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Kiss Kiss... Bang Bang

Before Austin there was Kirk!
Ex-secret Agent Kirk Warren (played by Giuliano Gemma, Italian star of the Spaghetti Western "Ringo" movie series) has been imprisoned for trying to steal $1,000,000 of government money. He is spared, however, when they decide to send him to Switzerland on his most dangerous mission yet: He must steal a secret formula and expose the corrupt Doctor X! This film, a straight up satire ala Jess Franco's "Lucky The Inscrutible" or "Austin Powers", is really somewhat hit or miss with the jokes but is salvaged by a good performance from Gemma, a great score by composer Bruno Nicolai and a decent supporting cast. I give the movie a 7 despite it's sometimes dry gags (the score gets a 9!).

The Sopranos: Made in America
Episode 21, Season 6

ambiguity (look it up)
A lot of the suggested ideas written here about what happens when everything goes black are all pretty interesting. But I think that the reason we don't know what specifically happened at the end of this final episode is because the writer doesn't either. Things are left wide-open to many and almost any possibilities. That's because any character element of this show can be resurrected if the "powers that be" feel a hurting in the wallet area. That is, a revival of the series, a series spin off, a theatrical movie, "Sopranos Variety Hour" special... etc. Personally I thought that last scene was pretty intense and any conclusion the viewer comes up with is neither right or wrong, it just... "is". All we know is what we see.

Botas negras, látigo de cuero

Lina Romay is hot!
I have to disagree with the other reviewer here. To me Lina Romay is still looking good and the blonde hair suits her! (I suppose it is a matter of taste but Romay fans will not be let down.) She plays a hot stripper who uses her "goods" to manipulate Al Pereira (Antonio Mayans) into doing some dangerous detective work for her. There are NOT any hardcore scenes but it does come close at one point. This would rate a soft X probably but still it is pretty raunchy and not at all boring! Although the copy I saw was in Spanish language with no subtitles it was easy enough to follow if you've seen a few Jess Franco movies before.


Offbeat and very funny even to a few Yanks!
If French director Jaques Tati were born in Italy, had a much smaller budget and was somewhat of a pervert he probably would have directed films like "In the Beachouse", a wildly offbeat comedy with no plot! The entire movie more-or-less takes place in an ocean-side dressing house, a series of reoccurring site-gags and hilarious character studies. A real-time interaction between a large group of unusual people including 2 prostitutes and their reluctant and somewhat bizarre client, an all-girl swim team, a large black dog and a scene stealing white chihuahua, and a couple trying to get their knocked-up under age grand daughter laid so they can pin the blame on some poor schmuck and marry her off. The grand daughter, incidentally, is played by a nubile Jody Foster (!!!) who probably doesn't mention this film much in her résumé! With a mostly Italian cast including Ugo Tognazzi and featuring Catherine Deneuve in a dream sequence.

Dame un poco de amooor...!

Rare, fun and colorful Spanish rock comedy!
This wild rock-n-roll spy comedy starring Spanish rockers "Los Bravos" plays almost like a hyper-paced extended Spanish "Monkees" t.v. episode but with really decent production values! The Los Bravos music is a bit on the "pop" side of rock-n-roll but still has it's charm. There are some wild psychedelic effects, some very groovy sets and an awesome animated sequence towards the end done in a sort-of psychedelic rotoscope style! Los Bravos perform several of their hits and if you are a fan you will want to seek this one out. I'd love to see a DVD release of this with English language subtitles but I'm not holding my breath.


A crammed-in 1 hour of groovy happenings!
"Popcorn" (aka "Peter Clifton's Popcorn") is an obscure music film with live footage and studio films from The Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Vanilla Fudge, The (pre-disco) Bee Gees and Twiggy doing a runway fashion walk to the theme from "A Man and A Woman"! (Does it get much cooler than THAT I ask you?) . The Stone's promo films for "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "2000 Light Years From Home" are highlights, as well as a very psychedelic promo film for Traffic's "Hole In My Shoe" and Vanilla Fudge performing live in a small room! Nice psychedelic montage sequences too! The only version I've ever seen runs about 1 hour.

