Reviews, thoughts and observations; here and elsewhere.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990
While still ostensibly a children’s movie, this manages to tap into the well of superhero crusader perversity that most of the modern ones won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Four swollen green teens hang out in a filthy subterranean hovel with their sewer rat mentor, who managed to pick up karate moves by watching his human master practice from his cage (which is, strangely, a suspended birdcage?). Their main ally is a sports-themed sicko who skulks around Central Park whaling…
Africa Addio 1966
A truly grotesque exploitation cocktail. Some of the foulest and most compelling images I’ve ever seen, from a river choked with crocodile-ensnaring balloons to multiple animal slaughter montages and head-on shots of straight-up murder, sloshing together as the movie equivalent of pig slop. Leans hard on a sermonizing, faux-educational tone that combines finger-wagging with head-shaking, and which sort of makes this feel like a proto-Vice doc. Yet there’s also the additional oleaginous layer of Italy, which failed in its colonial…
Human Desire 1954
Everything significant here is summed up by, and contained between, two key bits of dialogue: the prostitute’s ‘all women are the same, they just have different faces’ speech and Vicki’s plea for mercy at the end. Within this sliver we get a stifling portrait of narrow lives as restrictively defined as a train car passageway, the typical Lang fatalism but with a more pointedly feminine perspective. Glenn Ford plays his usual milquetoast, who here dips a toe into the possibility…