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Manhunter (1986) First screen adaptation based on Red Dragon and the first depiction of Dr.Hannibal Lecter, story is well paced about the manhunt by a retired FBI investigator called in to pursue a serial killer who is dubbed "The Tooth Fairy", a very different film than Silence of the Lambs but a great one 9-10/10

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Manhunter (1986) First screen adaptation based on Red Dragon and the first depiction of Dr.Hannibal Lecter, story is well paced about the manhunt by a retired FBI investigator called in to pursue a serial killer who is dubbed "The Tooth Fairy", a very different film than Silence of the Lambs but a great one 9-10/10

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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

Yea I've heard that response also. lol

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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.

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LawrenceA:  I really appreciated your comments on North Dallas Forty.  John Matuzak played college football at The University of Tampa before it quit the sport.  He was well liked here.  Eventually the injuries he had to his head caused the same kind of death that's claimed other players we are hearing about.  Nothing is worth the toll the game seems to be taking in terms of quality of life. 

 

The picks on this thread are certainly interesting and out of the ordinary in terms of the usual films mentioned.  I'm posting with people who think. 

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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.

I loved this one.  If memory serves it has the routine where Pryor recounts the events of his heart attack which is one of the funniest sketches I've ever seen.

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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.

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It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955) Giant radioactive octopus attacks California coast, Director

was Robert Gordon with stars  Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, Donald Curtis. So this is where Faith Domergue ended up in monster movies and TV. It was entertaining 6/10 
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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."

 

I remember seeing that years ago and have always really enjoyed Charles Grodin and Albert Brooks ... cheers for the review Lawrence.

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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.

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"That's Entertainment!" (1974)--I saw this on original release in 1974.  Film is excellent collection of musical clips--From Rosalie (1937) with Eleanor Powell, Broadway Melody of 1940, the "challenge" dance with Fred Astaire & Eleanor Powell, to "Abba Dabba Honeymoon" from "Two Weeks With Love" (1950),  to "I Gotta Hear That Beat" from "Small Town Girl" (1953), with Ann Miller & a disembodied orchestra, film is wonderful introduction to classic film musicals.  9/10.

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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.

Oh man. I love this movie. I know it's not a good movie, but I love it. I love the roller disco and Linda Blair's car. My favorite part is when Blair tells mother Beverley Garland that she's giving up her Julliard flautist scholarship in favor of pursuing roller disco. Lol. My only complaint is that the lead actor is horrible, but he's a great roller skater, so I guess he's got that going for him.

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ROOTS: THE NEXT GENERATIONS (8/10)

 

Mammoth continuation of the landmark 1977 original television miniseries. Picking up right where the first left off, this series follows the ancestors of author Alex Haley, from Reconstruction Tennessee in the 1880's all the way through to the 1970's. It's 11+ hour running time is divided into seven 90+ minute chapters. A lot of topics are covered, including race mixing, education reform, Jim Crow laws, voter suppression, labor unions, the first World War, dust bowl farming, and how all of these things affect the Haley family. The last two chapters follow the life of Haley himself, with chapter six documenting his life in the Coast Guard before, during and after WWII, and chapter seven detailing his career as a writer, from his work with Malcolm X, to his infamous Playboy magazine interview with American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell, and his lengthy research and writing of "Roots".

 

