Film Mini-Reviews January 2018 – Charade to Get Out

Well, February was a real cluster you-know-what.  Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, home repairs, family stuff, and on top of it all the Olympics.  (Which, at least, didn’t require a Tournament of Death this year.  Phew!)  Add to that the fact that the month is 2-3 days shorter than usual, and it’s little wonder that a couple of things didn’t get done — like posting my January watch list.

But, good news: Because of all that, you get 2 Film Mini-Review lists this month!

Here’s January, which starts off at my usual breakneck pace.  Don’t “worry” though, constant watching of the Olympics during February brought my movie watching down to more human proportion.  I think I’m still ahead of the friend who posts his movie watching numbers online, though.  😉

So, without further ado…

Ratings are out of 5 stars.

Charade *** Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn head up a fine cast in this Hitchcock-like spy thriller. Not as good as a Hitch.
Gambit **** Shirley MacLaine & Michael Cain in a caper film about plans gone wrong and look-alike wives. Good fun.
Hercules & the Captive Women (MST3K) *** While doing heroic deeds, Hercules loses his memory & cheats on his wife. MST3K is there to save the day!
City Limits (MST3K) **** This post-apocalyptic mess has some classic MST3K bits (Morressey). Without them, the film is forgettably bad.
Human Duplicators *** Richard Keil comes to Earth to make some copies of hot chicks, etc. MST3K is there to fend of world domination.
I, Tonya ***** Smart, funny, & “historically accurate.” Margot Robbie & Sebastian Stan are great as Tonya & Jeff. Best of 2017?
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Sven) **** If this is on, I will watch it. Even in the American version, it’s one of my faves, though the original is better.
Gunslinger, The (MST3K) *** Corman’s pretty standard western riffed by Joel & the bots isn’t a bad thing. Not sure about without.
Ring of Terror (MST3K) *** College kids study disection & anatomy, thereby learning… fear? Made little sense, but Joel & bots make it okay.
Doctor Who: Seeds of Doom (movie version) **** Shades of The Thing as evil seeds uncovered in Antarctica threaten the world. More good Baker-Sladen work.
Warlock *** Julian Sands & co. are mostly understated in this tale of evil Warlock woken to wreak havoc in present day 80s.
Supernova ** Handsome production about weird alien artifact turning a starship crew against each other. Doesn’t quite ring.
Werewolves on Wheels ** Bikers run afoul of Satan worshipers & somebody gets turned into a werewolf, but never actually rides that bike.
Swordsman of Siena *** Stewart Granger gives some life to this swashbuckler mix of Robin Hood with some Ben Hur thrown in.
Killer Shrews, The *** I love this low-budget SF shocker. I even love the dogs in the shrew costumes & the puppet heads. Rewatch joy.
Godzilla Raids Again (Sven) ** This American cut (a.k.a. Gigantis the Fire Monster) is inferior to the original Japanese version, but still Godzilla.
Corpse Grinders, The *** Low-budget fun about cats going wild after being fed cat food made from corpses. If you like trashy exploitation…
Warlock: The Armageddon (Warlock II) ** More gore, more boobs, but little of the charm from the original Warlock. Still, if you like 80s-90s splatter horror…
Alexander the Great *** Beautiful Richard Burton vehicle is a biopic without a lot of really compelling emotion or action in it. Standard.
Starfighters, The (MST3K) *** Like Top Gun, if Top Gun was all stock footage of refueling & such. Without Mike & the bots it’d be excruciating.
Warlock III: The End of Innocence (3) ** Remove Julian Sands & rest of the charm from the 1st film, add inherited mansion, more nonsense & gore. Meh.
Doctor Who: The Masque of Mandragora (movie version) **** Tom Baker & Elisabeth Sladen are great vs. evil alien energy in Renaissance Italy. Even has some action/fights. Tom & Elisabeth are so comfortable with each other, their work is a delight. The best Doctor-Companion pairing.
