LeonLouisRicci

IMDb member since April 2012
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Thief
(1981)

Dazzling Visuals...Bombastic Metal Score...Mann's Debut Sizzles
The Directorial Debut for Writer/Director, Stylist Michael Mann Showcased a Style that He Would Hone for Decades.

Splashy, Close to Over-the-Top at Every Turn, Mann Proved He is an Auteur to be Reckoned With.

His TV Work along with the Feature Films are Always an Exercise in High-Style Flamboyance Amidst a Gritty Meilu, Often Painted with Pulsating Colors as Well as Music.

In this one, Tangerine Dream's High-Powered Score is Only Topped by Mann's Highfalutin Use of the Dark Coated with Big-City Reflections of a Night-Time Illuminated by an Electric Rainbow.

James Caan Gives a Bullying, Forceful Performance that is Hard-to-Like, or Get Close to. The Weakest Element is the Dialog that Leans Toward Controlled Improvisation.

This can Tend to be Awkward at Times, but at Other Times Mesmerizing. A Little Bit of that Goes a Long-Way and Mann and Caan may be Guilty of Letting it Get Ou-of-Hand.

It's Awkward and Nothing Like the Smooth, Coherent, Sleekness of that Makes the Rest of the Movie so Engaging and Entertaining.

Tuesday Weld and Willie Nelson are Given the Short-End in all the Frenzied Eye-Candy that Mann Serves Up in Ultra-High-Style.

A Very Impressive Debut that is Highly-Charged, Trippy, and Gritty.

Michael Mann would have to Work Hard to Top it. He Did on Occasion but it Still Stands-Out as One of the Director's Best to this Day.

The Protégé
(2021)

Underrated...Gritty Action With a Trio at the Top In Fine-Form
Yet Another Female Assassin Headliner. The Roots Date Back to Luc Besson's "Nikita" (1990.

Besson Unleashed a "Girls With Guns" Post-Modern Juggernaut.

A Revival of the Low-Budget Exploitation of the Drive-In-Grind-House Genre of the 70's.

This One has a Hard-Bodied, Straight Up and Down Maggie Q, who at 40 Something is a Sight to Behold.

Michael Keaton Plays a Surprisingly Effective, Against-Type "Action" Slick in a Suit.

His Banter with Q is a Highlight Amongst the Hard-Nosed Hit and Kick Thrills, with a Copious Amount of Explosions and Bad-Guys.

Not Much New Here, Except for the Unexpected Keaton & Q Confrontations.

The Meilu is Dreary, Third-World Dread and the Tone only Occasionally Deviates from the Dire.

Overall it's Mostly a Dark Landscape.

It's Despicable Evil Killers with the Purely Innocent in Short Supply.

This Makes for a Slightly Different Affair from the Usual Affair of High-Gloss, Big-Budget, Female-Force that has been so Trendy in Recent Years.

Underrated and Action Fans Should Certainly Give it a Go.

Untamed Women
(1952)

Early Low-Budget "Lost World" Adventure...Hokey But Lively
Crammed with Lost-World-Women Clad in Loin-Cloths and Premium Hair and Make-Up.

Magnified Lizards and Assorted Creatures, some Stolen from "One Million Years B. C." (1940), an Angry Volcano, and a Tribe of "The Harry Ones", just Waiting to Kill, Rape, and Pillage.

The Girls are All Pretty and Pretty Willing to be Friendly with the Newly Arrived Soldiers, who had to Crash-Land During Battle.

There are Copious Amounts of Genre Cliches, Tropes, and Expectations.

The Strength of the Movie is the Fast-Pacing and some Clever Shots and Angles. It's Obvious some Effort went into Making this Movie Entertaining.

The Weakness is a Never-Shuts-Up, Brooklyn Dodgers Fan who Routinely Brings the Movie to a Cringe-Inducing Halt.

But Overall if You are Attracted to this Type of Thing, it will Not Disappoint.

There is Enough Eye-Candy Here to Satisfy and the Musical Score Ain't Bad.

It also Goes Against the Grain of the Usual "Happy Ending".

The Poster Version with the T-Rex is a Colorful, Classy B-Movie Classic.

Slightly Above Average and...

Worth a Watch.

Crime Against Joe
(1956)

Slightly Norish "B" ...Julie London Appears & Helps Interest
Slightly Above Average Filler with some Interest Provided by a Pedestrian Julie London as a "Car-Hop" who Loves Her Joe.

Shady Characters Abound and that Includes Authority Figures like Law Enforcement and Doctors.

They are Painted as Either Corrupt or Unhelpful at the Least.

