What was the last movie you saw?

Victoria Silverwolf

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Maciste in the Valley of the Thundering Echoes (La valle dell'eco tonante, 1964)

(The above title seems to have been added to the copy I watched on YouTube by a fan of this kind of sword-and-sandal epic. The more familiar English title is Hercules of the Desert, because it's assumed folks wouldn't be familiar with ubiquitous strongman Maciste. The version I saw also had French credits, but was dubbed in English. Everybody calls Maciste "Hercules," to add to the confusion.)

The setting is vaguely Middle Eastern. There's mention of Allah in the dialogue, but also "the gods," so don't try to pin things down. Somewhere beyond the title valley is a fabulous green land; everything else is desert. The problem is that folks can't pass through the valley because the constant loud roaring noise causes big rocks to fall on them. Our movie's beautiful but wicked princess gets together with four sheiks to seize the place by force. Meanwhile, there's a wandering tribe of folks to whom the place was promised in prophecy. The princess schemes to slaughter them, despite promising the sheiks that they'll get some of the land. Her grand vizier plans to marry her, but he's really in love with a woman pretending to be a sorceress.

The good folks enact a ritual that makes Maciste appear out of nowhere, establishing him as some kind of supernatural being instead of just a strong guy. He fends off the invaders through the strategy of throwing a gigantic boulder at them. Later, however, when he's off doing something else, they attack again and carry off the young women as slaves. Maciste goes off to rescue them and gets captured. The princess lets the slave girls go, intent on drugging Maciste so she can control his mind. The grand vizier tries to kill him instead, and the four sheiks have their own plans. (There's a ton of palace intrigue in this thing, most of which goes nowhere.) At the end, Maciste enters the valley and finds out that the roaring noise is caused by cave-dwelling folks banging on big hanging sheets of metal, and battles the Neanderthal-like beings, bringing the film to a goofy conclusion.

The usual feats of strength, fabulous sets and costumes, dancing girls, etc. It's a reasonbly entertaining example of the genre, made a little odder than most with Maciste's supernatural appearance and the weird cavemen.
 

alexvss

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Lake Mungo (2018). Just a great ghost story. Spooky rather than gory or shocking. Almost an M.R James story in a way.
You mean 2008, right? Or is there a remake that I don't know of? I really like Lake Mungo. It hits different!

Crash (1996). Another crazy train by David Cronenberg (I'm not sorry for the pun). A group of people is crazy about car accidents, and have sexual desires towards crashed vehicles. I liked the message a lot: people are always looking for something to satisfy their desires, but they never find it, even if they try crazy fetishes. And it's a Canadian movie, a rarity.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Ring of Darkness (Un'ombra nell'ombra, 1979)

Odd and somewhat muddled and goofy horror film. During the opening prologue, some women pledge themselves to Satan. As in many movies of this type, the Satanic ritual is pretty much just modern dance. Cut to about fifteen years later. One of the women has a sullen, rebellious teenage daughter named Daria. (At this point, I can't help but think of the cartoon character of the same name.) The implication is that she's Satan's child, and there's plenty of evidence for that as the film goes on. It all leads up to the final battle between mother and daughter, both nude, with Mom wearing silly-looking face paint. Along the way, we get the suicide of the daughter of another of the women, apparently because she didn't want to wind up as an agent of evil, a role Daria relishes. Because their liaison with Satan prevents them from having intimate relations with people, one of the other women becomes a prostitute, with no success. It seems that whenever she's with a client, Satan shows up and spoils things. Since Satan is just a very ordinary looking young man, who just stands there without doing or saying anything, this is unintentionally comic. There's no suspense at all, as Daria is in complete control from the start, and all efforts to stop her end in total failure. The final scene implies that she's about to do battle with the Pope. Not a good film, but eccentric enough to hold one's attention.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Blood Beach (1980)

Sedate monster movie. Pretty much boils down to a thing under the sand sucking people down and feeding on them. John Saxon and Burt Young liven things up a bit as cops investigating the situation. Not really a spoof, although it appears to have its tongue firmly in its cheek.
 

J-WO

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You mean 2008, right? Or is there a remake that I don't know of? I really like Lake Mungo. It hits different!

Crash (1996). Another crazy train by David Cronenberg (I'm not sorry for the pun). A group of people is crazy about car accidents, and have sexual desires towards crashed vehicles. I liked the message a lot: people are always looking for something to satisfy their desires, but they never find it, even if they try crazy fetishes. And it's a Canadian movie, a rarity.
Oops! I meant to type 2008. Apologies.
 

hitmouse

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Crash (1996). Another crazy train by David Cronenberg (I'm not sorry for the pun). A group of people is crazy about car accidents, and have sexual desires towards crashed vehicles. I liked the message a lot: people are always looking for something to satisfy their desires, but they never find it, even if they try crazy fetishes. And it's a Canadian movie, a rarity.
The film, which I have not seen, is based on the rather uncompromising book of the same name by JG Ballard. The book, is morally ambiguous as is usual for Ballard, and does not have that message.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)

