Part Three of ‘Crash of the Moons’ (1954)

We’re back with another part of this very bizarre interesting film.

It’s Part Three of Crash of the Moons!

Every time I hear the name Rocky, I think of this! 🙂

Posted in 1950s Films, Cartoons, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Science Fiction, Web Series | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Part Two of ‘Crash of the Moons’ (1954)

And now the moment you’ve dreaded all week all been anxiously waiting for.

Part Two of Crash of the Moons!

Don’t miss it! 🙂

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A Film For Friday: The Hustler

Haven’t seen this one in a while. Plus, Paul Newman! 🙂

PAUL D. BRAZILL

From Wikipedia:

The Hustleris a 1961 AmericanCinemaScopedrama filmdirected byRobert RossenfromWalter Tevis‘s1959 novel of the same name, adapted for the screen by Rossen andSidney Carroll. It tells the story of small-time poolhustler”Fast” Eddie Felson and his desire to break into the “major league” of professional hustling and high-stakes wagering by high-rollers that follows it. He throws his raw talent and ambition up against the best player in the country, seeking to best the legendary pool player “Minnesota Fats“. After initially losing to Fats and getting involved with unscrupulous manager Bert Gordon, Eddie returns to try again, but only after paying a terrible personal price.

The film was shot on location in New York City and starsPaul Newmanas “Fast” Eddie Felson;Jackie GleasonasMinnesota Fats;Piper Laurieas Sarah; andGeorge C…

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My Review of ‘Skyfall’ (2012)

This review may contain a few SPOILERS! Okay, you’ve been warned or maybe living under a rock.

I must confess that after a certain point, I pretty much stopped watching Bond films. Between the outsized villains seeking to take over the world and all the cutesy gadgets—and dumb jokes, in Roger Moore’s case—not to mention the improbable situations and names of various female characters. Well, it all started to blur into an almost indistinguishable mass of secrecy, double crosses, dead dames, and climactic endings so epic, there exists no shark big enough for them jump.

However, having Daniel Craig play Bond has either 1) made the character much more interesting or 2) the writing has improved. I suspect both are true.

As for the plot, the movie starts in media res (pretty much), with Bond engaged in a big fight atop a moving train with a mercenary who stole top secret files with names, etc., of MI6 undercover agents. After trading a few punches—and diving to avoid near decapitation by train tunnel—Bond falls to his (presumed) death.

Now, you know the guy’s not dead. He can’t be. That part is basically You Only Live Twice revisited, except Bond’s “death” in that movie was planned.

So, in Bond’s absence, M faces severe consequences for letting the bad guy make off with the hard drive that holds all those secret identities. And then MI6’s servers get hacked and, well … all hell breaks loose when the MI6 building kind of explodes. Now, there’s an event that’ll ruin one’s day, if you’re an MI6 employee/a contractor/M.

At that point, Bond returns to the fold (what’s left of it). And even though he fails every physical, medical, and psych test they put him through, M wants him back on (what remains of) the team. Guess she’d grown accustomed to his (current) face.

Waiting for Godot Q.

As always, Bond is outfitted with new, ultra cool techie gadgets by a young bespectacled geek the new Q. And, from where I’m sitting, I’d say this one’s quite an upgrade. Very sleek, very sure, and very, very boyish millennial.

“Seriously?”

Basically, the story revolves around finding the fiendish person who’s trying to destroy MI6—and take M out while they’re at it. Mostly because of M and what she did to this fiendish thingy person.

In many ways, this is one of the best Bond films I’ve seen in years. Along with great performances by Craig and Judith Dench being as M as ever, Javier Bardem’s performance as the villain of our story, for the first time I can recall in the franchise, is played more as a pathetic wretch than a man looking to take over the world. His evil deeds are inspired less by desire for world domination than just flat-out revenge.

“Thanks a helluva lot, M!”

I also liked that the filmmakers used modern technology, without overusing it. It’s this kind of update that’s helped (to some extent) keep the franchise relatively fresh and relevant to today.

Not only that, but the relationship between Bond and M is fleshed out in a most interesting way. Plus, we get to find out the Bond origin story. At least a little of it.

Image via Into Film.

