2013’s Free Ride stars Anna Paquin and is based on a true story as a mom in the 1970’s that escapes an abusive relationship with her kids and heads to Florida. Once there she starts working for a major pot importer whom she meets through a friend. She is raising two daughters and not doing a particular job about that. Stuff happens, people get hurt/go to jail etc…
Okay, the acting isn’t bad in this film, but the story is freakin’ boring. Coming in at only an hour and twenty-six minutes, it felt like a damned eternity. You know, just because you have a story to tell, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should, We learn that the story/movie is written by one of the daughters… Next time stick to your diary, as this is a waste of time.
Check out the trailer below, but don’t be fooled by it as it’s all smoke and mirrors – the trailer is all you really need.
Jackie Brown is such a throwback to the Blaxploitation films of the 1970’s that I almost think that Tarantino travelled back in time to gather up some magic, earth toned 70’s mojo to pack into this film… or not.
Starring Pam Grier (yeah, the tough chick from… those 70’s Blaxploitation films… see? I told you!), as Jackie Brown, a tough attractive flight attendant, who supplements her meagre wage by smuggling cash into the US from Mexico for a gun runner named Ordell Roberts, played by the seriously awesome Samuel L. Jackson. When one of Ordell’s mules gets caught and incarcerated, Ordell aranges for their bail, and kills them so they won’t turn informant. Soon after, Jackie herself gets caught by the feds bringing in cash and drugs (which were placed on her, without her knowledge). Refusing to testify against Ordell, she is locked up. Despite her refusal to talk, Ordell is still worried that she may talk to the feds, so he arranges her release, and plans on killing her too. Turning the tables on Ordell (a pistol will do things like that), she negotiates with Ordell to pretend to be working with the feds while smuggling a crap load of cash for Ordell.
This movie, like almost all Tarantino films, is freakin’ jam packed full of great stars. Honestly, here is a list of the stars in this crazy, throwback of a movie:
- Pam Grier as Jackie Brown
- Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie
- Robert Forster as Max Cherry
- Bridget Fonda as Melanie Ralston
- Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolet
- Robert De Niro as Louis Gara
- Chris Tucker as Beaumont Livingston
- Michael Bowen as Mark Dargus
- Lisa Gay Hamilton as Sheronda
- Tommy "Tiny" Lister Jr. as Winston
- Hattie Winston as Simone
- Sid Haig as Judge
- Aimee Graham as Amy
- Diana Uribe as Anita Lopez
- T’Keyah Crystal Keymah as Raynelle
- Denise Crosby (uncredited) as Public defender
- Quentin Tarantino (uncredited) as Answering machine voice
- Helmut Berger (uncredited, archive footage) as Nanni Vitali
- Marissa Mell (uncredited, archive footage) as Giuliana Caroli
- Council Cargle (uncredited, archive footage) as Drew Sheppard
- Tony Curtis (uncredited, archive footage) as himself
-This list was copied directly from the Wikipedia article on this movie which can be found here .
Oozing cool, Jackie Brown delivers 1970’s awesomeness, updated (just enough), for a (mostly), modern audience. If you haven’t seen this film, and like the style of Tarantino films, then this is for you. If you like your films, antiseptically clean, then walk away…and why are you reading this blog anyway?
Check out the trailer below, and why not watch this masterpiece tonight?
1994’s epic movie, Pulp Fiction, is a crazy, head spinning movie that just doesn’t give you a chance to take a breath. Like almost all Tarantino movies, it has a cast that is virtually a who’ who of Hollywood (as of 1994).
Pulp Fiction is a homage to the crazy B-Movies of the 60’s and 70’s, right down to the out of order timeline of events in the film. You’ve got a couple of thugs, or muscle for a Mobster by the name of Marcel, Vincent Vega (John Travolta), and Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson), who among other jobs, are sent to collect a briefcase with…something in it, from some young guys, who apparently believe Marcel is a bitch (watch the movie…). Things go wrong and things get messy.
We also have a sub story about a boxer, Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), who’s been paid heavily by none other than non-bitch Marcel, to take a dive in his upcoming fight.. yeah, things go wrong, and Butch and his weird and annoying French girlfriend are on the run. Later, Butch and Marcel end up captives to some hillbilly homosexual sadist rapists. Things get crazy again. Release the Gimp. and in another segment, Butch surprises Vincent… with deadly results.
