Would one percenter ALEC BALDWIN find the plot of this movie a little too close to reality?
The World’s A Stage (2014 – Glitternight productions) – This independent film, though set here in the 21st Century, is reminiscent of ancient Greek political satires like the ones penned by Aristophanes, Eupolis and Cratinus as well as the parathespian comedies of Strattis.
A traveling troupe of actors visit an unnamed town and are a huge hit in a play dramatizing the heroics of a group of honest politicians. The citizens are bowled over by their performances and elect the men and women of the theatre troupe to actually govern their town.
Naturally the shallow and vain thespians are in way over their heads when it comes to dealing with real-world responsibilities and problems. Their egotistical need for applause and approval also makes them unfit for office, especially when it comes to Continue reading
CHANGE 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.
The Catholic Action Committee sends the trio of nuns to help out at Dr Elvis’ clinic so they go “undercover” by hiding the fact that they’re nuns and instead dressing and acting like “regular people”. They do this because they’re convinced the patients will trust them more if they don’t know that the three are nuns. Continue reading
Screamtime is one of the forgotten horror anthology films from the 1980s. Supposedly the three main horror tales were originally filmed as individual episodes of a British tv series. Depending on which source you use either the series was cancelled (or never picked up) OR the episodes were deemed to be of too poor a quality.
The trio of horror stories were then edited into movie format for theatrical release with a wraparound story set in New York City. The oddity of the hard-assed New Yorkers watching three veddy, veddy British horror tales is part of the fun of this lame but bearable film. VHS it ain’t. Hell, it’s not even Beta. Continue reading
PRIMER (2004) – Yes, I’m just childish enough to pat myself on the back for that play on words in the title of this blog post. With that out of the way I know I’m late to the game when it comes to Primer but my own skepticism about it made me keep it on the back burner in terms of priority movies to watch.
Since New Year’s Eve into the New Year is the closest any of us ever get to time travel I figured today was the perfect time to finally review this controversial film. Primer was made for just $7,000 (really) by Shane Carruth, who starred, wrote, directed, edited, arranged the music and pretty much did everything but wash the cars of his collaborators.
The film’s 2:1 film ratio has become legendary and decisively proved the benefits of having your cast repeatedly rehearse scenes before letting the cameras roll. Film stock ain’t cheap and anything an independent producer can do to save on it is pure gold.
Shane Carruth stars as Aaron and David Sullivan portrays Abe. The pair are engineers who – on the side – run a tech business out of Aaron’s garage. As a side effect of a project they are working on the two discover a means of time travel.
Don’t roll your eyes and assume that Primer is just another use of this well-worn concept. I made that mistake and put off watching this excellent and thought-provoking movie for far too long.
You can ignore reviews which claim the opening half of this 77 minute film is boring. Literally even the most casual exchanges of dialogue have bearing on the overall story. It’s not really a spoiler at this late date to point out that the very beginning of the film is NOT the “first run” of the events in the storyline, as a viewer discovers later. Continue reading
Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’m very fond of cinematic turkeys that have seasonal tie-ins. In that spirit here’s a look at bad movies with a New Year’s Eve theme. As usual, full-length reviews of these films can be found on my Bad Movie page.
AKA Time Warp
BLOODY NEW YEAR (1987) – Also released under the title Time Warp but it’s grisly enough for the more explicit title. A handful of British boaters who are fleeing a family of soccer hooligans (no, really) wind up on an island with a deserted hotel that’s been decorated for a New Year’s Eve party since the 1950s.
This Norman J Warren film stars nobody and borrows heavily from Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead in terms of its imitation “Deadites” and its POV tracking shots. It also features a killer who emerges from a movie being watched, a monster who climbs out of a tablecloth, homicidal kitchen utensils, indoor snowfall, laughing shrubbery and living walls. All the chaos is being caused by hapless souls who have been trapped in limbo for decades and will do anything to get out or to drag others into their hellish undead existence with them.
Bloody New Year is a neglected bad movie classic that has all the Continue reading
SCROOGE & MARLEY (2012) – MERRY CHRISTMAS! Balladeer’s Blog’s Christmas Carol-A-Thon for 2016 comes to a close with a look at this gay-oriented adaptation of the Dickens classic. It’s also a musical, but unfortunately the songs struck me as being as blah as most of Leslie Bricusse’s output in Scrooge (1970).
Previously I’ve examined Ebbie, which is a business-woman themed version of the story, John Grin’s Christmas and Christmas is Comin’ Uptown, which are black-themed versions of the story and even See Hear Presents A Christmas Carol, a sign-language and spoken version aimed at the hearing impaired.
Scrooge & Marley is an openly and deliberately gay adaptation of the Dickens story. It often falls into the trap of using its gay narrative as a gimmick rather than a theme but that risk just goes with the territory when a creative team is locked into following a previously mapped-out storyline.
The film is set in the fairly present day and opens up at Ebenezer Scrooge’s gay nightclub called Screws. I was hoping it would be called Screwed, to be reminiscent of the porno version of A Christmas Carol titled Ebenezer Screwed. At any rate Scrooge is, as usual, a tight-fisted (as it were) hand at the grindstone and treats his employees horribly. Hell, he even fires them if they tip delivery people out of their own pockets! Continue reading
Wealthy John Grin and the Ghost of Christmas Future
JOHN GRIN’S CHRISTMAS (1986) – The 2016 edition of Balladeer’s Blog’s Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues with this obscure item from the 1980s. My copy of John Grin’s Christmas was already barely watchable when I first tracked it down and it looks worse and worse each time I watch it. Still no DVD release, though, so I’ve decided to give up hoping for a clearer copy and will just review it as is.
Regular readers are familiar with the obsessive lengths I go to in order to track down the various out-of-the-way adaptations of A Christmas Carol. I’m afraid this time around the story is kind of dull – I bought John Grin’s Christmas from someone on E-Bay a few years back. They had taped it off television in 1986 and were selling that very faded and gargly-sounding VHS tape.
Renaissance Man Robert Guillaume directed and stars as the Ebenezer Scrooge stand-in John Grin, our title craftsman who makes a variety of collectibles. Many sources claim he only makes toys but that is not true, it’s just that as Christmas approaches most of his sales are toys. And, since the story is set around Christmas time … Continue reading