Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Video Vault of Mora Tau! 6/30/11

What vivacious clips shall we find to delight our eyes and caress our ears?

Let's go for Moore.

Much Moore!

Roger Moore!

First up - getting interviewed in Britain for A View to A Kill...

Then huffing some gas with Johnny Carson...

And we'll keep the lights on in the blog with a little ad action starring Sir Rog...

His word is his Bond, you know. Til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I bet it was when people called him Dali...

Picasso Trigger  (Malibu Bay Films, 1988)

Before the Camera:

Steve Bond  (TV's General Hospital)
Dona Speir  (Savage Beach)
Hope Marie Carlton  (Hard Ticket to Hawaii)
Harold Diamond  (Rambo III)
John Aprea  (Caged Heat)
Roberta Vasquez  (Hard Hunted)
Rodrigo Obregón  (The Dallas Connection)
Bruce Penhall  (Enemy Gold)
Cynthia Brimhall  (Do or Die)
Richard LePore  (Seven - the Andy Sidaris movie, not David Fincher's)
Nicholas Georgiade  (Fit to Kill)
Kym Malin  (Joysticks)
Patty Duffek  (Hard Ticket to Hawaii)
Liv Lindeland  (The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go)
Rustam Branaman  (Guns)
Wolf Larson  (90's TV Tarzan)
Guich Koock  (TV's Carter Country)
L.G. Abilene

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Andy Sidaris

Produced by Arlene Sidaris

Written by Andy Sidaris

    When I sat down to start this review, I was working on the jumping off point, and because Andy Sidaris is such an interesting filmmaker, I kept backing up in history to include more about him. Finally I realized I just need to do a Spotlight on the guy, and that way I can keep this review manageable in length. However, I may make references here that will be more fully covered in that post, so you might want to track that one down first...here's a link...go ahead, I'll wait...

This plane is in so many Malibu Bay movies it almost
deserves screen credit.
    Okay, glad you're back. Picasso Trigger becomes the third film in the golden chain of twelve flicks Andy made after his one offs Stacey (1973) and Seven (1979). (And Picasso Trigger manages to pull Seven in as another movie set in this unique universe - leaving only Stacey as the redheaded stepchild of the bunch. But then Malibu Express was pretty much a remake of Stacey anyway, so Stacey was more like a practice run.) The story here is as usual both simple and complicated - which is a truly difficult feat to pull off - but Andy managed it nearly every time he sat down with pen and yellow legal pad (his preferred way to write his movies, as he states in one of his behind the scenes features).     An international assassin named Salazar (Aprea), code name Picasso Trigger, is planning a major operation against the good guys, but in the opening moments of the film, he himself is shot dead in Paris, moments after donating a painting of a Picasso Trigger fish to a museum. How very ironic. His killer is revealed to be his doublecrossing partner Miguel Ortiz (Obregon), and then Ortiz gets a little kill crazy and starts knocking off spies working for The Agency, to revenge the death of his brother before the movie started. Agency bigwig L.G. Abilene (Koock) sends out his nephew Travis (Bond) - one of the famed Abilene boys - to head up a mission full of buxom Agency operatives to find out who's assassinating his spies, and Travis and his partners Donna (Speir) and Taryn (Carlton) are going to need some big weaponry (and the ladies additionally will be needing some lingerie and a couple of minutes to freshen up in the shower.) Luckily the Professor (LePore) from Seven drops by to get all Q Branch and hands off some great explosive tools for bad guy removal. From there we jet all about from Paris to Hawaii to Texas and back, keeping the action on high boil and the finger on the trigger...the Picasso Trigger...

"Power suits" and "work commute" take on a whole new meaning in
Andy Sidaris movies...

Just like the poster says - it's an Andy Sidaris movie - he writes and directs; his wife Arlene Sidaris produces - and with this third movie in the series they have the formula down to a science - gorgeous guys and gals running around and shooting large guns, getting into fights, and blowing something up every seven or eight minutes.

There is copious nudity, explosive boomerangs, love scenes, boat chases, shower scenes, and best of all - a crutch that contains quite a surprise thanks to the Professor! And it is completely awesome that Richard LePore drops in, as his engaging characterization from the previous movie hasn't dimmed a bit. I wish he could have been in more of the Big Twelve. Also, though it's not directly referenced - it sure seems like Guich Koock's Seven character Cowboy might have given up the nickname to become Agency Honcho L.G. Abilene, which also makes him uncle (father? really older brother? Doesn't matter - go with it) to the wide ranging Abilene boys. If that's not enough to entice you - how about a cast featuring seven Playboy Playmates? What about a stage show starring the quartet...er...duo... above?  If you've never seen an Andy Sidaris you really should check one out - if you have seen one you should certainly see another. Or another eleven.

