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Everything posted by LawrenceA

  1. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    ROLLER BOOGIE (3/10) Camp classic turkey made to cash in on the short lived roller-disco craze. Linda Blair stars as a rich, brilliant, young, concert-level classical flautist(!) with a scholarship to Julliard. However, she's not interested in leaving for school, and would rather spend her days at Venice Beach rollerskating and her nights at the roller rink. She meets a working-class boy, played by real-life rollerskating champion Jim Bray, and they begin to practice roller-disco moves and falling in love. Will Linda's snobby parents allow this romance? Will Linda have to leave for Julliard, or stay and pursue her disco dreams? Will the kids band together and save their favorite roller rink from shutting down? Will you care? Beverly Garland appears as Linda's pill-popping mother, Roger Perry as her father, Sean McClory as the kindly rink owner, Mark Goddard as the bad guy, Kimberly Beck, James Van Patten and Stoney Jackson as Phones, because he wears headphones. The disco soundtrack includes songs by Cher, Earth Wind & Fire, and lots of filler. The story is trite and dumb, the acting about the same. There's lots of pulchritudinous eye candy on display, but some truly awful fashions as well. The rollerskating moves are well-choreographed, I suppose. This is really not much different from the Sam Katzman rock n roll quickies made in the 50's, or that would be made in the 80's to cash in other fads and trends, like breakdancing in BREAKIN' or early rap music in BEAT STREET. If you're interested in the fad being exploited, you may find something here. Others should steer clear.
  2. I'll be recording IN A LONELY PLACE as well. I can't find an affordable copy on dvd right now, so I'll tape it until I can. Great movie, imho.
  3. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (7/10) From executive producer Roger Corman comes this cult comedy. Miss Togar is the new principal at Vince Lombardi High, and she's determined to stamp out the scourge of rock n roll rebellion plaguing the halls. The students are determined to party, get high, find a date and rock out to the Ramones! P.J. Soles (from CARRIE and HALLOWEEN) stars as the Ramones-obsessed student Riff Randell, with Dey Young as her nerdy best friend Kate Rambeau, Vincent Van Patten as the sex-starved quarterback in love with Riff, Clint Howard as the entrepreneurial Eagelbauer, the wonderful Mary Woronov as Miss Togar, her frequent co-star Paul Bartel as the music teacher, Dick Miller as a cop, fx genius Rob Bottin as a giant rat, and Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Marky Ramone as themselves. This is campy, stupid, anarchic fun, at times crude and witless, but never slow or boring, with some inspired moments and a few clever camera tricks. The "teenagers" are all too old, and of course, not everyone will like the music. But with the right mood, or with the intoxicants of your choice, a good time may be had. Sadly, Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee are all deceased now, so it's nice to see them in their prime again. And watch for the great comedic character actor Grady Sutton in his last role.
  4. I like CAT O' NINE TAILS fairly well. Argento is considered the master of the giallo, with THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET, and DEEP RED being his other entries. After that, he went more supernatural. DEEP RED, with David Hemmings, is probably the best. With giallos, animals in the title were a giveaway, as well as black gloves or raincoated figures on the poster art. It's an entertaining subgenre if you can click with the vibe of them, but some of them are nearly incoherent plotwise, and deadly dull as well.
  5. Are you a horror fan? If so, Bava was an essential figure in Italian horror. BLACK SUNDAY, BLACK SABBATH, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, BAY OF BLOOD, just for starters, are all must-sees in the genre. I actually just watched SHOCK for the first time a month or so ago. It's a good, not great, example of the "giallo" subgenre of Italian horror/suspense mixed with a ghost story. Giallos were murder mysteries, usually with a masked/unseen killer, with lots of pov shots from the killer's perspective. They tended to be a bit bloodier than traditional mysteries of the time. If any of this sounds interesting, then you could do worse than SHOCK. I second the HAXAN recommendation, as well.
  6. LawrenceA

    Actor Robert Loggia has died

    Sad to read about this passing. Enjoyed his great gravelly voice and scenery chewing bravado. Along with the death of Gabriele Ferzetti, this has been a sad week.
  7. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    RICHARD PRYOR: LIVE IN CONCERT (9/10) Groundbreaking first feature length stand-up comedy concert features Pryor delivering some of his best material. Along with Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, Richard Pryor stands as the most important voice in mid to late 20th century stand-up comedy. Here his topics include his then-recent troubles with the law, dogs, drugs, camping, corporal punishment, John Wayne, sexual politics, boxing, race relations and much, much more. Time may have lessened the visceral impact somewhat, since so much comedy has borrowed and built upon Pryor's foundation, but most of the material retains it's impact, especially bits about police tactics versus black suspects that could have been written today. Minor technical flaws, like occasional poor camera placement, don't really distract. Iconic, hilarious, profane and essential. Those with an intolerance for salty language need not apply.
  8. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    RESURRECTION OF GOLDEN WOLF (7/10) Lengthy Japanese crime drama manages to hold viewer's attention without breaking any new ground. Asakura is a young low-level office drone at a Tokyo oil company. His meek, sickly demeanor and status as a night school graduate have relegated him to a future of low expectations. However, his work persona is a ruse. He's actually a ruthless, physically fit sociopath who embarks on a crime spree to seize the future he wants. Robberies, assaults, extortion, drug trafficking, arson, even murder are all tools for him to achieve his goals. His one man crime wave gets him involved with yakuza, dirty cops, crooked politicians, prostitutes and corporate embezzlers. He never hesitates to crush anyone and everyone in his way. There's plenty of bloody action, a lot of skin, a very steamy sex scene or two, and a badly dated score to hold your interest. Sonny Chiba plays a supporting role, against type, as a scheming blackmailer. But the film belongs to Yusaku Matsuda, as the brutal Asakura. He gives a great performance, mostly behind a big mop of hair and sunglasses, but his menace still comes through. Matsuda would sadly pass away far too soon at the age of 39, shortly after filming his biggest role as the villainous yakuza Sato in the 1989 Michael Douglas film BLACK RAIN.
  9. LawrenceA