We also have Vincent, charged with keeping Marcel’s wife, Mia (Uma Thurman), entertained while Marcel is away. The two end up at a cool, over the top, 50’s style diner. There’s some talk of a $5 milk shake and a great dance off… and then later, back at Marcel’s and Mia’s things get crazy, Mia ends up almost dead, rushed to Vincent’s heroin dealer’s house with a syringe of adrenalin sticking out of her chest.
Somewhere in the middle, a crazy criminal couple (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) decide they want to rob the restaurant where Vincent and Jules are chilling out in. Things get intese this time, with Jules and holding a gun to Roth’s neck and explaining the deal to him…
Damn this movie is cool – awesome and out of sight. Some people (my wonderful wife included), do not like the fact that the story line is not linear, but I think that’s part of what makes the movie as great as it is. Should you watch this film? Yes, many times.
Check out the trailer below:
True Romance is a crazy, wild ride of a movie. Written by Quentin Tarantino, and starring Christian Slater as Clarence Worley and Patricia Arquette as Alabama Whitman, a young couple who meet at a Sonny Chiba triple play at a theatre in Detroit. They hit off real good, have dinner and then both end up at Clarence’s apartment, having sex. Alabama then admits she’s a hooker hired by his boss, to help him blow off some steam. She also admits that she’s managed to fall in love with him over the course of the evening. This is fortunate, as apparently Clarence has fallen in love with her also. Having known each other for a whole night, they do the logical thing and get married. Now Clarence has to deal with Alabama’s Pimp, Drexl (Gary Oldman). What confronting the pimp, and after a ruckus, and a visit from Clarence’s muse/alter ego/imaginary friend in his head, Drexl ends up dead, and Clarence accidentally ends up with a suitcase full of cocaine. The newly webs hatch a plan to sell the cocaine and restart their lives somewhere warm… Well, the coke was the Mobs, and soon the two are being tracked down by some unsavoury characters, one being the always awesome Christopher Walken as gangster Vincenzo Coccotti. Before the duo leave Detroit for California, they stop by Clarence’s estranged fathers, a police officer by the name of Clifford, played by Dennis Hopper a Detroit police officer, to find out what the police believe the motive for Drexl’s murder. After they leave, Coccotti and his crew end up at Cliffords to drill him on the location of Clarence and Alabama… A great exchange between two great actors happens…only one survives.
Off to Cali, the dynamic duo meet up with an old friends of Clarence, who begrudgingly agrees to help him sell the cocaine to a director he kind of knows, using a go between, played by Bronson Pinchot. Things go wrong, cops get involved, a meeting happend and everything goes to crap…
This movie is crazy and cool – crazy cool? Yeah. Unlike the Kill Bill movies (and the others I will be reviewing), this is written by Tarantino, but directed by Tony Scott, and therefore has a different feeling than Tanatino directed films – but don’t think that is a bad thing, it’s just different. This is a great film and deserves to be watched.
Check out the trailer:
When we finished Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 movie, Kill Bill Volume 1, Bill (played by David Caradine) was still alive… This pretty much guaranteed us a Volume 2.
