Thursday, January 26, 2012

See Stewardesses Battle Kung Fu Killers

Shout Factory returns to Roger Corman's deep vault to create a sequel to last year's Lethal Ladies Collection. As with the first, this Roger Corman's Cult Classics 2-DVD set teams up three sexy adventures released during the 1970s by New World Pictures.

New World found much success with its unofficial “3 Girls” series. These low-budget adventures combined sex, action, and soap opera and always involved a trio of lovely professional women falling in love and getting into trouble. The series began with THE STUDENT NURSES and soon moved to teachers, stewardesses, and cover girl models. Producer Roger Corman earned a lot of money making this film over and over.

Directed in the Philippines by the prolific Cirio H. Santiago, FLY ME focuses on sexy stews Toby (Corman regular Pat Anderson, SUMMER SCHOOL TEACHERS), Sherry (Lyllah Torena, who is curiously unbilled), and Andrea (busy television actress Lenore Kasdorf), who work a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Manila. Toby attempts a love affair with a nice doctor (Richard Young, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE), which is made difficult by her overbearing Italian mother (Naomi Stevens, THE DORIS DAY SHOW). Andrea teams up with an undercover cop to find her missing boyfriend, while white slavers swoop in to kidnap nympho Sherry.

Amazingly, all three subplots manage to intersect at the end. As you can imagine, tone is a big problem in FLY ME, which must be the only film to combine a wacky comic-relief mother protecting her adult daughter’s virginity with a sleazy storyline involving drugging nude women and selling them into sex slavery. “See stewardesses battle kung fu killers!” shouted New World’s one-sheet. With a mere 72 minutes of screen time to play with, Santiago still manages to waste time with travelogue footage serving as padding and Stevens’ screeching comic antics instead of more stewardess kung fu fighting.

FLY ME’s credits are interesting. Howard Cohen (BARBARIAN QUEEN) wrote the screenplay, but replaced his name with that of New World staffer Miller Drake (SCREAMERS). Future director Joe Dante (PIRANHA) was the dialogue director, according to the main titles. Oscar winner Jonathan Demme (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), who began his career directing Corman’s CAGED HEAT, receives an odd credit for “Film Director.” After the film was wrapped, Corman decided it needed more action and hired Demme to shoot fight sequences choreographed in Los Angeles by David Chow. Demme probably also filmed the opening scene with Anderson and cabbie Dick Miller.

Following the same “3 Girls” formula, director Santiago filmed COVER GIRL MODELS a couple of years later in Manila. FLY ME’s Howard Cohen also wrote COVER GIRL MODELS, which plays as a less sleazy, more action-filled remake with three sexy young women getting into scrapes in the Far East.

Mark (New World regular John Kramer), a mustachioed photographer for a women’s magazine, recruits a trio of lovely models for an overseas photo shoot. In addition to posing in skimpy bikinis, Claire (SIX-PACK ANNIE’s Lindsay Bloom) poses as a call girl to attract the attention of a movie mogul, Barbara (Pat Anderson from TNT JACKSON and FLY ME) becomes an unwitting courier of secret microfilm sewed into the hem of her dress, and bubbly neophyte Mandy (HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD redhead Tara Strohmeier) tries to learn the do’s and don’ts of both modeling and lovemaking from stud Mark.

You know what to expect from a Santiago movie: inept fight choreography, clumsy story construction, and plenty of breasts. None of the various subplots are presented very well, though the vulnerable Strohmeier uses her nonchalant sexiness and charm to steal scenes. Most hilarious are the bad guys’ regular attempts to kidnap Barbara, which are always thwarted by a mysterious Filipino with the widest collar of all time who always appears out of nowhere just in time to kung fu her assailants.

The beautiful women and entertainingly bad action sequences are enough to keep my eyes interested, though Santiago fills time with the girls posing for pictures or wandering around town just to stretch to a releasable 73 minutes. Mary Woronov (DEATH RACE 2000) plays Mark’s editor in the opening scene shot at the New World office, probably by second unit director Mel Damski (YELLOWBEARD).

