• That's Dancing!

    That's Dancing!

    ★★★★

    For some reason the other day I was thinking that someone somewhere far in the past must have been the first dance choreographer. Someone who said instead of having people just move around at random how about if we planned it and we had people doing the same move at the same time. Wouldn't that be cool? And then they probably burnt him or her at the stake. That would be the devil's work. But over time it caught on…

  • Miss Pacific Fleet

    Miss Pacific Fleet

    ★★★

    It is always a treat for me to see a film with both Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell together. They were part of a group of actors in the first part of the 1930's at Warner Brothers who kept showing up in the same films and were good friends off the set. Blondel and Farrell were nicknamed the "Gimme Girls" for often being cast as single women on the prowl for a man - hopefully a rich one. In other…

  • Distant Justice

    Distant Justice

    ★★½

    Welcome to America. A middle-aged Japanese couple and their grown daughter come to the USA for a holiday and to visit an American friend. First, driving cross-country they are carjacked in the desert in the middle of nowhere. Still they make it to Boston where the father goes to see his friend who is a police chief. They once worked on a case together in Japan. The mother and daughter go sightseeing and unknowingly take a photo of a drug…

  • Gun Crazy: Episode 4: Requiem for a Bodyguard

    Gun Crazy: Episode 4: Requiem for a Bodyguard

    ★★

    Aka - The Magnificent Five Strike

    This is the last film in the Gun Crazy series and I would like to thank our sponsor. The NRA. Don't leave home without it because you never know when you are in the mood to shoot someone or even an entire crowd.

    This last one was a bit of a chore to get through - and then when I get to the end I discover that the rip of my DVD cut off…

  • Gun Crazy: Episode 3: Traitor's Rhapsody

    Gun Crazy: Episode 3: Traitor's Rhapsody

    ★★½

    Aka - Gun Crazy: The Big Gundown

    Each of these Gun Crazy films begins with a note - "A Fable of Ladies with Guns". Which is pretty much all that a lot of men need to know. An attractive woman, a gun and a few dead bodies. We are easy. In this case we get two attractive women and two guns. So what is there to complain about, Well, there is way too much exposition and too little action. Come…

  • The Imp

    The Imp

    ★★★★

    I am rather amazed that I had never seen this till now. It is considered one of the highlights of the Hong Kong New Wave and also a breakthrough horror film. Perhaps I expected that I would be let down and so kept putting it off. But damn, this is great. There is a sense of dread and unease that flows through the film from start to finish like a long screech in the night. It mixes elements of Chinese…

  • Gun Crazy: Episode 2: Beyond the Law

    Gun Crazy: Episode 2: Beyond the Law

    ★★★

    The second in the Gun Crazy series of gun toting killing females. The films are unconnected other than in themes. This makes one reference to the first film but they are all different characters. Director Atsushi Muroga ups the graphic violence from the first one with a fair amount of blood letting and also has higher production values. It has a soft middle but a good first half and a good ending. The woman in this one is Yuki played…

  • Gun Crazy: Episode 1: A Woman from Nowhere

    Gun Crazy: Episode 1: A Woman from Nowhere

    ★★★

    Director Atsushi Muroga knocked off four straight to video films all centered around women with guns in 2002 and 2003. All titled Gun Crazy. This one was a decent start with a tough as ball-bearings woman and a fair amount of action. Low budget but good fun. Nothing very special really - churn out a script and shoot it quickly. But you know - a woman and a gun - is all you need sometimes. Especially one not shy about…

  • An Inspector Calls

    An Inspector Calls

    ★★★★

    This is rather brilliant. It is based on a play from J.B. Priestley and it doesn't make any real attempt other than a few flashbacks to break away from that limitation. In fact, it embraces it. The film - excluding the flashbacks - takes place in a few hours one evening with the gathering of a family and a stranger who intrudes. The flashbacks do not happen in the play. It is referred to as drawing-room theater - which means…

  • A Caribbean Mystery

    A Caribbean Mystery

    ★★½

    It strikes me as odd that Miss Marple (Helen Hayes) would even want to spend a week in a Caribbean resort. She would burn terribly in the sun. It is the most boring thing in the world just to sit around all day soaking up the sun at her age. No deep sea diving. Shuffle board, darts, croquet and gossip. And of course murder. Three of them. Miss Marple brings murder along with her no matter where she goes like…

  • Murder with Mirrors

    Murder with Mirrors

    ★★½

    This is based on Agatha Christie's book They Do It with Mirrors published in 1952. For me it is one of her duller books with a clever crime but much too long to get there. The Joan Hickson version which I saw not too long ago wasn't much better and this one is at best so-so. There were much better Miss Marple books to adapt. This one tries to give it a bit more energy but having Miss Marple taken…

  • Swords of Blood

    Swords of Blood

    ★★★

    Much better known as Cartouche.

    Two years after Breathless Jean-Paul Belmondo was dancing on water. He could do no wrong. This seemingly tough working class kid with attitude to lend out was the rage; never mind that his father was a famous sculptor and that Belmondo had been able to go to the best acting schools. Put a cigarette between his lips and he was a man of the streets. Breathless had been a global hit and Belmondo was getting…