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  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons

    Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons

    ★★★½

    Tomisaburô Wakayama returns as Ogami Itto in the fifth film in the series. This time he needs to kill a succession of men in order to gain enough information to identify and kill his main target, the mad leader of a clan leading it into ruin. This is not really one of the better films in the series as the focus shifts a bit from action towards a fairly intricate and confusing plot.

  • A Woman Under the Influence

    A Woman Under the Influence

    ★★★★★

    I think it's easy to be too reductive about this film and see it as woman who is losing her mind being bullied by her family. There is certainly that element, and it's difficult to tell how much of Rowlands's breakdown in the film is caused by the family's outsized reactions to her awkward nonconformity. I think there's a lot more to it, especially themes about marriage and family and what life and the passage of time does to people.…

  • Vanya on 42nd Street

    Vanya on 42nd Street

    ★★★★½

    Theater director Andre Gregory was coordinating rehearsal/performances of an adaptation by David Mamet of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" in an old dilapidated theatre on 42nd street. The cast included Wallace Shawn, Julianne Moore, George Gaynes (best known from the "Police Academy" films!) and Brooke Smith ("The Silence of the Lambs"). Observers were occasionally invited to come and watch, and Louis Malle filmed one such performance for what would end up being his last film. It's a really magnificent performance of the play with no costumes or sets to speak of. A pure celebration of great theater.

  • Elephant Boy

    Elephant Boy

    ★★★½

    Robert Flaherty and Zoltan Korda collaborate on this adaptation of one of the stories from "The Jungle Book". It's an interesting pairing since it blends Flaherty's documentary approach with Korda's taste for adventure stories, shooting the story in real locations with non-actors. Flaherty's contribution seems more successful than Korda's. The black and white photography of India and it's wildlife is often amazing, while the non-actors struggle to make the story work with their stilted performances. It's the film debut of Sabu, who would go on to be a fairly big star and become a much better actor than he is here.

  • Test Tube Babies

    Test Tube Babies

    ★½

    A young couple want to have a baby, but he's sterile, so a doctor teaches them all about artificial insemination and everybody is happy with their test tube baby. That's what the movie purports to be about, but you can't help noticing that it spends a lot more time with the parties the couple attends ... parties that involve drunken stripteases and topless cat fights. The movie pretends to be all about educating the public, but it's really about titillating…

  • Killpoint

    Killpoint

    ★★

    Leo Fong is a cop investigating the rape and murder of his wife, and it leads him to a gun running biker gang lead by Cameron Mitchell. He teams up with FBI agent Richard Roundtree to take them down. If that sounds even slightly good ... it's not. Fong has all the charisma of a chunk of foam rubber, and while he is a pretty accomplished martial artist, the film's fight choreography is really sad and does not show off…

  • Curse of Bigfoot

    Curse of Bigfoot

    ½

    After a long intro of tedious stock footage and pronouncements about Bigfoot (that don't match the footage being used), we cut to a high school class learning about monsters. (???) Their guest for the day is a Bigfoot expert, who in the interest of addressing their skepticism, tells them a long story about a mummy. This ridiculous abomination takes an unreleased awful film from 1958 and adds an extra half hour of awful footage to it to convince you it's really about Bigfoot. What it's really about is the dreadful tedium of watching people walk around for 10 minutes just to get killed off camera.

  • Adventures of Don Juan

    Adventures of Don Juan

    ★★★½

    Errol Flynn is Don Juan de Maraña, a Spanish noble man notorious for his indiscreet womanizing. He reforms his way upon meeting the Queen of Spain ... Viveca Lindfors ... and ends up defending her against court upstart Robert Douglas. Flynn was coming off a series of commercial failures, so this was intended to be a return of his early success in swashbucklers. Sadly, this is not really a return to form. Raoul Walsh and Michael Curtiz both dropped out…

  • Blood Sabbath

    Blood Sabbath

    ★½

    Anthony Geary (of future "General Hospital" fame) is wandering around the countryside with a guitar when he is set upon by a group of naked hippie chicks and left for dead. He's rescued by a blond chick who lives in a lake ... she says she has to leave, but promises to return. Then he's rescued again (?) by an old hermit who lives in a shack by the lake. Our hero is obsessed with the lake woman ... old…

  • Hangman's House

    Hangman's House

    ★★★½

    Victor McLaglen is an Irish ex-patriot serving in the French Foreign Legion. He returns to Ireland to settle a matter of family honour. His quest for revenge puts his interests in line with a young couple who want to marry against her father's wishes. A silent drama from John Ford. Nothing very remarkable here ... it's a handsome production and McLaglen is, as always, quite good.

  • The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner

    The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner

    ★★★★

    Walter Steiner is a ski jumper who is so good that his jumps have become life threatening. His jumps have become so long that he is landing outside of the landing zone and landing in unsafe territory. Herzog follows him in a competition in Yugoslavia where the officials have to shorten the jump ramp twice and he still shatters the world record by 10 meters, landing disastrously and smashing his head on the ground. He still jumps a third time,…

  • Grand Theft Auto

    Grand Theft Auto

    ★★★½

    Nancy Morgan's rich parents want her to marry Barry Cahill, but she only has eyes for Ron Howard. When they declare him unsuitable, the couple steal her dad's Rolls Royce and head for Vegas to get married. When Cahill calls a radio station declaring a $25,000 reward for their retrieval, they are pursued by a motley collection of fortune seekers as they head for Vegas. Howard's directorial debut is pretty typical 1970's Roger Corman production. Howrd co-wrote the film with…