Monday, March 2, 2015

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #205!

Girl on a Chain Gang  (Jerry Gross Productions, 1965)

For easier reading -

I haven't seen this potboiler, but reviews on the IMDB do not indicate incipient quality. I guess that's no surprise coming from good ol' Jerry Gross. And of course, I'd watch it anytime.

House of the Dead  (Artisan Entertainment, 2003)

This seems to be the movie that put director Uwe Boll on everyone's radar, and mostly with a giant bullseye painted on him. I haven't seen the movie (and can well imagine those who have will chide me to check it out and see how awful it is). I probably will give it a shot one of these days.

For Love & Money  (Crest Pictures Corporation, 1967)

Seemingly just another "look at those big boobs" movie - and I see nothing wrong with that, by the way - but this one does boast a story written by Ed Wood, Jr. - which increases the appeal of seeing it immensely.

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Uwe Boll Movie, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday Night at the Movies 2/28/15!

Who cares what picture we see?

Jamie Donahue seems like she would - so let's go with this one tonight...

While there's no denying there is a glut of zombie movies out there - and that the bulk of them are crap - there are some fun movies in there too. Here's a low budget Full Moon movie from 2000 - and it's not bad.

Nothing is extraordinary about it - the story is familiar - young filmmakers shooting a horror movie in an abandoned something or other accidentally revive a bad guy with the power to bring the dead back - the acting is just okay - but the effects are good and the movie moves along at a good clip.

Maybe not a gem, but worth watching - and on DVD in the video vault in case you don't hate the idea of coming over and watching it with me...tonight, even...

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Candid Tamara!

Cleopatra Jones  (Warner Bros., 1973)

Before the Camera:

Tamara Dobson  (Chained Heat)
Bernie Casey  (Never Say Never Again)
Shelley Winters  (The Poseidon Adventure)
Brenda Sykes  (Mandingo)
Antonio Fargas  (TV's Starsky and Hutch)
Paul Koslo  (The Omega Man)
Dan Frazer  (Lord Love a Duck)
Bill McKinney  (Deliverance)
Stafford Morgan  (Zebra Force)
Michael Warren  (TV's Hill Street Blues)
Albert Popwell  (Every Dirty Harry movie)
Caro Kenyatta  (The Young Nurses)
Esther Rolle  (TV's Good Times)
Jay Montgomery  (Black Gunn)
Angela Elayne Gibbs  (Number One with a Bullet)
John Alderman  (Malibu Express)
Eugene Jackson  (Coffy)
George Reynolds  (Dahmer vs Gacy)
Joe Tornatore  (Sweet Jesus, Preacherman)
Christopher Joy  (Seven)
Teddy Wilson  (Cotton Comes to Harlem)
Don Cornelius ... Himself 

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Jack Starrett

Produced by Max Julien and Bill Tennant

Written by Max Julien and Sheldon Keller from a story by Max Julien

Warner Bros jumped on the blaxploitation Bandwagon in the early 70's with this ripsnorting and funky comic book pitting African American Amazon Tamara Dobson against Whiny WASP Whackjob Shelley Winters. The story jumps right in as US Special Agent Cleopatra Jones (Dobson) arrives on foreign soil and takes over an operation to blow up some poppy fields - thus allowing this film to thumb its nose at James Bond - who had to blow up poppy fields as his climax in his concurrent release Live and Let Die - but Cleopatra Jones is just getting started, baby! We then pop back to the States to discover this legally sanctioned pyromania has not gone down well with the Crime Queen known as "Mommy" (!) (Winters). 

This hit to Mommy's pocketbook has torked her off royally - and now she wants Cleopatra Jones DEAD. Mommy scores first blood by somehow causing a local community center Cleo watches over to be hit by a surprise drug raid. Center honcho Reuben (Casey) knows there are no drugs to be found - but then some are. This brings Cleo running back to the U.S. and we get to sit back and watch as the lithe Ms. Jones cleans the clocks of several of Mommy's henchmen, mainly through the use of a not-particularly-fast style of kung fu that is nonetheless devastating to those it is used on. 

And while the two ladies circle each other at a distance, Doodlebug Simkins (Fargas), an enterprising lieutenant in Mommy's army begins to cut the apron strings and stakes out his own territory, starting with some of the film's running time as this becomes the major subplot in the picture. And although this puts Mommy at the disadvantage of battling on two fronts, she is more than up to the task, sending her minions out to do the dirty work while she lays back, scheming her dark schemes and periodically bellowing orders that sometimes only dogs can hear. Will even so formidable a woman as Cleopatra Jones be able to topple Mommy and her crime empire?

Cleo shows Mommy a very different meaning to
the word smack.

The Blaxploitation era started out with glimmers of the genre appearing in two studio released movies: They Call Me MISTER Tibbsand Cotton Comes to Harlem, both released in 1971. And then - as these things often do - in the independent film world, a talented filmmaker built on those elements; in this case Melvin Van Peebles and his classic Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which is now acknowledged as the first true film in the Blaxploitation cycle, released in 1971. After that everyone got in on the game, with more studio efforts - like Shaft - and more independents - such as Superfly - hitting the Big Screen on a regular basis as the 1970's continued. Most of these efforts were hard edged R rated flicks, with copious amounts of profanity, nudity, and graphic violence flying every which way onscreen. 