Better than average Giant Radioactive Mutant Creature movie of the time. The monsters are huge caterpillar-like mollusks in the Salton Sea that drain their victims of body fluids. They actually built full-size models of these things, instead of enlarging photographs of real critters. They're kind of goofy and cool at the same time. Lots of time is spent on characterization, so you might need to be patient waiting for the monster attacks. There's a romantic subplot between Military Guy and Pretty Young Widow With Little Daughter that is a little corny, but manages to avoid being overly adolescent. It's kind of neat to see the great Hans Conried as Science Guy, giving an unusually quiet performance. Well worth a look for those who like this kind of thing.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The Man with Bogart's Face (1980)

Before the opening credits, the title character emerges from bandages to reveal that he's had his face surgically altered to look like Humphrey Bogart. (The actor is a fellow who made a career of his amazing resemblance to Bogart.) Then he sets himself up as a private eye named Sam Marlow, wearing a trench coat, etc. The universe seems determined to indulge him in his mad obsession, as he gets mixed up with multiple clients in a case involving a pair of priceless sapphires. Fistfights, gunplay, beautiful women, sinister men, etc. The Bogart imitation is darn near perfect, and many of the other characters resemble familiar cinematic archetypes. The movie works best when it's an affectionate pastiche of old movies, less so when it's a comedy.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery (1973/1975)

Oddball parody of hard-boiled detective films. A chicken farmer in a tiny desert town also advertises his services as a private eye. His first client is killed by an arrow in his office, so he hides the body and investigates the case. This all has something to do with a dead goat in a motel room, the town's richest man (who lives in a trailer, like everybody else in the place), and the weird, child-like adult daughter he keeps locked up in a barn, along with other eccentric characters. Mostly played very low key, despite the absurdity and occasional surrealism. (When stray bullets hit an inanimate object the thing spurts blood.) It's not so much hilarious as quirky enough to hold one's interest.
 

KGeo777

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THE SWINGER 1966 -- I heard the song for this and got curious about the movie. The movie is horrible. Really really horrible. The title song played in the movie isn't so good either. This version is much better:




ARIZONA COLT 1966 - How did I miss this one for so long? One of the best spaghetti westerns--closest in visual quality to a Leone one but more romantic. It was the song that brought me to it. What a great theme.

 

AE35Unit

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Basket Case 2 and Basket Case 3
Can't believe we sat through these. Dreadful, but definitely done for laughs. The daft thing is number 2 continues right where the original left off, except everyone is 8 years older!
 

JunkMonkey

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Omega Doom - part of my long term project to watch every film Rutger Hauer ever appeared in. Omega Doom is yet another reworking of Yojimbo but this time with robots. Lots of voice-over backstory tells us this particular post-apocalyptic landscape of abandoned factories somewhere in a former Iron Curtain country is the result of a war between robots and humans. The humans control the surface, the humans have retreated to somewhere unspecific offscreen. Hauer, playing a robot damaged in the last day of the war, and automagically reprogrammed by a stray bullet, walks into town. Two rival gangs of robots, who hate each other, have staring competitions across the town square. One of the badder robots of one of the gangs is abusing a weak robot who Hauer rescues. The abused robot becomes the old man backstory filling-in character from Yojimbo. (Greedy film. Voice-over narration backstory AND a backstory filling-in character!) There is a timid, neutral bartender (why robots need a bar where they can get drinks of water is never explained but there you go) who, being female, and having a snowglobe to remind her of the human children she once looked after, becomes both the bar owner and single mother characters from Yojimbo/A Fistful of Dollars... and all the rest.

Rutgerhauerbot starts to make deals, with one side against the other, and then vice versa, as both gangs try hold of the story's maguffin. Somewhere nearby (but not far enough away to stretch the budget too much) is a stash of guns which will make the robots invincible against the humans who (rumour has it) are about to emerge from somewhere unspecific and destroy them all. (Though why ancient projectile weapons are so valuable when all the robots have lightning fast reflexes, can shoot cheap video effect energy blasts, and can hold long boring conversations with sizeable parts of their body reduced to sparking junk is a mystery. But there you go.)

Lots of staring. Lots of blasting. A lots of 'what the f*ck is actually happening here?' later and just about everyone is dead. Old man bot - now wearing a female body, bartenderbot and lone surviving, redeemed killerbot watch Hauerbot walk off into the sunset (literally) knowing that he was reprogrammed by the humans 'with a purpose'.

Highlight of the movie? Spotting the moment the post-production budget ran out. In one of the shoot outs the head of one of the robot clans has a sizeable hole blasted in her midriff. Or rather her clothes have a sizeable hole blasted in them to reveal the green colour separation overlay material she is wearing underneath - and which continues to sit there being green for several shots because no one put any special effects over it.
 

Parson

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Black Widow -- It's a pretty good version of the Marvel universe movies. The best part is that almost all of the action shots were not FX but actually done by stunt people. I like the Black Widow character (I think Scarlett Johansson plays the part brilliantly) and the idea of gaining world wide power through "widows." As with all the Marvel Universe movies though, I'm almost totally flummoxed by the meta story line. The Black Widow dies in one of the "earlier" movies (by release date), but this move is set earlier in the story line, but later in release. Grrrr! My son who really loves these kinds of movies, seems to have this all down. I don't and it bugs me. The bigger plus? One of my granddaughters (12 years old) is also into this, and a three generation movie going is about as good as it gets.

The movie gets a solid 4 out of 5. I would give it a 5 if they could just release them in order!!!
 

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