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 Posted:   Sep 15, 2020 - 9:36 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

JUWANNA MANN (2002) – 3/10

This is the worst film I’ve seen this year, and probably in several years. In this sports-related rip-off of TOOTSIE, when NBA basketball star “Jamal Jefferies” (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.) is suspended indefinitely for his on-court antics (flashing the crowd), his agent (Kevin Pollack) informs him that no other team will sign him. After most of his possessions are repossessed by the finance company, he decides that to earn money while he pursues his appeal with the NBA, he will pose as a woman and join the women’s basketball league. Calling himself “Juwanna Mann,” he makes the “transition” virtually effortlessly, and soon becomes the star of his team, which he drives toward the playoffs. But he also finds himself falling for the team’s other stand-out player, “Michelle Langford” (Vivica A. Fox), who, of course, sees him as just a great gal pal.

Every beat of this film seems derived from the 20-year-earlier TOOTSIE, with two major differences. First, this film is not funny. Most of the gags are in poor taste, and those that aren’t still land with a thud. Second, the film does not have the heart that TOOTSIE did. Núñez can’t hold a candle to Dustin Hoffman in the empathy department, and his sisterly counseling of Fox seems exploitative in a way that Hoffman’s dealings with Jessica Lange never did. Finally, the ease with which all of this gets happily resolved would never happen in a million years. Even a fanciful comedy needs a better grounding in reality than this film presents. To their everlasting credit, Will Smith, Chris Tucker, and Chris Rock all turned down the lead role. Unlike the people that paid a total of $14 million to see this in the theaters, you should avoid it at all costs.


 
 Posted:   Sep 16, 2020 - 7:12 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Silent partner
1978, elliott Gould, christopher plummer, susannah york.
Neat little 70s thriller about bank robber (plummer) who gets outsmarted by a bank teller (gould) during a robbery and thus begins a cat n mouse chess match between the two. The star turn is from little known singer turned actress celine lomez who plays the very sexy but sassy gangster's moll of plummer but who first seduces Gould but slowly switches sides. Doesnt appear to have done loads of films and probably shouldve been a big star!

7.4 out 10




 
 Posted:   Sep 16, 2020 - 7:38 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Silent partner
1978, elliott Gould, christopher plummer, susannah york.
Neat little 70s thriller about bank robber (plummer) who gets outsmarted by a bank teller (gould) during a robbery and thus begins a cat n mouse chess match between the two. The star turn is from little known singer turned actress celine lomez who plays the very sexy but sassy gangster's moll of plummer but who first seduces Gould but slowly switches sides. Doesnt appear to have done loads of films and probably shouldve been a big star!

7.4 out 10...]


I've watched this recent broadcast to the first break (my better-half wasn't taken with the film). We'd seen it at its cinematic release (I think my father saw it and recommended it to me) and I think I also saw it years ago on TV. I shall watch it further ... and wonder whether they broadcast the fish-tank scene in full ... or this edited out?
Mitch

 
 Posted:   Sep 16, 2020 - 7:53 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Fishtank scene was gory enough n made me cringe, i dont know if any of it was cut, you see enough! Horrible, as she was the best n sweetest character in the movie.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 16, 2020 - 7:53 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

What channel in the UK is showing Silent Partner?

 
 Posted:   Sep 16, 2020 - 10:01 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I remember Silent Partner for that fish tank scene--with Christopher Plummer overacting as usual--and the garishly-decorated bank where Gould's character works. Only the shopping mall in Scanners comes close in burnt-orange era glory.

 
 Posted:   Sep 16, 2020 - 10:12 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

What channel in the UK is showing Silent Partner?

Talking pictures. My haven.

Yeah Jim, that bank was a bit weird.
And i never like plummer much either, from sound of music onwards. Ok in triple cross but i dont remember another movie of his he was good in. Return of pink panther maybe. Never found him believable.

 
 Posted:   Sep 16, 2020 - 10:21 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

That bank could very well symbolize my memory of the mid-to-late 1970s. In fact, a bank nearby my house still looked like it was 1975, and this was 20 years afterwards!

Not a Plummer fan, either. I especially loathe his scenery-munching antics in that last (1991) Star Track mo'um pitcher. Plummer wasn't playing a Klingon, he was playing Plummer. Again. I don't think I used to hold this view of him, but as the years croak by, his work grates.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 16, 2020 - 11:30 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

TEXAS TERROR (1935) – 6/10

One of John Wayne’s early westerns, this film finds him as a former sheriff who left the job and turned loner because he believed he had accidentally killed a good friend. He then agrees to come out of his self-imposed exile to help that friend’s daughter (Lucille Brown) run her late father’s ranch, knowing that she will eventually find out it was he who killed her father. (He didn’t, of course, it was robber LeRoy Mason who committed the murder.)