The movie ends on a bittersweet note, that gives a sense of closure, but not a sense that the franchise is done.

Image via Daily News Dig.

Not by a long shot.

Did I mention who what else makes a guest appearance here? 🙂

Can you say Aston Martin?

Definitely a great pick for Bond fans, old and new.

*****

Directed by Sam Mendes
Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan (based on the Bond series by Ian Fleming)

Posted in 2010s Films, Action Movies, Bond Movies, Spy Thrillers | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Part One of ‘Crash of the Moons’ (1954)

Well, folks, I’ve been able to actually scare up a public domain film that the guys at Mystery Science Theatre 3K actually mocked well before I knew the movie existed.

Except I do it without robot help and all by my lonesome at a keyboard.

So, please like, share, or ignore. Whatever works for you. 🙂

PS: Did you know that this movie is actually a combination of three episodes of a TV show called Rocky Jones, Space Ranger?

Don’t you love a serial? Or a series? Web or otherwise? 🙂

PPS: A Raymond Chandler tour? On demand? I’m really tempted! 🙂

Posted in 1950s Films, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Science Fiction, Web Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘The Invisible Woman’ (1940) (B-Movie Review) — Part Two

Hello! It’s time for Part Two of this review. I hope you enjoy it, too! 🙂

And here it is.

As a see-through woman without clothes, Kitty uses her lack of his visibility to punish the horrible Ebenezer Scrooge-like boss.

Image via Cinelinx.

She also freaks the customers out by sashaying onto the proverbial catwalk in a dress—but invisible, so she waltzes around like the Headless Woman of Sleepy Hollow, which reminds me, I have no idea where any of this takes place. Could it be Sleepy Hollow? Or did she make it to Mapleton, Mass., before the Mummy did?

Image via ComingSoon,net.

It hardly matters, really, because eventually we join Richie Rich and his Butler/Toady/Comic Relief as they putter about a cabin in the woods. But then the Professor shows up, with the Invisible Woman as his “plus one.”

Okay, at this point, while the movie seemed to strike a blow for women’s rights (to be invisible and otherwise) and workers’ rights (not to be treated like shit), it takes a very sudden turn when Invisible Kitty makes her non-appearance at the cabin. To summarize briefly, she acts like a moron, drinking too much, and whining endlessly and loudly about her wet clothes, how she’s freezing cold, and other really boring matters. I’d tell you more about what she said and did, if my husband hadn’t fast-forwarded through the whole annoying scene it was important. So, don’t worry about it.

The problem is—because there is, of course, more than just Ms. Invisible’s threat of catching her death of cold—that a gangster named Blackie Cole (played by Oscar Homolka) wants to steal the invisibility device. And he sends in his three stooges, one of which is an actual Stooge (Shemp Howard). Naturally, they’re too dumb moronic ill-equipped and untrained in science stuff to make the thing work. In fact, forcing an unwitting test subject fellow to undergo the invisibility procedure without the proper shot jab inoculation pre-treatment turns him from a baritone into a rather squeaky falsetto.

Image via 123Movies.

In the meantime, the professor manages to get Invisible Girl to shut her damn trap calm down. He presents her with one of those lovely gowns made with tons of chiffon. You know, the kind we ladies are supposed to go nuts for? 🙂 And she puts it on and becomes visible again. But then gets all pissy upset, because her hair is such a mess. So she brushes her hair and—voila!—all better.

But then Blackie and the Stooges show up and they kidnap her and the hapless professor. And even as Richie Rich and his faithful comic flunky man-servant arrive to save the day, Kitty Kat the Invisible Marvel vanishes in a puff of smoke dematerializes disappears upon applying alcohol to her skin. How she knows to do this isn’t quite clear or I may have missed it because I fell asleep.

So after rubbing herself out (with alcohol, not, you know …) … anyway, Kitty vanishes and using her semi-invincible invisibility manages to overcome the clods morons goofballs who kidnapped her and the prof.

And all’s well in the end. Because, of course, Kitty ends up falling madly in love with Richie Rich and vice versa. Wedding bells ring, a few months go by (at least nine of them, presumably), and a baby is born. Then, they learn pretty fast that rubbing the kid with alcohol isn’t such a hot idea. Who knew invisibility could be passed on through one’s DNA?

