Tag Archives: movie reviews

PULGASARI (1985): BAD MOVIE REVIEW

Pulgasari (1985)Kim Jong Un has North Korea in the news again for all the wrong reasons. He’s continuing his insane and despotic family’s policies like starving his own people, constantly threatening nuclear activity against other nations, having his secret police abduct countless people in the middle of the night and running a barbaric prison system. 

Needless to say the childishly spiteful American media is practically encouraging the madman to nuke Guam. They’re still mad that Venezuela has become a hellhole which they used to pretend was a paradise. AND still mad that United States President Donald Trump defeated Hillary “Bugsy” Clinton.

So here’s a re-posting of my 2011 review of the lone venture into the area of filmmaking that Kim Jong Un’s equally crazed father Kim Jong Il engaged in. Of course I’m talking about Pulgasari, the only kaiju movie produced by a man who combined the insanity of Idi Amin with the paranoia of Josef Stalin and the cinematic mastery of Ed Wood.

PULGASARI (1985) – Category: Bad enough and with a classically weird premise but not fun-bad enough for my highest rating     North Korea’s thoroughly deranged dictator Kim Jong Il was responsible for this film and even gives himself a producer’s credit.

It’s the least he could do for himself after having his underlings literally KIDNAP SOME FILMMAKERS from South Korea and forcing them to take part in this bizarre film venture. If you doubt me just use a search engine to find out about the making of this movie. He even made those unfortunate people rot in one of his prisons for four years before he finally got around to setting them to the task he had kidnapped them for in the first place.

It was all part of Krazy Kim’s desire to initiate North Korea’s entry into the kaiju monster film market. (Their previous attempt decades earlier resulted in the equally laughable film Yongary, Monster From The Deep ) The story of the kidnapping and the filmmakers’ subsequent escape would have made a much better movie than this monster flick.

Pulgasari (No, Dennis Rodman, not Pao Gasol, Pulgasari. NBA fans will get it) is the title monster in Kim Jong Il’s attempt to imitate Godzilla and Gamera and other Japanese monsters. Since the story is Continue reading

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THREE OVERLOOKED SPAGHETTI WESTERN HEROES

Jeffrey Hunter as The Christmas Kid

Jeffrey Hunter as The Christmas Kid

Frontierado is coming up on Friday August 4th!

In the past Balladeer’s Blog has examined some of the big names among the fictional gunslingers of Spaghetti Westerns. I’ve covered the original Django, Sartana, the Holy Ghost, Dynamite Joe, Harmonica and even Tony Anthony’s character the Stranger. Here are a few of the lesser lights from Eurowesterns.

Christmas Kid 2THE CHRISTMAS KID

Film: The Christmas Kid (1966)

The Story: Jeffrey Hunter portrayed this memorable gunslinger, who got his nickname from the date of his birth, December 25th. His nickname was always bitter-sweet, however, since his mother died giving birth to him on Christmas.

The Kid is a pacifist in fictional Jaspen, AZ during a copper rush. Our hero reluctantly takes up a gun and at first seems like he might be corrupted by the faction led by the crooked town boss (Louis Hayward) but eventually his girlfriend Marie dies as the violence escalates. The Christmas Kid redoubles his efforts against Hayward. Good but not a great film.

The Kid deserved more than one screen appearance but the forced Jesus parallels make this movie as UN-intentionally funny as the Holy Ghost Spaghetti Westerns (“Looks like this is your Last Supper.”). Continue reading

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THE TOP FOUR WESTERNS BASED ON REAL-LIFE FIGURES

butch cassidy and the sundance kid 2We all know that in real life the celebrated “heroes” of the old west were a pack of corrupt and/or outrightly criminal thugs who would have had a pretty redneckish worldview. And let’s face it, by our standards their personal hygiene habits would have been pretty disgusting.