The gargantuan cast includes Georg Stanford Brown and Lynne Moody continuing over from the first series, Paul Koslo, Greg Morris, Marc Singer, Richard Thomas, Debbi Morgan, Ja'net DuBois, Roger E. Mosley, Stan Shaw, Gerald McRaney, Jerry Hardin, Irene Cara, Dorian Harewood, Philip Michael Thomas, George Voskovec, Cliff Arquette, Albert Popwell, Kene Holliday, J.A. Preston, Bernie Casey, Pam Grier, Rosey Grier, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, John Rubinstein, Charlie Robinson, Robert Cull, Dina Merrill, Brock Peters, Paul Winfield, Logan Ramsey, Debbie Allen, Diahann Carroll, Rafer Johnson, Albert Hall, Telma Hopkins, Kim Fields, Barbara Barrie, James Broderick, Michael Constantine, Norman Fell, Howard E. Rollins Jr, Ernie Hudson, Zakes Mokae, and James Earl Jones as Alex Haley. There are a lot of great old character actors and stars as well, such as Harry Morgan, James Daly, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Beah Richards, Olivia de Havilland, and a good turn by Henry Fonda. Al Freeman Jr received a lot of critical acclaim for his role as Malcolm X, but Marlon Brando won an Emmy for showing up as the Nazi bigot Rockwell. And these aren't even all the faces you'll recognize in this enormous endeavor.

 

Nearly the pinnacle of what was possible in television at the time, this shouldn't be missed by anyone interested in American history, or the evolution of tv as art form. My only quibbles were some dodgy old-age make-up, a poorly executed WWI battle scene, and the last two chapters reducing the scope of the previous chapters. The last parts are worthwhile, and James Earl Jones is phenomenal as Alex Haley, but it may have been better served as a stand-alone biopic. And the natural limitations of tv at the time, while not prohibitive to the overall excellence, are present in an at-times over simplification of thorny issues.

 

Little things I liked: a billboard advertising a Ruth Chatterton appearance; the theme music played in different styles at the start of each chapter to reflect the different eras; and real newsreel footage of WWI Buffalo soldiers returning home after the war.

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Oh man. I love this movie. I know it's not a good movie, but I love it. I love the roller disco and Linda Blair's car. My favorite part is when Blair tells mother Beverley Garland that she's giving up her Julliard flautist scholarship in favor of pursuing roller disco. Lol. My only complaint is that the lead actor is horrible, but he's a great roller skater, so I guess he's got that going for him.

 

I agree with speedracer.

Mark L. Lester's  ROLLER BOOGIE is such a fun movie.

Some of my favorite moments were when the snobbish guy who was pursuing Linda Blair got his "just deserts": at one point he was forced to flash his own mother and at another he was locked in the trunk of a car.

And, oh yeah, the opening scene featuring a group skate along the Venice Beach boardwalk underscored by Cher's "Hell On Wheels"!

 

Well, I'm hell on wheels.

I'm a roller mama.

I can slide down places

That you never knew! 

 

. . .

 

See somethin' you like,

Better go for it.

See somethin' you want,

Better get down on it . . 

 

 

WARNING: The guys in this movie sport shorter shorts than even John Ritter on THREE'S COMPANY.

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I don't know what got into me this weekend, but I actually managed to watch TCM live (I did record them on the DVR as a back up in case scatterbrained me forgot to watch them). 

 

That's Entertainment.  I've seen this special multiple times, but I love it.  I love musicals and MGM made some of the best.  It also features Gene Kelly and I love him.  He's probably #2 behind Errol. Kelly's number with Fred Astaire in Ziegfeld Follies is a delight and probably the best dance number in an otherwise dull film.   Even though I've seen That's Entertainment before, I completely did not remember Clark Gable singing "Putting on the Ritz."  I was so enthralled in Gable's rendition that I googled it to see what film it was in.  I was so excited to find out that it was in one of the Norma Shearer movies I recorded--Idiot's Delight, which is not a musical, but features this delightful scene of Gable singing and dancing.  I will need to make time this week to watch Idiot's Delight for sure.  Other scenes were excellent, though I'm glad Elizabeth Taylor gave up musicals, she was no Judy Garland for sure.  This film also pointed out to me to never watch a Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald musical, I could not even handle the short two minute scene they were singing.  Yuck.  Eddy wasn't even cute, so there wasn't even that to distract me from his awful singing.  Despite my not being a big fan of Mickey Rooney, he and Judy made such a great team in their movies, they do have fun musical numbers.  However, I can see why Judy wanted to move on from Mickey and be in more grown up films.  I loved seeing Errol Flynn in the scene of the MGM luncheon, even though he didn't work at MGM.  He must have just lucked out that the luncheon was held while he worked on That Forsyte Woman.  Because of the filmed footage and photographs existing from this event, Errol is forever part of the MGM lore.  Lol.  I also saw again the amazing Eleanor Powell, and will probably end up buying both of the new TCM boxed sets-- That's Entertainment and Eleanor Powell.  

