Sunday Matinee: When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s Hammer Studios found success with a steady stream of cavewoman movies. Starting with One Million Years B.C. in 1966 Hammer followed it up with the weaker Prehistoric Women which had a blondes versus brunettes plot. The third film they made was 1970’s When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.

Directed by Hammer veteran Val Guest (The Quatermass Xperiment) and with the Oscar nominated stop motion effects by the underrated Jim Danforth this is another of Hollywood’s anachronistical movies where dinosaurs and humans live together at the same time.
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Sunday Matinee: Deluge

Today’s Sunday Matinee is a apocalyptic disaster film from 1933 Deluge. The movie was a modest hit when it was released but it after it’s special effects footage was reused in a couple of Republic serials the movie became one of the unfortunate lost films. In 1981 an Italian dubbed version was found and that is how it’s been viewed since until now.

Kino Lorber is releasing a brand new 2K restored print on Blu-ray February 21. This new print was discovered in the archives of the Centre National du Cinéma et de L’Image Animée in France. The print was restored and the movie was given a limited theatrical release (as usual no where near here) and now folks can finally see the movie the way it was originally 84 years ago.
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Sunday Matinee: Heat

Director Michael Mann has only made 11 movies over his forty year career and arguably his best is this 1995 crime heist thriller.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were both in The Godfather Part II but they never shared screen time. De Niro played a young version of Pacino’s father Vito in the film so when Heat first appeared in theatres there was lots of hype for their big face off. Director Mann kept that on screen time to a minimum but works.
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REVIEW: War on Everyone Is at Peace with Itself

Alexander Skarsgaard and Michael Peña midst-War.

One of the most competent scriptwriters in the English language, John Michael McDonagh is guaranteed to be at least entertaining: The Guard gets a lot of millage from the contrast between a rowdy Irish cop and an uptight FBI agent; Calvary follows a priest under a death threat who discovers his entire congregation is just the worst. Just imagine a Coen Brothers movie in which the characters are not completely miserable.

War on Everyone brings McDonagh to America (New Mexico, the land of Breaking Bad) and the outcome is not half bad. The compelling, complicated characters are there, same as the crackling dialogue. The overarching plot falls apart half way through and yet remains more amusing than the similarly inclined The Nice Guys. Continue reading “REVIEW: War on Everyone Is at Peace with Itself”

Sunday Matinee: The Narrow Margin

Continuing January’s movies on train theme (which wasn’t original planned it just sort of happened) today’s Sunday Matinee is the excellent 1952 crime thriller/film noir The Narrow Margin.

Det. Sgt. Walter Brown (Charles McGraw) is assigned to escort a late mob boss’ wife by train from Chicago to L.A. so she can testify to the Grand Jury in a case. The widow Mrs. Frankie Neall (Marie Windsor) is attacked before they get to the train and Brown’s partner is killed. The hitman Densel (Peter Virgo) escapes. Brown is ticked but continues with the job. On the train he meets the lovely Ann Sinclair (Jacqueline White) and her son. Meanwhile two more assassins have boarded the train and looking to finish the job.
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Sadako v Kayako: It’s Not Easy Being a Ghoul

It’s ghost versus ghoul in this Japanese monster mash.

Given the outcome of other “versus” films (Freddy vs Jason, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), the idea of pitting two icons of Japanese horror felt equal parts enticing and worrisome. Sadako from The Ring and Kayako from The Grudge are physically similar, not particularly expressive and don’t seem to share the same universe: One is a ghost, the other is a ghoul. Nuances, people.

Sadako v Kayako pulls it off. Instead of concentrating on the black haired spooks, the film uses two naïve school girls as audience’s surrogates. One of them watches the fateful Ring tape that all but guarantees her death, a mishap that sends the pair on a quest that gets the other J-Horror mainstay involved. The film has a sense of humor about itself (the idea of someone still using VHS tapes gets a lot of tracking, same as the uselessness of the experts who claim to know how the gruesome twosome operates), but remains firmly within the genre’s realm. Continue reading “Sadako v Kayako: It’s Not Easy Being a Ghoul”

Sunday Matinee: Train To Busan

I’m always interested in seeing other countries and cultures take on more American pop culture. The current zombie genre was first started way back with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead but it seen spread to other countries. Train to Busan is a South Korean horror/thriller from animation director Sang-ho Yeon.

This is Sang-ho Yeon’s first live action movie, his previous two were both animated features the excellent King of Pigs and The Fake.
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Sunday Matinee: William Peter Blatty

Writer William Peter Blatty passed away on January 12 this year at the age of 89. Blatty’s biggest acclaim was his novel and the subsequent movie adaptation The Exorcist.

Before Blatty became successful with The Exorcist he started out writing comedic novels John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1963),I, Billy Shakespeare (1965) and Twinkle, Twinkle, “Killer” Kane (1966). Blatty also starting writing screenplays. His first The Man from the Diners’ Club starred Danny Kaye would lead him to working with writer/director Blake Edwards.
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Sunday Matinee: The Bullet Train

This might sound familiar. Tetsuo Okita (Ken Takakura) is desperate for money and has teamed up with an activist Masaru Koga (Kei Yamamoto) and a former employee and has planted a bomb on a bullet train that will go off if the train slows down below 80 km/h.

The Bullet Train was made in 1975 and yes has a plot that “inspired” the 1994 movie Speed or as Homer Simpson called it “the bus that couldn’t slow down”.
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Sunday Matinee: The Quiet Earth

Happy New Year and welcome to the first Sunday Matinee of 2017. Let’s start the year off with the end of the world.

Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) wakes up to find that he can’t get any radio signals. Zac was working on a special energy project and soon discovers that there’s wreckage everywhere but there doesn’t seem to be any bodies. In fact there isn’t anybody around except him. Something has gone horribly wrong. Zac discovers that the second the project went online everyone on Earth has vanished except him.
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