How I wish I could have
seen this in a theater...

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At roughly around 40:00 Roberta Vazquez is tired of the Pinelog Inn.

Eye Candy ?

Oh my stars and garters yes! Where to begin?

Dona Speir
Roberta Vasquez

Hope Marie Carlton
I'll limit myself to four. Ladies! Welcome aboard!

Cynthia Brimhall

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Picasso Trigger is locked and loaded...
with entertainment!"

You ain't just whistling Dixie there, Buddha old chum! And I'm going to whistle something to take us to the next post, and until then, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #23!

Words? We don't need no stinkin words! We need MOVIE POSTERS!

Tidal Wave  (Toho, 1974/New World Pictures, 1975)

Lorne Greene needs a towel!
This was a big budget Japanese disaster movie called The Submersion of Japan, with incredibly painstaking and detailed special effects scenes showing, er, the submersion of Japan. Roger Corman got the American rights to it a year later, cut an hour out of the running time, added a few minutes of cheaply shot scenes of Lorne Greene sitting at a desk on the phone and presented the result to a breathlessly waiting America as Tidal Wave to jump on the disaster movie bandwagon. I love Roger Corman.

Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster/Curse of the Voodoo  (Allied Artists, 1965)

I wonder if the Space Shield Eye Protectors could protect you from seeing the movie? I kid! I'm a kidder! It's actually one of the finest "NASA android gets facially damaged and battles an alien creature starring Return of the Living Dead's James Karen" movies ever made! I don't know much about Curse of the Voodoo except it's British and was a year old when it was shanghaied into playing second feature for FmtSM. So there you go.

Speaking of British...

Are You Being Served? The Movie  (Thorn EMI, 1977)

Actually, I'm pretty sure they weren't free - as you would have needed to pay for a ticket to see this in the cinemas. In any case, if you've ever enjoyed the antics of this bunch as the Britcom is a PBS station perennial here in the US, did you know they made a feature film too? It's a fairly thin affair, almost as low budget as the Spanish vacation the staff of Grace Brothers department store takes in the film - but they did make a movie, and it has the weirdness of also starring (though he's nowhere on that poster) Andrew Sachs - Manuel from Fawlty Towers - as a Manuel retread in the Spanish hotel. In any case - the movie is on DVD and was available from Netflix a while back if you're so inclined.

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

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies! 6/25/11

Who cares what picture we see?

I'm relatively positive Matt Lattanzi cares deeply about it, so I think that means we'll have to go with this one...

Forget the campy stage musical. Forget its reputation as a megabomb of its time. This is a very sweet and old fashioned movie musical, trying in vain to be up-to-the-minute for 1980, roller disco sequences notwithstanding. For a confirmed ONJ fan from Grease forward, this was a wonderful hour and a half in the lovely lady's presence, and with the added bonus of Gene Kelly in his last theatrical film. We'll leave the miscast Michael Beck alone, as he tries hard.

Two other tidbits - this movie was one of the first three I ever rented on home video - it was on Beta! (The other two for completists were Laserblast and Halloween. I have no idea how long it was before I rented something with more than one word in the title.)

And after working with Gene Kelly's nephew on a cable movie in the early 90's, I was floored a month or two after the show wrapped when a large manila envelope showed up in my mail out of the blue - containing the following 8X10:

Here's a crappy smartphone pic of one of the crown jewels
in my collection, direct from my scrapbook!

As for Xanadu, the movie is available for viewing at any time, even tonight, should you care to come by this evening and watch it with me!

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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I only know Christopher and Nicholas...

Two milestones to celebrate!

LGOOH has reached 25 followers! Woohoo!

And this review is the 200th blog post! Huzzah!