“Do you mean we have to satisfy their animal heat?” Girlfights, nudity, revolt, racism, shower scenes, whippings, betrayal—sounds like one of New World’s classic women-in-prison vehicles, doesn’t it? And that’s really what THE ARENA is—a sleazy and violent WIP set amid the squalor and slavery of ancient Rome. Think THE BIG DOLL HOUSE meets SPARTACUS.

The stars of BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA, Pam Grier and Margaret Markov, reunite as Mamawi and Bodicia, slave girls forced to serve the decadent Roman upper-class during violent gladiator matches to the death. While the rulers wring their hands at the games’ dwindling box office, corpulent Timarchus (Daniele Vargas) hits upon the idea of female gladiators, enlisting the sexy slaves for armed fights to the death in the arena. If you’ve seen enough 1970s drive-in movies about beautiful female prisoners pushed to the limit by a cruel environment, you know a bloody revolt is in order. Various body parts fly as these sensual sword-slingers carve a gory swath to freedom, led by black mama Grier and white mama Markov.

Happily, THE ARENA offers more action than talk, a good thing considering the execrable dialogue penned by John and Joyce Corrington (THE OMEGA MAN), and director Steve Carver nicely serves up a few helpings of wet and oily female nudity (including both leads) to complement the gore. Carver also made BIG BAD MAMA and CAPONE for New World before moving up to major-studio exploitation like DRUM (also with Grier) and LONE WOLF MCQUADE.

Filming in Italy allowed Carver to use Francesco de Masi (THE INGLORIOUS BASTARDS) as his composer and Aristide Massaccesi as his cinematographer, much to the film’s benefit. Massaccesi, who had a directing career under the name Joe D’Amato, was often thought to have directed THE ARENA, due to Carver using Massaccesi’s name during production to foil Italian labor laws. Executive producer Roger Corman’s old HOUSE OF USHER star Mark Damon was the producer and ended up marrying Markov. Corman remade THE ARENA in 2001 using PLAYBOY Playmate Karen McDougal as the lead and the Corringtons’ original screenplay.

All three films are well-represented on DVD using 35mm prints: THE ARENA at 2.35:1 and FLY ME and COVER GIRL MODELS at 1.78:1. They look quite good, though FLY ME's battered and scratched 35mm print has been harvested of some of its nudity by a horny projectionist. THE ARENA contains two extra scenes that weren't in its 35mm source print, but have been ported over from a full-frame transfer for completist's sake. Trailers for FLY ME and THE ARENA are included. Steve Carver and moderator Katerina Leigh Waters provide an audio commentary about THE ARENA, which also receives its own 18-minute documentary featuring Carver, Corman, Mark Damon, and Margaret Markov.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Impossible Mission of Laurence Heath

I've written several posts about MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, but one of the most fascinating stories related to that television series comes from writer Stephen Bowie on his essential Classic TV History Blog. Patrick J. White, whose THE COMPLETE MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE DOSSIER is one of the best and most thorough books ever written about the production of a television series, neglected to tell this story, though it's possible he either didn't know about it or was afraid to bring it up in his interviews.

The story concerns Laurence Heath, a terrific writer responsible for some of MISSION's best teleplays, including the two-part "The Controllers" and "The Mercenaries," which ranks high among my favorite episodes. He was also MISSION's story consultant and, later, producer. He also fulfilled those functions on series like 21 BEACON STREET, BONANZA, THE MAGICIAN, DYNASTY, and MURDER, SHE WROTE.

 In 1963, a year in which he managed a single teleplay for SAM BENEDICT, Heath murdered his wife. And, as Bowie notes, seven years later, Heath was producing MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE.

You can read Bowie's engrossing true-crime account here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lord Of Lust

One thing in writer Marc Olden's favor is that he creates terrific villains. And if there's one thing fans of adventure fiction know, it's that a hero is generally only as interesting as his adversary.

Of course, the Black Samurai is pretty darned interesting in his own right. Robert Sand, a black man who also happens to be the only Westerner to successfully complete Japanese samurai training, is truly his own man, but partners with former POTUS William Baron Clarke, a Southerner with immense wealth and power, to fight for justice against those who can't help themselves.

