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The Ugly Duckling (1959)
A golden time for hammer - well worth watching
This film has not been seen since it (rumoured) was shown on TV in 1967 and 1973. This was considered by many to be a lost film, although some believed it still existed, This was proven right when then it was shown in the UK on talking pictures on 14/10/2018.
The story is simply, Henry Jekyll (Bernard Bresslaw) is a clumsy oaf, with no confidence, his brother is Victor (Jon Pertwee) they don't get on until Henry drinks a formula and turns into Teddy Hyde. Strong, charismatic and a love of danger. He steals the crown Jewels with minimal effort. Then he turns back to Henry. Victor discovers the jewels and then has to help the now limited Henry put the stolen items back - if he can do so in this state of existence. Is Teddy Hyde another version of Henry, or does he have the ability all along to emulate his alter-ego?
Excellent and enjoyable adventure - recommended and like most hammer films made around that time - well worth a look. The two main leads were both excellent. The music composed by Jo Loss and his Orchestra is catchy and sounds as good today as it did then.
A lost classic has resurfaced and this film needed to be seen again.
Tales of the Unexpected (1977)
Rare tv at its best
Known as Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected but released in the UK as Twist in the tale.
Every episode was a different story with often horror or supernatural elements. The pilot was a remake of cape fear - and probably the best version of this story. There was also a remake of the episode of the Invaders (also an earlier Quinn Martin tv series) and although all the episodes where fun, the one I remember fondly was 'A hand for Sonny Blue' about an American Football player that has a hand transplant. Unfortunately it has a mind of its own.
The twists were sometimes disappointing and you are left thinking WHAT? !!!! but that didn't stop you looking forward the next episode. Ran too short (8 episodes) and there were more episodes planned. Despite one of the most requested shows for a DVD release, this still remains something we are still waiting for. Several of the episodes were repeated on cable tv channels but nowadays it seems to be overlooked or forgotten. Pity, as 1970's telly at its best.
Justice League (2017)
Comic book action on screen
DC films version of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE. Two hours of non stop action and absolutely no messing around with Character introductions - in fact very little connections to other movies - but straight to the point.
Some of the heroes/Villains have been seen before, DC currently have several successful TV ventures, but this film really raises the bar on the whole Super - hero franchise as far as action and FX go, and it deserves to be a smash hit, albeit the film could have been a bit more tense at time - although it works as a movie for all ages.
Without Henry Cavill's superb performance - I would have rated this 2 stars less but he really did make this from a good film to a great one. This is the best Superman has been portrayed on screen. All round good performances with the best of the rest - Jason Momoa was also outstanding as Arthur Curry/Aquaman. Ben Affleck was OK but was much better in BATMAN VS SUPERMAN.
The plot is wafer thin and simple - a threat to the world, Stepenwolf, seeks to obtain 3 boxes to gain maximum power to take over the world and the heroes of Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman have to reluctantly unite to stop him. But they just ain't quite a match with this combination alone, and the late Man of Steel is may be the only chance they have !!
Despite the flaws, this is still a very enjoyable film, so go and enjoy this movie for what it is - a no - nonsense action superhero team up movie, and 2 hours that any DC comic book fan will love. The scenes with Superman alone should be witnessed on the big screen. I look forward to potentially better DC movies.
Watch the movie till after the credits.
Goal! III (2009)
Dreadful - misses the goal by a mile.
Apart from a brief cameo from our hero from the previous two films - feels unconnected. GOAL was very good - GOAL 2 was a lot of fun - using footage of the game in which Arsenal BEAT Real Madrid to show them losing to that very team in the Champions league final was a great touch - and action star Rutger Hauer miscast as the Real Madrid manager is hilarious (was Bruce Willis unavailable?) a lot of fun. But GOAL 3 - YUK !! There was a gap between parts 2 and 3 of the Trilogy (and I use that term lightly), did they think footage of Mexico winning the word cup was a long shot? If they had held on longer though - they could have made the film with footage of Mexico winning a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics instead? Anything but this rubbish.
