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Grand Slam (1967)

This may come as something as a shock to many of you, but sometimes even the most minutely planned diamond heist can go horribly wrong. Grand Slam follows the formula to the letter right down to the doublecross at the end of things that you pretty much had to see coming, if only as a way to explain one character’s sudden change in behavior during the middle of the movie. The only way the movie could have turned out that would have genuinely surprised me was if the big steal was pulled off without a hitch and everyone got their fair share of the booty. Continue reading

Hell Is for Heroes (1962)

There’s a scene in some little bar that Steve McQueen’s John Reese isn’t supposed to be at where he’s getting himself some firewater and the barmaid is saying that he’s going have problems when the MPs find him there. “Are you looking for trouble?” she asks. He pours himself another and says “the world’s full of trouble”. And there’s no way you could argue with that, I thought. Especially since some shell-shocked combat burn out who only goes crazy when he’s not in battle is saying it! Continue reading

Roxie Hart (1942)

Roxie Hart (Ginger Rogers) was a wannabe show girl whose husband shot and killed a talent scout who was in their apartment making a pass at Roxie. A reporter and another talent scout know what type of town Chicago is – the kind of town where violent chippies like Roxie never swing for killing a man. In fact, they not only beat the rap, but they also become celebrities!

The reporter realizes that with her looks, this could be the biggest story he’s ever covered while the talent scout suddenly realizes that she might have enough talent to be a star. They just need her to admit that she’s the one who killed the guy! Continue reading

Ursus, the Rebel Gladiator (1962)

Made back in 1962, Ursus, the Rebel Gladiator most likely was lumped in with all the other musclehead movies coming out of Italy at the time. Audiences then can be forgiven if they thought this one was interchangeable with the latest entry in the Hercules, Goliath, Maciste, Samson, Atlas, Ursus and Ulysses film series.

It is also precisely because of this glut of pretenders that I’m going to cut the Academy a little slack for failing to recognize Ursus, the Rebel Gladiator with the Oscar for Best Picture that year. And lest you think this some artless attempt at being obtusely droll, all I’m saying is that if they can give this movie five Oscars when it came out again in 2000, then it was a shame that the participants in the first one languish in obscurity. Continue reading

Giallo a Venezia (1979)

Giallo a Venezia gets criticized quite a bit for generally being a disgusting piece of trash. Normally, I’m inclined to dismiss claims such as this as the ravings of oversensitive bluenoses, but after suffering through this one though, I am reluctantly inclined to agree wholeheartedly. After all, who can argue that the presence of naked dudes in this movie isn’t completely gratuitous and has no place in an otherwise upstanding and sleazy slice-n-dice? Continue reading

The Ghoul (1933)

Long thought lost, The Ghoul resurfaces in its complete form some seventy years after audiences were first bored to tears by it.

Starring Boris Karloff, this is an old time monster snooze-a-rama of the first degree with scintillating scenes of groups of characters standing around yakking at one another, faulty comic relief, limited playing time by the star, and an emphasis on dreary dialogue and static camera work over everything else. While things manage to come alive a bit for the ending, since it all involves a bunch of goofs fighting over an ugly broach, even that wasn’t enough to save this creaky contraption of life-after-death mumbo jumbo. Continue reading