Volume 2, released in early 2004, opens with a flash beck to Bill shooting Uma Thurman’s character, The Bride, and leaving her, presumably, for dead on the floor of a small church. Then we see The Bride herself, driving, recounting what happened in Volume 1, and then calmly letting us know that she is going to kill Bill. Soon we see Bill, speaking to his brother,Budd (played by Michael Madsen), himself a former Deadly Viper, warning him that The Bride is most likely on her way to kill him. Budd, who now spends his time working as a bouncer in a titty bar, explains that they all deserve any kind of vengeance that the Bride may bestow upon them, for what they did to her. Later, The Bride, expecting to ambush Budd, end up on the wrong side of a 12 gauge shotgun packed full of rock salt. Incapacitated, Budd buries her alive, in a cemetery, and calls fellow Viper, Elle Driver (played by Daryl Hannah), bragging of his deed, and offering up The Bride’s Hanzo sword to her for a cool million dollars – an offer she snaps at. Meanwhile, we flashback to The Bride…who flashes back to her martial arts training at the hands of a merciless master by the name of Pai Mei (Gordon Liu). We see a young Bride as she develops her techniques through repetition and the seeming heartlessness of her master. Eventually it is obvious that she has won his respect. Now we flashback to the present, with the Bride using one of the many techniques taught to her by Pai Mei to escape. Meanwhile, back at Budd’s trailer, Elle has shown up to get the sword. Providing Budd a suitcase full of cash (a million dollars, I presume), she inspects the weapon while Budd starts grabbing handfuls of cash out of the suitcase… Only to find a surprise – a deadly surprise, waits for him in all that cash. Now with Budd out of the way, The Bride has made her way back to Budd’s place to find Elle – which is good, because she too was on the Bride’s list of those that have to die… A great sword fight breaks out, and along the way we discover that Elle, who also was sent to learn under Pai Mei, had killed the old master by poisoning his meal. We also lean that the Master had plucked one of Ell’s eyes out during her training for being insubordinate to the old man. Enrages, The Bride takes instant justice by relieving Elle of her remaining eye…
Now on to Bill… The Bride, now referred to as Beatrix, has tracked Bill to Mexico. Meeting an elderly, dirt bag of a gentleman by the name of Esteban Vihaio, who tells her Bill’s location, because he believes Bill would want him to. Making it to Bill’s, she receives a shocks when she discovers some interesting personal info…and a dart of truth serum to the neck. More flashbacks and some serious talking, and then battle… awesome battle.
You know the name of the movies, so you figure out what the outcome is (watch the movies if you haven’t already). These two movies were meant to be released as a single movie, but the run time would be over 4 hours so they were broken into two. Watch both back to back for the original intended experience, The Kill Bill movies are fantastic and you should watch them.
Check out the trailer below:
S I was walking though the Blu-Ray section at my local Wal-Mart when I found the Die Hard 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray Collection. It includes Die Hard (1988), Die Hard 2 – Die Harder (1990) , Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995) and Live Free Or Die Hard (2007). All these awesome action movies in one cooly designed set with an added disc of extras…. all for $20! These are good action (and Christmas), movies and this is a good addition to one’s BLU-RAY collection.
After a suggestion from my friend that normally watches these movies with suggested we do a Tarantino week…
Well, we are doing just that.
I recently watched the new release, R.I.P.D. and was pleasantly surprised. Starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds as two deceased policemen, now working as cops in the afterlife, rounding up te\he Dead that just refuse to leave the living world.
Ryan Reynolds’s character, Nick, was partnered with Hayes (played by Kevin Bacon), two cops in the living world. The two of them are well meaning but slightly crooked cops. When Nick decides it’s time to stop being crooked, Hayes decides maybe it’s time for Nick to go on to the other side. Once their Nick finds himself in front of Proctor, a police woman (or administrator) played by the always great Mary-Louise Parker, who informs him he has two choices: work as a cop in the afterlife, rounding up badies that refuse to go on to the nether world, or take his chance with judgement…after being a borderline bad cop. Deciding to take the role of a cop in R.I.P.D. He is partnered up with Roy, a cop that got his start as a Marshal in the Wild West, who has some serious issues with the way he died… and some seriously funny stories about what happened shortly after his death… Damned coyotes. The two decide to investigate the fact that the “Deadies” (the dead that won’t leave the living world), are ramping up activity and gathering some weird chunks of gold. Turns out there’s a bid plan that they are trying to hatch that will change the world as we and they know it. Of course, Hayes plays a hand in this too – he’s much more bad than we first thought (well, kinda – you kind’ know he’s dirt bag).
This is a fun movie with lots of great looking “monsters” and story that made me laugh. Silly, yes, but completely fun. Watch this movie if you want a good laugh. I especially enjoyed the interesting relationship between Roy and Proctor, as well as James Hong running around with a banana (don’t worry: that sentence will make sense once you watch the movie).
