Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I've been trying to catch up on some recent films lately that I have missed so this Vintage Viewings post will be a bit short. I've also been watching a lot of TV surprisingly with reruns of Lou Grant on American Life, a new season of Mary McCormack in In Plain Sight and the very funny Parks and Recreation providing the biggest pleasures. I have had time for some older works though and here are some thoughts on the more recent that I've had in my player:
1. Born Innocent: Fascinating 1974-television film starring a tremendous Linda Blair. Surprisingly rough in spots, the film will be extremely interesting to fans of The Exorcist as this was the first picture Linda shot after it. Keep an eye out for Janit Baldwin, seen here the same year she shot Gator Bait with Claudia Jennings!
2. The Rocker: Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott: I’ve been listening to a lot of Thin Lizzy lately, and in no way is that a bad thing. This engrossing 60 minute documentary on their legendary founder is filled with killer clips of live Lizzy, vintage interviews as well as insightful commentary from the surviving band members, peers, family and friends.
3. Murder Obsession: The final film from important Italian director Riccardo Freda is a fairly flawed affair at best. Featuring lovely Laura Gemser as well as Anita Strindberg and John Richardson, Murder Obsession is a confused late period Giallo that never really comes together. It has its moments and includes an interesting score from Franco Mannino, but it is nowhere near Freda’s better works.
4. Return of the Ewok: An odd little documentary shot during the making of the thrilling Return of the Jedi featuring Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher (in her Jedi bikini gear), Mark Hammill as well as some other familiar faces from the original Star Wars saga. Nowhere near as embarrassing as the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, I found this short little film sort of sweet and it would make a nice bonus feature to a future Jedi DVD release.
5. Smile Jenny You’re Dead: The best thing about this boring 1974 TV film starring David Janssen is getting to see a young Jodie Foster together with Barbara Leigh in a couple of scenes. Otherwise this Harry-O mystery is pretty limp stuff although anything with both Zalman King and Victor Argo on hand isn’t all a bad thing.
6. Super Fly TNT: I’ve wanted to see this sequel to one of my favorite films from the seventies for years, but unfortunately it is about as bad as its reputation suggests. Despite being scripted by none other than Alex Hailey, Super Fly TNT is just bad throughout. Ron O’Neal was an incredibly talented actor but his direction here is flat at best. A solid cast is wasted and this film film deserves to be just a footnote to Gordon Park Jr’s landmark work.
7. The Buddy System: A fairly dreadful 1984 film starring Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon and Nancy Allen from director Glenn Jordan. I admittedly just watched it for Allen, who is wasted in a supporting role.