preppy-3

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Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead
(2009)

Pretty terrible
A bunch of vicious convicts (and one woman) are stuck in the woods one dark night miles away from civilization. They try to find a way out but are being stalked and killed by mutant cannibals.

I never saw the first "Wrong Turn" movies so I watched this cold. It's bad but not unwatchable. The acting is good, it's well-directed in a beautiful setting and there's plenty of graphic gore--it's unrated for good reason! The story was obvious but OK and I got a big kick out of all the British actors having their accents slip from time to time. For a horror film sequel it's about as good as you're going to get.

In Name Only
(1939)

Great soap opera
Unhappily married Alec Walker (Cary Grant) meets widowed Julie Eden (Carole Lombard) and falls in love. His wife Maida (Kay Francis) only married him for his high social position and his money. He asks her for a divorce. She agrees but then tries everything to avoid it driving Grant crazy and tearing apart Lombard.

Great movie! It's beautifully done with complex characters and believable situations. The acting is wonderful. Francis is good but Grant and Lombard are incredible. It gets to be a little much at the end but I still loved it! An 8 all the way.

The Shakiest Gun in the West
(1968)

Incredibly unfunny
This takes place in 1870. A pardoned sharp shooter (Barbara Rhodes) is hired as an agent to investigate a wagon train that's going west to find out who's selling guns to Indians. She needs a husband to join the wagon train so she marries a meek, mild dentist (Don Knotts) to marry her. "Hilarity" ensures.

Terrible comedy full of unfunny lines and sight gags. Knotts was a good actor and a funny comedian but even his considerable talents can't save this. Rhodes is great in her role but she has little to do. I considered to stop watching a few times but kept it on hoping it would get better. Unfortunately it didn't. Really young kids might like it. Skip it.

The Slumber Party Massacre
(1982)

Didn't like it in 1982 and still don't like it now.
Silly by-the-numbers slasher film. Three teenage girls (all played by actresses obviously in their 20s) decide to have a slumber party. They are attacked by a maniac with a drill.

I saw this originally back in 1982 when I was 20. I know Rita Mae Brown wrote the screenplay as a parody of slasher films and thought it might be fun. It wasn't. What I saw was a boring and utterly predictable slasher film with dull nudity and bad gore effects. Atrocious acting didn't help. Seeing it now almost 40 years later my thoughts haven't changed. It gets a 2 for some intentionally funny lines but that's it. You can safely skip this one.

Night of Dark Shadows
(1971)

Horrendous editing destroy what might have been a great film
Quentin Collins (David Selby) moves to live in Collinwood with his wife Tracy (Kate Jackson). While there past Collins family members who were witches try to possess Quentin and kill Tracy.

Originally this ran 129 minutes and was a good film. Then MGM ordered the makers to cut them film down to 90 minutes. They did and what was left is a slow-moving boring film. It LOOKS good and most of the acting is OK but it makes little sense and isn't even remotely scary. Even more surprising was Selby. He's a handsome man and a wonderful actor but he looks terrible here and looks miserable in his role.

Supposedly they found the lost footage and have "revoiced" it but it has yet to be added to the movie. Hopefully it will be added soon. As it stands this is a thoroughly forgettable horror film.

A Royal Christmas
(2014)

Thoroughly predictable but I love it!
A prince (Stephen Hagan) falls in love with a lower-class woman (Lacey Chabert) while studying in the US. He brings her home for Christmas but his mother the queen (Jane Seymour) is horrified that he loves a commoner and sets out to stop the romance.

Utterly predictable but thoroughly charming. I knew from frame 1 how it was going to end but didn't care. The story was sweet, the movie moved quickly and the settings were beautiful. The acting was great too. Hagan was tall, VERY handsome and charming. Chabert was beautiful and sweet. Best of all was Seymour who's obviously having a whale of a time playing evil. An incredibly sweet enjoyable movie.

Le bonheur
(1965)

Beautiful but troubling
French foreign language film. A handsome man is married to his beautiful wife and has two adorable children. He's in love with her and is happy. Then he meets another beautiful woman and starts sleeping with her. He tells his wife and she's not happy.

