Friday, October 18, 2019

"Joker" and The Week in Reviews

[I review "Joker" as well as the DVDs "Midsommar" and "The Wedding Guest."  The Book of the Week is "Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know" by Malcolm Gladwell.  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die" with "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."]


Another origin story for the Joker.

Most of us know who the Joker is, right?  If you have seen any Batman movies or Batman TV shows or read Batman comics, the Joker is going to show up. But this time it's an interesting take on The Joker's origin story. 

This time it's the story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely guy with some mental issues and a medical condition that makes him laugh uncontrollably at inappropriate times.  He lives in a dark and gritty world full of civil unrest and is mistreated at every turn.  He is isolated and tormented. Ironically, he works as a clown for hire, but, after a series of unfortunate events not of his making, he loses his job.  

But then Arthur decides he needs to become a comedian and his dream is to make it onto the Murray Franklin Show.  He does end up on the show but not for the right reasons.  Franklin (Robert De Niro) sees a tape of Arthur at an open mic comedy show, and Arthur is so bad he's good as in Franklin thinks it would be fun to have him on the show, basically to make fun of him.  Little does Franklin know what Arthur is going to do as he takes on his alter ego - Joker.

Those familiar with Batman, who is part of the DC Comics Universe, will be familiar with Joker and his relationship to the Wayne family and their story.  In this film, we see young Bruce Wayne (Dante Pereira-Olson), who will become Batman, as Arthur tries to meet Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), Bruce's father, who Arthur has been told by his mother, Penny (Frances Conroy), is his real father. Yet another complication that torments Arthur's life.

Speaking of DC comics  - there has always been a sort of rivalry between DC comics and the Marvel world.  I'm a DC girl myself. Having grown up with that cheesy TV Batman show of the 1960's, I think the DC superheroes and villains are more relatable than the superheros in the Marvel comics. I've always been partial to cheese.

Joaquin Phoenix has proven himself to be a wonderful actor in that "I am going to completely inhabit the role" kind of acting. He has also perfected the oddball character - "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot," "The Master," "Inherent Vice" are examples- all wonderful performances in the oddball genre, but this will be his defining moment. For this role, he lost 50 pounds and is all in as Joker. He is sure to win an Oscar for this tour de force.

But Joaquin Phoenix is a strange guy.  If you remember him on talk shows during his "beard period," you know what I mean.

But it's no wonder Phoenix is "strange."  He had an unusual childhood, traveling around the world with his family as members of The Children of God.  He also lost his older brother, River, to a drug overdose so it's no wonder he may have issues. But his so-called "strangeness" works in his career.  He chooses interesting roles and immerses himself in them and we, as audience members, get to benefit.  And "Joker" is no exception.

Written by Todd Phillips and Scott Silver and directed by Phillips, this is a dark film about a very dark world that is not sympathetic to the mentally ill or anyone for that matter. The film feels very much like "Taxi Driver" and "The King of Comedy" as Arthur goes from a guy struggling with his issues to becoming a bona fide villain. But it's also a nod to "Pagliacci," the opera about the clown with the smiling face who is crying inside and Incels, those involuntary celibate white guys who can't get laid so they pick up a gun and start shooting people.  That latter nod has swirled some controversy around this film and some theatres closed opening night or had high security to avoid what happened in Aurora, Colorado at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight," when James Holmes, dressed as Joker, arrived at the theatre and killed 12 people and injured 70. But thankfully, nothing like that happened this time.

This is not your usual superhero/supervillain story, and it might be too dark, disturbing and violent for some, but the reason to see the film is Joaquin Phoenix's incredible performance.

Rosy the Reviewer says...ring! ring!  Is this Mr. Phoenix?  Oscar calling!

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!

Midsommar (2019)

Some Americans travel to Sweden to celebrate Midsommar and to enjoy some much needed rest.  Little do they know what they have gotten themselves into.

Dani's (Florence Pugh) boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor), is a bro and lives with his bros, Mark (Mark Poulter) and Josh (William Jackson Harper), who don't really appreciate their bro-dom being interrupted by Dani and her needs, even when a family tragedy befalls her.  Dani is left bereft and lonely so when one of the other bros, Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren), a Swede, invites them all to his little town in Sweden for Midsommar, they all decide it's just what they and Dani need, especially since they are all anthropology students and will be able to study the Swedish culture.  