 

In a Lonely Place.  I loved this film noir.  It was definitely worth the wait.  Humphrey Bogart gives probably one of his best performances in this film.  I also really liked Gloria Grahame, she was excellent as Bogart's alibi and (later) lover.  I loved the seedy Hollywood backdrop of the film and the ambiguity of Bogart's character.  He seems like a good guy, but his quick temper makes him a prime suspect.  Without giving anything away, I just want to say that I loved the ending.  It wasn't the ending I was anticipating, yet it seems the only likely ending for someone like Bogart's character.  This is the second Nicholas Ray film I've seen (the other being Rebel Without a Cause) and I really like his type of film.  It looks like he also directed The Lusty Men which I have on the DVR (which I recorded during SUTS purely because of the title), so I'll need to make time to watch that one soon.

 

Shock.  This Italian horror film was on after In a Lonely Place and while I did not anticipate watching this film and horror movies aren't typically my favorite genre, I ended up getting sucked into this movie.  I knew that the kid would be bad news, because kids are always creepy and evil in horror movies.  The kid in this film did not disappoint.  The effects were cheesy (the giant hand statue, the floating box knife, etc.) but the film was creepy as well.  The poor woman was terrorized for days on end to the point where her husband was slipping her sedatives.  Even though the film was bad, I just had to watch it because I wanted to see how it would end.  The ending was quite gruesome and then weird.  In these horror movies where the people move into the creepy houses, why do they stay? Why don't they just leave after all the scary stuff happens? That's what I would do.  

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FURY (7/10)

 

Grimy WWII action drama from 2014 follows a fresh US Army recruit assigned to fill out a 5 man tank crew in the waning days of the European campaign. The veterans are a motley bunch, having served together in the same tank, named Fury, since the African campaign. They've perhaps seen one battle too many, and are more than a little frayed at the edges. The young addition has a steep learning curve, as he's forced to face the grim realities of combat and what it does to good men.

 

Brad Pitt stars as the scarred (in many ways) commander, with Logan Lerman as the novice, Michael Pena as the driver, a repellent Jon Bernthal, and a bible-quoting Shia LeBeouf rounds out the crew. Brad Henke, Scott Eastwood and Jason Isaacs lend support.

 

If you saw 2001's TRAINING DAY, also written by this film's writer-director David Ayer, you'll recognize a lot of the story beats. Both films follow a damaged mentor figure painfully educating a newcomer into a dangerous new world. Everything in the movie seems to be covered in mud and blood, and the language is just as filthy. The film alternates between sincere contemplation on the moral and spiritual cost of war, to a videogame-like gung-ho action piece. The performances are good for the most part, although Bernthal gives a bit too much, and some of the dialogue is lost in some garbled accents. One lengthy sequence inside an apartment with the crew and two female German civilians is nail-biting, as you wonder just how much of their humanity the soldiers have left.

 

War buffs and action fans should find something to like here, and there's a little bit of Brad Pitt eye candy, but it's bloody and grueling at times, so be warned.

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Even though I've seen That's Entertainment before, I completely did not remember Clark Gable singing "Putting on the Ritz." I was so enthralled in Gable's rendition that I googled it to see what film it was in. I was so excited to find out that it was in one of the Norma Shearer movies I recorded--Idiot's Delight, which is not a musical, but features this delightful scene of Gable singing and dancing. I will need to make time this week to watch Idiot's Delight for sure.

