• Easy Rider

    Easy Rider

    ★★★★★

    "Easy Rider" seems caricatured and dated through contemporary lens but its sincerity mitigates that as it evolves into an essential piece of culture and a reminder of what the essence of freedom signifies, and it's not the sorry state to which our democracy has sunk, that deludes us into believing it still works when in fact it's been sold out, but in the more philosophical way Jack Nicholson explains in his discussion of outer space aliens evolving into individuals free…

  • Gimme Shelter

    Gimme Shelter

    ★★★★★

    Known as the flip side of the movie "Woodstock" "Gimme Shelter" features the Rolling Stones on their seminal US tour of 1969, where, btw, they played my hometown at the San Diego International Sports Arena in November of that crazy year memorialized by Quentin Tarantino in the classic Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. This is the tour that led up to the disastrous free concert at Altamont Speedway in December in the hills east of the Bay Area. It…

  • Incident at Phantom Hill

    Incident at Phantom Hill

    Western with heavy Union/Confederate and Comanche undertones featuring Dan Duryea in a late but classically caustic role as a nefarious reb who knows the whereabouts of a million dollars in gold stolen during the last days of the Civil War. The plot is pretty good, the trek led by Robert Fuller as a US army officer is even better, including Duryea, Jocelyn Lane as a prostitute who was run out of town, and Claude Akins in a demented role, plus…

  • The Enforcer

    The Enforcer

    The SFPD saddles Harry Callahan with the first woman to make Inspector in an effort to change his outmoded ways and it kind of works because the rookie inspector is played by Tyne Daly. The chemistry starts developing slowly but by the end they're like just about to jump into bed. Its violent, cynical style is pure 70s plus San Francisco looks stunning.

  • Tuff Turf

    Tuff Turf

    It plans on taking kids from the 80s out on some fantasy trip with no boundaries, which works sometimes and but can also become hard to watch. But even the hard-to-watch parts have their moments where you're just saying what the fuck constantly, and that's actually not so bad, I guess. Insane dance scenes with post punk rock that borrow from West Side Story or maybe other films with youths dancing their asses off that manages to be kind of…

  • I Shot Jesse James

    I Shot Jesse James

    John Ireland plays Bob Ford, the dirty bastard that shot Jesse James, his best friend, who had risked his neck to save him. It costs him dearly, too, and the film makes this price more or less its centerpiece. Guilt, shame, ostracism, but Ireland captures that spirit of resilience and manages to make Bob Ford someone with surprising depth as he faces the day-to-day shame of his dirty deed. This was Sam Fullers first feature film and like you'd expect he gets the writing credit, too. It's pretty arty, stagey, and all that actually kind of works wonders in a western.

  • Girl Gang

    Girl Gang

    Girls join a gang so they can work for Joe, who supplies them with drugs such as marijuana and heroin, in exchange for sex, prostitution, and robbery. Mostly it takes place in an upstairs apartment reached via exterior wooden stairway where the kids hang out, get stoned, and groove to proto rock n' roll piano, while Joe tells them to bring new kids in. His associate is Doc, a drunken MD who lost his license to practice. A lot of…

  • The Postman Always Rings Twice

    The Postman Always Rings Twice

    ★★★★½

    If there's any one thing that sets this movie apart, it would be the fantastic acting. Certain censorship conditions restrict the plot from fully actualizing itself but the acting plus the script more than make up for it and kind of fulfill as well that well-known axiom that things really are better left to your imagination. Ava Gardner sizzles so much you probably couldn't take anymore anyway. And it isn't just sex appeal because she really shows a lot of…

  • The Italian Connection

    The Italian Connection

    ★★★★½

    Milan crime-fest featuring Mario Adorf as a pimp who the mob targets because they think he stole a shipment of their heroin. Henry Silva and Woody Strode play hitmen who arrive from the US to carry out the orders and hook up with Adolfo Celli as the local mob boss in Milan, who tries to bring Adorf in with his own enforcers. It's a film where all the men are stone killers and most of the women are whores but…

  • Coma

    Coma

    Coma taps into a certain kind of terror related to our lack of agency once we're on an operating table. There's only a certain percentage of actual medical care in the gigantic world of health care. The rest is a bureaucratic nightmare in which nobody really knows what actually is going on. Genevieve Bujold gets too close to finding out in this chiller and she turns out to be the perfect actor for the role. The male doctors, such as…

  • Django

    Django

    ★★★★★

    Classic spaghetti western soaked in mud and blood and dripping with symbolism and sadistic violence. It makes the debate of style over substance irrelevant. I think all the westerns that came after it owe something to it and I think it owes something to the westerns that came before it. But whatever it borrowed from its predecessors it made into something incredibly unique and unforgettable. It really captured the cruelty and sadism of the west as defining substantive qualities but…

  • Dracula A.D. 1972

    Dracula A.D. 1972

    Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing return as Dracula and Van Helsing in an attempt to keep the franchise going and they do for the most part except the soundtrack which doesn't seem sufficiently moody plus the stereotypical portrayal of the youth of the time. It's the scene of a black mass in an abandoned church that totally works and makes Dracula A.D. 1972 worth your time. Dark and atmospheric and an iconic scene of a hungry Christopher Lee leering at…