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Code Two

Quite Dated but Okay Overall
This relatively short film (approximately 69 minutes) begins in a documentary fashion with the narrator showcasing traffic accidents in the Los Angeles area to highlight the need for motorcycle traffic cops. From that point, the film focuses on three young men by the names of "Chuck O'Flair" (Ralph Meeker), "Harry Whenlon" (Jeff Richards) and "Russ Hartley" (Robert Horton) who have just joined the Los Angeles Police Academy. Although they have never met before now and the each have much different personalities, they quickly become fast friends. So much so, that not long after graduating they all apply for duty with the motorcycle division. And it's during this time that they are tested like they have never been before. Now, rather than reveal any more, I will just say that that was a low-budget, grade-B movie which is quite dated and suffers from some rather bad dialogue-in particular as it relates to Chuck O'Flair. Fortunately, the acting is solid and the plot picks up after the first 30 minutes so that everything manages to come together quite well by the end. That being said, while certainly not a blockbuster by any means, this turned out to be an okay film and I have rated it accordingly. Average.

Taken 2

Not Quite as Good as Its Predecessor
After rescuing his teenage daughter "Kim" (Maggie Grace) from the clutches of Albanian sex-traffickers in Paris, a man by the name of "Bryan Mills" (Liam Neeson) has resumed his profession of providing security to wealthy and powerful people in Istanbul. Meanwhile, in Albania, a prominent member of the mafia there named "Murad Krasniqi" (Rade Serbedzija) becomes determined to exact revenge for the death of his son-regardless of the fact that he was one of the people responsible for kidnapping Bryan's daughter. Regardless, Murad and his men travel to Istanbul and to his discovers that both Kim and Bryan's former wife "Lenore" (Famke Janssen) have recently arrived there as well. To that effect, he orders his men to capture all three of them with the intention of killing Lenore in front of Bryan and selling Kim off to one of the worst brothels in the world. Yet, even though he manages to seize both Bryan and Lenore, Kim manages to elude him and Bryan finds a way to escape-which endangers both Murad and his plans. Now, rather than reveal any more, allow me to say that I typically don't care that much for action films that strain credibility-and this one had several scenes that did just that. Additionally, as everybody knows, sequels are often not nearly as good as their predecessors. There are a few exceptions of course-but this wasn't one of them. On the flip side, however, I must admit that it had more than enough action and suspense to keep my attention pretty much from start to finish. In short, it wasn't quite as good as the first film, but it was still good enough for the time spent and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

The Red, White, and Black

Somewhat Disjointed but Not Terribly Bad Overall
The film takes place in 1871 with a womanizer by the name of "Eli Brown" (Robert DoQui) attempting to avoid various jealous husbands by enlisting in the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the U. S. Army. Although he thinks he is quite clever, he quickly meets his match when he gets to Fort Davis, Texas and is introduced to "First Sergeant Robertson" (Isaac Fields) who immediately gives him extra duty to go along with his exhaustive basic training. Eventually, Private Brown adjusts to military life and it's then that he happens to see an attractive woman named "Miss Julie" (Janee Michelle) who works as the local seamstress. One thing leads to another and they are soon married. The problem, however, is that there are very few women at Fort Davis and the news of this marriage is not received well by a jealous non-commissioned officer named "Sergeant Hatch" (Lincoln Kilpatrick) who has little regard for his men and is not respected by them. Now, rather than reveal anymore, allow me to say that I happened to like this film by and large. Unfortunately, it had a number of flaws that were simply too obvious to be ignored. For starters, the plot seemed somewhat disjointed with some scenes lacking harmony with the others. And while I won't say that the film fell apart at the end, I must admit that the final scene could have used some improvement. Likewise, the character known as "Walking Horse" (Robert Dix) wasn't very convincing either. That being said, while I don't consider this to be a bad movie necessarily, in view of the obvious faults just mentioned, I cannot in good conscience rate it any higher than I have. Slightly below average.

