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Category: Movies Page 1 of 33

Ain’t No Innocence Here: “Innocent Crush”

Water has many good uses, but it can also drench you and drown you. In the South Korean film Innocent Crush (or Innocent Thing) water is a symbol for a psychic drenching—with something bad—and death. An unstable high school girl, Young-eun, is hard on the emotions of her gym teacher, Joon-gi, and his pregnant wife. She obsessively loves Joon-gi and starts an affair with him. Joon-gi is driven to quiet despair, and must finally fight for his betrayed wife’s life.

The material is familiar, the film melodramatic—and a trifle wobbly. But it’s riveting. It was impeccably directed by Tae-gyun Kim, and the actors are strong. Young-eun may be unstable but Jo Bo-ah, who portrays her, is far from unsubtle. The sex scenes, I’m inclined to mention, are done without graphic nudity. This 2014 feature is available on Tubi (and Pluto?). Get drenched by it.

(In Korean with English subtitles)

Getting Interplanetary: “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers”

The 1956 Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is a distinctly commercial but dandy sci-fi picture about hostile invaders. Joe Biden wouldn’t protect us, but Dr. Marvin, a scientist (Hugh Marlowe), and sundry other men try to and do protect.

Early on, a flying saucer zips around Dr. Marvin’s moving car with, well, communication pending. Marvin’s new wife Carol (Joan Taylor) is in the car and, after the saucer leaves, the first thing she does is light a cigarette. Can’t blame her. And this is the 1950s.

The special effects, by the way, are pretty decent for Fifties Hollywood.

Directed by Fred F. Sears.

Could We Have A Nicer Landing? “The Eagle Has Landed”

Based on a novel by Jack Higgins, The Eagle Has Landed (1976) is quite agreeable at first, but doesn’t stay that way. It revolves around a Himmler-approved German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill during the Very Great War, and it stars Michael Caine as an energetic German officer. Certain things in the film are hard to figure out, but easy to discern is when it finally gets asinine.

The cast is interesting and usually appealing, albeit Larry Hagman overplays a hotheaded American colonel and Donald Sutherland, with his fake Irish accent, has no depth as an IRA agent. It is the fault of the script that Sutherland’s character, Devlin, seems too unserious to be a British-hating terrorist who accompanies Nazis. This was the last film by action director John Sturges. He directed a worthy, bloody sequence in which Hagman’s impulsive colonel and a British female traitor (Jean Marsh) receive their just desserts from powerful gunfire. See the movie for the war footage. It isn’t sleep-inducing. Well, none of the movie is.

“Ride in the Whirlwind”–Maybe You’ll Get Out

Jack Nicholson wrote a not-bad dark Western directed by Monte Hellman—1966’s Ride in the Whirlwind. IMBd describes it thus: “Three cowboys, mistaken for members of an outlaw gang, are relentlessly pursued by a posse.” After the pursuit starts up, things simply get worse. One of the cowboys is shot dead, the other two can’t convince a settler family they are innocents fighting for survival, loss of life is ubiquitous. That the cowboys (one of whom is played by Nicholson) can’t tell the posse they are not outlaws is utterly credible in context. The movie’s ending is fine but imperfectly shot. It is, I repeat, a dark shoot-’em-up—and entertaining.

(Available on Tubi)

The Criminal Element In “Portland Expose”

The 1957 Portland Expose is a film noir expose and a very watchable one at that. Edward Binns stars as a family man-tavern owner whom Portland, Oregon mobsters, coveting union control, pressure into a partnership. (The things we can do with your tavern!) But—no surprise—Binns soon has cause to be furious at the mob. The filmmaker is Harold D. Schuster. The screenwriter, Jack DeWitt, requires us to really suspend disbelief near the end of PE. The tavern owner and his teenage daughter (Carolyn Craig) manage to escape the bad guys when they are all together in a section of a warehouse and the bad guys are armed. Before that, however, the movie is sufficiently sophisticated and engaging. It can be seen on YouTube and Tubi.

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