Mystery of the 13th Guest  (Monogram Pictures, 1943)

Before the Camera:

Helen Parrish (You'll Find Out)
Dick Purcell  (Captain America in the 1942 serial!)
Tim Ryan  (Detour)
Frank Faylen  (TV's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - he was Dobie's dad!)
Johnny Duncan  (Robin in the 1949 Batman and Robin serial!)
Jon Dawson  (Delinquent Daughters)
Paul McVey  (Bwana Devil)
Jacqueline Dalya  (Charlie Chan in Rio)
Cyril Ring  (I Wake Up Screaming)
Addison Richards  (The Mad Ghoul)
Lester Dorr  (Quicksand)

Behind the Camera:

Directed by William "One Shot" Beaudine

Produced by C.J. Bigelow and Lindsley Parsons

Written by Tim Ryan, Charles Marion, and Arthur Hoerl    
based on the novel "The 13th Guest" by Armitage Trail

    This is one of those lovely little B pictures with a running time around an hour and getting right off to a start as a young woman arrives at a creepy old house out in the middle of nowhere. Turns out the joint is her ancestral family home, and she's come back after several years for an anniversary get together. But then she's murdered! Or is she?
     That's just one of the conundrums facing tough guy detective Johnny Smith (Purcell) as he teams up with the murdered woman (!) to try to solve a mystery that's fairly convoluted for occupying only 60 minutes. There are flashbacks of events from thirteen years previous; a mysterious masked misanthrope whose love of booby trap murder weapons predates Jigsaw by about sixty years; and the expected comic relief from supporting dimwits. Can even the man who was about to be the first movie Captain America solve...The Mystery of the 13th Guest?

Stupid interweb with no pictures from this movie. *sigh*
Here's another poster instead.

Eat your heart out, Chris Evans!

    I like these snappy little mystery flicks - they blow by even if the pace is a little slow; they have twisty mysteries, tangy dialogue, and little bursts of creepiness and action that keep things moving right along. They usually played the lower half of a double bill but I think they're the tops! This story was filmed ten years previously as The 13th Guest - which gets a little more attention online as they lady lead was a young Ginger Rogers. I haven't seen that one, but I like this one just fine. There's not much more to say - if you don't mind your movies being a little old and color challenged, then this is a safe bet, so check this one out!


Let's Get Out of Here ?

At around 40:00, Dick Purcell grows tired of his surroundings.

Eye Candy ?

There's not a really good picture on the entire interweb that shows her as cute as she is in the movie, but here's her badunkadunk, 40's style - welcome to the list, Helen Parrish!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "The Mystery of the 13th Guest is a fun flick,
even if they never do solve the title conundrum..."

Gee, I guess they didn't, huh, BM? Well in any case, til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Video Vault of Mora Tau! 6/22/11

We have no time for words!

It's time for Video!

Let's get a wee bit random - how about an Italian Dukes of Hazzard fan film?

Okay, check. Next, what can we find that contains four insane boys, ages 17 to 21; Carl Ballantine; a double fistful of maraccas and a really fun pop song from the 60's?

And let's wrap the whole thing up by paying the bills with a little ad action...

And done! Finished! Til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #22!

Movie posters await us...

Shotgun Wedding  (Arkota, 1963)

Another movie I haven't seen, but then I prefer my films to be in Blazing Redneck color...

Alien from LA  (The Cannon Group, 1988)

It's not really that fantastic an adventure, but it is kind of a cute little movie.

Varan the Unbelievable  (Crown International, 1962)

The cast of thousands refers to Sam Thousands, Myron Healy's butcher,
who dropped by the set with a load of rump roast for Healy and was
roped into walking through one scene. This is actually a unique Japanese
monster movie - in that every frame that isn't monster or special effects
was reshot with a new story for the American edition - meaning not one
frame was dubbed! And the story is pretty different from one to the other!

Or maybe not. In any case, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Who's Your Daddy?

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very

Happy Father's Day!

Here's me and my pop - without whom, obviously, there wouldn't be a Let's Get Out of Here!

The very model of decorum.

Nah, we were just waiting to get our dance on!

My father and I share a great fondness for Westerns and action movies - too many to pinpoint one here - but there is one particular pop culture phenomena we both go apecrap over:

That's from the fifth season of Mission: Impossible, with a slightly different cast and a funky version of the famous theme song. We always watch several episodes of the seven season series each time my wife and I go to visit.

I have to get going - need to call my pop! Til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies! 6/18/11

Who cares what picture we see?

James Best very well might, and since he's been busy lately, there's good reason to check this one out!

