Friday, April 29, 2016

The French connection: WATERLOO(1970)

As I have been VERY busy working as a lawn maintenance laborer I haven't had much time the past few months to do much of anything on the internet, much less contribute content to this blog. Still, and as always, I find time to enjoy movies. I recently purchased an epic war drama, a 1970 Italian-Russian film directed by Sergei Bondarchuck and produced by Dino de Laurentiis called WATERLOO. The film begins in 1814 with French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, his forces defeated by a coaltion force of British, Prussian and Spanish soldiers, forced to abdicate his position and flee to the island of Elba. Ten months later Napoleon escapes Elba and returns to France. The weak willed French king(played by Orson Welles) flees the throne upon learning that Napoleon has returned. Bonaparte quickly returns to absolute power.

Enter Arthur Wellesley aka "The Duke Of Wellington"(played by Christopher Plummer), an English aristocrat and capable military commander in charge of the coalition army which must contend with Napoleon again. France has been the dominant power in Europe since the late 1790's but other nations on the European continent oppose France, believing this country has become too powerful for its own good.

In June, 1815 a battle takes place at a town in Belgium called "Waterloo" which will shape the future of Europe for decades to come. Napoleon Bonaparte and a force of about 290,000 men battle a comparably sized force commanded by the Duke Of Wellington, Wellington's army assisted by the dashing Prussian army commanded by Blucher. Rod Steiger is terrific as the brooding, brilliant, ego driven "Napoleon Bonaparte". The actor evens resembles the real Bonaparte(based on artists renderings of the French emperor). The battle scenes are well choregraphed and the whizzing, whistling sounds of the airborne nine pound cannon balls launched from French and British cannons add to the spectacle of the Waterloo battle sequences. I also liked Dan O'Herlihy as Bonaparte's proverbial "right hand man", Marshal Michel Ney.

As a history buff Napoleon Bonaparte has always been of great fascination to me. I wrote a detailed research paper while in college on his disastrous military campaign in Russia(in 1812) so buying the DVD of WATERLOO was an easy decision for me.

Highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys epic ar films! The Russian DVD of this movie is available for sale at Amazon and presents the film in it's original widescreen aspect ratio.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and Godzilla 続・夕陽の呉爾羅: TOHO'S NEW "GODZILLA RESURGENCE" EXPOSED Private P...

Recently leaked images appeared online which revealed the look of Godzilla in the upcoming Toho film Godzilla Resurgence(2016)(slated for a summer, 2016 theatrical release). This is the first Godzilla movie produced by Toho Studios since Godzilla Final Wars, which was released in Japan back in December of 2004. These leaked images reveal a craggy, nightmarish looking Godzilla who is not wearing the effects from H bomb radiation exposure well at all. I've seen a lot of negative comments about this look on Facebook but I wholeheartedly approve of this rendering. Godzilla looks more monster and less dinosaur and I think it's a great idea by Toho to present this legendary creature in that way.

I encourage Godzilla fans and giant monster movie fans to keep themselves informed of this upcoming Toho movie by subscribing to August Ragone's blog. Click the link below:

The Good, the Bad, and Godzilla 続・夕陽の呉爾羅: TOHO'S NEW "GODZILLA RESURGENCE" EXPOSED Private P...: シン•ゴジラが露出!禁断の写真は発行されました! A face only a mother Godzilla could love... Clearasil, anyone? Earlier today, a number of low-res images began...

Friday, January 1, 2016

Yes - "Leave It" (remastered)

This terrific song sums up my sentiments regarding last year...leave it!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Turkey day thanks

On yet another Thanksgiving Day I always like to stop, take a moment out of my busy schedule and reflect on the things I'm thankful for. Without further ado, what I'm thankful for at present:

  • "Aleve", which helps take the edge off arthritis in my joints while I work
  • Hammer horror films: when I don't feel like watching anything on TV, I can always turn to a Hammer horror movie for entertainment
  •  Coffee and tea: I probably drink too much caffeine but it helps me navigate my days, especially coffee in the AM
  • Monsterland Forums: my nearly ten year old internet message board is hanging in there. Posting activity has greatly declined but there remain a small core group of active members who continue to participate in the various forums at this board...and I'm very thankful for that!
  • "Allopurinol": this uric acid lowering prescription med, which I take daily(300mg) to prevent gout flare ups in my toes, knees, elbows and feet, allows me to continue to consume meat, albeit in smaller quanitities. 
  • The friendship of several men I have known for nearly twenty years. I don't have many friends but the ones I do have I wouldn't trade for anyone!
  • I'm still able, despite being older, to perform my work as a lawn maintenance laborer at a reasonably good level.
  • My truck, a 1997 Ford F150 has run well in the seven months that I have owned it. It was well taken care of by the gent who owned it before me and in the seven months I've owned this truck my maintenance expenses have been limited. Hopefully I can get another full year out of my truck before looking at buying a new(er) one. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Godzilla . . . 61 years old and still going strong!

Godzilla, the legendary cinematic giant monster, recently celebrated a "birthday". On November 3rd, 1954 Toho Studios released a black and white film to theaters in Japan called GOJIRA. In this film a 50 meter tall, radioactive fire breathing mutant dinosaur arises from the Pacific Ocean depths to terrorize Japan. The movie was a great success at the box office and the legendary monster hasn't looked back since!

I have been a Godzilla fan most of my life. My first Godzilla movie was 1968's Destroy All Monsters, which I saw at the Rialto Theater in downtown Atlanta(GA) back in 1969, the film double billed with the '68 Toei sci-fi movie The Green Slime. 