In Olden's THE DEADLY PEARL, Signet's fourth Black Samurai novel of 1974, Sand's target is Pearl, a nasty New York City pimp who traffics in underage girls--kidnapping them, addicting them to smack, and selling them overseas as sex slaves. Pearl is also a formidable warrior who trains daily with a professional fencer and fancies an elaborate sword cane as his choice of weapon.

Sand becomes involved to help a friend, Secret Service agent Gray Foster, whose 15-year-old daughter Rochelle is missing. It doesn't take the Black Samurai long to learn that Pearl has her. It's just a matter of getting to the man and getting him to talk. Which ain't easy, because Pearl is as smart as he is mean, and he's surrounded by an army--in particular, a giant martial artist named Chink.

Olden, who also wrote the Narc series, is a master of urban adventure fiction. His New York City is truly alive, festered with pushers and pimps so thick you can practically smell the evil. Robert Sand is a great character, but his supporting cast is also rich, and Olden's sense of time and place make you believe in the harsh reality of the novel's story.

I haven't yet read all the Black Samurai books, but I give the series my highest recommendation.

Friday, January 20, 2012

They Left Her No Choice

Gina Carano is for real.

The 27-year-old mixed martial artist and bit actress (BLOOD AND BONE) plays her first leading role in HAYWIRE, a low-budget trifle churned out by director Steven Soderbergh (OCEAN’S 11) in Ireland, Spain, and New Mexico. As an actress, the brunette easily holds her own opposite steely veterans like Michael Fassbender (INGLORIOUS BASTERDS) and Michael Douglas (WALL STREET), and as an action star, Carano has few peers of either the male or female variety.

As if acknowledging the wafer-thin nature of the plot dreamed up by screenwriter Lem Dobbs (THE LIMEY), Soderbergh tries to juice it up with non-linear storytelling with flashbacks, silent sequences, and shifts to black and white. He needn’t have, because HAYWIRE is at its best when Soderbergh (who, as usual, worked as his own cinematographer) plants the camera and lets his performers do their work.

Carano is cast as Mallory Kane, an ex-Marine now working as an operative for a private security company run by Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), her former lover. Although she has just returned from a mission in Barcelona rescuing a Chinese journalist, Kenneth goads Mallory into a quick weekend job in Dublin acting primarily as eye candy on the arm of MI-6 agent Paul (Fassbender). After poking around the edges of her assigned milk run, she quickly learns she has been led into a trap that has law enforcement on her back and unjustified murder charges on her head.

HAYWIRE is a revenge tale, pure and simple, and when Soderbergh keeps it simple, it really rocks. Eschewing contemporary trends of quick cutting and shaky handheld shots, Soderbergh knows there’s little he can do to make Carano look badass that she can’t do better. Choreographed by stunt ace J.J. Perry, the fight scenes are rough, brutal, and made devastatingly real by Carano. Even so, HAYWIRE’s best setpiece is a foot chase over Dublin rooftops and through a labyrinth of hotel hallways in which Carano is clearly doing her own stunts without help from the visual effects department. Dobbs could have laced the screenplay with a more liberal dose of humor, as Carano’s unexpected run-in with a deer provides a chuckle right when the film needs one.

As for Carano’s acting, she’s just fine. Frankly, she’s a better actor than Channing Tatum (21 JUMP STREET), here playing a fellow operative with whom she has a quick affair, and certainly more believable in her role than Tatum is in his. Stripped down to about ninety minutes and containing enough buff action to keep it from dragging, HAYWIRE is more pretentious than it should be, but a strong debut for Carano.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Here Come De Prince

Independent filmmaker Peter Perry spent the 1960s and much of the 1970s working as a director, writer, editor, and producer on various drive-in movies. Most of them belonged to the long-gone and little-heralded sexploitation genre, which consisted of low-budget movies made for adult audiences only. They were softcore pictures, which meant full frontal female nudity (and occasionally male too) and simulated sex. Even though no penetration was shown, the movies were still too graphic to receive an R rating (though the sexploitation genre peaked during the 1960s before such a rating existed).

