Monday, December 2, 2019


Season 3 Episode 4 2006

You gotta love THE L WORD for the surprisingly few times it takes on then-President George W. Bush for not allowing anyone to bash him, when in fact he was the most bashed President in history (until now... Trump) and didn't care one bit, unlike Obama... say something about him you're a racist...

It's just funny how the Left wants to be the underdog and the overlord both, and this preachy episode as Mrs. Bette Goes to Washington is made up for by a delicious seduction by Dana Delaney as a supporter of Gays... And even John Kerry is mentioned as a supporter of her support, which was timely as Kerry had run against the man who gets bashed on a show that says he never allows it... Too funny, huh?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


year: 1979
rating: ***1/2

Susan Flannery is the perfect fit here. She looks older than her age, which is forty, but she looks incredible. Such a beautiful shaped face and a terrific figure...

Jameson Parker on the other hand, as a college student half her age, in real life is only eight years younger, and it shows. They don't look that far apart in age in this female-fantasy television-movie just like they aren't in real life, so this May/November romance is more March/June, and no big deal, really: Just two great looking people hooking up, and the suspense of her best friend Rita Moreno finding out she's with her son, or her son finding out she's with a guy not much older than him, isn't as effective on paper as the actors try their best to keep reminding the audience: a taboo romance this isn't being so perfect for each other and their chemistry is just too relaxed for even that aspect, when it's just the two alone and in love, making love, to matter. But it's nice seeing Susan Flannery in all her middle aged beauty. She's prettier than most college girls try hard to be.

Friday, August 9, 2019


year: 2002
rating: *1/2

Looking as if filmed with a lens splattered with icky green goo, MINORITY REPORT takes us into yet another Philip K. Dick futureworld where the government is doing what seems is the best for society (preventing murder) but is actually... no good at all...

The entire set-up is preposterous: Like MACBETH had three witches igniting the plot, there's a trio of half-naked bald people (one a hot chick) in a large tub of liquid within a formidable police station, projecting images of murders that haven't yet happened while Tom Cruise arrests the semi-guiltys and is soon enough... like the Film Noir/Wrong Man movies that inspired Steven Spielberg to try replicating (pun intended) the Neo Noir magic of BLADE RUNNER... framed for almost-murder and chased down like the criminals he used to... chase down: But the over abundance of now dated CGI, and the fact no characters have any chemistry with each other or the altered-reality world in which they reluctantly and awkwardly exist, makes MINORITY REPORT a tedious, tiresome waste of noisy bedlam.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

LILITH (1964)

title: LILITH
score: *1/2

Now if this movie were really good, or great, or somewhat daring, they'd have cast an actress who wasn't a perfect 10 (like Jean Seberg) to play a young woman who seems to "mysteriously" enchant all the males (and one sultry female) in the mental home where rich crazy people live, and sporadically, annoyingly cackle in random group sessions, and where Warren Beatty works, and of course being so handsome, falls for the titular enchantress who's as beautiful as he is: Why on Earth else would this movie matter? And yet it doesn't matter really at all... And if this insanely gorgeous girl were hanging out at a rat hole bus stop in downtown Toledo she'd "enchant" just the same: only there wouldn't be such artistic depth to rely on: But in a movie, be it art-house or mainstream, characters need to be genuinely interested to be interesting. Not even a young Gene Hackman doing an off-kilter Andy Griffith impression leaves much an impression... But he and Warren would work together again... Here, though, both seem like guests at someone else's funeral...

Friday, May 24, 2019


When much-too-wordy-for-a-dead-guy narrator William Holden tells us about the dark ominous mansion he's happened upon, the direction and atmosphere doesn't match up. He could be walking up to an intersection drugstore and it'd be equally as suspenseful...