Although the plot of this western differs little from those of innumerable other “C” westerns, and John Wayne is no great actor, as a screen presence he has it all over such competition as Eddie Dean and Buster Crabbe. It was no accident that he became a great star and they did not, and films like this hint at why.

This Lone Star Production is one of a group of Wayne westerns that fell into the public domain. I saw a version of it in which Fox Lorber added a synth music score by William Barber in order to re-establish copyright on the film. The opening credits theme (which I believe is used for all five films that Fox Lorber did this on) is pretty dinky, but the few musical cues within the film itself are not too distracting.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 17, 2020 - 11:11 AM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

ONE CUT OF THE DEAD
6/10
Japanese low-budget horror comedy film. If you make it through the first 2/3rds the final third actually makes up for it all and you end up happy you've watched it. Just don't read up about the plot.

 
 Posted:   Sep 17, 2020 - 12:27 PM   
 By:   Damian   (Member)

Yeah Jim, that bank was a bit weird.
And i never like plummer much either, from sound of music onwards. Ok in triple cross but i dont remember another movie of his he was good in. Return of pink panther maybe. Never found him believable.

I've always him in lily in love with Maggie Smith. And his turn as Holmes.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 17, 2020 - 1:54 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION PART II: THE METAL YEARS (1988) – 8/10

In April 1987, Penelope Spheeris was contacted by the music label International Record Syndicate, Inc. (I.R.S.). The company had recently ventured into film and television production with the establishment of I.R.S. World Media, and was particularly interested in producing music-related pictures. Spheeris was solicited for content due to the surprise success of her 1981 feature film debut, THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, a documentary that explored the punk-rock scene in Los Angeles (see post of Sep 14, 2020 above).

Spheeris pitched her idea for a sequel, which she had been conceptualizing since the beginning of 1987. At that time, film franchises were becoming more ubiquitous and profitable, and Spheeris surmised: “If Police Academy could do five, I could do two.” I.R.S. agreed to executive produce THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION PART II: THE METAL YEARS due to the rise in popularity of “heavy metal” rock ‘n’ roll bands. The genre had become highly lucrative, and the executives believed there would be a viable audience in their niche market.

However, the project remained in limbo for several months, and Spheeris believed the sequel had been abandoned. Spheeris noted that it would be nearly impossible to find another company that would produce a documentary about heavy metal, and was disappointed by World Media’s $1 million commitment. After THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, Spheeris had grown accustomed to working on films with much higher budgets. In mid-summer 1987, I.R.S. World Media resumed plans to produce the sequel after securing a distribution deal with New Line Cinema.

Spheeris prepared for the production by reading magazines geared toward heavy metal enthusiasts, and going to as many clubs as possible to watch performers. Producers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris helped the director recruit young men from concert venues, private parties, and the sidewalks of Los Angeles. Heavy metal fans were corralled into Spheeris’s office, where she interviewed them one-on-one, asking “painfully personal questions” about drugs, sex, love, and money. Shooting began in August 1987.

Spheeris noted that the young interviewees were unabashed in front of the camera, as they were all hoping to become celebrities. She noted that their “relentless optimism and blind faith” seemed misplaced in the music industry, since she knew from experience that there were few chances to become a success in show business.

After filming heavy metal fans and rock idol hopefuls, Spheeris went on to interview the “real stars… who had actually beaten the odds” to become famous. The men who helped define the heavy metal genre, including Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons, and Steve Tyler, were subjected to the same kind of intimate questioning as their fans. Spheeris put the entertainers at ease before turning on cameras, reassuring them she was making an R-rated documentary, not a censored television show. The men were pleased to have the opportunity to express themselves without restriction.

Following intermittent shooting over a five-month period, the personal interviews were partnered with live performance footage of heavy metal bands including Faster Pussycat, Seduce, Odin, London, and Megadeth. All sound was recorded live. Production was completed in February 1988 at a cost of nearly $1 million. Spheeris reported that bands were paid to appear in the picture, with Megadeth earning the highest rate of $10,000. The band Guns N’ Roses, which was a seminal part of the Los Angeles heavy metal scene and became an international success, was on the cusp of fame when the documentary was produced. However, Gun N’ Roses demanded a $60,000 fee and did not appear in the film. Spheeris noted that she would have paid the price, but the producers could not be convinced that the band would soon outshine its predecessors, bringing heavy metal into the mainstream.

Although I.R.S. was a record label, its executives decided against putting out the soundtrack because most of the heavy metal bands were already signed to Capitol, and I.R.S. did not specialize in that genre. Other labels associated with the documentary were Chrysalis (Armored Saint), Metal Blade (Lizzy Borden), MCA (Alice Cooper), GWR (Motörhead), and Elektra (Faster Pussycat).