Perry, who often hid behind the pseudonym A.P. Stootsberry, was a pioneer of the sexploitation genre, working on pictures like THE JOYS OF JEZEBEL, KISS ME QUICK!, and MY TALE IS HOT. The genre isn't one that I've cottoned to, as I become bored rather quickly during the lighthearted but lengthy sex scenes associated with it (for purposes of this discussion, I'm avoiding mention of "roughies," a grim subgenre that rests within the sexploitation genre).

However, I'll recommend a pair of Perry's pictures, which were very likely made back-to-back using the same costumes and sets. Both were heavily influenced by ROWAN & MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN, which debuted in 1968 and quickly became the most popular comedy show on television. Both also took stories from the public domain and put an amusing, sexy twist on them.

LAUGH-IN was clearly a major influence on Jim Macher, the screenwriter of Perry's THE SECRET SEX LIVES OF ROMEO AND JULIET. Shakespeare’s lauded lovers break the fourth wall, toss off witty bon mots, and get psychedelic between sexploits. Catchphrases like “Sock it to me” and “Here come de Prince” abound, and Perry often interrupts scenes for quick cutaways to Joke Wall-style gags.

The film, which Boxoffice International released to theaters and drive-ins in 1969, uses the conceit that it’s a 16th-century production of Shakespeare’s play performed before a group of hairy California hippies hilariously pretending to be drunken revelers. Cast members introduce themselves to the camera, many of them, like Perry, using pseudonyms. Macher follows the basic plot of ROMEO AND JULIET, but only as a loose throughline connecting the lengthy sex scenes. To Perry, sex is a lot of rubbing and moaning—nothing hardcore, but still X-rated (though Boxoffice International tended to send these quickies out unrated). Forman Shane (THE BUSHWHACKER) is Romeo, and Dee Lockwood (Maid Marian in THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD) is Juliet.

SECRET SEX LIVES, like other period sex romps made by Perry, is rather sumptuous in its sets and costumes, which lends the sophomoric and sometimes smutty humor a touch of class it probably doesn’t deserve. A whipping scene is played for camp, as is Stuart Lancaster’s performance as Lord Capulet. Hell, Lancaster (MUDHONEY) even blows a line early on, and Perry, recognizing his film’s artificiality as a prime source of humor, left the blooper in. Long lovemaking scenes aren’t my cup of tea, but the enthusiastic cast and good-natured gagging make Perry’s picture one of the more entertaining of the sexploitation genre.

Perry and Macher followed up THE SECRET SEX LIVES OF ROMEO AND JULIET with another trashy period piece, 1970's THE NOTORIOUS CLEOPATRA. Despite the then-trendy breaking of the fourth wall a la LAUGH-IN, it isn't as funny as SECRET SEX LIVES and turns uncomfortably serious at the end. Perry and Boxoffice International head Harry Novak’s production is cheap and could have used exterior shooting to allow fresh air to infiltrate the heavy breathing (the battle scenes occur entirely off-camera). However, the sets and costumes are decent for an inexpensive sex film, and Perry doesn’t hesitate to move the camera or stage scenes theatrically to pump extra life into the, er, pumping.

Loray White, who once was married to Sammy Davis Jr. for ten minutes, stars as Cleopatra using the pseudonym “Sonora.” Many—probably most—cast and crew members used assumed names, including Perry (again billed as A.P. Stootsberry). Caesar, played by Jay Edwards as a fat, lazy, bored slob, sends his general, Marc Antony (Johnny Rocco), to bring him Cleopatra, the Queen of the Nile, so he can sleep with her. The logic of sending “the greatest lover in all of Rome” after her seems a tad stupid, especially when Caesar warns Antony to keep his mitts off her. He doesn’t, of course. In fact, he falls in love with Cleopatra, who begins scheming to replace Caesar on his throne.

The thin story is padded by several extended sex scenes, including a couple of orgies. Or more accurately, Macher wrote a few dialogue scenes to tie the sex scenes together. The score, credited to Vic Lance, is very good and includes original songs.

