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Bend of the River

Treachery, Deceit and the Lure of Gold
This film begins with a wagon train led by a cowboy named "Glyn McLyntock" (James Stewart) heading from Missouri northwest toward Oregon. On the way there Glyn happens to see a lynch mob attempting to hang a man and manages to stop it at gunpoint. Thankful for saving his life, "Emerson Cole" (Arthur Kennedy) rides back with Glyn to the wagon train and essentially joins them on their journey. It's during this time that one of the young women by the name of "Laura Baile" (Julie Adams) becomes attracted to Emerson even though her observant father "Jeremy Baile" (Jay C. Flippen) voices his disapproval of him. Likewise, even though Glyn is glad to have Emerson ride along with them during their passage through hostile Indian Territory, there is something about him that Glyn doesn't particularly like--but that soon becomes the least of his problems. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a solid Western which had several good actors and plenty of intrigue along the way. Admittedly, it was somewhat dated but even so I enjoyed this film for the most part and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Street Girls

Cheap and Dull
After losing contact with his daughter a middle-aged man decides to investigate her disappearance and he eventually finds himself navigating nightclubs in a seedy section of an American city. It's during this time that he comes across a disturbed young man named "Michael Albert" (Michael Weber) who tells him that she used to live with his sister "Sally" (Carol Case) but that she has moved out and is living with a guy named "Mario" (Jay Derringer). He then offers to show him the nightclub where both of the young women work as dancers. Once he gets there, however, he doesn't find his daughter "Angel" (Christine Souder) there he does meet Sally who tells him things about Mario that makes him even more concerned-and that's just the beginnings of his troubles. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a rather cheap sexploitation film which suffered from a shallow plot and inconsistent acting. And while both Carol Case and Christine Souder performed adequately enough, there just wasn't anything else worth mentioning about this film and I have rated it accordingly.

The Showdown

A Cowboy with Revenge in His Heart
This film begins on a cold, dark night with a former Texas State Policeman by the name of "Shadrach Jones" (Bill Elliott) in the process of digging up the grave of a man who had been killed just a week before. As it so happens, he is spotted by two cowboys named "Cap MacKellar" (Walter Brennan) and "Rod Main" (Harry Morgan) who immediately demand to know what he is doing. In response Shadrach tells them that he needs to know the identity of man buried in this grave in order to ascertain if it is his brother or not. However, it's when he tells them that he used to work for the Texas State Police that Rod becomes extremely hostile toward him which results in Cap intervening to prevent a shootout right there and then. That being said, since it is obvious that Shadrach is intent upon finishing up what he started the two cowboys ride off with Cap telling him that he hopes the man buried there is not his brother--so Shadrach can ride off before any trouble starts. Unfortunately, Shadrach soon discovers that the body in the grave is in fact his brother and-like Cap MacKellar feared-trouble soon begins which nobody seems capable of stopping. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this turned out to be a pretty good Western thanks in large part to a number of good actors and some good mystery along the way. Admittedly, I would have liked a bit more suspense here and there but even so it still turned out pretty well and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Alien Nation

Not as Good as First Advertised but Still a Decent Sci-Fi Film Just the Same
This film begins in the future with a giant spacecraft hovering over Los Angeles and it's filled with alien beings who have come to Earth hoping to find a better life than the one they left behind. As it so happens these "newcomers" were genetically bred for hard labor and as such they are an extremely adaptable species to just about any environment. Yet in spite of the advantages of having a docile and hard-working group of workers like these many Americans are fearful and intolerant of them. Such is the case with a Los Angeles police detective named "Sergeant Matthew Sykes" (James Caan) who has just lost his partner during a shootout with two of these aliens. Yet rather than distancing himself from these aliens he volunteers to accept a brand new partner by the name of "Sam Francisco" (Mandy Patinkin) who just happens to be one. But there's something about these "newcomers" that even he doesn't know and it's going to make his life much more difficult than he ever would have dreamed possible. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this movie was heavily advertised when it first came out and because of that I was somewhat disappointed with it at first. However, even though it may not have been the blockbuster I was expecting it was still entertaining enough due in large part to the acting for James Caan who played his role in an excellent manner. That being said, I liked this film for the most part and I have rated it accordingly.