That's all well and good, but let's just say that Pelle's little town in Sweden is not your typical town.  Yes, it's beautiful and full of beautiful people, but there is something dark going on there as they all soon learn, something you wouldn't expect from those peace loving Swedes.  It's a pagan thing.  Think "The Wicker Man." If you saw that film, you will have an idea about this one.

Written and directed by Ari Aster, his follow up to "Hereditary," the film starts off in a dark, scary way with all kinds of interesting camera work going on provided by cinematographer, Pawel Pogorzelski - filming from above, even filming upside down - and ominous music that made me feel I was in for a scary movie. I kept waiting for something to happen. I was hopeful when one of the villagers said that it had been 90 years since their last "feast," so I was already putting my hands over my eyes because I thought that was code for some cannibalism.  But sadly, the film bogged down in the middle and actually was kind of boring.  It just took too long to get to the "good stuff," and I was wrong about the finale, which was also kind of a let down. The film was way too long for the premise and the pay off, which was quite confusing.  It had a kind of "huh?" ending.

Now, I have to say I am half Swedish, have Swedish relatives living in Sweden, and I have attended a Midsommar celebration in Sweden myself.  However, I can't help but wonder why Sweden was chosen for this "horror" film.  Is it because those peace loving people would be the least likely to be blood thirsty?

Anyway, in case you don't know, Midsommar is a Swedish celebration where everyone leaves the towns and goes into the country to dance around May poles and indulge in an old-fashioned country life.  Like I said, we have attended such a celebration and I didn't find it the least bit scary, unless seeing Hubby running around wearing a wreath of leaves is scary.  Actually, it kind of is.

I have been a fan of Florence Pugh since she starred in "Lady Macbeth," her first adult starring role in a feature film, and since then she has shown her versatility in "Fighting With My Family" and "Malevolent." She looks like a young Kate Winslet. However, I have to say that even though she stars in this film, she really doesn't have much to do, except to be a kind of clueless bystander overshadowed by the circumstances she finds herself in but Pugh does the best she can with what she has to work with.

The film dabbles a bit in the fish out of water concept along with male privilege, American entitlement and female empowerment, but not enough to make this a particularly meaningful film.  What was most interesting to me was the fact that it was a horror film that takes place entirely in daylight (no innocent young girls walking home in the dark), playing upon the fact that in Sweden in summer the sun barely sets.  Now that's scary.

Rosy the Reviewer says..after seeing this film, you might think twice if invited to a Midsommar celebration.

A mysterious British Muslim man travels to Pakistan to kidnap a bride right before her wedding.

Okay, he kidnaps the bride, but it takes forever to get there.  Okay, it was only 18 minutes that I had to wait but it still felt like forever.  But there is an intensity that makes you stick with it to find out what is going to happen and that is in part due to Dev Patel as the mystery man, who is very intense and compelling, nothing like you remember him from "Slumdog Millionaire" or "Lion."

We first see Jay (Patel) as he packs his suitcase and heads from the U.K. to Pakistan. Is he the wedding guest?  He has several passports and along the way he buys a gun. Not usual behavior for a wedding guest so the title is actually ironic.  Turns out, Jay has arrived in Pakistan to kidnap the bride, Samira (Radhika Apte), for his employer, Deepesh (Jim Sarbh), who is also Samira's boyfriend.  Jay is actually saving her from a marriage she doesn't want, but we don't know who she is or why he has kidnapped her.  But things go awry and Jay is forced to kill one of the security guards at the wedding and now Deepesh doesn't want anything to do with Jay or Samira so Jay and Samira are stuck with each other and on the run. Now if you don't know what is going to happen next, you don't watch a lot of movies.  OF COURSE feelings between the two ensue!

