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A Decent Third Installment of the Franchise
This film essentially picks up where its immediate predecessor left off with "Ripley" (Sigourney Weaver) once again inside a hibernation pod as her shuttle craft drifts in outer space. Although there are a couple of other people also inside her ship, she is the only survivor after it crash lands on a former penal colony that has since been transformed into a metal foundry consisting of an entirely male population. Needless to say, the arrival of a female causes quite a stir-especially since most of the men had previously served sentences for sexual crimes. But what nobody realizes at the time is that an alien creature was also aboard the shuttle craft and it has survived the crash as well. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was an okay film which boasted enough action and special effects to keep things interesting. It did, however, get a little tedious toward the end but all things considered I thought that this was a decent third installment of the franchise and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

The Fixer

A Problem-Solver with Problems of His Own
This film takes place in Chicago where a well-connected lawyer by the name of "Jack Killoran" (Jon Voight) has skillfully maneuvered himself to the height of power due to his ability to "fix" problems for a small group of people who control the levers of power within the city. Unfortunately, just when he is in the center of a major project one of his clients murders a prostitute and he is called upon to do something beyond which he has never done before-and this is when his problems really begin. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a surprisingly good made-for-television film which had a decent plot and some interesting twists and turns along the way. And although I am not a big fan of Jon Voight he performed quite well as did Brenda Baake (as his wife "C.J."). Admittedly, I would have preferred a bit more suspense but all things considered I enjoyed this film for the most part and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Der Teufel kam aus Akasava

A Slow-Moving Spy Film Without Much Action or Suspense
This film begins with a man by the name of "Joao" (Antonio Padilla) discovering an extremely valuable crystal which has the potential to turn ordinary metal into gold. It is also highly radioactive and unless a person takes extreme precautions will either kill or severely debilitate him into a shell of his former self. To that extent, as soon as Joao emerges from the cave carrying a lead-lined box he is shot and severely wounded by an unnamed assailant. Even so he manages to get back to his workplace but is subsequently murdered by that same person when his boss "Professor Forrester" (Angel Menendez) temporarily leaves his side to find medical help. Not long after that Professor Forrester also goes missing and the box containing the stone is stolen. The scene eventually shifts to the professor's nephew "Rex Forrester" (Fred Williams) boarding an airplane from London to a tropical region known as the Akasava to search for him. Following him at a distance is an agent for the British Secret Service named "Jane Morgan" (Soledad Miranda) who is also investigating the disappearance of Professor Forrester and the murder of his assistant. But what neither Rex nor Jane realize is that they are being closely followed by several different people who each have their own agendas. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a mediocre James Bond clone which not only lacked the suspense necessary for a film of this type but also stretches any sense of realism beyond the breaking point as well. It does, however, have two beautiful actresses in Ewa Stromberg (as "Ingrid Thorrsen") and the aforementioned Soledad Miranda who has several semi-nude scenes throughout the film to keep things somewhat interesting. But that's about all it had going for it. That being said, while this may not have been a great spy film by any means, it wasn't necessarily that bad either and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly below average.

Jigoku Shôjo

Much Darker Than the Anime Series
This film begins in 1965 with three teenage schoolgirls walking down a hallway when one of them by the name of "Yamada Kaede" (Kimura Hazuki) stops to look through a window where the sky has suddenly turned an ominous dark orange. When she turns back around she notices that her friends have disappeared and that an ugly old man is approaching in front of her. She then quickly runs the opposite way down the hall to avoid him and is then confronted by two other strange people. So she ducks inside a room where a teenage girl dressed in a school uniform is singing a children's song. The schoolgirl then introduces herself as "Ai Enma" (Tina Tamashiro) and after showing Yamada a quick glimpse of her past to reflect on her wrongful deeds sends her straight to hell. The scene then shifts to the present where an elderly woman is lying in bed with not much time left to live. Her adult son, "Jin Kudo" (Kazuki Namioka) is visiting her and inquires about a story he had heard of her being bullied a long time ago and summoning a mystical creature known as Hell Girl to punish the person responsible. Unfortunately, she dies before being able to tell him the full story but as it turns out the event happened in 1965 and she was the one who placed a call to Ai Enma (aka Hell Girl) to take her revenge on Yamada Kaede--who has not been seen since that time. Naturally, being a freelance journalist, Jin Kudo is determined to get more details so that he can write a story on this phenomenon. What he doesn't realize, however, is the horror that he will witness along the way. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film follows a successful Japanese anime around 2005 which has only recently been made into a live action movie. Having seen the Japanese anime series I can only say that this film is much darker and a good deal more horrifying thanks in large part to the excellent special effects. Admittedly, some of these scenes are a bit choppy in nature due to poor editing and as a result they don't flow together as smoothly as they should--but all things considered I thought this was a pretty good movie and I especially recommend it for fans of the Hell Girl anime series.