10,000 dollari per un massacro

Not One of the Better Spaghetti Westerns Out There
While bringing the body of an outlaw back to a local sheriff's office to collect a bounty, "Django" (Gianni Garko) comes face to face with of another hombre who has an extremely menacing look about him. It's only when he gets into town that he is informed that the man's name is "Manuel Vasquez" (Claudio Camaso) and he is worth $2000 dead or alive. Even so, Django decides not to pursue it at this time figuring that the price on Manuel is bound to increase to a much higher level in the very near future. Not surprisingly, when a wealthy man by the name of "Senior Mendoza" (Franco Bettella) has his daughter "Dolores Mendoza" (Adriana Ambesi) kidnapped by Manuel the price does indeed increase-but even then not enough to interest Django at this particular time-but things are going to change after that. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film started off pretty well but after the middle part of the movie things became a bit muddled and the ending turned out to be somewhat disappointing as well. In any case, while I don't consider this to be a bad film by any means, I don't rank this as one of the better Spaghetti Westerns and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly below average.

Trooper Hook

A Decent Western for Its Time
After a deadly battle between Apache warriors and cavalry soldiers, the leader of the Indian tribe "Nanchez" (Rodolfo Acosta) is taken prisoner and escorted back to the fort pending his removal to a reservation. Also captured are a few braves along with several women and children. However, it's only after the soldiers have rounded all of them up that they discover that one of their prisoners is a white woman-and she has a young half-Apache boy with her. To that effect, it is later learned that her name is "Cora Sutliff" (Barbara Stanwyck) and after being captured by the Apaches several years earlier was forced to become the wife of Nanchez-and the small child named "Quito" (Terry Lawrence) is a result of this relationship. Complicating matters is the fact that was married prior to being abducted and not knowing what else to do the Army decides to send her and her son back to her husband "Fred Sutliff" (John Dehner) on the next stagecoach to Tuscon. And to make sure she gets there safely a soldier by the name of "Sergeant Clovis Hook" (Joel McCrea) is assigned as her escort. What they don't know is that Nanchez has escaped from custody and after reuniting with several warriors has followed in pursuit-and he has every intention of reclaiming his son in the process. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this was a fairly decent Western that focused heavily on the issue of racism which was rapidly becoming quite contentious during this particular time. Admittedly, there are some scenes involving Quito which were a bit too cutesy but other than that I enjoyed this film and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Yellow Sky

Outlaws Lusting After Gold and a Woman
This film begins in the West with seven cowboys riding into a small town and, after stopping off at a nearby saloon, two of them "James 'Stretch' Dawson" (Gregory Peck) and "Dude" (Richard Widmark) walk over to the local bank and rob it before riding off again with their waiting companions. Not long afterward, a cavalry troop gives chase but and--even though they shoot and kill one of them--stop when they see the outlaws head into a formidable salt flat where few people ever survive upon entering. On that note, although most of them had refilled their canteens before leaving the town, they underestimate how far the salt flat extends and as a result all of them are almost dead when they finally catch a glimpse of what appears to be a town in the distance. So with what little energy they have left they somehow manage to stumble onto the main street only to realize that the town has been deserted for several years and there is no food or water anywhere in sight. At least, that is, until a young woman by the name of "Mike" (Anne Baxter) appears and-even though her instincts tell her that these are not reputable men-informs them out of compassion where a small spring is located not too far away. Little does she know that her kindness will not be reciprocated. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a pretty good Western for its time due in large part to the menacing nature depicted by several of the outlaws in particular "Lengthy" (John Russell) and the aforementioned Stretch and Dude. Admittedly, the ending was a bit corny but even so I enjoyed this film and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.

Escape from L.A.