But the film, written and directed by Michael Winterbottom, doesn't stop there.  There are twists and turns and no one is as he or she seems. The film is atmospheric and intense, a sort of Middle Eastern film noir.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Patel as you have never seen him and a road trip story that will keep you guessing.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

58 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

A brother and sister and three of their friends go on a road trip to visit their father's grave, and see the old homestead, and wouldn't you know, they run into a cannibalistic family, as one does.

Okay, I know what you are thinking and you are right.  I was thinking the same thing.  I can't believe that over the last 45 years I haven't seen this film!  Well....why would I want to see a bunch of people massacred by a chain saw?  But then I heard some things that made me think this was one of those movies where the violence was implied as in, yes, chain saw, very scary.  We can IMAGINE and our imagination is worse than reality, right?


Written by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel and directed by Hooper, no imagining necessary.  It's all right there.  It only took for the opening scenes of eviscerated bodies and the first victim to be hoisted up onto a meat hook ALIVE for me to start fast forwarding (thank god for that).

So let's bring out the horror tropes. 

Group of innocent teens on a road trip meet up with some bad guys, a male family of cannibals, one of which wears human skin from his victims over his face because his real face looks like the Joker (see review above).  Hence his name - no not "Joker," but "Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen)."  Next trope, they are all killed off one at a time until only the pretty blonde (Marilyn Burns) is left to run around with the chainsaw wielding Leatherface chasing her and her screaming her lungs out.  And let me tell you, before Blondie gets away, it is gross-out after gross-out.

May I ask what the purpose of this film would be?

Why It's a Must See: "The film...begins with some voice-over work by a young (and then unknown) John Laroquette...[and] Upon viewing this intense picture, with its relentless pace and quasi-documentary style, critic Rex Reed declared it one of the most frightening movies ever made...[and yet] Hooper's warped labor of love stood for a time as one of the most profitable independent films in motion picture history."
---"1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die"

I can see how this inspired other gross horror films to come, especially "The Hills Have Eyes (another one of the 1001 movies you are supposed to see before you die)," which also featured a human flesh eating family, but I am not prone to enjoying films that will give me nightmares.

Rosy the Reviewer says.. I saw things in this film I can't get out of my mind. Don't like that.

***The Book of the Week***

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell (2019)

Author Gladwell uses the 2015 Sandra Bland case as a jumping off point to explore the issue of how we really don't know how to talk to people we don't know and because of that, Gladwell contends that conflicts and misunderstandings ensue, ones that can lead to catastrophe.

In case you didn't know, the Sandra Bland case involved an African-American woman from Chicago who was driving back from a job interview at Prairie View A & M in Houston, Texas.  She was stopped by a police officer for not using her turn signal and one thing led to another and she was arrested.  We know all of this because the police officer's body cam was on the entire time.  What should have been a routine traffic stop - though one wonders why the police officer stopped her for not using her turn signal...mmm, white cop, black wonders - escalated into an arrest with Sandra Bland killing herself in her jail cell. 

Because Gladwell opens his book with that story, you would think this book would be about racial injustice.  But it's not. 

In addition to the Sandra Bland story, the book also touches on Neville Chamberlain trusting that Hitler would not attack Great Britain, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal and more.  What do these stories all have in common?  That in each case, the parties involved relied on their own strategies, experiences and assumptions "to translate another's words and intentions.  And in each case, something went very wrong."  Gladwell uses those stories to try to understand what happened. 

At the end of the book, Gladwell reflects again on the Sandra Bland case where a post-mortem boiled the whole incident down to the fact that maybe Sandra Bland might not have liked police officers!

"Because we do not know how to talk to strangers, what do we do when things go awry with strangers?  We blame the stranger."

Rosy the Reviewer eye-opener!

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story"


The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See

Before I Die Project" 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

Friday, October 11, 2019

"Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the documentary "Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice" as well as DVDs "Wild Rose" and "The Secret Life of Pets 2."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Targets."]

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

A documentary chronicling the life and career of singer, Linda Ronstadt.

One of life's cruel ironies would be a singer losing her voice.  And that is what has happened to Linda Ronstadt.

Ronstadt, of the full and throaty voice, was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, and in 2013 retired saying she could "no longer sing a note."  Well, that is not entirely true, but the perfectionist that she is, it might as well be true because she can no longer sing as she used to.

