Friday, March 27, 2020

Week of March 28 - April 3, 2020



To answer these trivia questions, please email me at scinema@earthlink.net.

Brain Teasers:

With which film producer did Robert Woods begin his Western career?
Tom Betts knew that it was Alfonso Balcazar.

Which actor was born in Spain in 1917 and died at the age of 68?
Tom Betts knew that it was Roberto Camardiel.

Which Italian went from editing Italian Westerns to directing Italian Westerns?
No one has answered this question yet.

Can you name an Italian actress whose only Western was one shot in Spain by an American company?
No one has answered this question yet.

Complete the lyric: "The lanky gunman aims at your ______."
Tom Betts and Rick Garibaldi knew that it is "reward".

Complete the lyric: "I know a girl with ______ hair."
Tom Betts and Rick Garibaldi knew that it is "golden".

Complete the lyric: "His one faithful companion was his ___."
Tom Betts and Rick Garibaldi knew that it is "gun".

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which British born actor worked with directors Tulio Demichelli, Wray Davis, Calvin Jackson Padget, Sergio Corbucci, and Antonio Margheriti?
Which Greek born actor worked with directors Sergio Corbucci, Ignazio Dolce, Bruno Mattei, Nestore Ungaro, Al Bradley and Pietro Francisci?
Which Iranian born actor worked with directors Shapur Yasami, Emimmo Salvi, Pietro Francisci, Roberto Mauri, and Mario Pinzauti?

Name the movies from which these images came.


Tom Betts and Rick Garibaldi identified last week's frame grab of Gordon Mitchell in NATO PER UCCIDERE, aka BORN TO KILL.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


No one has identified the above photo yet.
Can you name from what movie it came? 


David Deal and George Grimes identified last week's photo of Ty Hardin and Gordon Mitchell in BERSAGLIO MOBILE, aka MOVING TARGET, aka DEATH ON THE RUN.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


No one has identified the above frame grab yet.
Can you name from what movie it came?

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I am interested in knowing what movies you have watched and what you enjoyed or not. So please send me an email at scinema@earthlink.net if you'd like to share. Here's what I watched last week:

Highly enjoyed:

The South Bank Show "Faces of Elaine Paige" (1996) 

Enjoyed:

BE NATURAL The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blanche

Mildly enjoyed:

Unsung "Shannon" (2020)

THE SUMMER  HOUSE (1993) - Here's another BBC TV Movie, originally called The Clothes In the Wardrobe, released theatrically in the U.S. Jeanne Moreau and Joan Plowright are alot of fun in their scenes together and a young Lena Headey is attractive, but the story is rather thin.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (2017) - I'll watch anything featuring Karen Gillan.

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (2019)

THE POWER OF ONE (1992) - Fay Masterson is gorgeous in this.

ENEMY (2013) - I'll watch anything featuring Melanie Laurent.

ATOMICA (2017)

CHAMP D'HONNEUR, aka FIELD OF HONOR (1987)

BIOGRAPHY OF A BACHELOR GIRL (1935)

Did not enjoy:

FAREWELL TO DREAM (1956) - I appreciate the craft and the intent of director Keisuke Kinoshita, and it is always fun seeing Eijiro Tono, but while this film is historically important, it is no fun to watch.

THOSE FANTASTIC FLYING FOOLS, aka JULES VERNE'S ROCKET TO THE MOON (1967) - Producer Harry Alan Towers' contribution to the Jules Verne cinematic genre is just about what you would expect it to be. Did Maria Rohm make an uncredited appearance in the scene with the gas powered carriage? The opening theme music is quite good.

PHANTASM LORD OF THE DEAD (1994)

REPENTANCE (1984, but released in 1987) - A film of historical importance, this film is a bit of a slog to get through at 153 minutes.

SHE'S HAVING A BABY (1988)

THE CURSE (1987) - I only had an interest in this movie because of Lucio Fulci's connection to it. When a Beta tape marked as THE CURSE came to me along with a pile of other titles, I figured that I had a copy to view at my leisure. 20 or more years later, I finally decided to watch that Beta tape only to find that it was a Chinese movie. Coincidentally, the 1987 movie popped up on MGM-HD, so I had a good copy to view. Yikes, this flick was annoying from the get-go so I got through it pretty quickly at fast-forward. Having Hee-Haw on the TV was kind-of fun.

WATCHERS (1988) - This film has the best dog vs. man scrabble game ever put on film.

WATCHERS II (1990) - This film has the best dog and man game of charades ever put on film.

LAVALANTULA (2015) - Around the time of the third SHARKNADO movie, this Syfy original popped up with a premise just as stupid as a tornado filled with sharks, but lava spewing giant spiders causing volcanic eruptions all over Los Angeles just didn't have the public attention grabbing ability of the predecessor. Having been a resident of Hollywood for decades, I had fun seeing the old neighborhood being used for these shenanigans, and the gags involving low budget movie making got a few chuckles. I enjoyed this more than SHARKNADO, but not enough to keep my finger off the fast-forward button for long.

2 LAVA 2 LANTULA! (2016) - Changing the locale to Florida ruins most of the fun that the first flick had for me. Throwing in more movie gags didn't compensate. I hadn't seen this movie when I fast-forwarded through SHARKNADO EPISODE IV: THE FOURTH AWAKENS, so I didn't get the joke of Steve Guttenberg popping up saying he had a spider problem.

2-HEADED SHARK ATTACK (2012) - Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray seemed to be following in his father's trajectory directing this R-rated straight to video exploitation flick.

3 HEADED SHARK ATTACK (2015) - Why do I bother putting on movies that I'm certain that I won't like? Because I am hoping to be surprised.

