June 2016 In Review
This month’s wrap up saw a variety of flicks and my trying to catch up on a couple of recent titles. Depending on your definition of recent, could that include the fun 1996 Tom Berenger vigilante title, The Substitute? No? Then I guess we’ll have to allow the Denzel Washington vigilante fest, The Equalizer as a better example.
Here’s the roll call for this month ……
Lady of Vengeance – Dennis O’Keefe and a nifty plot twist if you choose to check it out.
Tomb of Torture – Euro horror from the sixties.
Viva Knievel – Campy fun and not to be missed.
The Substitute (1996) – Exploitation rules the day with Tom Berenger taking over for the likes of Glenn Ford and Perry King in dealing with class delinquents. Tom is a “merc” who’s lady friend/teacher gets put on the DL from some hooligans. Time for Tom to take over handing out demerit points with the help of fellow military types including William Forsythe and Luis Guzman. Slippery Ernie Hudson may be the school principle but that won’t save him from these crime fighters looking to stop drugs and weapons from entering the school zone.
Ravagers – Richard Harris, Art Carney and Ernest Borgnine turn up for some post apocalyptic fodder.
Touching Home (2008) – Logan and Noah Miller act in and direct this drama of two young men looking to make their way to the big league of baseball. They’ll have to overcome various obstacles including an alcoholic father expertly played by Ed Harris. Brad Dourif and Robert Forster play parts as well in this above average family drama with some heart.
Raton Pass – Patricia Neal is hungry for power and wealth. Might be a western but she’s Noir nasty.
Murphy’s War – Engaging Peter O’Toole WW2 flick in the tradition of African Queen.
Interstellar (2014) – Might need to see this a second time so I’ll understand better just what the heck happened nearer the end. At three hours that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. Still I can’t say I didn’t like it. Great F/X and a first rate cast consisting of Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Matt Damon, John Lithgow and a few others.
Bad Company (2002) – This spy thriller might have worked better if wasn’t trying so hard to be funny when it clearly is not. Anthony Hopkins recruits Chris Rock to take the place of his dead look-a-like brother to swindle Peter Stormare out of his nuclear bomb. Rock never stops with the ad libs and one liners but they continually fall flat. Perhaps a TV show laugh track might have helped or a more serious actor in the role might have worked better.
Witness to Murder – Barbara Stanwyck and George Sanders make the whole thing worth while.
If You Could Only Cook – A Jean Arthur and Herbert Marshall treat, screwball comedy style.
The Man Who Could Cheat Death – Hammer Films is all you need to know.
The Hit – First rate gangster film from England with John Hurt, Tim Roth and Terence Stamp.
The Limey – More gangland fun with Terence Stamp a standout.
I Married a Witch – Gorgeous Veronica Lake casts her spell on Frederic March for our amusement.
The Mask of Diijan and The Great Flamarion – a double helping of Erich von Stroheim.
The White Buffalo – Join Charles Bronson hunting down the title beast.
The Swordsman – A technicolor surprise.
Space Cowboys (2000) – I was overdue for a look back to this Eastwood winner sending the old timers to space and save the world. Clint puts together a wonderful cast to make the whole endeavor a pleasurable viewing experience. Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland join Clint in the shuttle craft while Marcia Gay Harden, William Devane and James Cromwell keep their fingers crossed.
Rock the Kasbah (2015) – Bill Murray continues to reel me in with his off handed humor and throw away lines. This time out he’s striking my funny bone as a low budget promoter of anyone that can sing. Through his scheming to turn Zooey Deschanel into a rock star, he signs them up for a tour of military concerts in the war torn streets of Afghanistan. A dark comedy ensues with Kate Hudson, Bruce Willis and Danny McBride turning up. Off beat comedy that has it’s moments from Barry Levinson.
Ed Wood – A Tim Burton favorite
The First Deadly Sin – Sinatra goes Giallo.
The Last Hard Men – Heston vs. Coburn
Captain Apache – Lee Van Cleef is all you need to know.
The Equalizer (2014) – Denzel Washington proves himself a winner once again with this slow burn firecracker adapted from the old Morgan Woodward cult fave TV show. Denzel is a quiet unassuming man with skills that are bound to come in handy when Russian mobsters invade his space. A vigilante picture for our times. Speaking of which, how about Denzel in the Death Wish remake?
A Lovely Way to Die – Rare Kirk Douglas entry.
Gorilla at Large – 3D craze starring a couple of Lee’s
Mandalay – Kay Francis tangles with Ricardo Cortez in the monthly mad movie challenge.
Woman in Gold (2015) – Helen Mirren once again captivates me with a solid performance in this true story of the treasures stolen from Jewish families living in Austria by the Nazi forces and her personal struggle to reclaim what is rightfully hers after a 50 year period. It’s partly a court room tale with Ryan Reynolds as the young lawyer, partly a tale told in flashback of a young Mirren’s struggles to escape the German war machine. A feel good movie with room for plenty of tears. Not a classic but a I think a winner in the end.
For this month’s recommendations…… how about I Married a Witch for an older one and I have to go with Antoine Fuqua and Denzel in The Equalizer for a more recent release.
My favorite rewatch of the month has to go to the campy Viva Knievel.