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Law & Order: The Reaper's Helper
Episode 3, Season 1

Law & Order handles tough subjects with adept skill
This episode has some of the same veins of a previous episode, mainly dealing with controversial issues that might make homicide justifiable in some circles, but this episode deals with the subject matter, adeptly. It doesn't hide what it's about, and it's not afraid to make you question how it should go.

Stone's difficulty in trying to go forward both exemplifies his acting talent, and showcases the writing skill that went into this. A topic like this in 1990 with a series effort, not turn into a caricature or stereotype is very welcome.


Law & Order: Subterranean Homeboy Blues
Episode 2, Season 1

Striding Both Sides of the Fence undermines the episode
I feel like the episode here wanted to make more than one message here. A message about women being taken advantage of by thuggish men, or a message about being black and people shooting you out of racism.

It didn't know what it wanted, so it sort of tried both, and didn't get either. It's fails to achieve the potential that any premise wants to, failing to take up the cause of racism, or sexist behavior, or the rights of the self dense, and as a result, middling and weak, but as good as you can get without actually succeeding at least.


The Crow: City of Angels

Really Good & Really Bad at the same time
There is nothing about this movie that is really mediocre, it really is either one or the other, given the scene.

The setting & atmosphere is amazing, and creepy. It's disturbing on many levels. This version of LA is completely hell, and it's post apocalyptic without ever saying so. The violence is fantastic, the characterization is great. Iggy Pop, Vincent Perez, Mia Kershner is really good, and Richard Brooks plays a very effective villain

But likewise, the repeated over use of the same flashback from slightly different angles is tiring. The brief and forgotten love aspect that was suggested with the Crow and Sarah is annoying, out of place, and basically padding. The writing is hit and miss, making the movie a disjointed affair.

6 out of 10, the good parts are excellent and outweigh the bad, but when it's bad, it's god awful.

City Streets

Enrapturing Crime Drama starring Gary Cooper
There is a lot of good here, the plot goes in unexpected ways, that plus being Pre Code reinforces the tension. Gary Cooper is amazing, hell, everyone is amazing, this is a masterfully down film.

Couple gripes, a lot is made about Gary Cooper's Character's trick shooting... men are intimidated, he blows up targets real nice, however, this seems to build several times, towards a scene where he might use some of the fancy shooting on the mob. But he doesn't do it, that is disappointing.

Second, they establish a fun character in Pops Cooley, but he disappears without explanation, even though being the girls' father, you'd think he'd have some doing in the final drama with his daughter.

Finally, this next section is spoilers... but this film features a rare event for a 1930s film, where a female actor, kills someone, killing "The Big Fella." I've seen a lot of 1930s films, and sure, there are a few other cases where a woman takes a life in one a movie, but I've personally yet to come across one.

8/10, well placed, mostly well wrote, mostly great finish, but with slight disappointment over how they used Gary Cooper's shooting skill.

A Holy Terror

Low Grade B Western, worth it only for Bogart
I felt like I was watching one of the worst of the 1930s John Wayne B westerns, the film was low quality, to the point it's amazing it wasn't a silent film. Aside from Bogart, the only quality actor based on material given, is James Kirkwood, but he largely does very little to showcase that.

Bogart plays a nice bad guy, but here's a good way to illustrate the difference between a cheap BARELY B western, and a quality film that Bogart is known for. Bogart speaks fast on the draw, which is one of his strong suits, but he has little do to do, to add personality. Only in the dice scene, does he find something to do where he keeps playing dice with this girl while talking to her. Every where else, it's like the director was ordering him to be stiff... whereas the Roaring 20s, he's active, he's snarky, he shows his emotional range. In essence, he's a real character.

Historical Value for fans of Bogart is the only reason to watch this.

Barbary Coast

Half Western, Half Gangster Film, and one of the best films of the decade
Also, a Romance that I actually can believe, which is rare for the 30s film, as the supposed golden age of the Romance Genre churned out a lot of pure crap. This isn't that. This is a story about a woman, trying to get rich, falling in love with a gold digger, but finding herself basically owned by a Saloon Keeper.

The Saloon Keeper, Edward G. Robinson, always brilliant, this character is in the mold of Al Swearengen, except without cussing. He's more than a saloon keep, he runs the town, only the town has had enough.

But what clinches the gold standard of a 10/10 is the ending, which is... a spoiler, better watch it for yourself.

This is one of the best stories of this era of film, watch it.

