Showing posts from June 16, 2019

Review: North By Northwest

Ad exec Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) gets mistaken for someone named George Kaplan and is promptly kidnapped by thugs. And so it begins. Eva Marie Saint plays a mysterious woman on a train, James Mason is a dastardly villain, with Martin Landau his henchman. Jessie Royce Landis plays Thornhill’s mother who is absolutely no help to him at all, whilst Philip Ober turns up as Mr. Townsend, and Leo G. Carroll plays an important, shadowy figure observing Thornhill’s plight in rather detached fashion.

This 1959 film is a lot of people’s favourite Alfred Hitchcock (“The 39 Steps”, “Strangers on a Train”, “Vertigo”) film, or at least it seems to be Top 5 for many. I currently don’t even have it in my Top 10 of the 39 Hitchcock films I’ve seen, but make no mistake, it’s a rock-solid piece of ‘Wrong Man’ thriller entertainment. Hitch is in such full command here as a director, that he manages to time his requisite cameo with his on-screen credit appearing. Personally, I think “The 39 Steps” is …

Review: Godzilla vs. Gigan

Since he’s not really getting anywhere as a comic book artist, Gengo (Hiroshi Ishikawa) takes the advice of his karate-kicking girlfriend to go work for World Children’s Land, an amusement park dedicated to Godzilla (including a giant Godzilla tower). Unfortunately, he soon realises that the park is just a front for alien cockroaches (!) hell-bent on taking over the Earth. Aiding the aliens are monsters King Ghidorah and the titular Gigan, whilst Godzilla and Anguirus turn up to provide a counter-attack.

This silly 1972 Toho kaiju film from director Jun Fukuda (“Godzilla vs. Ebirah”, “Son of Godzilla”) and screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa (“Mothra”, “Godzilla vs. Mothra”, “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero”) marked the first of three Godzilla movie appearances by Gigan, followed by “Godzilla vs. Megalon”, and the much later “Godzilla: Final Wars”. In all three films Gigan is either the best and only good thing, or near enough to it. Regarded by many as being among the worst Godzilla films in th…

Review: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Under the guidance of her shrink (Terry Kiser), a young woman named Tina (Lar Park Lincoln) is staying at Camp Crystal Lake, along with her mother (Susan Blu) to work on her emotional issues. Tina, who has telekinetic powers (!) unwittingly revives zombified killer Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder), who then goes back to his usual line of work. I blame the shrink.

In this franchise, the word ‘New’ means about as much as the word ‘Final’. Directed by horror FX specialist John Carl Buechler (“Cellar Dweller”, “Ghoulies III”), this 1988 sequel has better cinematography than the previous “Jason Lives”, otherwise the result is pretty much the same sub-mediocrity. I’ve always felt that entries 5-7 were this series fumbling about trying to figure out what to do to keep the franchise alive and the $$ coming in. Last time, it felt a bit like one of the “Halloween” sequels but with Jason instead. This time out, it’s a mixture of “A New Beginning” (the fifth film, which I actually think was somewhat …

Review: Godzilla vs. Hedorah

A constantly evolving smog monster monikered Hedorah arrives to cause havoc across Japan. The solution? Giant radioactive fire-breathing lizard Godzilla.

Also known as “Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster” this 1971 kaiju film from director Yoshimitsu Banno (a second unit director with his second and last big assignment at the helm) and co-writer Takeshi Kimura (the brilliant “Destroy All Monsters”, as well as “Godzilla vs. Gigan” and “Godzilla vs. Megalon”) is one of the strongest Godzilla movies of the 1970s, possibly even the best from that period. It still takes a more juvenile POV than some of you might like, but unlike “Godzilla’s Revenge” and “Son of Godzilla”, I think this is a bit better made. Yes, there’s a kid in this one and we first meet him playing with a Godzilla toy and calling him his ‘superhero’. However, the uptick in quality here is definitely noticeable.

It’s a very environmentally-concerned film, albeit 1970s Japan’s version of environmentally concerned. Still, the fil…

Review: Godzilla’s Revenge/All Monsters Attack

Young Tomonori Yazaki gets bullied at school and largely left to himself at home. In between school and visits to a kindly toymaker friend (Eisei Amamoto) the boy imagines himself on Monster Island, where he watches Godzilla and son Minilla/Minya battle nasty monsters like Gabara. Somehow a bunch of bank robbers find their way into the plot.

Man, sometimes movies make it tough on me to grade. Case in point, this 1969 kaiju film from director Ishiro Honda (“Gojira”, “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero”, “Destroy All Monsters!”) and screenwriter Shinichi Sekizawa (“Mothra”, “Godzilla vs. Mothra”, “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero”). Considered by most to be among the worst in the history of Godzilla films, it’s certainly among the cheapest and silliest. There’s stock footage galore, and Godzilla’s cutesy son Minya/Minilla has unwisely been given the power of English-speaking skills. I can definitely see why people consider it a bad film. Hell, it probably is a pretty stupid film even by cheesy monster …