The acting, for the most part, is more professional than one might expect in sexploitation (the actors worked almost exclusively within the genre). The stacked Sonora/White is cast well and gets to show off her dancing prowess. Rocco’s impossibly deep voice bursting through his perpetually clenched teeth is good for campy laughs. Of course, none of the actors bother hiding their 1960s hairstyles and sideburns.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Judgment Eve

EVE OF JUDGMENT is the fourth paperback adaptation of the acclaimed 1960s television series THE DEFENDERS. For more on the series, which starred E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed as father-and-son attorneys, read my post on the novel ALL THE SILENT VOICES.

Like VOICES, EVE OF JUDGMENT is based on an episode. "Judgment Eve" was written by the show's creator, the brilliant Reginald Rose, and directed by David Greene. Not having seen the episode, I don't know how closely novelist Roger Fuller adheres to the source material, but I suspect some padding was involved.

EVE opens with a trial already concluded and the jury off to consider. Lawrence and Kenneth Preston are defending Frank Thorpe, a construction magnate with shady ties to the criminal underworld, of murdering his business rival, who may or may not have been carrying on an affair with Thorpe's wife.

The book, however, is not about the case, but about the jury. Fuller is trying to give the readers an insider's view of what happens when a jury is sequestered overnight. What do they think about? How do they react to having an unexpected stay in a hotel with a total stranger in the next room? How does the possibility of sentencing a man to the electric chair affect them?

Fuller lets us meet all twelve jurors, leaving the Prestons as supporting characters in their own book. In 1963, when Pocket Books published EVE OF JUDGMENT, the workings of a jury may have been something of a mystery, but there isn't much here to surprise you. The jurors aren't terribly interesting, and you may find yourself wondering more about Thorpe's guilt or innocence.

The mystery is solved to the reader's satisfaction, you'll be happy to know. The book is okay, nothing spectacular, and certainly nothing as hard-hitting as the TV series.

As an aside, "Judgment Eve" may be of interest today for a very early guest-starring bit by Gene Hackman as the jury room's guard.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Boxoffice: January 28, 1974




I'm Just Gonna Keep On Livin'


CLUELESS co-star Brittany Murphy had been dead almost a year by the time her final film finally hit video stores. She plays a banker named Mary, who takes the morning off work to accompany her boyfriend-of-four-months Kevin (Dean Cain, who appears to be eating well in his middle age) to the hospital, where he is to have routine outpatient knee surgery. To cut down on expensive extras, the hospital is said to be closing down for renovations, so most of the patients have been transferred elsewhere.

In a retread of DYING ROOM ONLY, THE VANISHING, BREAKDOWN, etc., Mary goes downstairs for coffee and returns to find Kevin gone with just his tattered paperback left behind. None of the nurses admits having seen or heard of Kevin, and there’s no record of his admittance in the hospital computer. The hospital administrator (Mimi Rogers, who has little to do), security chief (Scott Anthony Leet), psychiatrist (LAST PICTURE SHOW director Peter Bogdanovich), and police detective assigned to the case (Jay Pickett) all think Mary is crazy and that no boyfriend exists.

If they see Mary the way we see Murphy, their attitude is understandable. It may be unfair to discuss an actress’ appearance within the context of a film review, but it’s hard to avoid in the case of ABANDONED. Poor Brittany looks a mess with scraggly hair, sunken eyes, surgically enhanced lips, and massive weight loss, and the high-definition photography does her no favors. Her performance seems distracted by whatever demons she was wrestling near the end of her life, and it’s difficult to buy Mary as someone who wouldn’t fall apart at the first sign of emotional stress.

The movie isn’t much good. Tim Thomerson (TRANCERS) pops in for an early scene as a lonely old man who chats up Mary in the cafeteria, and you know the producers didn’t pay Thomerson’s day rate just for that. A plot thread involving Mary’s best friend from work goes frustratingly unresolved (actually, several do), and director Michael Feifer goes to so much trouble to avoid showing the title of Kevin’s paperback that it comes as zero surprise when it turns out to be a clue.