The Plot Involves a Drunk Joe Meandering About the Streets and Bumbles into a Serial-Killer Murder, is Framed and Spends the Run-Time Uncovering the Real Criminal.

Elements of Crime such as a Lustful Woman-Hating Murderer, are Paraded Out in Norish Fashion as the Innocent Joe, a Sympathetic PTSD Korean Vet, an Artist who Lives with a Doting Mom.

The Guilty Party, Aside from the Despicable Entourage of Society's "Suits" that Hypocritically Populate this Mid-50's Milieu, is Easy to Spot because the Low-Budget Doesn't Allow for Many Suspects.

Julie Doesn't Sing and is Slightly Miss-Cast as a Teen-Aged Waitress, but is Easy on the Eyes. Her Supposed Romance with a Fat Cab Driver and Friend of Joe, Strains Credibility.

Overall, a Not-Bad Little Entertainment with some Intriguing Representations of Characters,

the Most Bizarre is a Sub-Plot with a Possible Incestuous Father and His Sleep-Walking Daughter.

5 Card Stud
(1968)

DULL...LETHARGIC...BIG-BUDGET WESTERN...UNREMARKABLE
Not Quite a Miss-Fire,

but this Western is Mostly a Go-thru-the-Motions Paycheck for the Name Cast, Director, and Crew.

The Mystery-Angle is Mentioned ad-nauseum Whenever this Title Rears its Lazy-Head.

You can Go Down the Stellar Cast and Check-Off the Names that are Miss-Cast or Barely Show any Energy.

Just Another Day, Another Movie, and Another Dud of a Western from the Period.

The Time Between the Sergio Leone Trilogy and Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch" (1969) was a Waste-Land.

With very Few Exceptions, one is Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West".

The 1950's had Drained Every Drop of Blood from the Genre,

with the Devastating Over-Exposure on the Big and Small Screens, Westerns were Decidedly 'Out-of-Favor".

America's Involvement in a Real "Shoot em' Up" ( The Vietnam War),

was Infecting the "Soul" of Patriots and Protestors Alike on a Daily In-Your-Face Onslaught of Media Exposure, also

Didn't Do the Genre Any Favors.

This One is just One More of the Sorry Output Hollywood Shamelessly Foisted on the Movie-Going Public, and Not Many Fans or Critics were Pleased.

With the Hollywood Studio System Drawing its Final Breath, it would Soon be Relieved of its "Death-Bed" Gasps at Creativity.

Not the Worst Big-Studio Western Ever Made.

But, Overall it's Embarrassing and can be put on the Pile with the Other Westerns that Tried, but the Heart of the Genre had Stopped Beating.

Have No Fear, Because the Very Next Year one of the Best Westerns Ever Made would Resuscitate and Give Hope to All Movie Western Fans,

and it Took a Maverick Director's Love for the Genre and an Incredible, Not-Easily-Forgotten Film to Revisit the Movie Western.

It Literally would Inject New-Blood and a New-Style to the Old 'Work-Horse".

Of Course, that would be the Aforementioned Sam Peckinpah and His Movie Masterpiece, "The Wild Bunch".

Gaia
(2021)

TRIPPY...ORGANIC ORATORY...MOTHER NATURE AWAKENS & SPEAKS...TRENDY GREEN FILM AS MESSAGE/ENTERTAINMENT
The Post-Modern Question of Humanities' Negative Influence on the Planet and "The Environment" has Settled into a "Tribal" Banner Announcing the "Battle-Cry".

The Deniers are "Hell-Bent" and Opposed to Spending Dollar-One.

On what They Believe is Cyclical and the Planet will Take Care of Itself.

It/She Needs No Funding from Us the Inhabitants.

Habitual Users-Abusers with a Disregard for Action-Reaction Physics and the Harm Manifested in the Wake.

This Cronenbergian Nightmare is a Possible Scenario-Future of Nature Fighting Back with its Natural Resources.

This is a Pretty Picture of a Not So Pretty Payback for Decades of Harm.

Using Humans as a Breeding Ground for an Evolutionary Species.

The "Next-Step" for the "Pale Blue Dot".

Wonderfully Researched and Thought Provoking.

A Perpetuation of Modernity Using, By Now, Cliches with Shout-Out Placards like "THE END IS NIGH" and "It's Not Wise to Full with Mother Nature.

An Entertaining, Compelling, and Visual-Aural Treat.

Using a Palette of Artistic Flourishes to Warn that Ignoring what is Obvious and Questioning Scientific and Philosophical Cry-Outs of Moral, Ethical, and Pragmatic Concern.

The Film Stays With You and is Infectious.