The sequel is not as “raw” as Spheeris’ first film, both because her technique had matured over the years, but because the heavy metal bands were not as chaotic as were the punk bands surveyed in the first film. The heavy metal bands were more focused on performance than on anarchy, and so the musical performances in the film are more polished. But, the heavy metal bands, as a whole, were more into sex and drugs than were the punk bands. That was their way of dissing the Establishment, whereas the punk bands tended to have a more political and social bent. The film is recommended for those who want to learn about (or relive) the heavy metal years. The film was a loser at the box office, grossing less than $400,000.


 
 Posted:   Sep 18, 2020 - 3:29 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Caravan to Vaccarès (1974) ... 5-/10

If compared with many of the other thrillers derived from Alistair MacLean novels, this one pales badly (though it is far from the worst ... take a bow: The Way to Dusty Death (1995)) and a list of this film's faults is extensive.

As with others, the film's story doesn't mirror that of the source novel, though the idea is there. There are a few action scenes but these are weak and with no detail as to who the baddies are (apart from the heavies seen on screen) the story lacks any depth. Indeed we are not told just who the goodies are, either ... but they must be the goodies because they're seeking to take someone from communist Hungary to capitalist USA ... yeh! This is a major change from the novel!

But what makes this film worthwhile and raises the rating is the location cinematography: filmed in and around Arles and the Carmargue, Provence, the story has authenticity which would normally be missing. Further, despite being panned, our hero Bowman, played by David Birney is likeable; top-billed Charlotte Rampling looks gorgeous - though her role is less significant than in the novel; and Michel Lonsdale is simply superb. Many will recall his wonderful delivery of witticisms, at JB007's expense, in Moonraker (1979) but this film from five years prior was more than a dry-run.

The hotel dining scene is wonderful for the dialogue alone.

A few other well-known faces appear briefly, including Manitas De Plata who gets to perform some, supposedly, impromptu flamenco guitar music and Michael Bryant is nicely mysterious ... for a while.

Interestingly, the French heavies converse almost throughout in French ... no subtitles.

The last act, attempting to portray the bull-ring scene from the novel, is embarrassingly bad ... seeing Graham Hill piloting the helicopter does not help given we know he died shortly thereafter ... in a light aircraft crash.

Music by Stanley Myers: a wonderful main/end title theme ... otherwise dreadful. Not just bad ... but truly awful, removing the sense of any danger or action.

It was filmed in 2.35:1 w/s but the copy I had, transferred from an old TV broadcast~VHS to DVDr many years ago was in a grainy 4:3 ratio - I tried to overlook this. I'd like to see the film again in full w/s but am aware that the US version was heavily cut (presumably the few brief nude scenes were removed) ... I assume the version on YouTube is said edited version.
Mitch

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2020 - 3:01 AM   
 By:   Damian   (Member)

Island at the top of the world 6(ish)/10 with Donald Sinden and Mako. Enjoyable Saturday afternoon stuff. Decently made, mostly. Good score by Mawriss. Though, according to my dad, when he and mum were going to bed she said ' that film was shit ' ! Some people are never happy.

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2020 - 3:01 AM   
 By:   Damian   (Member)

Oops. While I'm here nice to see Donald playing it reasonably straight. No farting about with Windsor Daviessmile

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2020 - 1:38 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

BLONDIE GOES TO COLLEGE (1942) – 6/10

This is a decent extended sitcom episode, from an era before there were television sitcoms. “Dagwood Bumstead” (Arthur Lake) has decided that to get ahead in life, he needs to get a college education. Against her better judgment, “Blondie” (Penny Singleton) is convinced to matriculate with him. So, pre-teen son “Baby Dumpling” (Larry Simms) is packed off to military school, and the Bumsteads enroll, only to find out that married couples cannot attend college together. So, the two must live separately. Blondie ends up in a sorority, where she is wooed by BMOC “Rusty Bryant” (Larry Parks), while Dagwood rents a room and is fawned over by Rusty’s sometime girlfriend “Laura Wadsworth” (Janet Blair), more to make Rusty jealous than anything else.

There’s not much classroom humor in the film, somewhat more athletic humor involving Dagwood trying out for various sports, and a lot of romantic entanglements. And it ends with a big misunderstanding involving the police, in which Dagwood is accused of kidnapping his own son. Something for everyone.

Between 1938 and 1943, Singleton and Lake made 14 of the “Blondie” films before Columbia Pictures finally called it quits. But theater owners and audiences clamored for more, so after a two-year hiatus, they came back and made 14 more, ending in 1950. BLONDIE GOES TO COLLEGE was No. 10 in the series. Lake and Singleton also appeared in a half-hour "Blondie" radio series which ran from 1939 to 1950, airing on CBS, ABC and finally on NBC.