    Golden age: Roll call

    Wednesday: Jack Hawkins? That's all I've got without researching, and I don't want to cheat.
  10. LawrenceA

    Golden age: Roll call

    Monday: Leslie Howard? Friday: Harry Belafonte & Dorothy Dandridge? I should know Saturday and Wednesday, but the names won't come to me.
  11. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    REAL LIFE (7/10) Cult comedy from writer-director-star Albert Brooks is a prescient satire on reality tv. Inspired by the PBS series "An American Family", Brooks, playing a fictionalized version of himself, sets out to make a film that documents the every movement of a typical American family. Soon enough, though, relationships between the family members, and with Brooks, take a turn for the worse. Charles Grodin and Frances Lee McCain co-star as the parents in the family, and both are very good. Brooks is fine as well, playing the same boorish, narcissistic Hollywood caricature he played in the short films he made for the first season of "Saturday Night Live". And this film feels like a continuation of that style; dry, sometimes absurd, and off-putting to some. The plot, although relevant at the time due to the successful PBS series, is even more topical now in our age of reality tv overload. The film also skewers the politics of filmmaking in general, having fun with the sometime disconnect between the head office, the crew and the director. A must see for fans of Brooks and comedy with a smarter sensibility. One of the "1001 Movies To See Before You Die."
  12. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Love that film. I remember when the remake, RED DRAGON, was coming out and there were constant ads on tv for it, I heard some family friends say they were really excited about it. I asked if they knew about MANHUNTER, and they said no, so I brought it over and watched it with them. After it was over I asked everyone what they thought, and I got a lot of polite "welllll, it was ok, I guess?" type responses. Finally, their daughter, who was in her early 20's, said "it was waaay too Eighties". Sigh.
  13. LawrenceA

    Films of 2015

    Sounds like a fun family. My family (the ones still around anyway) doesn't watch anything without chipmunks or Adam Sandler, so we don't talk much about movies.
  14. LawrenceA

    Miracle on 34th Street in theatres a jip

    There was a minor fad a few years ago for showing some newer color films in b & w. I remember THE MIST getting lauded for a b & w presentation. I think they may have even released the b&w version on disc, though I'm not sure. I read a few other titles were given the same treatment for limited screenings, like in LA and NY only, but I don't recall titles.
  15. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (5/10) Unfunny comedic remake of the classic tale stars Peter Sellers in multiple roles. When the doddering King of Ruritania dies in a hot-air balloon accident, his playboy son Prince Rudolf is next in line to the throne. His brother Prince Michael covets the throne for himself, and so sends assassins out to kill Rudolf. To help protect the new king, Rudolf's lookalike half-brother, an English coach driver named Syd, is used as a decoy. The stage is then set for much hijinks and mistaken-identity gags. Sellers plays the old king, the new king and Syd. The supporting cast includes Sellers' then-wife Lynne Frederick, Elke Sommer, Lionel Jeffries, Jeremy Kemp, Catherine Schell, Gregory Sierra and Stuart Wilson. The production looks nice, in an old-fashioned, studio bound way. It looks like it could have been made 10 or 15 years earlier. The jokes are tired and uninspired, though, and the action is unremarkable. In his Goon Show/Clouseau/Strangelove heyday, no one on Earth was funnier than Peter Sellers. However, a combination of health and other personal problems saw a sharp decline in the quality of films he made throughout the 1970's. This film fits into that trend, unfortunately. He would also appear in the brilliant triumph BEING THERE later that same year, but sadly, he would be dead just over a year later.
  16. LawrenceA

