Film Mini-Reviews July 2017 – Terror of MechaGodzilla to Mississippi River Sharks

Well, despite conventions and Shark Week and other stuff, I’m still on a pretty hefty pace of film viewing.  Not quite 50 movies in July, because of all that, but still enough to average out to more than 50 per month in the year so far.

Will that pace roll along unfettered?  I don’t know.  Clearly, I (and my wife) watch a lot of movies, but I’d also like to do more reading than I’ve been doing lately. So… We’ll see.

The experiment continues…

FILM – Rating (0-5 stars) – Comments

Terror of Mechagodzilla *** Honda’s last Godzilla flick has some cool monster battles & good human/alien conflict. A fine Showa farewell.
Time of Their Lives, The *** Abbott & Costello act separately in this comedy about cursed revolutionary war ghosts. Refreshing & fun.
Carnival Magic (MST3K) *** Even Jonah & the bots can barely save this Al Adamson story of a carnival & a talking chimp. Ugh!
Theseus and the Minotaur (Bash Cut) **** Rewatch to help with final edits. Still impressed overall. Josh Kennedy takes another low-budget step forward.
Godzilla vs. Mothra **** One of the best of the Heisei Godzilla series features Mothra and introduces Battra. Good SFX & kaiju battles.
Baby Driver **** Edgar Wright’s action-caper-chase film is a whole lot of fun, if a bit silly near the end. Still, good thrills galore.
Godzilla (1998) a.k.a. G.I.N.O. *** Godzilla In Name Only (GINO) a.k.a Brodzilla, Fraudzilla, etc. A decent monster movie, if you ignore the name.
Godzilla Raids Again ** Kaijuly Roarth rewatch. Still the dubbed version, and inferior to the Japanese original.
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla **** The best MechaGodzilla film, with a strong female heroine & great Michiru Oshima score. Good SFX.
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus *** G. vs. giant bug (from original Rodan) with some great sequences & Michiru Oshima score – ignore the wires.
Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II *** Rodan makes up for introducing Baby-G and there are some cool battles & SFX in this better than most Heisei.
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla *** Way too much Baby-G in this & the plot is pretty ropey, but Space-G looks kinda cool & it’s still (lesser) fun.
Christmas that Almost Wasn’t, The (MST3K) **** A film I’ve wanted to see since a child (not bad) & some good riffing from Jonah & the bots. Decent songs, too.
Tokyo SOS (Godzilla) *** Disappointing they let threads from …Against MechaG drop, but Mothra vs. G is still fun, plus mecha resolution.
Spider-Man Homecoming **** A lot of fun with some great supporting character development, villain, & Marvel tie-ins, brings Spidey home.
At the Earth’s Core (MST3K) **** A fun McClure-Cushing ERB outing with the added fun of Jonah & bots keeps the movie fun & doesn’t spoil it.
Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The *** Better than people think, though not as good as Fraiser’s The Mummy. Yeti, Jet Li, & Michelle Yeoh make it fun!
Car, The (Sven) *** Solid action-horror film with people being stalked by a demon-possessed car. Creepy with good TV-star cast.
In the Year 2889 ** The best of Larry Buchanan’s remakes is mutant post-apocalypse fun, but inferior to Corman-Blaisdell original.
Phantom Planet, The (MST3K) *** This low-budget space flick has a cool monster & is fun for all its cheese. Mike & Misties do okay with it.
Invisible Ghost, The *** Interesting Poverty Row horror flick with Lugosi as a man who kills without knowing it. A cut above the usual.
Ghost Walks, The ** Bad print didn’t help this Poverty Row Old Dark House pseudo-mystery with a comedy twist. Barely passable.
El Vampiro (The Vampire) **** Superior Mexican vampire flick with good photography & cast plus a few interesting twists. Inspired a sequel.
El Autaud del Vampiro (The Vampire’s Coffin) *** A nice looking production, but added (too much) comedy & lacks the gothic atmosphere of original El Vampiro.
Eegah! (MST3K Live) **** As with the previous MST3K version, Jonah & the Bots make this otherwise dopey giant caveman film bearable.
Argoman – The Fantastic Superman ** Goofy Euro-spy meets 60s Batman-style superhero film. If MST3K did it, it would get 2 more stars.
J.D.’s Revenge *** Blaxplotation (not too exploitative) horror flick about hypnotism & possession by a dead gangster. Good cast.
Squirm *** Solid low-budget monster flick about worms going on a rampage Down South with some gross SFX for fun.
Wonder Woman ***** Rewatch in theater. Great, nearly perfect superhero film.
Day of the Triffids (AA DVD) ** “Official release” of this film, the print is shoddy & pan-n-scan, too. Killer plant invasion deserves better.
Creature from the Black Lagoon, The (Sven) ***** “Modern” monster classic with Julie Adams & scientists hunting the elusive Gill Man.One of the best in 3D, too!
Revenge of the Zombies ** Low budget shocker with John Carradine turning his wife into zombie/weapon. Mantan Moreland stands out.
Without Warning (Comet) *** Jack Palance, Martin Landau & teens fight an alien invader & brood of flying parasites. Gory fun, even TV cut.
Jack Pierce, The Maker of Monsters *** Reverent bio of the master make-up artist told with pictures and sound clips. Salter interview as extra.
Night Visitor (Comet) ** Okay production. Basically Fright Night with Satanists instead of vampires, but not as good. Unmemorable.
Beware the Slenderman **** Interesting doccumentary about 2 girls who fall into dark fantasy & try to kill their friend for the “Slenderman.”
Man Who Turned to Stone, The ** Mad scientists will live forever by syphoning life from women prisoners, or turn to stone. Less fun than it sounds.
Phantasm II *** Our heroes from the first film return & hunt the Tall Man cross country. Like #1, near incoherent but fun.
Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead ** Despite some fun moments, this sequel adds an annoying kid & tilts more toward incoherence.
Phantasm IV: Oblivion ** Again, some fun moments, but the series gets more incorherent as it goes. Lack of “worldbuilding” hurts them.
Valerian *** Solid Sci-Fantasy actioner based on French comic with good characters & great beauity. Worth seeing.
Horror Rises from the Tomb **** Naschy’s manic-written wizard-witch-ghost-zombie story makes little sense, but it’s still great fun & beautiful.
Land Unknown, The (Sven) *** Yeah, the dinos are a bit cheesy, but, hey, elasmosaurus is awesome & film is well acted and sicnerely made.
Calling Dr. Death *** The first of the Inner Sanctum Mystery series gives Lon Chaney, Jr., plenty to do. A good kickoff to weird tales.
Rain of Fire ** Kirk Douglas in Italian/Brit mix of The Omen & end of the world atomic SciFi with a sudden, unsatisfying ending.
5-Headed Shark Attack ** Silly premise for another silly Asylum shark move. But I like this kinda stuff. Take 1* off if you don’t. 5 heads!
Mississippi River Sharks *** This silly shark movie had some characters I liked & clever moments, plus a nice wrap-around. Not bad.

Next Month: More movies! More director’s commentaries done by people I know!

About Steve Sullivan 420 Articles
Stephen D. Sullivan is an award-winning author, artist, and editor. Since 1980, he has worked on a wide variety of properties, including well-known licenses and original work. Some of his best know projects include Dungeons & Dragons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dragonlance, Iron Man, Legend of the Five Rings, Speed Racer, the Tolkien RPG, Disney Afternoons, Star Wars, The Twilight Empire (Robinson's War), Uncanny Radio, Martian Knights, Tournament of Death, and The Blue Kingdoms (with his friend Jean Rabe).