Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thieves Like Us (1974)

Director: Robert Altman

Starring: Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck, Bert Remsen, Louise Fletcher, Ann Latham

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Robbing 36 banks was easy. Watch what happens when they hit the 37th.

Plot: Two convicts break out of Mississippi State Penitentiary in 1936 to join a third on a long spree of bank robbing, their special talent and claim to fame. The youngest of the three falls in love along the way with a girl met at their hideout, the older man is a happy professional criminal with a romance of his own, the third is a fast lover and hard drinker fond of his work. The young lovers begin to move out of the sphere in which they have met, a last robbery in Yazoo City goes badly and puts paid to the gang once and for all as a profitable venture, but isn't the end of the story quite yet, as all three are wanted and notorious men with altogether different points of view on the situation they are faced with.


My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? I could but once was fine.

With Robert Altman, it's a good bet that you're at least going to get good performances and a good, reasonably paced flick. This is one of his I wasn't familiar with and it's a fine film. Everyone does a fine job (especially Shelley Duvall). There's more action that what you'd expect for Altman but it's just a few bank jobs. Everything else is just good ole Southern, Depression-era, bank robbin' drama. I don't recall any sunshine. Most, if not all of the picture, was cloudy or hazy which helped with that style of photography where nothing is all that crisp, as if gauze was placed in front of the lens. It's an interesting flick that shouldn't be overlooked in a sea of high profile Altman pictures.

Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

Director: Jason Eisener

Starring: Rutger Hauer, Pasha Ebrahimi, Robb Wells, Brian Downey

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Delivering justice, one shell at a time...

Plot: A vigilante homeless man pulls into a new city and finds himself trapped in urban chaos, a city where crime rules and where the city's crime boss reigns. Seeing an urban landscape filled with armed robbers, corrupt cops, abused prostitutes and even a pedophile Santa, the Hobo goes about bringing justice to the city the best way he knows how - with a 20-gauge shotgun. Mayhem ensues when he tries to make things better for the future generation. Street justice will indeed prevail.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? Noooooo.

Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino had a contest for the best fake trailer while they were making GRINDHOUSE (2007) and this one won.

That's a great retro 70s grindhouse trailer! I guess the prize was you got to make your movie. Well, here it is and with the awesome Rutger Hauer as the lead! Man, I was stoked. That trailer + Rutger Hauer = FUCKING AMAZING. That's what I thought until I watched it last night. Hauer is easily the best thing about it and there's not much else to like other than a few laughs and lots of gore. I was hoping they would go for a 70s looking film like the original trailer but instead it's a glossy, overly colorful (most scenes are predominantly bright blue, green, red or yellow and it's annoying as hell) and it looks like a straight to video release. The acting by the gang boss and his kids/minions is horrible. I didn't hate this flick but I sure didn't find much to like. It's partially my fault for getting my hopes up that this could have been as fun as the original trailer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nymphs Anonymous (1968)

Director: Manuel Conde

Starring: Natasha, Gordon, Loie Lane, Banana Peel, Karen Lee, Jymi, Helena Clayton

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Stop Thinking About Girls! Start Laughing!

Plot: One bored housewife gets tired of fucking bill collectors, vacuum cleaner salesmen, and psychiatrists, so she joins Nymphs Anonymous and gets two studs sent to her every hour on the hour. When her husband comes home, he gets so jealous that he camps outside the house with a sniper rifle and kills the studs one by one.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

NYMPHS is an admirable 60s nudie exploitation picture in that it actually has a few good laughs. Usually the humor in these things is just dumb (what do you expect in a movie that delivers gratuitous nudity, Monty Python wit?). Maybe I was slap-happy tired when I saw it but I chuckled a few times. It's just a long string of situations where the girls get naked, the guys get goofy and the jealous husband gets to shoot them.

The bodies start piling up and the cops show up and you get the situation where one person moves the bodies from the trunk to the freezer and someone else puts them back routine. You get goofy shit like that all through the picture. It's only 87 minutes but feels like it could have been better if maybe cut down to about 60. I have to give them credit, they made me laugh a couple of times and the nudity and bad performances sure made it more fun.


NYMPHS ANONYMOUS is part of a double feature disc from Something Weird Video LOADED with sexploitation trailers and two strip tease shorts, each about 15 minutes long, from the 1940s which is mildly interesting. Once is all you need for the shorts. The other film on the disc,SHE MOB (1968), is slightly more fun partly because it's shorter.

