Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964, Directed by Nicholas Webster) English 3

Starring John Call, Leonard Hicks, Vincent Beck, Bill McCutcheon, Victor Stiles, Donna Conforti, Pia Zadora, Chris Month

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) - Watch on Prime Video, fuboTV,  Shout Factory TV, ConTV, Epix, Tubi, PlutoTV, Vudu, PopcornFlix, and  Streaming Online | Reelgood

(3-Horrible Film)

Well-meaning. Inept. Campy.

Hargo: What’s soft and round and you put it on a stick and you toast it in a fire, and it’s green?

Kimar: I don’t know what?

Hargo: A Martian mellow.

Occasionally, maybe once a decade, a film comes out with an utterly absurd concept and, against all odds, is a hit. Who would have bet on Babe (1995) or Ratatouille (2007) being good films based solely on their stories? But Santa Claus Conquers the Martians doesn’t have nearly the level of talent behind the scenes that those two films had. Instead, it’s exactly as bad as you probably imagine it being just reading the title, and the title was clearly the whole point (someone was really proud to have come up with this title). On the planet Mars, otherwise satisfied children watch television with Earth programming (for some reason) and envy our planet’s rich Christmas tradition; specifically, the tradition of Santa giving presents. Mars’ leader, Kimar, notices his kids’ longing and sets out to kidnap Santa, bringing him to make toys for the Martians. There’s no reason to belabor the faults of this movie. They’re obvious and inevitable. Maybe with more self-awareness and a sense of humor someone could make a decent family flick with this material. The creators of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians opt, however, for earnestness and sincerity. The result is a classic bad movie that’s actually fun to watch despite it all.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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Dr. No (1962, Directed by Terence Young) English 6

Starring Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Lord, Bernard Lee, John Kitzmiller, Anthony Dawson, Lois Maxwell

Dr. No (1962) directed by Terence Young • Reviews, film + cast • Letterboxd

(6-Good Film)

Solid. Well-paced. Low-key.

James Bond: I admire your courage, Miss…?

Sylvia Trench: Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr…?

James Bond: Bond. James Bond.

And thus, a franchise was born. Dr. No set the mold. From Sean Connery’s often imitated introduction, to the Bond girls, to the eccentric villain, to the title sequence and the music, Dr. No led Bond off to an iconic start. It also happens to be a very solid action film. Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a fellow MI6 agent. All roads lead to Dr. No (Wiseman), a genius, whose intricate plot escapes me (I’m not sure I was paying attention during his monologue), but you can rest assured it has something to do with taking over the world. The main Bond girl, Honey Rider (Andress), is a little too naive and uninvolved in the action to be very memorable, in my opinion. I would argue that her status as the first Bond girl is more significant than the performance or the character. That’s not the case for Bond, himself, though. Sean Connery remains the best one.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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El Cid (1961, Directed by Anthony Mann) English 7

Starring Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren, Herbert Lom, Raf Vallone, Jon Fraser, Geneviève Page, Douglas Wilmer

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(7-Very Good Film)

Grand. Bombastic. Earnest.

El Cid: You will soon be a King, you must start to think like one, any man can kill, only a King can give life!

Is it possible for a film to be bombastic and earnest? To feel that every single detail was done for effect, but by craftsman and artists who held this man, El Cid, Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (Heston), in reverence. After all, some stories do warrant the epic treatment and his story is certainly one of them. During the 11th century, at a time when Spain was divided in war between the Moors (Muslim) and the Christians, El Cid united the country in order to protect it from North African invaders led by Ben Yusuf (Lom). All while personally struggling with the disdain of his wife, Doña Jimena (Loren), whose father he killed, at home. El Cid is dated in several ways, not all of them negative. On the one hand, the cast of Spaniard and Muslim characters is largely filled out by white actors (sometimes in blackface makeup as with Ben Yusuf). On the other hand, a film of this size and scope is a marvel to behold and one that simply will not likely ever be made again; not by Hollywood anyways. There are thousands of extras used and massive sets to admire. CGI is a tool for filmmakers to work with and a useful one, but there are two areas where it simply fails to measure up to the real thing: animals and crowds of people. Some might argue that El Cid is overly serious or even corny at times, but this is a real person and his real story. I was prepared to take it seriously.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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The Caine Mutiny (1954, Directed by Edward Dmytryk) English 9

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Robert Francis, Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray, Lee Marvin, May Wynn, Tom Tully, Jose Ferrer, E.G Marshall

The Ace Black Movie Blog: Movie Review: The Caine Mutiny (1954)

(9-Great Film)

Tense. Stirring. Thoughtful.

Lt. Commander Philip Francis Queeg: Aboard my ship, excellent performance is standard, standard performance is sub-standard, and sub-standard performance is not permitted to exist – that, I warn you.