This documentary showcases Ronstadt's life and career, one that was stellar, indeed. She has earned 10 Grammys, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, and an Emmy, as well as Tony and Golden Globe nominations, the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by The Latin Recording Academy and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 and was awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities.  She released over 30 studio albums and 15 compilation/greatest hits albums, has had 21 top 40 hits and a number one single with "You're No Good."

She also starred in "The Pirates of Penzance" and collaborated with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. 

So what a career!

But her story is also a sad one, because she is only 73, and we could still be enjoying her voice if not for her Parkinson's, not to mention the money she could still be making performing.  Her age wouldn't have been a barrier.  I mean, look at Tony Bennett.  He is 93 and still singing.

Ronstadt narrates much of the film herself and she does it honestly and poignantly.  She seems to have no regrets and even sings at the end of the film. Music was such a part of her and her family that she had to sing and when she heard a certain song that spoke to her, she had to sing it, because as she says over and over in the film, she was compelled by the music. That is why Ronstadt has gone from folk to folk/rock to rock to country to standards to traditional Mexican music and had successes in every genre she took on.  

Ronstadt grew up in Tuscon, Arizona, in a musical household, the third of four children with a Mexican father who loved to sing.  Her mother was from Michigan of German/English/Dutch ancestry, and her mother's father was a prolific inventor who invented an early toaster and microwave oven. Ronstadt sang in a musical group with her brother and moved to L.A. when she was 18 where she hung out with the likes of Don Henley and J.D. Souther, who became her boyfriend (Henley was also later her boyfriend). After performing at The Troubadour with the Stone Poneys, the rest is history. 

The film takes a fairly linear approach on Linda's early life and career with the usual talking heads weighing in (Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt), but what was especially satisfying about this film was seeing her early performances where we once again were able to bask in the sound of that full-bodied voice.  And I was also struck by her honesty.  At the end of the film, we see her in her living room singing with her family, or trying to sing.  Yes, she can still sing, but not as she once did, so her being a perfectionist, she will no longer put herself out there.

Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, one can't help but compare this film to the David Crosby documentary - "David Crosby: Remember My Name" - which I reviewed recently.  Where that one was mostly Cameron Crowe interviewing Crosby, and Crosby holding forth and pontificating with supporting footage and interviews, this one concentrates on chronicling Linda's career, highlighting just how successful she was, and showcasing those fantastic performances which, in turn, gives the film poignancy - that she and we have lost that voice.

However, if you go expecting to learn why Ronstadt never married or getting some insight into her personal life, you will be disappointed. This is foremost an homage.  But it's not surprising since Ronstadt plays such a big role in the film.  I'm sure she didn't want her personal stuff out there. 

And on a more technical note, there was a lack of continuity when it came to identifying the talking heads.  Early on in the film someone I didn't recognize at all talks and later he was identified as one of her producers.  Now, I can recognize a lot of people but music producers?  Not so much.  Later in the film he was identified.  Also there were a LOT of talking heads and once identified, often they wouldn't be identified again, so if I had forgotten who that person was, too bad, I probably wouldn't find out who he or she was again.

But that was a minor complaint in what was a lovely homage to a lovely performer.

Rosy the Reviewer says...happy to be in her presence again; sad that she won't sing again. Bring a hankie.  The ending brought tears to my eyes.

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


Wild Rose (2018)

And now for something completely different as they say.  Here is the story of a singer on the rise, except she is a wannabe country singer from...wait for it...Glasgow, Scotland!

You can't get any more strange than a girl from Scotland who wants to be a country singer.  Well, in my eyes, anyway. The thought of Brits liking country music always seemed so incongruous to me, but I am the first to admit I was wrong. After watching Ken Burns' extraordinary "Country Music" series, I have learned that country music has had a great deal of influence all over the world, so it's no surprise it made it across the pond.

Rose-Lynn (Jessie Buckley) is just out of prison for a little thing like smuggling some drugs and is back in gritty Glasgow.  Her dream is to sing at the Grand Ole Opry, and despite the fact she has two young children, Lyle (Adam Mitchell) and Wynonna (Daisy Littlefield), who have been living with her mother (Julie Walters) and who barely know her, she has one desire and one desire only -- to make it as a country singer.  And did I mention she has anger issues?  As she leaves the prison, she gives it the finger and yells the F-word at it and then beats up a local manager of a club who refuses to hire someone just out of prison.  And that's just Day 1.  She is not a very likable young woman.

