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Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981)

Your first sign that John Derek’s Tarzan, the Ape Man is the legendary bungle in the jungle as reputed: the film’s literal first image, of MGM’s iconic Leo the Lion opening his mouth to emit that famous growl … only to be overdubbed by that old-school Tarzan yell. Set in 1910, this adventure of Edgar […]

Tarzan and the Great River (1967)

Tarzan and the Valley of Gold wasn’t the last Tarzan movie to be influenced by the ’60s James Bond phenomenon. Coming two years later, the series’ next entry, Tarzan and the Great River, also stars Mike Henry and opens with a groovy spy feel, but adds The African Queen and Apocalypse Now to its mix. […]

Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966)  

The poster for Tarzan and the Valley of Gold shows Tarzan taking out a helicopter with bolas made from hand grenades. Since this actually happens in the movie, it is a perfectly acceptable thing to put on a poster. It is not, however, the most awesome thing to happen in it. That would be in […]

Code 7, Victim 5! (1964)

Another of producer Harry Alan Towers’ travelogue-esque tax write-offs masquerading as a creative project (see: Five Golden Dragons), the overly punctuated Code 7, Victim 5! casts five-time Tarzan Lex Barker as Steve Martin — neither the wild-and-crazy comedian, nor the Godzilla journalist, but an American private dick. Apparently having left the “ain’t gonna play Sun […]

Reading Material: Short Ends 2/5/17

David Thomson is one of our finest living writers, period. He just so happens to work in the field of film criticism, yet his prose sings as marvelously as any acclaimed work of fiction. Each book he releases is an event for cineastes, including his latest … although it is about the movies’ archenemy. In […]

Nature Girl and the Slaver (1957)

A sequel to Liane, Jungle Goddess from one year earlier, Nature Girl and the Slaver presents — with a generous use of seashells — the continuing adventures of its cut-rate female Tarzan. Played by Marion Michael, the white-skinned, blonde-haired Liane — or Diane, as the English dub of this German/Italian co-production calls her — lives […]

King Kong Lives (1986)

Arriving a full decade after producer Dino De Laurentiis’ 1976 monster hit, its too-little, too-late sequel, King Kong Lives, was DOA at the box office. Director John Guillermin returned; audiences did not. The entire landscape of cinema had changed in that 10-year gap, and it shows in the new film’s opening. As if an acknowledgment […]

The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? (2015)

Although the book world has chronicled the making of unmade movies for decades, only recently has cinema itself caught on. Now, documentaries of Films That Might Have Been include Lost in La Mancha, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau and, for the purposes of this review, The […]

Octopussy (1983)

What I remember most about seeing Octopussy in the summer of 1983 is that my overprotective mother actually took me, then 12, and my 9-year-old brother to see a movie titled Octopussy. This was, after all, a woman who forbade us from rewatching Grease 2 because it was “too racy,” and yet here was a […]

Supersonic Man (1979)

Look, up in the sky! It’s a turd! It’s a shame! It’s Supersonic Man! And it’s a must-watch for those who enjoy a foreign-born larceny of an American blockbuster, with this bane-from-Spain import courtesy of Pod People progenitor Juan Piquer Simón. His Supersonic Man wouldn’t exist without 1978’s Superman, the iconic sci-fi fantasy that made […]

Reading Material: 5 Books to Remember for Memorial Day Reading

In naming his new book, Joseph Maddrey chose the wrong preposition: Beyond Fear is about fear. What the Bear Manor Media trade paperback is beyond is the usual quality of film bios seen in the indie-pub field — miles above, no less. The subtitle teases Reflections on Stephen King, Wes Craven, and George Romero’s Living Dead, […]

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)

With cinema attendance then taking a licking at the antennas of free TV, director Frank Tashlin literally stopped the story of his 1957 comedy, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, to take a swipe at his competition’s inferior nature to the magnificence of the movies. Delivered by star Tony Randall, the pointed jabs include mentions of […]

The Rundown (2003)

Coming not-so-fresh off The Scorpion King, wrestler-turned-actor The Rock (not yet billed as Dwayne Johnson) fully earned his action-hero credentials in the enjoyable comedic adventure romp The Rundown. He plays a “retrieval expert,” which mostly means he collects gambling debts, by force if he has to, although he hates guns. Eager to get out of […]

Game of Death II (1981)

I’ve never seen anything quite like Game of Death II, in which the late Bruce Lee unwittingly reprises his role as Billy Lo from the misbegotten Game of Death. Like that 1978 turd, this is a Bruceploitation film, utilizing as much Bruce stock footage as they can get away with, and creating an illusion that […]

42nd Street Forever Volume 5: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (2009)

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing a movie at Austin, Texas’ Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, then you know what to expect from the fifth entry in Synapse Films’ 42nd Street Forever compilation series: namely, some of weirdest and wildest trailers and other pre-show miscellany unknown to mankind. After Chuck Heston takes time out from […]