My top ten favorite Godzilla films haven't changed much over the years. They are:

  1. Gojira(1954)
  2. Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster(1964)
  3. Mothra Vs Godzilla(1964) 
  4. Godzilla 2000(1999)
  5. Destroy All Monsters(1968)
  6. The Return Of Godzilla(1984)
  7. Godzilla(2014) (Legendary Pictures)
  8. King Kong Vs Godzilla(1962)
  9. Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla(1974)
  10. Godzilla Vs Biollante(1989) 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Getting Hammered: X THE UNKNOWN(1956)

Among the numerous horror movies I watched this past October this one is a favorite of mine: X The Unknown, an early Hammer produced sci-fi/horror film from 1956. In this movie a menacing, highly radioactive and seemingly intelligent blob of surging mud oozes out of a crack in the ground and begins killing locals as it searches for "food", in this case energy sources. The malevolent muddy ooze has a decided preference for radiation and it enlarges as the movie progresses. There's a final showdown between the monstrous ooze and a group of scientists and military who have united to stop it. (no other spoilers).

The DVD for this early Hammer horror movie can be purchased online at Amazon.

A trailer:



Here's the DVD for sale at Amazon, a double feature which also includes the sci-fi film The Four Sided Triangle: X THE UNKNOWN/THE FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE DVD

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Worming it's way into your heart: Squirm (1976)

Shout! Factory has done a great job with their Blu Ray releases of older horror movies including one I bought recently: Squirm, a 1976 horror movie directed by Jeff Lieberman. In this film, set in the coastal town of Fly Creek(Georgia), power lines felled by thunderstorms discharge "millions" of volts of electricity into the wet, muddy soil which sends worms in the soil into, well a crazed feeding frenzy.

The movie kind of plugs along for a while with only brief glimpses of the menacing worms and what's to come but ramps up the action during the final half hour as the film's major characters have their final confrontations with the oozing, ravenous, flesh eating worms. Needless to say some of the human cast meet with grisly deaths.



I own the 2003 MGM DVD and also the Shout! Factory Blu Ray which was released back in late October, 2014. The Blu Ray, like the DVD, presents the film in it's original 1:85.1 widescreen aspect ratio and includes some nice extras including a still image gallery, theatrical trailer, audio commentary by director Jeff Lieberman and interviews with both the director and actor Don Scardino. To see this film for sale on Blu Ray at Amazon click the link: SQUIRM(1976) Blu Ray

Monday, October 26, 2015

If these walls could talk: The Fall Of The House of Usher(1960)

Every October, and as time permits, I get my "fix" of Vincent Price movies. Director Roger Corman helmed some terrific movies based on stories penned by Edgar Allan Poe between 1960 and 1964. My favorite will always be 1961's Pit And The Pendulum but the others are quite good as well including one I watched on the MGM Channel(HD) the other night: 1960's The Fall Of The House Of Usher, directed by Roger Corman. Vincent Price is creepiness personified as blond haired, sickly "Roderick Usher", who has both a bizarre and unsettling relationship with his sister. The house itself seems to be an extension of not only Roderick Usher but past members of the Usher family who we learn were anything but upstanding citizens and were instead thieves, adulterers and even murderers. Vincent Price is the mechanism, if you will that drives this movie along. I own the "Midnite Movies" DVD of this film. This DVD release is for sale at Amazon and can be seen by clicking the link below the trailer.


House Of Usher Midnite Movies DVD

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mollusk menace: The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)

I recently bought this film, directed by Arnold Laven on Blu Ray. Props to Kino Lorber for this BD release!. It's your basic "monster on the loose" film with overgrown and ravenous mollusks menacing civilians and U.S. Navy personnel alike.

I own the "Midnite Movies" DVD of this film but decided to buy the Blu Ray release anyway. The transfer looks terrific in this movie's original 1:85.1 widescreen aspect ratio. 

The Blu Ray release includes a trailer and audio commentaries. The Kino Lorber Blu Ray release can be found for sale at Amazon and at a very affordable price. Fans of classic monster movies who haven't seen The Monster That Challenged The World(1957) should definitely check this one out!

An HD trailer:

To see the Kino Lorber Blu Ray release for this film for sale at Amazon click the link: THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD Blu Ray

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Legendary and Warner Bros. Pictures Announce Cinematic Franchise Uniting Godzilla, King Kong and... | Business Wire

Legendary and Warner Bros. Pictures Announce Cinematic Franchise Uniting Godzilla, King Kong and... | Business Wire

GODZILLA VS KONG... coming in 2020! Really looking forward to seeing King Kong and Godzilla fight again on the big screen! A "rematch" that I never thought I'd see is apparently going to happen as Legendary Pictures has announced that Godzilla and King Kong will square off on the big screen in 2020. Godzilla fans rejoiced with 2014's GODZILLA, released by Legendary Pictures and then came word of a new Kong film called KONG-SKULL ISLAND which will arrive in theaters in 2017. A sequel to the 2014 Godzilla film will be released theatrically in 2018. This all leads up to what should be an epic showdown between two of cinema's most legendary monsters! Toho released King Kong Vs Godzilla in 1962, a movie which was wildly successful at the box office. This movie, which is considered by many to be a satire, portrays 50 meter tall Godzilla as the villain and 45 meter tall King Kong as a protagonist of sorts. In the '62 film the two monsters have an initial skirmish which results in Kong retreating and then a final showdown at Mount Fuji where Kong, struck by lightning repeatedly and having his strength enhanced by the lightning strikes, takes the fight to Godzilla, the two behemoths falling into the sea and Kong subsequently surfacing and swimming back to Faroe Island. For giant monster movie fans there had been a great pessimism that another movie featuring these two grand cinematic movie monsters would never get made...until now.


Image courtesy of Marcel DiAngelo