The 1977 original! The one where Han shot first! B-Movie? You betcha! Check out sets, the plot, and delicious evilness oozing out of the bad guys. George Lucas is a big film buff and this is a tip of the hat to multiple genres, including some Japanese classics and WWII flying Ace movies.
From 1994 comes this action comedy, directed by James Cameron, with actual Middle Eastern Islamic terrorist bad guys with nuclear weapons! Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Tia Carrere and Tom Paxton lead the casting, and are clearly having fun with this James Cameron flick.
Confessions Of An Action Star
Classic low budget B-Movie mockumentary film from 2005. It "documents" the career of major action star Frank Sledge. Starting from his humble beginnings as a dancer, don't laugh, David Carradine knew absolutely zero martial arts when he landed the lead role in Kung Fu. He got the part based on his skill as a dancer and the fact that he wasn't Chinese. There is also fun poked at Steven Seagal's films, who, while an actually highly trained and experienced martial artist, had no acting background when he did his first feature film (Above the Law). This is complete with delightful cameos by actual actors talking about their work with Frank Sledge.
So-so story, slow start, and then really cool martial arts action. Yanin Vismitananda stars as Zen, the mildly retarted girl who learns kung fu by watching movies. She doesn't have many lines, but oh, she kicks a lot of ass. The fights played tribute to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies. There is even a battle between her and another autistic kung fu fighter. Not very PC, but frag it, it was really well done.
This SciFi classic hit the screen in 1956. It had a very good cast, including Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen as the dashing young spaceship Captain. It was also the first time Robbie the Robot was seen! Beware the Creatures of the Id!
Walk Hard - The Dewey Cox Story
This musical bio-pic mockumentary takes on multiple musical bio-pics, but mostly the very well done Johnny Cash story, Walk the Line. John C. Reilly is a great pick, since he does all his own singing and guitar playing, which he actually does quite well! The rest of the cast is quite funny and the music is really good too! Yes, I bought the soundtrack CD.
Love at First Bite
From 1979 comes this comic send up of the Dracula legend with a great comic cast. George Hamilton as the Count, Artie Johnson as Renfield, Richard Benjamin as the decendent of Von Helsing (who changed his name to Rosenberg for "professional reasons"), and Susan St. James as the love interest of both Rosenberg and Dracula. The movie starts out with Dracuala being kicked out of Romania by the Communist government and moving to New York City. It is a period piece (late 1970s, complete with a big dance number at a disco), but the gags are great and the cast really delivers.
A wonderfully campy tip of the hat to the pulp novel series: The Executioner, The Death Merchant, Nick Carter, and yes, the classic are included. Doc Savage is mentioned by name!
The Bourne Identity
Not the big budget action flick with dumb looking dummy from Team America, but the 1989 made for TV movie version. This version had the reigning King and Queen of 1980s TV movies, Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. Deliciously bad, and Jaclyn Smith's performance reminded me of Sally Field's performance in Soapdish, which was made two years later.
The January Man
From 1989 comes this nicely done murder mystery, were tracking down the serial killer is only half the mystery. The cast is top notch. It includes Kevin Kline, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Keitel and Danny Aiello. They really breath some life into a so-so script and make this movie worth watching.
Princess of Mars
A deliciously low budget adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs classic. Updated a bit, John Carter is no longer a Civil War veteran (from the losing side), but a Marine in Afghanistan. Traci Lords was the "name" actor in this flick, but poorly cast as Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Helium. The movie was shot on an obvious shoestring budget and was shot in an amazing short time. Just 12 days to shoot a SciFi adventure story by one of the classic writers of the genre. Ya, the acting was bad, the script so-so, and the Tharks only have two arms. Still, not too shabby for the budget they had. I'm betting most Hollywood "indies" couldn't pull off a feature film with the time and budget constrants this crew had to work with.
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
Based on the long running pulp book series "The Destroyer", Remo Wiliams: The Adventure Begins is the only screen version of the approximately 150 book series. The cast is actually pretty good, with Joel Grey, Wilford Brimley, Fred Ward and for you Star Trek geeks out there, Kate Mulgrew. Don't expect high art, but it is fun to watch.