ABANDONED is dedicated to Murphy’s memory. One of her last lines is, “I’m just gonna keep on livin’. One day at a time.” Which will break your heart.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

474

474. That's the number of movies I watched in 2011. That’s well below my all-time record of 588 in 2004, which I hope I never equal. It’s up somewhat from last year, though being unemployed for the entirety of 2011 had a large effect on my total. The number also doesn’t include all the television series on DVD I’ve been digging through this year, including THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, THE BOB NEWHART SHOW, THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, NICHOLS, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, as well as the current series I watch on the DVR.

Of the 474 movies I saw, I watched 255 of them for the first time. Here are my rules. As far as the count goes, only feature films count, no matter whether I saw them in a theater, DVD, VHS, or on TV.

• TV shows don't count, unless they were presented in a format resembling a feature film (for instance, the pilot episodes of MAN FROM ATLANTIS, which aired as full-length made-for-TV movies)
• Made-for-TV movies count
• Documentaries count
• I didn't count short subjects or feature-length making-of documentaries included as DVD extras
• Movie serials and TV miniseries count as one long feature
• Multiple viewings each count as a separate movie

These are my rules. Your mileage may vary.

DVD: 295
HDTV: 54
Theater: 32
TV: 10
Blu-ray: 40
VHS: 14
Netflix Instant Streaming: 29

First film of 2011: BEST IN SHOW
Last film of 2011: DRIVE (2011)

From the 1920s: 1 (THE UNKNOWN)
1930s: 1 (THE RIDERS OF THE WHISTLING SKULL)
1940s: 4 (HITLER’S CHILDREN, I ACCUSE MY PARENTS, BOWERY BUCKAROOS, BOMBA ON PANTHER ISLAND)
1950s: 30
1960s: 64
1970s: 120
1980s: 124
1990s: 62
2000–2010: 43
2011: 25

Genres:
Action/Adventure: 148
Comedy: 66
Crime Drama: 31
Documentary: 15
Drama: 21
Horror: 85
Mystery: 6
Science Fiction: 63
Thriller: 31
Western: 8

Countries of origin:
Argentina: 1 (HOUSE OF SHADOWS)
Australia: 5
Canada: 8
France: 2
Hong Kong: 7
Israel: 1 (TRUNK TO CAIRO)
Italy: 20
Japan: 16
Mexico: 4
Philippines: 10
Spain: 2
Thailand: 1 (H-BOMB)
United States of America: 384
Yugoslavia: 1 (PORTRAIT IN TERROR)

Even though I stopped going to theaters regularly a few years ago, I still managed to see 25 2011 releases, mostly on cable or on DVD. I saw only a handful of them theatrically: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, HALL PASS (bored in Cheyenne, Wyoming), DRIVE, and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.

Most in one month:
January: 69
Least in one month:
April: 21

Films I saw more than once in 2011:
ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS
FIRECRACKER
THE LOST EMPIRE
MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED!
PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (both times in a theater)
TNT JACKSON

The most films in any one 24-hour period:
14, when I attended Northwestern University's annual B-Fest January 28–29

Some sequels:
4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER
BEST OF THE BEST, BEST OF THE BEST II, and BEST OF THE BEST 4: WITHOUT WARNING
CLEOPATRA JONES and CLEOPATRA JONES AND THE CASINO OF GOLD
DEATH WISH 3, 4, and V
DYNAMITE JOHNSON: BIONIC BOY PART II
EXCESSIVE FORCE II: FORCE ON FORCE
THE EXORCIST 1–3
THE EXTERMINATOR and EXTERMINATOR 2
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3
FRIGHT NIGHT and FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2
GHOSTBUSTERS II
THE GREAT ESCAPE II: THE UNTOLD STORY
HALLOWEEN II (1981)
HATCHET II
LAKE PLACID 2 and 3
MAN FROM ATLANTIS 1–4
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER
POLICE ACADEMY 1–7
RELENTLESS 1–4
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART II
SCREAM 4
STAR TREK 1–6 (all at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater over four nights)
THE SUBSTITUTE 1–4
TRANCERS 1–5