    Wow that is a truly wicked awesome poster! This is a movie I never saw as a kid, finally catching up to it right after college on local television. Being a huge Dukes of Hazzard fan (something I haven't acknowledged on this blog - an oversight of epic proportions!) I enjoyed seeing James "Rosco P. Coltrane" Best himself playing a boat captain trapped with several others on an island full of mutated outsized rodents with big sharp teeth.
    The movie has suffered a lot of ribbing over the years, and even got zapped by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang - but you know what? I reviewed the movie for my old Mad Mike newsletter back in 1990 or so, and what I said then still stands - this is not a bad old flick, and the effects are really pretty cool until the shrews get shown too much towards the end of the movie.

    And there's a double reason for making it tonight's movie choice - not only is it well worth a watch - a sequel just wrapped filming!! And it's got James Best in it, reprising his role as Captain Thorne Sherman! That's an incredible fifty-two years between original movie and sequel - which has got to be the new world record!

    Director Steve Latshaw and I have almost known each other for years now - which is probably news to him - but he and I were both knocking around Southern Illinois University in Carbondale Illinois in the mid 80's, and we've been online acquaintances through director Fred Olen Ray's late lamented Retromedia Forum site for the last few years before Mr. Ray closed the cyber doors earlier this year. Steve Latshaw went on from Southern Illinois to become a successful writer/producer/director of movies like Dark Universe, Jack-O, and Vampire Trailer Park. He also recently wrote the Dolph Lundgren action flick Command Performance, which is bound to turn up here sooner or later in review form.
    Latshaw has assembled a hell of a cast for the new Killer Shrews movie - in addition to Mr. Best, there's a mini Dukes reunion as both John Schneider (Bo Luke) and Rick Hurst (Deputy Cletus Hogg) are on hand to battle the toothy menaces. The movie also features a guy who knows a thing or two about killer rodents - Willard himself, Bruce Davison! These veterans are supported by some fresh young faces who've appeared on several popular TV shows like Zoey 101, Desperate Housewives, and Monk.

Here's a look at a possible poster for the new movie:

Isn't that just awesome! I am super excited to see this new movie - while we wait for the release, you can check out the movie's website:

They also have a Facebook page, and there are several other website links available through the movie's site.

And in the meantime, the original 1959 movie sits ready to spin on DVD in my video vault, and we could be watching that one as soon as...tonight! If you care to drop by, that is!

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

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cannell Lope!

Yes boys and girls, time for another visit to

Bookworm's Book Club!

Riding the Snake  (Avon Books, 1999) Prolific television producer Stephen Cannell turned to some new interests as the 21st century approached, producing movies, doing more acting, and writing novels. The first few books were one shot stories, but eventually the siren call of continuing characters got him and he settled in to a series of novels starring "Shane Scully." But this is one of the earlier standalone efforts, his fourth. The story can be boiled down to Cannell's favorite recipe: mismatched partners who learn to work together and find they're more effective as a team. In this case the opposites thrown together are Wheeler Cassidy and Tanisha Williams. Wheeler's a dissolute millionaire's son pissing his privileged life away with too much booze and too many married women; Tanisha's a woman straight out of Compton working as a police officer and trying to bust the glass ceiling, walls, and floor that surround her with sexism and racism. They meet when Wheeler's brother Prescott is murdered - Prescott, the golden boy of the Wheeler family, who did everything right that Wheeler did wrong. But then, who would murder such an upright citizen? The clues point to the Chinese Tongs and as Wheeler and Tanisha bicker over their separate investigations, it begins to appear maybe Prescott was more deeply involved than it seemed; in fact. possibly involved with the Tongs in a way no "upright citizen" should be. The mystery takes the duo across the country and even around the world to China, with criminals wielding swords and diplomatic immunity chasing after them, ready to kill. Will Wheeler and Tanisha be able to stay alive long enough to learn to work together, let alone solve the crime?

Because no blog post should be without photos, here's a
recent pic of the late great Stephen Cannell with one of his
series stars - one of my faves - Daniel Hugh Kelly from TV's
Hardcastle and McCormick.
    I've always enjoyed Cannell's writing, first on television and now in prose form. I've been reading his novels chronologically, and he got better with each successive book - and they weren't bad to begin with. He has of course, sadly passed away recently. But he was a very good writer. And this is a really good book. Yeah, it has the mismatched partners shtick, but this novel goes quickly beyond that - with a fast pace, lots of action, and most importantly, some really cool insights into Chinese culture. I have no idea if Cannell researched all this within an inch of his life or was making stuff up whole cloth, but it all sounds completely plausible and is just fascinating. There's also a terrific subplot about a downtrodden Chinese man desperate to escape his horrible life in China for even a chance at life in the West. If you've ever enjoyed any of Cannell's many TV shows, or you like action suspense novels, I give Riding the Snake a high recommendation. Check this one out! (Of the library, even, if needs be!)

