• Forbidden

    Forbidden

    ★★★

    Barbara Stanwyck was practically incapable of delivering a bad performance and this movie is no exception. However, even the combination of she and director Frank Capra aren't enough to put the film across, and that's because the story and screenplay are inherently flawed and difficult to swallow. They follow an impossibly self-sacrificing woman as she unselfishly and unbelievably sacrifices everything in her life -- her daughter, her happiness, her freedom, wealth -- for a married man with political ambitions, placing…

  • Along Came a Spider

    Along Came a Spider

    ★★★★

    A terrific mystery thriller about a woman whose husband was killed in a scientific experiment gone awry and who frames the man she thinks was responsible --- for her own murder! It has more twists and turns than I was expecting and is carried off very well by Suzanne Pleshette and Ed Nelson. They have very nice chemistry together, aiding in the complications that arise when real love develops between them. This was one of the earliest ABC Movies of…

  • Child in the Night

    Child in the Night

    ★★

    Take it from an avowed TV movie fanatic, Vinegar Syndrome made a piss-poor choice in making this one of the three films in their initial (and probably only, if the response to it so far is any indicator) Televised Terror box set. As evinced by its awful, generic title, this movie is filled with one hoary cliché after another, a murder "mystery" with the complexity of a Scooby-Doo episode, and terrible acting. If you can't please me, who has seen…

  • The Last Unicorn

    The Last Unicorn

    ★★★½

    There was somewhat of an uptick in my estimation of this movie since the last time I watched it. It's still unusual and only a minor classic but I was able to look past some of the odder choices to see the beauty in it this time around. The animation is quite nice, with an anime/American hybrid style against lush, detailed backgrounds that seemed to be inspired by those in 𝙎𝙡𝙚𝙚𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝘽𝙚𝙖𝙪𝙩𝙮. The story and characters are still odd, and…

  • The Treasure of the Amazon

    The Treasure of the Amazon

    ★★★½

    Just as the title implies, this is a fun little treasure hunting romp through the jungles complete with backstabbing companions, Nazis, bare-breasted women, poison darts, headhunting natives, piranha, tax collectors, death by tongue-hanging, and lots of wildlife --- and sadly lots of killing of wildlife, a favorite pastime for this director. But the story is fun, the cast is terrific, and it has that B-movie Indiana Jones vibe. It wasn't my favorite of the Rene Cardona Jr.: Volume One collection but I enjoyed all of them, boding well for future installments. There really isn't much to analyze here. Just light diversion in an adventure mode.

  • Trackdown

    Trackdown

    ★★★★

    A really terrific action-revenge genre flick that I would have rated even higher if not for the nepotistic casting of Robert Mitchum's untalented lookalike son in the central tough-guy role. Stoicism alone does not make a star turn as he so deftly demonstrates with his non-charismatic and lifeless line deliveries. And everyone else in the cast is acting their asses off all around him, making him look even worse. He plays the brother of a 17-year-old girl who runs away…

  • The Amusement Park

    The Amusement Park

    ★★★★

    You should understand before seeing this that the "scares" mentioned in reviews and blurbs are of an intellectual sort and not visceral. That's not to say that the film isn't very effective at what it sets out to accomplish. Aging is indeed a very scary thing. When you're young you feel absolutely invulnerable and never even think of getting old. Then, seemingly overnight (and I REALLY mean that. It happens FAST), you find that young people no longer relate to…

  • The Similars

    The Similars

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I love modern films that take inspiration from classic black & white films and television, and that was clearly the case here with music and titles paying homage to 𝙋𝙨𝙮𝙘𝙝𝙤 and a story inspired by 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙏𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙕𝙤𝙣𝙚 episode "It's a Good Life," in which an omnipotent child warps reality and holds his family hostage to his whims. The film even opens and closes with Rod Serling-esque narrations that set a familiar creepy tone that carries through the story about a…

  • Primal Screen

    Primal Screen

    ★★★½

    I'm assuming this was a pilot for a series that didn't happen? Because its brevity is very odd and disappointing. I really enjoyed what's there, though, from the subject matter to the aesthetic. The subject is, generally, what scares us as children and dealing with those fears, and more specifically, a couple of people's fears of human simulacra. Childhood fear is a topic that fascinates me because I remember so vividly some of my earliest nightmares and because I was…

  • Escape from Fort Bravo

    Escape from Fort Bravo

    ★★★½

    A pretty decent western that doesn't stray too far from the formulaic clichés. I mainly watched for the presence of Eleanor Parker, a lovely and underrated actress. And she looks about the best I've ever seen her in this, wearing a ridiculous number of gorgeous gowns, ostensibly just visiting out west for a quick wedding. She would have had to pack an entire extra stagecoach to carry all that, so it's not exactly in the realm of realism, but boy…

  • Cyclone

    Cyclone

    ★★★½

    Some unconvincing shark kills aside, I was actually pretty impressed with this, especially for a low-budget genre film. It's also a tad overlong but that's a minor quibble, too. The acting is much better than most genre films and the disaster scenes early-on are pretty well-done and go beyond what most low budgets are capable of. It's clear that the story was inspired by the true story of the soccer players who crashed in the Andes and had to resort…

  • Red Skies of Montana

    Red Skies of Montana

    ★★★

    I'm not quite sure how I feel about this one. It has a fascinating subject that could have made for a much better film. It's about smokejumpers, firemen who parachute into forest fires, facing unbelievable danger in "blowups," literally explosive conditions, second only to nuclear explosions in raw power, that still are not completely understood. But the story, while okay, is a bit on the melodramatic side and it centers on a character who needs to be totally sympathetic and…