I have been getting a lot of readers asking me to review some of the more recent releases from major studios. Balladeer’s Blog regulars know that I tend to focus on incredibly obscure items or hilariously bad movies from decades ago.
Since a lot has already been written about the following several films I won’t bother with one of my in-depth looks. These will be more general takes on the movies.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY – Thankfully someone FINALLY addressed the elephant in the room of the Star Wars universe: the origin of Han Solo’s last name.
That’s right, in a cinematic setting which features multiple characters sporting the unusual surname Skywalker, Disney decided that the world needed a back-story for the last name “Solo.” Continue reading
GHOSTWATCH (1992) – This was a British made for t.v. movie that aired on Halloween Night in 1992. Ghostwatch is a nice – albeit boring – little novelty item for the way it anticipated the paranormal “reality” (LMAO) shows of today.
The telefilm also can’t help but put viewers in mind of the Paranormal Activity series and countless other Found Footage horror movies. Ghostwatch involves much older technology of course but for once, since the make-believe t.v. crew is filming their investigation of a haunted house, it MAKES SENSE for people to be filming everything.
The casting for this production was well-done in that it contains virtually NO recognizable faces. Usually when watching BBC items from back then viewers can’t help but play Spot the Doctor Who/ Sherlock Holmes/ British Murder Mysteries Actor. Continue reading
For back-to-school time here’s my review of the 1960 Juvenile Delinquent classic High School Caesar.
HIGH SCHOOL CAESAR (1960) Category: Bad, youth-oriented 1960 movie that is incredibly campy This movie may have a 1960 release date but it is the most classically campy example of the Juvenile Delinquent movies of the 1950’s.
That genre spawned many “so bad they’re good” films like High School Hellcats, Untamed Youth and many others featuring fast cars, silly slang and misunderstood or just plain malevolent teenagers. High School Caesar renders itself even more laughable than other Juvenile Delinquent films with its wonderfully absurd premise.
Yes, this movie takes its cue from the Edward G Robinson gangster movie Little Caesar and depicts the phenomenon of juvenile delinquency as if it’s a High School ROTC version of organized crime.
The title character is a kind of leather-jacketed Don Corleone overseeing a high school operation involving hallway protection rackets, rigged student elections and a black market of stolen exam answers. Continue reading
The Golden Bat: the ugliest superhero in the world.
THE GOLDEN BAT (1966) – Ogon Batto is the name of this film in its native Japan. The movie was based on the title character, Japan’s very first comic book superhero who debuted in 1930. That 1930 date puts him years before Superman and Batman in the west!
At any rate for the 1966 movie Japan’s perennial action star Sonny Chiba played the leader of a group of science-oriented commandos in what looked like aluminum foil suits. Chiba and his gang have fancy aircraft like England’s Thunderbirds and their debut mission finds them trying to save the Earth from collision with a rogue planet called Icarus.
Chiba’s outfit has constructed a giant laser cannon to destroy Icarus before it can reach our planet. Trouble is it needs a final component to be found only on a lost island. When Sonny Chiba’s Mighty Aluminum Foil Power Rangers explore the ancient city on that island they uncover the tomb of … the Golden Bat! Continue reading
My fellow Human Breens will be thrilled to hear that the one, the only Neil Breen (PBUH) has released his latest cinematic effort. He once again wrote, starred and directed. This addition to the Breeniverse is titled Twisted Pair and features Neil sharing the starring role with the only man who could possibly hold their own with him on the big screen: himself.
As if one Neil Breen pompously setting straight the human race about what moral lepers we are wasn’t enough we now get Breen Times Two or Breen Squared or however you would prefer to describe it. Neil portrays identical twins Keith and Kale, who merge with a form of Artificial Intelligence, gain super powers from it and then set out to save humanity from itself. Same ol’ same ol’ in other words.
We get some Sheer Breenius right off the bat as the twins are listed in the credits as Keith and Kale but are referred to as KANE and Kale in the dialogue. Don’t ever change, Neil.
Anyway, Keith (Or Kane) and Kale are “Identical Neil Breens/ All the way/ They walk alike/ They fly alike/ They even give tiresome lectures with an air of moral superiority alike/ … What a Twisted Pair!/ You will lose your mind/ When Neil Breen/ Is Two of a Kiiiind!”
Conflict is the essence of drama, of course, and though Keith and Kale just KNOW they are the Supreme Breens fit to reform humanity the twins disagree about the way to approach their mission. The two members of this Breen Trust clash when one of them decides the human race must be browbeaten into submission while the other decides that the human race must be SAVAGELY browbeaten into submission. Fifty Shades of Grey takes on new meaning here.
Anyway, in Twisted Pair the number of computers destroyed may be larger while the body count and the women’s breasts may be smaller but otherwise it’s pretty much Breen-ness as usual.
Remember the tagline to the Christopher Reeve Superman movie: “You’ll believe a man can fly.” Well in Twisted Pair you WON’T believe how hard you’ll laugh when you see Keith and Kale fly. If you’re a heathen who’s not familiar with the Breen Scene my look at his first four films can be found HERE
The Twisted Pair trailer is below: Continue reading
THE CLONES (1973) – This neglected sci-fi item from the 70s was directed by Lamar Card & Paul Hunt, based on Hunt’s story. The Clones falls into that category of films that I always refer to as “X-Movies” because of the way they put one in mind of the paranoid and conspiratorial air of the best X-Files episodes.
Michael Greene, who played Secret Service Agent Jimmy Hart in To Live and Die in L.A, stars as Dr Gerald Appleby. Gerald is a scientist who has been cloned and finds himself vying with his clone for ownership of his life, career and girlfriend when the duplicate begins impersonating him.
Gregory Sierra, best known to trivia buffs as “And Gregory Sierra” for the number of times he was credited like that in various television shows and movies, plays Nemo, a government agent tasked to keep the clone project a secret and bring in the escapee.
Helping him out is fellow agent Sawyer, portrayed by Otis Young (Blood Beach). Sawyer suffers a crisis of conscience during this coverup assignment. Continue reading
The Dragon Lives Again
THE DRAGON LIVES AGAIN (1977) – Category: Brucesploitation with an enjoyably absurd twist
Even for the bizarre sub-genre of Brucesploitation films this movie is out there! The film starts with the recently – deceased Bruce Lee arriving in the afterlife, where the concubines of the King of the Dead gather around to gawk at the bulge in the pants of the late martial arts superstar. (Just in case you thought NO opening could be more tasteless than the one in The Clones Of Bruce Lee ) In a bit of alleged comic relief the bulge turns out to be caused by a weapon, not Lee’s organ. (Corpse schlong jokes! Who doesn’t love them?)
As head-shaking as that bit is at least it’s coherent, unlike virtually everything else that happens from this point on in the movie. And the time-honored tradition of Brucesploitation films having leading men who don’t even look like Bruce Lee is well-represented in this flick, but at least here they try to explain it away by talking about how a person’s face and body change after death. Which, of course, makes no sense since this is supposed to be Lee’s soul, not his body.
Anyway, Bruce somehow persuades the King Of The Dead to grant him a chance to return to the world of the living, and is told he can return if he outfights all the other inhabitants of this odd netherworld.
You see, this isn’t just any bland version of the afterlife our hero finds himself in. It’s kind of a Valhalla of cult movie characters and Bruce spends the rest of the movie fighting all of them in various combinations. Continue reading