1 out of 10 - pointless film with character's you have difficulty relating too or even liking - Poor end to what could have been the best Football trilogy ever..Thanks to GOAL 3 - it misses its goal !!!
Second Chance (2016)
Superhero Frankensten Cop - great combination
Originally entitled 'the Frankenstein code' the show, strangely, reminds me of another excellent show from 2001 - JOHN DOE (with Dominic Purcell - a guy wakes up and knows everything) like that show - axed after one series.
The plot is simple, Jimmy Pritchard is murdered and brought back to life and wakes up with enhanced abilities i.e. strength and speed and them proceeds to build a relationship with his son (who doesn't know who he is as he looks 40 years younger) and hence what would you do with a 'second chance'.
Excellent show, likable characters, good acting and good exciting story's. I'm furious that its been axed but going to watch the episodes over and over again. Sad there wont be a season two as the potential was there for a long running series.
Paperback classic character brought to life
I have always been a huge fan of the George G Gilman paperback westerns from the 80's.I have collected many of them over the years. I never thought that their would be a movie based on the stories, and directed by the great Shane Black. The film totally does justice and its full of shootouts, action and revenge - just like the books. The plot is simple - Josephia Hegdge's (Edge) brother is murdered by the son of a powerful man and 'Edge' rides into town to settle the score.
A true western icon finally given a live action movie. Great performances from everyone. A total of 61 books in total were printed plus 3 spin off's where he teamed up with Adam Steele (another George G Gilman character - perhaps he might get a movie too?) and some later Kindle stories. A massive thank you to the film makers from a true fan.
Faces of Death IV (1990)
Last of the official FOD films but not cut up.
After a graphic opening during the main credits we are introduced to Dr Louise Flellis. A Neurosurgeon who has taken over from Dr Francis B Gross from the first 3 films. Who sadly died but forgot to film it so not in this latest gathering of real and fake (mostly fake footage). Although like the previous entries, the fake stuff is a laugh, but while your chuckling you suddenly get the real footage and it soon wipes the smile off your face, unless you have a cast iron stomach of course. The most memorable is the scenes with the Indonesian family eating puppies, fortunately its only a teddy bear used and looks like one too. Also the bunji jumping students, that jump off a 12 storey building that use a cord thats too long as "there was no 12 floor".
The only FOD entry to be released uncut in the UK and probably one of the worst in the series, along with part 3. FOD 1 & 2 are the best in the series by a mile.
James B. Schwartz is the latest actor to pretend to be a Doctor in this, after Michael Carr (a cameraman) pretended to be a similar Consultant in the earlier films. Obviously to gain some authenticity. Schwartz is the Directors brother (John alias Conan Le Cilaire) The cast were anonymous for years but after the film gained a massive cult following, they all came out the woodwork a few years ago. Worst of Faces of Death and FOD fact or fiction were also made as extras for the DVD which was made before the makers came out. The recent region 1 Blu-ray has the real cast in interviews and audio commentaries. The films made a lot of money so what can you say. The end song is a lot of fun in a cheesy way.
Enemy Territory (1987)
Ray Parker Jnr ain't afraid of no Ghosts....Or Vampires!!!
Insurance salesman Barry (Gary Frank) visits an urban ghetto to sell insurance to a client and has a run in with a young member of a vicious street gang called the Vampires. This gang runs the district. Soon their leader, aptly named 'The Count' (Tony Todd) hears about this and wants Barry dead. Barry is trapped in the apartment building with no way out; we soon see the murder of an elderly cop who tries to protect Barry so we know the gang mean business. Barry teams up with Ray Parker Jnr and they also enlist the help of the only man the gang supposedly fears, the wheelchair bound Parker, a Vietnam War veteran, (played by Jan-Michael Vincent). However they are totally outnumbered. The vampires are after blood.