Scenes Like a Survivalist Taking "Tree Hugging" to an All New Level of Intercourse with Nature, is Just Satire that Can't be Forgotten.

Indie Film-Making at its Best.

Profound Cinema with Attitude, Execution, and Style Worthy as an Entertaining Message from the Production Team and by Proxy the Planet.

David and Bathsheba
(1951)

Biblical Stories...A Long, Popular, & Profitable Genre
Almost 30 Years After Cecil B. Demille Invented the "Biblical Epic" and Showcased the Silent "The Ten Commandments" (1923),

the Genre Never Really Left the Roster of Released Films to Satisfy the Fans, who Loved Watching, and Film-Makers who Loved Filming "God" and His "Good-Book" Stories.

"God" is Good Box-Office.

One of the Perks of Making a "God-Bible", is the Code is "Gun-Shy" about Censoring the Almighty, as Hollywood Reminds that it's in "The Good Book" and therefore "Take it Up with the Author", the Joke Goes.

"David and Bathsheba" is Almost Entirely Focused on the Adulterous Couple and its Romantic Entanglements that Bring On the Wrath-of-God.

That "Wrath" makes an Appearance in the Form of a "Whirlwind"

"The Ark of the Covenant" is Displayed as a Active "Communication Device", a sort-of "Walkie-Talkie" with God.

The Drought and Other Nasty "Payback" is Announced by "Nathan" (the Prophet of God).

It's Talky, with Few Action Events, and with All the Heavy Romantic Melodramatics, Kids will Most Likely Fall Asleep or Wonder-Off.

The Film is , as Expected, Displaying Gorgeous Color Costumes and Sets, Bombastic, Over-the-Top Musical Score, and 2 of Hollywood's Most Attractive Leads.

Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, along with the Rest of the Production Make it a Watchable Entertainment.

But in the Pantheon of Genre. It is an Average Film of its Sort.

Track of the Cat
(1954)

RELENTLESSLY BLEAK...ODD...COLD...TORTUROUS...AN CINEMATIC EXERCISE THAT IS LOST ON MOST
If Unusual, Against-the-Grain, Cinema of the 1950's is What You Seek, Step-Right-Up and be Prepared to Suffer.

You'll Have Company by Way of What's On Screen.

In the Form of Color that Rarely can be Seen by those with Eyes.

Actors Playing Against Type.

Characters that are Against, Well, Everything.

Including Family Members, Life Affirmations, and Existence in General.

The Movie is a Dirge and Drones On Until the Audience Surrenders or Runs for the Nearest Escape Route.

An Offering of Cinema of the Absurd.

Absent Any Thing or Any Body to Get Close to or Sympathize.

It's a Bunch of People that are so Far Removed from a Form Known as Human, that You Might be Prone to Say...

"Where Did I Just Land?... What Planet is This?... Is this "The Twilight Zone" or a Possible "Hell"?

Hardly Anyone with Half-a-Brain and a Fragment of a Soul, Would Pay to Experience What We Have Here.

Knowledge of What This Is Beforehand Would Certainly Stop Anyone from Taking Part in this Experiment Gone Wrong.

Let Alone Pay to be Assaulted by the "Flickering Image" of a Movie so Full of Hate and Itself.

You Have Been Warned!

House of Wax
(1953)

OVER-RATED...BUT A NIFTY 50'S PACKAGE...HIGH-BUDGET GLOSS & PROFESSIONALISM...SHORT & SWEET
Turned-Out to be the Most Profitable Picture By Far for the Studio.

In 1953 Horror Films were Out of Favor, Considered "Old-Hat", Done to Death, Ripe for Satire and Parody, etc.

The Curtain-Call for the Genre can be Symbolized by "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein"(1949).

Hammer's "Lightning In a Bottle" was Still a Few Years Away. So the Success for "House of Wax" was a Surprise Block-Buster for Everyone Involved.

It Took Vincent Price in a New Career Path, one He would Traverse and Find Great Artistic Pleasure Until His "Last Bow".

While the Movie Sure is a "Professional" Package with All the Elements of Film-Craft Superb.

Adding 3-D to the Mix Helped the Box-Office as the Soon to be Abandon "Gimmick" was Found to be a "Novelty' that was Considered Contrived and Movie-Goers were Quick to Tire of it.

Over-Hyped, and in the End a "Flat " Entertaining Ingredient that was Intrusive, Awkward, and Wore-Out its Welcome in a Hurry.

It's a Fun Movie and a Fine Ensemble-Piece of "Matinee" Entertainment with a Million-Dollar Budget that is a Respectable Addition to the Decade's Output of Horror-Sci-Fi-Gold-Rush.