West of Hell

A Western-Horror That Derails Somewhere Down the Line
Having gained his freedom due to the Civil War, an angry black man named "Jericho Whitfield" (Tony Todd) is determined to avenge the cruel death of his young daughter by subsequently scalping and killing the daughter of his former master. To that effect, when he discovers that "Annie Hargraves" (June Laporte) has just booked passage on a train to Atlanta, he also boards it in order to carry out his evil scheme. Unfortunately for him, he soon discovers that she is being protected by an extremely skilled bodyguard named "Roland Bursey" (Michael Eklund) who has no intention of allowing him to harm her. Even worse than that, however, is the fact that there is a sinister presence aboard this train and it has its own plans for not just him--but everyone else on board this train as well. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this film had an interesting plot but it seemed to get derailed somewhere down the line. Not only were some scenes a bit confusing but the ending could also have used significant improvement too. In any case, while I don't consider this to be a bad film necessarily, it clearly needed a bit more work in some areas and for that reason I have rated it accordingly.


A Bit Long but Still Manages to Entertain Fairly Well
This film essentially begins in Washington D. C. with a high school girl named "Jeannie Allen" (Tina Andrews) dying after injecting some heroine provided by her boyfriend. Meanwhile, in France, the small group of people responsible for exporting the drugs to America are living the life of luxury with not a care in the world. At least, they don't have much to worry about at the present time. What they don't know, however, is that a rogue federal agent by the name of "Nick Allen" (Billy Dee Williams) has begun recruiting certain people in an effort to not only locate where the drugs that killed his daughter came from-but to kill everyone involved as well. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this was a decent film for the most part based largely on the solid performance of Billy Dee Williams. Admittedly, the film tends to run a bit long (134 minutes) and has a few rather slow scenes here and there. But even so, I found it to be entertaining enough for the time spent and I have rated it accordingly. Average.

Deadly Illusion

Good Cast but Poorly Directed
This film essentially begins with a New York City private detective known simply by the last name of "Hamberger" (Billy Dee Williams) being offered $100,000 by a rich man named "Alex Burton" (Dennis Hallahan) to kill his wife. Although he has no intention of doing going through with it, Hamberger accepts a down payment of $25,000 and then heads out to the house where the man's wife lives. When he gets there, he tells "Sharon Burton" (Morgan Fairchild) of her husband's murderous plans and, after spending the night with her, returns to his apartment. Not long after that he is arrested for the murder of Sharon Burton. However, upon being taken to the morgue he meets the real "Alex Burton" (now played by John Beck) and discovers that the body identified as being that of Sharon Burton is not the same woman he met at the house. And since his prints have been recovered from that house, he realizes that he has been set up. To that effect, he is given only a couple of days to find the real killer or be charged with the crime. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that-considering the cast-I honestly expected this to be a better movie than it actually turned out to be. As it was, the acting wasn't that good and the plot was so completely unrealistic that it was nothing short of laughable. That being said, I cannot in good conscience rate this film any higher than I have. Slightly below average.

Nochnoy dozor

A Fine Russian Fantasy Film
This film begins in ancient times with the Forces of Light controlled by a man named "Geser" (Vladimir Menshov) doing battle with the Forces of the Dark led by the evil general "Zavulon" (Viktor Verzhbitskiy). Since both forces are evenly matched both sides realize that the only course of action is to declare a truce with only two basic stipulations. The first rule they agree to is that no human being can coerced to join either side. The second is that each side will monitor the other to ensure that the truce is being obeyed by all concerned and if a member has been found to break this rule, then action is required. As a result, the Forces of Light is known as the Night Watch and conversely the Forces of the Dark is called the Day Watch. That being said, time passes and after many centuries the scene shifts to Moscow in 1992 with a young man named "Anton Gorodetsky" (Konstantin Khabenskiy) petitioning a witch for help in getting his girlfriend back. She then informs him that his girlfriend is pregnant from another man and that if the two are to be reunited then the baby she is carrying has to be aborted. He agrees and then drinks a potion that she offers him but before the magic spell can be completed several members from the Forces of Light appear and put a stop to it. It's then that they realize that Anton is unknowingly one of their kind and once given the choice agrees to join the Forces of Light. What he doesn't realize, however, is just how crucial his presence will soon become for everyone involved. Now, rather than reveal any more, I will just say that I happened to read an article which stated that this film was, at the time, the highest grossing film in Russian history. Naturally, this caught my immediate attention and, having been greatly impressed with other Soviet films like "The Cranes Are Flying" and "Ballad of a Soldier", I knew I had to check this film out. That is not to say, mind you, that I expected this particular movie to be quite as good as the two just mentioned-as that would be a high bar indeed. Besides, the previous two films were of a more serious nature and from vastly different era as well. Also on my mind was the fact that high attendance doesn't necessarily equate to a good film as, no doubt, everyone can probably recall the day they stood in a long line to see a movie-and experienced disappointed with the end result. Be that as it may, as far as this particular film is concerned, I must admit that I actually enjoyed it for the most part. Admittedly, it's a bit confusing at the very start and it's also a little rough around the edges. However, as the film progresses things start making a bit more sense. Likewise, sometimes fantasy films come off as a bit too childish and, in this particular case, the overall coarseness actually helped prevent that to some degree. At least, that's my perception. In summation then, while it may not appeal to some viewers, I thought that this was a pretty good film, all things considered, and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.