Visually this is an incredibly beautiful film. Full of bright vivid colors and full of people who look incredible. Also there's not one unlikable person in this. However I find it a little bit disturbing. His cheating on his wife is treated like it's OK. It all ends bittersweet but I don't like the fact that his treatment of his wife is treated so casually. The beautiful images kept me watching but I ended up feeling bad.

Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood
(2010)

Very good but kind of slodw.
7 part documentary showing how Hollywood came into being and how a group of immigrant moguls developed the studios and ran them. It follows them from 1889 to 1969. However if you're looking for a documentary on the stars this isn't it. This focuses entirely on the moguls and their hold on the studios. if you're a movie fan (like me) you'll find nothing new here. Also at 7 hours it is rather long. Still it's well-done and beautifully narrated by Christopher Plummer. SO it's OK but nothing more'

East Side, West Side
(1949)

Pretty obvious but not bad
Barbara Stanwyck plays a rich woman who's married to a man (James Mason) who cheats on her pretty openly. She knows but still loves him. He vows to stop until an ex-mistress (Ava Gardner) shows up in town to seduce Mason all over again.

Nothing new here but good acting and great production values put this one over. Also acting is good especially by Stanwyck. Also look for Cyd Chariisse, William Frawley, Nancy Davis (later Nancy Reagan), William Conrad and Gale Sondergaard in small roles. The only disappointment is Van Heflin in a main role. He tries but he's all wrong for the role. Still it's worth seeing for Stanwyck alone.

Camelot
(1967)

Pretty good musical
Film of a HUGE Broadway hit. King Arthur (Richard Harris) is married to the beautiful Guenevere (Vanessa Redgrave. Then she meets hunky Lancelot (Franco Nero) and starts an affair with him. Then Modred (David Hemmings) the half-son of Arthur pops up to steal the throne from him.

I never saw the musical on stage so I can't compare. It's a good musical with lavish sets and costumes (both Oscar winners). The songs are good and Harris and Redgrave can sing. Nero was obviously dubbed. All the acting was good but at 3 hours it was far too long. Also they take great liberties with the legend. Still it was entertaining and I liked it.

The Boys Next Door
(1985)

Shocking but great thriller
Roy (Maxwell Caulfield) and Bo (Charlie Sheen) are two high school misfits. They just graduated and decide to take a road trip to Los Angeles. They start beating up people and stealing things. This soon leads to senseless violence and murder.

I originally saw this in 1985 when it came out. It hit me HARD. Back then teenage kids weren't killing or attacking people. Now 35 years later it sadly happens way too often. As a result the movie isn't as shocking as it was in 1985 but it's still a great if depressing thriller. The film really isn't that violent. There's some blood but no gore. In fact it's pretty tame compared to what we get today...but it's still upsetting. Caulfield and Sheen are great in their roles... Caulfield especially. It's beautifully directed by Penelope Spheeris. Tragic but compelling and unforgettable.

Outrageous!
(1977)

Ground-breaking drag queen drama/comedy.
Robin Turner (Craig Russell) is a female impersonator living with a schizophrenic woman (Hollis McLaren). She gets pregnant (she's not sure who the father is). They live in Toronto but he finds out he can make it big in NYC...but can he leave her alone?

Great comedy/drama made on next to no budget. Most of it landed on the shoulders of Russell who was a female impersonator in real life. In the movie you see him do Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand, Mae West, Carol Channing, Marlene Dietrich, Ethel Merman, Bette Midler and Judy Garland! He's great as all of them. This film was a huge hit playing for over a year at most art house cinemas. Dated but fascinating.

Victor Victoria
(1982)

Stylish, sophisticated and frequetly hilarious
Wonderful movie set in 1934 Paris. An singer (Julie Andrews) can't find a job despite having a beautiful. She meets a gay unemployed singer (Robert Preston) who comes with a plan--if she disguises herself as a man and preforms in drag as a woman she could hit it big. Basically it's a woman disguising herself as a man pretending to be a woman. He is named Victor and is aa smash. Then gangster King Marchand (James Garner) sees him preform. He falls for him...but is convinced he's a woman. He also has a beautiful but over excitable girlfriend (Lesley Ann Warren).