Monday, August 29, 2011

She Mob (1968)

Director: ???

Starring: Marni Castle, Monique Duval, Adam Clyde, Twig, Eve Laurie

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Erotic Sex Practices of the Butches and Dykes of the Weird World!

Plot: A gang of four lesbian inmates escapes from prison and kidnaps the boyfriend of a wealthy woman. She hires a tough private eye to find her boyfriend and rescue him.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? I don't know...I just might.

While most of these types of 60s black & white exploitation/roughie pictures don't hold much of a re-watchability factor for me, I can't stop watching them. They all have something that's worth watching for but they also generally suffer from the same thing - many scenes go on for far too long (usually for the sake of nudity) causing the picture to be as much as a third of overkill. Now I don't mind nudity one bit unless it interferes with the picture. You can bring on as much gratuitous nudity as you want but if you're going to show people squirming around doing nothing for literally 8 minutes, I'm a-headin' for the remote. Life's too short and if I'm going to waste it watching my fair share of shitty movies, I'm not going to allow this to bring me down.

DAMN! They're about to pop!
I didn't know they made fake boobs in 1968.
It's amazing what we learn from watching movies.

I have GOT to get me one of these (and I don't even smoke):

I dig that outfit! No, seriously, I dig that outfit!

Separated at birth?

Now, on with the movie. I kind of liked it. It's got some padding in the beginning. Fast forward through that and the rest of the flick (it's only an hour and twenty minutes) goes by pretty fast. There's a thin attempt at a plot which certainly works for this kind of picture. There's a car chase, some bondage, a gang rape on the gigolo, kidnapping, extortion, all kinds of shit - and there's some humor. SHE MOB is part of a double feature disc from Something Weird Video LOADED with sexploitation trailers and two strip tease shorts, each about 15 minutes long, from the 1940s which is mildly interesting. Once is all you need for the shorts. The other film on the disc, NYMPHS ANONYMOUS (1968), doesn't fare as well as SHE MOB. Why? Because it's longer.

The Master of Ballantrae (1953)

Director: William Keighley

Starring: Errol Flynn, Roger Livesey, Anthony Steel, Beatrice Campbell, Yvonne Furneaux

More info: IMDb

Tagline: When the Bold Banners of the Crimson Crusade Clashed with the Scarlet Hordes of the King!

Plot: Scottish nobleman Jamie Durie (Flynn) rebels against his king and is forced to hide out on the open sea with his Irish partner-in-crime (Livesey) when he fails to oust the ruler. Jamie doesn't stay away for long, though -- his sights are set not only on revenge but also on winning the heart of the beautiful Lady Alison (Campbell).

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? I could, I suppose, but not likely.

Wow. I'm a huge fan of Errol Flynn's and this is the first time I've seen a film he made after 1945. What a difference 8 years made. He was only 44 when he made this but he looks to be a man of nearly mid-50s. The years of alcohol, drugs and a fast lifestyle were taking its toll. I couldn't help but feel a bit of sadness while watching this. He's heavier, slower and tired. I've been a huge fan of his since I was a kid. In the 30s and 40s he was the most dashing, gallant and athletic actor I've ever seen. He was the man. Good looking bastard. He was loaded with so much charm and charisma, I'd probably have gone gay for him. There, I said it.

Sadness aside, it's still great to see him in a pirate adventure with lots of derring-do, colorful costumes, exotic locations and interesting characters. I grew very fond of his on-screen pal, played by Roger Livesey. He brought a lot of energy to every scene he was in, energy that was lacking from Flynn.

Flynn & Livesley

The sets, locations, costumes, look all had that classic Warner Bros. feel. Ooh, and the color! WOW! Rich beyond belief. I expect this kind of thing knocked the socks off of movie going kids back then. Too bad it was just before the advent of Cinemascope and widescreen cinema. THAT would have been something.

It's sad to see your heroes deteriorate, especially when it's by their own hand. There has never been anyone as dashing as Errol Flynn and never will be. For years I've been collecting his films with the intention of seeing them all. Maybe it would be best to start at the end of his career and work my way back to a time when Flynn was at his swashbuckling and best.