Cartoonish and Campy
This futuristic film begins in 1998 with a Christian televangelist warning that-because of this nation's godless immorality-a powerful earthquake will hit California and cause massive death and destruction. By sheer coincidence, California suffers a catastrophic earthquake two years later which is so severe that it physically separates Los Angeles from the American mainland. Not long afterward that same televangelist is elected President of the United States and he immediately suspends all democratic processes and transforms America into a theocratic dictatorship where those who don't swear allegiance to him and totally concur with his political and religious views are either killed by electrocution or forcibly relocated to the ruins of Los Angeles where crime and chaos reign supreme. Needless to say, not everyone agrees with "President Adam" (Cliff Robertson) and one specific person is his own daughter "Utopia" (A. J. Langer) who has become enamored with a Peruvian revolutionary in Los Angeles by the name of "Cuervo Jones" (George Corraface) who declares that he will return power back to the American people through whatever means he has available to him. To help him in that regard Utopia gives him with a special device she has stolen that controls specially designed satellites which can effectively shut down any electronic system in the world. Naturally, President Adam and his assistants are furious about this new turn of events and in desperation coerce a former Special Forces soldier named "Snake Plissken" (Kurt Russell)--who had just been convicted of several violent crimes-to go to Los Angeles and retrieve the device within 10 hours. To further ensure his compliance he is injected with a powerful virus known as Plutoxin 7 that will kill him within that exact same time frame and for which they have the only known antidote. Not only that but he is also ordered to kill Utopia while there as well. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film followed the same overall plot as its predecessor "Escape from New York" to a noticeable degree with only a few minor changes here and there. So on that note it was somewhat disappointing. It does, however, have better CGI-but since it was produced 15 years later that shouldn't be too surprising. Along with that, it also takes a rather cartoonish turn later on in the film with the introduction of "Hershe Las Palmas" (Pam Grier) which I didn't really care for either. Be that as it may, I honestly didn't think this film was nearly as good as its predecessor and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Slightly below average.

Escape from New York

Imaginative and Entertaining
This film takes place in the future with Manhattan Island having been turned into one gigantic maximum security prison and sealed off from America by a 50-foot security wall on the opposite side of its river banks. There are no prison guards inside and the prisoners have been essentially left to fend for themselves. To that effect, since all of them have been given life sentences anyone attempting to escape is immediately fired upon by helicopters or machine gun nests on the prison walls. In essence then, once a person is sent inside they do not come back out. At least, that was the case up until the moment that terrorists hijacked Air Force One and caused the President of the United States "John Harker" (Donald Pleasance) to jettison out in an escape pod and land directly into the heart of the city. To make matters even worse, prior to the hijacking he was about to attend a high-level summit which could result in a nuclear war should he not show up within 24 hours. That said, when word is relayed from the prison that any attempt to free him by a massive show of force would result in his death "Police Commissioner Bob Hauk" (Lee Van Cleef) decides to secretly send in a former Special Forces soldier named "Snake Plissken" (Kurt Russell) who had just been convicted of a crime and sentenced to life imprisonment a short time earlier. And although he is promised a complete pardon, to further ensure his compliance a small capsule is inserted into his arteries which will explode within 24 hours if he fails to bring President Harker back out alive. The problem is that he has no real idea where President Harker is being held or whether he is actually still living or not. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a pretty entertaining science-fiction movie due in large part to the imaginative setting and the presence of the solid actors just mentioned along with Ernest Borgnine (as "Cabbie"), Harry Dean Stanton ("Brain") and Adrienne Barbeau ("Maggie"). I also liked the rather amusing twist at the end as well. Be that as it may, I recommend this film for viewers interested in a film of this type and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.


