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All reviews - Movies (49) - TV Shows (5) - DVDs (41) - Music (13)

The Miracle Fighters review

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 29 July 2009 06:16 (A review of The Miracle Fighters)

The evil Sorcerer Bat plots to place a fake prince as the new emperor, but the un-willing fake prince has become a student of a couple of bickering sorcerers. Magical martial arts hijinks ensue.

Yuen Clan wackiness par excellence. The Yuen Clan are an extended family of Hong Kong stunt men/actors/directors etcetera that have specialized in making over-the-top martial art comedies. The movie is a basher whose fights are frequent and funny. Most have a fantasy component beyond the usual wire-fu (spell casting or putting on disguises during a fight, for instance). Would make a good double feature with The Legend of the Owl.


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The Lizard review

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 27 July 2009 02:57 (A review of The Lizard)

Oddball, early Shaw entry from Chu Yuan. It's Robin Hood with a touch of the Scarlett Pimpernel. There's a touch of God of Gamblers, too. Seventeen years before that movie was produced. (I wonder how common this meme of the super-naturally good gambler in Chinese cinema is?) Shaw released two other Chu Yuan movies in '72, The Killer (haven't seen it) and the exploitation classic, Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan. The Lizard is the one he wrote. It's an entertaining movie, but it feels off-kilter. The man wrote and directed other better movies, to be sure.


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The Lizard review

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 27 July 2009 02:54 (A review of The Lizard)

Oddball, early Shaw entry from Chu Yuan. It's Robin Hood with a touch of the Scarlett Pimpernel. There's a touch of God of Gamblers, too. Seventeen years before that movie was produced. (I wonder how common this meme of the super-naturally good gambler in Chinese cinema is?) Shaw released two other Chu Yuan movies in '72, The Killer (haven't seen it) and the exploitation classic, Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan. The Lizard is the one he wrote. It's an entertaining movie, but it feels off-kilter. The man wrote and directed other better movies, to be sure.

The disc is fine except for the use of closed captions for subtitles.


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The Blob review

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 26 June 2009 08:20 (A review of The Blob)

A 'meteor' crashes near a mountain resort town carrying an apopalyptic payload that threatens not just the town, but the world.

A superior remake of the original starring Shawnee Smith and a baby-faced Keven Dillon. It's got a nice Eighties pessimistic edge to it. The movie replaces the 'just how stupid do you have to be to get eaten by this thing' blob with an horrific predator that's worthy of your fear. The movie is a lot ickier than the original too (not that the original was that icky in the first place); not much gore to speak of, but lots of ickiness. You'll know it when you see it. Downbeat ending too. If you like creature features, this one is worth your time. Would make a good double feature with the orgiinal The Blob (1958) (Compare and contrast, kids!) or X: The Unknown (1956) or Night of the Big Heat (1967).


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The Blob review

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 26 June 2009 08:20 (A review of The Blob)

A 'meteor' crashes near a mountain resort town carrying an apopalyptic payload that threatens not just the town, but the world.

A superior remake of the original starring Shawnee Smith and a baby-faced Keven Dillon. It's got a nice Eighties pessimistic edge to it. The movie replaces the 'just how stupid do you have to be to get eaten by this thing' blob with an horrific predator that's worthy of your fear. The movie is a lot ickier than the original too (not that the original was that icky in the first place); not much gore to speak of, but lots of ickiness. You'll know it when you see it. Downbeat ending too. If you like creature features, this one is worth your time. Would make a good double feature with the orgiinal The Blob (1958) (Compare and contrast, kids!) or X: The Unknown (1956) or Night of the Big Heat (1967).


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The Devil Rides Out review

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 26 June 2009 03:59 (A review of The Devil Rides Out)

Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee) is trying to save the not just the life, but the very soul of an old family friend from devil worshipers led by the sorcerer Mocata (Charles Gray). The movie is set in the Thirties, in the English country-side. Made in the late Sixties, time has not been especially kind to the special effects, though they remain effective for the most part.

This is a fine supernatural thriller starring Sir Christopher Lee (The Mummy, Horror of Dracula) in one of his few non-villain roles for Hammer, directed by Hammer Studio's uber director Terrence Fisher (Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula) with a script written (adapted from the novel by Dennis Wheatley) by Richard Matheson (The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Legend of Hell House). How can you go wrong with that triptych? Answer: you can't. Also along for the ride is reliable character actor Charles Gray (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Diamonds Are Forever), who's excellent as the villainous Sorcerer/High Priest Mocata. This would make a great double feature with Night of the Demon (1957), Night of The Eagle (aka Burn Witch Burn) (1962) or Horror Hotel (aka City of the Dead) (1960).


