Today's capsules 🍿

Predator 2 (1990, Stephen Hopkins)

Quite stupid sequel with an all-new cast (except PREDATOR performer Kevin Peter Hall) has almost nothing going for it except some gorgeous direction from Hopkins. He’s got a great sense for what’s going to at least look good in the film. Good performance from Danny Glover in the lead, but bad performances from almost everyone else (except Morton Downey Jr., which is definitely an ominous sign). It’s bad but beautifully directed. DVD, Blu-ray, Streaming.
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Perry Mason: The Case of the All-Star Assassin (1989, Christian I. Nyby II)
ⓏⒺⓇⓄ
Bungling direction from Nyby does in this PERRY MASON outing, which is unfortunate since many of the guest stars–except main guest star Pernell Roberts–at least try to give a good performance. Even without Nyby’s bungling, the movie would have some major problems thanks to writer Robert Hamilton’s exceptionally problematic, sexist writing of third lead Alexandra Paul. DVD.
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Between the Lines (1977, Joan Micklin Silver)
★★
Meandering comedy about the lives and times of the staff of a Boston alternative newspaper. Director Micklin Silver gets a lot of raw, “real” moments but it usually feels like a “very special [and serious] episode” sitcom episode. Some good performances from the recognizable cast help–Jill Eikenberry’s great, Jeff Goldblum’s funny, and how can you not like Bruno Kirby. Lopsided plotting (and Stephen Collins getting his own subplot) hurt lots. DVD, Blu-ray.
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Black Moon (1934, Roy William Neill)
★½
Phenomenally well-made but exceptionally racist thriller about a Caribbean voodoo cult brainwashing Dorothy Burgess into a sleeper agent. Jack Holt’s her unknowing husband, Cora Sue Collins is their daughter. Second-billed Fay Wray is the good White lady versus suspected race traitor Burgess. Like I said, racist; really, willfully racist. Holt’s great, so’s Collins. Great finale too. Just wish it wasn’t so super racist (even for the 1930s). DVD.
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Showdown (1942, Izzy Sparber)
Not Recommended
SUPERMAN cartoon about a burglar dressing up as Superman when he robs places. Pretty soon he runs into the real Superman, who viciously scares him off a roof for fun. Boring action, holey plot; it’s pretty tepid stuff. Followed by ELEVENTH HOUR. DVD, Blu-ray, Streaming.
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The Return of the Incredible Hulk (1977, Alan J. Levi)

Second INCREDIBLE HULK pilot movie has lonely man Bill Bixby and his monster Lou Ferrigno getting involved with an orange grove heiress (Laurie Prange), her evil stepmother (Dorothy Tristan), and evil doctor (William Daniels). Not bad for a TV pilot aimed at seven-year old boys–the Hulk vs. bear is awesome and it’s efficient–but it’s all unimaginatively executed and rather underacted. Bixby’s likability carries the movie between Ferrigno’s Hulk outs. Aired in syndication as a two-parter with title, DEATH IN THE FAMILY. DVD.
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*****
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