bankhead

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Religio Guignol., 30 Mar 2014
Fanatic (AKA: Die! Die! My Darling! is directed by Silvio Narizzano and adapted to screenplay by Richard Matheson from the novel "Nightmare" written by Anne Blaisdell. It stars Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughan, Yootha Joyce, Donald Sutherland and Maurice Kaufmann. Music is by Wilfred Josephs and cinematography by Arthur Ibbetson.

Pat Carroll (Powers) decides to make a courtesy call on Mrs. Trefoile (Bankhead), the mother of the man she was courting seriously before his untimely death in an automobile accident. Her good intentions are not exactly welcomed with open arms, in fact Pat finds herself spun into a vortex of religious fanaticism and maternal madness.

Psycho-Biddy sub-genre meets Hammer Film's one word titled series of Psycho inspired thrillers, Fanatic is a thoroughly bonkers movie. Not in that it doesn't make sense or it is complex supreme, it's that it operates in some campy feverish world, a place where Baby Jane rests in peace. Unfortunately it's not as good as the other films that make up this wickedly entertaining sub-genre of horror.

That it's amazingly riveting is due to a bunch of cast performances that have to be seen to be believed. For even as the film meanders, where the makers repeatedly fall back on Pat Carroll's predicament with boorish time filling sequences, there's something enigmatically joyous about Bankhead and the crew making merry hell in this Hammeresque carnival of horrors.

Legend has it that Bankhead was permanently sozzled throughout the production, it matters not, always a tough old dame who never suffered fools gladly, it's a bravura performance that's rich with the excessiveness that the story demands. Joyce and Vaughan would become legends of situation comedies in Britain, but here they get to play seriously stern and creepy lecher respectively, with the latter tasked with waving his shotgun around as an unsubtle phallic erection!

Sutherland is woeful, but again it matters not, and it's actually not his fault, the character as written is a village idiot, a wet pants of a man purely in the story to fulfil the freak show quotient. Then there is the darling Powers, so young, sexy and vibrant, she escapes criticism because her performance is so measured it deflects from the preposterousness of it all.

Lipstick is banned, sex is banned, the colour red is banned and Religio Guignol is the order of the day. It's a film hard to recommend with any sort of confidence, but it's just nutty enough to make it worth seeking out as a curio piece. 6/10


Howling IV : The Original Nightmare [DVD] (1988)
Howling IV : The Original Nightmare [DVD] (1988)
Dvd ~ Romy Windsor
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: 5.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Loathing the Lycan., 29 Mar 2014
Back in 1976 as a wee boy I committed an act of youthful vandalism and readily managed to get one of my young pals blamed for it. On the 28th March 2014 I watched Howling IV: The Original Nightmare, this was an act of such cunning punishment I believe I was being paid back for my youthful misadventure. The Lord does indeed move in mysterious ways!

So this one is closer to Gary Brandner's source material, but that doesn't excuse what a bad film it is. Basically it's a reworking of the original classic Joe Dante film from 1981, shifting the locale doesn't fool anyone, what follows barely registers as a Werewolf movie, let alone as a piece of entertainment. Acting is out of a Kinder Egg and the direction equally so. Justin Hayward's theme song is decent, and Godfrey A. Godar's colour toning for his photography is pleasingly appropriate, but this really only serves as punishment cinema.

So, Robert, I'm sorry for 1976, you can consider your revenge well and truly enacted. Please consider the matter closed and don't summon up any more films like this for me to suffer. 2/10
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2014 11:04 AM BST


Daughter Of Darkness [DVD]
Daughter Of Darkness [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anne Crawford
Offered by ZavviOutlet
Price: 10.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lilith Chapter., 28 Mar 2014
This review is from: Daughter Of Darkness [DVD] (DVD)
Daughter of Darkness is directed by Lance Comfort and adapted to screenplay by Max Catto from his own play titled They Walk Alone. It stars Anne Crawford, Maxwell Reed, Siobhan McKenna, George Thorpe, Barry Morse, Liam Redmond, Cyril Smith and Honor Blackman. Music is by Clifton Parker and cinematography by Stanley Pavey.