But since the Frontierado holiday is all about celebrating the myth of the West and not the grinding reality of it here’s my list of the Top Four Westerns Based On Real-Life Figures. Coming up with lists like this is one of the perks of being the international commissioner of Frontierado (along with the seven-figure income and a staff of three hundred people).

butch cassidy and the sundance kid1. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) – Redford and Newman set the standard for the “buddy western” with this magnificent movie. Newman once described this flick by saying “It’s a Continue reading

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TOM SAWYER: 1973 MUSICAL

Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer

The TOM SAWYER I’m referring to here is the 1973 musical version which is unforgiveably forgotten by many people. This musical has some incredibly catchy songs, memorable dialogue portions and terrific performances from all cast members, young and old.

Most importantly the film nicely distills the essential elements of Mark Twain’s popular story in a nearly seamless way. Anything you loved from the book when you read it is to be found here: Tom’s tall tales to Aunt Polly to explain why he’s late for supper or didn’t show up at school, Tom tricking other kids into paying him to whitewash a fence for him, Tom and Huckleberry Finn witnessing Injun Joe’s murder of Ol’ Doc, Tom chivalrously taking a thrashing for Becky Thatcher, Tom and Huck running away and being given up for dead and of course Tom attending his own funeral.

All that and a great musical number during an excellently mounted 1870’s Fourth of July Celebration. Injun Joe gets a much more merciful end in this movie than he did in the book, so that’s a plus, too. 

Johnny Whitaker, known to generations of Continue reading

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ARKANSAS TRAVELER: WILD WEST WEB SERIES

Arkansas TravelerFrontierado is on Friday, August 4th! Here is a Web Series that goes with it like your favorite whiskey. It’s called Arkansas Traveler.

A Faustian Western Web Series

“Thanks to its smooth-talking, whiskey-drinking, gun-slinging elements, Arkansas Traveler contains everything it needs to appeal to… western fans… At the same time, its washed out, low-lit style brings something new to the genre…” – tubefilter

Travelin’ Productions‘ Arkansas Traveler web series unravels the enigmatic journey of Wayland McGlowhorn, Starring Garret DillahuntAngela Bettis, and Sean Bridgers.  

A mini-series in six parts, Arkansas Traveler is a gritty, dark adventure into the life and mind of a man released by forces beyond his ken from the grip of the bloody last days of the American Civil War.

The series is based on a revered feature-length screenplay by Sean Bridgers, of Deadwood fame as Johnny Burns, and acclaimed shows like Rectify and the upcoming Epix original, Get Shorty. Under Travelin’ Productions’ banner, Bridgers co-directed the series with Michael “Ffish” Hemschoot, an animation and visual effects super villain, who worked on films like The Matrix, and Master and Commander. 

It’s a project years in the making, as the filmmakers have reimagined original teaser footage they produced with Missouri production company, Wide Awake Films, back in 2010, into this web series. The web series carries the same goal as the original teaser short: to intrigue and grow an audience, and inspire them to demand more.  

Travelin’ Productions’ mandate is simply to tell damn good stories, and with this project, the filmmakers hope to rally fans of westerns and dramas with a darker bend. Ray McKinnon once called the screenplay for this Faustian Western, “…one of the best un-produced scripts I have read in the last decade” (Arkansas Online, 2011)  

Watch all the episodes for free online Continue reading

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POSSE (1993): MOVIE REVIEW

 Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 4th!

POSSE is a terrific western about a gang of African American  gunfighters (plus the goofiest  Baldwin brother) involved in an action-packed epic journey across the American west.

The Frontierado holiday is the perfect time of year to hunker down with this film while drinking a Cactus Jack or a Deuces Wild or two. I’ll review the recipes for those mixed drinks in a few days, for now we’ll focus on this movie on our countdown.

Posse stars Mario Van Peebles, who also directed, as Jesse Lee, the brooding, revenge-driven hero of the saga. He and all but one member of his gang, our titular posse, are soldiers fighting in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. A dangerous assault they carry out turns out to be Continue reading

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THE HANGED MAN (1974): WESTERN HORROR

Hanged ManFOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LOOK AT OVER TWENTY MORE WESTERN-THEMED HORROR FILMS CLICK HERE

THE HANGED MAN (1974) – Steve Forrest starred in this excellent made for tv movie that was a failed pilot for a series. Forrest portrayed a gunslinger who seemingly meets his end on the gallows early in the film but who supernaturally rises from the dead to atone for his misspent life by combating evil in the 1800s west. Continue reading

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