Today, it Plays Campy and Corny with some Thrills Within Contextual Considerations.

Hangover Square
(1945)

Excellent Psycho-Noir...Laird Cregar's Last Film...Overlooked
Infamous for Character Actor, the 300 LB Laird Cregar's Determination to Lose-Weight Resulting in an Untimely Death by Complications.

The On-Set Strife was Evident and its a Wonder the Movie Turned-Out as Good as it is.

It is a Moody, Atmospheric Thriller About a Symphony Composer Suffering from a Mental Illness, Black-Outs, and Missing Time.

Ahead of its Time, it is Film-Noir's Fascination with "Freudian" Elements Woven into Mystery and Thrills.

Great Bernard Hermann Score.

Linda Darnell Again Gives a Lustful, Shining Portrayal as a "Femme-Fatale".

George Sanders is the "Shrink" Piecing Together the Clues and Trying to Help the Helpless Cregar (in an outstanding performance) Come to Terms with His Illness.

Suspenseful, Edgy, Moody Movie that HIts All the Right Notes and is an Undiscovered "Hidden-Gem" with Many Outstanding Scenes.

The Ending is Thrilling, Visceral Display that is Mesmerizing.

A Must-See for Film-Noir Fans, for all Others, it's... Worth a Watch.

Pig
(2021)

THE MEANING IS BURIED...WITHHOLDING INFO RESULTS IN VIEWER FRUSTRATION
Nic Cage is on a Roll.

He has Found a New and Returning Fan-Base in His Last Few Films and the Former "Haters" have New Respect and Love for the Once Vilified "Super-Star".

"Mandy" (2018)..."Color Out of Space" (2019) and Now this Ambiguous, Difficult to Understand and Follow Character Study.

Over-Rated to the Extreme.

It has Made its Way into the Hearts and Minds of Movie-Lovers with Hardly any Evidence to Warrant the Fawning Praise by Film-Critics.

And Others Snapping to Attention and Jumping on the Band-Wagon.

It Takes a lot of Effort from Viewers of this Art-Film to Figure Out just What the Hell is Going On from Scene to Scene.

"Precogs" and "Clairvoyants" Aside, Your Average Movie-Watcher can be Perplexed Trying to Figure-Out the Plot.

As it Moves-On to the Next Befuddling Scene-After-Scene Piling On More Questions.

By the Middle of the Movie, those that are Still Watching must Give-In and just Hope it Manages to Define Some of What Their Viewing.

After some Time, some Things are Made Clear, but Lingering on the Fringes of this Pretentious Picture is the Mysterious Ingredients that was so Tasty for the "Eggheads" and Film-Critic-Elite.

The Movie is so Overrated, it Might be an Interesting "Thought Experiment" for those that are Curious About this Low-Low Budget Success Story.

That Alone Makes it...

Somewhere in the Night
(1946)

4-TIME OSCAR WINNER WRITES-DIRECTS SEMINAL FILM-NOIR...INFLUENTIAL
Joseph L. Mankiewicz (not to be confused with the "Citizen Kane" scriptwriter, older brother Joseph K).

John Hodiak Plays a Returning-Wounded-Amnesiac (that helped define Film-Noir's concern about the "Wounded Warriors of WWII-Korea suffering from what is now known as PTSD).

Mankiewicz, Utilized the A-Fox-Budget to Format a World of "Noir", the Look, the Fringes of Society and the "Colorful" Characters that More Often than Not would be Duplicitous Criminals Committing Unsavory Acts and Deeds.

That Film-Noir 'Look" and Atmosphere was being Manifested Spontaneously and was Previous to the Enlightenment by French Film Critics "After the Fact" and a New Genre was Born.

This Film Gets Lost Trying to Find Itself in a World that is Ambiguous, Antagonistic, and Elusive Providing Clear Clues and Evidence in a "Nether-World" Where Dangers are Everywhere. The Vacant Stare of Hodiak Reflects a "Numb-Ness"" to the Assault of His Surroundings "On Dangerous Ground" just Like the War.

A Great and Recognizable Supporting Cast.

Fritz Cortner's "Dr. Oracle" Steals the Movie from His Peers, and that Includes the Likes of Lloyd Nolan, Richard Conte and Others "You Know You Recognize" but Can't Name.

Nancy Gould is the Helpful, Cute "Bystander" that Becomes the Love-Interest. Her Career Never Attained the "Greatness" that the Studio was Grooming and Hoped-For (but they bailed too soon canceling her Contract).

