March 2016 In Review
Trying to cover all genres as best as I can led to an interesting month of movies including a new to me Vincent Price title which is always something to rejoice about, a solid challenge and a comedy gem to end it off.
Wonder Man – Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo pairing
Starman – John Carpenter directs Jeff Bridges to an Oscar Nomination.
Wreck of the Mary Deare – Gary Cooper spars with Charlton Heston in this underwater thriller
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse – Eddie Robinson tangles with Bogart and I loved every minute of it.
Night World – Pre-code era flick with Boris Karloff and Lew Ayres.
State of Play (2009)- A real good cast here backed by a decent story line. Russell Crowe as a reporter who gets drawn into a political scandal that’s drowning the career of an old friend, Ben Affleck. When a political aide is murdered, Crowe is joined by Rachel McAdams to seek out the truth. Classy Helen Mirren turns up as Crowe’s tough editor along with Jeff Daniels and Robin Wright Penn contributing to the mystery within. A good effort that is almost undone at the payoff but still gets an above average recommendation.
Saskatchewan – Alan Ladd dons the red uniform of the Canadian Mounties.
Try and Get Me – Gritty Noir effort with a nasty Lloyd Bridges showing very little remorse for deadly deeds.
The Count of Monte Cristo – The Richard Chamberlain edition.
The Vampire’s Assistant (2009) – I can’t say I was overly impressed by this cross between a Tim Burton film and Tod Browning’s Freaks. It involves a traveling freak show full of vampires led by John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek. A young boy gets taken into the entourage as the vampire world goes through a battle of warring vampires. It’s pretty to look at and Willem Dafoe turns up doing his best Vincent Price imitation from Price’s Poe years.
Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves – Maria Montez in technicolor
Dorothy Lamour gets “Manhandled” by Dan Duryea
Icebreaker (2000) – Low budget Die Hard on a ski slope for the video age. There’s nothing to really rave about here which includes Stacy Keach slumming but….. if you love Bruce Campbell then this is your chance to see him give us his best shot at being a Bond type villain. Bald no less!!!
Here Come the Waves – and Bing Crosby
The Naked Face – Roger Moore does Sidney Sheldon
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) – This was a fun revisit. I hadn’t seen this since it’s original release and with the sequel upon us I wanted to go back and relive this fun tale. Sure I recalled some of the scenes and how Nia Vardolos captured so many hearts as she comes out of her shell but I had forgotten how her Dad played by Michael Constantine cracked me up with his windex and tales of everything Greek. That and the fact that Andrea Martin makes me laugh doing what is essentially an SCTV type character. So go ahead and have a look back at this one.
Satan Never Sleeps – So-so William Holden flick from 1962.
Rogues’ Regiment – Anytime we get Stephen McNally and Vincent Price as baddies is sure to be fun.
The Woman In Black (2012) – My second viewing of this film from the new owners of Hammer confirmed what I thought the first time around when I saw it at the theater. I loved it. Old fashioned Gothic tale of a haunted mansion featuring Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role of a character very much like Stoker’s Jonathan Harker over the first half. Is it possible that this becomes a forgotten gem years from now of the classical horror genre? It very well could so see it now while it’s easy to locate.
Captain Nemo and the Underwater City – Robert Ryan takes the title role.
Fair Wind to Java – Pirates and Fred MacMurray…….. no fooling!
Ten Cents a Dance ……. Ladies They Talk About – A double dose of pre-code Stanwyck.
Woman In Black 2 : Angel of Death (2014) – The magic is gone in this Hammer sequel. I admit to liking the time period of the blitz and the children of London being moved out to rural areas. In this second helping of the evil lady in black, a busload of kiddies are shipped to the gothic mansion with less than spectacular results. Once again a sequel can’t live up to the first go around.
Follow the Sun – Glenn Ford and Anne Baxter team up for a golfing tale.
The Saint (1997) – I kind of liked this Val Kilmer remake of the Simon Templar story though I am sure there are those that could easily pick it apart. It’s almost like a more serious version of Fletch with the amount of character changes and make up jobs Val gives us throughout. Elisabeth Shue is captivating and the baddie is a favorite, Rade Serbedzija. Listen close for for the Roger Moore cameo.
Impulse – It’s Shatner time.
Treasure Island (1970) – I had intended to write a full post on this Orson Welles version of the famous Stevenson novel but I found it so dreadfully boring I couldn’t tackle it. Welles plays Long John Silver and does so as if he’s giving us a poor impression of Marlon Brando reading his cue cards. Produced by Harry Alan Towers which isn’t much of a recommendation but let’s look for a positive……. it’s got the always entertaining Lionel Stander turning up.
Trouble Man – This was an entertaining first time viewing.
Hit Man – Bernie Casey takes the lead and Pamela Grier leaves little to the imagination.
The Long Good Friday – Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren in an all time classic gangster outing.
Bone Tomahawk (2015) – I can’t say I really liked this western with a decided slant towards the horror genre. It’s almost as if it turns into a tame Rob Zombie film. Kurt Russell who absolutely belongs in westerns plays a sheriff who takes a trio of men with him on a hunt for a missing woman. She’s been kidnapped by a tribe of cannibals in the old west. Richard Jenkins shines in the sidekick role but at 131 minutes I felt the film was too long and could easily have trimmed a good 20 minutes.
Gideon’s Day – John Ford and Jack Hawkins works for me.
B. Monkey (1998) – This really had a great noir flavor to it over the first thirty minutes and though it lost it’s way somewhat I still found it appealing in the end. Asia Argento is the mysterious woman who school teacher and late night jazz disc jockey Jared Harris gets tangled up with. She’s captivating and he finds himself lured into a world of shadows and criminals. Argento is an actress I have only seen in a few films (mainly her father Dario’s) and I confess that I like what I see. If ever a film is made about Richard Harris’ life, Jared is a no brainer for the role.
Carbon Copy – Denzel Washington’s film debut
Hell Is Sold Out – Unusual title for this Herbert Lom – Richard Attenborough time capsule
Park Row – Top notch Sam Fuller pic suggested to me as the monthly mad movie challenge.
Welcome to Collingwood (2002) – Here’s a gem that I somehow overlooked that nailed my funny bone. It’s a tale of the sorriest group of down on their luck losers your likely to see attempting to pull a heist. William H. Macy, Sam Rockwell, Luis Guzman, Michael Jeter, Isaiah Washington and Patricia Clarkson are among the group in this hilarious tale from producers Steve Soderbergh and George Clooney. Clooney also turns up in a co- starring role as their mentor in the proper way of cracking a safe. A great musical score accompanies most of the action that also features the beautiful Jennifer Esposito. Recommended when looking for a good laugh.
Final tally is 38 films. 23 new to me flicks and 15 re-watches.