Not the big budget Hollywood version that was just released on DVD/Blu-Ray, but a deliciously bad version by the same people who brought you uber-low budget Princess of Mars. I would guess that this one was done on an even lower production budget and was probably shot in about the same amount of time. The draw for SciFi geeks is Dominic Keating (best known for Star Trek: Enterprise) and Gareth David-Lloyd (who just finished up three seasons of really good SciFi in the BBC's Torchwood). David-Lloyd played Dr. Watson and Keating played yet another brother of Sherlock Holmes. We knew about Mycroft Holmes (a founding member of the Diogenes Club) and his younger brother Sigerson. This film introduces yet another brother who's name I can't even remember from seeing this a few weeks ago. Even IMDB doesn't list it. Ben Syder, in is first film role, was actually not bad as Sherlock Holmes, but again, this film isn't high art. It's B-Movie making at its low budget best.
From the mind of John Carpenter comes what is considered by many the perfect Traveller Movie. The crew of this small space ship has been on their deep space mission way to long, and things are starting to get more than a bit weird.
Good Guys Wear Black
From the late 70s comes Chuck Norris' first starring role. He plays a Vietnam Vet who's unit was wiped out because politicans back home sold them out to the enemy. Years later, he gets his vengence! Bonus points for being Anne Archer's first film role.
Set the Wayback Machine to 1996 for this comic hero movie staring Billy Zane. Action and humor highlight this flick that also stars the Movie Buffy, Kristy Swanson and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Big time B-Movie! A horror/comedy/action film. Plenty of Zombies, shotguns and humor. Oh ya, plus the occasional young girl in a short skirt or tight jeans. Fire up the popcorn. Plus a major cameo by Bill Murry, playing himself!
Von Richthofen and Brown
Set the way back machine for 1971 and dial for one of the masters of B-Movies, Roger Corman. The scenes of WWI fighter combat are the reason to watch this film. The historical accuracy is hit and miss, but the planes are fantastic!
Not your typical comic book hero movie. None of the "super heros" have any powers (well, Kick Ass comes the closest, but his "powers" just allow him to take and survive your more than average ass kicking). The title hero is just an everyday high school kid who decides that he has had enough and does something about it. More than a bit violent at time, but it about putting the hurt on bad guys. The character Hit Girl steals the show though.
Hot Tub Time Machine
This movie was better than I expected, mostly because of good actors, including John Cusack and Crispin Glover. That and a complete irreverance for just about anything. Craig Robinson pretty much played the same character he did in Zack & Miri do a Porno, but he did it well. I watched the unrated version, so there was a fair amount of gratious nudity, which added to the mindless enjoyment of this B-Movie.
Not the 1996 flick with Billy Zane, Kristy Swanson and Catherine Zeta-Jones. This is a SciFi Channel (ya, I know they changed their name) reboot with a new Phantom set in modern day, with modern villians and Kevlar suit complete with a HUD display. Not a bad little B Movie, although the opening dragged on a big.
This is the Big Halloween edition!
American Werewolf in London
The latest in the francise, and probably the best since the original. Decent cast portraying hardened killers up dropped on an another planet for a bit of sport against the Predators. OK, sport for the Predators, a lot of blood freezing fear for the humans. Honestly, better than I expected.
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
Ok, not a B-Movie per say, but one of the finest Kung Fu flicks ever to come out of Hong Kong.
No wire work and no off camera trampolines. Just some finest kind Gung Fu, including some great weapons scenes. One of my favorites, three section staff vs. butterfly swords!
The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Woot! This South Korean homage to Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns is one Hell of a fun ride! It's Manchuria in the 1930's and everyone is after a treasure map. Really, everyone, including the Japanese army and multiple criminal gangs.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Didn't get good reviews, but I liked it. Good guys, bad guys, good actors and a classic plot, save the world and get the girl.
It's Christmas Eve, gotta go with a classic.
Yes, B-Movie Fans, the 1984 Michael Crichton classic starring Tom Selleck, Gene Simmons, and nicely, but not overly, rounded Kirstie Alley. Household robots are being programmed to kill by an evil genius. I picked this one because I got one of my kids a Roombra for Christmas.
The current Friday B Movie Picks.