Motorcycle Gang

Not Bad Necessarily but Something Seemed a Little Off
This film essentially begins sometime in the 50's with a man by the name of "Cal Morris" (Gerald McRaney), his wife "Jean Morris" (Elan Oberon) and their teenage daughter "Leann Morris" (Carla Gugino) packing up the car and heading out from Houston to their new home in Los Angeles. Naturally, since the interstate highways system was yet to be completed during this time, Cal figures that their trip will take approximately 3 days. Meanwhile, about 700 miles down the road, a motorcycle gang has recently gone on a killing spree and when they meet the Morris family at a roadside diner, the leader of the gang, known simply as "Jake" (Jake Busey), decides that he can make some money by kidnapping Leann and selling her in Mexico. What he doesn't realize, however, is that Cal is a former Army veteran who has seen his share of combat and is more than willing to take matters into his own hands to get his daughter back. Now, as far as the actual merits of this movie are concerned, I must admit that I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, although the film takes place in the 50's, there was something about the setting that just didn't feel right for some reason. I don't know, maybe it's just me but something seemed off. Likewise, I didn't particularly care for the acting on the part of Jake Busey all that much either. While it's true that his character was quite unsavory, his performance wasn't nearly as menacing as it should have been. Perhaps it was his goofy smile during some of these scenes, but whatever the reason, he just didn't seem right for this role. On the other hand, I thought that Gerald McRaney put in a good performance and--along with the reasonably interesting plot--managed to overcome some of the weaknesses just mentioned. That being said, while this was certainly not a great "biker film" by any means, it wasn't all that bad and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Average.

Dancing with Danger

Could Have Been Better with a Different Setting
This film begins with a crowd gathering around the body of a young man lying dead on a busy sidewalk in Atlantic City. The camera then zooms upon an attractive blonde in the crowd who turns and walks away just as the police arrive. The scene then shifts to a private detective in Portland named "Derek Lindor" (Ed Marinaro) being asked by a client to locate an attractive blonde by the name of "Mary Dannon" (Cheryl Ladd) who has recently moved there. And in order to help him in his search, he gives him a picture-which just happens to be of the same attractive blonde in Atlantic City. One thing leads to another and soon Derek locates Mary and informs his client that she is working as a taxi dancer at a local nightclub. Not long afterward, his client is murdered and this results in Derek investigating the situation even further. But what he doesn't realize is that he is soon to become a target as well. Now, rather than reveal any more, I will just say that, considering the noir setting and the focus on Mary's choice of employment, I believe it would have been much better if the film had taken place in the 30's when taxi dancing was popular--rather than 60 years later when it's virtually extinct. Likewise, I would also have preferred a bit more action or suspense as well. That being said, while I don't feel like this was a bad film necessarily, for the reasons just mentioned everything seemed a bit out-of-place and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly below average.

