Quintet

The first thing a viewer notices about Robert Altman’s science fiction film is how dirty the camera’s lens is. The edges of the frame seem smeared, lending the film a dreamy, flashback quality. However, Quintet is not from the past but the future.

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Quintet (Robert Altman, 1979)

The first thing a viewer notices about Robert Altman’s science fiction film is how dirty the camera’s lens is. The edges of the frame seem smeared, lending the film a dreamy, flashback quality. However, Quintet is not from the past but the future. It’s a post-apocalyptic film starring Paul Newman as Essex and Brigitte Fossey as the Continue reading “Quintet”

Dinah East

Released the same year as Michael Sarne’s Myra Breckinridge, this is a lower rent but far more successful interpretation of similar themes. The film opens with aging starlet Dinah East dying in the back of her limousine.

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Dinah East (Gene Nash, 1970)

Released the same year as Michael Sarne’s Myra Breckinridge, this is a lower rent but far more successful interpretation of similar themes. The film opens with aging starlet Dinah East dying in the back of her limousine. When a lecherous mortician Continue reading “Dinah East”

Carnal Knowledge

What the hell happened to Mike Nichols? The director once delivered consistent films that held up a mirror to American bourgeoisie society with such poignant fare as The Graduate and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but that was before his bite became gummy with film s like Heartburn and What Planet Are You From?

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Carnal Knowledge (Mike Nichols, 1971)

What the hell happened to Mike Nichols? The director once delivered consistent films that held up a mirror to American bourgeoisie society with such poignant fare as The Graduate and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but that was before his bite became Continue reading “Carnal Knowledge”

American Cannibal: The Road to Reality

A mock-you-mentary about the business of so-called “reality” television, American Cannibal mixes talking head interviews with TV producers, writers, marketers, and stars with the story of an ill-fated reality show.

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American Cannibal: The Road to Reality (Perry Grebin & Michael Nigro, 2006)

A mock-you-mentary about the business of so-called “reality” television, American Cannibal mixes talking head interviews with TV producers, writers, marketers, and stars with the story of an ill-fated reality show. The film follows writers Gil S. Ripley and Dave Roberts as they make pitches to various production companies. Their original idea, Continue reading “American Cannibal: The Road to Reality”

The Cars That Ate Paris

Poor Arthur Waldo (Terry Camilleri). The painfully soft-spoken man is deathly afraid of driving after accidentally killing a man a year before, and then he has the bad luck to pass through Paris, Australia.

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The Cars That Ate Paris (Peter Weir, 1974)

Poor Arthur Waldo (Terry Camilleri). The painfully soft-spoken man is deathly afraid of driving after accidentally killing a man a year before, and then he has the bad luck to pass through Paris, Australia. There the residents have blocked and booby trapped all of the roads leading in and out of town to kill unsuspecting passersby. The local economy is Continue reading “The Cars That Ate Paris”

Decoy

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Decoy (Jack Bernhard, 1946)

This seldom seen film noir was recently rescued from obscurity by the “Film Noir Classics Collection.” The film stars Jean Gillie and was intended to be a showcase for her talents by her husband, director Jack Bernhard. She turns in a great performance as spider woman Margot Shelby, who plays three men against each other — the idealistic Dr. Craig (Herbert Rudley), condemned gangster (with a stash of dough) Frank Olins (Robert Armstrong), and tough guy Jim Vincent (Edward Norris). All the while she’s got straight-arrow Sergeant Joe Portugal (Sheldon Leonard in a huge hat) sniffing at her heels.

You have to hand it to Margot. She’s got an elaborate plan to spring Olins from the joint and get her mitts on his loot. She also knows what drugs the state will pump into Olins to execute him and, better yet, that there’s a cure. It’s Methylene Blue, and who better to administer it than Dr. Craig when he examines the “corpse” to declare Olins dead? Once he’s back amongst the living, the main characters engage in a Continue reading “Decoy”

Stallone Goes Over the Top

Cannon Pictures bet the farm on Over the Top, and it lost. The story of a trucker named Lincoln Hawk (Sylvester Stallone) reuniting with his estranged son Michael (David Mendenhall, who acts as if he were an android learning to be human) through a road trip and a series of arm wrestling bouts is one of the weakest concepts imaginable.

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Over the Top (Menahem Golan, 1987)

Cannon Pictures bet the farm on Over the Top, and it lost. The story of a trucker named Lincoln Hawk (Sylvester Stallone) reuniting with his estranged son Michael (David Mendenhall, who acts as if he were an android learning to be human) through a road trip Continue reading “Stallone Goes Over the Top”

Living Dead Girl / La Morte Vivant

“I’m not a goddamn photographer, I’m an actress,” screams American tourist Barbara (Carina Barone) at her husband Greg (Mike Marshall). Apparently he’s as unconvinced as the audience. It’s easier to believe that chemical waste could revive a corpse than to buy that any of the players in Jean Rollin’s Living Dead Girl have studied the art of acting.

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Living Dead Girl / La Morte Vivant (Jean Rollin, 1982)

“I’m not a goddamn photographer, I’m an actress,” screams American tourist Barbara (Carina Barone) at her husband Greg (Mike Marshall). Apparently he’s as unconvinced as the audience. It’s easier to believe that chemical waste could revive a corpse than to buy Continue reading “Living Dead Girl / La Morte Vivant”

Chosen Survivors

Helicopters arrive, laden with the chosen few plucked from their everyday lives and allowed entrance to a secret bunker set into a mountainside. They’ve been hand selected as American’s next best hope of civilization in the face of nuclear Armageddon.

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Chosen Survivors (Sutton Roley, 1974)

Helicopters arrive, laden with the chosen few plucked from their everyday lives and allowed entrance to a secret bunker set into a mountainside. They’ve been hand selected as American’s next best hope of civilization in the face of nuclear Armageddon. These ten civilians (along with a military escort) inhabit one of twelve similar installations around the country, pockets of civilization meant to retake the surface world once radiation has reached acceptable levels.

Thank goodness for the foresight of the U.S. government, they always think of everything! The bunker has private rooms, a five year supply of food, and an infestation of killer Continue reading “Chosen Survivors”

Hero and The Terror

Danny “Hero” O’Brien doesn’t like to wait for backup, especially when he’s hot on the trail of superhuman serial killer Simon Moon. But if you were Chuck Norris, would you wait around for other cops to show up when there’s a bad guy to be kicked?

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Hero and The Terror (William Tannen, 1988)

Danny “Hero” O’Brien doesn’t like to wait for backup, especially when he’s hot on the trail of superhuman serial killer Simon Moon. But if you were Chuck Norris, would you wait around for other cops to show up when there’s a bad guy to be kicked?

Moon was collared by O’Brien (Norris) years ago. But despite years of psychotherapy with attractive doctor Kay (Brynn Thayer), O’Brien’s nightmares have begun anew. Even after Moon has been reported dead, O’Brien knows better. Luckily, his fellow police detectives (including Cannon Films regular Steve James) don’t doubt his gut, especially after a fresh batch of women with twisted necks (Moon’s modus operandi) start turning up. Moon’s reappearance couldn’t have come at a Continue reading “Hero and The Terror”