Monday, August 31, 2015

Capsule Reviews Volume VIII

The Amateur Hookers
(1972) feature film (*) out of five stars
While on vacation, two young women turn to prostitution to pay their hotel bill. Typical 1970's porn, with hideous decor and equally hideous acting. Two of the men in this look so similar to one another, I fear they might be brothers. No performers or crew is credited, and that is probably the smartest decision anyone involved with this production made (good pirated jazz score, though). This is available from Something Weird Video on a double bill with "Finishing School" on DVD-R. (X)- Profanity, strong female nudity, strong male nudity, explicit sexual content, adult situations, alcohol consumption.


American Pie Presents Band Camp
Directed by Steve Rash, Written by Brad Riddell, Cast: Tad Hilgenbrink, Eugene Levy, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Earles
(2005) feature film (*) out of five stars
The little brother of the character Stifler from the theatrical films goes to band camp, wreaking havoc and causing mayhem, because the film makers decided you're too stupid to require laughs from your comedy. This may be one of the worst "comedies" I have ever seen, and I sat through "Beer for My Horses." I hated all the characters, the story is predictable, and the lead character is a borderline sociopath who never should have had an entire film resting on his adventures. Repulsive and sad, your level of enjoyment might depend on how funny you find the word "stiff" and all its incarnations. The first of a handful of direct-to-video stories, hopefully we can give the entire franchise a rest. (Unrated)- Some physical violence, strong profanity, strong female nudity, male nudity, sexual content, very strong sexual references, strong adult situations, alcohol consumption.


The Angry Red Planet
Directed by Ib Melchior, Screenplay by Ib Melchior and Sid Pink, Original Story by Sid Pink, Cast: Gerald Mohr, Nora Hayden, Les Tremayne, Jack Kruschen
(1959) feature film (* *) out of five stars
Pretty hysterical story of two surviving astronauts returning to Earth, and one recounting their adventures on Mars. To call this film sexist would be an understatement, the science and technology onboard the spacecraft is hilarious (yes, that is a manual typewriter), but the film's one saving grace is the bizarre special camera effect of the surface of the red planet. (Unrated)- Mild physical violence, very mild gun violence, some tobacco use.


The Finishing School
Cast: Rick Conlin, Henry Ferris, Lynn Holmes, Jim, Susan Westcott
(1971) feature film (*) out of five stars
A teacher instructs her female students how to pleasure a man so they will know what to do on their wedding nights in this silly porno. While the idea was played for laughs in "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life," in this story it comes off as sleazy, sleepy, and a little creepy. This is available from Something Weird Video on a double bill with "Amateur Hookers" on DVD-R. (X)- Profanity, strong female nudity, strong male nudity, explicit sexual content.


For Your Eyes Only
Directed by John Glen, Written by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson, Cast: Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Topol, Lynn-Holly Johnson
(1981) feature film (* * * * *) out of five stars
Definitely my favorite James Bond entry, as 007 must retrieve a device that can control nuclear weapons before it falls into the wrong (Soviet) hands. Moore cruises through, the action is excellent, and the film moves along briskly. (PG)- Physical violence, gun violence, mild gore, some profanity, brief female nudity, sexual references, some adult situations.


Grey Matter
Directed by Joy N. Houck, Jr., Story and Screenplay by Joy N. Houck, Jr. & Christian Garrison & Thomas Hal Phillips, Cast: James Best, Barbara Burgess, Gerald McRaney, Gil Peterson
(1977) feature film (*) out of five stars
Oh, my gosh, I thought CBS prime-time television shows were the worst things Gerald McRaney appeared in. Four people are experimented on by a crazed mind control computer. That's it, don't rent it. I saw this under one of its many titles- "Grey Matter," and it is perhaps one of the worst films of recent memory. The other reviews are right, it is awful. Never have so many establishing shots appeared onscreen, NEVER. The cast is awful, the direction is awful, and the script is awful. I cannot stress how awful this is. Avoid it like you would smallpox. (PG13)- physical violence, some gun violence, mild gore, some profanity, and some adult situations.


Ikwe
Directed by Norma Bailey, Written by Wendy Lill, Cast: Geraint Wyn Davies, Hazel King, Gladys Taylor, Patrick Bruyere
(1987) television film (*) out of five stars
A trapper in 1770's Canada takes an native woman for a bride, and this way-too-short made-for-television film follows their relationship. The lead actress isn't very good, and the film feels chopped up. By the time the downer ending rolls around, and the musical "score" has brought on a headache, I realized that pretty scenery does not a good film make. (Unrated)- Mild physical violence, mild gun violence, some gore, some adult situations.


Tomorrow Never Dies
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, Written by Bruce Feirstein, Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher
(1997) feature film (* * *) out of five stars
Great action but empty. This film takes 007 and turns him into just another action hero after one of those shady billionaire villains. The lagging plot is saved by some incredible stunt work, but the characters have been "updated" so badly are hardly recognizable. Joe Don Baker is terrible in his two scenes playing the obnoxious American the British love to hate, and Dench's coquettish smiles at Bond's behavior border on silly. Bring back Connery and Moore...heck, even Lazenby and Dalton.


The Trail Beyond
Directed by Robert N. Bradbury, Screenplay by Lindsley Parsons based on a story by James Oliver Curwood, Cast: John Wayne, Noah Beery Jr., Verna Hillie, Noah Beery Sr.
(1934) feature film (* * * *) out of five stars
One of Wayne's best B Films. After a whole lot of creaky, bad B westerns, Wayne triumphs here. The locations are great, the stuntwork is great, and his teaming with Beery is great. Some of the editing of previous stuntwork into the climax is ridiculous, but this film works pretty well in a fun, old movie way.


Winnie the Pooh: Cowboy Pooh
Cast: Jim Cummings, Michael Gough, Andre Stojka, Paul Winchell
(1994) television episodes (* * *) out of five stars
Pleasant enough entertainment. While this is just a collection of episodes from the television series, my toddler was captivated, even if the entertainment value for parents is negligible.


Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving
Directed by Jun Falkenstein, Karl Geurs, Gary Katona, Ed Wexler, Written by Barbara Slade, Cast: Jim Cummings, Paul Winchell, Brady Bluhm, Ken Sansom
(1999) feature film (*) out of five stars
Disney makes a quickie buck. Your children may love it, but this is a terrible headache for adults. Combining too many different styles of animation, and having to witness the "new" animation that looked amateur at best really sank this for me. I get the feeling the only reason this was released was to tack on the preview for "The Tigger Movie" at the beginning. Thanks a lot Disney, between this and "Lion King 2," your straight-to-video output leaves a lot to be desired.


Zentropa
Directed by Lars von Trier, Written by Lars von Trier & Niels Vorsel, Cast: Jean-Marc Barr, Barbara Sukowa, Udo Kier, Max von Sydow
(1992) feature film (* * * *) out of five stars
Goodtropa. One thing you can say about this film is you have never seen anything like it before. Most chilling is the soundtrack, although von Trier does over-direct once in a while. I did appreciate this more than his "Breaking the Waves."

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