Here’s a visual summary of the whole film! 🙂 (Caution: Image via potentially sketchy weird site where the film is downloadable from an unknown source.)

The whole kit and kaboodle! 🙂

“You won’t believe your eyes!

“You won’t believe your ears!

“But the amazing John Barrymore has discovered a new way to Get Rid of a Woman!”

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My Review of ‘The Far Country’ (1954)

The first thing I noticed about this film is that the main character, Jeff Webster (played by James Stewart), has a clear streak of badass running through him. (And this is the guy who played a man who spoke to an invisible rabbit in some other movie. I swear Jimmy Stewart could play any part!) Anyway, I like Jimmy Stewart. He makes a fine sharp-shooting, grizzled cattle herder.

He and his friend Ben Tatum (played by Walter Brennan) are heading to the Yukon, up in the Great White North, with a big herd of cattle to sell as a source of beef for the hungry miners/fortune seekers there.

The next thing I noticed was Ruth Roman. And, wow—did she have some clothes for a lady traveling by boat and horse through the wilds of the great Northwest and beyond! In her first appearance, she wears the most purple dress. And so fancy!

I think this is a great example of “showing your character”. Without a word from her, you can already tell what this lady is like. Not shy. Not averse to helping Jeff out when the authorities chase him around the boat they’re all traveling on. He evades them in a scene reminiscent of the one in North by Northwest, where Eva Marie Saint keeps Cary Grant from being nabbed by the cops. (I wonder … did Hitchcock even like Westerns?)

Anyway, they all end up going to Dawson City, Yukon. And, on the way, Jeff pisses off a judge in Skagway (Judge Gannon, played with wicked glee by John McIntire), who swears he’ll hang Jeff. But Skagway’s in the U.S. And Dawson City isn’t, so that’ll have to wait until Jeff makes his supposedly inevitable return trip to the States.

Image via Flickers in Time.

As it turns out, Dawson City is just as full of crooks and such as any other place where the law ain’t established real good, but Jeff refuses to get involved. Somewhat reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart’s character in How the West was Won—the “I ain’t getting involved or settling down for no one” Jimmy Stewart. Nonetheless, by the time he reaches Dawson City, he has two women vying for his attention. Ronda Castle (that would be Ruth Roman) and a young French-Canadian girl, Renee Vallon (played by Corinne Calvet).

It’s always nice to see a western with a strong female in it. Ronda is just that kind of woman. Not perfect, by far, but intelligent, shrewd, and ambitious. And just a touch shady. But after a while, guess who shows up? That judge from Skagway comes back follows them up north, avoiding any jurisdiction problems by going into business in Dawson City. I’ll let you guess with whom.

Image via Western Movies blog.

As for Renee, well … Jeff doesn’t seem to take her seriously. He nicknames her Freckle Face, an appellation that sits not at all well with her.

“I’m not a freckle face. I’m a woman!”

I don’t want to reveal too much for fear of giving away spoilers. Let’s just say the ending is sad, but not completely.

Have I mentioned that the scenery is spectacular?

Trivia: The Judge Gannon character may be based on a real life con man and gang leader named Soapy Smith, who ran the town of Skagway during the Alaska gold rush. Soapy was eventually killed in a gunfight, although not as depicted in this film.

Posted in 1950s Films, Movie Reviews, Westerns | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

‘The Invisible Woman’ (B-Movie Review) — Part One

In the next few weeks, we have for you a most interesting movie to skewer without mercy review and comment upon.

This is Part One of the film The Invisible Woman! You can tell from this poster that she means business! 🙂

Ever wonder what would happen if you combined sci-fi with screwball comedy? Well, if you have, you can stop now, because this movie is, in fact, such an animal.

See there’s a rich guy, Richard Russell, a.k.a., a “wealthy lawyer” (a term that never fails to amuse me) who’s hooked up—Not like that! Like befriended. Kinda—with one of those absent-minded professor types who invent things with astonishing technological capabilities, but can never find their keys. He also has a maid or cook or whatever who once was the Wicked Witch of the West.

Image via Cody’s Film, TV, and Video Game Blog.

