• The Hucksters

    The Hucksters

    ★★★

    This is a weird, mixed bag. Apparently the novel was quite the sensation at the time, but it was HEAVILY altered (read: sanitized & maybe a bit jingoized) for the post-War, "Golden Age" Hollywood folks. Gable's character is obviously supposed to be something of a scoundrel, yet is presented here as a relentlessly moral figure. Deborah Kerr's character is made a widow for the sake of "propriety."
    I can't help but wonder what this movie have been like if it had…

  • Kunoichi: Deadly Mirage

    Kunoichi: Deadly Mirage

    ★★

    What rental shops and streaming have never managed to do is carry a proper variety of movies. In the early days, some local video stores did their darnedest. But there were always huge gaps. So, when I worked for a video retail shop, I just ordered and bought anything I wanted to see. For movies out of Hong Kong and Japan, that was about the only way to do it. Sadly, that means I ended up acquiring a whole bunch…

  • Summer School

    Summer School

    ★★★

    I watched this movie back when it first showed up on VHS. I remember really enjoying it at the time. It's part of that whole subgenre of "kids rule, adults drool" that was big in the 80s. Revisiting it...it's OK. There are some good performances and a few good gags. It's not really consistent, though.
    It's weird watching movies from this era, sometimes. It's barely over 90 minutes, yet juggles a large cast, each with plenty of personality and actual…

  • Dirty Blondes from Beyond

    Dirty Blondes from Beyond

    ★★½

    Schlock peddler Fred Olen Ray dishes out another one. I saw it under the title "Star Princess Defender," which apparently has like a half hour cut out of it. I assume the cuts came from the sex scenes, as this is structured much like a porno, with each scene acting as a bridge to get to the next sex scene. Instead, they start, there's a bit of nudity, and then jump-cut to the next scene. Weird.
    Anyway, though nobody in…

  • The Flamingo Kid

    The Flamingo Kid

    ★★½

    This is definitely, 100%, surely a movie that I have seen. Yup. That is a fact.
    Anyway. The cast of this movie is completely bananas, and probably the most interesting thing about it. Scratch that. It's definitely the most interesting thing.
    The film reminds me of "Dirty Dancing," in that it's supposed to be a period piece, but feels SUPER 80s. It does have a leg up on "Dirty Dancing" because it looks like someone at least tried to make…

  • Alien Planet

    Alien Planet

    ★★

    As I've written about before, CGI frequently doesn't age well. This CGI wasn't amazing in 2005, but really doesn't look good today. That's frustrating, because Wayne Douglas Barlowe's narrative, speculative art book was visually impressive and generally, darned cool. This comes off as very half-assed. It's paced like any given cable documentary, where it keeps going over the same things and restating what it's just said before and after commercial breaks. Blah.
    Worse, infotainment's favorite crackpot son, Michio Kaku shows…

  • Citizen Kane

    Citizen Kane

    ★★★★★

    Dang it. Not sure if anyone has ever said this, but "Citizen Kane" is a hell of a movie.
    It's no wonder its fingerprints are all over the movies that came after.
    This time around, I was really enjoying the performances in particular. Great stuff. What a cast. I flippin' love Joseph Cotten.

  • AVP: Alien vs. Predator

    AVP: Alien vs. Predator

    ★★

    Gah. This film was such a huge disappointment when I first saw it, and it only gets worse with time. Obviously, taking two R-rated franchises and smashing them together into a PG-13 film is a bad idea.
    But this goes so much further. Setting it on Earth in the present day. Wrong. Bringing in the idiocy of Ancient Aliens theory. No. Stocking it with characters who are almost as stupid as they are annoying. Sigh.
    It all ends up being…

  • Wing Commander

    Wing Commander

    ★★

    This movie...
    I really enjoyed the video games with Mark Hamill and crew, so I was definitely psyched to see this film, as I thought it would translate well. Sadly, the movie stinks of studio demands. The "hot, young" crew is universally terrible. But they're the kind of actors/characters studios think will score big with the target audience. These are the people I spent high school trying to avoid, so I'm not sure why studio execs would think I'd want…

  • Inkheart

    Inkheart

    ★★★

    This is the sort of movie I think a younger person who's into books and stories would enjoy. It's a bit dark, but not so dark that any but the most sensitive kids would be upset. It's got a great cast and some cool ideas. The whole thing feels a bit made-for-TV. The villains are just UK character actors wearing black. The Fantasy elements are dialed back quite a bit, I assume for budgetary reasons. I guess that's better than…

  • Kaena: The Prophecy

    Kaena: The Prophecy

    ★★½

    A problem with computer animation that I don't think will ever be solved, barring simple regression of art and society, is that after a time, it just looks clunky. Hand drawn animation has something about it that transcends time, but that je ne sais quoi doesn't seem to exist in CGI. When I first saw this almost 20 years ago, I thought it looked pretty good. Now, re-watching it for the first time in a long time, it just kinda…

  • Planet of the Apes

    Planet of the Apes

    ★★

    Some time in the mid 1990s, I had rediscovered the Apes films. I'd seen them, and a few scattered episodes of the TV show, when I was very little. But watching the original five films again, I was absolutely enraptured. Also, at this point, Tim Burton was still putting out banger after banger. So, I was pretty darned excited to see the film and even did something I almost never do, I went to the theater by myself to really…