The Invisible Man
The Way Back
Blow the Man Down
Better Call Saul
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A sailor is taken to Malpertuis, a strange estate ruled by a sickly Cassavius (Orson Welles) from his bed; when Cassavius dies, the odd provisions of his will prod the bizarre residents into conflict. A collection of sometimes brilliant scenes that appears to be building to some kind of mystical revelation, but always pulls back just when things start to get interesting, and ends with a frustrating "dream inside a dream" climax. It was a flop that cut Harry Kumel's promising directorial career short; he claims that the problem was editorial butchering by United Artists, but the 120 minute director's cut is unsatisfying on its own.
After a shipwreck an aristocrat washes up on a deserted island where a paranoid madman rules from his castle, sentencing all who oppose him to the title dungeon. It's well-meaning attempt to create an original story in the style of Edgar Allen Poe, but it's a failure nonetheless. With double the budget, some script doctoring to clean up the sloppy dialogue, Vincent Price as the villain, and a cople pots of coffee to wake the rest of the cast from their stupor, it could have made for an average movie.
Vincent Price in three Nathaniel Hawthorne stories: a doctor discovers the secret of youth (and more); a student falls in love with a girl who literally kills anything she touches; a cursed man tempts fate by trying to take back an ancestral treasure from a ghost. Interesting tales, though the first two are a bit stagey and more science fiction than horror.
While riding a doomed train carrying a teenage band shooting a music video (!), God and Satan debate the eternal fate of three individuals, whose stories we then watch. Rather than anthology shorts shot specifically for this movie, however, these are full-length horror features that have been edited with a hacksaw to fit into twenty-five minute segments; needless to say, the results are incoherent. Jaw-dropping in its badness; a must-see for fans of crap cinema, and an "I dare you to watch this" movie for others.
The Chinese mafia kidnaps the daughter of a family who runs a martial arts school because they won't pay protection money; they organize a team to go after her. This is the kind of movie where motorcycles explode for no reason, the bad guys forget to tie up their victim, and a team of four guys beats an entire army without taking one casualty. It's cheap and dumb and made by people who are better at fighting than filmmaking, but it's one battle after another and it's never dull.
A honeymooner tracks his missing sister to a remote Greek island where the weirdo locals and expats are hunting for treasure and dealing with a sea monster. James Earl Jones' performance as a drunken, "Othello"-quoting archeologist is the only point of interest in this cheap and poorly designed creature feature that blatantly rips off better movies (e.g. JAWS).
A mystery writer (Agnes Moorehead) moves into a mansion where an embezzled fortune may be hidden, and has to deal with evil small-town doctor Vincent Price and a claw-gloved serial killer known as "the bat." The solution to this oft-filmed mystery play is obvious, but a campy Moorehead and Price keep this version watchable.
Three more stories from Frank Miller's "Sin City": a gambler (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) takes on a corrupt senator in a card game; P.I. Dwight (Josh Brolin) falls for a dame from his past (Eva Green), who's now married to a millionaire; and stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba) struggles to find the courage to avenge Hartigan (Bruce Willis). Although the stylistic novelty is gone, A DAME TO KILL FOR recreates the look and mood of the first film almost exactly, and should be a thrill for fans.
A hapless inventor develops a machine that makes food rain from the sky, rejuvenating his hometown's formerly sardine-based economy; things predictably get out of control. Luscious showers of cheeseburgers and avalanches of pizza, with a drizzle of smart, funny writing and a side of Mr. T as an overzealous cop make this a smorgasbord of entertainment.
A team of scientists explore underneath the Earth's crust and discover no mole people or other points of interest. Boring, cheap, and pointless. This "adventure" film is from producer Robert Lippert, which means lots of rock climbing.
Watch Mason Jr. survive a bratty sister, first love, and a succession of stepfathers as he grows from a boy to a man in this narrative experiment shot over 12 years with the same actors. Even though nothing out of the ordinary happens in BOYHOOD, it's strangely absorbing to watch the cast age in front of your eyes. I can't think of any other fiction film that so carefully imitates the intimacy of a good documentary.
A crew of filmmakers goes into the Amazon jungle, torments a primitive tribe, and then gets the tables turned on them. The irony of this disturbing movie is that it posits that modern society is more savage than the primitive cannibals, then proves it by filming sadistic scenes of real animal killing. Unique, and effective at times, but utterly reprehensible.
An amoral businessman, his neglected wife, and a straight-laced lawyer emerge from a scuba diving trip to discover that everyone else on the planet is dead. This cheap post-apocalyptic adultery drama manages to be even less interesting than the other movie Roger Corman shot back-to-back with the same cast and Puerto Rico locations, THE CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA.
A scientist trains a young man with deadly psychic powers (a "scanner") to infiltrate a group of fellow telepaths bent on world domination. A well-made, uniquely conceived horror thriller, although it lacks the psychological subtexts that make director David Cronenberg's best work dig under your skin.
A wealthy Korean man investigates the disappearance of his estranged stepbrother from a slum apartment complex; could he have been a serial killer? Although it's burdened by a large number of horror movie cliches and illogical behaviors, this K-horror also has enough mystery and psychological layers to earn a mild recommendation.
Shots of faces, followed by shots of buildings, then more faces, and sometimes hands or landscapes, all set to a rich minimalist score by Philip Glass. Now, in theory the human face is infinitely fascinating in its singular expressiveness, and this visual/musical experiment from the director of KOYAANISQUTSI has clear artistic heft; yet, like most people, I was bored.
An American student (Scarlett Johansson) develops godlike powers when she is accidentally dosed with an experimental drug. I'm not sure whether Luc Besson is just joshing around here or whether this the worst premise for a seriously intended science fiction movie of the year, but even the sight of Scarlett Johansson morphing into a black tentacled biocomputer can't compensate for the feeling that you're using less and less of your brain capacity the longer you watch this movie.
The unexplained 1900 Valentine's Day disappearance of four schoolgirls and a teacher affects the residents and neighbors of an all-girl college in Australia. This gauzy meditation on sexual repression and loss can have a hypnotic effect on those susceptible to its mysterious moods, while others find it an inconclusive bore. Both sides have an argument, but in general the good here outweighs the bland.
The male partner of a pair of centuries-old vampire lovers struggles with ennui. Not much really happens, but Jim Jarmusch's movie does a fantastic job of encasing us inside the vampires' immortal languor.