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 […]

Movie: Medium Cool (1969)

When you’re behind a camera, it can be easy to forget you are there and are part of what is happening.  An incident that stands out in my mind is a time I was running camera on the sidelines of a football game.  All these players are barreling towards me and I’m thinking, “Damn!  This […]

Movie: Elmer Gantry (1960)

Circuses, carnival attractions, revivals.  I’m starting to think one should avoid all enterprises held in tents. 1960’s Elmer Gantry stars Burt Lancaster as the title character, a smooth-talking travelling salesman who schmoozes his way into the organization of a popular tent revival.  The star of the revival is Sister Sharon Falconer, as played by Jean […]

Movie: Death Line (1972)

False advertising is a bitch.  I bought this import blu-ray because it said Christopher Lee is in it.  And he is, for like three minutes. Lee is in 1972’s Death Line because he wanted to act alongside Donald Pleasance.  The result is they are almost in one scene together.  I say “almost” because the camera […]

Movie: Testament (1983)

I must have some sort of obsession with dramas about the survivors of nuclear war.  God knows I have seen enough of them.  Most of these movies were made in the 1980’s, which makes sense.  The prevailing feeling at the time that we could be annihilated at any moment was perfectly captured by Prince when […]

Movies: The Body (1970) / Bodysong (2003)

I don’t remember recently losing the will to live and, yet, I willingly watched two feature-length visual poems about the human condition, each of which was scored by members of separate, legendary prog-rock bands.  I suspect vastly more people have heard the soundtrack for one or both pictures than have seen the movies either accompanies. […]

Movie: Hush..Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

1962’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was a huge success, reinvigorating the careers of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.  Davis was even Oscar-nominated for it.  Today is seems to be regarded largely as camp, but I think it is an amazing film which I enjoy without any ironic regard. Two years later, the director […]

Movie: The Missionary (1982)

When a movie shows prostitutes of 19th century London’s seediest neighborhoods, I imagine them marketing their wares as if they are vendors at a baseball game: “Get your hot seh-fuh-lisss heeer-yuh! HOT syphilis!” In 1982’s The Missionary Michael Palin plays the title role, a seemingly decent man who has faithfully served the Church no matter […]