Kid Vengeance

Good Performance by Lee Van Cleef
This film begins with a family in a covered wagon stopping to camp in the wilderness for the day. The scene then shifts to a prospector by the name of "Isaac" (Jim Brown) riding into a small town and carrying with him some gold nuggets he has recently mined. Naturally, this discovery doesn't go unnoticed and almost immediately four lowlifes enter the bank and attempt to steal the money he had just received. Within minutes one of the them is dead and the other three are disarmed-just long enough for Isaac to ride out of town. Not long afterward, this news is reported to the leader of some nearby Mexican bandits and they immediately ride off in pursuit. It's during this time that they happen to stumble upon the family in the covered wagon and that's when real tragedy occurs as the mother is brutally raped but then killed alongside her husband in the process. Additionally, their young teenage daughter "Lisa" (Glynnis O'Connor) is taken by force to be sold as a sex slave in Mexico. What these bandits don't realize, however, is that the family's teenage son "Tom" (Leif Garrett) has witnessed this horrific incident from a distance and he is determined to not only kill every one of these bandits but to rescue his sister in the process as well. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a fairly entertaining Western which, surprisingly enough, had both Jim Brown and Lee Van Cleef (as the bandit leader "McClain") in subordinate roles to Leif Garrett. And even though the young actor performed reasonably well, it was Lee Van Cleef's performance that gave this film the credibility it needed-especially considering some of the implausible action scenes that followed. That being said, while this certainly wasn't a great Western by any means, it managed to pass the time fairly well and I have rated it accordingly. Average.

La lupa mannara

Cheap and Sleazy Euro-Trash
This film begins in the Middle Ages with a naked woman dancing on a makeshift pentagram in the middle of a forest at night during a full moon. Upon changing into a werewolf, she is caught by local villagers and burned at the stake. The scene then shifts 200 years later with a troubled blonde by the name of "Daniela Neseri" (Annik Borel) suffering from the trauma of being raped at 13 and recovering at the summer home of her father "Count Neseri" (Tino Carraro) who feels that the peace and quiet will do her some good. Although at first this appears to be the case, her condition worsens when she discovers that one of her ancestors was killed as a werewolf 200 years earlier and that this person bears a striking similarity to her. Her peace is further disturbed when her sister "Elena Neseri" (Dagmar Lassander) arrives with her husband from America. However, it's only when she glimpses the two of them having sex one night that the trauma of her rape resurfaces and awakens the vicious animal instincts inside her. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just state that this film had an interesting plot but the director (Rino Di Silvestro) clearly used every opportunity to insert sex and nudity into as many scenes as possible and this gave the film a rather sleazy appearance overall. That is not to say, however, that all of these scenes were that bad necessarily. It's just that some of them lacked the necessary passion--which made everything look too cheap and tawdry. In short, while others may disagree, I personally didn't care for this film and I have rated it accordingly.

Emmanuelle bianca e nera

A Cheap and Sleazy Low-Budget Production
This film essentially begins with a Southern belle by the name of "Emanuelle" (Malisa Longo) who is, by her own admission both spoiled and superficial. She is also extremely sadistic with the slaves her father owns and uses every opportunity to abuse them whenever possible. As it so happens, her fiancé "Lawrence" (Antonio Gismondo) also owns slaves but, even though he also has them beaten on occasion, considers them to be valuable property and doesn't want them damaged too badly. That doesn't, however, prevent him from raping some of the young females whenever he feels like it. In any event, Emanuelle is quite possessive and the thought of him spending any time with a black woman is something that she simply cannot tolerate. That said, when he begins to show signs of affection for her black house servant "Judith" (Rita Manna), it enrages Emanuelle to the point that she decides to sleep with one of the black, male slaves named "Elia" (Percy Hogan). Unfortunately, her sadistic nature soon gets the better of her and this causes serious problems for all concerned. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this Italian blaxploitation film was obviously a low-budget production and it suffered as a result. Not only was the acting second-rate but so was the film quality as well. Likewise, a number of the sex scenes seemed a bit too hurried and as a result this served to cheapen the movie even further. Be that as it may, I wasn't very impressed with this film and I have rated it accordingly. Below average.


