You Only Live Twice

After the critical and popular misfire of The Spy Who Loved Me — A literary experiment that was noble in intention but fell apart in execution — the pressure was on Ian Fleming to deliver a top notch Bond adventure to make up for things. At the same time, it’s obvious that Fleming was beyond…

Shaitani Dracula

One gets the feeling, however, that if a potential creator of outsider art suddenly found himself in possession of a movie camera, some plastic Dracula fangs, and half a dozen cheap novelty wolfman masks, the resultant film would look something like Shaitani Dracula.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

After a worthwhile idea (exploring the effect on a normal person’s life when they come into contact with James Bond) that turned into the savagely crummy The Spy Who Loved Me, Ian Fleming had a lot to make up for. The trick for the author was finding something unique to do with the long-lived character…

The Cat & The Canary

It is logical, and it seemed easy enough, to begin a discussion of The Cat and the Canary with a discussion of the history of “old dark house” mysteries — those movies where a disparate and largely shifty group of people convene upon a mysterious old mansion and find themselves embroiled in — and probably accused of — either a murder or a theft.

Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill

From time to time we accidentally wander into the realm of the nearly comprehensible, that no man’s land where the movies almost make sense. Our journeys sometimes bring us to these uncharted waters, and when cast adrift in them, we do the best we can in such a strange sea. But always what guides us,…

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

There was a period, brief but never the less real, when we paid to see television shows in the theater instead of watching them for free on, you know, television. This started back when some crafty producer would take a couple episodes of a TV show and splice them into a single movie — even…

Music from Forbidden Kingdoms

When I first moved to New York some fifteen years ago, I spent a lot of time (and even more money) buying records at Mondo Kim’s on St. Marks and Other Music on East 4th. Among the things I stumbled across at those shops and got addicted to was music released by a label called…

The Girl from Rio

Anyway, this leads to a lot of scenes of people walking down hallways and through vaguely futurist architecture, all while women in skimpy black uniforms of leather and… umm… is that cardboard?… stand at attention.

Chinese Ghost Story: The Animation

The failure of A Chinese Ghost Story: The Animation wasn’t solely in the American arena, either. If Tsui Hark had been hoping to kick off an era of new Chinese animation, he didn’t pull it off.

Apocalypse Code

Studies of Russian cinema tend to be studies of Soviet cinema — classics from the glory days (such as they were) of the communist powerhouse. Russia has moved on, though, both cinematically and culturally (though Vladimir Putin would love if that wan’t the case), and modern Russian cinema is a very different beast than the…

Wolfhound

Anyone who is familiar with the tropes of the sword and sorcery genre will be on firm ground, but the fact that Wolfhound lacks originality doesn’t mean it lacks for entertainment value.

L.A. Confidential

In the spirit of sleazy old “true confessions” magazines, here’s my confession: I am a life-long easterner, raised in Kentucky, schooled in Florida, happily living the rest of my life in New York City. All three locations are awash in hardboiled, noirish, and/or Southern Gothic credibility. And while I have no intention of leaving New…