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Showing posts from February 10, 2013

Review: The Prisoner of Zenda

Englishman Stewart Granger, vacationing in a small (fictional) European town, comes across that country’s King, who happens to be a dead ringer for him (and is also played by Granger, using quite acceptable screen trickery), and indeed is a distant cousin! When the King, about to wed Princess Deborah Kerr, runs afoul of the devious plans of Rupert of Hentzau (a slimy Sir James Mason, giving Claude Rains, Henry Daniell, and Basil Rathbone a run for their money) and the King’s duplicitous and envious half-brother Robert Douglas, the lookalike commoner is asked by advisers Louis Calhern and Robert Coote to take his place for a while. But whilst awaiting this dastardly plot (with Douglas hoping to claim the throne- and the Princess- for himself) to be uncovered, the well-meaning imposter falls for Kerr himself! And for her part, she seems to like this sudden change in personality, even as she is perhaps suspicious of it. Jane Greer turns up as Douglas’ commoner mistress who starts to worr…

Review: Meeting Evil

Samuel L. Jackson (nice suit and fedora hat in check) stars as an oddball drifter who seems to come out of nowhere to make life a living hell for down-on-his-luck real estate agent Luke Wilson. This poor guy’s marriage to Leslie Bibb is on the rocks, he gets fired from his job, and their own house is in foreclosure. Now he’s gotta deal with nutty Jackson, a serial killer who takes him on the express lane to hell, as a witness to his killing spree. Peyton List stars as Wilson’s hot former co-worker, and Muse Watson is a nosey police detective who thinks Wilson is doing all the killing (I guess he’s never seen “The Hitcher”).


Samuel L. Jackson used to be both a real actor and a real movie star. Unfortunately, that seems longer and longer ago with every poor career choice, and some of his films are barely getting a theatrical release in the US, let alone anywhere else (“Arena”, for instance). In this virtually unheard of 2012 film from writer-director Chris Fisher (whose “Street Kings 2:…

Review: Scarecrow

Gene Hackman is a gruff ex-con with dreams of opening a car wash in Pittsburgh, Al Pacino is an affable returning seaman wanting to see his wife, who had their child not long after he left. The duo team up to go on the road to meet their destinations, making various stops along the way. Ann Wedgeworth is a potential love interest for Hackman, Eileen Brennan plays a tart, Dorothy Tristan is Hackman’s likeable sister, Penny Allen is Pacino’s estranged wife, and Richard Lynch is a ‘prison farm’ heavy who tries to ‘make’ Pacino.

Despite featuring two of the biggest stars of the 70s (if not all-time), here’s one you might’ve missed. This 1973 flick from director Jerry Schatzberg (“The Panic in Needle Park”, “Street Smart”) and writer Garry Michael White (“Sky Riders”, with James Coburn) isn’t as substantial as other films in the careers of Gene Hackman and Al Pacino, in fact it plays like a much less-seedy “Midnight Cowboy” at times (especially towards the end). But it’s a good film that, …

Review: Arabian Adventure

Treacherous Caliph Alquazar (Christopher Lee), who has imprisoned his own soul in a mirror, learns that he can be defeated by the magical powers of the Rose of Elil. If he can get his hands on the Rose, he will attain ultimate power. When he finds out that Prince Hasan (Oliver Tobias) has the hots for his daughter Princess Zuliera (Emma Samms), and vice versa (despite never having really met!), he manipulates the Prince into searching for the Rose with the promise of the Princess’ hand in marriage. Meanwhile, the Rose is currently in the possession of a young scallywag street urchin named Majeed (Puneet Sira), who eventually joins up with the Prince (along with Majeed’s pet monkey). Milo O’Shea and John Ratzenberger play a couple of servile, sycophantic followers of Lee’s evil sorcerer, a shamelessly hammy Mickey Rooney plays a bizarre fellow inside a giant fire-breathing robot, and the late Capucine appears as a benevolent sorceress trapped inside the Rose. A young Art Malik (but sti…