Emmie Beaudine (McKenna) isn't liked by the women folk of the Irish village community where she lives. There's something about her that riles them, frightens them even. So when the women of the village round up on her keeper, the priest, she is sent off to live on a farm in a North Yorkshire county of England. Which is timely as she has had an altercation with one of the men from a travelling fair. Once at the "Tallent" family farm, Emmie settles in well and seems genuinely happy, but still some of the women folk in the vicinity view her with suspicion, and when a face from Emmie's past shows up, it's the catalyst for doom and desperation.

It's an odd chiller of a movie, something of an acquired taste, it's hard to pigeonhole. Never overtly horror, noir or otherwise, it's not hard to see why some specialist genre fans have found it a disappointment. Yet if you can buy into Comfort and Catto's ethereal world there's a picture of great rewards here, a complex character study mingling with asides on sexual empowerment, even a story with supernatural leanings, the edges of which are deliberately shaded in grey. And of course there's the crime factor bulging at the seams, Emmie Beaudine a cold murderess, her rhyme and reason for being so repulsed by male sexual contact is again deliberately left floating in an emotionally distorted purgatory.

Nicely photographed in black and white, the visual atmosphere is very tight to the murky themes swirling around the plot. There's also a number of memorable scenes, the hurly burly of the carnival sequences, the hauntingly troubling playing of an organ, and some super scenes featuring Thorn the Alsatian dog, a real life war hero (look him up, amazing animal) who is also very much a key character here. Strong acting performances around McKenna are a bonus (including the beautiful Blackman in her first credited role), but it is the Northern Irish actress who spellbindingly holds court, with much of her visual acting stunning in its execution.

Love it or hate it, you wont be able to ignore it. 9/10


Snowbound [VHS]
Snowbound [VHS]
VHS

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funding the New World Order of the Fourth Reich., 28 Mar 2014
This review is from: Snowbound [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Snowbound is directed by David MacDonald and adapted to screenplay by David Evans and Keith Campbell from the novel "The Lonely Skier" written by Hammond Innes. It stars Dennis Price, Mila Parely, Stanley Holloway, Herbert Lom, Robert Newton and Guy Middleton. Music is by Cedric Thorpe Davie and cinematography by Stephen Dade.

In short order form the plot basically finds a group of disparate people up in the Italian Alps involved in the search for Nazi treasure hidden somewhere abouts a ski resort. it's a league of nations up in them thar snowy hills, some with deadly motives, others just caught in the crossfire of nefarious plans.

The screenplay is a little too tricksy for its own good, with the multiple shifts of the key players identities becoming tiresome in the last quarter of film. That it never gets going fully until late in the play is also an irritant, as is the fact there is a dynamite cast list assembled here that are sadly given one note characters to portray. In fact Newton is so criminally under used the writers and director should have been banished to the Alps as punishment. That said, the set designs, cinematography and a strong turn from Lom, make sure it stays above average as viewing entertainment. While the finale is gripping and features a resolution that's deliciously sly.

Marked out by some as an entry in the British Noir pantheon, I'm not willing to suggest it as such myself. Certainly some of Stephen Dade's photography has the requisite noirish tints to it, and it could be argued there's an inevitable feeling of bleakness pervading the narrative that brings it into the film noir realm. As always, film noir is in the eye of the beholder, and to me this is just a better than average drama. Even if it does waste a great cast. 6/10


Howling VI [DVD]
Howling VI [DVD]
Offered by rsdvd
Price: 2.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Harker's World of Wonders., 28 Mar 2014
This review is from: Howling VI [DVD] (DVD)
The Howling (1981) remains to me one of the finest Werewolf movies ever made, though looking a bit tired these days, there still remains a wrought terror there, the effects work impressive even in this age of amazing effects advancements. What is actually surprising is that it would spawn a whole raft of sequels, becoming a cash cow franchise that not only failed to grasp the essence of writer Gary Brander's prose, but also in how the stories were schizophrenic in relation to the Werewolf formula.

