April 2019 Mini-Reviews – Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women to Skyscraper

Our lives seemed to be settling into the “new normal” in the second half of April, which after 6 months of stress and crazy was a relief.  (Unfortunately, another curve came our way in May, but…)  However, it remains hard to say whether my normal monthly movie intake is 20-ish or the 30-50 seen in previous years.

Maybe May will tell us more (though maybe not), but until then, here’s April’s 19 — though there are more than a few gems among them.

Ratings are out of five stars. Here’s what those stars mean to me…

* – This film is not good. Avoid it unless you tolerate dreck well.
** – A flawed film. You may enjoy it if you like this genre or the folks in it.
*** – A good solid film. If you like this genre, you’ll probably like this film.
**** – A superior film within its genre. Thoroughly enjoyable.
***** – An outstanding film on many levels. A great example of its genre.

Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (commentary) *** Commentary not by the filmmakers, but by friends & admirers of them has plenty of stories about this cult classic.
Vampire’s Ghost, The **** Little-seen Leigh Bracket tale. Vampire in Africa has a Casablanca/Tarzan motif & some interesting twists & turns.
Another Son of Sam * Exploitation that fails to exploit, bad SWAT & police technique, POV that doesn’t work, bad characters, bloody end.
Border Incident **** Beautifully shot film noir thriller of US & Mexican agents trying to stop the exploitation & smuggling of Mexicans.
Shazam! ***** Takes a lot of the original Captain Marvel mythos & makes a funny, adventurous, action-packed story with heart.
99 River Street *** Ex-Boxer with unfaithful wife must solve her murder after he’s framed for it. Some nice twists & good action.
House of Frankenstein *** Karloff, Chaney & J. Carrol Naish rule. Dracula, Wolf Man, & Frankenstein Monster tale is episodic but well made.
Isle of Dogs ***** Wes Anderson’s weird & wonderful stop-motion animation about dystopian Japan where dogs are exiled to island.
Detective, The **** Alec Guiness is fab as detective-priest Father Brown, more interested in saving souls than locking up criminals.
Singin’ In the Rain ***** The greatest musical of all never gets old. The comedy is great, the dancing better, & Jean Hagen steals the show.
Night School (1980) *** Grisly beheadings stalk a professor, lover Rachel Ward, & his students. Can the Boston cops catch the killer?
Harpies ** Stephen Baldwin isn’t convincing as man sent back in time to battle Medieval Harpies & neither are the SFX.
Lego Ninjago Movie, The **** More Lego fun. You don’t need to know Ninjago to enjoy story about ninja & friendsb battling evil father. Comedy.
Captain Sinbad **** Guy Williams is fun as Sinbad in this imagination-filled, colorful spectacle with rocs, monsters, & heartless sultan.
Woman on the Run **** When husband witnesses a gang murder his estranged wife must find him before cops or the killer. Strong noir.
Valley of the Dragons *** Basically a clip-show of various dinosaur movies with a Verne story overlay. Not a bad primer on some better films.
Queen of Snakes **** Mihm’s first color film is largely a 2-person show, but the acting is very strong & the Queen’s makeup very cool.
Avengers: End Game ***** The payoff of the MCU is totally worth it emotionally & in terms of action. Great filmmaking on every level. See it!
Skyscraper (rewatch) *** Solid actioner with strong international cast headed up by Dwayne Johnson. A bit predictable, but fun.


See you next month.  (Well, that’s tomorrow, but maybe a little after that for the next reviews.)

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

About Steve Sullivan 411 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).