The Film is Rich with Film-Noir Ingredients that Fan's Look For and Listing them would Destroy the Fun of Finding-Out.

A Must-See for Film-Noir Fans, for All Others it's...

Worth a Watch.

Inferno
(1980)

Exercise in Mood & Style...Unsettling...Confusing...Gorgeous
This Elegant, sometimes Bombastic and Confusing, Film is Lacking Plot Coherence and is Hard to Follow.

Hyper-Stylish with Deviations of Slick Art-Deco Designs and Gothic Romance Along with a Pulse-Pounding Keith Emerson Score,

Delivers Argento's Penchant for Up-Close and Personal Physical Violence Committed on Model-Pretty Females and Males Intruding of the Supernatural Evil-Doings.

Rain-Soaked, Blood-Soaked and Spiked with Cross-Species Display of Natural Behavior and Environmental Disruptions from Destroyers of the Living, Otherwise Known as "Death".

It is a Feast for Horror-Fans who Lean Toward the Metaphysical, Witchery, and Ancient Curses.

The Weak Story-Telling May Hold some Viewers Back, but Others Content to Devour Art-Films and Style-Over-Substance, of a Euro Nature.

Especially the Italian Horror Cinema of Bava, Argento, etc.

It's an "Eye" and an "Ear" Full of Tense, Unrelenting Carnage, from a Director in His Prime that has Let His Art Dominate His Presentation.

For the Insatiable, Undiscerning, and Unwavering Gallo and Gothic Fans it's a Must-See.

For All Others it's Worth a Watch.

Diary of a Madman
(1963)

Forgotten Amongst the "Hammer" & "Corman" Films
Forgotten Amongst the "Hammer" & "Corman" Films

Similar, but Not as Good as Either Early Hammer or Roger Corman's Poe Featuring Vincent Price.

While Price Emerges as Certainly the "Star", and is On-Par with His other Outings from the Period, The Film Lacks the Hyper-Pacing and Anxiety-Laden Horror of the Hammer Films, and the Overall Panache and Totality of the Corman "Masterpieces, it Manages to be a Respectable Good-Looking Outlier.

Aside from the Technicolor Decor with Splashes of Blood-Red and some Real Shocking Images and Scenes, it is a Price-Only Film.

The Story is "Hoary" and has Whiskers, the Supporting Players are Stoic, Cardboard Characters, Especially the Stilted Husband, but Not Without some Help from the "Help", it is Finally a Stoic Affair.

Average or the Type, but Without the Presence of Price, its would be a Dismal Durge.

Nancy Kovack does make a Beautiful Model, and Her Harlot-Type-Wife Gets a Brutal Comeuppance, and She Lights Up the Screen at Times.

Overall, it's Not a Must-See in the Price Filmography, but Fans and Horror Completists Should Take-a-Peek.

A Double Life
(1947)

Psychological-Theatrical Noir...With Shadow Curtains of Dread
Famous for Ronald Coleman's Only Oscar, His 4th Nomination.

Also, Director George Cukor Against Type Helming of a Film-Noir that Epitomizes the Psychological, Shadow-Laden, Dread of the Genre.

The Film is an A-Picture with High-Production Values that are Subdued and Under-Lit for this Melodramatic Thriller.

A Disintegration of Self-Control by a Successful Broadway Actor who Collapses Under the Weight of Over 300 Performances of "Othello".

That an a "Green Eyed" Rage Over HIs Former Wife (Signe Hasso), but Still Lover's Relationship with a Mutual Friend (Edmond O'Brien).

Shelly Winters', in what is Considered a "Break-Out" Role (after 20 Films) Gets a Lot of Ink and Makes Limited Screen-Time Playing a Bronx-Gal. A Waitress that Crosses-Paths with Coleman.

Also Oscar Winner for "Best Director (Cukor) and "Best Musical Score", Mikolas Rosa. Nominated for "Best Original Screenplay, Ruth Roman and Karison Canin.

Overall, Claustrophobic, Slightly-Contrived by Wholly Effective Penetration of a Personality Disorder and its Possible Tragic Consequences.

Not a Peripheral Film-Noir as Some Say, but a Bonafide, Pure and Solid Noir Through and Through, that Never Deviates from the Dread.

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter
(1974)

Late-Date Hammer...Twisting the"Vampire" Mythos Slightly...Near-Miss
Initially Conceived as a TV-Show, Then a Movie Franchise, and it Turned-Out to be a "Stand-Alone" One-Shot.

The Box-Office was Dismal and the Critical Response was Mediocre.

So the Studio Decided to Let it End with this Film.