    Frank Sinatra: Modern Man

    Your assessment of Frank is accurate. I would ask, who IS the Modern Man, the embodiment of 21st century culture? I tend to be cynical about the world, so I'll go with Kanye West, an individual I detest. To me he stands for everything reprehensible in today's culture: rudeness, unmerited egotism, unjustly garnered accolades. No matter how many times I read or hear that I'm supposed to regard him as a multi-talented artistic genius, I'm not buying into it. His music is garbage, his lyrics are corny and lazy, his fashion line is awful, his attitude would be funny as a long-form comedy piece, only he's not joking. The only talent he DOES have is somehow convincing a whole lot of people to give him a whole lot of money. Which, I suppose, is the 21st century American dream. End of angry old guy rant: Get off my lawn! Is there someone out there that's of this time that embodies the times in a more positive light?
  17. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    I just watched BORN LOSERS for the first time a few months ago. Fun flick, with a huge influence on action films for the next three decades. I think they've been showing GUIDE TO THE MARRIED MAN on one of the other classic stations I get, FXM, GetTV, THIS, or one of them.
  18. LawrenceA

    What's On at London's BFI

    I'm a big fan of GUN CRAZY so I think it's cool you'll get to see Ms. Cummins.
  19. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Well, I haven't seen WAR AND PEACE, TWO FOR THE ROAD, MOUCHETTE, THE THIEF OF PARIS, THE COMEDIANS, THE JOKERS or THE GUIDE FOR THE MARRIED MAN. So now I have more to look for and watch! Thanks!
  20. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    I need to watch BELLE DE JOUR again. It made little impression on me when I saw it some 20 odd years ago. I'm a huge fan of Bunuel's now, from the early stuff thru the Mexican years to the last great run back in Spain and France, but for some reason BELLE DE JOUR didn't click. And I like Deneuve as well. For me, COOL HAND LUKE tops the '67 list. It made a huge impact on me in my youth. POINT BLANK, IN COLD BLOOD, THE DIRTY DOZEN, THE GRADUATE, LE SAMOURAI, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH and WEEKEND round out my top ten.
  21. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    PACIFIC INFERNO (4/10) Philippines-lensed WWII action junk produced by and starring Jim Brown. After the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese, a group of US naval p.o.w.s are forced to dive in Manila Bay for silver coins dumped during MacArthur's retreat. The US navy men are kept in the same camp with Filipino civilian prisoners, and they band together to aid the Filipino underground resistance in their fight against the Japanese occupation. Jim Brown stars as the lead navy diver, with Richard Jaeckel, Tim Brown, Rik Van Nutter and the mascot of Filipino filmmaking, big Vic Diaz. The use of prodigious stock footage and scenes from other, larger budgeted features give this film a more ambitious scope than one would expect. There are anachronistic fashions, and racism is briefly touched on in a stab at social relevance. It's fun to see Jaeckel still running around, fighting the war in the Philippines 36 years after GUADALCANAL DIARY. But the film over all is a dud, with a weak script, poor performances from most of the cast and a lack of any compelling plot elements. This marked the end of Jim Brown's run as a 70's film hero, a mantle he wore well as one of the principal stars of the blaxploitation movement. He wouldn't appear in another film for 6 years. Featured in the credits are special thanks to Richard Pryor, Don Cornelius and Hugh Hefner!
  22. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Bogie, how did you see IN COLD BLOOD? A screening, your own copy at home, etc? I ask because I recently got the new Criterion blu-ray but haven't watched it yet.
  23. Yes, I've seen DIRTY DINGUS MAGEE. The Encore Westerns channel used to show it incessantly. Really awful.
  24. A HOLE IN THE HEAD is tolerable, nothing I'd want to see again. THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS is fun, I enjoy all those corny rally for the troops films. LURED I liked a lot. But I'll be dvring DOUBLE DYNAMITE since I haven't seen it, and I want to see all of Frank's films. Looking forward to a stinker!
  25. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    OVER THE EDGE (7/10) Juvenile delinquents run wild in the suburbs in this controversial release from director Jonathan Kaplan. The film follows an assortment of teens who alleviate their boredom with sex, drugs, rock n roll and more than a little impulsive destructive violence, while their workaholic parents are too busy or too tired to pay attention. Featuring a cast of then-unknowns as the kids, the film works partially because the actors are age appropriate; 15 year olds playing 15 year olds, and not the usual 30 year old freshmen too often seen in these movies. This was shocking stuff when released, as these were upper middle class kids, from nice neighborhoods, who should have been happy and content. Instead, the ripped-from-the-headlines story reveals the sad reality of a lot families, with unsupervised kids doing things their parents couldn't imagine. The sad byproduct of a prosperous society, perhaps. The film was barely released initially, fear of riots and theater violence keeping screenings limited. However, the film has found a cult following over the years. Michael Eric Kramer plays the main kid, with Andy Romano and Ellen Geer as his parents. Future star Matt Dillon, in his debut, plays his best friend while Vincent Spano appears as a bully. Early Scorsese regular Harry Northup plays a cop that often harasses the teens. Screenwriter Tim Hunter would go on to write and direct the even more disturbing jd film RIVER'S EDGE some years later. The soundtrack is a standout for late 70's rock fans, with songs by Cheap Trick, Ramones, Van Halen, The Cars and more. While the impact of the film has lessened since it's release (there's worse in the news every week), it remains an engaging time capsule as well as a glimpse into the malaise of suburban America.

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