Film Mini-Reviews November 2017 – Thor to Night of Medusa

December 12, 2017 No Comments »
Film Mini-Reviews November 2017 – Thor to Night of Medusa

November continued the trend of fewer movies than in the first 3/4 of the year.  I still watched 31 films (more than 1 a day), for a total of 519 at the end of the month.

It seems likely, now, that I won’t hit 600 films this year, which was never really a “goal,” per se, but at one point seemed possible.  (If I start setting goals for this, I might as well just quit; goals imply pressure for something that should be a pleasurable activity, and even just keeping the list might be more pressure than I want.)  550 as a year-end total, though, is not out of the question.

Tune in next month and find out.

I should mention that during all this, I’ve also been watching a large number of TV series, and recently completed viewing all 8 seasons of Mannix (a fine cop-action show) and Season 2 of Stranger Things (really good).

So, amid the Fall Season, personal projects like that, and life, here’s what I watched in November, 2017.

Ratings are out of 5 stars.

Thor: Ragnarok **** Improv makes it loosey-goosey but action, comedy, & twists make it awesome. Great cast for Thor’s latest.
Monster that Challenged the World, The **** I love this story about giant mollusks killing people on the shores (and beneath) the Salton Sea, CA.
Invasion of the Star Creatures *** Low budget SF-comedy is 60s silly fun. Alien Amazons, plant men, army guys, Indians, & Space Pals Forever!
Four Sided Triangle ** Well cast Hammer SF has woman torn between 2 lovers duplicated,fails to think too deeply about implications.
Murder on the Orient Express (2017) **** Branagh’s version of the classic murder mystery is filled with great cast, great mood, & fun. Very worthy.
Return of Sherlock Holmes, The *** Joshua Kennedy’s take on Sherlock Holmes classic features a woman as Watson & clever low-budget locales.
Barracuda (Sven) ** Low-budget Jaws/Piranha riff is a bit disjointed & probably would be even uncut. A few points for eco message.
Unnatural *** Coincidentally, almost like a better version of Barracuda, but giant polar bear rather than fish. Solid SF/H thriller.
X the Unknown *** Like Quatermass without Quatermass, a superiour science & military vs. blob-like monster film from Hammer.
World of the Vampires *** Mexican vamprie fun with the usual neck biters & an organ of bones that can play vamp-controling music.
Old Dracula (Comet) * Comedy starts okay then meanders as Drac searches for a cure for his (now black) wife’s blood disease.
Justice League **** Great cast of superheroes, inc. Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman makes up for somewhat loose script. Fun.
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (Sven) ***** Comedy-horror just doesn’t get any better. Lugosi, Chaney, & Strange as Iconic monsters vs. goofbally A&C.
Fury, The *** Kirk Douglas & Amy Irving make DePalma’s Carrie-like riff about spies & psychic teens worth watching.
Hocus Pocus **** Bette Middler & her witch sisters are back from the dead to drain the life from children. Funny & creepy, too.
Fifty Shades Darker ** Worst boyfriend in the world uses money, charm, & B&D to overcome his tragic past & win back “his” girl. Silly.
Haunted Strangler, The *** Karloff gets possessed by the knife of the true killer researching a murder for which another man was hanged.
Werewolf and the Yeti, The *** Doesn’t have enough Yeti, but has tons of gory Naschy coolness werewolf, demon girls, bandits, etc. Great fun.
Santa Claus (MST3K) *** The MSTies make this tolerable in many places, but the 1-star Mexican film at its base is painful to watch.
Bride of the Monster (MST3K) **** One of Ed Woods best bad movies. Bela Lugosi has some great lines, plus Tor Johnson & giant octopus. Wow.
Ape, The ** Cheapie, but Karloff shines as he treats a paralyzed girl through experiments involving the escaped title ape.
Hunchback of the Morgue, The *** Naschy is the hunchback, longing for his (dead) love & mixed up with a mad scientist. Beware fiery rat images.
Southland Tales * The director of Donnie Darko put together a great cast & made this awful SF political satire. And it’s LONG, too.
Great Wall, The *** Great Wall army vs. monsters film is gorgeous with great imagination & solid US stars. Fun. Wronfully ignored.
Autopsy of Jane Doe, The **** Unmarked dead woman’s body turns up at a grizly murder scene. Autopsy starts & things get weird. Excellent.
Assassin’s Creed ** Man from future sends soul to the past to find treasure for evil people. Not as good or fun as that sounds.
Lorelein’s Grasp (commentary) **** Good Euro horror about a mythical monster claiming hearts for its own use. Great commentary by Rod & Troy.
Night of Medusa, The **** Joshua Kennedy’s homage to the Gorgon (Hammer) has tormented student channeling the mythical monster.
Reptile, The *** Rewatch. Strange deaths, remote village, inherited house & great reptilian makeup. Minor Hammer classic.
Incredible Shrinking Man, The (Sven) ***** Richard Matheson SF classic about a man who shrinks & is menaced by cats, spiders, etc. Great 1950s SFX.
Night of Medusa, The (with commentary) **** Rewatch with commentary – which really brings out some great trivia & tributes in the film.

And that’s it for November.  What will my final 2017 film total be?  And do you want me to run a mega-post listing them all alphabetically at the end?

Remember, you can support this and all my other writing work, like Dr. Cushing’s Chamber of Horrors, by joining my Patreon for a buck or two a month.  Thanks!

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