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

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Video Vault of Mora Tau! 6/16/11

Yes, let's dig into the VVoMT, and see what we might see...

Let's take a look at a couple of my current favorite TV openings:

Here's the opening for the sadly cancelled show The Good Guys (Fox):

This show was hilarious - it quickly jumped high on my list of faves - so of course the plug was pulled. *sigh*

Here's another set of opening credits I just adore - Psych (USA)- this is from a season or two back, but it's another set of funny show images set to a rockin' tune:

Psych is a truly fun and funny show - light hearted mysteries about a fake psychic with an incredible gift for observation and his lifelong best friend - with incredible byplay between series stars James Roday and Dule Hill. One of the best ways the show has demonstrated their sense of humor is the willingness to change the opening and opening theme for certain episodes. Here's one of those for a holiday edition:

And when they did a Bollywood episode:

And best of all - this past season Psych did a tribute to the show Twin Peaks with an episode entitled "Dual Spires" and they got several Twin Peaks cast members to appear in the episode, including Sheryl Lee, Ray Wise, Dana Ashbrook, Catherine Coulson, Robin Lively and Lenny von Dohlen. To top off this very funny hour, here's how the theme song went down that week:

And that's really Julee Cruise - the singer from the original Twin Peaks!

And how 'bout that? You can watch the openings to five episodes of television in just under three minutes!

And now you can watch me say til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cuz Marvel mutants don't fly coach, baby...

X-Men: First Class  (20th Century Fox, 2011)

It's hard to find the real poster as most theaters now just stick up the teaser
version and you never really see the release poster. And then there are all the
fake ones on the internet; some of which look better than the real one! In any
case, this was my fave among the choices; I think it's a non quad UK version.

Before the Camera:

James McAvoy  (Bollywood Queen)
Michael Fassbender  (Inglorious Basterds)
Kevin Bacon  (Friday the 13th '80)
Rose Byrne  (Bridesmaids)
Jennifer Lawrence  (Winter's Bone)
Oliver Platt  (Lake Placid)
Álex González  (The Good Boy)
Jason Flemyng  (Spice World)
Zoë Kravitz  (Assassination of a High School President)
January Jones  (TV's Mad Men)
Nicholas Hoult  (Clash of the Titans)
Caleb Landry Jones  (The Last Exorcism)
Edi Gathegi  (My Bloody Valentine 3-D)
Corey Johnson  (Out for a Kill)
Lucas Till  (Battle: Los Angeles)
Glenn Morshower  (Dead and Buried)
Matt Craven  (Indian Summer)
James Remar  (48 Hours)
Ray Wise  (Robocop)
Brendan Fehr  (Final Destination)
Michael Ironside  (Scanners)

Behind the Camera:
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Produced by Gregory Goodman, Simon Kinberg, Josh McLaglen, Tarquin Pack, Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, and Stan Lee

Written By Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn / Sheldon Turner (story) and Bryan Singer (story)

Based on characters and concepts created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Stan Lee brought a novel twist to the superhero genre in the early 60's: he made his heroes shlubs like the rest of us out of costume. Together with his co-creators, artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he found a lot of success with titles like The Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Incredible Hulk. For his next effort, Lee thought of taking the "regular joe"concept a bit further - what if he had a group of heroes born with their powers - mutants - and instead of being regaled as heroes, they were instead feared and hated by most of the world for their physical and mental superiority? And with that, he and Jack Kirby sat down and put together The Uncanny X-Men, a title that had a comparatively unspectacular run throughout the 1960's. The comic was cancelled in 1970, but the characters popped up in guest spots in other comics throughout the early 70's, and their old comics were reprinted and did as well if not better in sales the second time out. It seems the age range for comics had shifted up, and teens going through all their hormonal angst were beginning to discover that the X-Men and their weird body changes and disgruntled view of a world that viewed them negatively really struck home. So Marvel revamped the team, and relaunched the comic in 1975. This time the combo of the original concept with the new characters and some deeper storytelling sent the sales through the roof, and for about the next 20 years anything Marvel released that was mutant related sold like hotcakes, especially so if it had an "X" in the title.

