Friday, June 23, 2006


This is some piece of work. This rare slice of schlock cow-pie is best left for the heartiest of ROSS HAGEN fans... and most cult film fans barely know who he is anyway. The setting is modern times, but concerns a gang of washed-up crooks that get busted while attempting a bank robbery dressed as nuns. After getting locked-up and put on a chain-gang, they eventually plot an escape, get sprung by some of their other buddies, and prepare for their next big score. The hapless crew pulls off their next heist successfully, and they head out into the desert on dirt bikes... runnin' from the law. They wind up in Mexico at a whorehouse and play with the naughty wimmin (hmmm...sound familiar yet?), and then eventually are holed up and surrounded by the cops in a beat-up shack. Cue the slo-mo SAM PECKINPAH cinematography and audio... as all the miscreants bite the dust one at a time, all the while joking and singing a drunken bar tune.

Nonsensical from start to finish, this low-rent ripoff of THE WILD BUNCH on dirt bikes is pitiful at best. You might notice that CHRISTOPHER GEORGE is second billed in this wrong-headed exercise in plagiarism, but the prolific veteran actor only peeks his head into the action early on as a doofus gas station attendant... for just a brief moment.

A footnote to this Z-Grade hall of fame inductee is that the director (IVAN NAGY) later became notoriously famous for his involvement with HEIDI FLEISS and her former celebrity house of prostitution ring. If ya find this anywhere on DVD or VHS, you've found a true bottom-of-the-barrel treasure. Last time I saw this film was on a VHS tape I recorded from a vintage late-night broadcast. Long gone now.


1972 {aka: LOS AMIGOS}
This was a later Spaghetti Western gem I had not had the pleasure of seeing yet, so it was with much surprise to discover a scheduled showing of DEAF SMITH AND JOHNNY EARS on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) the other night. What a great oddball gem for the genre, with FRANCO NERO hamming it up completely, with ANTHONY QUINN (as the deaf one) playing the straight man. But my main goal in wanting to see this particular film, was to see the lovely PAMELA TIFFIN. I had no idea that she had some brief nude scenes in this, as seen from a distance by both the viewer and Nero's character Johnny Ears. Not sure if she used body doubles or not, but I guess it could have easily been done with a shot like this. Of course, I wasn't even sure this was her at first, regardless, because her trademark brunette hair had been dyed a brash platinum blonde. Later on, a love-making scene, that may or may not have been edited by TCM, nearly reveals a topless Pamela up close, so who knows? At times throughout the film, she is wearing what appears to be a near transparent full-length nightie that reveals peeks now and then. Maybe this was Pamela cutting loose a bit, after her earlier "good girl next door" roles. All in all, quite enjoyable and recommended viewing.

Preceding DEAF SMITH AND JOHNNY EARS was a rare widescreen broadcast of GUNS FOR SAN SEBASTIAN. Far more serious in tone, but another nice Anthony Quinn outing for sure, with a stunning ENNIO MORRICONE score. (My personal favorite Ennio Spaghetti soundtrack after ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST). Unfortunately, I missed this one... and only caught the tail end of the letterbox credits while setting up the DVD recorder for the rare showing of this full-frame print of DEAF SMITH. Damn happy to see it.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


To be honest, I hadn't really spent much time following AL GORE's career path since he lost the election to the big W. I guess in some way I always distrusted him, but ironically it was because of Tipper... and her short-lived music censorship plans of the 90s. I can also vaguely recall the big hullabaloo the media made over Al's new "mysterious beard" look a while back. But then again, I hold the media in the same high regard as I do the latest administration.

But then I caught the latest WIRED Magazine issue where there is a neat article about his upcoming film release... and an insightful interview with the ex-vice president himself, along with the new environmental order being directed by consumers. My interest was piqued.

Today, my wife and I went to our little cineplex in Manhattan Beach and watched the documentary... AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. From a cinematic perspective, this gem will not win any artistic merits. But that in essence is the charm of the film. Simple, and to the point. And powerful. Both of us came away very impressed with Mr. Gore, his vision, and his slide show (as he likes to call his very compelling presentation*). BTW, at least 80% of the running time of this documentary is watching Al present his slide show in front of several live audiences.

See this movie and prepare to be informed. This is not the hack work our pal Michael Moore likes to produce with sleight-of-hand and editing magic. No, Mr. Gore deals in hard facts and delivers what may be one of the best politically-charged documentaries ever... presented in a straight-forward style, without resorting to name calling or buffoonery... like the aforementioned auteur. This film makes me proud to know there are still American leaders you can look up to in this country.

I won't hold anything against the man any longer. Hell, not even Tipper.

*His "slide show" was created on a Mac, using their fantastic presentation application called Keynote. This program kicks Microsoft's Powerpoint squarely in the balls.

Footnote: I also added this review (under the title: An inconvenient truce) to the Internet Movie Database site as well. Click here to read and vote for my review as well... if you want.