Film Mini-Reviews – Jan 2017: Rogue One to The Minotaur

February 23, 2017 1 Comment »
Film Mini-Reviews – Jan 2017: Rogue One to The Minotaur

I watch a lot of films, apparently.  I didn’t really know how many until in January of this year, I decided to keep track.  I think I got most of the January ones, though I didn’t start keeping track right away (so it’s possible a few Bowery Boy films, or other stuff, got missed, early on.)  I was surprised how many I turned out to have watched in the first month.  It didn’t seem like that many, and I certainly wasn’t trying to “run up the numbers” or anything.  My wife’s guess that I may watch 400 films per year seems like it may be a low estimate.  😉

Because some of my Facebook friends seemed interested in what I’ve been watching and what I thought of those films, I decided to share the results of my “experiment,” on a monthly basis.

The “rules” are that I have to see the whole film (though not necessarily in one sitting), and I have to be able to describe the plot and feel I can give a fair review.  So, I won’t rate films that I just catch pieces of (like the stuff on Comet TV that plays in the background of my life, often), though I will count complete rewatches, say seeing a movie again in the theater — or catching a favorite monster film again later int he year.

Total for January = 51 films.  They’re in the approximate order that I watched them.  Sorry they’re not alphabetical, but that would be quite a bit more work — and this is supposed to be FUN!

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FILM – Rating (0-5 stars) – Comments

Rogue One: A Star Wars Film **** A tough “Dirty Dozen” for Star Wars with some great moments
Hidden Figures **** Very good film about overlooked heroines of the Space Race, deserving of an Oscar nod or three
House of Frankenstein *** Great cast harmed by segmented story. J. Carrol Naish shines. Still great fun.
Shadow of the Cat *** Lesser British (Hammer) mystery/suspense effort with “cat cam” POV shots
Two Lost Worlds ** 1 Million BC SFX highlight a competent but otherwise unremarkable film. Pre-The Thing James Arness.
What We Do in the Shadows **** Funny Kiwi take on “monster house” reality show/doc with vampire main characters.
Mutiny in Outer Space *** Precursor to Green Slime. Some feminine equality. Better than expected.
Brain from Planet Auros ** John Agar makes this fun, but otherwise unmemorable and very low budget.
Project Moon Base *** Struggles between Heinliein’s proto-feminism script and Hollywood sexism, but some good science stuff
Day It Came to Earth, The ** Space zombie lurking underwater (in color) is more fun than it has a right to be
Missile to the Moon ** Moon Maidens, giant spiders, and rock monsters in fun but silly melange
Silent Night, Deadly Night **** Relentless dark, anti-establishment comedy is much better than expected, gory fun
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 * 35 minutes of footage from the orignial film and none of the charm to round out the rest
The Saint’s Double Trouble ** Twice the George Sanders but not nearly enough Bela Lugosi. Still fun, thoug plotting could be clearer.
Kiss of the Tarantula ** Don’t mess with this girl’s spider
The Prince and the Pauper *** Not much Errol Flynn, but a well-made take on the classic
Quiet Place in the Country, A *** Creepy mix of ghosts, sex, and encroaching madness with Franco Nero & Vanessa Redgrave
Into the Woods *** Fun retelling of old fairy tales with music by Sondheim ends on a bittersweet note
My Favorite Spy ** Kay Kiser leads a double life as band leader and spy. Harmless fun.
Terminal Island ** Exploitation SF-Dystopia with a low budget and good cast, lots of violence
Penitentiary ** Prison film mixed with fight film blaxploitation has some rough scenes and nudity
Double Wedding *** Powell and Loy can do no wrong, but the title gives away the ending in this romatic mix-up
I Love You Again *** How could anyone forget Myrna Loy? Still, con-man Powell makes it all turn out in the amsuing end
Love Crazy *** Powell and Loy are magic as always in this daft comedy where he gets himself committed to prove his love
Space Probe Taurus *** Better than it has a right to be, surpasses feminist struggles and low budget with good production values
Perri (Disney) *** “True Life Fantasy” story of a squirrell – how they filmed these things, I don’t know, but fun
Torchy Blane Playing with Dynamite *** Jane Wyman does a credible job picking up the role of Torchy in this series finale
Trick ‘r Treat **** Eerie and sometimes funny interwoven anthology story. Well worth seeing.
3 Worlds of Gulliver **** Harryhausen SFX look pretty great on new, remastered blu ray.
Black Friday *** Boris is great, but they should have had Bela in a major role — like the brain-transfered professor
Manos: The Hands of Fate **** Beloved by me, but still bad — even on MST3K, which is where I watched it. Again.
Thunderbird 6 **** The better of the 2 original Thunderbirds movie, though not enogh TB 4!
Bend of the River **** Jimmy Stewart and Julie Adams struggle against gold gree to homestead Oregon
The Conjuring **** Chilling, despite the fact that it’s not really a “true story,” as it claims
Mythica 4 – The Iron Crown *** Great action and nice character development, but connective tissue still a bit thin
Mythica 5 – Godlsayer *** More great action and some nice acting & production, but didn’t feel like ending was planned from the start
Despiser ** A bold early attempt to meld live action with CGI environments, a bit of a hot mess, but points for effort
Beyond the Time Barrier *** A Twilight Zone/Outer Limits style time travel plot given weight and beauty by Elmer G. Ulmer’s execution
Zabriskie Point *** Interesting but muddled counter-culture vs. establishment film with a stolen plane, the desert, & a beautiful house as directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.
Scanners **** Psychic cult film fun, creepy, innovative, and cynical.
The Invisible Man’s Revenge *** Not as good as the original, but well made with Vincent Price and pushed the SFX forward.
Rocket Attack USA * “Shock Ending” can’t make up for stock footage and flacid script and acting.
Assignment Outer Space ** Muddled but has intersting SFX. Seemed more like a Soviet State space epic than Italian, despite Margheriti.
Looking for Danger ** Bowery Boys – The boys (sans Slip) go Arabian during WWII. Slight.
Up in Smoke ** Bowery Boys – Sach sells his soul to the devil for racing tips. Not as fun as it should be. Misses Slip.
In the Money ** Bowery Boys – The boys go to London and Sach takes care of a diamond smuggling poodle. Last in series — and probably a good thing. The Boys missed Slip (Leo Gorcey) right to the finish.
Spook Chasers ** Bowery Boys – The gang brave a “haunted’ house filled with gangster money. Very Abbott & Costello, but…
Hot Shots ** Bowery Boys – The boys are framed for kidnapping a child star. Some amusing moments.
Crashing Las Vegas ** Bowery Boys – Sach gains the power to predict numbers, and Slip takes them to Vegas to cash in. Fun.
Time Travelers, The *** Low budget but smart and “serious” SF, with some stage-magic-based practical effects.
Minotaur, The *** Fun peplum (sword & sandal) Theseus epic that could use a fully restored widescreen print.

How many films will February 2017 yield?  I can’t say for sure, but I’m already at nearly 100 total for the year.

Stay tuned!

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One Comment

  1. Christine Verstraete February 23, 2017 at 12:26 pm -

    51, holy cow! That’s probably my last 10 years watching. haa!

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