Flirting with a Serial Killer
This film begins with a young teenager by the name of "Lisa Holland" (Staci Keanan) who enjoys playing flirtatious pranks on slightly older men. As it so happens, one night while returning from a nearby grocery store, she happens to bump into a man by the name of "Richard" (D. W. Moffett) and she immediately becomes mesmerized by his good looks. Determined to know more about him she secretly follows him and upon learning his name decides to tease him in her usual manner. What she doesn't realize, however, is Richard is a psychopath who the newspapers have dubbed "The Candlelight Killer" who has recently raped and killed 8 other women-and he now wants to find out more about Lisa in the worst sort of way. Now, rather than reveal any more, this film had a bit more suspense than I initially expected and for that reason it left me pleasantly surprised overall. Likewise, having a beautiful actress like Cheryl Ladd (as Lisa's mother "Katherine Holland") certainly didn't hurt in any way either. Be that as it may, while this film may not be a blockbuster by any means, it was certainly good enough for the time spent and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

Nieng arp

Fighting Against a Vampire and a Ghost
This film essentially begins with a young man by the name of "Yasith" and his pregnant girlfriend "Maya" attending a concert on the outskirts of a village in the Battambang province of Cambodia and upon walking home together they are attacked by a group of thugs alongside a path in the forest. Although Yasith fights back, he is eventually stabbed and killed while Maya is gang-raped and left in an unconscious state. As it so happens, however, a seriously wounded female vampire just happens to be in a tree overlooking the incident and dribbles some saliva into Maya's mouth which has the effect of turning her into a vampire as well. The scene then shifts to 16 years later with a group of students traveling from Phnom Penh on a field trip to Batambang to study the area and the local temples located there. Naturally, needing a place to stay they settle upon a large house which, as luck would have it, is owned by Maya who is quite cordial at first. That changes, unfortunately, when she feels disrespected by a comment from one of these students and--along with the ghost of her vampire predecessor--decides to kill all of them. Now, rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this film relies heavily upon Southeast Asian folklore and as a result some of it seemed quite strange to me. For example, the vampire tradition is quite different there than the Western version in that in Cambodia the vampire (or "Krasue" as it is known in Thailand) has its head detached from its mortal body and floats in the air at night with its entrails fastened beneath it as it feeds upon the blood of its victims. To complicate matters, the English subtitles weren't that good and--although I managed to understand what was going on for the most part--I may have missed some of the context in translation. Likewise, while I normally try to link the actor's name to their respective character, I found it impossible to do so even though I searched all of the movie websites known to me. As far as the technical merits of the film are concerned, I think I should start out by saying the Cambodian film industry is still in its infancy and like so many other facets of this society it suffered greatly under the atrocities of the Pol Pot regime. No question about it and for that reason alone this film deserves some credit for its success nationally. That being said, however, some of the faults were simply too obvious to be ignored with the graphics easily standing out the most. Throw in some bad acting, inept humor and one-dimensional characters and its hard for me to rate this film any higher than I have. Below average.

I Zombie: The Chronicles of Pain

I Zombie-The Chronicles of Boredom
This film begins with a young man by the name of "Mark" (Giles Aspen) collecting samples in the woods for a research project when he comes upon what appears to be an abandoned house. Upon further investigation, however, he finds a man's decomposing body inside the building along with a woman writhing in pain on the floor. Being the thoughtful person that he is, he immediately tries to help but is bitten by her in the attempt. Although he manages to escape from the house, from that point on his body gradually deteriorates to the point that his transition to an actual zombie takes place-along with the craving for human flesh in the process. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this film started off rather well but lost steam after the first 30 minutes or so to the point that everything slowed down dramatically afterward. Admittedly, Giles Aspen put in a solid performance but the film itself was simply too long for the minimal material he was given-causing the picture as a whole to suffer accordingly. Everything seemed too dull and lifeless and I have rated this film accordingly.

