Hunter has written 34 reviews for films rated ★★ .

  • Mank

    Mank

    ★★

    "Citizen Kane" is still a film that elicits feelings of jealousy from the proud who lack the grace to be humbled by great art. The film made by Orson Welles, Gregg Toland, and Herman J. Mankiewicz is a true testament to the collaborative nature of film, as many great artists converged on this film to create one of the great, innovative works in the medium that continues to entertain and inspire. Yet, for some reason, Hollywood still can't stand the…

  • Gamera vs. Zigra

    Gamera vs. Zigra

    ★★

    "Gamera vs. Zigra" is where you can feel the wheels coming off. The film is heavily shot on-location, a wise decision that helps it not feel as painfully low-budget as "Gamera vs. Viras", but the kaiju battles are slapdash enough that you can feel the constraints the movie was under. The plot is also a basic environmental-messaging yarn that was typical of sci-fi movies around this time, which feels like a big step down after the delightful creativity of the last two films. The seal show at Japanese Sea World is a scream, though!

  • Staying Alive

    Staying Alive

    ★★

    "Staying Alive", Sylvester Stallone's notorious sequel to "Saturday Night Fever", is more interesting than people think it is, it's like an Abel Ferrara film with weird modern dance numbers. John Travolta's iconic character Tony Manero comes from a vaguely Catholic background in the ruin of what was once New York's Italian-American ethnic neighborhoods. The only lingering flicker of light from Manero's Catholic upbringing comes from his refusal to do shows with nudity, not wanting to upset his devout mother. In…

  • Return of Sabata

    Return of Sabata

    ★★

    I really need to institute a bail-policy with spaghetti westerns, so many of them are saggy, baggy junk with a hook to lure you in, whether is a great tough-guy lead like Lee Van Cleef, or a solid opening action scene. Return of Sabata has both, plus a few decent action scenes that glue together an eye-wateringly dull plot. It’s better than the other Sabata films, but barely. The Sartana series of films do the gentleman outlaw with gadgets thing better, and on a lower budget to boot.

  • Violent City

    Violent City

    ★★

    One of those Italian films that has great moments, but is baggy and dull as a whole. The opening car chase is terrific, the finale is spectacular, and Bronson gets some good moments, but staring at a clock is more interesting for the majority of the runtime. It's a bastard child of "Le Samourai" best forgotten.

  • Hitchcock

    Hitchcock

    ★★

    The problem with "Hitchcock" is it can't decide what it wants to be. Is it about Hitch and Alma's marriage? Hitch's psychological state? Is it about his relationship with his imaginary pal, serial killer Ed Gein? A meta-narrative about the struggles of making "Psycho"? It wants to do all of these things, and it accomplishes none of these things. Anthony Hopkins gets Hitch's cadence down, but he's so buried under make-up, he can barely move. Scarlett Johansson's dead shark-eyes have…

  • Action Jackson

    Action Jackson

    ★★

    Carl Weathers deserved to have more lead action vehicles taylored for him, and ones that are better than this. "Action Jackson" is a B-tier Joel Silver production. A lot of the usual talent and actors are involved (including the great Al Leong doing his henchman bit), but it doesn't rise to the top the way the cream of Silver's crop did back in the day, so much so that "Action Jackson" goes out of its way to remind you that…

  • Clockers

    Clockers

    ★★

    Mostly boring inner-city project cops-n'-dealers petri-dish porn that led to overpraised stuff like "The Wire". It's one of those crime movies where you don't really know anything about what's going on with the whodunit at the center, but the crime itself seems so inconsequential you can't be bothered to care. Delroy Lindo gives a standout performance as the sinister godfather of the corner who lures in kids to deal drugs for him, as well as Keith David as the good…

  • Vice Squad

    Vice Squad

    ★★

    "Vice Squad" stands out because of Wings Hauser's performance as an absurdly hard-to-kill pimp LARPing as a cowboy named Ramrod. The rest of the movie is just standard sleaze. The titular team of cops is absurdly incompetent to the point where they may as well not be in the film, and the trope of the suburban single mom by day, hooker by night was never interesting, believable, or even amusing. The cult around this one is understandable, because Ramrod is such a memorable psycho villain, but that's about all it has going for it.

  • School Daze

    School Daze

    ★★

    A mish mash of characters, themes, and ideas that never really come together to form anything significant to elevate it anywhere above eighties cult status. Spike Lee hadn't found his mojo yet, and Ernst Dickerson hadn't either. The stylized politics and rituals of black colleges are neat, but there's no narrative cohesion or character arcs that make you care about anything that's going on. The film would rate higher if not for the embarrassing, out-of-left-field ending, one that is so preoccupied being impressed with itself that it forgot to actually say something.

  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

    ★★

    "I think it's damaged their images, their careers, and they didn't NEED to do that." ~ George Harrison on Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees in "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

    This is one of those movies that clearly indicates what sort of drugs were giving people terrible creative ideas at the time it was made. Frampton and the Gibb brothers give embarrassing performances at the center of this Beatles concept musical. Mercifully, they have no spoken dialogue.

    "Sgt.…

  • The Keep

    The Keep

    ★★

    The black sheep of Michael Mann's cycle of eighties films. The movie's troubled production shows up in the final product. The special effects designer died during post-production, Mann was indecisive on how to depict his monster, the runtime was sliced in half, and the sound mix was bungled. The result is a complete trainwreck, but a trainwreck with lovely production design. It's easy to see why it's garnered a cult following, the atmosphere is thick, the soundtrack is heavy, and the sets are memorable. Guillermo Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Devil's Backbone" owe their existence to this.