B-MOVIE OF THE MONTH - LICENSE TO KILL (TV 1984)

Back in the early pre-superstar days of Denzel Washington when he was working any stage, film or television role that came down the pike, he starred in this TV movie about a drunk driving accident where an eighteen year old girl is killed. He plays a lawyer working for the DA's office. I remember these times well, MADD had just been formed and was gaining traction, drunk driving accountability was very much in focus. Excellent performances by both James Farentino and Don Murray. 2.25 stars/2.75

Monday, January 17, 2022

ROBERT FORSTER IS TRYING TO PREVENT AN "AVALANCHE" (1978) - ROGER CORMAN ATTEMPT AT DISASTER FLICK JUST ROLLS DOWNHILL TAKING ROCK HUDSON & MIA FARROW WITH IT

 

File this one under "endurance test." In order to fully immerse yourself in the B-movie world, crossing paths with the likes of this (and films by Ted V Mikels and Rene Carbona Jr come to mind) is inevitable. Avalanche is not that bad of a film but the script and dialog is just so mindless and sterile. Some fine actors try to do the best with what they're given, Robert Forster the only one of the lot that comes out shining, such was his nature. Can you imagine Jackie Brown without him? No way. 

Grainy stock footage mixed in during the avalanche scenes is pretty lame for special effects but a scene later in the movie where a kid is rescued from a broken chair lift works pretty well. In typical disaster movie style, there's loads of melodrama and all around romance as Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow (both looking completely out of place) sleep around on each other. 

Shot on location in Colorado, one of the only good things here. Make it through this one and you're truly qualified to be a B-movie enthusiast ha ha. Streaming free on Tubi, Roku, Vudu and IMDB.  1.0 stars/2.75

Saturday, January 15, 2022

CRY MACHO (2021) - CLINT EASTWOOD AT 90 BRINGS CHARMING NEO-WESTERN BUT IT MAY BE TIME TO START CASTING OTHER MALES IN THESE LEADING ROLES

 Chalk up another one in the cornucopia of work known as Clint Eastwood. Undeniably one of the greatest filmmakers to ever grace cinema, this one is more of a miss than a hit but still a sweet little film with a lot of his classic vibe and trademarks. The tale is a simple drama - Clint owes his boss a favor so he agrees to schlep down to Mexico and bring his thirteen year old son back home for him, rescuing him from a grimy lifestyle with mom. A road trip coming of age thing follows. 

Some criticism - the kid is an important role here, I didn't like the casting choice, not edgy enough for the character. And Clint, we love ya but it's time to start using other actors, in The Mule it was a perfect match for the age and character but here he looks like he's still trying to star in his own movies. With another lead and perhaps a few more action scenes, this could have been a hit instead of miss. 

The movie's surprise big plus is Dwight Yoakum. Looking a little old himself, yes, but his acting chops have come a long way since the Slingblade days. Unfortunately, he's only in a couple scenes, in fact the rooster the movie is named after has more scenes than him. All in all though, very pleased to add this one to my collection, filed of course under the one and only Clint Eastwood.  2.75 stars/5 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

JACK LEMMON IS TRYING TO "SAVE THE TIGER" (1974) - THE TIGER BEING A METAPHOR FOR HIMSELF, HIS FACTORY, AND THE IDEALS OF NOSTALGIA

 
"I don't want to talk about war, it's the ultimate joke." - Harry Stoner

"Lions and tigers always return to a place of remembered beauty. That's how they catch them." - Myra

Harry Stoner just wants one more season. To him that equates to another year with his clothing company. He's deep in the red however and the only way to stay afloat may be to resort to torching one of his two factories. His wife of many years doesn't seem to get him but a young hippy girl hitchhiker does. He feels like all the ideals of Americana have long vanished (and this was 1974!) To say he's having a mid-life crisis is putting it mildly. 

You will not like this movie if you don't like the theater or movies with lots of dialog. This one speaks in tones and pulses underneath the surface. Finer acting you will find nowhere, especially the scenes with Lemmon and Jack Gilford. Twenty-four hours in the life of Harry Stoner, shot in LA in sequence and one of the true gems of the entire 70s decade.  4.0 stars/5


Saturday, January 8, 2022

AL PACINO IS "DANNY COLLINS" (2015) AN AGING ROCK STAR WHO DECIDES TO CLEAN UP HIS LIFE - BUT FIRST HE HAS TO MEND THINGS WITH SON BOBBY CANNAVALE IN ANOTHER GREAT SUPPORTNG ROLE



The opening scene, filmed at the Greek during an actual concert by the group Chicago.

Al Pacino as a rock star singer? I mean, he can play anything, right? You're goddamn right he can play anything, he's Al freaking Pacino. Sure, the edgier roles fit him more but he's never had a problem with comedy and delivers well here in a Golden Globe nominated role. Of course, he's a legend. And legend he plays, a rock n roll star long since burned out and corrupt who just sings the hits. His state of misguidedness changes when his manager (Christopher Plummer) discovers a letter written to him by John Lennon decades earlier. In the letter Lennon advises Collins to be true to his art. The movie is based on a true story.

Bobby Cannavale - looks like I get to sing this guy's praises once again as he turns in another outstanding performance as Collin's son whom he hasn't seen in decades, was a selfish prick to and now has to try and mend all that. Cannavale looks a little older since the Station Agent days but now a dependable, stalwart and seasoned actor well on a way to becoming a legend of his own. 

The use of many John Lennon songs as background music must have cost a pretty penny in licensing fees but very well implemented they are and in my opinion totally makes the picture. Annette Bening who still has the longest legs in the history of women is adequate but nothing special as a hotel manager who Collins befriends.  3.0 stars/5

FEATURED THIS MONTH

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B-MOVIE GAZETTE RATING SYSTEM

5 Stars - Only awarded to the precious few.
4 Stars - Excellent, see by all means.
3 Stars - Very Good, you should like.
2 Stars - Fair, like a frozen dinner.
1 Star - Poor, like a spoiled dinner.

ALL B-MOVIES, DRIVE-IN MOVIES AND TV MOVIES HAVE A MAX AWARD OF 2.75 STARS.