A Mindless Action Film from the 80's
This film begins in Los Angeles with an unidentified motorcyclist (played by Marco Rodriguez) entering a grocery store and shooting a couple of customers with a sawed-off shotgun. Needless to say, the local SWAT team is immediately called onto the scene but rather than risking even more deaths by a massed frontal assault the decision is made to send in one particular police officer by the name of "Lieutenant Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti" (Sylvester Stallone). Once inside the store he manages to confront the gunman and ends up killing him before he can activate a bomb he was holding in his left hand. The story then shifts to a serial killer known as the "Night Slasher" (Brian Thompson) having already murdered at least a dozen people in a grisly manner and Cobra being reluctantly given permission to conduct his own investigation. It's during this time that he learns about a fashion model named "Ingrid Knudsen" (Brigitte Nielsen) barely escaping an attack by several masked men and upon further questioning he begins to suspect that she may have been a witness to the Night Slasher himself. Accordingly, both he and Sergeant Gonzales decide to act as bodyguards for her since they believe he will target her again. What they don't realize, however, is that a female police officer serving with them named "Nancy Stalk" (Lee Garlington) is a member of the Night Slasher's gang and is supplying him with all the information necessary for him to kill his intended target. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this had to be one of the most ridiculous action films I have ever seen with each scene being more preposterous than the one before it. Throw in an extremely hollow plot, bad acting and an awful script and it's not difficult to figure out why this particular movie was nominated for six Razzie Awards-including one for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone) and Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen). Admittedly, it does have some good stunts and pyrotechnics but even so the obvious flaws mentioned previously were simply too much to ignore and I have rated this film accordingly. Below average.

Garden of Evil

A Solid Western with Some Beautiful Scenery
This film essentially begins with three cowboys named "Hooker" (Gary Cooper), "Fiske" (Richard Widmark) and "Luke Daly" (Cameron Mitchell) having to disembark from a steamer which develops engine trouble near the small Mexican village of Puerto Miguel. That being said, since all three men have plenty of time on their hands the first place they visit is the local cantina to drink some tequila and ponder what to do next. As it so happens, while sitting at their table a young American woman by the name of "Leah Fuller" (Susan Heyward) approaches and offers to pay each of them $2000 to help rescue her husband "John Fuller" (Hugh Marlowe) who has been involved in an accident while working in a gold mine in a remote part of the country. Curious as to why she is willing to pay so much money they soon discover that in order to get to this location they will have to ride for several days through hostile Apache territory first. Even so, all three men-along with a local vaquero named "Vincente Madariaga" (Victor Manuel Mendoza)-readily agree and within no time they saddle up some horses to begin their journey. What they don't realize is that the Apaches have detected their presence and have no interest in allowing any of them to leave their territory alive. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that I thought that this was a solid Western film which had a good overall plot along with some really beautiful scenery as well. One slight criticism I had was that--even though all of the actors performed reasonably well enough--I thought that there were a couple of scenes at the very end which suffered from a bit of over-acting to a certain extent. Be that as it may, I still enjoyed this film for the most part and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Bride of Scarecrow

A Dull Horror Film that Lacked Suspense
This film supposedly revolves around a Welsh legend concerning a scarecrow which terrorizes a certain part of the country for a limited period of time before abruptly disappearing--only to return a few years later and repeating the process. To that effect, as the legend supposedly goes, a young man was falsely accused of theft in the spring of 1910 and then brutally punished for it by being hung on a cross and left to die approximately 48 hours afterward. During this time crows mercilessly picked at his eyes while his fiancé was being burned alive in a nearby barn. For this reason, the spirit of the man returns every now and then filled with both a desire for vengeance and a yearning to be reunited with his long lost bride-to-be. That being said, after a brief detour the scene then shifts to the present day where a young female radio host by the name of "May Sealey" (Claire-Maria Fox) has just been told that she has inherited a farm in a remote part of the country and-being naturally curious-she decides to drive there with some of her friends to check it out. What she doesn't realize is that she bears a striking resemblance to the scarecrow's fiancé and that he has chosen that very night for his return. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a rather unremarkable horror film based in large part on its low-budget nature and the lack of any real suspense or quality special effects. To that extent, the story basically plodded along with none of the actors really standing out in any appreciable manner. Again, everything was all rather dull and for that reason I have rated it accordingly.