Considerably Different with its Story-Telling, Using an Adventurous Tone of Swashbuckling and Overlaying the Vampire Mythos with "Sucking the Youth" and Not the Blood from the Mostly Female Nubile Victims.

It Includes some Intriguing Aspects of a New Mythos with Many Interesting Characters and Situations.

Experimenting on one of the Troops Victims to Find Out the Lethal Method of Snuffing Out the "Youth-Suckers" was Unique.

There's Plenty of Wit and Profound One-Liners to Go with the Sword-Play.

Caroline Munroe Heats Up the Screen, Looking Cute as Ever.

She does a Semi-Nude Scene with Reluctance. There are the Typical Hammer Cleavage. Here and There.

But the Violence is Toned-Down Quite a Bit as the Film Goes for the Adventurous Template Rather than Straight-Out Horror.

It's an Above-Average Hammer from the Waning Days Close to Closing Shop.

The Overall Ambiance is Laid-Back and Lacks some Urgency and Horst Janson as "Kronos" is Stiff and His Voiced Dubbed.

But Overall it's Different Enough and that Hammer Look is Still There, Although Less Lush, Pristine, Colorful, and a Harder Patina.

But, if it's a Hammer Film it's...

Worth a Watch.

The Last Crooked Mile
(1946)

Lightweight Crime...Ann Savage & Slick "Republic" Look Highlight
This Bit of Fluff from "Republic Studios" has a Sharp Noirish Appeal at Times but the Darkness is Overshadowed by a Lighter-Than-Air Tone.

Peppered with Comedy-Relief in the Form of a Running-Joke the Annoying Don Barry "Standing-Up: the Pretty Adele Mara.

The Grim and Scary Ann Savage who Left an Indelible Mark on Film-Noir in "Detour" (1945), Plays a "Songbird" and Another Love Interest for the Cocky, Belligerent Barry.

Although She Doesn't Quite Pull it Off as a Nightclub Singer because of Her Hard Look and Demeanor, Savage Does Make an Impression.

The Overall Tone is too Wishy-Washy for a True Noir.

But its a Good Time-Passer and Republic Studios was Humming Along as One of the Best "B-Studios" in Hollywood.

Those Looking for Film-Noir Need Go Elsewhere, but Still it's...

Worth a Watch.

Zombie
(1971)

Resurrected & Repackaged 1964 Unreleased Film...Underrated
Surely a Contender for the Most Lurid, Disgusting Titles Ever.

Aka..."Zombie"

After Writer/Producer/Director Del Tenney ("The Horror of Party Beach (1964), Completed this Still-Born Movie, it Sat On the Shelf for Years.

Exploitation Guru Jerry Gross, Scraped Off the Crust and Repackaged it as Part of a Double Bill in 1971 with "I Drink Your Blood".

Probably Part of its "Bad" Reputation is that the Movie was Already 7 Years Old when Folks Saw it at the Drive-In.

Certainly, Tastes and Times Changed Considerably at the Theatre and Expectations were Not in Line with its Dated Production.

Actually, its Not All That Bad.

Once On the Island Things Pick Up Considerably and there are Moments of Inspiration.

The 3rd Act is the Best and One Can See some of the Budget Up on the Screen.

The Voodoo Rituals are a Hoot, Lively, Lurid and Salacious.

The Costuming and some of the Sets and Make-Up are Low-Budget Cool.

Some Violence (for1964) Pushes the Code.

It Can be Stiff at times and its Rather Long for Type (94 min).

The Romance and Comedy Angles Fall Flat, but there are Things in this Economical Entry that Makes it...

Worth a Watch.

The Unknown Terror
(1957)

Unimaginative Widescreen Talk-A-Thon Tedium
Pretty Much Wasting a Widescreen Format, this Dull, Dreary Horror Fails to Deliver.

The "Monsters", or Unknown Terror of the Cave are Never Shown to in Close-Up and are Fleeting Non-Entities at Best.

The Fungus, a Co-Unknown-Terror is Free-Flowing, Fast-Moving Soap Suds.

The Movie Plods Along with an Uninteresting, Never Clearly Articulated Story About South American Natives and some Mumbo-Jumbo.

The Villainous Scientist would be Better Cast as a Bartender or Hard-Hat.

The 2 Females are a WOW. The Beautiful Marla Powers, who also had Acting Chops, was Prolific in TV and also Taught Acting.

May Wynn as a Helpful Native, both Make this Boring Film a Pleasure to Look at Now and Then.

Calypso Star Sir. Lancelot (of Val Lewton fame) Sings a Song that We are Told has "Special Meaning" but that Meaning is Forgotten Almost as Soon as it is Uttered.

