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. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s look back at 2019 continues with Halloween Month’s best:
THE MONKS OF MONK HALL – This eerie and macabre 1845 novel features human and supernatural menaces operating in 1842 Philadelphia. “Twin Peaks Goes To The 1840s” is how I describe this book, which was America’s best-selling novel before Uncle Tom’s Cabin. CLICK HERE
THE “RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY” DELUSION – Only fools think that they know what the final verdict of history will be regarding the times they are living through. CLICK HERE
KILLRAVEN: THE FINALE OF THE DEATH-BIRTH SAGA – The final two chapters of the most acclaimed Killraven saga of them all. CLICK HERE and HERE
THE WERWOLVES – An 1898 werewolf story from Canada. CLICK HERE
ROLLING STONE’S MATT TAIBBI – The journalist blasts the Democrats’ “permanent coup attempt.” CLICK HERE
MAD MAX (1979) – A lengthy review of the Mel Gibson/ George Miller post-apocalypse classic. CLICK HERE
THE COFFIN – The year 2000 graphic novel about a macabre, unliving superhero. CLICK HERE
CIA CRIMES – The disgusting past of one of the most loathsome American organizations in history. CLICK HERE Continue reading
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 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
Balladeer’s Blog’s end-of-year retrospective continues with this look at August’s best. Enjoy your Christmas leftovers of 11 + Sauce and read:
DELL SUPERHERO PANTHEON – From World War Two to the Cold War, a look at the Dell Comics pantheon of superheroes. CLICK HERE
DAVID J HARRIS, JR – Looking at yet Another Martin Luther King Person of Courage. CLICK HERE
HAMMETT (1982) – A review of the movie depicting Dashiell Hammett mixed-up in a murder investigation. CLICK HERE
TOP MYTHOLOGICAL PANTHEONS COVERED HERE AT BALLADEER’S BLOG – My look at the gods of the Vietnamese, Ainu, Navajo, Hawaiian, Inuit and more. CLICK HERE
FACULTY LOUNGE FASCIST ROUNDUP – The August 24th edition HERE
ETHAN VAN SCIVER: THE FUTURE KING OF ALL MEDIA? – A look at the mad genius Ethan Van Sciver and his YT shows about pop culture. This man is a MUST watch. CLICK HERE
ANCIENT GREEK COMEDY: COTHURNUS (circa 405 B.C.) – An examination of the comedy by Philonides. CLICK HERE Continue reading
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 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
Balladeer’s Blog’s year-end retrospective continues with this look at June’s best:
DARK SHADOWS: A review of the Phoenix storyline from Dark Shadows HERE plus the Leviathan Cult and more HERE
THE CHOICE OF THE WORKING CLASS AND THE POOR – The title says it all. CLICK HERE
FLASHMAN’S GUIANA – Harry Flashman on the hunt for gold in the part of British Guiana being fought over by Great Britain and Venezuela. CLICK HERE
KILLRAVEN: WAR OF THE WORLDS – The first part of my ongoing look at the 1973-1976 Marvel Comics science fiction series about heroic rebels fighting Earth’s alien conquerors. CLICK HERE
FACULTY LOUNGE FASCIST ROUNDUP: JUNE 6th – Another look at the Theater of the Absurd called the American “educational” system. CLICK HERE
GLADIATOR: AN OPERA VERSION OF THE 1930 PHILIP WYLIE NOVEL – An opera about a man granted paranormal abilities by science. CLICK HERE
FIRST BATTLE OF MACHIAS – A forgotten Revolutionary War action. CLICK HERE
HARRISON FLOYD: A MARTIN LUTHER KING PERSON OF COURAGE – A courageous iconoclast. CLICK HERE Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s TENTH Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues with this review!
A 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.
Soon 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