But she manages to get a housecleaning job for a rich family.  The mistress of the house, Susannah (Sophie Okonedo), takes a liking to Rose-Lynn and wants to help her.  Rose-Lynn is finally able to get her own apartment and move into it with her kids.  Susannah sends a tape of Rose-Lynn singing to someone she knows at the BBC and sets up a an audition for her.  But Rose-Lynn is kind of a screw-up, which might explain why she thought smuggling heroin was a good idea.   She doesn't make the audition but with the help of her mother gets to Nashville on her own. So she leaves her kids and goes to find her dream except she soon discovers it's everyone else's dream too.  I mean, her cab driver has a box of his own CD's in the trunk. When she discovers that her son has had an accident, she has an epiphany.  So does she get to sing at the Grand Ole Opry?  Sort of.

Written by Nicole Taylor and directed by Tom Harper, this is a simple story of dreaming big and finding redemption despite the odds but that simple story can be deceiving. There are some surprises along the way. Rose-Lynn's life is a country song, which explains why country music is so universal.  It's the story, it's the pain, it's about redeption and about emotions we can all relate to. And there is a moment when we see that Rose-Lynn's mother also had a dream unfulfilled.  That's why country music speaks to so many people.

Buckley is a power house of an actress and a power house of a singer.  I first encountered Buckley in 2017 when she starred in "Beast" and now she is all over the place.  She was in the highly rated series "Chernobyl" as well as "Judy (which I reviewed last week)" and has four films in post-production scheduled to come out next year, so remember her name.  She is a star on the rise.  And speaking of stars, veteran actress Walters can always be counted on to deliver and she does.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a satisfying country song of a movie!

They're baaack!  Those cute little pets of ours who are doing stuff they aren't supposed to be doing when we aren't home!

But despite how cute these little animated creatures are, THIS IS STILL A SEQUEL!!!  And you know how I feel about those.  And this film doesn't change my mind. Why can't I just be left with the happy memory of the first film which I enjoyed.  This one let me down.

Okay, so once again we have Max (except this time Max's voice is provided by Patton Oswalt instead of Louis C.K. and if you are up on your pop culture you know why Louis C.K. lost that gig) and Duke (voice of Eric Stonestreet).  Max loves guardian, Katie (voice of Ellie Kemper), but then Katie meets Chuck (voice of Pete Holmes).  They get married and then Liam comes along.  Max is not happy about playing second fiddle to a baby, but when Liam gets a bit older and tells him he loves him, he had Max at goo goo.  So Max is now on a mission to take care of Liam.

"I'm never going to let anything happen to him."

Sound familiar?  Like say, mmm, mumble, whisper - tttt-oy ssss-tory 4?

But poor Max.  Looking after Liam in NYC is a full time job with danger around every corner. He is so anxious about it that he scratches nervously, so much so that he is taken to the vet and fitted with the "cone of shame."

But Max is not our only star.  Remember fat cat, Chloe (voice of Lake Bell)?  She is still self serving and vain. And Snowball (voice of Kevin Hart), the bunny who was on the evil side in the first film has now mellowed considerably and, in fact, fancies himself a superhero.  

The family decides to go on a vacation to a farm which is going to make Max's life even more miserable.  Meanwhile, Max has asked Gidget (voice of Jenny Slate), the sweet Pom, to take care of his favorite toy, Busy Bee, but Busy Bee falls into another apartment by mistake.  Sadly, it's the apartment of an old cat lady, meaning it's full of cats, and Gidget is too intimidated to go in there and fetch Busy Bee.  Enter Chloe to teach Gidget how to impersonate a cat.

Yet another plot line involves Snowball and Daisy (voice of Tiffany Haddish). Daisy has discovered that a tiger baby is being abused by an evil Russian circus owner (voice of Nick Kroll), who looks suspiciously like the Wicked Witch of the West.  She enlists Snowball to help her save the baby tiger.