Beautifully written and directed by Blake Edwards. It has a clever and witty script put over by a great cast. Andrews, Garner, Preston and Warren are all in top form. There's also beautiful sets and some great musical numbers. "Le Jazz Hot" is iconic! A HUGE hit in its day and rightfully so. Don't miss this one!

Last of the Pagans
(1935)

Corny but I loved it!
Wonderful island romance! Shot on location in Tahiti this deals with a village where handsome hunky Taro (Mala) falls in love with beautiful Lilleo (Lotus Long). He eventually wins her over but an evil ugly and powerful member of the village wants her for himself.

Shot in beautiful black and white this is a corny but charming little movie. It throws in every cliché you can think of (including a climatic hurricane) but it works! The scenery is beautiful and the two leads are certainly attractive with great bodies. Silly but sweet. Recommended.

From Hell It Came
(1957)

Pretty pathetic
Lousy horror film. It starts off OK with a prince of a south seas island being unjustly accused of conspiring against his people with the white guys who are on the island to help them fight the black plague. Before he is killed the prince places a curse on all the people who set him up. Shortly after his burial a tree grows from his grave. It turns into a large true stump that awkwardly walks around and kills the people that wronged him.

Easily one of the stupidest monster movies of the 1950s. The monster itself looks ridiculous and moves VERY slowly. The script is boring and full of exposition that leads to nothing. Also the monster doesn't show up until 50 minutes in which is not good in a movie that runs only 71 minutes. Also all the male cast members are lousy. The female members of the cast save this film from being unwatchable. Linda Watkins has some good moments as Mrs. Kilgore and Tina Carver is excellent as Dr. Terry Mason. Still this is pretty terrible.

Baby Face Harrington
(1935)

Pleasant but forgettable
30s B picture with Charles Butterworth playing a meek and mild man who through ridiculous circumstances gets involved with a vicious gangster. Una Merkel plays his wife who loves him no matter what. Pleasant enough movie. It's not particularly good or that funny but I enjoyed watching it.

Good acting helps. Butterworth is great in the lead role. His dead pan line readings match the material beautifully. Also Merkel was excellent as his long-suffering wife. She's beautiful and plays her role perfectly. Every time she's on screen the film lights up. The supporting cast is full of great character actors that 1930s film fans will recognize instantly. The only real debits are a so-so script and some tired slapstick gags.

Cry of the City
(1948)

Good film noir
Lt. Candella (Victor Mature) is a straight arrow policeman has to deal with childhood buddy Martin Rome (Richard Conte) who has just killed a cop. Martin is also leading his brother to a life of crime like him. Can Mature save the kid before it's too late?

Good film noir. It moves quickly, has lots of suspenseful scenes and was shot on location in NYC. Also it has a very young Debra Paget and Shelley Winters in small roles. My only complaint is the two leads. They were great actors but I find them totally miscast here. Conte seems way too nice to be a cop killer and Mature way to mean to be a saint-like police officer. Still it was well-made and I was entertained. I give it a 7.

Freier Fall
(2013)

Well-done gay love story
German film about Marc (Hanno Koffler) who is studying to be a police officer and is living with his pregnant girlfriend. Then he meets Kay (Max Riemelt) and starts to fall in love with him. Kay loves Marc but Marc has a girlfriend. What will he do?

Well-done and acted with two attractive leads. The script is good and moves quickly enough. However this movie has a big old tragic ending which I could have lived without. Can't we have a gay male love story with a happy ending? I'm giving it a 7 because it was well-done but I hate the ending.

Frankie and Johnny
(1966)

Pleasant but unremarkable
Takes place in the 1890s. Elvis Presley plays Johnny a riverboat performer who has a weakness for gambling much to the disgust of his girlfriend Frankie (Donna Douglas). Then a phony gypsy tells him a red-headed woman will be his good luck charm. Soon Nellie Bly (Nancy Kovak) joins the riverboat...and is a beautiful red head AND the ex of Johnny's boss. Complications ensure.

Pleasant enough. It's shot in BRIGHT color, the cast is attractive and Presley sings a few good songs. The comedy is OK (seeing Harry Morgan so young is fun) and it's perfect family viewing. Not Presleys best but not his worst.