 

Sounds like a good weekend! I'm also glad I taped IDIOT'S DELIGHT if it has Gable singing.
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I don't know what got into me this weekend, but I actually managed to watch TCM live (I did record them on the DVR as a back up in case scatterbrained me forgot to watch them). 

 

That's Entertainment.  I've seen this special multiple times, but I love it.  I love musicals and MGM made some of the best.  It also features Gene Kelly and I love him.  He's probably #2 behind Errol. Kelly's number with Fred Astaire in Ziegfeld Follies is a delight and probably the best dance number in an otherwise dull film.   Even though I've seen That's Entertainment before, I completely did not remember Clark Gable singing "Putting on the Ritz."  I was so enthralled in Gable's rendition that I googled it to see what film it was in.  I was so excited to find out that it was in one of the Norma Shearer movies I recorded--Idiot's Delight, which is not a musical, but features this delightful scene of Gable singing and dancing.  I will need to make time this week to watch Idiot's Delight for sure.  Other scenes were excellent, though I'm glad Elizabeth Taylor gave up musicals, she was no Judy Garland for sure.  This film also pointed out to me to never watch a Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald musical, I could not even handle the short two minute scene they were singing.  Yuck.  Eddy wasn't even cute, so there wasn't even that to distract me from his awful singing.  Despite my not being a big fan of Mickey Rooney, he and Judy made such a great team in their movies, they do have fun musical numbers.  However, I can see why Judy wanted to move on from Mickey and be in more grown up films.  I loved seeing Errol Flynn in the scene of the MGM luncheon, even though he didn't work at MGM.  He must have just lucked out that the luncheon was held while he worked on That Forsyte Woman.  Because of the filmed footage and photographs existing from this event, Errol is forever part of the MGM lore.  Lol.  I also saw again the amazing Eleanor Powell, and will probably end up buying both of the new TCM boxed sets-- That's Entertainment and Eleanor Powell.  

 

Okay, I know it's lame that I'm quoting myself, but I wanted to add three things to my comment about That's Entertainment

 

1) I'm so glad they featured the "Singin' in the Rain" number from Singin' in the Rain.  With all respect to Fred Astaire and other musical talents, the "Singin' in the Rain" song and dance has probably got to be one of the greatest musical numbers ever put on film.  Unless you are made of stone, I don't know how you could not feel instantly happier after seeing Gene Kelly dance and sing his heart out in the rain.  The joy he exudes in this song is infectious.  If I were having a particularly horrible day or was feeling terrible, like I'd been hit by a truck, then Singin' in the Rain would be the film I'd watch to make myself feel better.  

 

2) I forgot that in the scene of 12/13 year old Judy Garland singing "La Cucaracha" (sp?) to various Hollywood stars, I spotted my Errol again--looking dreamy, sans mustache, in color! 

 

3) I love Judy Garland.  What a talent.  She's probably my second favorite behind Lucy.

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I agree with speedracer.

Mark L. Lester's  ROLLER BOOGIE is such a fun movie.

Some of my favorite moments were when the snobbish guy who was pursuing Linda Blair got his "just deserts": at one point he was forced to flash his own mother and at another he was locked in the trunk of a car.

And, oh yeah, the opening scene featuring a group skate along the Venice Beach boardwalk underscored by Cher's "Hell On Wheels"!

 

Well, I'm hell on wheels.

I'm a roller mama.

I can slide down places

That you never knew! 

 

. . .

 

See somethin' you like,

Better go for it.

See somethin' you want,

Better get down on it . . 

 

WARNING: The guys in this movie sport shorter shorts than even John Ritter on THREE'S COMPANY.

I really hope TCM shows "Skatetown USA" sometime as part of their Underground series. It's another (!) roller disco film starring Scott Baio and Maureen McCormick. An ideal evening for me would be watching a trifecta of roller disco films: "Skatetown USA," "Roller Boogie," and the greatest of them all: "Xanadu."