The Whole Town's Talking

Mr. Ford and Edward G. Robinson create a classic
This is one of Edward G. Robinson's best early films, along with Little Caesar, and Five Star Final. Eddie G once again plays two characters, the cowardly weak jones, and the vicious murderer Killer Manion. They look alike, and it creates the usual comedy for a double character, but also tension as you never know if Jones is going to get plugged by mistake.

John Ford brings excellence to the film's production, making it a stand out of this era too, exciting, suspenseful, thrilling. It's a film worth watching.


The Man with Two Faces

Limited murder story
I like a good murder story, and this has some of that charm. But there are a lot of weaknesses here. Firstly, there is a lot of wasted time, showing why other people would want to kill Stanley Vance, but not why Eddie G's character would want to do it. I understand that Vance's wife is the murderer's sister, but so little is really shown here. Instead we've got a dull talkie film where Vance wastes time with all these characters that end up irrelevant to the over arching plot.

But, Edward G. Robinson does show that the weakness of the film isn't his fault, as he plays a double part, and plays both very well, and the actor who plays Stanley does a very impressive hate worth villain.

5/10, a yawn mostly

The Little Giant

An Eddie G Classic
For the record, with my review, it's not meant to consider the comedic elements, some aspects are dated, but this movie wasn't made with 2020 in it's mind. That said, some parts really did make me laugh.

It's a nice tale of a man trying to go straight, only to get screwed, and then to flex his skills of how he became a big shot in organized crime once. Simple enough, yet rather entertaining, especially when the mobsters show up.

Not serious like Little Caesar, but still entertaining, a fun watch.


The Mean Season

Kurt Russell vs a guy who sounds like Mr. Pecker from ghostbusters
Another reviewer said that this movie is just not good compared to Silence of the Lambs, but, I think that's not the fairest comparison in the world. It's not as good as that, but it's certainly not any Uwe Boll film either.

It's a decent film noir, even reminds me of some of the old film noirs from the 50s, but with the 80s touch. It's a nice psychological exploration of a killer, which is something I enjoy. Granted, the killer being an attention hungry psycho is played a lot, but still I enjoy this specific trope of that kind of killer character.

I thought Mariel Hemmingway was lousy in this film, she knows how to emote in only the most basic way. I've seen a lot better, she was a weakness, not only that but so was her character. Her man is going through this dramatic stuff, and what does she do? Leaves him... only to get captured by the villain. If this happened to me, I'd be happy to save her, but then I'd kick her to the curb when it was over. I'm going one on one with a psychotic nut of a serial killer, and you're going to ditch me because it's too heavy for you? She really brings the whole thing down.

Kurt Russell is strong, Andy Garcia, strong, Richard Bradford is good in his subdued rule, Richard Bradford is an actor I am happy to praise, he's one of those unsung great character & supporting actors, who brings quality and skill to whatever role he takes.

Richard Jordan plays our killer, and turns in what might have been one of the best performances of his career. He breaths life in the cliche caricature of a killer. Makes him feel real, and deadly, and finally psychotic. If his performance had not been so top notch, I wouldn't have scored the movie so well, even with my being a huge Kurt Russell fan

Anyway, 7 out of 10, good fun noir.

Tiger Shark

Eddie G can't save us from mediocrity this time
I like Edward G. Robinson, a lot... what I don't like is poor, bland, and uninteresting plot, and more times than most Eddie G can save such a film, this isn't one of those times. Zita Johann is a limited quality actress who mostly got as far as she did for having "an exotic look" she wasn't exactly the best part of the Mummy movie either.

Richard Arlen is a decent enough actor, but he pales in comparison to Edward G Robinson, which is unfortunate, because Richard Arlen is supposed to steal the show, and the girl. Now, if you had Bogart or something playing Arlen's character, you could have had something. His character his as bland and uninteresting as the plot.

Edward G Robinson is a great actor, and a great character again, but the poor quality of this film, and the poor quality of this cast (except J. Carroll Naish who plays a very slimy bit part) is beneath his level of talent.

Edward G brings my score up to 5, when it should be lower, but I suggest you avoid unless you like fishing, or Edward G. Robinson

Silver Dollar

Edward G. Robinson carries what would otherwise by a lackluster film
The plot here, while basic in it's elements is generally weak. It mulls over important details, most characters are little more than furniture, and by all rights, it should be a lousy B move.