Overall, a Serious Misfire with its Greatest Sin...a Total Mishandling of the Material.

Worth a Watch Only for Die-Hards and Completist.

The Super
(2017)

Routine "Bait & Switch" Skyscraper-Horror...Some Chills
Val Kilmer Soldiers-On, Suffering from Throat Cancer Treatment and its Side-Effects, in a Post-Dubbed Performance.

Looking Horrible and that Adds to HIs Role of a Suspected Murderer-Necromancer in a Midtown Skyscraper where He is Employed as a Super.

With this Type of Thriller the Foundational Building must have its Share of Creepiness and Creakiness, and this one Does Deliver a Spooky Ambience,

A Newly Arrived Super in the Mix is a Family of 3, A Dad and 2 Daughters Young Daughters.

As the Story Unfolds Secrets are Revealed as Bloody Murders Take Place and its Quite Claustrophobic.

Surprises and Twists Drop Unexpectedly as the Victims Keep Dropping, and the Suspense Ratchets Up.

While there are some True Twists that are Original, Some have been Seen Before and have Become Almost Tropes of the Genre.

Kilmer Does OK Despite the Handicap and the Rest of the Cast Do No Disappoint, Especially the Children.

The Mood is Gloomy and the Terror is Real.

But the "Out of Nowhere" Ending will have Some Cry Foul.

Worth a Watch.

Radar Secret Service
(1950)

Post-War Govt. & Tech Can Do No Wrong...Braggadocio
Movies in the Post-WWII Years were Increasingly Used as Propaganda Backing the Government and Law Enforcement Forcing the "Big Brother" is Looking Out for You Scenario on the Public.

By 1950 that Format Changed "Film-Noir" and the Dark-Side of American Life into 'Police Procedurals" and the Tide was Tsunami by the Mid-to-Late 50's that Coincided with the Conservative Decade.

This Particular 1950 Low-Budget Plot is an Example of it Going Over the Top and Unrealistic to a Fault.

Turning Anti-Crime Techniques from Science to Science-Fiction.

Here Using "Radar", that Did Help Win the War into an Omnipresent Super-Weapon with Capabilities from Buck Rogers that Were Not and Ever Will Be a Reality.

Now, Completely Embarrassing and Glaring in its Manipulation of the Facts to Ensure All that We, the USA, are an Unbeatable Presence with God & Science On Our Side. So Communist Beware.

While Most Movies that Adopted the Government-Friendly Attitude were More Realistic, to the Point, and Didn't Overstate the Obvious, but Instead Used "Authority" Figures for Introductions, Voice-Over, and Epilogues Cheer-Leading the Procedurals.

But Here, it is Hopelessly and Laughable Throughout and the Movie Becomes Nothing More than a Plead for More Funding for Radar.

It's so Far-Out it is Watchable for its Over-Baked Tone.

The Show is Ridiculous, Over-the-Top, and Beyond Belief so Much, it's

Worth a Watch

Note...there is an In-Joke Moment when Ralph Byrd, who Played "Dick Tracy" more than once, Commented About Tracy's Gadgets, that took the Movie Out of its Skin for an Instance.

The Mark of Zorro
(1940)

Exciting...Excellent..."Before Batman There Was Zorro"
The Co-Creators of "Batman" Agreed that Before Batman there was Zorro (Spanish for fox).

The Swashbuckling Night-Rider, Dressed in Black, on a Black Horse, Masked to Hide His Identity, whose Home-Base was a Cave.

Tyrone Power was the Definitive 'Talkie" Zorro in 1940.

Handsome, Athletic, Sporting a Dual-Identity.

1 a Daring Vigilante Correcting Wrong-Doing on Behalf of the Suppressed Peons at the Hands of a Tyrant.

The Other an Effeminate Perfume-Loving "Swish" to Hide the "Swash" that was His Secret Identity "Zorro".

Power was Then and even Now Inevitably Compared to the "Silent" Screen's Douglas Fairbanks and Held His Own.

The Film is Comparatively Short for Such an Epic Adventure.

Clocking in at 94 Min. Not a Wasted Moment as the Film is a Compact Entertainment.

Helped by Basil Rathbone at His Villainous Sword-Swahing Best, and the 15 Year-Old Beauty, Linda Darnell.

And an Oscar-Nominated Musical Score.

Coming in 1940 and Era that is Said, the Hollywood Studio-System at its Peak.

Rousing Action-Adventure Romance is as Good as it Gets. The Entertainment Value is Through-the-Roof.

A Near-Perfect Film.