5-HEADED SHARK ATTACK (2017) - How come no 4-HEADED SHARK ATTACK?

6-HEADED SHARK ATTACK (2018) - Using multiple heads as legs, the shark can now walk on land!

ALIEN TORNADO, aka TORNADO WARNING (2012) - No, this isn't about tornados filled with man-eating aliens. It's about extraterrestrials using tornados to probe Earth's weaknesses around Chicago. Luckily a farm girl captures an alien signal which can be used to turn off the twisters.

ARTIC PREDATOR (2010)

ANNIHILATION EARTH (2009)

BASILISK: THE SERPENT KING (2006) - This starts off like a remake of THE RELIC but becomes a standard Syfy Channel bad CGI monster biting the heads off of soldiers flick.

ALADDIN AND THE DEATH LAMP (2012) - Watching this wretched flick, one couldn't guess at the wealth of talent being wasted in it. Star Darren Shahlavi worked with Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen. Kandyse McClure was not only a regular on Battlestar Galactica but also DaVinci's Inquest. Even director Mario Azzopardi had an impressive list of credits. So let's put the blame on the writers and the producers who wanted this production to exist.

BEYOND SHERWOOD FOREST (2009) - I'll watch anything featuring Katharine Isabelle, and Erica Durance is rather fetching, too.

BLAIR WITCH (2016) - THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT did not need a sequel, let alone two. This one is closer in intent to the first film, but is utterly unconvincing in justifying its more traditional editing style with cross-cutting supposed found footage material. PROJECT partly owed its success to convincing people that it was real, and partly because it was unique. Did the producers really think people would be willing to put up with another ugly looking shaky camera exercise that didn't offer anything different? Director Adam Wingard had already ripped-off the "found footage" style with V/H/S and V/H/S/2 which at least had different stories.

CAMERA OBSCURA (2017)

COPPERHEAD (2008) - A flood of copperhead snakes attacks a town in the old West until a giant one shows up for the climax. Composer Nathan Furst contributes his idea of what an Italian Western score could be.

CRIMSON FORCE (2005) - C. Thomas Howell is completely unconvincing as a bad-ass in this Mars based action flick.

THE CROOKED MAN (2016) - I'll watch just about anything featuring Dina Meyer and Amber Benson, but isn't this kind-of like CANDYMAN without the sexy bits?

CUCUY: THE BOOGEYMAN (2018) - A teenage hispanic woman does a REAR WINDOW on a neighbor after she is sentenced to ankle monitored house arrest. Is the neighbor related to the spate of child kidnappings or is it the legendary Cucuy?

CURSE II: THE BITE (1989) - Reportedly director Fred Goodwin is actually Frederico Prosperi, though this Ovidio G. Assonitis production was shot in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and easily passes scrutiny for being a lousy American low-budget horror film. Frequent soap opera actor J. Eddie Peck plays a young man who is bitten by a radioactive snake, but doesn't turn into a super hero. Instead, his arm transforms into a snake head with murderous intent. Jill Schoelen plays his girlfriend who is eventually rescued by Jamie Farr and Bo Svenson. Interestingly, the Japanese video company Towa shares producing blame for this, which is unrelated, plotwise, to Assonitis' THE CURSE.

TOP SPEED (1930) - The comedy in this isn't memorable, but Laura Lee is charming and so is the musical number "Knock Knees".

SHUT MY BIG MOUTH (1942) - Lloyd Bridges and Forrest Tucker are members of Victor Jory's Western gang in a kidnapping scheme foiled by Joe E. Brown in drag.

A BIG HAND FOR THE LITTLE LADY (1966) - Some say THE STING ripped-off this movie.

EL AMOR BRUJO, aka LOVE, THE MAGICIAN, aka WEDDED BY WITCHCRAFT (1986) - There is no denying the craft and talent that went into the three flamenco films directed by Carlos Saura, but I don't respond positively to them. This is the third, after BLOOD WEDDING and CARMEN. This was the second time Antonio Gades danced this tale on film having appeared in director Francisco Rovira Beleta's 1967 version, then translated as BEWITCHED LOVE.

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David Deal enjoyed:

WICHITA (55)

JOKER (19) - This was exceptional.  The film was sensitive to the Joker character, and creative and innovative in design and concept.  Phoenix exceeds all expectations.  His amazing performance owed (an acknowledged) debt to Heath Ledger's interpretation that many, including myself, thought would never be topped.  Bravo.

BLAZING MAGNUM (76) - RIP Stuart Whitman.

MAKING WAVES (19) - Good documentary on sound design in the movies.  Recommended.

FUNERAL IN BERLIN (66)

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (19)

Mildly enjoyed:

SNOWPIERCER (13) - A long train, holding the remaining humans, circles the globe until a frozen Earth can defrost.  But a revolt is underway.  Bong Joon Ho's dystopian sci-fi rattles down the tracks with flashes of brilliance and enough momentum to entertain the average viewer.

DIARY OF A MADMAN (63)

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Charles Gilbert watched:

SPACE PROBE TAURUS (1965) B&W. Astronaut James Brown thinks adding female doctor Francine York to the mission is unwise. She's highly intelligent but a distraction. Upon arrival to the new planet the ship lands under water and is attacked by giant crabs. They lose one of the three male astronauts, but in the end they conclude in report back to Earth their find is conducive for human life.

FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS (1960) Yoko Tani is the sole female on this space mission. European film borrows music cues from Hans J. Salter (THE WOLFMAN 1941), and HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN.

THE HITCH-HIKER (1953) B&W. William Talman makes a colorful serial killer as he thumbs a ride with Frank Lovejoy and Edmond O'Brien embarking on a fishing trip in Mexico. Film noir directed by Ida Lupino.

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