Check out the trailer below:
So, there’s report of trouble on a planet that is a social experiment with the Federation,Klingons and the Romulans – they are trying to find out if we can all live happily together. Some charismatic cult leader has taken over the place and the only folks who are close enough to do anything about it…are the the crew of the Enterprise. They show up and are quickly captured. Some are sort of hypnotized to follow their leader – a Vulcan by the name of Sybok, (played by Laurence Luckinbill), Spock’s half-brother, who is offering freedom from fear and pain, and on mission to the center of the Galaxy – to see the face of…I dunno’… GOD? Yeah, and there is a Klingon Captain that wants to make his points by killing the infamous Kirk. Oh… I can’t continue.
UGH!!! I really disliked this freakin’ movie. Go ahead an watch it if you need to. I liked this movie more when I first watched it, but really didn’t like it much then. I don’t need my Sci-Fi heroes looking for God, and Shatner is NOT A GOOD WRITER/DIRECTOR. I like William Shatner a lot and this should be his “Popeye.”
Here is the trailer for this terrible Trek movie:
Hmmm… Where to start? Taking place almost immediately after the last movie, The Search For Spock, The Voyage Home has the crew of the Enterprise heading for Earth to answer for their actions in that past movie.Well, on their way back they get news of an alien probe that has been leaving a trail of destruction while making directly for Earth. Along the way, it is continuously transmitting a strange, seemingly unintelligible signal. Once the probe reaches Earth, it starts directing it’s signal into the depths of the oceans – and not getting any reply, it starts vaporizing said oceans.The crew of the Enterprise, now the crew of a Klingon Bird of Prey are tasked to find a solution to this problem. The still adjusting from returning from the dead Spock does some calculations and figures out that the signal is actually the call of the now (23rd century “now”), extinct Humpback Whale. Figuring that the only way to save the planet is to find some Humpback Whales, the crew decides to travel back in time and gather a few whales. They whip around the sun to travel back in time and end up in 1980’s San Francisco, where they soon discover that their are two Humpbacks at a Sea World like complex. They land the Bird of Prey in Golden Gate Park (thank you Klingon Cloaking device) and head out into the city to look for whales…Oh, and nuclear material…yes, they need nuclear material for the now fried Dilithium crystals. So for the next bit, the crew goes around San Francisco, making stupid mistakes (they are not part of this culture,folks), while trying to round up whales and nuclear materials.
So, typically, Kirk woos a marine biologist who is taking care of the whales in captivity, and one of the other crew gets captured (and injured badly), and there has to be a sneaky rescue…of course.
So the movie is funny in places, serious in others and addresses important environmental and ecological issues. Hell, I know many people who think this is the best Star Trek movie… I’m of the opinion that it is one of (but not THEE), worst Star Trek movies. Just too much “save the world” hippy crap. It’s still fun, just not my favourite.
Check out the trailer below:
Following the awesome Wrath of Khan, 1984’s, the Search For Spock, had a lot to live up to…and didn’t quite reach those lofty goals. Still, after re-watching it for the first time in 25+ years, I have to say that it is better than I remembered.
If you haven’t watched Wrath of Khan then beware, as there will be spoilers, but hell, the movie’s been out for 31 years so tough.
So, in the Wrath of Khan the movie ends with Spock, dead…kind of. They shoot his body off to the newly formed Genesis planet. Soon, McCoy starts acting weird, acting like he’s Spock or something. At the same time, there are some weird things going on on the newly formed Genesis planet, as well as new frictions between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. The Genesis planet, declared off limits to all, holds the key to resurrecting Spock and the crew of the Enterprise needs to get there… They steal Enterprise and head off to the planet. They run into a Klingon Bird of Prey, ready to kick the Enterprise’s ass. A quick battle, a ruse and the death of someone special to Kirk and then a switch-a-roo and the crew of the now wasted enterprise take off in a newly stolen Bird of Prey with a new passenger, (come on, you know the name of the damned movie), a trip to Vulcan and some Psychic surgery.
So, by some considered a crappy Trek movie, and I too used to think this, but after re-watching I have to say it is better than I remember. Also, the great Christopher Lloyd (remember Jim Ignatowski of Taxi or "Doc" Brown from the Back to the Future movies), makes a great Klingon Captain. So, don’t watch this movie expecting greatness, but to be fair I believe it’s not nearly as bad as some think it is. Also – don’t watch this movie as a stand alone movie – watch it if you are going through the movies.