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The Devil Rides Out review

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 26 June 2009 03:55 (A review of The Devil Rides Out)

Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee) is trying to save the not just the life, but the very soul of an old family friend from devil worshipers led by the sorcerer Mocata (Charles Gray). The movie is set in the Thirties, in the English country-side. Made in the late Sixties, time has not been especially kind to the special effects, though they remain effective for the most part.

This is a fine supernatural thriller starring Sir Christopher Lee (The Mummy, Horror of Dracula) in one of his few non-villain roles for Hammer, directed by Hammer Studio's uber director Terrence Fisher (Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula) with a script written (adapted from the novel by Dennis Wheatley) by Richard Matheson (The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Legend of Hell House). How can you go wrong with that triptych? Answer: you can't. Also along for the ride is reliable character actor Charles Gray (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Diamonds Are Forever), who's excellent as the villainous Sorcerer/High Priest Mocata. This would make a great double feature with Night of the Demon (1957), Night of The Eagle (aka Burn Witch Burn) (1962) or Horror Hotel (aka City of the Dead) (1960).


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The Thing from Another World review

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 25 June 2009 03:09 (A review of The Thing from Another World)

There's still debate about who directed The Thing From Another World, Christian Nyby (listed as the director) or Howard Hawks (listed as producer). I like to think that Nyby directed it, but he took his marching orders from the Shadow King (Hawks). As many have said and I'm repeating, Hawks' fingerprints (boy's club, overlapping dialogue, etc...) were all over the film. Regardless of who directed it, The Thing From Another World is a fine example of Fifties sci-fi/horror.

All the tropes of the genre during the era are on display, you got your military men (Kenneth Tobey), civilian (egghead) scientists (Robert Cornthwaite), the monster (James Arness), isolated location (the artic) and the love interest (Margaret Sheridan, the only woman in the cast). You'll see these over and over again in the sci-fi/horror movies of the Fifties. As far as faithfulness to the source material, John W. Campbell's great novella, 'Who Goes There', the movie only takes the skeleton of the plot; you'll have to wait about 30 years for John Carpenter's version The Thing to get a movie that's more or less a faithful adaption.

The movie itself is a crackling affair full of snapping dialogue. Wisely, Nyby (and/or Hawks) keeps the monster mostly out of view until the final confrontation. James Arness as the Thing, does a fine job with what's essentially a one note role. Still, sometimes I get the feeling they could have substituted a killer ape and ended up with almost the same movie (the idea of blood sucking carrots is a nice touch though). A classic.


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The Thing from Another World review

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 25 June 2009 03:08 (A review of The Thing from Another World)

There's still debate about who directed The Thing From Another World, Christian Nyby (listed as the director) or Howard Hawks (listed as producer). I like to think that Nyby directed it, but he took his marching orders from the Shadow King (Hawks). As many have said and I'm repeating, Hawks' fingerprints (boy's club, overlapping dialogue, etc...) were all over the film. Regardless of who directed it, The Thing From Another World is a fine example of Fifties sci-fi/horror.

All the tropes of the genre during the era are on display, you got your military men (Kenneth Tobey), civilian (egghead) scientists (Robert Cornthwaite), the monster (James Arness), isolated location (the artic) and the love interest (Margaret Sheridan, the only woman in the cast). You'll see these over and over again in the sci-fi/horror movies of the Fifties. As far as faithfulness to the source material, John W. Campbell's great novella, 'Who Goes There', the movie only takes the skeleton of the plot; you'll have to wait about 30 years for John Carpenter's version The Thing to get a movie that's more or less a faithful adaption.

The movie itself is a crackling affair full of snapping dialogue. Wisely, Nyby (and/or Hawks) keeps the monster mostly out of view until the final confrontation. James Arness as the Thing, does a fine job with what's essentially a one note role. Still, sometimes I get the feeling they could have substituted a killer ape and ended up with almost the same movie (the idea of blood sucking carrots is a nice touch though). A classic.


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The Hurricane review

Posted : 8 years, 4 months ago on 25 June 2009 12:34 (A review of The Hurricane)

Nora Miao, Patrick Tse, Sek, Shih Kien, Stanley Fung and Lo Wei star in another early Golden Harvest old school wu xia production. According to the trailer included on the disc this was a New Year's movie. I'm more used to New Year movies being comedies. Times change, but then this movie was made when being a Kinght Errant/Chivolrous Knight still meant something. Patrick Tse is nominally the lead, but it feels more like an esemble piece. Lo Wei's part is more of a cameo this time around. The plot involves the pursuit of a secret courier taking a message to an horde invading China.

I thought the sword-play was better in this movie than it was in The Comet Strikes. Nothing too fanciful; Hurricane's (Patrick Tse) weapons of choice were a dagger and a weighted cape, Shih Kien used a two section staff and sword, and everyone else uses a long sword or some other form of sword. Lot's of jumping but no real wire-fu. It's fun seeing a wu xia where they concentrate on the action and adventure instead of the special effects (though those wu xia have their place).


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