Distant Drums

Fighting Seminoles, Alligators and Snakes in the Everglades
This film essentially takes place during the Second Seminole War with American troops becoming quite frustrated in their war against the Seminole tribes in Florida. Of particular concern is an old Spanish fort where it is believed the Seminoles are stockpiling arms and ammunition supplied by European gunrunners. So in order to resolve this problem the United States Navy sends a young officer named "Lieutenant Richard Tufts" (Richard Webb) with a boat to "General Zachary Taylor" (Robert Barrat) who plans to transport soldiers into the Everglades to destroy the fort and everything of value there. In command of this specific mission is an Army officer by the name of "Captain Quincy Wyatt" (Gary Cooper) who knows the area--and in particular the Seminole Indians--only too well. What he doesn't count on, however, is being encumbered by hostages held within the fort once he secretly penetrates the walls of the fort. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a pretty standard Western movie for its time with a rather routine by-the-numbers plot and mediocre acting by all concerned. One unique feature is the introduction of the famous "Wilhelm scream" sound effect probably vocalized by Sheb Wooley (as "Private Jessup") and subsequently used numerous times--with one of the most famous examples being by "Private Wilhelm" (Ralph Brooks) in the 1953 film "The Charge at Feather River." Be that as it may, I found this movie to be somewhat dated and predictable and I have rated it accordingly. Average.

Highlander II: The Quickening

Ruined by an Awful Script and Bad Acting
This film essentially picks up where the original movie left off with the Highlander known as "Connor MacLeod" (Christopher Lambert) having become mortal and living out his last days on an earth devastated by climate change. The scene then shifts to over a thousand years in the past with the origins of Connor-and his good friend "Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez" (Sean Connery)-being revealed along with an evil character by the name of "Katana" (Michael Ironside) as well. On that note, Katana has acquired a great deal of power and worried that Connor might decide to return to his dimension and disrupt things he decides to send a couple of assassins to earth to finish him off once and for all. What he doesn't count on, however, is what happens once their attempts fail. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say this turned out to be a rather bad sequel due in large part to the awful script and some dreadful acting-especially on the part of Michael Ironside who must surely regret ever performing in this movie. Likewise, even though I have a high regard for both of them, I wasn't that impressed with Virginia Madsen (as "Louise") or the aforementioned Sean Connery in this picture either. That being said, I honestly can't recommend this film to anybody and I have rated it accordingly.

Kamikaze 1989

A Bizarre Movie
This film essentially takes place in the future with Germany having become a type of paradise where there is no unemployment and all of the citizens appear to be extremely content. Of course, the fact that most of the people there are drugged and the government controls the press has a lot to do with this state of affairs but even so things appear to be quite good for everyone. Yet in spite of these positive developments there exists a small rebellious faction which is cause for government concern so when a bomb threat is called in to the corporate press headquarters known as "the Combine" a special investigator by the name of "Polizeileutnant Jansen" (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) is assigned to the case and given just four days to find the culprit. Making matters even more difficult for him is the fact that--not only does he have to navigate through the bureaucracy of the Combine--but it also appears that his main assistant "MK1 Anton" (Gunther Kaufmann) seems to have his own special agenda as well. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a rather bizarre low-budget film which-despite its inherent flaws-kept my attention pretty much from start to finish. That being said, I don't necessarily recommend this movie to most viewers as it has a cult-like quality to it but even so it still managed to pass the time fairly well and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Average.