The best thing about SUNSET BOULEVARD is it's really a monster movie/creature feature and in that, a terrifyingly creepy Gloria Swanson makes up for a bland and overly glib Holden who, outside the main location, has a flirtatious affair with super-cute Nancy Olson as part of a soapy Hollywood-satire melodrama that simply isn't thrilling enough to be called a thriller. And it's definitely not a Film Noir: If anything, SUNSET a satire on Hollywood created and adored by Hollywood with built-in gripes that aren't very universal: a lot like another show biz satire (considered a classic as well) decades later, also starring William Holden, called Network: Both are vastly overrated. GRADE: B—

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


John Carpenter attempted a horribly hokey science-fiction tale, and in that, succeeded. The cast includes actors known for franchise films: Christopher "Superman" Reeves, Mark "Star Wars" Hamill, Kirstie "Look Who's Talking" Alley, Michael "Eddie and the Cruisers" Pare, and Linda "Croc Dundee" Kozlowski as residents of a town hit by a blackout that mysteriously impregnates the women, nine months later giving birth on the same night to alien children who, a few years later, become albino megaminds.

But despite the good adult cast, most of the acting is subpar, especially Mark Hamill who, as a preacher, delivers lines as if he too were possessed. The children, on the other hand, perform decently enough, but are held back by cheesy FX as their eyes radiate, taking away any real threat they might've had otherwise.

Friday, May 17, 2019


Having dismissed this famously maligned movie aka the spectacular late-seventies STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE so long for the more action-packed, mainstream, fan-adored sequels, it's become a personal favorite, experiencing the majestic visuals along with the crew, who all kind of sit around stunned, mesmerized as the gorgeous, multi-layered, formidable foe unfolds outside and well... how can you blame them?

Thursday, May 9, 2019

THE LONER (1965-1966)

Could have been a cool show, especially with Rod Serling as the writer. But he's wearing politics on his sleeve, and while many Twilight Zone episodes are cautionary tales, they relate universally.

This show, fitfully titled THE LONER, about a former soldier on an endless road happening upon various human varmints who love the thought of war without having been through it... or without having learned from what they did experience while in it... takes away from what each story could have given the viewer other than a message, which overrides each plot-line and buries the theme: to where our wandering hero seems more like a brooding know-it-all than someone making the perfect pawn upon each eclectic adventure. In other words, he has so much to teach he never actually learns anything...

And worse yet, he never seems in danger so there's little to no urgency in his would-be, world-weary travels. He simply winds up lecturing everyone not as enlightened as he is...

A lot like the political side of Hollywood, which Rod Serling was much, much better and deeper than. But he had more of a sermon to tell her than a story. See the early Gunsmoke episodes for how a great Western series should be. GRADE: C

Tuesday, May 7, 2019


Charles Chaplin said this is the best film about (not set in, but about) America, and with all the one-dimensional class envy stereotypes, it makes sense since old Charlie didn't care much for America. Just like the movie. 

Film centers on the dreary nephew (raised on the evils of Christianity) of a rich and powerful businessman. The kid falls in love with beautiful Elizabeth Taylor, who plays a beautiful society girl. But before that he (eventually learns he) knocked-up a working girl even more cliché than the rude-rich snobs being she's so pitifully somber, discontented, shabby and neurotic.

As for the gorgeous-looking couple the audience is supposed to care about: Literally within ten minutes of knowing each other, Taylor tells Montgomery Clift she's fallen in love with him, and while love happens fast in old movies, this was a record-breaker, and in that, a shark-jumper. Followed by the semi-intriguing Film Noir style murder plot/morality tale that's too little too late in this highly-regarded "classic" that not only doesn't stand the test of time, it lays down and falls asleep in the process. GRADE: D+

Saturday, May 4, 2019


You got to give credit to X-MEN director Bryan Singer for, in 2007, trying to make his SUPERMAN RETURNS literally that: returning from the 1978 original (with the same opening credit look) and starting out after the fantastic sequel SUPERMAN II, basically Brandon Routh is really, literally supposed to be Christopher Reeve and not just Superman who's Clark Kent up front...

If there's any one thing Reeve did best in the title role is playing Kent in an endearing underdog manner. Something Routh just can't pull off: Instead of clumsy for the part he seems awkward in the role, and while on paper Kevin Spacey's the dream Lex Luther, he seems like he doesn't want to be there, and with the same exact world-damning land-deal goal as Gene Hackman's Luthor, it makes the arch villain feel even more bland, unoriginal, familiar and basically a frustrating afterthought...

