So this guy walks into a bar...

...but that guy ain't you, because you're here, and that guy ain't me, because I'm sitting here typin' this, so what do either of us know about him? Nothin'. Don't even know why I brought it up. Must be I just need a title for yet another bunch of movie reviews and am trying to be frickin' clever. I try that a lot (mostly on my Twitter page) and luckily I'm usually a little better at it than I am right now, so maybe we oughtta dispense with all that and get down to business...


Beach Girls and the Monster, The (B&W, 1965) aka Monster From The Surf. A goofy-looking monster (kinda like a kid's drawing of the Black Lagoon creature, but with a pointier head) is clawing surfers to death. It doesn't stop the partying, though, with lots of girls dancing to Frank Sinatra, Jr.'s music like they're desperately trying to shake sand out of their bikini bottoms. One of the surfers has an oceanographer dad who's frustrated by his son's interest in surfing instead of fish, a limping friend whose bad leg keeps him out of the fun so he works on sculptures instead, and a bitchy stepmother who torments them all just out of hellish spite. If the monster isn't actually a mutated aquatic creature (and he sure's hell doesn't look like a real one), there are plenty of suspects who could be stuffing the suit. Padded with plenty of beach-party boogieing and some surfing footage (that was originally in color but it's black and white on the DVD). The monster's ridiculous but at least they did throw in a little blood, and it's short enough. Cheap goofy fun.


Whole freakin' movie:

Book of Eli, The (C, 2010) Thirty years after a nuclear war, Denzel Washington is on a mission from God, trying to deliver the last existing Bible (the rest were destroyed after the war because religion caused it) to someplace west. He's a phenomenal fighter (maybe because of God's protection, because damn near nothing about him is the least bit plausible, including the fact that his Ipod still works) and is easily able to cut down the hoards of scavengers who try to steal from him. He comes to a town run by power-mad Gary Oldman, who's searching for a Bible because he knows it's a powerful mind-control weapon he can use to further enslave the ignorant and desperate. When he finds out Denzel has one he stops at nothing to take it, and Denzel and a girl have to wander the wasteland, dealing with crazed cannibals and Oldman's henchmen. The film creates a stark post-nuke world, but one that's got more holes in it than a gyro captain's longjohns. For one thing, the U.S. is only around 3,000 miles wide. That wasn't much of a mission from God if it took him 30 years to walk it, because that's less than a quarter mile a day. Walking to your mailbox every day is almost as urgent a mission from God. Denzel's also pretty hefty to have walked constantly on a diet of the occasional scrawny, hairless cat. And why Oldman would need a real Bible to control the masses when he could have just made up his own hoo-ha to feed the dupes is beyond me. The message is simpleminded and annoying, and the big twist at the ending is completely ridiculous and just doubles-down on an already-overwhelming jackpot of stupid. Denzel is good as always, and the movie's got a good look to it, and it's entertaining enough if you can turn your brain off enough to not just be bludgeoned down by the stupidity of the thing. But that's the problem... there's just SO MUCH stupidity that it's hard to get around it.

Giallo (C, 2009) An ugly, jaundiced psycho uses his taxi to abduct pretty girls so he can terrorize them and destroy their faces. A girl searching for her fashion model sister, who's been abducted by this lunatic, teams up with a lonely, too-focused-on-his job specialist in tracking serial killers (Adrien Brody), and they try to discover the killer's identity and put a stop to him before he can murder or mutilate the sister. Dario Argento is attempting a return to form here, but alas, his skills have waned and he seems to have used up all his really ace ideas, so this is pretty standard profiler vs. serial killer stuff, with only occasional hints of Argento's trademark stylishness. It's still worthwhile viewing for Argento fans (or even those who aren't); just don't expect anything too special.

Machine Gun McCain (C, 1969) aka For A Price, The Untouchables, Gli Intoccabili. Peter Falk wants a bigger piece of the mob's Vegas action, so he devises a plan involving getting an armed robber, Hank McCain (John Cassavettes), out of prison after twelve years. McCain's son has a plan to rob a casino and McCain likes the idea but isn't impressed with his son and, in fact, doesn't really give much of a fuck about him. McCain picks up Britt Ekland and marries her and carries out the ingenious heist on his own, getting away with two million bucks... but the mob isn't about to let that stand. It's a convoluted Italian crime drama with a typically-intense performance from Cassavettes and a noteworthy score from Ennio Morricone, and it's well-made but unfortunately lacking in action. Cassavettes barely even gets to use a machine gun; one burst from a Sten does not a title justify. There are a few explosions but it's mostly reliant on Cassavette's performance to keep it interesting. Good thing he's up to the task, and it's still good, gritty stuff that doesn't pull any punches, even if it's not quite as good as it could've been.

Violent Professionals, The (C, 1973) aka Milano Trema - La Polizia Vuole Guistizia. Luc Merenda (who's a reasonable facsimile of Fabio Testi) is put on suspension for excessive use of force against a couple of escaped criminals who really had it coming (they even shot a terrified little girl point blank in the face). Immediately afterward, the police chief is murdered by the mob, and Luc is driven to even things up, and if he has to go outside the law to do it, then so be it. To infiltrate the criminal underworld he beats up a pimp and takes his whore, starts a fight in a mob-connected pool hall, befriends a junkie, and still manages to foil a bank robbery. He takes a crime boss (Richard Conte) on a crazy-driving rampage to audition for a job as a getaway driver. While driving for a bank robbery, one of the thugs shoots a pregnant woman in the belly for no reason, and Luc figures out he's dealing with more than just mobsters; they're terrorists trying to spread chaos and overturn the whole country. Great, action-packed Italian crime drama directed by Sergio Martino. The car chase is a standout, and the moody music score is good.

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