So, the old codger distinguished scientist whose name is Professor Gibbs (although it’s entirely unclear how this muddlehead could manage to teach at the college or university level) hits old playboy-millionaire-lawyer dude up for the moolah dough dosh cashola to finance his work on an invisibility device. After disintegrating disappearing a cat, he pines longs to test his device out on a real human being.

Image via Alternate Ending.

In answer to a personal ad, in which the esteemed, if slightly doddering, scientist seeks candidates for being evaporated disappeared, he gets his subject in the form of a department store model, who works for the Ebenezer Scrooge of department store managers. Except it’s not Christmas. Or maybe it is. That part’s not clear.

“I’m here to apply for position of lab rat.”

Oddly, the professor scientist has the toughest time dealing with making a naked woman invisible, as opposed to a naked man. He’s weirdly ill-at-ease about doing it. He carries on so much about it, you almost want to yell, “Hey, dumbass! She’s human, okay?”

I should mention that the movie starts off with the Absent-Minded Professor making a surprise visit to see Richie Rich the Lawyer, as he makes ready to take an extended vacay. This sets Richie’s man-servant to grumbling about this and that, which plays right into many pratfalls and hijinks to spare throughout the story.

“Do these stripes make the wall look fat?”

And, as I said implied, the opening scene takes place in the grand foyer of a large huge palatial house with an imposing set of stairs, against which a ladder just happens to lean. And while the toady man-servant gripes to Richie Rich about the professor and God knows what else, he ends up climbing the ladder whilst Richie takes the stairs. This leads to a pratfall from great heights, thus establishing the film’s screwball comedy creds clearly and without resort to: 1) a fast-talking dame reporter; 2) a couple of married drunks with time on their hands; or 3) Cary Grant.

Image via Moria.

In the meantime, having pretty much dismissed the various weirdos showing up to be disassembled disappeared by the professor’s magic machine, our titular (no pun intended!) heroine Kitty ends up winning the grand prize of invisibility. She disrobes behind a screen and, once the device gets going, her shadow becomes all wavy. The oscillation in her silhouette rises to the point where she seems to be torn to pieces, but that’s just crappy special effects, so there’s no blood and she ends up… well, invisible. Which she mistakes for being invincible.

More to come! 🙂

Posted in 1940s Films, Comedy, Saturday B-Movie Review, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Part Five of ‘Quicksand’ (1950)

Looks like we’ve managed to live through finally reach the fifth and final part of the film noir Quicksand. (With or without one of these!)

And, so, on with the show!

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My Review of ‘Shimmer Lake’ (2017)

When I heard about how this Netflix Original film told the story backwards, my first thought was of Memento. But this movie is anything but a knock-off.

It’s about a bank robbery in a small town. And, like many small towns (especially in movies), this one has its share of dark secrets buried under its bucolic surface.

Image via RogerEbert.com (where Nick Allen gives a contrary opinion to mine)

Sheriff Zeke Sikes (played by Benjamin Walker) leads the investigation, along with his partner, Reed Ethington (played by Adam Pally), who assists Zeke despite being relegated to the back seat of his cruiser, multiple times. The FBI is also involved to the extent of exercising a lax oversight of the local action. They provide an odd form of comic relief amid the players’ various intrigues and double-crosses.

Image via Movies Torrent

Among the conspirators to the bank heist, Rainn Wilson is stellar as Zeke’s brother, Andy Sikes, a disgraced prosecutor-turned-ambulance chaser shyster low-rent divorce lawyer. Watch Wilson transform from the dweeby Dwight Shrute of The Office into the more desperate and calculating character of the “down and out average man.” The kind of performance you’d expect from William Macy.

Image via ScreenRant

The backwards narrative is not simply a gimmick here. It’s used very intentionally. And the effect is to not only create suspense and mystery, but lead up to a twist you’ll kick yourself for not seeing.

And, yes, it took me completely by surprise!

Without question, this gets 5 stars. And it’s awesome to see that truly creative neo-noir filmmaking is not dead.

Directed by Oren Uziel
Produced by Adam Saunders and Britton Rizzio
Screenplay by Oren Uziel

Posted in 2010s Films, Crime Drama, Crime Movies, Movie Reviews, Neo-Noir | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on My Review of ‘Shimmer Lake’ (2017)