Meanwhile, an otherwise witty (in Christopher Guest movies) Parker Posey is perhaps the weakest moll in film history... But worse yet is Lois Lane... Played by a much too young Kate Bosworth, not only is she too inexperienced an actress but the character lacks Margot Kidder's charm, screen presence and, in having been in her thirties, and while looking older than Reeve, Margot really did seem like what she played: a reporter who's been in the game and knows more in the area of reporting and taking risks: The latter giving Kent turned Superman a reason to protect her, constantly...

But the biggest shame here is James Marsden's throwaway role as Lois's seemingly too-perfect boyfriend, trying too hard to be "dad" to a horrible child actor who's really Kent's Superboy. And come to think of it, Marsden, under Singer's direction as Cyclops in X-MEN, would have made a much better Superman: Being the right age he seemed more in tune with the natural fit Reeve had in the part, and he's great looking, has a properly muscular build, and to play the clumsy Kent, he's a good actor... How could Singer not know what/who was staring him in the face? GRADE: F+

Thursday, May 2, 2019

BOOK CLUB (2018)

Old age is handled funny in movies. These people have had children and grandchildren, and in this case, the generation that was all about sex during their Sexual Revolution, wind up acting like silly old folks who seem to be discovering sex, and, even though the movie is intentionally showing that they are in fact rediscovering it, they sound like 13-year-olds who've never had it at all...

In that, BOOK CLUB is not a bad film. That is, it's not completely unwatchable. It's an older persons' date flick that uses the niche of its four stars: Bergen a kind of strong lioness who is insecure deep down; Jane Fonda is basically the same thing but slightly more confident and experience up-front, and prettier now than Bergen, who looks her age the most here; Keaton's her usual quirky neurotic that Woody Allen invented for ANNIE HALL; and Mary Steenburgen is the least well-known and not an iconic actress like the others, and also, like Fonda, has aged nicely (and tap dances to rock music like MELVIN & HOWARD)...

Their men are paper mache and the book being read, Fifty Shades of Grey, is promoted in what seems like a 2-hour commercial masquerading as a rom-com.

But this propaganda fades out after the first act when the usual problems arise. Followed by a pat Hollywood ending. Either way, this is vapidly enjoyable viewing for those who aren't expecting anything actually good or solid. Let's call it, passable time-filling emptiness. Or as Woody Allen said (while married to Keaton) in LOVE AND DEATH: an empty void. MAINSTREAM GRADE CURVE: C

Sunday, April 28, 2019


Rod Steiger is a personal favorite thanks to Al Capone, Doctor Zhivago, and The Sergeant. This is considered his best movie but is more of an actor's workshop. He chews gum like someone without gum jacked-up on crystal meth. It's not only distracting, it reeks of performance. In the business, this is called an "activity" and it's simply too... active.

Sidney Poitier on the other hand is good, takes his time, and doesn't need to distract the audience from believing in his character. The opposite of overacting. And the best aspects of the movie have him not only surprising the narrow-minded locals that he's a good investigator because of his color, but the audience because of his young age: In his cadence there's a sort of edgy experience, but the film fails to back this up and seems, in a directorial sense, far too aware of itself (and its timely importance) while stretching a 48-minute story into two hours, and has dated elements that needed about five years to really hit home... in a realistic, non-forced, and at this point, less dated approach. GRADE: C+

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


year: 1968
rating: **

Director Richard Fleischer's Police Procedural biopic, using the multi-screen effect, only works only until Tony Curtis is revealed as the real life killer, Albert DeSalvo, who, at the time this movie was made, was thought of as having multiple personalities...