The original and its remake(s):
AND SOON THE DARKNESS (1970) and AND SOON THE DARKNESS (2010)
THE FANTASTIC FOUR (1994) and FANTASTIC FOUR (2005)

5 Stars:
BURIED
CHAINED HEAT
DARK OF THE SUN
DEATH WISH 3
THE EXORCIST
FORBIDDEN WORLD
FREEBIE & THE BEAN
GONE WITH THE POPE
JFK
THE MAN FROM HONG KONG
NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF OZPLOITATION!
PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE
RAW FORCE
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
STARCRASH
STUNT ROCK
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE
THE THING (1982)
USED CARS

1 Star:
976-EVIL
AS TIME RUNS OUT
BAD CHARLESTON CHARLIE
BLOOD SISTERS
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
THE COSMIC MONSTER
THE CURSE
DANCE OF THE DAMNED
FALL DOWN DEAD
GOOD MORNING, KILLER
HOUSE OF SHADOWS
IT’S ALIVE! (1968)
JUNGLE HELL
LOOSE CANNONS
MAMA DRACULA
THE MAN (2005)
MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID
THE MIGHTY GORGA
MOTHER’S BOYS
NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ADAM & EVE
POLICE ACADEMY: MISSION TO MOSCOW
STAR HUNTER
STROKER ACE
UP FROM THE DEPTHS

Recent Direct-to-Video or Barely Released Films You Haven’t Heard Of, But You Should See:
BEST WORST MOVIE
BURIED (Ryan Reynolds)
BURN NOTICE: THE FALL OF SAM AXE
GONE WITH THE POPE
HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS: THE GODFATHER OF GORE
HUNTER PREY
METHOD TO THE MADNESS OF JERRY LEWIS
NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF OZPLOITATION!
RUBBER
TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL
WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?

Bowery Boys movies:
CRASHING LAS VEGAS
BOWERY BUCKAROOS

Godzilla movies:
GOJIRA
GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS!
GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN
GIGANTIS THE FIRE MONSTER
GHIDORAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER
GODZILLA VS THE THING
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA
INVASION OF THE ASTRO-MONSTER
GODZILLA’S REVENGE
GODZILLA VS. MEGALON
GODZILLA 1985
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA

MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. movies:
THE HELICOPTER SPIES
HOW TO STEAL THE WORLD
THE SPY IN THE GREEN HAT
THE KARATE KILLERS
ONE SPY TOO MANY
ONE OF OUR SPIES IS MISSING
TO TRAP A SPY
THE SPY WITH MY FACE

They Exist, and I Watched Them:
4 DOLLARS OF REVENGE
BLACKENSTEIN
BRUCE’S NINJA SECRET
DARNA VS THE PLANET WOMEN
DOGORA THE SPACE MONSTER
DR. BLACK MR. HYDE
DYNAMITE JOHNSON: BIONIC BOY PART II
EXCESSIVE FORCE II: FORCE ON FORCE
GONE WITH THE POPE
GUNS, GIRLS AND GANGSTERS
H.O.T.S.
HAVE ROCKET—WILL TRAVEL
HELLISH SPIDERS
MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED!
MAMBA
MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID
MR. NO LEGS
MR. WALKIE TALKIE
THE NAME OF THE GAME IS KILL!
OTHELLO (THE BLACK COMMANDO)
PLEASE DON’T EAT MY MOTHER!
PREACHERMAN MEETS WIDDERWOMAN
SIX SHE’S AND A HE
SKIDOO
THE SPY WHO CAME
THUNDER OF GIGANTIC SERPENT

My Top Ten of 2011:
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
DRIVE ANGRY
RUBBER
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS: THE GODFATHER OF GORE
MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED!
BURN NOTICE: THE FALL OF SAM AXE
METHOD TO THE MADNESS OF JERRY LEWIS
THE CAPTAINS

My Bottom Five of 2011:
MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID
GOOD MORNING, KILLER
SCREAM 4
HALL PASS
BATTLE LOS ANGELES

How many movies did you watch this year?

P.S. John Charles at By John Charles answers the above question here and William Wilson at Video Junkie Strikes Back from the Grave here.