Movie: Valley Girl (1983)

Funny how perspective can change so much over time.  In 1983’s Valley Girl, a hot mom played by Lee Purcell puts the moves on a high school boy who’s interested in her daughter.  The scene is kind of funny, as she quotes lines from The Graduate and he has no idea what she’s talking about.  […]

Movie: Legion (2010)

If there is a trope of this century’s horror movies which can die first, it is CGI things walking up walls and all over ceilings.  That has never been scary, and never will be. In 2010’s Legion, we have two different possessed people who do this: one is an old woman and the other is […]

Movie: The Dungeonmaster (1984)

I’m not much of a gamer, but I’m pretty sure those who are tend to dislike games that are only composed of mini-games.  Inevitably, those mini-games wouldn’t be sufficient on their own, nor do they collectively become a satisfying experience. Such is the case of 1984’s The Dungeonmaster, a title that makes a bit more […]

Movie: Shanghai Surprise (1986)

The making of some movies is so problematic that the resulting picture gets saddled with unnecessary baggage.  As a result of this, it may become impossible for it to be judged fairly on its own merits.  Such was the case of Ishtar, with its highly contentious shoot and cost overruns.  Or what about Heaven’s Gate […]

Movie: The Ambulance (1990)

Prior to watching Larry Cohen’s 1990 picture The Ambulance, I had seen most of his films, though none as recent as this one.  I was worried that, by this time, the director would have lost his taste for the bizarre quirks which distinguish his work.  I needn’t have worried, as this film is an absolute […]

Movie: The Census Taker (1984)

Satirical black comedy is one of my favorite genres, but it is one of the most difficult to do successfully.  And 1984’s The Census Taker is a near-complete failure. I was excited to Garrett Morris (Cooley High) as an annoying census taker who arrives at a suburban home at dinnertime.  He threatens them with fines […]

Movie: Island of Terror (1966)

Only a horror film from the 1950’s or 1960’s would have scientists trying to cure cancer instead creating self-replicating monsters that eat people.  I guess this could be a cure for cancer, if your intention was to create something that will kill everybody on the planet. The resulting creatures look a bit like turtles, only […]

Movie: Bright Lights, Big City (1988)

This is yet another movie where far more people had the soundtrack than ever saw the picture.  Turns out that is a wise choice.  The record that accompanied 1988’s Bright Lights, Big City is still a solid front-to-back listening experience, unlike most soundtrack albums composed entirely of outsourced tunes.  Now that I have finally seen […]

Movie: The Weapon (1956)

1956’s The Weapon begins with a kid digging in rubble and finding a handgun somehow embedded in a block.  Kids in postwar English had it rough.  All I ever dug through to get to a toy was a box of cereal.  Then again, I never found a real gun in one. In a struggle with some […]

Movie: The Strangeness (1985)

I don’t understand why so many garbage movies have a cult following, yet it seems everybody feels compelled to dogpile on 1985’s The Strangeness.  This is a very low-budget movie and, while it is by no means a masterpiece, it is a much better film than anybody gives it credit for.  This may be the […]

Movie: Winter Kills (1979)

It is said the best parody is indistinguishable from the genuine article, but I’m not sure I buy that.  If that’s true, then every movie that tries to play it straight but doesn’t succeed can simply be passed off as parody.  That’s the way I feel about the critical reassessment of Showgirls that has been […]

Movie: From Hell It Came (1957)

“Oo ee oo ah ah/ting tang/walla walla bing bang” – “Witch Doctor”, David Seville A few years back, I read a piece saying that novelty song is emblematic of the racism inherent in American pop culture in the 1950’s.  Myself, I just found it a goofy, and rather catchy, bit of nonsense.  Regardless of how […]

Movie: Cooley High (1975)

Hard to believe there was a time when one could load their movie soundtrack with an album’s worth of prime Motown sides from the 60’s for a pittance.  And yet that’s what happened with Cooley High when it was in production in 1974.  People may think tastes change faster now, but the present can’t complete […]

Movie: One Dark Night (1981)

Everything about 1981’s One Dark Night gave me the impression it would be an R-rated movie, so I was taken aback when I saw it was PG.  Turns out the filmmakers were as well, as they thought the movie was gory enough to warrant the more restrictive rating.  Although made the year before Poltergeist, it […]

Movie: National Velvet (1944)

Confession time.  While watching most of the movies I write about here, I am also watching (and taking notes on) the movies I will write about later.  Rarely do I watch something that completely disrupts this process. So I was stunned by how my attention was completely locked for just over two hours on a […]