Belyy tigr

A Good Film Which Suffered from a Rather Weak Ending
Immediately after an extremely hard-fought battle, the Soviet Army comes across a number of destroyed tanks with one in particular standing out because the driver is found to be still alive after suffering from severe burns encompassing 90% of his body. Surprisingly, after being taken to a field hospital, he manages to recover and is deemed fit for duty not long afterward. He does, however, suffer from memory loss and as a result he is given the name of "Ivan Naydenov" (Aleksey Vertkov). It's also during this time that he tells them of a special German tank he has seen known as the "White Tiger" that completely destroyed all of the tanks in his company. Although the senior leaders in the Soviet military have doubts about the existence of such a tank, to be on the safe side they put Navdenov in charge of a special prototype and order him to destroy the White Tiger. But what the Soviet leadership doesn't realize, however, is that the White Tiger isn't the only unusual aspect of this particular war and destroying it is not going to be that easy. Now, rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this was a rather odd film which had some good action scenes but, unfortunately, suffered somewhat from a weak ending. To that effect, although I was a little disappointed due to my initial high expectations, this was still a good movie for the most part and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

The Light of Western Stars

An Old-Fashioned Western
This film begins with a rich, young woman named "Madeline Hammond" (Jo Anne Sayers) traveling out west from Boston to see her younger brother "Al Hammond" (Russell Hayden). Being so refined, she doesn't quite understand why Al would want to work as a regular cowhand and hopes to convince him to come back to Boston with her. Her low opinion of cowboys is even further bolstered by the fact that, once she steps off the train at her final destination, she is accosted by a drunken cowboy by the name of "Gene Stewart" (Victor Jory) who insists that they get married that same night. Regardless, one thing leads to another and eventually Madeline ends up buying the ranch where her brother worked and chooses Gene to be her foreman. What she doesn't know, however, is that part of her land is secretly being used by an influential businessman by the name of "Nat Hayworth" (Morris Ankrum) to smuggle guns to Mexico and he is being aided in this effort by a corrupt sheriff named "Tom Hawes" (Tom Tyler)-and only Gene has the courage or ability to stand up against them. Now, rather than reveal any more I will just say that-even though this was a rather short film (approximately 64 minutes)-it still managed to keep my attention pretty much from start-to-finish. On that note, however, I must also admit that this is a somewhat old-fashioned Western which hasn't aged well. Yet, despite that fact, I still enjoyed it for the most part and I have rated it accordingly. Average.

The Monster Maker

Short and Predictable
While enjoying her father's performance during a piano concert, "Patricia Lawrence" (Wanda McKay) becomes disturbed by a man who keeps staring at her. She even asks to trade seats with her boyfriend "Bob Blake" (Terry Frost) in an effort to avoid his glaring eyes. Not long afterward she goes backstage to where her father "Anthony Lawrence" (Ralph Morgan) has adjourned for a quick break to congratulate him on a fine performance when the same man who had been making her so uncomfortable drops by to see her. After introducing himself as "Dr. Igor Markoff" (J. Carol Naish) he apologizes for his rudeness and explains that she bears a striking resemblance to his recently deceased wife. Out of politeness, she accepts his apology but in the days that follow she is besieged by flowers and cards from him to the point that her father decides to pay Dr. Markoff a visit to demand that he stop harassing her. What Anthony Lawrence doesn't realize, however, is how far Dr. Markoff is willing to go in pursuit of his obsession to have her at all costs. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this was a rather short (only 62 minutes) and predictable film which could have been much better if it had more suspense. As it was, I couldn't get that interested in it and for that reason I have rated it accordingly. Slightly below average.

The Klansman

Flawed but Fairly Entertaining All the Same
This film takes place in a small town in Alabama during a time of racial strife and injustice. Essentially, every year a group of civil rights activists come down from the North to protest against the discrimination of blacks in order to improve their living conditions and increase voting registration. Needless to say, this doesn't sit well with those in power and quite often racial tensions and violence directed by the Ku Klux Klan is often the result. To that effect, when a white woman by the name of "Nancy Poteet" (Linda Evans) is violently raped by a black man, even the extremely pragmatic sheriff "Track Bascomb" (Lee Marvin) has difficulty in restoring the peace. Now, from what I understand, there are two versions of this movie with one lasting about 112 minutes while the other one is about 150 minutes or so. Having seen both I believe the longer-and much more graphic-version is the better of the two simply because the shorter version appears somewhat overly-edited. But even then, there were several other weaknesses which were still quite obvious to include the acting of Richard Burton (as "Breck Stancill") who performed in a rather lackluster manner throughout. Likewise, I thought having Luciana Paluzzi ("Trixie") perform in a role that required a deep Southern accent was also quite strange and as soon as she spoke, I realized her voice had been dubbed over. Be that as it may, having lived in the South during this particular time, I understood some of the dynamics behind this story and for that reason I could probably appreciate this movie better than some. That being said, while I certainly understand any negative criticisms-especially in regard to the highly-edited condensed version-I thought that this was a fairly good film despite the flaws just mentioned and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