Left to right - Magneto, Moira McTaggart, Emma Frost, Azazel, Beast, Havoc, Angel, Mystique, and Professor X.
Not pictured - the mutant Photoshoppo, who can make people appear in the same picture despite no proximity...

    The X-Men came to the movie world in 2000 in Marvel's first respectable showing as a purveyor of filmic entertainment; and everyone seems to agree that the sequel X2 (2003) really hit it out of the park. However, most seem to feel that X-Men: The Last Stand is terrible because regardless of what ended up on screen there was an asshat behind the camera; and no one seems to like the spinoff X-Men Origins: Wolverine all that much for some reason. Personally, I enjoyed all of them to varying degrees, but none were less than entertaining. And now comes the fifth film in the franchise. And boy howdy did they take this one in a different direction. The first three movies detail a running battle between Professor Charles Xavier and his mutant students - the X-Men - against Xavier's former friend Erik Lensherr - now known as the villain Magneto - and his army of evil mutants. The Wolverine flick dropped this plotline to concentrate on one of the most popular of the new (1975) mutant team members and his early days. And now comes this new movie, which drops back in time (too far?) to show the early days of mutants Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, starting with their childhoods in 1944. There's a lot of plot here, so I'm going to try to boil this down a bit to keep this post from running from now until doomsday - the main plot picks up in 1962. Xavier (McAvoy), with his mental telepathy and mind control is now a world expert on mutants. Lensherr (Fassbender), the master of magnetism, is now a revenge seeking Nazi hunter. They come together along with the CIA when it turns out they are all trying to stop the same man: Sebastian Shaw (Bacon); the mysterious mutant head of the evil Hellfire Club. Shaw's got delusions of Bond villain as he plans to take over the world with his squad of evil mutants, even if he has to start World War III to do it. Xavier and Lensherr begin recruiting their own mutant team to stop the madman, and among them are some familiar faces for those up on the comic lore; others are newbies to the story. While the superhero action comes fast and furious as the two groups battle for supremacy, a rift begins to tear at the men's new friendship when Lensherr's violent methods do not set well with the more peaceful Xavier. And then a load of Russian nuclear missiles headed to Cuba becomes the catalyst that may set off a nuclear holocaust, and the two men are forced to work together for what will likely be the last time, win or lose. Can they stop Shaw in his crazed bid for ultimate power?

"I told you not to order the refried beans and guac, didn't I? Somebody turn on the fan!"

The second of three Marvel comics movies to hit the Big Screen this season, this is a thoroughly engaging
movie which surpasses the entertaining Thor and arguably takes the top spot in the X-movies as well. Setting the movie as far back as 1962 has some problems if this is to be taken as a precursor to the other films in the series - Halle Berry wasn't even born in 1962, for one thing - but what a terrific palette of fashion and design it gives the filmmakers to play with! After a dark and rightfully somber opening sequence, the 1962 section kicks the movie into high gear.
"You know the first movie I was in was set in 1962 too.
Perhaps you've heard of Animal House?"
"Oh, yeah, I think that came out the year I was born!"
Tapping into the current cultural zeitgeist for the early 60's brought about at least in part by the TV series Mad Men (and even borrowing one of its actresses), this movie gives us an almost playful look at the decade before the dramatics take over and things take a more serious turn for the final act. The middle section is very much like a pastiche of the James Bond movies of the time, with spy gadgets, big villainous lairs, and eye popping sets and effects. I also love the incredibly short skirts on all the ladies - each roughly four inches higher up the leg than you probably would have found in the real 1962, but appreciated here nonetheless! The storyline takes elements from all the way back to the original Lee and Kirby run, and mixes them like a dry martini with twists and turns layered in from across almost 50 years of comics history. Hey, speaking of Stan Lee - where was his cameo? He's been popping up in larger and more important cameos in the last several Marvel movies - and then he's nowhere to be seen in this movie despite giant conference tables full of military guys and businessmen. *sigh* At least there is another well placed walk-on for a familiar face...but that's all I'm going to say about that.
    And not having our Stan Lee moment is a total quibble, because this movie is simply a lot of fun. The actors are all well suited to their roles, with leads McAvoy and Fassbender suggestive of their older counterparts (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen for those not paying attention) without resorting to full on impressions. As the Big Villain, Kevin Bacon lives up to his last name - and you all know how much I love bacon! He's so nasty in the opening scenes my wondrous wife Suze leaned over and advised she hoped he was just doing a cameo because she wanted to see him reach a bad end very soon in the movie. But he is the wily main baddie, and is terrific in the role. The younger cast members acquit themselves well; and the supporting cast is well sprinkled with familiar faces. The effects are stupendous, and I was very pleased to see ol' John Dykstra (Star Wars) listed as the Visual Effects Designer. This one goes beyond being a good superhero movie. It's a good movie, period. So, what has two thumbs and gives this a solid recommendation? 

