Monday, January 22, 2018

Dirty Cop No Donut (1999)

AKA: Low Down Dirty Cop

Director: Tim Ritter

Writer: Tim Ritter

Starring: Joel D. Winkoop, Bill Cassinelli, Michael Hoffman Jr., Andrew Gulbrandsen, Lindsay Horgan, Kathleen Ritter, Gertina Willemse

More info: IMDb

Tagline: It's NOT just a movie!

Plot: A "shockumentary" which follows Officer Friendly, a psychotic policeman, on a rampage of sex, drugs, murder and other worldly pleasures.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Here's another example of the boneheads who added 'comedy' to this film's genre section on IMDb.  It's not funny at all and the only thing where writer/director Ritter tried anything remotely funny was at the end where you read what happened to each of the cop's victims.  This is essentially a found footage like video that follows what seems like a rogue cop over the course of one night as he wreaks havoc on everyone he encounters.  I suppose it's not an easy role for an actor but Wynkoop doesn't handle it well.  Maybe in small spurts he's tolerable but after a short while it gets old fast and getting to the end of the short run time of 77 minutes is a chore.  For starters he doesn't feel real enough.  He's got his moments but there's a lot of repetition in his dialogue which grows stale by the minute.  If you made a drinking game of taking a shot every time he says "boy" you'd be hammered in minutes.  Maybe I should've done that...but I didn't I was young and needed the money.  The biggest question I had was how will this end for Officer Friendly and it's not interesting, compelling or satisfying except for one thing and that's the title card that immediately follows the scene that tells us a little about him that fills us in on what's going on with this guy.  It's an OK flick at best.  It's a criminal endurance test.

The Female Animal (1958)

Director: Harry Keller

Writers: Robert Hill, Albert Zugsmith

Composer: Hans J. Salter

Starring: Hedy Lamarr, Jane Powell, Jan Sterling, George Nader, Jerry Paris, Gregg Palmer, Mabel Albertson, James Gleason

More info: IMDb

Tagline: It is said that when a woman fights for a man, she is like an ANIMAL!

Plot: An aging film star and her alcoholic daughter compete for a handsome extra.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I think I have face the fact that I have a man crush on George Nader.  Good lookin' bastard.  And that physique!  Geez.  I need to exercise.  The cast does a fine job and it's a good looking film.  Everything is going all nicely until the last few minutes when the story starts to wrap up and they resolve it too quick.  It seems to me that there should've been something more to the story to create more drama and tension.  The ending is a disappointment to say the least.  Chris (Nader) falls too quickly for Penny (Powell).  They do a decent job of Chris' falling out of love with Vanessa (Heddy) but having yet another relationship that's love at first sight gets tedious.  At least that trope has died down for the most part over the decades.  I dig the setting of behind the scenes Hollywood.  I watched this sooner than later because I was in the mood for a film noir and I dig the cast but THIS IS NOT a film noir as stated on IMDb.  The IMDb users can be so dumb.  There is no criminal element to this film at all.  It's a love triangle that doesn't work out for one person and that's as dark as it gets.  This was Lamarr's final film...before she died 42 years later.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writers: Michael Green, Agatha Christie

Composer: Patrick Doyle

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Derek Jacobi, Olivia Colman

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Everyone is a Suspect.

Plot: When a murder occurs on the train he's travelling on, celebrated detective Hercule Poirot is recruited to solve the case.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.

Branagh's Poirot is fun.  I liked him a lot, actually, and I dug everyone else.  I was even surprised that I liked Depp for a change.  It seems that, at least in the past fifteen or so years, that if he's playing a non-quirky role that he's boring.  I don't like most of quirky roles either but at least here he's doing some acting and he's doing a fine job of it.  I think this might be the only Agatha Christie movie I've seen besides the 1974 version of this film which starred Albert Finney in the Poirot role.  I might have seen DEATH ON THE NILE (1978) in the early 80s.  But the only thing I remember from the '74 ORIENT is who committed the murder.  What Branagh & co. do with the ending in this one is very, very nicely handled, although the Last Supper shot of all of the suspects is so blatantly obvious and silly I couldn't control myself from giggling.  I'm sure my neighbors in the theater didn't appreciate it but it was a gut reaction.  For the most part the movie is quite enjoyable however it suffers around the two-thirds mark for about a half hour with the pacing.  It slows down a great deal and I started to lose interest.  Except for the dumb Jesus moment in the end, the climax was nicely handled.  When I saw it last month in the theater there was already talk of the sequel, DEATH ON THE NILE, having already been greenlit.  Goody.

Zardoz (1974)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: John Boorman

Composer: David Munrow

Starring: Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman, John Alderton, Sally Anne Newton, Niall Buggy, Bosco Hogan, Jessica Swift, Bairbre Dowling

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Beyond 1984, Beyond 2001, Beyond Love, Beyond Death

Plot: In the distant future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity's achievements.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Probably not.