The Experts

Two Americans Lost in the 50's
This film essentially begins during the latter part of the Cold War at a camp in Siberia which had been created in the 1950's to resemble a small town in America. It's here that Soviet spies are trained in order to infiltrate the United States and blend in more easily. The problem is that while the world has changed everybody and everything in the town has remained the same-and this creates a huge problem for those in charge of the program. So to rectify this problem one of the managers by the name of "Cameron Smith" (Charles Martin Smith) goes to New York City in search of a couple of young men who seem to have a good grasp of familiarity with the current societal norms of the day. His search ends when he spots two savvy young men by the name of "Travis" (John Travolta) and "Wendell" (Arye Gross) and easily convinces them to board a plane to the Midwest to help him set up a night club based on modern American trends. Once on board the airplane, he subsequently drugs them and when they wake up they find themselves in a town called "Indian Springs, Nebraska" which doesn't resemble anything they have ever seen before. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film started off reasonably well but seemed to get bogged down a bit toward the end. As far as performances were concerned, "Kelly Preston" (as "Bonnie") dominated every scene she was in with her beauty and sexuality. Arye Gross also performed quite well. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for either John Travolta or Deborah Foreman (as "Jill") as neither seemed totally comfortable in their roles. In any case, while not a great comedy by any means, it managed to pass the time and I have rated it accordingly. Average.

In Time

When Time Is a Valuable Commodity
This film begins in a futuristic setting where once a person reaches the age of 25 they only have one more year left to live. However, they can change that circumstance with technology which allows them to add or subtract time from one another. Additionally, they can also add time to their life by working for it, trading for something of worth or even borrowing it from a bank. But once the electronic device in their arm reaches zero it's all over. To that effect, "Will Salas" (Justin Timberlake) meets a man in the bar by the name of "Henry Hamilton" (Matt Bomer) who is eagerly buying drinks for everyone as he has managed to accumulate plenty of this valuable commodity. However, since this is the poor side of town-where most residents only have a few days of life accrued and are desperate to find more-this is most unusual to see and Will warns him to keep a lower profile lest someone try to take his time by force. Sure enough, a local gangster arrives and tries to do just that but Will helps him to escape and together they find a safe place to stay for the night. When Will wakes up, however, he notices that Henry has downloaded 100 years into him and has departed with the intention of killing himself. Although Will tries to stop him he arrives too late and suddenly the police suspect foul play on his part--and he becomes a wanted fugitive from that point on. If that wasn't bad enough, things get even more complicated when he travels to the rich part of town and meets the real power brokers who eagerly accumulate time at the expense of everyone else. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was an interesting film which started off well but eventually reverted to the usual chase scenarios depicted in countless other movies through the years. Likewise, although Justin Timberlake performed adequately enough, other than possibly Olivia Wilde (as Will's mother "Rachel Salas") nobody else really stood out in my opinion. That being said, while I didn't consider this to be a blockbuster film by any means, it was still entertaining enough and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Gun the Man Down