The Return of the Pink Panther

Searching for the Pink Panther Again
After the famous Pink Panther diamond is stolen from a museum in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Lugash, the Shah requests the services of "Inspector Clouseau" (Peter Sellers) to find the culprits and recover the lost gem. Needless to say, this distresses "Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus" (Herbert Lom) to no end as he is fully aware of how incompetent Inspector Clouseau actually is and only moments before had placed him on an extended suspension for yet another bungled assignment. Regardless, Chief Inspector Dreyfus is forced to put Inspector Clouseau on the case and the first person he suspects is none other than the notorious jewel thief "Sir Charles Litton" (Christopher Plummer) who has long since retired. So while Inspector Clouseau dons a disguise to secretly search through his house, Sir Charles Litton travels to Lugash to find the actual culprit in order to clear his name. In the meantime, Chief Inspector Dreyfus becomes even more incensed each time he receives a report regarding yet another problem resulting from Inspector Clouseau's incompetence. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that I enjoyed this particular film and found it to be one of the better additions to the Pink Panther series. I especially liked the scene at a nightclub where Catherine Schell (as "Lady Claudine Litton") appeared to genuinely enjoy Peter Seller's comedic performance. Be that as it may, I recommend this picture to all viewers who might be interested in a comedy of this sort and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.


A Good Film Which Could Have Used a Longer Running Time
This film essentially begins in 1536 with a young Scotsman by the name of "Connor MacLeod" (Christopher Lambert) riding off with his people to engage in battle against a rival clan. Strangely enough, all of the enemy combatants refuse to fight against him and he quickly learns that one specific foe has targeted him personally. It's during this fight that he suffers a severe stab wound but before his foe can behead him other members of his clan come to his rescue and chase him off. Unfortunately, upon taking him to their village they realize that his wounds are too great and with great sadness they leave him in his bed to die in peace. To their horror, however, when he soon appears to them in perfect health they immediately believe that he is possessed by the devil and they forcibly exile him off of their land. It's not until five years later that he is visited by a Spaniard by the name of "Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez" (Sean Connery) who explains to him that he has become immortal and as such he must fight against members of evil group as "the Kurgan" until a special event known as "the gathering" occurs in a remote land which will decide the fate of mankind. Many years pass until one day he finds himself in New York City and realizes that the gathering has become a reality. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was one of those films that had great potential but the story was much too condensed and as a result many of the characters were essentially wasted. Even so, it has some pretty good action and an excellent soundtrack by the rock group "Queen" in its favor and all things considered I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

L'ultimo killer

The Art of Gunfighting
This film begins with a young man named "Ramon" (George Eastman) leaving his home to pay off a loan issued by a local moneylender by the name of "John Barrett" (Daniele Vargas). Unfortunately, on the way there he is beaten and robbed by four masked men and as a result he has to plead with Mr. Barrett for more time. What he doesn't know is that the four men who ambushed him just happen to work for Mr. Barrett and even though it was his partner named "Bart" (Gianni Medici) who ordered the robbery, he has no concern for Ramon's plight and even orders him to be whipped for daring to accuse his men of a crime. Meanwhile, Bart decides to burn Ramon's house down and kills Ramon's father in the process. Needless to say, this action fills Ramon with rage and in his attempt to get even he is shot by one of Mr. Barrett's cowhands-who had initially intended to kill a stranger named "Django" (Dragomir Bojanic-Gidra) instead. Fortunately, Django's quickly shoots the man and feeling somewhat indebted to Ramon takes him to his house to tend to his wounds. It's during this time that Django teaches Ramon the skills required to be a successful gunman if he is going to go up against Mr. Barrett and his henchmen. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film started off reasonably well but suffered somewhat from a rather weak ending. On a different note I should also mention that this film was not initially intended to feature the character known as Django but-due to increased public interest in films associated with him-the name was changed during the dubbing from Italian to English. This is also true for several other films of this nature as well. Be that as it may, this was an okay movie for the most part and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Average.