The Slime People
(1963)

Whipping Post...Monotonous-Repetitive-Hokey...Stretches Budget
Actor Robert Hutton Tries & Tries to Make $56,000 Enough to Finance a Movie. Even in 1963 that is a Monumental Task.

Taking On Director Duties as Well as Leading a Cast of Amateurs in this Good-Try About Underground Dwellers Forced to Surface and Create a Vaporous Dome to Manipulate Temperatures to Their Requirements.

With its Low Low-Rung Status Running-Out of Money in 9 Days. After the 3 Slime Costumes Cost 1/2 the Budget.

The Look of the Slimes is Effectively Not-Bad, but Unfortunately that Can't be Said of the Rest of the "Production".

The Script, Dialog, Pacing and Overall Completed Film Resulted in a Less than Average Attempt.

The Stilted Movie Can Not Overcome a Lack of Creative Movie-Making with One on One Fist-Fights the Strategy of Action. Not a Good Idea with the Heavy Burden of Costuming Weighing Down the Stunt-Men.

The Overuse of the Fog and Smoke Machines Rendering a Cloudy Visual Texture is a Talking-Point Among its Many Disappointed Fans and Detractors.

Wildly Considered One of the Worst. But its Not-All-That with the Creatures Making Up for a Lot of its Shortcomings.

It is Lethargic and Lame No Doubt. But there are a Lot of Contenders for that Bottom-of-the-Barrell Status and this May Be Viewed Harshly Despite the Hard-On-the-Eyes Watch from the Smoke.

So Infamous it's Worth a Watch to See if You Can See More than its Reputation Among Red-Eyed Whiners and that Includes those "Famous" Ghouls on that "Famous" Way Overrated TV Show.

Daniel Isn't Real
(2019)

Exceptional Psychological Horror/Thriller...Psychedelic Vibe
The Young Cast and Crew of this "Imaginary Friend" Nightmare Show Above Average Creativity and Zest.

The Horror and Thriller Genre has a Rich History of Showcasing and Exploiting Personality Disorders.

It's a Story that Lends Itself to Disturbing and Terrifying Imagery and Horrific Situations.

The Film Adopts a "Psychedelic" Tone from the Stunning Artistic Images During the Openings Credits.

From There the Film Progresses with a Nightmarish Tale of a Schizophrenic College Freshman (Miles Robbins) and His Uneasy (to say the least) Relationship with an "Imaginary Friend".

"Daniel Isn't Real" says the Title, but Audiences are Quick to Challenge that Statement as the Film Unfolds.

"Daniel" ({Patrick Schwarzenegger) is the "Friend", Helper, Tormentor, and Nemesis.

He Represents the "Inner" Intelligence that is Gregarious and Creativity that Daniel Possesses but is too Shy and Insecure to Let Breathe and Associate with the World.

It Proves Rewarding for Luke and the Medication and Visits to a Psychiatrist are Now what Constitutes Life for the Withdrawn Youth who has a New Hobby Photography and an Actual Girlfriend to Relate to.

But Things Don't Stay "Normal" for Long. Daniel is a Demon that Thrives on Terror, Violence, and Dominating the Weak Luke.

There are Images that Disturb and Horrify and the Tone is Relentlessly Unsettling with Many Stand-Out Scenes.

The Ending is Up for Debate about the Particulars but Regardless, this is Fresh Look at and Old Type.

Beat Girl
(1960)

Lurid & Spicy...Brit JD...A 14 Yr Old "Lolita" Like Gillian Hills Stars
Part of the JD Trend of the Mid 50's, this one From Britain.

It Includes Soft-Core Strip-Tease (something American Movies of this type never came close).

It's a much More Serious Tone with Teen-Age Rock n' Roll Antics are Mixed with a Sub-Plot Focusing on a Strip-Club, Run by Christopher Lee, that Includes some Semi-Nudity.

Gillian Hill was Only 14 when She Starred in this and Actually Does a Strip Herself at a Wild House Party.

Her Dramatics are Mature and She Holds Her Own with the Older Thespians.

Noelle Adam as the French Step-Mom is a Beauty, but a Bit Stiff.

Brit Pop-Star Adam Faith does a Few Tunes (imitating Elvis), Oliver Reed's First Picture. Composer John Barry's Debut.

There's a Game of Chicken on the Rail-Road Tracks that Caused Quite a Stir. Actually the Whole Film Caused Quite a Stir.

It Was Considered "Absolute Trash", Slapped with an X-Certificate and Ignored by the "Ruling Class".

A Pretty Sexy and Dramatic Take on the "Youth" of the Day, the Rebels, and Kicks Generation.

Above Average in the Genre.

Definitely Worth a Watch.

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