When filming started DeSalvo had slyly escaped from the mental institution where he was to spend, most likely, the rest of his life. What's truly insane is the authorities thought a husband with two children and a full-time job would kill eleven women without knowing exactly what he was doing, and how or why he was doing it: The most effective scenes occurs within each crime, sans the culprit. Meanwhile, Henry Fonda makes a literally weak/passive lead protagonist, replacing comparably effective and edgy, every-man detective George Kennedy, who started out on the killers' trail: one that eventually hits a prolonged dead end, and, progressive in the worst ways, THE BOSTON STRANGLER makes a psychic seem logical, a psychologist completely infallible, and this particular madman a victim. And an uninteresting one at that. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


cast: Robert Ryan, Anthony Quinn, Suzan Ball, Mala Powers
rating: **

What a complete letdown, and this coming from a viewer who loves movies about treasure hunters...

Unfortunately, the main character, played by a stiff Robert Ryan, is so uptight, not only does he NOT go along with more energetic and assertive partner Anthony Quinn, to find gold on a sunken ship in a literal CITY BENEATH THE SEA from a volcano explosion hundreds of years ago, but he moves in to snake the booty first, just to teach his partner a lesson. That lesson is also taught to the audience, who must weather this bland fine-feathered friend who's also an extremely weak central hero, keeping this movie from being edgy, or entertaining...

And the two lovely ingenues are both gorgeous, and initially tough, independent and assertive, making their characters mean more than just looks and providing a built-in feeling of suspense within the anticipated romance. One is the captain of a small boat (Mala Powers) and the other a calypso singer (Suzan Ball). But without Ryan or Quinn having to do much at all, both ladies melt to their touch in such a pathetic way. The singer actually asks Quinn, "What are you thinking?" after they'd known each other ten minutes.

This is a b-movie, so the low budget is deliberate, and mostly works... including scenes of the boys trudging in heavy "Diver Dan" style underwater gear with matte painted backgrounds. The technicolor is great looking, and otherwise these are capable actors and actresses. But this oceanic thriller is devoid of thrills, and pretty much... sinks upon impact.

Friday, December 14, 2018


year: 1983
rating: ***

Here's proof that the term "Cougar" wasn't invented to mean what it does now, back in 1983 when Joan Collins, famously considered the iconic DYNASTY Cougar i.e. seducer of younger men, describes how she sees Jon-Erik Hexum's would-be model, who she had talked into going from a manly Texas stuntman to a New York model: "A cougar," she describes, "ready to pounce." And also dated is when Hexum's Tyler Burnett complains about gay men when Collins, as successful agent Kay Dillon, points out that it goes with the show-biz territory: one that Hexum is able to realistically combat with enough reluctance to not seem awkward that such a perfect-looking guy wouldn't have considered modelling in the first place...

So the best scenes occur as learns the ropes and begins to climb the fashion rungs, leaning on Jeff Conaway's gay, has-been roommate for Shakespearean-delivered advice while hitting auditions and strategic disco nightspots. But it fails with another hard if impossible device to grasp (or recover from): That Hexum, star of the series VOYAGERS and soon cast in COVER-UP (before his famous accidental death), would fall so pathetically hard for Joan: The rest of the Movie-of-the-Week melts into a sappy Lifestyle Channel romance, in reverse...

Here it's a dude that... despite quickly hitting it off with gorgeous girl-next-door Tamara Stafford, the next year's scream queen in THE HILLS HAVE EYES PART II... trades sappy, love-crushed seats in a role usually written for the ingenue: "Turned around," Joan says, "with an accent on you men," and in that, would have given the actress an interesting performance rather than Joan simply floating down river while Hexum, by wielding his laidback, humble persona, keeps from drowning in it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


year: 1957
rating: **1/2

Another extremely overrated classic, and this one always compared to Otto Preminger's Anatomy Of A Murder, and Billy Wilder's stagey direction of an Agatha Christie stage-play mystery of Witness for the Prosecution couldn't be more different if it centered on purple unicorns traipsing through Iceland: The first is an existential courtroom drama about a man who's entirely guilty of murder, and here it's obvious someone's not telling the truth. Either a horribly aged once-perfect-looking Tyrone Power (with a gorgeous trophy in the wings played by Ruta Lee, pictured below): he's accused of killing a rich old lady befriended for need of a loan on an egg-beating invention, or the title character in Marlene Dietrich, who gives the best performance overall, especially having to do with a twist that really only works in repose...