Child of Divorce
(1946)

Sad but compelling
An 8 year old girl (Sharyn Moffett) has to deal with her parents divorcing and finding other partners.

A great little B picture. It's well-acted (Moffett was incredible) and realistic without getting too sentimental. Things are presented in a very matter of fact way. What's refreshing is that none of the parents are demonized. They both love their little girl completely and try to get her to accept their new partners. One scene where her mother tries to get the girl to accept that she loves her is almost too painful to watch. It all leads to a painful but realistic ending. Highly recommended.

Insiang
(1976)

Depressing but interesting
A young girl named Insiang lives in the Philippines in dire poverty with her mother who treats her like dirt. Then her mother invites her lover Dado to live with them...but Dado only has eyes for Insiang.

Interesting and well-acted but VERY depressing. With the sole exception of the title character there's not one likable character in the entire film and the conditions that the characters live in is shocking. It is historically important as the first Filipino film to play at the Cannes Film Festival back in 1978 but it's so bleak.

Imitation of Life
(1959)

Wonderful if tear-jerking film
A famous widowed actress (Lana Turner) is bringing up her daughter (Sandra Dee) but unknowingly ignores her. She's helped by a kind black woman (Juanita Moore) who's bringing up her own daughter (Susan Kohner).Kohner is very light-skinned and tells everyone she's white and hates her dark-skinned mom. It all ends tragically.

Fantastic if sad film. Beautifully filmed in color and widescreen. Never boring despite running over 2 hours. The main theme of being ashamed of who you are really works here--especially if you're a gay man. The acting is mostly good. Turner and Dee are OK but Moore and Kohner are brilliant and were Oscar-nominated. The only bad acting is by John Gavin as Turners boyfriend. ..but he's hardly in it. Well worth seeing but have plenty of tissues handy--you're gonna need it by the end!

Chopping Mall
(1986)

Cheap and stupid but not without merit
Eight brainless but good-looking kids decide to party in a mall after closing. It's also policed by three small robots. An electrical storm causes the robots to malfunction and they end up trying to kill the kids.

The acting is bad, characters do incredibly stupid things, the editing and direction are atrocious and it's basically bad...but I sort of liked it. There are fun cameos (I caught Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov and Dick Miller), there's one REALLY good gory kill, the cast is attractive and there are a lot of little film references flying around. Also since malls are closing down rapidly it's kind of cool to see a movie that takes place in one. Not a good movie at all but enjoyable for horror movie fans.

Cats
(2019)

Call me crazy but I sort of liked it!
I HATED the musical on stage when I saw it in 1980. There was little plot, most of the songs sucked and I was bored. The movie has some of these issues but I ended up sort of liking it. The makeup on the people wasn't that bad and everybody could sing, act and dance. Also there was some startling set designs--it certainly LOOKED great! I almost did walk out about 30 minutes in when a number with singing mice and tap-dancing cockroaches (I'm not kidding) started up but I stayed. It got much better after that. Most of the songs were unmemorable but I loved "Mr. Mistoffelees" and (of course) "Memory". Also Jennifer Hudson was superb in her role. She sang "Memory" so beautifully I started crying. So it's not a great movie but it's certainly not the bomb people are saying it is.

The Purple Rose of Cairo
(1985)

Too depressing to work as a comedy
This takes place during the Depression in New Jersey. Mia Farrow plays Cecilia, a waitress in a diner married to a loutish man (Danny Aiello) who doesn't work and treats her badly. She escapes by seeing movies at a local theatre. Then suddenly at one point a character in the movie (played by Jeff Daniels) walks out of the screen, becomes "real" and proceeds to romance her. Then the actor who plays the character (Daniels again) rushes from Hollywood to Jersey to convince his character to get back into the movie.

For a while this really works. Farrow and Daniels are great and his interactions with the real world are amusing. Also at 82 minutes it's nice and short. However the scenes with Aiello are very unpleasant and it has an absolutely heart-breaking ending which is beyond depressing. If the ending had been different I would have liked it a lot more but the grim ending really destroys the movie as a whole, I can only give it a 3.

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