Check out the trailer below:
I watched this movie in the theatre back in ‘96 when it first came out and I remember just hating this movie. Hell, for years I would tell people just how bad I thought this movie was. Yep, I couldn’t stand it. I re-watched it last night and realize I was wrong to hate it – This is a great movie.
Essentially a Vampire movie, with a lot of little twists and turns, From Dusk Till Dawn has a great cast. Starring George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as two brothers, Seth and Richard Gecko, on the lam and heading for Mexico after Richard broke Seth out of jail, and left a trail of bodies in their wake. Harvey Keitel stars as Jacob Fuller, a Pastor that has lost his faith after the death of his beloved wife. Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu play his children, Kate and Scott Fuller. The Fuller’s are on a vacation, driving in their motorhome, when they are commandeered by the Gecko Brothers and forced to smuggle them into Mexico, where the Gecko’s are preparing to start a new life away from the authorities, after meeting up with a contact at a pre-arranged meeting place: a raucous bar named the Titty Twister.
Once at the bar, Seth starts things off on a negative note by beating the crap out of the doorman/shouter (played by Cheech Marin). Once inside, things continue on a negative, when the bartender (played by Danny Trejo) refuses to serve the group, saying that this bar is for Bikers and Truckers only. Jacob sets things “right” by using a little logic. Things seem to be going swimmingly when the doorman confronts Seth and Richard. A fight breaks out, Seth and Richard shoot a few guys… Richard’s hand, shot in the first scene of the movie starts dripping blood, which starts a chain reaction… You see, this bar is a major Vampire hang out and he just started a feeding frenzy. The always beautiful Selma Hayek, playing the super sexy Santanico Pandemonium is the first to attack. Before I go on, let me stress just how hot Selma Hayek looks in this move. I know she always looks hot, but MAN does she look good in this movie. Okay, I digressed… All of a sudden it looks like a Vampire apocalypse. A shit load of folks get killed, but the humans star turning the tide. Seth confronts Jacob, making him decide on which side of belief he’s gonna’ sit, and they hatch a plan. Time to fight Vamps or die.
This movie is an action packed, rollercoaster ride adventure. Combining Tarantino’s writing and Robert Rodriguez was sheer brilliance. The characters are interesting (Tarantino’s Richard is absolutely crazy – a loathsome animal of a man), and there isn’t a dull moment. Oh, and Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong fame) plays not one but three separate characters.
Watch this movie.
Here is the trailer:
In Retaliation, the President of the United States has been replaced by face changing bad guy, Zartan (played by Arnold Vosloo), who is in the process of transforming the United States from Peacekeeper to war happy nation. Under the guise of securing a rogue nuclear device and keeping it out of the hands of terrorists, the (fake) President orders the G.I. Joe team into action. Once they complete the initial part of the mission, the G.I . Joe team is attacked in an impressive show of explosions and firepower. The team is pretty much decimated aside from a few key Joes. Vowing vengeance for their fallen brethren, the three remaining Joe’s start off looking for the one who betrayed them. Meanwhile, back in the States, fake president Zartan has made the Joe’s look like traitors and terrorists, and announced that Anerica’s new super militay team is now Cobra. Also, he’s convened a gathering of the leaders of the nations o the world with Nuclear devices in order to talk disarmament… Yeah right – he’s Evil!. A few more twists and some more explosions and some tense situations later… and the good guys end up winning (come on, it’s a G.I. Joe movie – you don’t really think there’s any chance of the bad guys winning do you?).
So, I am old, and when I was interested in G.I. Joe, he wasn’t a little 4 inch character but big enough to date Barbie and kick Ken’s ass. Pretty sure this is based on the 80’s to present version of G.I. Joe – not an important point, but I had to put this out there.
Staring Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis and (for a short while) Channing Tatum, Retaliation is not suffering from big stars. At times I found myself a little confused as to who was good and who was bad, and for a movie based on a series of Toys, man there is a lot of killing. Sure, I know this is a War toy, and I was not offended in any way, shape or form, but was surprised nonetheless. But overall this was an entertaining action film.
Check out the trailer below.
Chock full of actor’s you’ve heard of, Pawnshop Chronicles is a circular tale of lost love, meth heads, kidnapping and the battle between good and evil.