A Low-Budget Production with Some Grisly Horror
This film begins with a man dragging a scarecrow on a cross through a cornfield and stopping somewhere in the middle to put it up. It's only then that we realize that hidden under the burlap is a human being whose screams of agony are greatly muffled. Not long afterward the crows descend upon it and begin to peck away at its eyes and appendages while it continues to moan in pain and desperation. The scene then shifts to two young men named "Farbsie" (Mike Taylor) and "Ely" (Umed Amin) driving along an old farm road with their two girlfriends ""Ash" (Hannah Gordon) and "Devon" (Maaor Ziv) in the back of the car. They soon come upon a cornfield and even though the sign clearly says "No Trespassing" they begin to walk through it until they come upon a pond and proceed to have a good time. What they don't realize is that there is a psychopath nearby and their presence has not gone unnoticed. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that-even though this was obviously a low-budget production-this film still contained some pretty good horror which is seldom seen these days due to a proliferation of horror movies which focus more on action, special effects, CGI and awful background music instead. Admittedly, I would have preferred more character development and a bit more suspense here and there but even so I was impressed by this film and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Apology for Murder

A Newspaper Reporter and a Rich Man's Wife
This film essentially involves an extremely wealthy businessman by the name of "Harvey Kirkland" (Russell Hicks) who has had the misfortune to have married a woman who is much younger than him and is interested in only one thing-his money. As it so happens, he is involved in a huge business deal and because of that the local newspaper sends a reporter named "Kenny Blake" (Hugh Beaumont) to try to get an interview with him. Although he is successful in meeting with him he is denied an interview and is asked to leave his house. On his way out, however, he meets Harvey's wife "Toni Kirkland" (Ann Savage) who immediately catches his attention. One thing leads to another and soon they become romantically involved. It's during this time that she convinces him to help her kill her husband so that they can have his entire fortune for themselves. But what Kenny doesn't know is whether she actually loves him or just wants to get her hands on her husband's money. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film started off well enough but slowed down after the first 30 minutes or so and ended on a very corny note. Even so, I suppose it helped pass the time fairly well and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Average.

Nature Unleashed: Avalanche

A Paint-by-Numbers Disaster Film
This film essentially begins somewhere in Eastern Europe with two brothers named "Thom Cussler" (Adam Croasdell) and "Jock Cussler" (Andrew Lee Potts) acting as guides for a couple of tourists who have rented snowmobiles from them. Although Thom warns the tourists not to travel too far up a glacier that looms above a local ski resort, one of them does anyway and causes an avalanche to come barreling into the small town. Fortunately, although there is some damage done, nobody is seriously injured or killed. Even so both Thom and Jock are blamed by the local villagers for their reckless actions. Meanwhile, a businessman by the name of "Mr. Alkin" (Steven Grives) is in the process of building a large hotel there and he is sparing no effort to make sure it is safe and sturdy. The problem is that his financial manager known simply as "Rogov" (Valentin Ganev) has acquired money for the project from a criminal element and they insist on having it built within a timeframe not suitable for Mr. Alkin's specific agenda. Things get even worse, however, when an environmental scientist by the name of "Katya" (Kate Henry) appears on the scene and warns them of a potential super-avalanche if immediate action isn't taken. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a fairly boring film due in large part to the director (Mark Roper) trying to create suspense by repeating the same scenario over and over again. Likewise, the personal drama between the characters-especially Jock and his former girlfriend "Callie Alkin" (Jessica Brooks)-lacked the necessary passion to really amount to much. In any case, while those interested in a disaster movie of this type might not consider it to be too bad, it didn't really impress me and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Below average.

Shima wa moratta

Pitting One Yakuza Clan Against the Other
Jiro Sagae (Akira Kobayashi) is a Yakuza member of the Ichimonji Family and has just been released from prison after serving eight years for murder. Immediately upon his release he is met by a man named "Hino" (Jo Shishido) who is the brother of the murdered man and insists upon having revenge. A fight ensues but it is broken up by Hino's girlfriend who just happens to be there at this time. Having now gone their separate ways Jiro goes to see his godfather who has been extremely ill and was taken care of by another Yakuza clan known as the Hazema Family. Wishing to express his gratitude he subsequently pays a visit to the godfather of the Hazema Family who offers him a job which involves going to Takagawa City and eliminating two minor Yakuza clans who happen to be rivals of one another. He is then given some men to work under him and one just happens to be Hino-who still intends to kill him. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that, although the plot is a bit complicated at times, I still found it to be an entertaining Yakuza film for the most part. I especially liked the way in which Jiro managed to pit one Yakuza clan against the other in such a skillful manner. In any case, I recommend this film to viewers who might be interested in a movie of this sort and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.

