Tokyo Olympiad: Film Review

This is a review that is over a year overdue. I had fully intended to watch this movie leading up to the Tokyo Olympics and, I admit, I forgot. However, after over a year of waiting, it’s time to rip the band-aid off, and take a look at the (currently) only Olympic documentary to make it into the Criterion Collection – Tokyo Olympiad.

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Rasputin: The Mad Monk: Film Review

While Sir Christopher Lee was generally closely associated with Hammer films, his career there was often tied with three main kinds of roles. There was his stint as Frankenstein’s Monster and the Mummy, where in The Mummy’s case you couldn’t tell it was him, and in case of the Monster, the character was not as well spoken as his literary counterpart. There were a variety of genteel, semi-posh aristocrats who were calm and reserved, even if they had their own forms of menace (and I’m including Fu Manchu in this). And then there was Dracula – arguably his most famous role, full of animal magnetism, elegance, and menace, but quite frequently very little dialog to sink Lee’s teeth into (pun intended). Rasputin: The Mad Monk gave Lee a character with all the magnetism of Dracula, but with an incredibly solid script to work with.

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Santo & The Treasure of Dracula: Film Review

I have a soft spot for the El Santo movies. They are corny and campy, but universally sincere. No one in the films has any doubt that El Santo has the Doc Savage skill set he demonstrates over the series. There is no question that a professional wrestler can be a detective, an occultist, and a science hero. That said, the films are not without their flaws, and sadly Santo & the Treasure of Dracula is no exception.

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Guns of Navarone: Film Review

It’s interesting looking at Guns of Navarone in the context of the World War 2 genre of films. It’s contemporaneous with movies like The Longest Day, which I mentioned in my review of that movie that it’s something of a last hurrah of old Hollywood. Guns of Navarone feels like a middle ground. On the one hand, most of the film’s cast fit in that general age range (and also has Gregory Peck). On the other hand, it’s a little more cynical than that film – but it is not as cynical as a Bridge Too Far was (and considering the historical context, than this film could be). However, it still makes for a very solid film.

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Movie poster for The Haunted Palace depicting scenes from the film with the tagline "What was the terrifying thing in the PIT that wanted women?"

The Haunted Palace: Film Review

The Haunted Palace is, ostensibly, another of Roger Corman’s Edger Allen Poe adaptations, in this case doing a story based on one of Poe’s poems. However, it’s not that at all. Indeed, Poe’s poem barely shows up in the story in the first place. Instead, The Haunted Palace is more of an adaptation of one of the stories of H.P. Lovecraft – specifically, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, with a screenplay by Charles Beaumont (who I reviewed a documentary about a while back).

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Dragon Inn (1967): Film Review

When I reviewed Come Drink With Me on the blog, I described it as a “Wuxia Western,” as the initial plot of the film – with Golden Swallow going to rescue her brother from bandits holed up in a monastery – could easily be the plot of a western. It is only with the introduction of Drunken Cat’s plot that the wuxia elements come to the fore. Dragon Inn, by comparison, maintains a better balance of the concepts, melding them together to make a cohesive whole.

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Film Review: Eyes Without A Face

Eyes Without A Face is a very engaging, but bleak horror film. Not bleak in the sense of the horror exploitation films of the 1970s, where the endings erred on the side of “Nobody survived and this is going to happen again” or even just “None of our protagonists survived” as was the case of Night of The Living Dead. The film’s ending does have a true sense of catharsis, and if it was narratively framed differently, it would end on a much more upbeat note.

To get into this, I’m going to have to get into spoilers for a film from 1960. If you want to come in cold, consider this your warning. Continue reading “Film Review: Eyes Without A Face”

Film Review: Planet of the Apes (1968)

To get this out of the way first – the twist for this film has been spoiled to death. I’d say it probably was spoiled in its entirety well before I was born. On the one hand, this means that the film’s ending has lost some of its punch, as we all know it’s coming. On the other hand, this means that when you come into the film, since you know the twist is coming, you also know to look for the clues for the twist in the story, and generally pay more attention to the film itself. Continue reading “Film Review: Planet of the Apes (1968)”