The film is fast paced and entertaining but does has strong violence and racism in as well so be warned. Sadly this film is hard to find and seems to have disappeared since the VHS days. Ray Parker Jnr is first class and you question why he never became a mega star. Tony Todd is a great presence as always and it's sad that Candy man was the height of his career, he deserved better. He does seem to enjoy himself in the role as the count. Jan-Michael Vincent completes a great cast. Also a great music soundtrack from the Boogie boys an American hip hop band group from New York, where this film was shot. The band sadly spilt up a year after this film was made.
Watch out for the clever ending; note the gang are called Vampires when you look for this. This film is worth the effort to hunt down even if it's only an old VHS you can find. Deserves a DVD release.
Evil Dead (2013)
Fails to put Groovy in the evil dead movie
I was never a huge fan of the original Evil dead, however I admired how a movie can be made so well on such a low budget, and of course it made our video nasty list in the UK in the mid 80's. I did find Evil dead 2 extremely funny and a lot of gory fun at the cinema a few years back but did not have hugely high expectations for this. Its a remake that does throw in a couple of interesting changes from the original though, the book being indestructible for one thing (reminded me of the excellent Fri13th TV show - the antique shop) and the explanation of why 4 young people would stay in a cabin in the middle of a forest, which was to cold turkey off drugs. Apart from that adds little else. The film also throws in lots of gore and buckets and buckets of blood at the screen and although I did not hate it the film, I did not love it either. Watch for a extra scene after the end credits. Definitely going to cancel my cabin holiday now lol. Compared to the original I would favour this one very slightly.
A generous 5 out of 10, it did the best it could. Not bad but Definitely not groovy!
Straight on Till Morning (1972)
Great Hammer film
Brenda is extremely timid and has low self esteem. She see's herself as ugly and is desperate to fall in love and have a baby. She leaves her Mothers and vacates to London to search for her Prince. She meets Peter and thinks she has met the man of her dreams and he seems to be infatuated with her too.
It would be unfair to give too much away; you should see this film, recommended. An unusual diversion from Hammer, who was still making Dracula & Frankenstein films at the same time, this is a gem though and as always, Hammer don't disappoint. They sure can make films whatever genre they do.
Although this is a girl meets guy who is not what he seems type of film, it's not your average body at the bottom of the stairs that keeps getting up, or a big fire that kills the bad guys off, I suggest Halloween or a clichéd horror for that. This film is intelligent and well written, although does tend to be ambiguous.
Rita Tushingham and Shane Brent were both excellent and the former gives an audio commentary on the DVD if you look around carefully. Look out for James Bolam too.
9 out of 10, good old Hammer films.
The Night Strangler (1973)
Kolchak is back! and so is another killer
The night Stranger was a follow up to The Night Stalker. This was the highest watched TV movie ever and it was obvious a sequel would follow. The Night Strangler followed exactly one year later. Both are directed by Dan Curtis and both great but I saw Night Strangler first when I was very young and remember how scary it was for that reason it became my favourite of the two. I later found out that a night stalker TV series of 20 episodes followed but for years these had never been shown in the UK until the 90's when they showed the entire series. I had waited years to see this, long before the Internet and DVD shopping online, everything was not easy to purchase. Although the TV series was very good and atmospheric at times, not as good as the two movies. But does have a cult status and did inspire the excellent X-files TV show, in Which Darren Mcgavin appeared in a few episodes. The strangler/stalker films rely on clever slow-motion camera work, creepy sets and some great directing from Dan Curtis instead of the gore you find in modern day horror films. They don't make them like this anymore sadly. The Chemistry between Carl Kolchak and his long suffering boss Tony Vincenzo works a real treat. Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland are two superb actors and they just work so well together on screen there is a ongoing humour running throughout the film The dialogue is well written and witty. Vincenzo spends half the film frustrated and shouting at Kolchak's demands. The two reprised the same roles in the TV series after the third Night Stalker film did not get off the ground, which was rumoured, was planned as a direct sequel to part one.