Captain Queeg, in the hands of Humphrey Bogart, is an unforgettable character. With maybe only thirty or so minutes of screen time, Bogart carves out a fascinating performance; petty, insecure, hypocritical, neurotic. If the question was simply is Queeg a bad leader, the answer would be obvious and the film would progress entertainingly but also superficially-much like the various versions of Mutiny on the Bounty. However, the battle in The Caine Mutiny is a legalistic one, and the question is whether or not Captain Queeg is psychotic. If sailors were able to overthrow any leader they deemed unworthy, I think very few ships would get anywhere and war is a bad time for mutiny. Everyone aboard the USS Caine hates Queeg’s guts, but it’s the executive officer, LT. Maryk (Johnson), and Ensign Keith (Francis), that make the fateful decision to relieve him of his duties. They’re court-martialed and stand trial for their lives, defended by LT. Greenwald (Ferrer), who isn’t even sure that he wants to win the case. This is an ultra-taut thriller with no action sequences, which is pretty amazing, and the perfect cast for each and every role. Ultimately though, the success of The Caine Mutiny depends on us despising Queeg as much as his crew does. Bogart was a short man with a massive screen presence. The Caine Mutiny is the first film I’ve seen him in that I thought of him as small. He’s such a perfect twerp, and when the film asks its big questions in the end, we’re forced to consider them through the flood of anger that the preceding hour and a half so adroitly stirred up in us.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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The Seven Year Itch (1955, Directed by Billy Wilder) English 5

Starring Tom Ewell, Marilyn Monroe, Evelyn Keyes, Sonny Tufts, Robert Strauss, Oscar Homolka, Victor Moore

AoM: Movies et al.: The Seven Year Itch (1955)

(5-Okay Film)

Toothless. Light. Shackled.

Dr. Brubaker: When something itches my dear sir, the natural tendency is to scratch.

The Seven Year Itch, as iconic as it is, or rather, as iconic as Marilyn Monroe is in it, doesn’t work. Based on a hit play, Tom Ewell reprises his stage role as Richard Sherman, a married man left alone for the summer to deal with the temptations of the girl upstairs. The Girl, as she’s called in the credits, though nameless, is said in the film to look a lot like Marilyn Monroe, and that’s because she’s played by the young star in one of her most memorable roles. She shimmies through Sherman’s apartment and the film in her bimbo with a heart of gold persona, all but stealing the entire show. Directed by the great Billy Wilder, I’d say this is his weakest effort made during his prime. The problem is that The Seven Year Itch was made during the 1950s, meaning, as I watch it, I know that the main character is not going to actually have an affair. He can’t. It wasn’t allowed back then. This takes all of the bite out of the satire and all of the sex out of this sex comedy. It’s not about being vulgar. A film like this needs to be free to go off in any direction and cross lines. As it stands, Wilder tries everything within decency, but being held back from going to some indecent places, The Seven Year Itch becomes just an hours long tease. Fortunately, he’d have the opportunity to handle affairs more interestingly with The Apartment and Avanti!

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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Rope (1948, Directed by Alfred Hitchcock) English 9

Starring James Stewart, John Dall, Cedrick Hardwicke, Farley Granger, Joan Chandler, Constance Collier, Edith Evanson, Douglas Dick

rope 1948 이미지 검색결과

(9-Great Film)

Skilled. Clever. Suspenseful.

Brandon: I’ve always wished for more artistic talent. Well, murder can be an art, too. The power to kill can be just as satisfying as the power to create.

Two well-to-do, talented young men-Phillip (Granger) and Brandon (Dall)-believe that some people are fundamentally superior to others and have the moral right to commit murder. They start with a friend from college, David, hiding his body in a trunk in their apartment, and then inviting a small group over for a dinner party, as a game of sorts, but one of the people they invite is their old mentor, Rupert (Stewart), and he shrewdly catches onto them. The critical consensus on Rope seems to be that it’s good, not great Hitchcock, or, as some critic I can’t remember put it, “hardly top-shelf Hitchcock.” They all point to the technical expertise on display-one location, nine actors, and only a handful of shots done in long take. Rope is certainly a shining example of Hitchcock’s technical ability and creativity, but it’s more than just an experiment or a minor credit on the director’s long resume. I think Rope is top-shelf Hitchcock. It’s taut, expertly told, and fascinating, with one of James Stewart’s best performances. The whole ensemble of actors are perfectly matched, but I especially admire Stewart and Dall’s performances. Stewart, for once in his career, is essentially a supporting player whose charisma and presence quickly ratchet up the tension as soon as he walks on the stage. I’m only familiar with Dall from two films-this and Gun Crazy-but they’re great films and he’s tremendous in them both, here, all arrogance and psychotic smirks.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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The Guns of Navarone (1961, Directed by J. Lee Thompson) English 7

Starring Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, Anthony Quayle, Stanley Baker, Richard Harris, Gia Scala, James Darren

Image result for the guns of navarone

(7-Very Good Film)

Epic. Thrilling. Tense.

Corporal Miller: So what? Let the whole bloody world come in and blow itself to pieces, that’s what it deserves!