Fireball Jungle

LSD For Lunch!
Man, oh, man! What a bizarre pic! Okay, lessee... the plot has something to do with corruption by the mob among some stock car racers... there's an obligatory catfight and some drug references. But the part you'll most remember is this totally wacked-out 5 minute middle section of the film that takes place in a bar with toilets instead of seats where a man sings a song to a poodle, a woman comes in with clothes and face makeup that makes her look like a walking checkered race flag, and when the cash register is opened it makes the sound of a toilet flushing... it goes on for a bit and makes no logical sense at all! You'll think someone dosed your Doritos when you see this thing! Then it's back to the story as if nuttin' happened! There's performances by an r&b singer and some gawdawful boy / girl vocal combo singing "Love Can Make You Happy"! There's a sign next to the band that says "The LSD For Lunch Bunch"! Ah, the '60s... John Russell and Allan Nixon star with Lon Chaney, Jr.! Why do people hate this movie so much? Probably because of the poor state of Lon Chaney, Jr. whom I am also a big fan of. I actually thought he was quite good in this! From the director of Shanty Tramp!

La tumba de los muertos vivientes

Tumba / Oasis: 2 somewhat different films
"La Tumba de los muertos vivientes" was the original film that Jess Franco made(and has never appeared in English language to the best of my knowledge), while "Oasis of the Zombies" is a different movie that liberally lifted footage from "Tumba". However, to the best of my memory, the bulk of "Oasis..." is NOT directed by Jess Franco despite the deceptive packaging claim on the DVD box. (Shame on you Image!) While "Tumba..." is the better of the 2 versions (kinda' like snot is better than puke), I still can't really recommend it but to the most forgiving Jess Franco fans. Supposedly Lina Romay is briefly in the "Tumba" version somewhere.


I just put myself through the arduous task of watching both "La Tumba de los muertos vivientes" and "Oasis of the Zombies" back-to-back. Hey, sometimes we must suffer for art, right? Even if it isn't ours! (But I digress.)Basically these 2 versions are note for note identical with 2 big exceptions. I think what threw me was the use of battle scene footage which appears to have been taken from a different movie with a slightly bigger budget. Difference #1 is the score which, in "Tumba..." is by "Pablo Villa" whom I suspect is actually Jess Franco most of the time. The music in "Oasis..." is credited to composer Daniel White and is a lot more standard. Decent, but not as wacky sounds as Villa's. Difference #2 is that the couple who appear at the beginning of the film, Colonel Meitzell and his wife, are played by Eduardo Fajardo and Lina Romay in the Spanish version ("La tumba..."). However in the French / English dubbed version ("Oasis...") they are played by another couple. The Meitzell's appear in a later scene with 2 different henchmen from the Spanish version(when they go to the oasis to look for the treasure and are attacked by zombies). Whether or not these scenes were shot at the same time by Franco or later by another director I can't say for sure. But since there is some interaction between both couples and another of the main actors in both versions (Javier Maiza) I would guess that they were. The 2 scenes are the only thing different about the 2 versions footage-wise as far as I can tell and they are almost note-for-note the same apart from some minor differences. The biggest one being some guts that are seen pulled from Mrs. Meitzell during her attack in "Oasis...", whereas no guts are seen coming from Lina Romay's lovely stomach in "Tumba...". Also Maiza's character is murdered slightly differently (gun vs. poison injection). For what it is worth, the Spanish language DVD (Tumba) is a bit more dark looking then the US Image DVD release (Oasis). I know you all will sleep better tonight knowing all of this information. I'm not sure why all those years ago when I first saw this film that I had remembered "La Tumba..." seeming so different. All I can think is that I must have been slightly altered at the time, which I suggest you doing if you attempt to watch either of these versions.

Jack the Giant Killer

Find the musical version!
This DVD and home video release (the "original" version) of this poor-man's "Seventh Voyage of Sinbad" is not without it's charm, but the bizarre musical version is the one to find! Sure it's a mess, but WHAT a mess! If you're a fan of strange live-action children's musicals like the K. Gordon Murray Mexican releases ("Santa Clause", "Little Red Riding Hood Meets The Monsters", etc.) then you'll want to track down the musical version for this movie. Luckily I have my copy that I had taped from cable TV in the early 1980s. I give the musical version a 9 out of 10 for sheer entertainment value, the non-musical version a 5 out of 10.