Meanwhile, the always great acting team of Charles Laughton, as the flawed defense consul of the English Court, and real life wife-beard Elsa Lanchester, are only pretty good here, going back and forth more like another kind of stage play. Comedy, perhaps. Which simply doesn't fit here, and with everything mounting to the last five minutes, like mysteries do, this isn't one for rewatching: another major difference between Anatomy Of A Murder, a true classic that really needs a divorce from this otherwise semi-decent courtroom melodrama.

Monday, December 10, 2018


year: 1985
rating: **1/2

Dan Aykroyd could have made the perfect straight man here. With technical jargon flowing from his vocab and a brain like a computer, it's extremely strange that director John Landis has him acting equally the buffoon as Chevy Chase, who'd have been a terrific clown: only here that role's stepped-on by a partner sharing absolutely zero chemistry within this remake of the old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby "Road" movies of long ago.

Making this an obvious attempt to get the Original SNL fanbase into the goofy and outdated, adventure-comedy template the director (and his generation) grew up on, the story of two expendables used as phony spies overseas, from the Arab desert to snowy Russia into a nuclear plot-line as dated as it comes, has moments while the journey provides safe popcorn-chomping entertainment value. And there are few decent one-liners... which could've been uttered by any comic actor. Unlike Landis's The Blues Brothers, Animal House or Trading Places, the talent isn't retrofit into the surroundings. Instead, Dan and Chevy seem like guest stars in someone else's picture. And this being nostalgic homage, they are.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


article: Hating Barry Lyndon
year: 1975 rating: ****1/2 

Given how many takes the infamously picky and in some cases reportedly sadistic filmmaker Stanley Kubrick put his actors through — in watching any of his films, you're not only seeing what he's directed but what he's selected...

Any and every scene or moment was by his choice to fit within the, in this particular case, gorgeous landscape of a period piece/costume drama that is actually the antithesis of an Epic feature film: bordering on what feels like, after numerous viewings, a kind of subliminal parody on what would usually be a fulfilling fictional (adapted from classic-era literature) biopic on a person that, to spend hours on their existence, would eventually lead to a significant purpose...

But keep in mind when watching BARRY LYNDON it's a motion picture that takes the epic form and intentionally throws it both out the door and in the viewer's face...

Famously renown as merely an aesthetic masterpiece, filmed with natural lighting and a region dotted with castles only dreamed up beyond even a picture book's rendition...

The real twist is the revelation of a truly despicable man, played wonderfully selfish by Ryan O'Neal, who cunningly antagonized otherwise good people long before he became the chief antagonist against, basically, everyone: despite starting out as a sympathetic hero simply because he's the main/title character being centered on.

Thursday, December 6, 2018


MOONTIDE is a better title than movie, and it's a strange movie at that...

Not just because of an intentionally surreal barroom scene with the headless body of a woman/barfly with her head speaking a few feet away as our hero Jean Gabin reaches for a beer, trying to communicate with the headless body: This during a night of blackout drinking; after which he feels falsely responsible for a murder heard about the next day, and there's a twist: Creepy louse Thomas Mitchell is Gabin's partner, keeping him on a blackmail tightrope because of a likewise strangling murder that happened years earlier...

Which only randomly gets in the way of perhaps the breeziest romance in Noirish Melodrama history...

After rescuing Ida Lupino from drowning, Gabin's Bo Bo takes her to the live-bait waterfront shack where he'd just started working for a Chinese man, counting fish he catches. A hollow yet optimistic existence with only a dog by side, and, throw in a bizarre, philosophizing and existential sidekick in Claude Rains, not much really happens but it's nice seeing Gabin doing just that: Speaking decent English while lacking the strong presence from his pictures in homeland France, especially Jean Renoir's GRAND ILLUSION and THE HUMAN BEAST where Gabin, who resembles Spencer Tracy had he been in a thousand violent fistfights, only made one American film... this one. Which was during the Second World War when there was no other choice.

Monday, December 3, 2018


year: 1968
rating: *1/2

Otto Preminger probably didn't realize the Film Noir classics he made, especially with Dana Andrews, were psychedelic for their time with a camera-gliding flow, even way back then, and there is NO flow here in the 1960's when flowing supposedly meant everything... In fact the camera's mostly stagnant, glued upon the now infamous idiocy as if SKIDOO were a two-hour Laugh-In skit...

Take it from someone who, among a myriad of trips, dropped two tabs of acid to watch the VHS tapes Pink Floyd Live in Pompeii (decades before the terrible director's cut DVD) and then, after two tabs more, Bob Dylan Don't Look Back...

The latter groundbreaking artist who Preminger, experimenting with LSD at the time, wanted to score this mess about a mob hit-man... played by Jackie Gleason married to an intentionally annoying Carol Channing... sentenced to a futuristic-looking Alcatraz who decides NOT to kill a friend/convict ratting on the chief mobster because... well... all that doesn't matter but at the same time, the plot's always being pushed at the audience, which is what NOT to do when trying to make something relevant to, or entertaining for, cinema-going Acid-Heads...

SKIDOO is just plain bad and worse than that, completely boring. And the otherwise talented Harry Nilsson's soundtrack is like brain-dead children's music...

Which is how the cookie-cutter young hippies are depicted (led by a wooden John Phillip Law and a gorgeous Alexandra Hay) against the backdrop of a zany mafia-crime-genre parody starring horribly exploited has-been old-timers from Mickey Rooney Slim Pickens to Fred Clark to Groucho Marx, who wind up tripping on acid while acting as if they drank too much champagne at a wedding... Then again, that's how Robert Downey Jr. (a real life druggie, no less) seemed in the late-eighties hippie-glorification catastrophe, 1969...

Proving it's an extremely difficult high to imitate since people don't act one way or another on acid...

Cameras con't capture the electrified flashes in one's mind that makes exterior images pulsate (manipulating what's actually/already there as opposed to making the user hallucinate what's not... which happens after days on speed, not LSD). And that baking/baked brain MUST HAVE good music to REALLY work, so... Tune in and drop out, fine: But not here, because, if you don't have a bad trip you'll have a downright lousy one.

Sunday, December 2, 2018


Year: 2017
Rates: ****1/2

This original Netflix series has had very negative comments and reviews and is now dead as dishwater, with no second season to continue GYPSY, which was falsely promoted as a kind of thriller, or something...

But it's actually the sexiest and in that, most lustfully suspenseful show that ever dealt with bisexual women... Or what some refer to as "lipstick lesbians." Because that's really all this is about, and everything else is merely background... wallpaper...

While Naomi Watts is a pretty older woman, Sophie Cookson is perhaps THE most beautiful young actress that ever lived... and there have been quite a few... living and dead...

The basic premise is that Watts, a married shrink, goes behind her patients' backs, tooling around with the people in their lives they'd shared about in private AND legal confidentiality. And yet, what everything really boils down to is when Watts and Cookson (the wild ex of melancholy young male patient) will eventually connect i.e. hook up. When they do, it's unfathomably awesome. But is nothing compared to the repressed longing that occurs for the first five episodes to reach that point, so, if you're into this kind of thing... GYPSY, although no longer a series, can now be referred to as an extremely sexy and genuinely sensual 10-hour older-younger lesbian movie. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


year: 1947
rating: **

Jacques Tourneur is a personal favorite director, but not because of OUT OF THE PAST, considered his very best work for those who didn't pay close attention to the unique, intricate details of CAT PEOPLE, THE LEOPARD MAN, CANYON PASSAGE or CURSE OF THE DEMON...

Those movies had tiers to climb, and obstacles to cross. This movie, like Robert Mitchum's character, sleepwalks from scene to scene where everything is just too easy: Find the pretty girl who stole Kirk Douglas's money. No problem. She's in Mexico and in a matter of scenes she's found, and quickly swept off her feet. After all, Mitchum is handsome and Jane Greer's really pretty. But this is a hollow, mannequin romance, and there have been more intriguing, risque affairs on daytime soaps. Not even Tourneur's direction rises above the dull script, so full of contrived, forced-quotable one-liners, there's hardly a complete sentence uttered: it's a random collection of snapshots that aren't even postcards.

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