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The Valley of Gwangi (Blu-ray)
Cowboys.

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Dinosaurs.

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It's a combination that can't help but leave my inner eight-year-old awestruck, especially when realized by the unparalleled imagination and artistry of Ray Harryhausen. In what would be Harryhausen's last time bringing dinosaurs roaring back to life on-screen, The Valley of Gwangi opens not in...well, the valley of Gwangi but in a sleepy, nameless town somewhere south of the border. Tuck Kirby (James Franciscus) hasn't returned in the hopes of joining up with his struggling old rodeo or his former flame T.J. Breckenridge (Gila Golan) who remains its star attraction, at least for whatever handful of people can be bothered to buy a ticket. Now on the payroll of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Tuck's moved up in the world, and he's looking to buy T.J.'s "wonder horse" Omar for his new employer. As repulsed as T.J. is by the sight of the man who left her high and dry, it's not all that long before she agrees. No, not because of Tuck's sleazy charms or business acumen but because Omar is yesterday's news. She's about to unveil the attraction destined to turn her rodeo's fortunes around: El Diablo. Nevermind that ominous name; this precious, dancing horse is the size of a puppy.

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In the dead of night, Tuck confirms with paleontologist Professor Bromley (Laurence Naismith) what he'd already suspected. This isn't a miniature horse but an Eohippus: a prehistoric creature thought to have been extinct for tens of millions of years. Desperate for funding and aching for recognition,...[read the entire Blu-ray review of The Valley of Gwangi]


Deadtime Stories (Blu-ray)
"Uncle Miiiiiiiiike...!"

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Look, kid, your Uncle Mike (Michael Mesmer) ain't so much the babysitting type. It's late, and the guy just wants to kick back with a cold one and gawk at some titties on premium cable. Oh, you want him to tell you a story? Okay, uh...Little Red Riding Hood: a nubile teenager (Nicole Picard) strips down to her skivvies and feels herself up, gets her cherry popped by her asshole boyfriend in the deliberately least sexy way this side of Fast Times, and squares off against a werewolf (Matt Mitler). See, Willie usually dopes himself into a stupor when he's about to wolf out, but his pills got switched with Rachel's grandma's prescription, so he tries to track her down an'...it's a whole thing. What, you're still scared of a monster in your room and are crying for another story? Fine, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, only these BearsBaers are a family of psychotic bank robbers on the lam (including Melissa Leo in her first film role!), Goldi Lox (Cathryn de Prume) is a foxy blonde serial murderess squatting in their old house, and -- why not? -- she's got Carrie-style telekinetic powers. Oh, you want Uncle Mike to make up a story of his very own? Sure, this one has a couple of witchy old hags, the fisherman's kindly son (Scott Valentine) they've enslaved, a sacrificial virgin (Kathy Fleig) torn straight off a St. Pauli Girl label, and a lecherous vicar (Casper Roos) whose left hand violently tears itself from his forearm. So, yeah, uncle or no, I don't know why his parents left little Billy (Brian DePersia) alone with this nutjob either.

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For better or worse, Deadtime Stories is hardly just another horror anthology. Picture a kid with a copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales on his nightstand, atop a stack of whatever...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Deadtime Stories]


One Million Years B.C. (Blu-ray)
In what few proper sentences there are to be had throughout One Million Years B.C., the narrator refers to this band of primal savages as the Rock Tribe. On one hand, that's as fitting a description as any. They hold dominion over this stark, desolate landscape borne of volcanic rock. The men are as hard as stone. The strong seize whatever they desire, women and the elderly snatch what scraps are dropped along the way, and the weak and infirmed are left for dead. They lack even the most rudimentary language, speaking instead through shows of force. Though the narrator refers to them as a tribe, that concept would be altogether lost on the Rock people. They don't recognize themselves as one group of many. The Rock Tribe is so consumed by dominance and survival that it never occurs to them that they may be anyone else out there. They're scarcely removed from the beasts they hunt. Family is an all but alien concept. Father, brother, son: they're just another obstacle to one's power. Cruel despot Akhoba (Robert Brown) doesn't pay a second thought to battling his son Tumak (John Richardson) to the death, sending him tumbling off a toweringly high cliff with no chance of survival dreamt possible. Tumak's all-but-certain demise allows his scheming brother Sakana (Percy Herbert) to inch another step closer towards ultimate rule over the Rock Tribe.

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Tumak yet lives. Cast out, he journeys as no member of his tribe ever had: through searing deserts, past colossal beasts, and just out of sight from troglodytes more primal still. As he collapses, Tumak witnesses an even more impossible sight: people. The Shell Tribe are as close to civilization as this young Earth has known. They laugh. They love. They teach. They learn. They have something close enough to...[read the entire Blu-ray review of One Million Years B.C.]


More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 9/20: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Uhd)
  • 9/19: My Girl 2 (Hdtv)
  • 8/13: Sicario (Uhd)
  • 8/13: Prometheus (Blu-ray 3D/ Blu-ray/ DVD/ Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
  • 8/12: My Fair Lady (50th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 8/12: Blow-Up (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 8/5: Slither (Blu-ray)
  • 8/2: Carrie (Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/31: Bicycle Thieves (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/30: A.C.O.D. (Blu-ray)
  • 7/30: Black Christmas (Collector's Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/30: The Godsend (Blu-ray)
  • 7/30: The Outing (Blu-ray)
  • 7/24: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Blu-ray)
  • 7/21: The Asphalt Jungle (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
More of my boring video log...
 
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 9/19: Wonder Woman (2017) (Uhd)
  • 9/19: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Uhd)
  • 9/14: Split (Uhd)
  • 9/14: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Uhd)
  • 9/7: Don't Torture A Duckling (2-Disc Special Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 8/25: Suspiria (40th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 8/22: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Uhd)
  • 8/9: Sicario (Uhd)
  • 8/6: My Fair Lady (50th Anniversary Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 8/6: Alien: Covenant (Uhd)
  • 7/12: The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/12: Bicycle Thieves (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/12: Tampopo (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/12: Blow-Up (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 7/12: Night and Fog (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...


 
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