Devil's Food

An Expensive Diet Solution
"Sally McCormick" (Suzanne Somers) is a television news anchor who wants to advance in her career and to do that it requires her to audition at several news stations in larger markets. Yet, although she is quite skilled her one problem is that she is overweight and as a result she doesn't fit the standard these news stations essentially require. Finally, after being told that she is actually being demoted at her current station she remarks to herself that she will sell her soul to lose weight. Suddenly a man by the name of "Seymour Kecker" (Dabney Coleman) appears who guarantees that he can make it happen. Although at first she thinks she is being teased, when he continues to appear at different times and in various other disguises she realizes that he is quite serious--and she finally agrees. What she doesn't know at the time, however, is how much her personality will also change once she not only achieves the weight she desires but also gains the popularity she feels she deserves. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that even though this film is billed as a comedy it doesn't actually have a great deal of humor. At least, nothing on a large scale. Even so, it is entertaining in its own right despite the fact that it is also a made-for-television movie. One more item I believe is worth mentioning is that, although Dabney Coleman's character is often portrayed as being "the devil", the very beginning of the movie clearly shows that he is only an apprentice. Be that as it may, I enjoyed this film for the most part and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Dark City

A Dark and Eerie Science-Fiction Movie
This film begins with a young man by the name of "John Murdock" (Rufus Sewell) waking up in his bathtub with no memory of who he is or what happened previously. He then discovers the body of a woman recently murdered on his couch and is told by a mysterious man on the phone that some people are coming for him and he needs to get out of his hotel room immediately. Not long afterward, an attractive nightclub singer by the name of "Emma Murdoch" (Jennifer Connelly) finishing her act and receiving a call from a psychiatrist named "Dr. Daniel Schreber" (Kiefer Sutherland) telling her that her husband has lost his memory and to have him call him as soon as possible. Meanwhile, a detective by the name of "Frank Bumstead" (William Hurt) has been assigned to investigate the case which is directly related to several other murders involving local prostitutes within the last couple of weeks. Yet even though the clues lead him to suspect John Murdock there are several anomalies which just don't make any sense to him-and the closer he gets to the truth the more difficult it becomes to fully grasp. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that, even though it was somewhat difficult to understand at first, the movie gets much better as the film progresses. I especially liked the performances of Rufus Sewell and William Hurt who both seemed to fit perfectly into this dark and eerie atmosphere. That being said, I recommend this movie to those viewers who might be interested in a science-fiction film of this sort.

Dos mil dólares por Coyote

A Low-Budget Spanish Western
After being ambushed by hostile Indians, a bounty hunter by the name of "Sam Foster" (James Philbrook) manages to ride to a nearby abandoned fort where a young woman named "Mary Patterson" (Nuria Torray) is able to successfully bandage his wounds without any major problems. While he's mending, however, he hears reports about a bank robbery in the town nearby and-being a bounty hunter-he immediately sets out to round up the suspects involved. The problem is that Mary's younger brother "Jimmy Patterson" (Julio Perez Tabernero) is mixed up with these outlaws and the mere mention of his culpability immediately turns her against Sam. To complicate matters even more, Jimmy already holds an intense dislike for Sam which makes any encounter between the two fraught with danger for both people involved. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this could have been an okay Spanish Western if not for the poor editing and rather shallow character development. On that note, it definitely could have used a bit more passion between Sam and Mary-or possibly even Jimmy and "Rita" (Perla Cristal). Likewise, I should also mention that this film goes by various titles with the one I happened to watch being called "Django, a Bullet for You" even though the actual character named "Django" is not in this film. No doubt the fact that this was a low-budget, grade-B film probably necessitated gimmicks of this nature for financially reasons if nothing else. Be that as it may, while this wasn't a bad movie necessarily, it definitely could have used some improvement and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly below average.

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