Mathew Dillon plays Richard, a man about to begin his honeymoon with his second wife when they stop by a Pawnshop, hoping to get a little extra cash when something goes wrong with their banking. Quickly he spots a ring – the ring he gave he had custom made for his first wife, who disappeared without a trace 6 years prior. Abandoning his new wife, he takes off on a renewed search for his long missing love.
This begins a twisted tale that brings the viewer on a roller coaster ride – we encounter meth-heads, murder and white slavery (hint: you might not look at Frodo the same again). You’ll meat a failing Elvis Impersonator (played compellingly by Brendan Fraser). You’ll see bad guys screwing over bad guys, and a town split down the middle by which Barber they choose.
Add to this a character that offers salvation for your soul, leaving you wondering if he’s God or the Devil…
This movie may be weird, but I freakin’ loved it.
Check out the trailer below:
Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy (A Fist Full of Dollars(1964),For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966))
Sergio Leone is/was the King of Spaghetti Westerns, and with The Man With No Name Trilogy (A Fist Full of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly), he might just deserve the title of King of All Westerns, in general.
This is the series of films that took a small time, little known TV actor by the name of Clint Eastwood and made him a house hold name. In each movie he seems to go by a different name (Monco, Blondie and Joe), but is best known as the Man With No Name, a bounty hunter that proves that the good guy in a movie doesn’t always really have to be that good of a guy – an anti-hero, I guess. Two of the movies (For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly), costar Lee Van Cleef, the flint eyed leathery veteran of countless Spaghetti Westerns before and after this series. All three movies are scored with the incredible music of Ennio Morricone.
Visually stunning in their bleakness, Sergio paints a picture of a ruthless West filled with bandits and regular people, Rich man and poor men. And one thing in common for everyone is that they are trying to make a living in the west. Eastwood, in each of the films plays a cigar smoking, tall, quiet, solitary character who is quick and accurate on the draw, and if you have a bounty on your head, you’d be best to steer away from him.
Each of these movies stands alone – that is, you don’t have to watch one to follow the other, and I guess they’re not really sequels, but bound together in spirit. They are not just good Spaghetti Westerns, not just good Westerns, but actually great movies in their own right. While (re) watching The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, I was stunned by just how complex a movie it really is. Not only is it a kick ass western, but it even tries to come to grips with the horror that was the American Civil War. There is a strangely poignant scene where Blondie is walking through the area where a battle between the Union and the Confederates had just happened – coming upon a dying soldier, shivering, Blondie wraps his coat around him and gives the man a draw from his cigar, just before the soldier dies – This didn’t have to be in the movie, but it’s little things like this that elevates these movies above the rest.
So, don’t watch these movies if you’re looking for a light, fluffy watching experience – Watch these movies if you want to see great movies with great actors in great roles. I’m of the opinion that even if you don’t like Westerns, if you watch these film with an open mind, you would still like them.
Watch these movies and watch them often.
A Fistful of Dollars Trailer
For a Few Dollars More Trailer
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Trailer
Sergio Leone’s 1964 movie, A Fist Full of Dollars, took a little known American TV actor, put him in the roll of a Man With No Name, and propelled him to stardom as well as taking a waning genre, the Western, and with a twist, giving it a new lease on life. That actor? Clint Eastwood.
Joe, or “The Man With No Name, played by the then up and coming Clint Eastwood, arrives the the tiny Mexican town of San Miguel. Quickly proving himself quiet and a loner, and more importantly a really quick draw. Soon he realizes that there are two factions, the Rojo Brothers and the family of the town’s sheriff, John Baxter, both fighting for control of the town. Seeing an opportunity for profit, he works at getting the two sides to fight each other.
Witnessing a massacre of Mexican Soldiers by Rojo’s men, dressed as American Soldiers, Joe takes two of the bodies, planting them at at the local cemetery and sells information to both sides – both groups rush to the cemetery – one side to get information, the other side to silence the information before it gets out. Soon we can add kidnapping and murder to the pile of crimes both sides commit. Joe, or The Man With No Name eventually let’s his own motives shine through…
This movie is actually a retelling of the Japanese classic, Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa and it is a wonderful, dark film that should be watched and watched often. This is the first of three “Dollars” or “Man With No Name” films to be released. The other two being For a Few Dollars More and the pinnacle of the Spaghetti Western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. All three are amazing testaments to the genre and deserve their places in the annals of movie history. Watch them soon and watch them often.
