The Crazies (1973) ***

I've always liked The Crazies(1973) but it actually hasn't aged as well as I'd hoped. The last time I watched it was in 2010 (just before the remake was released) and I'd seen it maybe 2-3 times before that. This most recent viewing of the  film seemed to reveal characteristics that knocked my opinion of it down a notch.

For instance, the acting. Richard France is the hammiest of the hams (and it works to a certain degree, but it's more humorous than anything). Richard Liberty is good here but he really gets to shine in Day Of The Dead(1985) (which is my favorite of the Dead films and which I prefer to The Crazies when it comes to Romero films with "men being macho/overacting/yelling loudly"). And while I'm sure the military drumming score is intended to invoke a feeling of tension and constant movement, I find it largely grating.

All of which isn't to say that I don't appreciate a good deal about The Crazies. The low budget spirit that perm…

Late Night Tales: Cousins

My cousin Bryan recently gave me a brilliant music challenge: make our own Late Night Tales playlists for each other. Take 1 artist from each letter of the alphabet, find a chill song, make a 26-song compilation, then share.

Never one to half-ass something that I’m passionate about, I went the extra mile by editing and mixing the songs together, and designing front and inside covers to match the theme of the real LNT comps. Then I decided that I wanted to edit and mix the songs and design front and inside covers for Bryan’s playlist too.

Special thanks to my good friend Luke Awtry Photography for use of his photo of his cat Luna.

If you’d like to download the playlist MP3s and the cover art for both comps, you can do so here:

I'd love your feedback! Enjoy.

Jim Thompson 'The Rip-Off' (1990) ***1/2


Evil Toons (1992) **

First off, there is only one (singular) "evil toon" in Evil Toons (1992) (and barely in the film at that). Second of all, this film is awful. But pretty fun with an audience, I suppose. If a poorly animated cartoon demon-wolf (brought to life through a poor excuse for a Necronomincon) terrorizing four actresses known primarily for soft and hardcore films (and spewing some truly Z-grade dialogue in truly Z-grade fashion), who take their tops off every 5 minutes, with occasional appearances from David Carradine and Dick Miller is your cup of tea than have at it.

It (2017) ***1/2

The minor quibbles that I had about It(2017) from the first time I watched it unfortunately turned into larger quibbles. I had feared this would happen. It is still very enjoyable and the best part is the friendship of the Losers Club but a lot of the characters are underwritten, the CGI still bugs me, the amount of times that Pennywise/things jump at/run toward the screen really bugs me, and the film feels too long. I'm very curious how the sequel will fare and how this film will age.

Yor, The Hunter From The Future (1983) **1/2

Yor, The Hunter From The Future(1983) is cheesy sci-fi sword & sorcery from the director of Cannibal Apocalypse(1980), starring the guy that played Captain America in the two 1979TV movies and one of the Bond girls from Moonraker (1979). It's got a killer theme song. If you're in the mood for Italian barbarian/Star Wars rip-off fluff, it's fun and funny.

It Comes At Night (2017) ****

It Comes At Night(2017) is a tense, atmospheric and ambiguous film with an excellent cast and an appropriately minimalist score. This simple yet effective low budget distopian slowburner holds up exceptionally well on a repeat viewing.

Thoroughbreds (2017) ***1/2

Shades of Heathers (1988) and American Psycho(2000) permeate Thoroughbreds (2017) but it never quite reaches the glorious heights of either of those classics. Regardless, this tale of privledged teens gone awry excels with the awkward friendship between the two leads (expertly portrayed by Olivia Cookeand Anya Taylor-Joy), a brief but strong performance by the late great Anton Yelchin, an unsettlingly dissonant, percussive score and some deliciously tense moments.

The Breaking Point (1950) ****

Michael Curtiz's The Breaking Point (1950) features a perfectly nuanced performance by John Garfield, a feisty femme fatale brought to life by Patricia Neal, razor-sharp dialogue and impressive staging. This second screen adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's To Have And Have Not(1937) is just as strong as (and in some ways better than) the 1944 Howard HawksBogie/Bacallversion (though the two films are quite different).

The Cat O' Nine Tails (1971) ***1/2

The Cat O' Nine Tails(1971), the second of Dario Argento's unofficial "Animal Trilogy" is my least favorite and perhaps the least inventive of the three films. It drags a bit here and there with a plot that can be confusing and seems to exist just to stitch the set pieces together (typical of the genre). But it's still a stylish giallo featuring a pair of charismatic leads (James Franciscus, Karl Marlden) and an excellent jazzy, atonal score by Ennio Morricone.

Screencaps courtesy of Land Of Whimsy