First Men in the Moon

(1964) dir: Nathan Juran; w/ Edward Judd, Martha Hyer, Lionel Jeffries. Fx by Ray Harryhausen.

A modern moon landing discovers evidence of an 1899 expedition that got there first – which leads us into the flashback, er, film. A crackpot 19th century tinkerer and his hapless neighbors hurtle off to the moon and punch out some big bugs. Okay, it’s kind of cute in spots, but really, it’s a tepid effort. Even Harryhausen is throttled by the budget, and it’s all weighed down by a dreary script with drearier caricatures. It’s full of the sort of lightweight & half-hearted humor that one normally is subjected to at office parties with the bosses present – and it can be hard to tell if Jeffries is trying to save the flick or sabotage it with his… erm, vigorous performance. Suitable for the young’uns, certainly, but not much else.

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The Girl on a Motorcycle

(1968 – France) dir: Jack Cardiff; w/ Alain Delon, Marianne Faithfull, Roger Mutton. A little skin; no gore.

A flighty young lady abandons her dull husband and motors off across Europe in search of real satisfaction… which is embodied in a callous womanizer. This is one of those flicks that relies heavily on its audience being totally stoned. Anyone dumb enough to watch this sober might realize that all the lame attempts at psychedelia, the delusional flashbacks, and the droning monologue are really just… godawful dull. Although it professes to be a counter-culture, free-love film, it is plain that the filmmakers either failed to understand these sentiments or consciously rejected them. So they settle for a mish-mash of poorly realized ideas and repetitive footage – a shameful waste of a young woman in tight leather.

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The Room

(2003) prod, writ & dir: Tommy Wiseau; w/ Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle. Tidbit o’ skin; no gore.

Some people say some very odd things and then a love triangle blows up in their faces. This indie flick is so oddball it quickly became a favorite party-movie. It’s not inept in the manner of classic bad cinema – the most apt word for this one is ‘awkward’. It’s as if it were made by aliens who were just imagining what humans must be like. The dialog is stiff as a board, the editing is pathological, and the softcore sex scenes are dull enough put a whole monastery to sleep. And our star/auteur – who has the acting chops of a door-stop – gives himself the role of the ideal man, who is unappreciated and betrayed (but they’ll all be really sorry about that). If you must watch this one, definitely see it at a party, preferably with alcoholic lubrication; just sitting there watching by yourself will only leave you sore.

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Shock Waves

(1977) dir: Ken Wiederhorn; w/ Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams, Luke Halpin, John Carradine. No skin; no gore.

Soggy Nazi Zombies! And, um, Brooke Adams in a bikini… yup, that’s about it. If this mess ever had a script, they must have dropped it overboard. The big-name stars have only bit parts, and the hatchet-job of editing leaves us with a film that’s primarily about people running from something. It does muster up some nice atmospheric shots of soggy zombies, but even those seem shoe-horned it at random. The flick fails at almost everything – this is for Cushing or Carradine completists only.

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