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Showing posts from April 20, 2014

Review: Caligula

A depiction of the reign of Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, AKA Caligula (Malcolm McDowell), from 37 to 41 A.D. During this time, he indulged in much debauchery (including incest with his sister Drusilla, played by Teresa Ann Savoy), treachery, and violence. A bored-looking Dame Helen Mirren plays Caligula’s wife Caesonia, Peter O’Toole plays Caligula’s uncle Tiberius (whom he overthrows as Caesar), Sir John Gielgud appears briefly as Tiberius’ offsider Nerva, and John Steiner plays gaunt financial adviser Longinus.

I saw a slightly cut version of this infamous 1979 film, but for once, it’s much of a muchness because most people would say that the most hardcore scenes in the film (and there’s still debate as to who was aware that they were being inserted into the film) are also the least necessary, and most tacked-on. I don’t think the uncut version can really be called the ‘intended’ version, really. One look at the very confusing credits indeed suggests that no one …

Review: My Darling Clementine

The story of the feud between the Earps and the Clantons, mostly set in Tombstone where things are set in motion when young James Earp (Don Garner) is killed and their cattle stolen. His elder brother and town marshal Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) swears to bring the killer (s) to justice. His brothers Morgan (Ward Bond) and Virgil (Tim Holt) also become his deputies. Said killer is Old Man Clanton (Walter Brennan) the nasty head of the Clanton family, whose sons include Ike (Grant Withers) and Billy (John Ireland). Victor Mature plays ‘Doc’ Holliday, a moody gambler with tuberculosis and a severe case of self-pity. Doc is currently running with hot-tempered, trashy saloon singer Chihuahua (Linda Darnell), who in turn is having an affair with Billy Clanton. Things get even more complicated for Doc when a girlfriend from out of town named Clementine (Cathy Downs- whose career only lasted ten films) arrives, looking for him. His rejection of her proves to by Wyatt’s gain, though. Background …

Review: I Love You to Death

Italian immigrant and shameless lothario Kevin Kline has been caught out by his previously naive, Yugoslavian-American wife (Tracey Ullman). The solution? Murder him. This, however, proves surprisingly difficult, especially when the two hitmen hired named Harlan and Marlon (played by Keanu Reeves and William Hurt) are zonked-out morons of the highest (lowest?) order. River Phoenix plays Ullman’s co-worker at the local pizzeria who is not terribly shy about his romantic inclinations towards Ullman, and gets caught up in the whole caper. Miriam Margolyes is Kline’s mother, James Gammon is a detective, Heather Graham plays one of Kline’s conquests, as does Phoebe Cates in an uncredited appearance.

Directed by Lawrence Kasdan (“The Big Chill”, “Silverado”, “Grand Canyon”) and scripted by John Kostmayer (who had written episodes of “Simon & Simon” and “Sidekicks”), this 1990 film might just be the most likeable black comedy about the attempted murder of a shameless douchebag philandere…

Review: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Note: You may or may not know, but Epinions.com has pretty much been taken over by eBay, and thus I will be moving some of my reviews from there to here, as I’m not sure what will become of them otherwise. I’m sad to see the site pretty much go, I had a good decade or so writing for them, but I’ll do my best to provide you with (in my opinion) the best of my work from there, beginning with this review.

And now, your feature presentation...

A bunch of weird elements have come together to create a one-off film masterpiece. Many have tried for intentional camp, but fail miserably and humorously. BVD is a film like no other. It’s not a sequel to "Valley of the Dolls" (book or film), but similar in basic plot. Not a total parody of the aforementioned, either, because screenwriter Roger Ebert and filmmaker Russ Meyer weren't overly familiar with the source. Nope, this is Beyond the Valley of the Dolls baby, an original, and terrific entertainment.

Three sexy girl musicians and th…

Review: Sweet Revenge

Stockard Channing plays a young car thief who is trying to earn enough cash to buy her dream car, an expensive Ferrari. Sam Waterston plays the lawyer who tries his best to get through to the girl and put her onto the straight and narrow for good. But Channing is no ordinary car thief, she seems to have a compulsion for it, and can’t stop. Hell, it doesn’t even seem like she wants to. Franklyn Ajaye has a role as one of Channing’s associates.

The director of “Panic in Needle Park” and “Street Smart” strikes out with this dull 1976 film. Surprisingly, director Jerry Schatzberg takes what is pretty heavy subject matter, and turns what could’ve been reasonably gritty dramatic material, into a sudsy soap opera. Hell, given the main character’s involvement with cars, it could’ve even been turned into a fun exploitation film. It’s not nearly worthy of the ‘BOMB’ rating Leonard Maltin gave it- it’s too harmless for that. But it’s also completely toothless, superficial, insignificant, and fra…