An Outlaw with a Score to Settle
This film begins with three cowboys by the names of "Remington 'Rem' Anderson" (James Arness), "Matt Rankin" (Robert J. Wilke) and "Ralph Farley" (Don Megowan) discussing plans on robbing a nearby bank. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse during their attempt when Rem is badly wounded and as a result when they get back to their hideout the other two men decide to take the money-along with Rem's girlfriend "Janice" (Angie Dickinson)-and ride off while leaving him behind. Not long after that a posse arrives which subsequently results in Rem being tried and sentenced to a year in prison. Needless to say, having a year to think about things, he is quite bitter when he gets out and makes it his mission in life to hunt down those who betrayed him if it's the last thing he does. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a rather odd film for James Arness in that he is better known for his iconic role as the marshal in the epic television series "Gunsmoke." Be that as it may, he put in a fine performance just the same and--while this might not be a great Western by any means--it still managed to pass the time and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.


A Good Sequel
Having narrowly escaped in a shuttle craft while the rest of her crew had been killed by the vicious alien creature, "Ripley" (Sigourney Weaver) is found in her hibernation pod some 57 years later. Although she reports what she experienced she is shocked that nobody believes her and to make matters even more concerning is the fact that this same exomoon has now been colonized. Horrified upon learning this she volunteers to go with a small company of marines there to help them in their efforts to kill the creatures she believes are still there. What she doesn't know is that there is one person in this squad who has an ulterior motive which will directly contradict the intended mission. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a pretty good movie that almost matched the intensity of its highly successful predecessor. There were, however, a couple of rather annoying characters with "Private Hudson" (Bill Paxton) probably being the worst. Even so, I enjoyed this film for the most part and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.

Jane Eyre

Suffered from Poor Editing
This film begins with a young orphan by the name of "Jane Eyre" (Sara Gibson) being sent to an orphanage known as the Lowood Institution by her aunt. As was often the case during this particular time period, this orphanage was not an ideal place for a child and as a result all of the young girls sent there were treated quite miserably-and Jane was no exception. To that effect, she eventually grows up and 10 years later Jane (now played by Susannah York) gets hired by an extremely wealthy nobleman named "Edward Rochester" (George C. Scott) to be a governess for a child he is helping to support. Although she initially doesn't care for his rough mannerisms the two of the them are eventually drawn together until one fateful day when he discloses a secret that he has hidden from almost everyone for a very long time. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a rather uneven film which suffered from either poor direction or bad editing. For starters, on a couple of occasions Edward tells Jane that she is rather plain when it is quite obvious that she is quite attractive. There is also a scene where Jane mentions a character by the name of "Grace Poole" (Stella Tanner) who apparently merits some amount of attention but doesn't have hardly any screen time to back it up. Then there is also the matter of how a crazy person in an attic can wander around and cause all kinds of mischief yet go so completely unnoticed by a person living under the same roof for any matter of time. Be that as it may, although I happen to like both of the main actors, I wasn't terribly impressed with this film and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Average.

O.S.S. 117 n'est pas mort

An Adequate, No-Frills Eurospy Movie
This film begins with an attractive French woman by the name of "Consuelo" (Jacqueline Pierreux) cleverly obtaining a hearing aid belonging to a man involved in a barroom brawl and subsequently taking it to a man named "Joseph Silven" (Andre Valmy) to evaluate its worth. Sure enough, inside the earpiece is some microfilm which indicates that someone within the household of a powerful French official named "Anthony Lead" (Georges Lannes) has been leaking top secret documents to foreign intelligence agents. To resolve this situation the French government dispatches their foremost secret agent named "Vincent Bushrod" (Ivan Desny) to discover who the culprit is to prevent any further security compromises. Also involved in this case is a young female operative by the name of "Muriel Rousset" (Magali Noel) who has been tasked to assist him in this most sensitive matter. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was an adequate, no-frills Eurospy movie which suffered from poor cinematography and very clumsy action scenes. It was also quite dated as well. Even so, I found it worth the time spent and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Average.

Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo

Two Babies Switched at Birth
This film begins in a hospital where two women are simultaneously giving birth. As it so happens, one of the women is married to an extremely successful businessman named "Ramachandra" (Jayaram) while the other woman is married to one of Ramachandra's employees by the name of "Valmiki" (Murli Sharma). Although both babies are male, the nurse notices that the one belonging to Ramachandra is not breathing and begins to panic under the assumption that she will be held responsible for the child's death. It's at this time that Valmiki intervenes and tells her to substitute his son for that of Ramachandra's with the expectation that he will have a much better life. The nurse hesitates at first and when she does it is discovered that Ramachandra's baby is not dead after all. Regardless, Valmiki is determined to switch babies and after a scuffle the nurse is seriously injured to the point that she cannot prevent Valmiki from going through with his deception. Eventually, both children grow up with the Ramachandra's actual child, "Bantu" (Allu Arjun) possessing superior talents while Valmiki's child "Raj Manohar" (Sushanth) is rather slow and dim-witted. Even so, Raj Manohar is given all of the benefits a wealthy father can bestow upon him while Bantu is continuously scorned by Valmiki. However, things become quite interesting once the paths of Ramachandra and Bantu finally cross. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that started off as an extremely enjoyable comedy but slowed down around the middle part of the film when the plot turned a bit more serious. As far as the actors are concerned, I liked the performances of both Allu Arjun and Jayaram but not so much for that of Murli Sharma who seemed a bit over-the-top. In any case, I enjoyed this film for the most part and have rated it accordingly. Above average.

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous

Not Quite as Good as Its Predecessor
Three weeks after her successful undercover assignment in the Miss United States beauty pageant, FBI Agent "Gracie Hart" (Sandra Bullock) has returned to her duties in New York but is hampered in her work because of her popularity. As a result she is reassigned to a new position in public relations to help improve the department's image. To do that, however, requires a total makeover not unlike that which she had to take during her brief appearance in the beauty pageant and for that reason a style expert by the name of "Joel Meyers" (Diedrich Bader) is called in for this difficult transformation. Additionally, another female agent with anger management issues named "Sam Fuller" (Regina King) is also assigned as her bodyguard which causes even more problems for everyone involved. To that effect, things get especially complicated when Gracie's good friend Cheryl Frasier" (Heather Burns)-who happens to be the reigning Miss United States--and the beauty pageant organizer "Stan Fields" (William Shatner) are subsequently kidnapped and held for ransom. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was an okay comedy which benefited from good performances by both Sandra Bullock and Diedrich Bader. On the flip side, however, it was also marred by a rather uneven pace with the ending being particularly disappointing. In any case, while this film wasn't quite as good as its predecessor, I still enjoyed this film to a certain degree and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Average.

The Thomas Crown Affair

A Good Remake but Lacks the Suspense and Sexual Chemistry of the Original Movie
"Thomas Crown" (Pierce Brosnan) is a wealthy businessman who resides in New York and is both extremely competitive and likes to live on the edge of danger. That being the case, he devises a plan to steal a famous Monet painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art worth an estimated $100 million. To accomplish this task he carefully selects a crew from Eastern Europe while at the same time hiding his from them. Once they begin to carry out his instructions he cleverly double-crosses them which creates enough confusion to allow him to safely abscond with the piece of art with nobody capable of tying him to the theft. At least, that is what he initially thinks. What he doesn't count on is the insurance company hiring an investigator by the name of "Catherine Banning" (Rene Russo) who has an uncanny ability to take what little evidence is available from the crime scene and build a solid case from that point. Likewise, the fact that she stands to make a profit of $5 million gives her even more incentive. What then transpires is a battle of wits in which Catherine is prepared to do whatever it takes to nail Thomas one way or the other. Now rather than reveal any more I will just that this was a good remake of the 1968 film which starred Steve McQueen in the lead role. Unfortunately, even though Pierce Brosnan performs quite well in this particular film, it lacks the overall suspense and sexual chemistry of its predecessor and for that reason I have rated it lower than the original movie. Slightly above average.