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"The Sheik" (1921)--Film is regressive (paraphrased title--Old biddy #1--"Lady Diana! Going out in the desert with ONLY native guides and Arabs!") & progressive (Agnes Ayres' character Lady Diana-- (one of the few intelligent things she says "Marriage is like captivity!  I make my own choices!).  It's a pity her own choices always seem to land her into trouble.  Film has Lots of Title cards--a few are memorably sarcastic; The Sheik (Rudolph Valentino), after being called a savage: "Madame, with your permission, the Savage will escort you home".  Film is worth seeing because it's a good copy (I found it on Vimeo--search "Adolphe Menjou"--will be four results--The first should be The Sheik. The copy of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1919) TCM showed in Sept. was in much worse shape.  Film is a 2012 restoration done by Video Cellar--film is clear, except for night photography.  For historical value, like "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1919), "The Sheik" (1921) should be seen.  We never know how long these films will be around before they become unsalvageable. 

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THE SEDUCTION OF JOE TYNAN (6/10)

 

Political comedy-drama written by and starring Alan Alda as a young liberal senator who embarks on an ill-advised affair with a political operative played by Meryl Streep. His fragile wife and rebellious daughter make his home life tough, while a doddering senior senator and a Supreme Court judge nomination worry him at work. Can he handle everything without it all collapsing around him?

 

With Barbara Harris as the wife, Melvyn Douglas as the senior senator, Rip Torn as a Senate rascal, Charles Kimbrough, Carrie Nye, Dan Hedaya, and Merv Griffin as himself. Performances are satisfactory, and Meryl gets to do another accent (Deep South), but the story isn't much and the satire lacks any real bite. Easily forgotten, but their are worse ways to spend your time.

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H.G. WELLS' THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME (3/10)

 

The film opens with a shot of space. A slow text crawl rolls across the screen, setting the stage for the movie's events. The next shot is a tracking shot along the detailed underbelly of a vast spacecraft, zooming toward a planet ahead. If you think you're watching STAR WARS, think again! The year 1979 saw a number of quickie STAR WARS rip-offs, but THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME comes in very near the top of the schlock-o-meter. This Canadian production has zero to do with H.G. Wells, despite the title.

 

After the last "Robot Wars" left Earth uninhabitable, humankind has journeyed into the stars, colonizing the moon and other, distant planets. The one thing all humanity has in common is the need for a drug called Radi-Q-2, which is only found on the planet Delta-3. Jack Palance gets top billing and a purple cape as "Omus the Robot Master", who stages a coup on Delta-3, overthrowing the former ruler Niki (Carol Lynley). His next move is to attack the moon colony of New Washington, an assault that destroys their supply of the needed anti-radiation drug. The colony's elder scientist, along with two young heroes and a teleporting robot named Sparks, journey first to Earth, then to Delta-3, to try and stop Emperor Omus and his robot legions.

 

The elder scientist, a stand-in for Obi-Wan Kenobi, is played by Barry Morse. Canadian film and tv star Nicholas Campbell plays the young hero Jason, while Eddie Benson is Kim Smedley, the brilliant young daughter of New Washington's leader Senator Smedley (John Ireland).

 

Watch as Niki and her troops assault the Emperor's robot horde with pool-cleaning tools and plastic garbage can lids!

 

Marvel at the wild side effects of "Time Dilation"!

 

Gaze in wonder at the spacesuits made of tinfoil and a clear plastic bag for a helmet!

 

Shrink in terror at the ferocity of the robot legion that looks like a cheaper combination of the old Daleks from "Dr. Who" and the Robot from "Lost in Space"!

 

Listen as Jack Palance keeps pronouncing "robot" as "ro-but"!

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I really hope TCM shows "Skatetown USA" sometime as part of their Underground series. It's another (!) roller disco film starring Scott Baio and Maureen McCormick. An ideal evening for me would be watching a trifecta of roller disco films: "Skatetown USA," "Roller Boogie," and the greatest of them all: "Xanadu."

I haven't seen SKATETOWN USA yet. I need to so I can complete my roller disco trifecta!

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