But Edward G. Robinson and his near unmatched talent as an actor, and his relentless effort to turn in amazing performances no matter the movie, holds this film together, making it watchable, and acceptable.

Edward G. Robinson truly holds the ability to turn Chicken Crap into Silver and Gold

The Hatchet Man

Quality Film marred by particularly poor yellow face
I'm not a fan of yellow face for reasons that should be obvious, that said, I've seen a lot better. Except for Edward G. Robinson, most of the yellow face here is terrible, as is the characterization. If a bunch of white people are going to act as Chinese, they could at least make it more authentic. Almost any other actor starred in this, I would have given this a 3 or a 2.

But I recognize the near unmatched quality of Edward G. Robinson's film, who solely carries the film, and makes it watchable. Whether he's a deadly murderer, or on top of the Chinese world, or cheated on by his wife, or working lowly in the fields, or retrieving said wife from a person she was sold to... Edward G. Robinson's acting, especially physical, brings so much weight and life to the character, in his case only, I can honestly forget for a time that it;'s a yellow face character.

Five Star Final

89 year old film leaves me in tears
This emotional film about the dirty dark side of the press, is without a doubt, one of the most extraordinary films I've ever seen, by any measure. I was crying, like a little kid who just watched Old Yeller, for the emotion presented here. Not just the emotion, but the incredible actor.

This is a gem of a film that should be celebrated, the acting, the story, the tale of how a simple news story can destroy a whole family.

Edward G. Robinson is perhaps one of the greatest actors of his time, but also, the woman, Jenny Townsend, who asks the ultimate emotional question that I, as a movie watcher, will never forget... the question? Watch and find out.


Outside the Law

A film more painful than being kicked in the balls
This has to be the worst film from the 1930s I've ever seen, and I've seen some real bad movies. Mary Nolan plays Connie Madden, and she is unbearable, and unpleasant. She is a silent film star, who did not succeed in transitioning into talkie films as her career declined. Owen Moore, plays fingers and he's not much better.

The dialogue is trash, the plot is trash... the little boy is adorable, but just about everything in this film is trash.

Even Edward G. Robinson, who is without a doubt, one of the all time great actors, is wasted here. Everything leads into the potential of him getting the end run on our annoying leads, but it peters out, and falls apart with a crummy ending.

There is no redeeming quality in this film... Because even Edward G. Robinson, who's the only one here worth watching, has way better films, even in the B film category.

1 for 10... avoid like the plague.

Bride of Frankenstein

Bride of Frankenstein
What you are looking at here, is without a doubt, one of the greatest films ever produced in the 1930s. A lovely horror film with a character piece that made me shed a real tear for the monster when he found his friend.

A story of terror, yet sympathy, building into a grand spectacle of film making delight. One of the all time greatest stories ever told on film, not just in the horror genre. 10/10

The Black Cat

Karloff vs Lugosi
This movie was one of the top movies of 1934, and Universal's most profitable film that year. It's a dark cultist kind of horror film featuring satanism, which is more of a hallmark of horror films of the 70s, it is creepy and disturbing. The atmosphere, the psychological terror, all fantastic.

But the best part, is two of the all time movie Icons, Karloff and Lugosi's fight, at least it's subtle, and then overt but a game of chess, and finally, physical. Fans of either, should love this.


The Texan

Bland Name hides GREAT film
The Texan as a title is so bland, that you'd think that John Wayne starred in this film in the early 30s before he became a big star.

But what you've got instead is a little self redemption story that can only happen before the Hayes Code, or decades after it's implemented. Our intrepid villain, discovers good and decency, and a little old woman he never wishes to hurt.

Gary Cooper plays his hilarious stone cold charm. Man of few words, has little to say, but his expressions as he acts both being uncomfortable with new surroundings, and gradually becoming accustomed, says all.

This early Gary Cooper film, is fun, well handled for a simple plot, is great for any fan of old movies, or Gary Cooper.

Worth the watch, 9/10

How the West Was Won

A Monument, A Last Hurrah, of Hollywood's Golden Age
This movie was released in 1962. Fistful of Dollars was released in 1964. Times were changing, and an entire Era of Hollywood was ending. Many of it's big stars were already dead, like Clark Gable, and Gary Cooper. Others, like John Wayne, and James Stewart, both featured in this film, had seen most of their successes in their past, with fewer successes to come, and even those films weren't old the old days.