Duel in the Sun

A Story of Love and Lust in West Texas
After catching his wife with another man "Scott Chavez" (Herbert Marshall) shoots and kills the two of them and then surrenders himself to the law where he is subsequently tried and executed. Before that, however, he writes to his cousin "Laura Belle McCanies" (Lillian Gish) and arranges for her to take in his teenage daughter "Pearl Chavez" (Jennifer Jones). The problem is that Scott's wife was a full-blooded Indian and because of that Pearl is looked down upon by everybody as a half-breed-and this is especially true in the case of Laura Belle's wealthy husband "Senator Jackson McCanies" (Lionel Barrymore). Compounding her problems is the fact that she is very pretty which causes both of Laura Belle's sons "Jesse McCanies" (Joseph Cotton) and "Lewt McCanies" (Gregory Peck) to become immediately attracted to her. Yet, even though Jesse is polite and well-mannered, his brother is by no means constrained by such lofty ideals and this creates a situation which soon causes trouble for everyone involved. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that I didn't quite care for this Western due in large part to the miscasting of Gregory Peck as the lewd and undisciplined character he portrayed. It just didn't fit his persona. Likewise, I thought that Lionel Barrymore overplayed his part as well. In any case, while this certainly wasn't a bad film by any means, I wasn't that impressed with it and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly below average.

Jason X

A Disappointing Addition to the Franchise
This film begins with a small group of scientists taking the body of "Jason Voorhees" (Kane Hodder) to a secret research laboratory in order to study his incredible ability to regenerate after having been shot, hung, electrocuted and drown so many times in the past. Although they initially intended on using this information to facilitate their research on cryogenics they are soon interrupted by a man named "Dr. Wimmer" (David Cronenberg) who arrives with an Army escort to take physical possession of Jason's body in order to conduct his own scientific experiments for military purposes. What nobody counts on, however, is Jason returning back to life during this process and subsequently killing almost everyone within the facility. It's at this time that the last remaining survivor by the name of "Rowan" (Lexa Doig) manages to trick him into entering a cryogenic chamber and freezes him in the process. Unfortunately, she is injured while doing so and inadvertently becomes frozen herself. The scene then shifts to 450 years later with some explorers finding these two bodies and taking them aboard their spacecraft for further study-and that's when the nightmare begins again. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a different type of "Friday the 13th" which had all kinds of possibilities. Unfortunately, although it started off reasonably well, I didn't care for the manner in which the horror was lessened in order to accommodate the science-fiction aspects of the film along with the action sequences taking priority over the suspense. I especially didn't care for the scenes involving the android named "Kay-Em 14" (Lisa Ryder) which seemed much too juvenile and ridiculous. Again, this film had potential but the director (James Issac) was obviously not up to the task and I have rated this picture accordingly.

Fallen Angel

The Story of a Grifter Who Is Broke and Down on His Luck
This film begins with a grifter by the name of "Eric Stanton" (Dana Andrews) arriving in the dead of night on a bus to the small town of Walton, California with only $1 dollar to his name. Naturally, since it's night most of the places are closed but he happens to notice a diner that is still open so he heads for that. Once inside a waitress by the name of "Stella" (Linda Darnell) not only catches his eye but immediately makes him determined to have at all costs. However, being the beautiful woman that she is, Stella knows she can have just about any man in town and wants nothing to do with someone like Eric who is broke and down on this luck. Even so, Eric is not the type of person to be held down for long and after meeting another attractive woman named "June Mills" (Alice Faye) he immediately comes up with a plan to ingratiate himself with her in order to get his hands on $12,500 she has in a bank in San Francisco. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say was an okay movie which benefited from decent performances of all three people just mentioned. However, the overall plot was a bit too convoluted at times and due to the overall lack of realism I have rated the film accordingly. Average.

