Tag Archives: film reviews

CHANGE OF HABIT (1969)

Change of Habit bCHANGE OF HABIT (1969) – This review is in honor of Elvis Presley’s birthday. Change of Habit is a movie that was practically MADE to be ridiculed. You’ve got Elvis Presley, never exactly a master thespian, his sideburns, which out-perform him in this flick and Mary Tyler Moore as a nun torn between her vows and her growing attraction to The King.

Elvis himself plays a doctor named John Carpenter (yes, like the horror film director), making his initials J.C., just like another famous Jewish carpenter … Jacob Cohen. Dr Elvis runs a practice in the ghetto, which should probably be rendered THE GHETTO instead, given the ham-fisted and stereotypical depiction of the neighborhood and its inhabitants.

Elvis’ character  – if you can make it out behind his usual one-note performance – is supposed to be the perfect made-for-film physician: good looking, compassionate and willing to buck the system in order to help his patients. … And, of course, he sings.

Mary Tyler Moore’s Sister Michelle is accompanied by her sister nuns Sister Barbara, played by Jane Elliott in the years before she was a Soap Opera queen, and Sister Irene, played by African-American actress and singer Barbara McNair. Continue reading

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2020 TEXAS GLADIATORS (1982): MOVIE REVIEW

2020 texas gladiators 22020 TEXAS GLADIATORS (1982) – HAPPY NEW YEAR! Balladeer’s Blog’s Weirdness at the End of the World welcomes in the year 2020 with a look at what Texas will be like in a few months. There are changes coming your way, Texans!

Actually, it’s not really Texas and there are NO gladiators in this film but at least it is now officially 2020!

When reviewing other post-apocalypse movies I’ve often made references to 2020 Texas Gladiators. The fact that I call it my favorite bad post-apocalypse movie has often prompted readers of Balladeer’s Blog to ask why I hadn’t reviewed it yet. The answer was always that I was saving it up for New Year’s Day of 2020.

Just because this is my favorite bad post-apocalypse film does NOT mean I consider it to be the worst one. That designation would be reserved for unwatchable trash like Empire of Ash III and the like.

2020 Texas Gladiators is my favorite bad entry in the genre because of how it defeats itself at every turn, because of its lame attempts to pretend it’s being filmed in America instead of Italy and because of how joyously tasteless it is. Tell the Hekawi tribe from F-Troop to move over! They’ve been replaced as the fakest-looking Native Americans in entertainment history by the post-apocalypse Indians in this flick, portrayed by obvious Italian extras!

Mascot sword and pistolTheir black wigs with built-in headbands are one thing, their less than authentic vests are another thing, their Tonto way of speaking still another, but the POST-APOCALYPSE TEEPEES they live in will bring a smile to the lips of any true fan of really bad exploitation movies. 

Taking things from the top, Al D’Amato directed 2020 Texas Gladiators under one of his countless aliases. For all I know he may have even directed a film using MY name. The following year Warrior of the Lost World, another Italian ripoff of Mad Max, would reuse this movie’s Nazi-esque uniforms and riot shields for the bad guys and many of this flick’s supporting cast. Hell, the largest vehicle in 2020TG even shows up as Mega-Weapon in that same movie.    Continue reading

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MORE CLASSICALLY BAD MOVIES

Balladeer’s Blog takes another look at some very strange movies from the cinematic hinterlands. Enjoy these four to help get over any post-Christmas blues. 

Invasion of the Bee GirlsINVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (1973) – William “Big Bill” Smith from biker films and the old western series Laredo stars as a government agent investigating the mysterious deaths of scientists working on Top Secret projects.

Turns out a female mad scientist is creating a race of human/queen bee hybrids out of female subjects. These Bee Girls then go forth and slay their male targets by literally “loving” them to death. Continue reading

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CHRISTMAS CAROL-A-THON CONCLUDES: 2nd CHANCE FOR CHRISTMAS (2019)

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2019, Balladeer’s Blog’s TENTH Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon, comes to a close with a review of this 2019 item.

2nd Chance For Christmas2nd CHANCE FOR CHRISTMAS (2019) – (Special thanks to Balladeer’s Blog reader Lee Ann for recommending this Carol to me.)