This movie is a more than a celebration of the west, and it's history, it's a monument, a celebration of what Hollywood once was, and never could be again. Sweeping Epics. Melodramatic Romance with Adventurous backdrops. Larger than life men with balls made of Steel. Beautiful charismatic women who can steal hearts better than any president. (Not to say future films didn't have their own version. Who would question the testicular fortitude of Clint Eastwood?)

This was Hollywood, how it was, in one of it's most bright and colorful moments. Emotional, draws you in. You feel for these characters, and love them, the whole family, as they age. But you feel perhaps, that the west comes, grows up, ages, and declines. Fitting that the final major piece of the film, is a Great Train Robbery. A famous story from the west, but also an homage to Film making itself, for the Great Train Robbery (1903) was there at the birth of American Cinema... and here we are, "How the West Was Won", sees an age come to an end...

This film is worth seeing, especially if you are a Hollywood Golden Age fan.

Suburban Commando

I don't care what others say, this movie was great
This film is absolutely entertaining. Is it some deep well thought out piece on action and war? No. Is it some Oscar worthy story? No. IS it even say... Christopher Reeves' Superman, level of brilliance? No. And it doesn't need to be.

What it is is a film that understands Hogan's unique though limited brand of charisma, and works around that with great fish out of water jokes, and also a cool story arc for both Hogan and Christopher Lloyd's character. It's not meant to be ST Wrath of Kahn, or SW Empire Strikes Back. It's just meant to be a quick one off, fun film. It works, and it's fun, for what it is.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: The Wrong Path
Episode 1, Season 1

Strong Pilot kicks off Season 1
Most people know that TV shows, especially in the 80s and 90s, no matter how good they are, usually have a weak pilot. But this is not the case. This story is one of the best that the show ever ran, and Hercules' path towards Vengeance and then path away from it, lays the ground work for later season 1 stuff, such as his time with Xena.

The episode forms a nice arc and sets us up for the entire show. While the terrible things that happen to him are sometimes forgotten in the show's future, for the fan, this episode is an absolute must watch.


Great Film for a small budget
There is this idea that only a big budget film can be any good, and while I love some really bloated big budget productions, this film is proof that you don't need to be hemorrhaging a quarter billion dollars just to have a good movie.

This movie is about you and me. The working class man, and what could happen if we stumbled into a ton of money that just happened to belong to some heavy handed criminals. What follows is a fun crime story where they pay the price.

This is a film with some serious thought about how money corrupts, but also how money can buy happiness, and lead to disaster at the same time. It's also a wonderful little battle between Hemsworth's character and Sean Bean's character, as our would be, working class hero has to try to take this guy back out of their lives, and survive.

Worth a watch.

Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur

Clip Shows? WTF
We're still in Pilot film territory for Hercules the Legendary Journeys and we've got a damn clip show? Not even a good one, because these people who made these shows did so many clip shows they actually got good at it after a while.

No, this one however, they just sit in a damn cave and laugh. Worst than stupid, that would be a 3 or a 4 out of 10.

This is a 1 out of 10. I'll take stupid over this.

Let Us Live

1939 film, but relevant to today
In Henry Fonda's film career, this one is under the radar, and that's unfortunate, because it'a fantastic film that examines the system of law & order, and how it can screw up. There is a lot of grit and reality here, as often in real life, innocent people are convicted, and even executed. Often the state might have some reasonable suspicion that they may not be guilty, or may know their case isn't as strong as it should be, but they pursue and still get that verdict.

Eye witness testimony can often be a problem too... there have been cases where the science pointed in a different direction, but a jury went for an eye witness, and thus they were convicted. For example, how many people are in prison today for a rape they didn't commit? More than you might want to know.

That's what this movie makes you think about, as the system nearly leads them to their death. Henry Fonda may be a white man, but you could put any man or woman in this story and it still works, they can be black, or white, or any other race, and it still works.

Because this story reveals the truth, the system has flaws, the system is not perfect. Innocent people live out their lives in prison, or are executed. In 1939, the year this movie came out, there were 161 executions. How many of them were actually guilty? That question, is the very power of this film.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Cargo of Doom
Episode 2, Season 2

Cad Bane continues to impress
He seems to outwit the jedis at every turn, and in this case, he plays Anakin and Ahsoka's weaknesses well against each other. Cad Bane is a master chess player, and a truly worthy villain, perhaps the most capable villain that this series had up to this point.

Masterful episode, one of the tops.

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