April 2020 In Review
The lock down continues and I hope and pray each and every one of my guests who drop by Mike’s Take On the Movies remain safe and sound laying as low as I am thanks to a job in the automotive sector that isn’t considered an essential service. Truth is my jobs not all that important during these troubling times. If you happen to be on the front lines and working in the medical field my deepest thanks go out to you and may God keep you safe. Anyone else considered an essential service I thank you as well and hope you’re doing everything yiou can to protect yourself and your loved ones from this terrible sickness that is playing out like a warped movie we’ve all seen on the late show.
My movie watching has gone through the roof so let’s get on to April’s extensive roll call.
Let’s start with finalizing a goal I had set at the start of the year. I finally completed the legendary Robert Mitchum’s mini series of 1983, The Winds of War. Now I’ll have to get to the follow up, War and Remembrance.
The Gorgon (1964) A Hammer favorite with Lee and Cushing.
A Night to Remember (1942) Screwball fun with Loretta Young and Brian Aherne looking to solve a murder mystery.
Thrill of a Romance – Esther Williams meets Van Johnson and love is in the air.
The Big Wedding (2013) – Solid cast in this decent comedy that treads familiar ground.
Twilight (1998) Far better than I recall with Newman leading an outstanding cast in this modern day Noir.
Border River – Joel McCrea heads south of the border and finds Yvonne De Carlo.
Footsteps in the Fog (1955) Granger, Simmons and murder.
The Verdict – Great murder mystery with Lorre and Greenstreet.
Panic In the Year Zero (1962) Ray Milland stars and directs this apocalyptic tale that comes off better than it should.
Gray Lady Down (1978) He-man Chuck Heston is trying to keep his crew alive while David Carradine organizes a search and rescue plan.
The Ex-Mrs. Bradford – Jean Arthur works her way back into William Powell’s life and comedy ensues.
Masterson of Kansas (1954) George Montgomery takes on the Bat Masterson role for William Castle’s B flick.
Uranium Boom (1956) Another B flick from William Castle with an aging Dennis Morgan starring.
Red Heat – Arnold comes over from the Kremlin to find a super criminal in Walter Hill’s action fest.
Confidence (2003) It’s a con game when Rachel Weisz and Edward Burns target a feisty Dustin Hoffman. I liked it.
King of Thieves (2018) Not a bad heist film based on true story and I liked the cast of old pros. Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent etc…
The Comedy of Terrors – Another revisit to a previously featured flick with a dream cast of Horror favorites.
Crypt of the Living Dead – Andrew Prine looks to take out Hannah, Queen of the Vampires.
House Of the Living Dead (1974) Horror movie filmed in Africa.
Flap (1970) Better than I recalled after 20 some years with Anthony Quinn leading what today would be termed a politically incorrect cast/film.
Someone Behind the Door (1971) Bronson and Anthony Perkins? Yes sir in a Hitchcockian like thriller.
A Trio of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde Movies – Naschy, Douglas and Caine are looking rather violent as Hyde.
Chosen Survivors – Vampire Bats are getting hungry in a bomb shelter.
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) A Noir lover’s dream come true with Steve Martin appearing alongside Bogie, Ladd, Ava, Burt, Kirk and a host of other 1940’s stars.
Best Seller – A big favorite of mine with Brian Dennehy’s cop and James Woods’ hitman calling a cease fire to take down the heavy.
Gladiator (1992) I sat down to revisit this solid Brian Dennehy film following the news of his death.
Hired to Kill – Previously featured Oliver Reed flick but wanted to catch up to the new blu ray I picked up.
The Red Badge of Courage (1951) A lost classic? Maybe some day the missing 50 odd minutes might resurface of the John Huston film.
Jaws 3 (1983) Just killing time……
I’m Gonna Get You Sucka! (1988) A good one to sit back and enjoy with my two sons beside me. We had some good belly laughs.
The Rosary Murders (1987) Murder mystery with someone killing priests and nuns. Could Donald Sutherland be next?