The plot is easy, reporter Karl Kolchak begins life in Seattle, after being run out of Vegas in the previous Night Stalker film, after a cover up of a real life vampire was found. He bumps into his old boss Vincenzo, who it transpires, was booted out too and went to Seattle for a quite life, which he knows wont happen when he finds himself working as Kolchak's boss again at another newspaper office. Thing begin to get interesting when 2 murders happen in a few days. When Kolchak investigates, he find similar murders have happened in the past. Spanning over a hundred years in fact. Every 21 years, six females are strangled by someone with superhuman strength and speed. They have their necks broken and blood drained via a syringe, and dead rotting tissue is left from the assailant. Apparently an alchemist aged 144 years is responsible and the movie is then about Kolchak once again fighting the authorities that get in his way and look for clues to find out who the mystery man is. Easy these days with DNA but its all about clever detective work in the 70's from our investigating reporter. Makes this riveting entertainment.
Recommended if you can find this rare film. Night Stalker is easier to get hold of, this one is worth the extra hunting down and a must watch for all fans of 70's horror films.
Ripley's Game (2002)
If you only watch one Ripley film!! This should be it..
I watched this film having never seen any of the Ripley films or read any of the books, from a recommendation from a friend. From the first scene to the last I was riveted to the movie. Basically Tom Ripley (played superbly by John Malkovich) is a sociopath, a charming evil man without a conscience who can con, steal, murder and manipulate his way through life with ease for his own personal gain. During the process he has gone from nothing to being extremely wealthy and living in a mansion in a lush Venetian villa in Italy. He decides to play a deadly game with a neighbour. Jonathon Trevany, who insults him at a party. He finds out Jonathan has a few months to live as he has a terminal illness and arranges for him to do a assassination for a ex-business associate Reeves (Ray Winston) for a large amount of money that will set his family up for life. After manipulating events, it becomes clear that Reeves wants revenge on Ripley and blows the situation bigger. After murdering the target successfully and thinking that is it, Reeves wants Jonathan to kill the victims Russian co-workers using a garrote to strangle them. Completely out of hand and in an impossible situation. At the beginning of the movie we see Ripley rip off virtually everyone in a business deal involving forged artwork, in which Reeves had set up the deal in the first place, so we know why this is more than it seems. Ripley becomes friends with Jonathan in the meantime and appears to find a conscience and intervenes to sort out the huge situation he originally helped create. Jonathon is, after all an innocent picture framer who is totally out of his depth. Needless to say murder and mayhem follow once out main man comes onto the scene. All in a days work for Tom Ripley.
The Film is fantastic, always moving at a fast pace and the cast of Winston, Malkovich and Dougray Scott all seem to enjoy their roles. There are several other Ripley films, Ripley underground was made after Ripley's Game in 2005 and is unreleased in the UK but available in some countries. Earlier Ripley films are Plein soleil (1960 France), American Friend (Made in 1977 and is actually from the book Ripley's game, an earlier version with Dennis Hopper as Tom Ripley) & the talented Mr Ripley (1999) Recommended 9 out of 10.
Maximum Conviction (2012)
Seagal and Stone cold Rule. Great together.
The plot is simple, 2 black ops must oversee the transfer of 2 female prisoners who have vital top secret information, then terrorists, led by the excellent Michael Pare strike and take the prison over for the info. Unfortunate for them they would have succeeded but the 2 black ops are Stone cold Steve Austin and Steven Seagal. So you know the bad guys don't have a chance. If you had asked me 10 years ago, which 2 WWE wrestlers would make great film stars, it would have to be the Rock and Stone Cold. Good to see them doing well. Austin is his usually bad ass self and adds something to this type of movie. Michael Pare is menacing, no humour or likability to the bad guy, this really works and he is extremely menacing. Makes a change from the usual wise cracking baddie. With Steven Seagal you know what your getting, you know what to expect from him. All the women want him, all the men want to be him, if you (or 10 guys at once) get into a fight with him, you wont even land a punch on Mr Invincible Seagal. If he gives advice, you prick your ears and listen to every word he says, he knows more than you, if he takes a shot with his gun, its going to be on target every time, his bosses envy him, he is top of his trade and the best at what he does, whatever it is. Even his former martial art masters come to him for lessons..Yes Seagal wreaks ego but I just cant get enough of him so please don't ever Change Steven. film is a definite recommendation for some viewing where you don't have to put your brain into gear and enjoy an action/martial arts film the way it should be. Hope there is a sequel made.
