Last Update 1/19/20


The Secret Ways (1961) 

Richard Widmark stars in this almost completely disloyal film version of the Alistair MacLean novel. The only similarity is an attempt to bring a dissident out from behind the Iron Curtain. Widmark enters Hungary posing as a journalist instead of sneaking across the border. He spends most of his time with a daughter, who does not appear in the book. The encounters with the underground are completely different and come comparatively late. Not bad in its own way but it has little to do with the novel. 1/20/20

Trick (2019)

I confess that I generally enjoy slasher films, and I applaud the fact that someone tried to do a new one. But did it have to be this awful? The plot is almost incoherent, the cameras don't seem to ever stop moving, the characters are never described as deeply as in even the Friday the 13th films, and even the murders, though sometimes novel, are ultimately boring. Where is John Carpenter or Sean Cunningham when we need them? 1/19/20

Captive State (2019)

If publicists would stop claiming that SF movies were totally originally and unlike anything ever imagined before, they'd be doing us all a favor. This story of Earth under alien occupation is not original, unprecedented, or even particularly interesting, although it is not awful. It is, however, particularly at the beginning, so boring as to be nearly unwatchable. It gets better in the second half, but if you have to sit through 45 minutes of dullness to get to the good parts, then the film makers have already failed badly. I never once had the sense that this was a world occupied by aliens, there were times when I could not figure out what was going on, and there were no times when I particularly cared about the characters. An expensive and sometimes flashy waste o time. 1/12/20

Pet (2016)

An obviously disturbed guy who works at a pet shelter becomes obsessed with a woman and eventually kidnaps and cages her. But it turns out she is a psychopath herself, which leads to manipulation and murder. Unfortunately, despite some fine performances, the movie is slow moving and mostly predictable. Maybe Iíve just seen too many films in this general category but I was impatient for it to end. 1/6/20

Prey (2018)

Another crappy horror movie that seems to have resulted from a complete lack of rational thought. A teen whose father was murdered by hijackers enters a therapy program that consists of several people being left to survive on a southern Pacific island. Really? Does anyone actually think this is credible? I managed to get halfway through before I realized I would be more entertained watching nonstop commercials. How do people justify wasting their time producing crap that no one likes and that will be completely forgotten in a year or two? 1/4/20

Force 10 from Navarone (1978) 

A decidedly inferior sequel despite the good cast, and at times it appears that the cast is joking rather than serious. There are contradictions with the previous movie, and major changes from the book. Itís almost a completely different story. The whole point of the mission is different and there is even an effort to make Force 10 into a real unit Ė it was actually a fake. The early scene in which the commandoes battle MPs makes absolutely no sense. Shaw and Ford both look uncomfortable. I would have been. On occasion it threatens to become interesting, but it never makes good on the threats. Embarrassing for all concerned. 1/3/20

Animal Among Us (2019) 

Two young women are killed at a camp, but it is believed that they were attacked by a wild animal. Years later, the camp is scheduled to be reopened, but the bad rep lingers, obscured by underlit photography, a muffled soundtrack, and a murky plot. If Iíd been more energetic, Iíve have turned this off early and saved myself some wasted time. There are actually a few interesting shots along the way so I kept waiting, hoping for some improvement. The fact that the sound was out of sync with the picture did not help. 1/1/20