Who says this isn't the LGOOH Age of Blog Cameos in Stan Lee's honor?

Let's Get Out of Here ?

As seems to always be the case - I'm listening so hard for the line I don't hear it - if it's there. More research to come!

Eye Candy ?


For never wearing more than 1 square yard of material across her entire body for the entire film - January Jones is in!

I don't care that it's June. I've got a January Jones now!

For proving that actresses can be blue for reasons other than an enviromental temperature below 80 degrees and .01% body fat, and still look sexy - Jennifer Lawrence brings home the prize!

A blonde vision - a blue fantasy - one and the same, sharing the name - Jennifer Lawrence.

For proving that I do find brunettes attractive, especially when they step up to the plate and drop trou for a nice lingerie scene - Rose Byrne completes our winner's circle this time out!

This is not the outfit she wears in the movie - but it is this
blog artist's representation of it...

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "X-Men First Class lives up to its title
in all departments."

Thank you Mr. Man, and til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Maniacal Movie Poster Monday #21!

Let's look at some movie posters!

Cyclone  (Cinetel Films, 1987)

One of my faves - check out that cast - and then really get excited when I tell you it's got a cameo from Huntz Hall!

The Cosmic Man  (Allied Artists, 1959)

I haven't seen this one, but, hey, it's got John Carradine in it - so you know it has to be good!

Salt and Pepper  (United Artists, 1968)

This is about as groovy as a movie can get! Yeah, baby!

Good stuff for sure! And til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Night at the Movies! 6/11/11

Who cares what picture we see?

Rick Moranis probably doesn't, actually - that guy's got Other Stuff going on these days...

but that doesn't mean we can't pick this one:

First we got this cool teaser poster a couple of months before the movie's premiere...

Then came the release version:

I really love this movie - one of the best to mix belly laughs with some actual scares. Reading later how many of the classic lines are ad-libs, especially Bill Murray's -  I love it all the more.

Now here's a bonus treat - there's a very talented man named Ivan Guerrero who has used his editing and filmmaking skills to make up some movie trailers for flicks as though they'd been made decades before - and if that doesn't make sense, just take a look at the clip and all will be made clear - incredible work, Mr. G!

I give you Ivan Guerrero's Ghost Busters, 1954 style....

Man - that guy is good! And speaking of good, the 1984 Ghostbusters (or is it Ghost Busters since there is a break onscreen, even in the trailer) is a lot of fun, and I have it on DVD ready to roll should you care to come by this evening!

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

Friday, June 10, 2011

Buddha Man Academy: Mission to Moscow!

Just when we thought the review war was over, leave it to this guy to heat it up again...

The Doll Squad (1973) People often ask me "Why do you watch all of those weird/awful/strange/bad movies?" Because every once in a while I see a movie as terrific as this one! This low budget action flick from producer/director Ted V. Mikels hits all the right notes and entertained me thoroughly from first frame to last. Bad guy Michael Ansara (Star Trek) is a renegade ex-CIA agent with delusions of Bond villain: he topples a rocket launch to get the US government's attention and then blackmails them with threat of a new super-bubonic plague he'll release everywhere. His price: to be made leader of the world! The US government's response? Agent Anthony Eisley (Dracula vs. Frankenstein) gives the word: send in the greatest counter espionage force in the world: The Doll Squad! Led by redhead Sabrina (Francine York), these women (including the notorious Tura Satana-Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) live by the three B's: bikinis, bullets, and bombs! They launch an all out assault on Ansara's island base and the bad guys don't stand a chance!




(Well, he's not going to get anywhere with her!)