Classic horror TV show.
Its a crime that this BBC series, Supernatural (1977) never got repeated or had a legitimate DVD release. 8 episodes where broadcast. The opening credits were chilling, organ music to shots of gargoyle type statues. The story was simple, there exists a club of the damned, for membership the applicant must tell a true horror story, and the story must be very scary. The club consisted of a small room of cigar smoking English gentleman. If just one of them was not scared, or did not believe the story was real, then the penalty was death. As you can imagine each episode had a twist in the tale
The opener Ghosts of Venice, while good, was a little slow, Countess Lionna & Werewolf reunion was a 2 parter. The countess got together all her ex lovers in one room in ep 1. In ep 2 (the werewolf reunion) The last shot of the shadow of the werewolf moving towards the last victim, is one of the scariest scenes I have ever seen, I was 10 but it stuck with me seeing this, this episode made me a lifelong fan of the show. Mr Nightingale was Jeremy Brett at his best in a Jeckyll and Hyde story. The other stores where lady Sybill, Viktoria (with chilling last scene of a doll walking into the club with a life of its own), Night of the Marrionettes and Dorabella. Of these Dorabella was the best. A episode similar to the works of of Bram Stoker.
My favourite anthology horror series, I have wrote countless letters and emails about this, mostly to the BBC asking them to repeat it. Seems its going to stay lost in their vaults. I hope it somehow gets a DVD release as any true horror fan needs to own this series. Anyone under 45 probably wont even know it ever existed. Criminal.
Za karate (1974)
Lost classic that needs subtitled release
There are 3 of these films, only one of which was initially released in a dubbed format, in the UK under the title "Bronson Lee Champion" on VHS, in the early 80's. The story is about a Karate expert that loses his sight and fights back against the odds and win a high stakes Kumite to help fund his grandmother who is having financial problems. The action is almost on a par with Sonny Chiba's streetfighter films. Sadly I only saw parts 2 & 3 in Japanese language but the action was terrific Bolo yeung (Bolo from Enter the Dragon) is in one of them (part 3 I think) and I remember him fighting the hero Master Tadashi Yamashita (I call him Bronson Lee although I am sure that is not his characters name in the Japanese version) in the desert in a long high quality fight. I don't know what was going on without any subtitles and I cant speak Japanese, but it did not stop me enjoying the action. Irronically master Tadashi Yamashita (Bronson Lee) was a brief cameo in Enter the Dragon so has worked with Bolo Yeung before. Many thanks to my friend Karlos who hunted the films down (in Japanese) as I always wanted to see the trilogy in any way I could. Now I have I owe you many bottles of Jack Daniels lol.
Alien 2 - Sulla Terra (1980)
Interesting unofficial Alien sequel
I have to admit, have really soft spot for this Alien rip off/sequel..The aliens are definitely not friendly...Its starts with stock footage of a failed mission that crashes in the sea, in the meantime the films heroine and her crew set off for a expedition into some underground caves deep below the surface, it seems the aliens (which we saw briefly on a beach) have made there way there too and who knows where else? after some grisly deaths and faces bursting open, done with some neat special effects, the film ends with the heroine (played by the gorgeous Belinda Mayne) and her bearded ugly geeky boyfriend (can you tell I'm jealous) get back to the surface, drive to the city...Not life left on Earth, the aliens have wiped everything out...the film finishes with @you could be next"..
Good atmosphere, good effects and a pretty good film that if it was not slightly boring at time would be top marks..I think this film, unlike half of the doomed cave explorers in the movie, seems to have re-surfaced and getting a bit of a following again..Very well worth watching and its recent blu-ray release from the original negatives is a must have in a collector of cult film cinema.