In Bruges

Crass and Vulgar
Two hit men named "Ken" (Brendon Gleeson) and "Ray" (Colin Farrell) are sent to a small town in Belgium and told to wait for further instructions. It is then disclosed that Ray has accidentally killed a young boy in a church while in the process of killing his assigned target and this event has haunted Ray deeply. Ken fully understands and tries to console Ray the best that he can but because Ray is so neurotic it becomes quite a challenge in itself. However, things change quickly when Ken is informed by their boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes) that his next assignment is to kill-Ray. Now, in between some beautiful scenery, a fairly interesting plot and a good dose of irony, there is more than a little profanity which some might believe gives the movie its flavor. To me it just seemed crass and vulgar which further lowered my opinion of it. Considering the high rating (on IMDb) I am obviously in the minority but in any case I have rated this film accordingly. Slightly below average.

La marca del muerto

The Mark of the Dead Man
This film begins in the 19th century with a man named "Dr. Malthus" (Fernando Casanova) stalking and then kidnapping a young woman coming home from church one night. After placing her unconscious body in his laboratory, he immediately begins to drain her blood so that it mixes with a secret concoction he has formulated prior to inserting the other end of the tube into his own body. Unfortunately for him, he is interrupted by the police and dragged off to jail to face the consequences of murdering six women prior to that. Not long afterward he is found guilty and hung. The scene then shifts to 70 years later with a young man by the name of "Dr. Gonzolo Malthus" (also played by Fernando Casanova) arriving to Mexico after spending 5 years studying in Europe and being eagerly greeted by his fiancé "Rosa" (Sonia Furio). After a bit so conversation he returns to his home which was once occupied by evil grandfather and upon venturing into the study finds a secret passage that leads to the same laboratory by the previous Dr. Malthus. He also finds some detailed notes which detail how to bring his dead grandfather back to life and extremely intrigued about the scientific possibilities he decides to ascertain whether these methods will actually work. So, after digging up his grandfather's corpse, he then kidnaps his fiancé's maid "Luisa" (Aurora Alvarado) in order to use her blood in this diabolical process. To that effect, although the experiment is indeed quite successful, what the young Dr. Malthus hasn't considered, however, is the fact that he has just reenergized a human monster with a thirst for blood that he is completely unable to control. Now, from what I understand, much of the stock footage of this film was later incorporated into a 1965 Americanized version known as "Creature of the Walking Dead" starring Rock Madison and Ann Wells. Having not seen that version I cannot comment on it. However, as far as this particular picture is concerned, I will just say that--for a low-budget horror movie complete with English subtitles--this one wasn't too bad. Admittedly, I didn't care for the rather annoying music played too often in order to generate suspense, but all things considered I found this film to be fairly watchable and I have rated it accordingly. Average.

Casting Couch

This film begins with a young man by the name of "Justin" (Justin Smith) complaining about his inability to attract members of the opposite sex. So, to remedy that problem, he and some of his colleagues decide to make a fake movie in order to attract single females during the audition process. To that effect, the film itself is told in a documentary fashion in order to capture the thoughts of everyone involved in this fiasco from start-to-finish. So much for the plot. Now, as far as the actual movie is concerned, although there were a number of nice-looking actresses involved, I can't say that their presence honestly helped in any way due to the bland script and the incredibly shallow format. To be totally frank, this movie was neither funny, sexy or even remotely interesting. At least not to me. But then, I graduated from the 7th grade many years ago. That being said, unless a person enjoys low-class humor of this sort, this is not a picture that I would recommend and I have rated it accordingly.

