• Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace

    Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace

    ★★★

    This is a German production though I don't think it falls into the Krimi sub-genre of crime films since it is based on Doyle and not on Edgar Wallace (which most are). The version I have was dubbed into English. There are some familiar names involved though - Christopher Lee (also dubbed by someone! Though not badly), Senta Berger (be still my beating heart), Leon Askin whose name might not be familiar but his portly figure would be if you…

  • Bomba, the Jungle Boy

    Bomba, the Jungle Boy

    ★★½

    Boy finally gets a name. Bomba the Jungle Boy! While Johnny Weissmuller left Tarzan in 1948 to become Jungle Jim, Johnny Sheffield had left Tarzan one film before Weissmuller in 1947 to become Bomba. The jungle called them both all their acting careers. Sheffield appeared in thirteen Tarzan films - the first in the 1939 Tarzan Finds a Son when he was eight years old. And they could never find a proper name for him in all those years? No…

  • Mark of the Gorilla

    Mark of the Gorilla

    ★★½

    For a Jungle Jim film this isn't half bad. Or half good. The IMDB blurb reads "Nazis dressed to look like Great Apes are looking for gold, and Jungle Jim must stop them.". No way I could pass that up. It turns out to be a bit misleading - they are men in gorilla suits looking for Nazi gold. But not Nazis. Just Trump supporters. Still it is pretty crazy. Giant apes are throwing down rocks on wardens of an…

  • McQ

    McQ

    ★★★

    By the mid-1970s the Western was slowly heading towards near oblivion. You can see that by just looking at how the Television landscape was changing from a schedule filled with Westerns to the 70's when the detective/cop show was everywhere. So John Wayne was to make two contemporary cop films in quick succession - this and Brannigan a year later. Apparently, he didn't really want to make either and didn't have a high opinion of them. But he needed the…

  • Brannigan

    Brannigan

    ★★★

    I have always liked the old John Wayne. Grizzled and gruff. The years of hard drinking showing up on his face like an uninvited guest. He had been making movies for over forty years - close to 180 of them - and many of them classics; and some not. At this point he was making movies for money and nowhere is that more obvious than here. He basically goes through the motions but the thing is that he is John…

  • Ronin

    Ronin

    ★★★★

    Nice to visit this after some 20 years. It was like seeing a friend after a long time and recalling that you had liked him but not sure why you had. It takes about two seconds into the film to remember why. At 120 minutes there is not an ounce of fat on this films. It is like a well-toned welterweight boxer. Sleek, tense, quick on its feet and brilliantly executed. Having De Niro and Jean Reno team up is…

  • Daughter of Shanghai

    Daughter of Shanghai

    ★★★

    Anna May Wong was beginning her contractual obligations at Paramount when this film was made. She made a few in this period for the studio - all B films but at least she was the lead. There were four of them - this one was first followed by Dangerous to Know, King of Chinatown and Island of Lost Men. King of Chinatown is a hack job but the other ones are decent B films. The interesting thing about all of…

  • Country Music

    Country Music

    ★★★★

    Three chords and the Truth. A definition of country music. I would add a twang. And beers, tears and the fears that we have to face about dying and living. Storytelling. I can't call myself a country music fan or even close. Sure I know and listen to some country music artists - Johnny Cash is a near God, Bob Wills and his falsetto call outs make me feel joy, Willie Nelson won me over with his album of American…

  • Gate of Hell

    Gate of Hell

    ★★★★½

    I was just dazzled visually by this period drama from Teinosuke Kinugasa. We live surrounded by colors - most of them muted whites, browns and blacks - and it is only in film sometimes when we realize how astonishingly powerful colors can be - how they can jump out and captivate us with their richness. Make your eyeballs come alive and make you wonder why we don't surround ourselves with colors that speak to us. This film drowns in luxurious…

  • A Page of Madness

    A Page of Madness

    ★★★★

    This silent film was thought lost for decades until the director Teinosuke Kinugasa found it among his possessions in the 1970's. It is a shame he didn't have copies for all of his films because so many have been lost. But if he were to find only one of his silent films, this would certainly be a good choice. It is an astonishing visual experimental film with horrific images, rapid cutting and editing as if on an overdose of a…

  • The Falcon in Mexico

    The Falcon in Mexico

    ★★½

    I would have sworn one of the actresses in this was very familiar to me but I hadn't seen her name in the opening credits. That as it turned out was because she was going by the name Martha MacVicker then. By her next film The Big Sleep she was going by Martha Vickers, Carmen Sternwood - as soft as a buttered scone but much more likely to kill you. She never made a lot of films but The Big…

  • Bronze Magician

    Bronze Magician

    ★★★★

    Aka - Yoso (Japanese title)
    Aka - Priest and Empress

    It was a bit of luck coming upon this film (Yoso) on YouTube when it popped up under a search for "Japanese English subtitle". Something I do periodically. I downloaded it having no idea what it was but it turns out to be a classic from director Teinosuke Kinugasa whose film career stretched back to the silent period which included his famous experimental film A Page of Madness (1926). His…