I wanted the Aliens to win
The casting of this film was awful, Taylor Kitch I did not mind in his previous John Carter, but he did not seem the same in this, Alexander Skarsgård played his half brother who looked absolutely nothing like him, if they made a big budget only fools and horses, here are Del-boy and Rodney...The film has some great effects but I did not like any of the macho Navy seals and the love story was dull with no chemistry between them..I think I wanted the Aliens to win about half way through to I could go home. The Special effects are good and it has some enjoyable moments but they are few and far between..Give me Transformers any day of the week, a lot better then this drivel..One good thing, Rhianna was good in it, hope to see more of her in movies, best thing in it by a mile..If your still single love, look me up ;-) otherall..A generous 2 out of 10 because the special effects where great, pity about the actors and the story, but at least America saved the world again..Yawn
Blood and Bone (2009)
Excellent martial art film
I was at my friends house and he dug this film out, he had not seen it, we was both blown away..Great martial arts, great acting, great characters..Just plain great..The story is simular to Lionheart (Awol in UK where I live) and Hard times with Charles Bronson from the early 70's..But it does not try to re-invent the wheel with the plot, instead aims to raise the bar with the fight scenes, a martial art film made for martial art fans... Michael Jai White is excellent and I will be hunting down his other films..One criticism..A film as good as this with an interesting lead character should be a franchise, a man called Bone would be an interesting idea for a set of sequels...Lost classic, I am telling everyone I know about this films, in my top 10 of all time..
The 4400 (2004)
Great great show. Very underrated
I bought the first season of this and was hooked straight away. It was compared to the x-files but this was everything the x-files was'nt. Better characters, stories, acting. I love this show and was heartbroken that season 4 was the last. Season one is good initially but the explanation to the disappearing and reappearing of 4400 people is not what you expect. Leaves you in limbo. Season 2 really kicks off and your into the idea's and you like it, and by this time you know the characters (and they are all very well acted but Tom Baldwin steals the show and the young psychic girl Myra). You have no idea what the long term of each persons fate is and the writers are very patient at this (the rise and fall of Jordan collier for example) while at the same time they don't pad the stories, it develops at a breakneck pace, no lazy writing. This show should have got the credit it deserves. It was new and original and there has never been anything to match it. It should have ran for 9 or 10 seasons although it has to be admitted they did too much with season 4 and it was not as good as seasons 2 & 3. Too many great episodes to name a favourite and I watched one after the other so felt like one HUGE....episode. Its a crime that this was cancelled. It seems there is no chance of it being brought back but I am grateful that I have seen it. Great soundtrack too, a place in time is great listening and really gets you in the mood. Great classic eerie song for a eerie show. If the writers of the show are reading this...a big big thank you :-)
Under-rated lost classic
Very enjoyable and a feel good movie, a lot of fun, this should have been the next Saturday night fever or Rocky horror. This film is dull early on but really gets going from the quarter way stage, and it tries to show the underrated Mario Van Peebles as a kind of Robin Hood figure (he is called John "rappin" hood), out of jail and trying to re-discover himself and save his neighbourhood from a greedy property developer and save his brother from a life of crime and jail like his former self. Everyone is infuenced by the power of rap and all become better people for the experience (yes very cheesy) this is for sale on region 1 (where I purchased) but not in the UK where I live, the wonders of internet, credit cards and multi region players, even a happy ending for me :-) get this film, buy it and tell all your friends about it, it deserved to be a cult classic.
Victor Frankenstein (1977)
Its a shame this movie never made the video nasty (or DP39) as it would have achieved instant cult status and more people would have seen it, it would have also had a special ed but hey, I am grateful to have seen it after wanting to do so for many years. Great acting, very faithful to the original script, it totally made sense in a way the others never (although I like most of them) this is the best version there is. The acting, casting and atmosphere are as good as it gets, the monster is creepy, tall and menacing and soulless, he hates his creator and you feel sorry for Victor, he made a mistake meddling with the creation of life and is hounded by the monster. Very chilling, everyone should see this movie, its that good. One of my favourite films ever and as a bit of an anorak, I have seen many 1000's.