A 008 operazione sterminio

Not One of the Better James Bond Clones Out There
This film begins in Cairo where a special weapon has just been created that distorts long range radar making it difficult for ships to navigate correctly. As a result, the British decide to send an agent by the name of "Frank Smith" (Alberto Lupo) to Egypt where an American agent named "MacDonald" (Ingrid Schoeller) is waiting to greet him. At first, Frank is surprised to find that his American colleague is female and this creates a certain amount of sexual tension from that point on. However, what makes matters even more difficult for the two of them is the fact that the people who possess the anti-radar device know all about the identities of these two and have already made plans to terminate them upon sight. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this wasn't one of the better "James Bond clones" ever made due in large part to the fact that neither Alberto Lupo nor Ingrid Schoeller had the same on-screen presence as many of the actors in a similar role. As a result, the sexual tension was that acute which rendered most of the film somewhat dry and lifeless. That being said, this wasn't necessarily a bad film necessarily and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Slightly below average.


Enjoyable but a Bit Long and Somewhat Dated
This film begins in a remote area of India where some gun runners from Pakistan have arraigned for a shipment of AK-47's to be delivered to some local Muslim tribesmen. Not long afterward these tribesmen proceed to stop a bus loaded with Hindu passengers and subsequently kill everyone on board and then quickly escape back into the jungle after taking all of the money and jewelry they can find from the bodies of their victims. Quite naturally, this act of lawlessness causes a great stir among the citizenry and an inspector by the name of "Ajay Singh Rathod" (Aamir Khan) is chosen to lead the investigation over that of the normal investigator named "Inspector Salim" (Mukesh Roshi) who happens to be Muslim. Needless to say, Salim doesn't take this very well even though Ajay tries to explain that he had no input into this decision which was made due to political circumstances. Yet even though they both share a revulsion to the violence that has just occurred, what neither of them realize is that the arming of these tribesmen was a carefully planned event from myopic partisans within Pakistan wanting a religious civil war in India for their own selfish interests. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was an interesting movie which might require the viewer to have a certain degree of knowledge concerning the historical significance of the Partition of India in 1947 and the ramifications that are still ongoing today. That aside, I liked the general plot of the film although I thought that some of the romantic elements didn't quite blend in with the more intense dramatic scenes as well as they could have. Likewise, some of the action scenes could have used a bit more polish as well. In any case, this was an enjoyable film for the most part and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Groundhog Day

Reliving Deja Vu All Over Again
"Phil Connors" (Bill Murray) is a television weatherman for WPBH in Pittsburgh who has an elevated opinion of himself and looks down at everyone else. Although he isn't looking forward to it he has been tasked to go to the small Pennsylvanian town of Punxsutawney to cover the annual event where a groundhog named "Punxsutawney Phil" (a groundhog actually named "Scooter") is brought out to supposedly predict whether there will be an early spring or a late winter. So after giving the afternoon forecast in which he predicts that a snowstorm will not hit the area, he leaves for Punxsutawney with his new producer "Rita Hanson" (Andie MacDowell) and his cameraman "Larry" (Chris Elliott). Naturally, being the disagreeable person that he is, it is arraigned for Phil to stay at a local bed & breakfast rather than the hotel which Rita and Larry have chosen to stay. The next morning-on Groundhog Day-Phil does his usual broadcast and eventually retires for the day. However, when he wakes up a 6:00 A.M. the next morning it's Groundhog Day once again--and everything is exactly the same. Needless to say, this disturbs him very much and after going through the motions one more time again retires for the day-only to find that when he wakes up--its Groundhog Day once again. It's then that he discovers that he has been trapped inside a time loop and there is nothing he can do to escape. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a fascinating comedy which--ironically enough--never seems to get old. I especially liked the performances of both Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell who seemed tailor-made for their parts. Likewise, the scenes in which Phil attempts to seduce "Nancy Taylor" (Marita Geraghty) was also quite amusing as well. In any case, I found this to be a most enjoyable comedy and I have rated it accordingly.