Conflict – Vary rare John Wayne entry sees him in the boxing ring.
Revenge of the Ninja (1983) Probably the most foolish movie I watched this month if we discount Jaws 3.
Rhino! (1964) Harry Guardino isn’t to be trusted and has poaching on his mind.
The Cops Are Robbers (1990) Another heist film. This one a made for TV affair and a good one with Ed Asner looking to take down a gang of crooked cops. Based on a true story.
War Gods of the Deep (1965) One can never get enough of Vincent Price.
Murder 101 (1991) Enjoyable murder mystery with Pierce Brosnan caught up as the main suspect in a series of killings.
The Undertaker (1988) Slasher effort with cult favorite Joe Spinell I picked up in a restored blu ray special edition. A real hammy effort by one and all if you look past the blood and gore.
The Centerfold Girls – Previously featured I caught up with a recent blu ray edition.
Bonnie’s Kids (1973) Exploitation fare and better than I anticipated but not what I expected at all as far as the plot is concerned. And yes Leo Gordon continues to prove to me that he was one of the screen’s greatest heavies.
Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965) Japanese Yakuza flick with the legendary Ken Takakura.
The Incredible Two Headed Transplant (1971) The film Bruce Dern made to pay for a house if I recall correctly. Yeah it’s pretty lame and beneath his talents but I still had to have an original half sheet for the crazy exploitation artwork.
The Noose Hangs High (1948) Plenty of fun when Bud and Lou get tangled up with hoods and giant sized Mike Mazurki.
Stuber (2019) Had a hoot watching this one with the mismatched team of Dave Bautista and his Uber driver Kumail Nanjiani looking to take down a criminal organization.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes – Previously featured but wanted to review and set up a spotlight on …..
Dr. Phibes Rises Again – Vincent Price returns to find the River of Life and leave a sea of corpses on his journey.
Payback (1999) Finally watched the director’s cut and it’s a far different movie than the one that was released theatrically. I did a little comparing to the theater version afterwards and while I’ won’t swear to it I think I might like this version better. It’s tighter.
Welcome to Hard Times (1967) I’m still not sold on this Henry Fonda effort but there’s no disputing the cast involved. Oates, Chaney, Ray, Dano, Fix, Pyle, Buchanan etc…
Who’s Minding the Store? (1963) More Jerry Lewis shenanigans when he’s set loose in a department store.
Battle Creek Brawl (1980) More of a curio and just what went wrong with the first attempt at turning Jackie Chan into a North American star.
The Fuller Brush Man (1948) Hilarity ensues when Red Skelton takes to the screen.
It Happened to Jane (1959) Romcom with Doris Day and Jack Lemmon is always worth a revisit with wifey alongside me cozied up on the couch.
Flat Top – Sterling Hayden heroics during WW2.
The Incredible Melting Man (1977) Hey it came out when I was a kid so I’ve always had a soft spot for this throwback to the 50’s sci-fi films.
Annabelle (2014) Since I really enjoyed those Conjuring movies I thought I’d check into this prequel. Not bad of it’s type and had a few “jump scares.”
Hellfighters (1969) Something a bit different from John Wayne during the stretch run of his legendary career.
Sudden Death (1977) Enjoyable exploitation fare from the Philippines that casts Robert Conrad as a retired killer taking up the good fight against John Ashley and Don Stroud who are fronting for a shady organization.
I lost count of just how many movies I watched in April by the time I got to the tenth of the month. Would you believe the list above weren’t the only movies I sat in on for April? I finally cracked open a purchase I made two years ago and couldn’t be happier. The Zatoichi series of 25 films released in a superior box set from Criterion on blu ray.
Am I impressed with the first 9 films. A BIG yes. Shintaro Katsu plays the lead role with charm and wit as the blind swordsman who takes on a very David Janssen like existence as he roams the countryside aiding those who need his help from crooked Yakuza and opposing samurai. Seriously, I’m truly impressed with these films thus far. Proves to me that no matter how old I get or just how much I think I may know, there are always more films from the past to discover for myself. See them if you can.