Dark Future

Cyborgs versus Humans
This film takes place in the future after a plague has devastated humankind leaving only a relatively few number of people enslaved to cyborgs who use them for their own pleasure with absolutely no regard for whether they live or die. For their part, the people have been conditioned to not only accept their station in life but to also believe everything they have been told by their cyborg masters. So, after being brainwashed into believing that they are all sterile, the birth of a child creates an immediate problem for the cyborgs who realize the impact this would have on the overall nature of things should this development ever be brought to light. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just say that I had some hopes that this might turn out to be an interesting sci-fi movie, all things considered. Unfortunately, it didn't take very long for me to realize that this would not be the case as the low-budget nature of this movie came into full view almost immediately--with bad acting, weak scripts, cheap-looking sets and everything else one might imagine. That being said, although this was clearly not a good movie, I liked the basic plot for the most part and for that reason I cut it some slack and rated it a little higher than it probably deserves.

7 Men from Now

A Good Western Movie
This film begins on a cold, rainy night with two cowboys sitting under a ledge on the side of a hill by a fire trying to stay warm. All of a sudden, they are interrupted by a rain-soaked cowboy by the name of "Ben Stride" (Randolph Scott) asking to share their fire for a little while. They reluctantly agree and offer him some coffee as well. While he drinks a cup, he asks them some general questions for which they become increasingly defensive the more he inquires. In no time a gunfight erupts and next morning he is shown riding out all by himself. A little later on he comes across a mild-mannered man by the name of "John Greer" (Walter Reed) and his wife "Annie Greer" (Gail Russell) frantically trying to pull their wagon out of the mud and he offers to help. Upon hearing that they are headed to California but are temporarily traveling south to the town of Flora Vista he agrees to ride with them along the way. Not long afterward, they are joined by two rather brazen cowboys named "Bill Masters" (Lee Marvin) and "Clete" (Don 'Red' Barry) who Ben has previously had trouble with when he was a sheriff. However, since neither of them are currently suspected of any crime, Ben allows the two of them to ride with them in case they come upon a band of Chiricahua Apache rumored to be in the area. Even so, Ben knows full well that the two of them are clearly up to no good and that any alliance with them will only be of a temporary nature. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this turned out to be a pretty good Western which--from what I am told--had the interest of both John Wayne and Robert Mitchum for the lead role and Randolph Scott was chosen only after John Wayne turned it down due to other commitments. To that extent, Randolph Scott performed in a solid manner but it was Lee Marvin who really stood out. At least, that is my opinion. Be that as it may, I enjoyed this film and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.

Pharaoh's Curse

This film begins in Cairo with a British officer by the name of "Captain Storm" (Mark Dana) being ordered to take two soldiers and retrieve members of a joint British-American archeological expedition working on a project in an isolated part of the country several days away. Also riding with him is a woman named "Sylvia Quentin" (Diane Brewster) who just happens to be the wife of "Robert Quentin" (George N. Neise) who heads the American contingent. At first, the trip is quite uneventful, but when they make camp at an isolated oasis for the night, they are surprised to see a lone woman by the name of "Simira" (Ziva Rodann) walking through the desert who requests to join them. They are even more surprised when she informs them that there is a much shorter route to the archeological campsite and that they must get there in all haste. Concerned that she may be leading them into a trap, Captain Storm decides to take the route indicated on his map. However, when strange things suddenly begin to happen during the course of their journey, he eventually decides to accept her advice. Unfortunately, as Simira feared, they do arrive too late to stop Robert Quentin from opening a sacred tomb and that's when the real trouble begins. Now rather than reveal any more, I will just say that this was an okay film for the most part but I was somewhat disappointed by the rather abrupt ending. On that note, I should probably add that this running time for this movie was only 66 minutes and perhaps, if a little more time had been devoted to the final scene, I wouldn't have been so disappointed. Be that as it may, while this certainly wasn't a bad horror film by any means, it didn't quite live up to my expectations and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly below average.

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