Check out the trailer below:
Beyond The Law (1968) – A Coolness Only Lee Van Cleef Could Deliver (Entire Movie at Bottom of Post)
One of countless Spaghetti Westerns that surfaced in the 60’s and early 70’s, you might not even know this one existed – I didn’t, until recently, that is. You see, about a year ago I purchased a DVD set, titled. “Spaghetti Westerns” that is chock full of Western goodness (and badness to be honest). It’s a five disc set that includes 20 movies – Beyond the Law was one of them.
Beyond the Law tells the story of a group of bandits that dupe a mining company of the cash it is having delivered to pay the wages of the miners. Through deception, the actual crooks look like heroes, and are actually asked to help out. The brains of the unit, Billy Joe Cudlip (played by Lee Van Cleef), befriends Ben Novack (played by Antonio Sabato), at first pitying him and then gaining respect for his abilities as the movie goes on. Soon Culdip and his gang is helping protect the mining operation from a gang, controlled by the villain, Burton (played by one time muscle man turned actor, Gordon Mitchell).
Gaining respect, Culdip is asked to become the new Sheriff, kind of ironic…really. He takes the position, much to the chagrin of the members of his small band of thieves, especially when they realize that he might just be taking the job seriously.
As noted at the beginning of this post, this is far from being a perfect film, but Lee Van Cleef raises it up and makes it entertaining. Also, the theme song is simply amazing. If you already like Spaghetti Westerns, then this one will be okay – If you are on the fence about the genre, then maybe leave this one be and try something like a Fist Full of Dollars or God’s Gun.
Here is the trailer:
And, for as long as it lasts, here is a link to the whole movie (let me know if it stops working):
In the 1960s there was an explosion of Westerns made in Italy by Italian film makers. These were dubbed “Spaghetti Westerns” and are/were the Western equivalent of Grindhouse films, and while most of these movies were pretty damned bad, occasionally one would actually turn out to be a good movie – 1967’s Death Rides a Horse is one of those good ones.
Starring John Phillip Law as Bill Meceita, a man seeking revenge on the bandits that he witnessed killing his family when he was a young. The only evidence he was able to gather, as a boy. was a single, unique spur that one of the murdering bastards left behind. Years later a recently released convict, Ryan, played the always great, flinty eyed Lee Van Cleef, kills two men in self defense that were sent to kill him. The Sherriff noticed that one of the dead men was wearing spurs that exactly match the one that had been left at the scene on the Meceita family massacre so many years before. The sheriff informs Bill, and tells him the name of the stranger, Ryan thinking that perhaps Ryan can help lead him to the men who killed his family.
When Bill catches up to Ryan, he finds him sympathetic but not willing to help, as he has a large amount of money owed to him by the same bastards that killed Ryan’s family, and if Bill kills them, Ryan can’t collect. Leaving Bill temporarily stranded (in order to gain a head start), but not defenseless. Of course this only works for a bit as Bill is extremely motivated to get these guys. Ryan is looking at collecting $15,000 from each member of this gang, as he spent 15 years in prison for something they ALL took part in. Bill, killing these guys, makes it harder and harder to collect. Add to this a sub plot where one of these banditos is now a town official, promising to improve the lives of the town folks, but actually planning on taking off with all the town’s money, in a faked heist, and making it look like Ryan is part of it. Bill comes to Ryan’s aid, and for the rest of the movie they work together as a team. An interesting twist near the end makes the relationship between Bill and Ryan even more twisted. Add in some great shootouts and you have this film.
This is a long movie, and the conversion from film to digital (at least the version I have), is very crapilly done. There are bit where you can tell a few seconds of film are just missing. It’s dirty and very low resolution. Some of the actors voices are very obviously dubbed (hey, most of them were bit part Italian actors working for very little money) and not particularly great thespians. Even so, this movie oozes cool, especially with an awesome soundtrack from the amazing Ennio Morricone I absolutely enjoyed every second of this film and most likely will go on a minor Spaghetti Western binge.
And… we’re in luck folks: Not only is this movie available for really cheap on almost countless cheap bin DVD compilations, it’s also available for streaming for free (for now at least).
