• The Phenix City Story

    The Phenix City Story

    ★★★★

    A brutal and very tough look at the true story of a town over-run by the mob thanks to years of rigged elections. Director Phil Karlson pulls no punches as he depicts the violent scum running the city and the corruption at the highest levels of the local government. Clearly made with a limited budget, Karlson decided to give the film a documentary feel in order to use real street scenes and non-actors in various roles. For a film released in the mid 50s its quite amazing the amount of brutality allowed to pass the censors.

  • The Lady in Red

    The Lady in Red

    ★★★★

    A rambling but highly enjoyable exploitation picture with much bolder aspirations. Doing a period picture on the cheap is a real challenge but director Lewis Teague proved he was up to the task and was able to kick off a substantial career in the film biz.

    With plenty of nudity and bloodshed, this film also has the advantage of a great cast and excellent script. Its limited budget is hardly noticeable with all the tallent involved.

  • Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist

    Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist

    ★★★★

    Excellent look into the creative mind of Friedkin back in a time when Hollywood studios would take risks on artists and sometime reap rewards rather than todays seemingly guaranteed profit via endless superhero drivel.

  • The Yellow Panther

    The Yellow Panther

    ★★★

    An entertaining comedy with a great cast and very good production values. Lino Banfi and beautiful Agostina Belli star is this comedy / action film that is very well shot and includes some impressive stunt-work. Some actual effort was put into the production including sync sound recording - a big plus with this type of comedy.

  • Adiós, Sabata

    Adiós, Sabata

    ★★★★

    With Lee Van Cleef's departure from the series after only the first film a replacement was cast with Yul Brynner. The charm of the series; gimmicks, stunts, nifty guns and some humor all worked well with Brynner and he also added some machismo to the role. The production values are quite high, camerawork very good and most notably the English dubbing work was tops. Overall an above average Italian western that moves along at a quick pace and has an enjoyable cast with a standout performance by Ignazio Spalla.

  • Mania

    Mania

    Another overwrought melodrama by schlock-master Renato Polselli. Here a completely inept screaming drama is infused with cheap-o sci-fi, some pathetic horror elements a dash of nudity resulting in 80 minutes of tedium. Perhaps on the grind-house circuit with a drunken crowd this would have produced some entertainment value.

  • Hitch-Hike

    Hitch-Hike

    ★★

    A meandering and rambling comedic story of a young beauty thumbing her way from Belgium to the Côte d'Azur.

    The film is essentially a promotional device for young actress Agathe Aëms, who while attractive has very little cinematic appeal. The very numerous adventures and people she encounters becomes repetitive and tedious. If a more talented actress such as Cathrine Spaak was in the lead there is a chance the film would have had more appeal.

  • Roadgames

    Roadgames

    ★★★

    Reminiscent of better Australian films of the time most notably Mad Max thanks composer Brian May, a Dingo and the outback stretches of desolate highway. Stacy Keach is great but the film gets a bit repetitive, silly and eventually preposterous. Director and cinephilia Richard Franklin did some great work during this time and his films are worth seeking out.

  • Piranhas

    Piranhas

    ★★

    Teen delinquents in Naples wanting more. Not a film endorsed by the Neapolitan travel group.

  • The Duellists

    The Duellists

    ★★

    Visually with locations, lighting and photography this picture is a thing of beauty. Often seen as a series tableau vivants with some compelling back-round actors. It is the leads that sink this picture and most egregiously Harvey Keitel. The storyline is rambling and at time fairly dull.

  • 3:10 to Yuma

    3:10 to Yuma

    Good actors, loud and fast paced, more blood, more and more... to what end? The 1957 film was gorgeous in its B&W widescreen depiction of this tale. Glenn Ford was a revelation; low key and impactful. Even bug-eyed Van Heflin was good. Strictly for the ADD generation who turn to their phones during dialogue scenes.

  • Max and the Junkmen

    Max and the Junkmen

    ★★★★

    Slowly paced with time to enjoy the excellent performances by the cast and in particular, Michel Piccoli. The smoke in the air is palpable. The subtext of this picture is clearly a criticism of the police in France at the time. Max, who is clearly having a breakdown of sorts, crosses the line into entrapment. A psychological study masquerading as a crime film.