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Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die (1942)

Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die (1942)

The title showed promise with this one, speaking of a legendary place where icons such as Wyatt and The Doc all gathered, but unfortunately the movie itself wasn't all that good. Simple transitions where things fade to black between scene. Badly choreographed fights. Stereotypes with characters, with good and bad, with a lot of things.

The one thing I do like about movies like this is that you get to see what things were way back when, and how they perceived their past at the time of filming. For one people could still ride, and the towns felt livelier than they do in modern Westerns, where populations are often small to the brink of their being a ghost town - as if that's how we now perceive towns were at the time. But during the gold and silver rushes (Tombstone was silver) they really weren't like that. They manage to capture the reality of past towns and times a bit better here, with locales and traditions all the more true to the era. The further back the filming the better the depiction of that.

The art of film wasn't all there yet though. Feels like Westerns rose to a new level during the sixties and seventies. Action-wise and all. Threat of Tombstone and all. Despair and all. Here all is otherwise a little too timid and average.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The 50 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen (2014)

The 50 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen (2014)

It's a list of horror movies! And they were right, I hadn't seen... most of them. Found some gems. Added 'em to my watchlist. The ones that stand out to me in particular are maybe:

  • Pumpkinhead (1988)
  • Audition (1999)
  • Joshua (2007)
  • Alice Sweet Alice (1976)
  • Session 9 (2001)
  • Castle Freak (1995)
  • Burnt Offerings (1976)
  • The Dentist (1996)

Ones I know I have seen already:

  • The Descent (2005)
  • Re-Animator (1985)
  • Hard Candy (2005)
  • Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)
  • Hatchet (2006)
  • Wrong Turn (2003)

Ones I might have seen already:

  • Alone In The Dark (1982)
  • Wishmaster (1997)
  • Slither (2006)
  • The Funhouse (1981)
  • The Hunger (1983)
  • When A Stranger Calls (1979)

Ones I know about and maybe thought of seeing:

  • May (2002)

I'm a little disturbed over how joyously the female interviewees talked about the ball-cutting scene in Hard Candy, and in the beginning of the review cuts it felt like they cut in a bit too many people and comments, but overall this was a good recollection/introduction to some gruesome and ghastly flicks you might have been missing out on.

I don't agree with their rankings at all, and it's a shame neither House On Haunted Hill or It Follows - maybe my two all-time favorites - were on it. Not to mention any of the masterful Japanese or Korean scary movies of the nineties/early twothousands that brought in a whole new style of horror we've been enjoying the last decade or so via Hollywood too (even if the remakes/inspirations rarely matched the originals), but I do agree with SOME of these, and I got introduced to plenty of older or more obscure titles I hadn't seen indeed, so mission accomplished.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Deathcheaters (1976)

Deathcheaters (1976)

Here's a movie about a couple of stuntmen (John Hargreaves and Grant Page), who perform stunts! And then get recruited by an unspecified branch of government to infiltrate a factory-looking locale with a safe, extract certain papers from said safe and then get out of there!

I like the premise, I like the pace, I like the times and scenery, and I like the stunts, and I like the charm that the main characters all radiate - it's a good cast - but I do feel like I'm missing a certain sense of desperation and realism otherwise.

The stunts may be dangerous, but apart from the one moment where one of the guys is hanging through a hatch in an escalator twenty-something meters above ground it just doesn't come across enough. And only the main duo contribute to the battle. Everybody else seems like a stand-in without script or purpose.

Still gotta love it for the dangers, and these two charming strangers, but it really feels like they had some potential here they didn't use as well as they could have.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

(more…)

Winter Of Frozen Dreams (2009)

Winter Of Frozen Dreams (2009)

Barbara Hoffman is a University of Wisconsin science student. She is a part-time employee at a local massage parlor. She is also a killer. Now all Detective Lulling has to do is prove it.

Chilling like a winter day, it truly is...

It might start like a B-movie, but don't give up on it just yet, it does get better. Even if it might not get better in the way you want it to. Not with a villain you'd like to put your faith in. Not a killer who grows a heart. Not in a killer in the traditional sense either.

It's an unconventional thriller too. There's no violence! Not visible. Not physical. More psychological. Not terribly. But icily. And even after we go all that way we still don't know why...

Thora Birch really puts on a killer performance, as does Brendan Sexton III, and everyone else for the matter. I just wish this movie left me a little brighter than it did. Great movie, just not the kind of great I was expecting to see now. Greatly depressing, more so.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

In The Line Of Duty 2 - Police Assassins (1985)

In the Line Of Duty 2 - Police Assassins (1985)

AKA Yes, Madam!

Michelle Yeoh's still at it! With good company of the legendary Cynthia Rothrock in this one, when she was in her prime and really earned her B-movie goddess title. I miss these days. Yeoh's not bad either of course. She seems like a whole new person compared to how she was in the first movie. New haircut. New tan. New smile and everything. Like either she had a great vacation or gained a well-earned dose of confidence since.

She and Cynthia jump through glass walls like it's air, chasing a killer and a misplaced microfilm item, with comedic help from mainly Hoi Mang, John Sham and Hark Tsui, and are joined by if for just a short moment icons Sammo Hung and Fat Chung (or was I about to mention somewhere else as the second one here...?). Eddie Maher gets a real fight scene too for once, as do the bosses' most memorable henchmen. I oughta remember names better.

Compared to all other movies in the series this definitely comes across as the one with the highest budget, and polish, and at least a few death-defying stunts just in the final showdown. Do wonder what really happened to the guy who crashed through the glass fountain too, and the stuntman who flipped over the edge. Sometimes wish they had a behind the scenes bit after so you know they're okay...

Feels like the comedic elements somewhat interfere with what's really otherwise an unusually intense plotline, but the entertainment's there too in the moment. And it ends with a moment, as a lot of these movies do. Not with the all red threads tied up conclusively, but the one, that one's definitely done.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

(more…)

Iron Monkey 2 (1996)

Iron Monkey 2 (1996)

Trying to take Iron Monkey into the modern age. With guns (and the UFO-like thing with attached camera), blood and violence, and an ending in flames, again. Without the original iron Monkey...

It doesn't work.

Donnie Yen might still be there, but he's not the same person he used to be. The charm's gone. The plot's messy. It feels like they bit off more than they could chew - maybe fetched some inspiration from Jackie Chan's classy Miracles - a movie that seemed akin to American Mafia culture of the thirties with the gangster setting, but they fell short.

There's religion too now. And music. All foreign items and influences that come across either half-assed or just not suitable for the one Iron Monkey. It's neither that nor what it used to be, and they even more sped up fighting sequences! Traditional ferocity just feels misplaced in this new setting.

Could've been a good spin-off at least, but alas, it's a mess. Feels rushed and inconsequential, without the strength, the focus or the finality of the former.

 rated 2.5/5: almost not bad

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