Check out the trailer below and the entire move below that (please let me know if the link is broken):
Death Rides a Horse (1967) – Trailer
Death Rides a Horse (1967) – The Entire Movie
Scarface tells the story of Tony, (played by Paul Muni) an up and coming gangster in Chicago during the 1920s. Tony, starting off as a two bit thug quickly finds himself climbing the ladder of the Mob’s hierarchy by taking out rival gangsters and taking over their Speakeasys and booze distribution networks (the story takes place during the time of prohibition). Tony also has to deal with his sister who wants to live the fast life while Tony would be happier if she lived the life of a Nun. She’s got her eye on Tony’s body guard/ second in command. Soon Tony is rivalling his own boss for both the business and his boss’s girl. Eventually push comes to shove and Tony is the target of a bungles assassination attempt orchestrated by his boss. This leads to Tony finally taking care of his boss, moving Tony into the top position in the gang… Tony became the boss.
Being the Boss of the Mob means you’re also the bull’s-eye of a target for the other gangs and the FBI alike. With the increasing power comes Tony’s increasing feeling of invincibility. This of course is what leads to Tony’s downfall.
Sure, there’s no scene with Tony and a giant pile of cocaine while the FBI is trying to breach his fortress/mansion – that’s an 80’s thing, though there is a standoff scene at the end. Despite that, this is a great movie that really deserves to be watched. Check out the trailer below.
I don’t think I’ve said this on the blog before, but I generally don’t like torture horror. You know those movies where a guy is tied to a chair or something for most of the movie while he gets the crap beat out of him for what ever twisted reason. Well, Sushi Girl is one of these types of movies, and I really liked it.
What’s the movie about? Well, six years ago a group of 5 crooks pulled off a diamond heist that went bad at the last minute when their get away van was involved in a vehicle crash. Four of the five escape, with the new guy (and the guy responsible for the bag of stolen diamond), Fish (played by Noah Hathaway) getting caught. Fish ends up spending six years behind bars for the crime, never spilling the beans on his fellow crooks.
Now the six years have passed and Fish is being let out early for good behaviour and is met at the prison gates by a driver in a black limo. The limo delivers him to an ornate Chinese themed building where Duke (played by Tony Todd, the organizer of the diamond heist, has gathered together the original team. Duke, seemingly obsessed with Japanese culture and symbolism, has had an elaborate Sushi dinner prepared for the group, served on the body of a living but still “Sushi Girl.” Duke’s plan is to have the group eat the sushi, starting with the mild stuff on the outside, working their way to the center ending with Fugu – a dangerous piece of sushi created by a toxic puffer fish that when prepared properly, causes some numbness and a sense of elation, but when done incorrectly causes death. Duke wants the group to eat the meal while they all discuss an important matter: where are the diamonds from the heist? You see, they’re all wondering what happened to the diamonds, as the police reported that the bag that the diamonds were in was empty. Believing Fish had stashed the diamonds before being caught, the crew now wants their cut, despite Fish’s insistence that he never had a chance to stash them. Fish, not wanting to beat around the bush, and not wanting to play any games is very adamant that he did not have the diamonds, and that he did the group a favour by doing his time and keeping his mouth shut. The others are not convinced, and Fish soon finds himself tied to a chair while the goons take their turns attempting to torture a confession, all the while with Fish refusing to tell them what happened to the diamonds, other than he didn’t have them.
The movie shows the original heist in fits, when fish occasionally loses consciousness and lapses in to his memories of the event. It’s an interesting way to fill in the back story and each flashback shows another key part of the original heist. Fish get’s brutally beaten over and over again, each time worse than the last.
The movie goes on like this for quite a while, and there is an amazing performance by Mark Hamill as Crow, an over the top, flamboyantly gay, sadistic fellow crook – he really stole the show with his portrayal of this character. The end of the movie is a twist that I did not see coming – I know that there was going to be a big twist – I just hadn’t figured out exactly what that twist was. Although I thought this movie was great, I have to say it is definitely not for everyone. I mean for most of the movie a guy is brutally beaten while tied to a chair. That said, if you can stomach that, then I say watch this movie, even if only to see Mark Hamill in a performance that just may be the best of his career.
Check out the trailer below: