I imagine that Way Down Cellar is something of a failure since I was more interested in how Beans and Skeeter’s hapless flag football team, the Jets, finished up the season than I was in the intrigue surrounding the crabby old man who was staying in the old Burton House (the same house is also seen in For the Love of Willadean) and doing mysterious things down in the basement. It’s especially difficult to work up any enthusiasm for a bunch of crooks who get outsmarted by a couple of kids that can’t even manage to execute a simple running play during the game they get shut out of in the opening moments of the film. Continue reading
Let me disabuse you of the notion straightway that the titular treasure is anything awesome. As near as I could tell, it was mostly a bunch of crusty crap pulled up from the wreckage of an old ship. Various vases and pots that for all any of us know might have just been a bunch of leftover junk no one wanted. Did anyone confirm whether the ship’s manifest indicated it was on a voyage to the local shipyard’s giant yearly garage sale? Still, it was a bunch of baracled bric-a-bac a whole team of thieves were willing to kill for, so maybe it cleaned up real nice. Continue reading
Though the era of feature films made by the Walt Disney Company when Walt was still alive is often regarded as the golden age of Disney movies, 1964 proves that like any other studio, Disney was just as capable of releasing an enduring classic like Mary Poppins as well as tedious swill like Emil and the Detectives.
After a moderately eye-catching animated opening that gave you hope you were in for some intriguing cloak and dagger story, the film instantly fills the screen with such an odious experience, you wonder if you’re smelling 75 year old sauerkraut left over from the catering used at the West German filming locations. Continue reading
As anyone who has watched science documentaries like Frankenstein or Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives knows, you can’t go around leaving your monsters out in the middle of a lightning storm. All it takes is one or two magic bolts of lightning and presto, you’re in the middle of a dinosaur rampage and worrying about your girlfriend getting raped by a caveman!
In its defense, Dinosaurus! attempts to be even-handed in its portrayal of recently reanimated prehistoric life, showcasing the positive side of things as well. Take little native boy Julio for instance. What boy hasn’t always dreamed of playing house with a Neanderthal and teaching him how to eat pie with a fork? Continue reading
It’s Christmas Eve in America. The streets are filled with the usual hustle and bustle of a lieutenant colonel on the run from his own government. Churches are having their holiday decorating (nothing like waiting to the last minute) interrupted by Internal Security Force agents. Holiday travelers are being harassed at the airports by new regulations restricting their ability to fly across country. Even Santa himself is getting manhandled by jackbooted thugs during a roundup of folks who oppose the president’s agenda! Continue reading
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
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
Seven Golden Men Strike Again (the sequel to Seven Golden Men) is mostly remembered for stealing Green Arrow’s boxing glove arrow gimmick and modifying it to be used with a bazooka. Continue reading
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
Ursus, The Terror of the Kirghiz (released as Hercules, Prisoner Of Evil in the U.S.) documents an important geopolitical struggle between two tribes of grubby barbarians you never heard of. Continue reading