So back to Max, Duke and the family on vacation. Enter Rooster (voice of Harrison Ford), the proud farm dog, who teaches Max a thing or two in the way only Harrison Ford can. He is disgusted with these city slicker dogs and lets Max and Duke know it.  I mean, that dry humorless voice of Harrison Ford?  That's actually funny and one of the best things about a film that has some issues.

Those issues are those different and disparate story lines from writer Bryan Lynch and directors Chris Renaud and Jonathan del Val.  The film jumps around from one different and unrelated story line to another, and we see little interaction amongst all of the pets until they are finally brought together in a giant leap to try to save the baby tiger, and Max has to summon his inner Rooster to be the hero of the day.

There is nothing cuter than animated animals with big eyes, but those eyes can't save this film. There is nothing worse in filmdom than a sequel that doesn't live up to the first one.  This doesn't.  And the whole thing was surprisingly violent considering it's aimed at little kids.  I didn't like the mean witch-like circus owner and his brutality toward the baby tiger at all! It made me shudder and I'm a grown-up!

Rosy the Reviewer says...little kids might not be so critical, but if you have to watch it with them, talk them into watching the first one again instead. You will thank me.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

59 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Targets (1968)

A boy next-door turned sniper meets up with an aging horror star.

This was director Peter Bogdanovich's first film before he blew the lid off with the highly successful "The Last Picture Show." Bogdanovich even stars in this film which affirms what I always say - a comic wants to be a dramatic actor, a dramatic actor wants to be a comic, an actor wants to be a director and a director wants to be an actor.  Yes, I do. I always say that.

Horror star Boris Karloff plays a version of himself, a horror star named Byron Orloff.  Can we get any closer to his real name than that?  He has decided that his kind of horror is an anachronism so he wants to retire, but he will do one last appearance at a drive-in that is showing one of his films.  Ah, drive-ins.  Remember those?  There are some winks at Karloff's career - a statement about his ending up in a wax museum, which is a jab at him because one of his horror rivals, Vincent Price, starred in "House of Wax;" and a quote from Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven (Karloff starred in "The Raven").

Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly) is a handsome boy next door type who is married, and he and his wife live with his parents.  But Bobby is also a nutter, who likes guns and owns an arsenal of them.  He kills his family and then goes on a sniper killing spree shooting people as they drive by on the highway. He is one of those white guy losers who can't solve his own problems so he takes it out on others.  Let's go kill some people. That will help. After killing his family, and shooting up the highway, he ends up at a drive-in by chance, but hey, good place to kill some more people. It just so happens to be playing a horror film by, you guessed it, Byron Orloff.  So Orloff thinks his kind of horror is an anachronism?  He's right.  Compared to the horror of real life, it is. But Orloff rises to the real life occasion and takes matters into his own hands.

What is telling about this film is how timely it is. 

It was made in 1968 and was possibly inspired by Charles Whitman, "The Texas Tower Sniper," who in 1966, after killing his mother, went to a bell tower at the University of Texas in Austin and started shooting. That was so shocking because nothing like that had ever really happened before.  But sadly, 53 years later, mass shootings are commonplace and nothing has really changed to try to stop it. Guns are still just as available as ever.

This was, unknowingly by Bogdanovich, a sort of bittersweet goodbye to Karloff who died a year later.  This was also a sad goodbye to Bogdanovich's wife, Polly Platt, who he married nine years before, with whom he had two children and who played a huge role in his carrer.  She co-wrote this script and was also the production designer.  Three years later, when she was once again working with him on what would be his defining directorial triumph, she recommended Cybill Shepherd for the part of Jacy Farrow in "The Last Picture Show," and there you go.  Bogdanovich ran off with Shepherd.  If it was any consolation to Platt, they didn't stay together and Bogdanovich's career was hit and miss after that.

Why It's a Must See:  "Coolly dissociative and intelligently mounted, [this film] is a sharp snapshot of America falling to a new, violent age."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...a chilling foreshadowing of the world we live in now.

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday




The Week in Reviews
(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See

Before I Die Project" 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at 

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.