In the last thirty plus years I'd seen this twice until this week.  Now having seen it as an adult and with my cinematic language more fluent, I understand why I didn't like this in my youth.  I used to think it was too slow and boring.  I always dug the plentiful (and great) nudity but the heady sci-fi aspect of it eluded me back then.  Now I really dig it.  Not only do I appreciate what Boorman was getting at, I like how he went about it.  For first time viewers it can take a while to get past Connery's crazy threads...

...but the overall look of the film oozes with science fiction goodness in the sets and ideas.

My attention span for films has improved since I was a teenager and I'm catching so much more than I ever did.  I enjoyed it so much that I listened to the commentary track from Boorman the next day.  It's very informative, interesting and entertaining.  Boorman knows how to lay down a commentary.  The 20th Century Fox DVD presents the film in anamorphic widescreen and the only other extra you get is the theatrical trailer.  If you've never seen it, it's worthy but be prepared for the pacing which some may find too slow.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Damage (2009)

Director: Jeff King

Writer: Frank Hannah

Composer: Peter Allen

Starring: Steven Austin, Walton Goggins, Laura Vandervoort, Donnelly Rhodes, Joe Costa, Lynda Boyd, Scott McNeil

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Bring The Pain.

Plot: An ex-con battles it out in the cage to pay for the operation that would save the daughter of his victim. Along the way he finds fatherly love, and friendship, in the most unlikely of places.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

This OK movie has a little something to like and that's the always fun Walton Goggins and Steve Austin who has a likeable personality even if it's always too subtle. As expected the story is pretty simple but as long as you punch it up with some quality action and fun then who cares, right?  I care.  The fights aren't executed well enough.  The edits are fast and the fighters wait to be hit and sometimes the wait is as painful as the punch.  It was worth seeing for Goggins and to a lesser extent Austin.  I wouldn't call this a fun movie but it's slightly above average for an action movie.  I'm guessing the story could've been punched up a little to make it better.  Having better fight choreography would've helped more but it's definitely not the fix the movie needed. The 20th Century Fox DVD sports a nice anamorphic widescreen image with the only extras in two trailers for WRONG TURN 3 and 12 ROUNDS, neither of which have anything to do with Steve Austin or this movie.

Tread Softly Stranger (1958)

Director: Gordon Parry

Writers: Jack Popplewell, George Minter, Denis O'Dell

Composer: Tristram Cary

Starring: Diana Dors, George Baker, Terence Morgan, Patrick Allen, Jane Griffiths, Joseph Tomelty, Thomas Heathcote, Russell Napier

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Some men don't understand a GOOD-TIME GIRL!

Plot: An irresistible temptress causes trouble between two brothers when the more handsome charismatic ones turns up, leading to robbery and death.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.

After seeing ROOM 43 (1958) recently and noticing the hubba hubbaliciousness of Diana Dors for the first time, I was hooked on this broad.  Wow was she smokin'!  So I hopped on the chance to see her in another picture from the same era and boy oh boy does she exude sex appeal even more than Marilyn Monroe!  Monroe was hot but this broad takes it up to a naughtier level.

Oh, so how's the picture?  It's good.  The performances are good and the story plays out nicely.  There was an unexpected moment near the end that took me by surprise.  But like a good Coen brothers picture, the crime doesn't go as planned and shit gets real and fast.  I actually felt for the bad guys.  Anyway, it's a pretty exciting flick once the day of the robbery begins all the way to the end.  I'm impressed.  I'm not familiar with the director or any of his work but there are some interesting titles in his filmography.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Jigsaw (1962)

Director: Val Guest

Writers: Val Guest

Starring: Jack Warner, Ronald Lewis, Yolande Donlan, Michael Goodliffe, John Le Mesurier, Moira Redmond, Christine Bocca, Brian Oulton, Ray Barrett, Norman Chappell, John Barron, Joan Newell

Tagline: The most baffling whodunit ever filmed...!

Plot: A woman is found murdered in a house along the coast from Brighton. Local detectives Fellows and Wilks lead an investigation methodically following up leads and clues mostly in Brighton and Hove but also further afield.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

Here's one crime thriller that's very smart and a little different than the usual fare of its time.  The two detectives work well together as they uncover a murder and try to solve it with barely a clue.  Little by little, through some boring (for them, not me), routine police work tiny clues add up that lead them to a short list of suspects.  I like how the detectives work well together and their matter-of-factness.  There's very little time wasted on screen and the mystery remains one until almost the end.  And even then they don't have the evidence to finish the job...or do they.  It's only in the final few seconds that closure is made and it's not in a way you'd think.  If it were made these days the filmmakers would've kept going to give you more information, information you don't need.  This is a tight little picture that deserves a look.