The Thomas Crown Affair

Combines Notable Acting with Some Pretty Good Sexual Chemistry
This film begins with a middle-aged man by the name of "Erwin" (Jack Weston) walking into a hotel room and upon opening the door is blinded by lights shone directly into his eyes. He then hears a voice telling him to sit down in a chair. After he does he is offered the chance to make $50,000 for his part in a bank robbery which consists of driving a station wagon to the entrance of a bank and after a person throws some items into the back of the car driving it to another location. He readily agrees and is handed enough money in an envelope to buy the car and is told to await further instructions. The scene then shifts to several other people given various other instructions by phone and then all of them assembling at a certain time where a transfer of money is taking place at a bank in Boston. Upon taking the money at gun point the four men rapidly disperse with one of them placing the loot into a station wagon which subsequently drives off. Not long after that a wealthy businessman by the name of "Thomas Crown" (Steve McQueen) takes some bags Erwin has placed in a cemetery trash bin and afterward flies to Geneva to deposit the stolen money into a Swiss bank account. Needless to say, having just lost over $2 million the bank files an insurance claim and this prompts the company to send one of their investigator by the name of "Vicki Anderson" (Faye Dunaway) to Boston to meet with the police detective named "Eddie Malone" (Paul Burke) to help track down the mastermind responsible. What then transpires is a battle of wits in which Vicki is prepared to do whatever it takes to nail Thomas one way or the other. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this is one of Steve McQueen's better films in that it combines notable acting on the part of everyone involved and some pretty good sexual chemistry between the two main antagonists. It also benefits from a number of surprising twists and turns along the way as well. That said, I recommend this film to those viewers who might be interested and I have rated it accordingly.

A Gunfight

Winners and Losers in a Fight to the Death
After mining for gold for over six months in Mexico a gunslinger by the name "Abe Cross" (Johnny Cash) decides to ride across the border and redeem it for American dollars. Although he hadn't planned on staying long when his horse is bitten by a rattlesnake right outside of town he decides to stay until it can be treated and healed. Being a small town it isn't long until the news is spread that a famous gunslinger has just arrived. What creates an even larger sensation is that another famous gunslinger by the name of "Will Tenneray" (Kirk Douglas) has recently taken up residence in this same town and before you know it the townsfolk are making bets on who will prevail against the other in a gunfight. At first neither one has any interest in a shootout however when they come to realize how much money the winner could collect they both begin to have second thoughts-and that's when things become even more intense between them and everyone else in town. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this turned out to be a surprisingly good Western which showcases the conflicting interests and desires between not only the two gunfighters but also everyone in this small town as well. I especially liked the ending which presented a potential alternative version had the outcome been different. Be that as it may, I enjoyed this film and I have rated it accordingly.

Dark Harvest

Not Without Flaws but Not That Bad Either
This extremely low-budget film essentially begins with a young man named "Sean" (Don Digiulio) being informed that he has just inherited a farm from an ancestor who lived in rural West Virginia. Naturally, being somewhat curious as to its value, he and his fiancé "Jessica" (Jessica Dunphy) decide to drive out there from their home in Richmond. Also going with them are several friends who are curious about it and are looking to have a good time for a few days. However, once they get to a grocery store only a few miles from the farm they are warned by the store owner about some mysterious rumors he's heard over the years and he advises Sean to turn back. Needless to say, Sean disregards this advice and they continue to the house-and not long afterward things take a severe turn for the worse. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film suffered from a variety of flaws due in large part to its lack of financial resources. The acting was mediocre for the most part and the special effects could have used some improvement as well. But these issues were rather minor in my view and all things considered I thought this wasn't necessarily as bad a movie as some other reviewers have suggested. In that regard, I thought that both Don Digiulio and Jessica Dunphy performed quite well in their respective roles all things considered. On that note, I should mention that there are numerous websites which indicate that the role of "Jessica" was played by another actress by the name of Aimee Cox. This is incorrect as the credits at the end of the film clearly prove otherwise. Another source also confirms this. Likewise, for what it's worth, there is no such place as "Carson County" in West Virginia. Having lived in this exact part of the country I can state unequivocally that the area indicated on the map is Pocahontas County. Additionally, Pocahontas County is too mountainous for the specific farm depicted in this movie and the actual filming took place on the other side of the state near Huntington. Be that as it may, while this was clearly not a great slasher film by any means, considering the low budget-and the fact that I have seen much worse films with much greater financial resources-I have to give credit where credit is due and I have rated this movie a bit higher than most other reviewers.