Exorcist: The Beginning

The Version You've Seen Too Many Times Before
This is probably the least entertaining of all the Exorcist movies. I give it a C-. If it wasn't an "Exorcist" film it'd be C+. It wasn't horrible, but not very good either. The acting was decent enough but the movie overall didn't quite cut it. It's a real shame too, seemed like a good premise, nice sets too. But there was only 1 fairly disturbing moment in it. The score was okay but there was way overused defusing any scares that might have occurred. Also, when is Hollywood going to realize that digital effects just don't work, especially in a horror movie. Even "Exorcist II - The Heretic" was scarier (and that's saying something!). To me the first "Exorcist" movie is one of the best, scariest horror films ever, but in these politically correct times I doubt we'll see the likes of any big budget movies with that kind of visceral impact ever again. Leave your barf bag at home for this one!


Who is in charge?
Before directing "Salon Kitty" and moving into the erotic style of film making that he is more known for director Tinto Brass made a series of movies that can only be called "pop art" (these also include "L'urlo" and "Col cuore in gola"). This one, my personal favorite, follows a beautiful young woman (Anita Sanders) who, after being dropped off in the park by what seems to be her husband (I don't speak much Italian unfortunately!), spends the day wandering the city where she is sometimes pursued by a Black man who she seems to have an interest in despite her reluctance to confront him. On her trip Brass sneaks in statements on politics, racism, hippies, sexuality, conformity and other topical subjects through the use of disjointed editing, stock footage, psychedelia, and music from the UK rock group The Freedom (not the American group of the same name) who pop in and out performing the movie's groovy score. This is certainly a movie for someone enjoying nonsensical, train-of-thought plot less counterculture type films and anyone not liking that kind of thing would probably wanna steer clear. Radley Metzger released the film in the US through his Audobon distributing group as "The Artful Penetration of Barbara". This version, in Italian language only with a small Italian TV logo in the corner, is the only copy I have ever been able to find! It unfortunately appears to be cut as some of the nudity looks trimmed and some of it is covered up with a big psychedelic swirly thing! I have seen the excellent US trailer (as "Artful...") and would love to find an English language and uncut copy!

UPDATE: An English language version is now out on DVD from Cult Epics. It appears to have been sourced from 16mm but looks decent. There is an Italian version floating around from Italian cable TV that looks a bit more sharp but, alas, there are no English subtitles. Interstingly enough, each version has 1 song that is not in the other. Also the excellent tune "Seeing Is Believing" was used only in the trailer and does not appear in any version of the film!


Great movie but not for everyone
I disagree with the reviewers here whom simply write this off as a bad movie. "Identikit", or as it is known on the deceptively retitled US videotape release, "Psychotic", is a film that requires the viewer to think about what is happening, studying the disjointed events which gradually come to an ambiguous conclusion (which slightly echoes "Blow-Up" I might add). It is obvious that every detail of this film is deliberate and well crafted. Liz Taylor fans used to her more mainstream movies may be a bit put-off. If you like offbeat dramas from this time period that require a little brainwork then you may dig it. If you like having everything spelled out for you then you may find it "bad". I dug it!

Las flores del vicio

Deliberately and effectively weird murder thriller in an exotic setting!
A junky (Dennis Hopper), a retired Hollywood actress (Carroll Baker) and several other misfits live in a run down Spanish village. Suddenly they begin turning up dead! A strange and violent film, almost like an Italian "giallo" as if it were directed by Andy Warhol! I dug it!

Les yeux sans visage

Another opinion:
"Eyes Without A Face" is a groundbreaking and trendsetting artistic nightmare! The plot of this film has often been copied but never has it been done in such an eerily effective style. The sight of the masked daughter playing with the dogs evokes many emotions in the viewer. There are shots in this movie that will stay with you long after you have seen it! Heavily recommended!

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