This is the most entertaining movie I've seen from the ever eclectic Mikels, with lots of terrible 70's fashions, action, bikinis, machine guns, stunts and explosions, all set to a hip and happening 70's score. It's especially fun to notice not one explosion is done live, every one of them is instead superimposed in. (Safety first must be Ted's motto.) Strangely, there is no full nudity, though Tura does get in one scene with pasties. On the violence side though, we got kung fu, gun fu, knife fu, cigarette lighter flamethrower fu, bottle busted over head fu, bazooka fu, electric cord on wet guy fu, sword fu and explosive Mickey Finn fu! Awesome! Now, a lot has been said and written, starting with Ted V. Mikels himself, that this movie might have influenced producer Aaron Spelling into creating Charlie's Angels. It is interesting that the smart leader of the Doll Squad is named Sabrina, the same as the "smart one" of the Angels. I see the similiarities (women in sexy clothes battling bad guys) but there are differences too. The Angels usually went undercover in sexy outfits to get evidence to bring the bad guy down. The Doll Squad takes a boat out to the island and lays waste to everyone on it. I can see both sides, guess I'll stay on the fence for this one. But in any case, if you enjoy fast moving 70's style low budget action, you have got to check this one out!

Murder on Flight 502  (Spelling-Goldberg Productions, 1975)  Although there were a lot of original and entertaining TV movies made during the heyday of the 70's and 80's, the creators of these flicks also had a tendency to jump on any feature film bandwagons Hollywood was parading around in those decades. Sometimes it was a direct ripoff of one particular movie: Magnum Force comes out in 1973, pitting Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry Callahan against murderous vigilante cops. A few months later, the TV movie The Death Squad premieres, with Robert Forster pitted against murderous vigilante cops. Other times it was just a smaller scale movie in the same genre, like this flick. Hollywood was deep into its ten year long love affair with the disaster movie, which had kicked off in 1970 with the release of Airport. So here comes this potboiler from the same producers who gave the world Charlie's Angels (and this is the second review in the same blog post to mention that show...hmmm...) with one of the Angels in a supporting role. This one follows Airport's blueprint pretty closely, though on the required smaller TV budget, natch. Airport had bona fide movie stars (Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, George Kennedy); MoF5 has bona fide TV stars (Robert Stack, Hugh O'Brian, George Maharis). Airport had aging supporting actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (Van Heflin, Helen Hayes, Lloyd Nolan); MoF5 has aging supporting actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (Ralph Bellamy, Laraine Day, Walter Pidgeon). The story here has airport security guy Maharis finding a letter after flight 502 takes off that advises murder will be done on the plane before it touches down at its destination. Amongst much personal drama on the plane (in a stroke of luck, every single person flying has it in for someone else on the plane) Captain Stack and off duty cop O'Brian investigate. They have lots of suspects, starting with pesky teen Danny Bonaduce, and continuing right on down the line; from mysterious foreigner Theodore Bikel to angry suburbanite Dane Clark; from spicy latin lover Fernando Lamas to the stewardesses - Farrah Fawcett and Brooke Adams. But they save their hairiest eyeballs for "rock star" Sonny Bono, which I'm sure you will agree was far and away the right choice.

Fernando Lamas and Polly Bergen converse
while sitting on giant Cheez-Its.
There's a lot of talking, and most of the production value budget went to the wall-to-wall recognizable faces in the cast, so there are only a couple of stock plane exteriors, Definitely no dynamic daredevilry or stunt work involved. Director George McCowan was mostly a TV director who did get in a couple of Zowies on the Big Screen - how about the back to back superflicks The Magnificent Seven Ride! and Frogs in 1972 alone? If that doesn't impress you, he also helmed the Canadian Star Wars ripoff The Shape of Things to Come in 1979!    
    But I digress.
    We're here to discuss Murder on Flight 502, and wrapping it up - it only runs 74 minutes, since in those days most TV movies were made to fit a 90 minute TV slot with commercials. Later, the standard became 100 minutes to fit a 2 hour slot, and then that was whittled down to around 90 minutes to fit a 2 hours slot before the TV movie went into semi-hibernation. So, those older TV movies tend to be fairly brisk, running an hour and change; this one moves along at a rather stately pace despite the shorter running time. Still, even though no one but Stack, O'Brian, and Maharis gets to do much, nearly every human body in front of the lens is a known entity, so this one gets a recommendation for those so inclined, especially if you find it in the $1 DVD bin like I did!

And that will wrap up this edition - and please always remember - zombies were never better described than "yeah, they're dead...they're all messed up..."