In an attempt to bring in an even bigger audience than was usual for these popular motion pictures, Warner Bros. decided to pull back on those elements a bit for their Cleopatra Jones, going with a PG rating. Sometimes this just results in a watered down product, but not here - this movie still has an edge; there's still drugs being dealt, people being shot, and plentiful action like chases and fights, and it works! Colorful and fast moving, the flick plays out like a Big Screen Comic Book, and it is a lot of fun! The film is directed by Jack Starrett, and this interesting fellow deserves a quick digression: Starrett started out as an actor, appearing in several biker movies in the 60's (like Al Adamson's Hell's Bloody Devils, reviewed in this bloghere) He also played Gabby Johnson in Blazing Saddles! He moved into directing, making several low budget action flicks that are all worth a look. After that it was back to acting, with his other most recognizable role being the nasty Deputy Galt - who wants to shave Rambo...dry -  in First Blood in 1982. Wild! And digression over.

I hate digressions.

Starrett handles his duties just fine here, making the most of the script by Max Julien - another actor! - best known as Goldie inThe Mack - and Sheldon Keller. The pace never flags, and the mayhem is orchestrated well and dealt out in regular doses.

    The late great Tamara Dobson is spectacular as Cleo; tall (6'2''!), dour, sardonic, and funny. She's not the fastest martial artist I've ever seen, but no matter how fast or slow the actress is, the character is exactly fast enough to lay waste to anyone foolish enough to challenge her. That the martial arts sequences were choreographed by Master Bong Soo Han (Klan from the "Fistful of Yen" segment of Kentucky Fried Movie) just makes them all the cooler. Shelley Winters reaches her screechy peak here, allowed by Starrett to not just chew the scenery, but to consume it in great fist fulls. She's a bit shrill, perhaps, but perfect for the movie. The supporting cast, led by the always-welcome Fargas, are all up to the game, sailing through with just a hint of a wink here and there. Standouts include Albert Popwell (the baddie in the original Dirty Harry who "gots to know...", and a supporting cast member in all of the sequels) and Caro Kenyatta as the brothers Johnson - two tough guys with hearts of gold enlisted by Cleo to assist her Mommy-mashing mission; and Bill McKinney, always hissable as a baddie and the reason Ned Beatty hasn't had a prostate exam since Deliverance. You also get a cameo from Mr. Soul Train himself - Don Cornelius! And an extra shout out goes to Paul Koslo as one of Mommy's most vicious henchmen, pulling off a successful British accent and saddled with the worst hair he's ever sported cinematically.   

    Speaking of cinematic, Dobson's fashions - designed mostly by the lady herself - must also be mentioned...though this fashion challenged movie blogger is going to let another writer describe the clothing on display...I'm not saying where I got it from...but it starts with a W and ends edia...."rich reds and yellows, tailored pantsuits, clinging silk shirts, voluptuous fur jackets, turbans, silk headdresses, and hooded capes." They are amazing, and Dobson wears them all with panache. My favorite is a kind of three toned bathrobe dress, split to the bellybutton, with Dobson in red nylons and platform heels - the actress cuts quite a figure in this outfit, and it gets well nigh incredible when those long legs come flashing out in kung fu kicks. 

And here it is now!

And while we're sticking in all these extra photos - here's one that shows you just what a striking and statuesque figure Ms. Dobson really was - here she is with Woody Allen on the streets of New York City in 1972:


But it's time to wrap this one up - the movie is a splendid piece of cinematic bubblegum, highly recommended to action junkies, so definitely check this one out!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At around 58:26, Joe Tornatore realizes that the bird has flown. 

Eye Candy ?

Do you even need to ask?

Hello to the newest winner, Ms. Tamara Dobson!

Buddha Man Sez: 

"You'll have a Jones for Cleopatra!"

Amen, BM! And til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #204!

Theme week!

1 movie, 3 posters!

Naughty New Orleans  (Rebel Pictures, 1954)

What appears to be a "shocking documentary" about New Orleans is actually given a fictional story wrapped around the segments with the girls you could meet on Bourbon Street in the mid 1950's - a prudish young man doesn't know what his girlfriend does for a living - but then finds out when he goes into the club she works at.

I haven'r seen it - and at 87 minutes it might be a little long - but I'd still check it out given the chance. As for the posters - #3 is my favorite - for providing more of a historical record of which performers appear in the movie if nothing else - but all three posters are fun.

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Night at the Movies 2/21/15!

Who cares what picture we see?

Barbara Howard would - she's a good girl like that - so we will go with this old favorite tonight...


I really love this fourth entry in the series. I enjoy all of the first four - but the original and this one might be the top two...I don't know...ask me on successive days and you might hear different answers.

But this one is really well done. Director Joseph Zito knocks it out of the park, as does his cast and crew.
Jason's back at the lake, this time menacing a rented house full of partying teens and catching the neighbors - a single mom family next door - as potential collateral damage. Add in the brother of a previous victim hunting Jason and Crispin Glover's dance moves - and you have an evening's entertainment.

Mention must be made of the makeup effects from a returning Tom Savini - and the uncredited performance of an stuntman and actor not thrilled by the job - other than the paycheck - back in the day but much more willing to meet up with the movie's fans at various horror conventions these days...

The great Ted White! If you'd like to see him endorsing this blog,
please go HERE.

I have a couple of DVD editions of this movie, so one is always close at hand if you'd like to come check it out with me - even tonight!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Celebrity Endorsement: Sid Haig!

Sid Haig has been around forever. He got started acting in the 60's - with movies like Spider Baby, and appearances on TV shows like Batman and Mission: Impossible.

He menaced James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever.

He was the villain on Saturday morning's Jason of Star Command in the 70's.

And he's still going strong!

He also knows good pop culture blogging when he sees it - and as you might expect if you know anything about him - he gets a little salty in his affection - so this clip is NSFW!

Thanks, Mr. Haig! Hey! Get out of there, Bill Moseley!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #203!

Running short of time - we're going sans words this time!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!