That was it for Penny Singleton, but Arthur Lake ended his acting career reprising the role of Dagwood for the single season of the television sitcom “Blondie” in 1957. Pamela Britton played Blondie in the series. After the “Blondie” film and radio series ended, Penny Singleton didn’t work onscreen for a dozen years, before returning in 1962 to do a character voice in the animated sitcom “The Jetsons.” Opposite George O'Hanlon’s “George Jetson,” Singleton was “Jane, his wife.”


 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2020 - 1:40 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

Modesty Blaise (1966) ... 3+/10

Not quite 10 years since last watched but passage of time has not been kind. Taken in the right frame of mind, it is amusing and there are a number of fun scenes. But time and again I found myself trying to match the on-screen with the novel* and, in every way, the words far exceed the visuals in providing entertainment.

* the novel derived from the same source material and the plot of the film is similar to that of the book, but the film was not a screen adaption of the novel which is, and the series which followed, a lightweight fantasy but written as if the characters are real.

Monica Vitti was sorely miscast ... Terence Stamp could have been very good but wasn't (he played the role as a fore-runner to Javier Badem's Silva (Skyfall (2012)) and was similarly ineffectual) whilst Dirk Bogarde was so laid-back he needed a prop to stand-up. At least he provided some screen presence.

Harry Andrews, normally so good, portrays the senior civil servant as an idiot and Clive Revill plays ... Clive Revill (except when he's masquerading as the Sheik)

A few nice scenes in the sunny Mediterranean but it's not quite the glossy affair it's purported to be. And John Dankworth's music score - loved by many - is so irritating and monotonous that you cringe each time the silly little tune re-appears (frequently!) - at least it is much better than the awful play-out song Ice is Nice.
Mitch

 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2020 - 3:13 AM   
 By:   Damian   (Member)

Green Fingers 7/10 with Robert Beatty. Nice little film from '47. Beatty plays someone with healing hands ( not magic as I first thought). Looses job on a fishing boat and goes to train to be an osteopath! He has the gift. He cures a friend's daughter, marries her happy days. Moves to Harley Street and makes it big. Then gets blamed for someone's death and looses his mojo. His wife falls and is drilled again. " In never going to use these hands again". Yes he does heals wife again....fade to black. Not bad easy watch, with no shallow super heroes and fx.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2020 - 5:55 AM   
 By:   Rameau   (Member)

Modesty Blaise (1966) ... 3+/10

Not quite 10 years since last watched but passage of time has not been kind. Taken in the right frame of mind, it is amusing and there are a number of fun scenes. But time and again I found myself trying to match the on-screen with the novel* and, in every way, the words far exceed the visuals in providing entertainment.


Yup, I think 3+ is being more than generous. One thing I could never understand is the choice of director. It's a lightweight groovy sixties romp, so for a director let's get...Joseph Losey?

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2020 - 12:55 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE STORY OF DR. WASSELL (1944) – 7/10

Filmed and released while World War II was still raging, this film told the true story of Dr. Corydon M. Wassell (Gary Cooper), a Navy doctor who was assigned to duty in Java, caring for wounded officers and men of the cruisers Houston and Marblehead, which had been in heavy action in the Java Sea. When the Japanese advanced across the island, it was decided to evacuate as many as possible of the wounded to Australia. But about twelve of the men were so badly wounded that they could not be moved. Dr. Wassell remained with these men, knowing that he would be captured by the enemy. But he decided to make a desperate attempt to get the men out of Java, and teamed up with a column of British soldiers also fleeing the Japanese. Getting to the shore to get transport was hard enough, but once on board, they faced the fury if the Japanese Air Force. The film also has a number of flashbacks showing Wassell’s pre-war service as a medical missionary in China, trying to find a cure for some unnamed deadly disease, while romancing nurse “Madeleine” (Laraine Day).

Cecil B. DeMille brought this story to the screen in his usual epic fashion, with no expense spared. Jungle footage was shot in Mexico. The War Production Board approved a $206,908 budget for sets for the film, well above the $5,000 limit previously established for all films made during wartime. Paramount built a replica of the Dutch ship Janssens based on blueprints and photographs of the original ship. The picture was obviously intended as a wartime morale booster, but as depicted in the film, Wassell is just too good to be true—a candidate for sainthood. As is was, he received the Navy’s highest honor, the Navy Cross, and years later, burial in Arlington National Cemetery. His Little Rock, Arkansas, home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The film ended up in the top 25 films of the year, with a $9.1 million gross.

 
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