Dalekmania *** A look at the Dalek phenomenon, specifically the two Doctor Who movies from the 60s. Interesting but short/thin.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword ** Going to “reimagine” the Arthur legend to this point? Just make up your own fantasy. Dark visuals aren’t a story.
Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150 *** 2nd Doctor Who with Peter Cushing is a better film in pretty much every way, except for some comedy bits.
Thief of Baghdad, The (1978) *** All-ages Arabian fun with Roddy McDowell as the titular thief & strong cast. Play it along with CAPTAIN SINBAD.
Arabian Adventure *** Christopher Lee is the villain in this Arabian fantasy for kids. Some fun imagination & Peter Cushing cameo, too.
Godzilla vs. the Thing (Sven) ***** One of the best of the Godzilla films, with a great cast & super monster battle vs. Mothra. I’ll watch this any time.
Doctor Who: The Hand of Fear (movie vers.) **** Final bow for Elisabeth has a more shrieking than usual as an alien hottie takes people over to rule once more.
Odd Man Out **** James Mason shines as IRA man sucked into one more job & paying for it. Great cinematography & suspense.
Taming of the Shrew, The (Zeffirelli) **** Taylor & Burton battle each other with wits & props in this lively, slightly grungy version of the Shakespeare play.
Other Side of the Door, The *** Woman opens a door she shouldn’t to speak to her dead son, letting decaying spirits return to earth. Not bad.
Bone Collector, The ** Not terribly explicit, but at times felt like torture porn. Great cast doesn’t live up to its potential in standard yarn.
Living Ghost, The ** Standard B-Movie mystery-comedy with some somewhat zombified victims to justify the title. Nothing special.
Killer Joe *** Brutal dark comedy-crime movie with Matthew McConnaughey as title character hired by a dim-witted family.
Pennies from Heaven * Odd Steve Martin musical about sexual frustration & adultery with much lipsynching to songs too good for this.
Point Break (2015) ** Take lots of cool extreme sports & tack on dubious heist/crime angle for a weird remake of the Keanu “classic.”
3 Musketeers ** Modern secret agents try to stop a presidential assassination. Filled with fights, bad SFX, & Aslyum decapitation.
Cockeyed Miracle, The ** A new ghost teams with his ghost dad to try to fix problems for their still living family. Good cast. Ends abruptly.
It’s Alive (1968) ** Tommy Kirk & friends are trapped by crazy reptile farm owner with a prehistoric reptile-man in his cave-basement.
Creature of Destruction ** Remake of She-Creature is filled with Larry Buchanan 60s sincerity, Les Tremayne, & very cheesy monster suit.
Gamera the Invincible *** If you can look past the tedious inserted scenes, some good kaiju action in original Gamera. Good Titra dubbing.
Attack of the Monsters ** Later Gamera epic is really for kids only, though human eating alien chicks are kinda hot. Gamera does high-bar.
Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin (movie version) **** The Doctor returns to Gallifrey and we get a long look at the Time Lords & a sinister conspiracy. Tom Baker shines, as always.
Horse Without a Head (Disney) *** Urchins with a broken hobby horse vs. Leo McKern & gangsters with a master plan. Disney shot in Europe.
Jungle Cat (Disney) *** Disney wildlife film focusing on the creatures of South America, especially jaguars/panthers. Beautifully shot.
Napoleon & Samantha (Disney) ** Jodie Foster’s first film. 2 kids with no family adopt a lion & go to find friend Michael Douglas. Too soft at the end.
Cavern, The *** Edgar G. Ulmer’s last film is filled with his usual style. GIs, Germans, & Italian woman are trapped underground.
Last of Sheila, The *** James Coburn tries to lure out who ran down his wife from a group of Hollywood friends. Great cast. Fun mystery.
Get Out ***** A black man ends up in more than one kind of nightmare while visiting his white girlfriend’s parents. Great stuff.


So, 50 films for the first month of the year.  Not a bad start.  But February will bring far, far fewer.

See you then!

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!




About Steve Sullivan 421 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).