Directed by Christopher Ray, this is an adaptation of the Dickens classic and sets the story in the present-day. The Scrooge stand-in is a Country Western singer named Chance Love (Brittany Underwood). My fellow Carol enthusiasts will immediately be put in mind of A Diva’s Christmas Carol, reviewed previously here at Balladeer’s Blog.

2nd Chance For Christmas shrewdly stakes out its own territory so that it stands out from the Vanessa Williams flick about a pop starlet named Ebony Williams. In addition the film shrewdly used a numerical designation for the first word in the title rather than spelling out “Second” ensuring it will be listed ahead of movies whose titles begin with any letters at all.

Brittany Underwood does a very good job as Chance, the mean-spirited and selfish singing starlet who abuses everyone around her. Every step of the way Underwood is up to the demands of the storyline and manages her comedic parts well, always the toughest challenge.

In fact nearly all the comedy bits in 2nd Chance For Christmas are well-written and well-executed, so I will avoid any spoilers regarding the jokes so as not to ruin them for first-time viewers.    Continue reading

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2015)

Balladeer’s Blog’s TENTH Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues with this review!

Colin Baker Christmas CarolA CHRISTMAS CAROL (2015) – This 59 minute rendition of the Dickens Yuletide classic is often referred to as “the Colin Baker version.” Too bad Baker can’t sue somebody over that, since he had nothing to do with this laughable production beyond portraying Charles Dickens and narrating the story.

CHARLES WHO? – Colin “Doctor Who” Baker plays an elderly Charles Dickens serving as the story’s narrator … and misquoting much of his own work since this is one of those versions where the filmmakers feel they can “improve” on what Dickens wrote.

It’s one thing to try to colloquialize the Victorian prose which some viewers find challenging but it’s something else again to insert bland nothings in place of the original dialogue. Dickens’ exchanges often flow smoothly, with one character’s line perfectly setting up another character’s response. Here we have conversations as boring and unmemorable as those in real life. (That’s not a compliment.)  

Baker is introduced in a clever (I’m being charitable) bit of business in which his image is as fuzzy as an old silent movie and he sounds tinny, like in Thomas Edison’s oldest recordings. I guess it’s done to capture an “old-timey” feel but the novel came in 1843, long before even such primitive recording equipment was available.

masc chair and bottleSoon the image improves to conventional standards (well, sort of) and the sound improves to 1950s television levels. Unfortunately, this is a 2015 production, not a 1950s presentation, and the weak, amateurish sound work will plague this Carol the rest of the way.

Colin Baker is the best part of this production and his effortless charm and captivating delivery make it clear how badly the other players lack the acting ability and the strong voices needed to be effective in their roles.

ANTHONY D.P. MANN – Mann IS Tim Conway’s Mr Tudbole as Ebenezer Scrooge! Well, without the moustache. Mann has a history of placing himself in the starring roles of his productions and never fails to put me in mind of Conway. Continue reading

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL: INUIT CARTOON VERSION (1988)

Balladeer’s Blog continues its TENTH Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon!

inuit broadcasting corporationTAKUGINAI (December 1988) – As always I enjoy reviewing some of the most obscure and/ or neglected versions of the Carol that I can find.

Takuginai was (and is) broadcast by the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The half-hour program is a clever and energetic children’s show.  

In December of 1988 Takuginai‘s usual blend of puppetry and live-action squeezed in a cartoon version of A Christmas Carol as well. The animation is very VERY limited: think Clutch Cargo then strip away all the dazzling technical prowess. (Yes, it’s THAT limited.)   Continue reading

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CANADIAN TELEVISION’S SCROOGE (1978)

Mascot new lookTime for another post in Balladeer’s Blog’s TENTH annual orgy of entries on various versions of THE Christmas tale. The Charles Dickens classic has a certain  unquenchable charm that ensures it will continue to be adapted for at least another few hundred years. 

“Blame Canada” for today’s version of A Christmas Carol. In 1978 Theatre Three in Edmonton, Alberta filmed their stage adaptation of the Carol and broadcast it in the USA as well as their own country. It’s been popping up on PBS and various cable outlets ever since. “Minimalist” would be the watchword for this version, from the nearly bare stage to the slimmed- down cast.

Marley’s Ghost not only chews Scrooge out in the usual way, but serves as Ebenezer’s ghostly guide through Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come. Continue reading

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