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.)
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