An Enjoyable Movie
This film begins in the Bronx with a 34-year-old butcher by the name of "Marty Piletti" (Ernest Borgnine) being scolded by some of his much older female customers for not being married. Being a sensitive person this hurts him as he understands only too well that his chances of meeting a single woman interested in someone like him are not good and that he is destined for a life of loneliness. Even so he puts up with the criticism and does the best that he can. That evening he goes to a local bar where he meets his best friend "Angie" (Joe Mantell) who is in a similar situation and together they decide to go to a dance hall on the chance that they might meet someone interesting. As usual though, none of the single women want to have anything to do with him because he is so unattractive and so his feelings of rejection. That all changes one night when he meets a woman named "Clara Snyder" (Betsy Blair) who has endured similar treatment. The problem is that neither his friends or family consider her to be right for him in spite of how they feel for each other. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a nice film which benefited from excellent acting on the part of Ernest Borgnine and also Betsy Blair to a lesser degree. To that effect, it won numerous awards which include the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival along with an Academy Award for Best Picture. Likewise, Ernest Borgnine also won an Academy Award for his performance as well. That said, while this might not be a film of epic proportions, I found it to be extremely enjoyable in its own right and I have rated it accordingly.

Le spie amano i fiori

The Return of Secret Agent Martin Stevens
Secret Agent "Martin Stevens" (Roger Browne) returns this time with an assignment to track down and eliminate three men who have knowledge of a special electronic device which has an enormous amount of power yet to be revealed. His first mission takes him to Paris where he is almost stymied in his efforts by a young blonde woman named "Genevieve Laffont" (Emma Danieli) who unknowingly warns his target of his attack. However, having completed his errand he then ventures to Geneva where, once again, he is almost prevented from carrying out his assignment by the same woman. Having now become extremely suspicious, he then forces Genevieve to accompany him to Athens in order to keep a close eye on her. What he doesn't know is that his movements have been closely monitored and she is now the least of his worries. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film was an okay sequel to "SuperSeven Calling Cairo" with a better plot but somewhat hampered by mediocre acting all around. Along with that, several of the action scenes seemed much too scripted cheapened the overall effect. In any case, while this was certainly not a great spy movie by any means, I thought it was adequate for the time spent and I have rated it accordingly. Average.

Ruang rak noi nid mahasan

A Bit Too Artistic
This film begins with a young Japanese man named "Kenji" (Tadanobu Asano) attempting to commit suicide when he is distracted by a knocking on his apartment door. When he opens it he discovers that his brother "Yukio" (Yutaka Matsushige) has just flown from Osaka to Bangkok to stay with him awhile. As it so happens, Yukio was a member of the Yakuza and the reason he has flown to Bangkok is to escape retribution for sleeping with his boss' young daughter. Needless to say, Yukio is not in an enviable position which soon becomes quite clear when a hit man arrives and kills him in that very same apartment. However, rather than also being murdered Kenji manages to kill the assassin with a gun he has just found in Yukio's luggage. Not knowing what else to do Kenji then flees from the apartment. The scene then shifts to a young Thai woman named "Nid" (Laila Boonyasak) being driven home by her older sister "Noi" (Sinitta Boonyasak). It's during that time that Nid confesses that she had just slept with Noi's boyfriend. This infuriates Noi who stops the car near a bridge and orders Nid to get out. Nid does so but as she is walking over the bridge she sees a young Japanese man about to jump off. What she doesn't see, however, is an oncoming car which then proceeds to hit her. Stopping to render aid Kenji and Noi then take her body to the hospital where she subsequently dies from her injury. From that point on both Kenji and Noi form a close friendship born out of their mutual grief. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this is one of those films that uses black humor, imagery and flashbacks to appear artistic. The problem is that the director (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang) takes it a bit too far at times which is best demonstrated by the purposely ambiguous ending. Likewise, the trilingual approach (Japanese-Thai-English) also had some of its meaning lost in translation as well. Be that as it may, while I enjoy an artistic film as much as the next person, I wasn't that impressed with this particular picture and I have rated it accordingly.

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