Part VI: The Freaks is not a great movie, but it has a grand idea at its core, shifting the story arc into the mysterious realm of circus freaks, thus making this very much of interest for anyone with a kink for carnival/fairground/circus horror films. It's this backdrop, and the all round eerie atmospherics wrung out by director Hope Perello and cinematographer Edward Pei, that keeps this sequel above average.

Plot basically finds a drifter known only as Ian (Brendan Hughes) wandering into the town of Canton Bluff and in spite of some hostility from the sheriff of the town, manages to find some lodgings with troubled pastor Dewey (Jered Barclay) and his daughter Elizabeth (Michele Matheson). All seems rosy until the arrival of a travelling show called Harker's World of Wonders. Fronted by the mysterious R.B. Harker (Bruce Payne), it's a veritable showcase for the misfits, the freaks and the runts. But much like Harker has a dark secret, so too does Ian, and when revealed, the town of Canton Bluff will never be the same.

Unfortunately the main promotional poster for the film gives the game away, so it's no spoiler to say that it's all building towards a monster face-off, with the character name of Harker a not very subtle clue as well. In between there is the standard relationship building narrative, with Ian battling his demons as he comes to adore both Elizabeth and Dewey, while the tours around the "show" are suitably creepy. Payne is giving good pompous aristocratic entertainment, while seeing Antonio Fargas and Carol Lynley in this gives novelty value whilst serving to remind that actors do sometimes have to work for food!

It's dressed up nicely and never insulting, and in context to the budget available it deserves a gentle golf clap type of grudging appreciation. Even if it's hardly a must see for Werewolf lovers. 6/10


Howling VI - The Freaks [DVD]
Howling VI - The Freaks [DVD]
Offered by mivendo UG
Price: 4.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Harker's World of Wonders., 28 Mar 2014
The Howling (1981) remains to me one of the finest Werewolf movies ever made, though looking a bit tired these days, there still remains a wrought terror there, the effects work impressive even in this age of amazing effects advancements. What is actually surprising is that it would spawn a whole raft of sequels, becoming a cash cow franchise that not only failed to grasp the essence of writer Gary Brander's prose, but also in how the stories were schizophrenic in relation to the Werewolf formula.

Part VI: The Freaks is not a great movie, but it has a grand idea at its core, shifting the story arc into the mysterious realm of circus freaks, thus making this very much of interest for anyone with a kink for carnival/fairground/circus horror films. It's this backdrop, and the all round eerie atmospherics wrung out by director Hope Perello and cinematographer Edward Pei, that keeps this sequel above average.

Plot basically finds a drifter known only as Ian (Brendan Hughes) wandering into the town of Canton Bluff and in spite of some hostility from the sheriff of the town, manages to find some lodgings with troubled pastor Dewey (Jered Barclay) and his daughter Elizabeth (Michele Matheson). All seems rosy until the arrival of a travelling show called Harker's World of Wonders. Fronted by the mysterious R.B. Harker (Bruce Payne), it's a veritable showcase for the misfits, the freaks and the runts. But much like Harker has a dark secret, so too does Ian, and when revealed, the town of Canton Bluff will never be the same.

Unfortunately the main promotional poster for the film gives the game away, so it's no spoiler to say that it's all building towards a monster face-off, with the character name of Harker a not very subtle clue as well. In between there is the standard relationship building narrative, with Ian battling his demons as he comes to adore both Elizabeth and Dewey, while the tours around the "show" are suitably creepy. Payne is giving good pompous aristocratic entertainment, while seeing Antonio Fargas and Carol Lynley in this gives novelty value whilst serving to remind that actors do sometimes have to work for food!

It's dressed up nicely and never insulting, and in context to the budget available it deserves a gentle golf clap type of grudging appreciation. Even if it's hardly a must see for Werewolf lovers. 6/10


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