The Wild Geese (1978)

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

Starring: Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Hardy Kruger, Stewart Granger, Winston Ntshona, John Kani, Jack Watson, Ronald Fraser

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Burton, Moore, Harris, Kruger are...The Wild Geese

Plot: A British multinational seeks to overthrow a vicious dictator in central Africa. It hires a band of (largely aged) mercenaries in London and sends them in to save the virtuous but imprisoned opposition leader who is also critically ill and due for execution. Just when the team has performed a perfect rescue, the multinational does a deal with the vicious dictator leaving the mercenary band to escape under their own steam and exact revenge.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Chyeah!

I love this movie. It gets better with age. I'm noticing things now that I didn't thirty years ago; little things like when the mercs are being pursued and shot at by the local military force and one of the mercs, in full sprint, reaches down to pick up a machine gun left by a fallen comrade, doesn't quite get a grip and drops it, all the while running. He lets it go without a moment's hesitation. If he had tried again to retrieve it he would have likely been shot. In most movies he would have stopped to pick it up, fired a few rounds killing more than enough of the enemy and lived. Not in this picture. There are many examples of small stuff like that that make a huge difference. It's the little details that mean a lot. It shows someone cared enough to include them.

As if the action weren't top notch, the cast is outstanding. There's lots of British testosterone up there on the big screen as well as a lot of quality acting chops. They're all fun to watch. It's nice to see Stewart Granger get a lot of screen time, too. Roy Budd's score is lots of fun and loaded with as much action as you get on screen. And if more than two hours of badass acting and killing isn't enough, the ending kicks all kinds of ass. The only thing I can't abide by, though, is the theme tune written & performed by Joan Armatrading. It's atrocious. That vibrato...that fucking vibrato. Woof.

The Driver (1978)

Director: Walter Hill

Starring: Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani, Ronee Blakely, Matt Clark, Felice Orlandi

More info: IMDb

Tagline: To break the driver, the cop was willing to break the law.

Plot: A laid back getaway driver (O’Neal) who’s never been caught becomes the obsession of a vile detective (Dern), who goes as far as to set up a bank robbery in order to catch him. Along for the ride are The Driver’s manager (Blakley) and a witness (Adjani) he pays off not to identify him. Trans Ams, screeching tires and car chases ensue.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

Looking at director Walter Hill's first 6 films is impressive - HARD TIMES (1975), THE DRIVER (1978), THE WARRIORS (1979), THE LONG RIDERS (1980), SOUTHERN COMFORT (1981), 48 Hrs. (1982). They're all very good and very different. He makes the kind of movies I want to see. THE DRIVER is a relatively quiet picture with some fun performances and killer car chases.

Ryan O'Neil plays it cold and cool. He has very little to say (350 words in total). He's at his best when he says nothing. Dern is always fun, especially when he's being a major slimeball. He excelled at that. The car chases are spectacular and rival some of the classic movie chases. It's pretty much a cat and mouse game with a very satisfying finale. Both characters are likable (even Dern who's a dick) and you kind of want them both to win. It's a fun ride and a strong, if not minor considering his other five early films, effort from Walter Hill.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Razorback (1984)

Director: Russell Mulcahy

Starring: Gregory Harrison, Arkie Whiteley, Bill Kerr, Chris Haywood, David Argue, Judy Morris

More info: IMDb

Tagline: It's waiting outside and it can sense your fear. No nightmare will prepare you for it!

Plot: A wild, vicious pig terrorizes the Australian outback. The first victim is a small child who is killed. The child's granddad is brought to trial for killing the child but aquitted. The next victim is an American TV-journalist. Her husband Carl gets there and starts to search for the truth. The local inhabitants won't really help him, but he is joined by a hunter and a female farmer to find the beast.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

#35 on my on-going quest to watch every film from the amazing documentary, NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF OZPLOITATION! (2008) (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT).

This is the picture Russell Mulcahy did before HIGHLANDER (1986). I like the Australian outback location shooting. It looks so desolate and unforgiving. I liked the look of the film even if it is at times too stylish for its own good. This is a killer animal movie and yet it sometimes has the appearance of an arthouse flick. The two rednecks are annoying as hell. I would have preferred they seem more realistic, twisted and sadistic rather than just complete childish assholes with a streak of violence. Maybe there's people like that out there in the world but it's so cliche. By the time you realize the big showdown is coming between the hero and the assholes, and let's not forget the pig, I was so ready for it to end. It was a long 15 minutes. It's too bad, too, 'cause I thought this one could be a lot of fun. Giant killer boar? I can buy that...just not wrapped up in this ribbon.