Six disparate men are given a suicide mission of sorts: take out the guns of Navarone. Set during World War II, these gargantuan guns held in a fictional island in Greece and controlled by the Nazis are single-handedly keeping the Allied Forces from taking back their captured soldiers. Sending in Captain Keith Mallory (Peck), Corporal Miller (Niven), Colonel Stavros (Quinn), Major Franklin (Quayle), CPO Brown (Baker), and Spyros Pappadimos (Darren), as brilliant and capable as they are, seems reckless. The Guns of Navarone is one of those films off the heels and in the vein of Seven Samurai where a team is assembled to do a seemingly impossible job. More often than not, these films turn out to be excellent entertainment despite little to no character development and rarely any three dimensional characters. That’s the case here. These are characters that don’t reveal much anyways. They’re intelligence and resistance fighters. They don’t trust easily and they’re generally pretty stoic. The majority of the interior drama between them comes from Corporal Miller’s antagonism towards Captain Mallory, and the uneasy alliance between the latter and Colonel Stavros. These three characters played by three great actors are more than enough to hold our interest. If I have a complaint, it’s that the climax itself, the dismantling of the guns, is less compelling than earlier scenes, most notably the execution.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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Scoob! (2020, Directed by Tony Cervone) English 5

Voices of Frank Welker, Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Billy West, Henry Winkler, Simon Cowell

scoob! 이미지 검색결과

(5-Okay Film)

Bright. Reworked. Inferior.

Young Shaggy: We’ll go in the Haunted House this one time. But we’re not going to make a habit of this, right, Scoob?

Scooby Doo, as I knew it, was a gang of young people-Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and their dog, Scooby- traveling from place to place in a van, solving mysteries. Velma did most of the sleuthing, Fred played leader, Daphne provided the Scooby snacks, Shaggy and Scooby ate the food. That formula was classic. Consider that the show started in 1969, and thirty years later, kids, such as myself, were still watching and loving it. But now, here we are, fifty years later, and apparently Scooby Doo needs a makeover. Scoob! is a big budget animated picture meant to be the first of Warner Bros.’ planned Hanna-Barbera shared-universe. Out go the haunted houses, the whodunit mysteries, and the unmaskings. In come superheroes and meta humor. Scooby and co. team up with Blue Falcon, Dynomutt, and co. to take down Dick Dastardly. I suspect its target audience will enjoy this stuff. The animation is bright and there’s enough humor and action to keep the movie engaging. I was mostly uninterested. Old Scooby Doo fans like myself are likely to be disappointed.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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The Adventures of Don Juan (1948, Directed by Vincent Sherman) English 7

Starring Errol Flynn, Viveca Lindfors, Robert Douglas, Alan Hale, Romney Brent, Ann Rutherford, Robert Warwick, Una O’Connor, Raymond Burr

the adventures of don juan 1948 이미지 검색결과

(7-Very Good Film)

Festive. Handsome. Fun.

Don Juan: My dear friend, there’s a little bit of Don Juan in every man, and since I am Don Juan, there must be more of it in me!

Don Juan. The man. The myth. The legendary lady-killer. Apparently, not far off from star, Errol Flynn’s own reputation. The perfect marriage between star and role. Flynn’s Don Juan passes from town to town, accompanied by his loyal servant, Leporello (played by Flynn’s loyal real-life friend, Hale), fleeing cuckolded husbands and alternating between trying to live down or live up to his reputation. Eventually, he meets the queen, Margaret of Austria (Lindfors). Falling for her, he fights to protect her from conspirators and enemies of Spain. Not as exciting or memorable as Flynn’s best (Captain Blood, Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk), The Adventures of Don Juan is, however, a fun, romantic romp made with an abundance of skill and money.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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Ninotchka (1939, Directed by Ernst Lubitsch) English 9

Starring Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Bela Lugosi, Alexander Granach

Ninotchka | Best Movies of All Time | TIME.com

(9-Great Film)

Romantic. Sly. Iconic.

Ninotchka: Must you flirt?

Leon: Well, I don’t have to, but I find it natural.

Ninotchka: Suppress it.

Three amiable, easily manipulated Soviet agents arrive in Paris during the days following the Russian Revolution. Sent to sell valuable jewelry confiscated from the ousted nobility, they’re quickly thwarted by a wily lawyer, Leon (Douglas). The trio are then sent help in the form of Nina Ivanovna Yakushova, or Ninotchka (Garbo), a tough-as-nails, Soviet patriot to help fight the case. Not nearly as impressed by Paris as her comrades, it’s meeting Leon and falling for him that slowly causes some of the ice to thaw. Ninotchka is my favorite Garbo picture. It’s one of those classic Hollywood films that bring me great joy to watch. Romantic and funny as romantic-comedies naturally should be but rarely are, it’s also a rather clever and early satire on the bleak state of Soviet Russia.

-Walter Tyrone Howard-

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