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Universal Pictures introduced audiences to yet another classic movie monster with this superbly crafted film, originally presented in 3-D. The story involves the members of a fossil-hunting expedition down a dark tributary of the mist-shrouded Amazon, where they enter the domain of a prehistoric, amphibious "Gill Man" -- possibly the last of a species of fanged, clawed humanoids who may have evolved entirely underwater. Tranquilized, captured, and brought aboard, the creature still manages to revive and escape -- slaughtering several members of the team -- and abducts their sole female member (Julie Adams), spiriting her off to his mist-shrouded lair. This sparks the surviving crewmen to action -- particularly those who fancy carrying the girl off themselves. Director Jack Arnold makes excellent use of the tropical location, employing heavy mists and eerie jungle noises to create an atmosphere of nearly constant menace. The film's most effective element is certainly the monster itself, with his pulsating gills and fearsome webbed talons. The creature was played on land by stuntman Ben Chapman and underwater by champion swimmer Ricou Browning -- who was forced to hold his breath during long takes because the suit did not allow room for scuba gear. The end result was certainly worth the effort, proven in the famous scene where the Gill Man swims effortlessly beneath his female quarry in an eerie ballet -- a scene echoed much later by Steven Spielberg in the opening of Jaws. ~ Cavett Binion, All Movie Guide
Includes:White Comanche (1967) E Dio disse a Caino (1969) Mio Nome Ãˆ Shanghai Joe (1972) Four of the Apocalypse (1975) Keoma (1976) White Comanche In this film, the twin sons of a white man and an Indian woman must struggle to overcome both their sibling rivalry and their conflicting identities. ~ Iotis Erlewine, All Movie Guide E Dio disse a Caino Don't let the title mislead you, this film doesn't come from the Bible Belt; it's actually a western where a trigger-happy quickdraw guy has to draw upon all his talent just to stay alive. ~ All Movie Guide Mio Nome Ãˆ Shanghai Joe Director Mario Caiano, best known for the gorgeous horror film Amanti d'Oltretomba, made eleven Westerns in his career, but none as strange as this one. Perhaps it might help some to recall that the TV-series Kung Fu was enjoying great popularity at around the same time employing a similar East-meets-West theme. This film is much more grim and bloody, however, as it tells the tale of a Chinese man (Chen Lee) who travels to San Francisco in 1882. Looking for a better life, all he finds is scum -- racists, perverts, slavers, greedy conmen and mercenaries. Naturally, the gentle mystic must fight to find inner peace. Lee's major weapon -- aside from knives and lethal yo-yos -- is a devastating punch that rams all the way through his opponents' bodies. But that isn't the half of it. A cardshark gets his eyes gouged out in revolting detail, people are beaten to bloody pulp, and the villain of the piece (Klaus Kinski in a fascinating performance) is Scalper Jack, a mincing, sadistic bounty-hunter who tortures and skins his victims alive. A depressing and violent film, this exercise in bloodletting is powerful stuff and well-acted by a veteran cast including Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Claudio Undari and Gordon Mitchell, who also appeared in Caiano's Erik IL Vichingo. Adalberto Albertini made an unfortunate comic sequel the following year with Kinski (in a different role) and Lee. ~ Robert Firsching, All Movie Guide Four of the Apocalypse A vain gambler (Fabio Testi), a pregnant prostitute (Lynne Frederick), a bumbling alcoholic (Michael J. Pollard) and a man who claims to see ghosts (Harry Baird) become unlikely traveling companions in this unusual spaghetti Western from notorious Italian horror director Lucio Fulci. The only survivors of a frontier-town massacre staged to rid the once-lawful town of its overpowering criminal element, the quartet ride the Western trail in a last-ditch bid to reach the next populated area and get back on their feet. Soon drawing the attention of a trigger-happy bandit named Chaco (Tomas Milian), the four cautiously accept him into the fold when Chaco displays a remarkable talent for hunting. When their newfound friend tortures the foursome and leaves them for dead after feeding them hallucinogens, the remaining survivors' desperate bid for survival leads them to take shelter in a ramshackle mining town inhabited only by men of questionable honor. As the birth of her child draws closer, prostitute Bunny (Frederick) looks to suave gambler Stubby (Testi) for the love and support to bring her child into the world. Though the men of the town reluctantly band together to aid Bunny in the birth of her baby, Stubby finds himself torn between the prospect of fatherhood and his unquenchable thirst for revenge against the supremely evil Chaco. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide Keoma Half-breed Keoma (Franco Nero) returns to his border hometown after service in the Civil War and finds it under the control of Caldwell (Donald O'Brien), an ex-Confederate raider, and his vicious gang of thugs. To make matters worse, Keoma's three half-brothers have joined forces with Caldwell, and make it painfully clear that his return is an unwelcome one. Determined to break Caldwell and his brothers' grip on the town, Keoma partners with his father's former ranch hand (Woody Strode) to exact violent revenge. ~ Paul Gaita, All Movie Guide
Includes:Snow Dogs (2002), MPAA Rating: PG Eight Below (2006), MPAA Rating: PG Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008), MPAA Rating: PG Snow Dogs Two Oscar-winning actors add a family-oriented comedy to their resumes with this Disney-produced arctic adventure. Snow Dogs stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as Ted Brooks, a Florida-dwelling dentist with a successful chain of offices and a comfy, poolside lifestyle. All this changes, however, when he finds out that he was actually adopted as a child, and that his birth mother has died and left him an inheritance in her home state of Alaska, of all places. After arriving in the snow-bound clime, Ted learns that he has been willed a pack of cutely named sled dogs: Demon, Diesel, Dutchess, Nana, Mack, Scooper, Sniff, and Yodel. Problem is, the town's premiere sled-dogger, Thunder Jack (James Coburn), wants the pack for himself, and encourages Ted to go back to his tropical environs. But with a major sled-dog race looming, Ted's inspired to learn the ropes, as it were, and prove himself worthy of his birth mother's inheritance -- any way he can. Snow Dogs was directed by Jingle All the Way's Brian Levant and features some animatronic dog effects by Jim Henson's Creature Shop; the script was very loosely adapted from popular author Gary Paulsen's nonfiction book Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod. ~ Michael Hastings, All Movie Guide Eight Below Eight brave sled dogs search for the master who is looking for a way to rescue them in this adventure drama. An American geologist (Bruce Greenwood) flies to Antarctica to participate in a project at the United States Research Base, where he teams up with arctic guide Jerry Shepard (Paul Walker) and his best friend, Cooper (Jason Biggs). The scientist soon discovers that Shepard also has eight other valuable friends -- a pack of sled dogs he's worked with for years, who have rescued him from a number of tight spots. As the three men explore a frozen mountain region, an unexpected accident coupled with a massive storm front forces them to fly to safety, leaving the dogs behind. Shepard is determined to rescue his canine friends, but he has to wait until the weather will allow him to travel back to the mountain, while the dogs struggle against the elements to survive as they attempt to make their way back home. Eight Below was inspired by a true story involving Japanese researchers exploring the Antarctic in 1957; the story was made into the film Nankyoku Monogatari. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide Beverly Hills Chihuahua A pampered Chihuahua accustomed to the living the good life in glamorous Beverly Hills must rein in her heiress instincts and rely on the kindness of strangers in order to find her way back home after becoming hopelessly lost in Mexico. Chloe (voice of Drew Barrymore) is a diamond-clad toy dog who favors traveling in her wealthy owner's purse over frolicking in an open park, and Papi (voice of George Lopez) is the kind of independent pup that she doesn't afford a second glance. When a vacation mishap leaves Chloe stranded in Mexico, the Chihuahua who doesn't speak a lick of Spanish must rely on street-smart German shepherd Delgado (voice of Andy Garcia) to guide her back home before she wanders any further south. Meanwhile, brave Papi races to the border intent on proving his love for Chloe by tracking her down and escorting her home in style. Along the way, Papi is joined by an enthusiastic pack of helpful pooches (voices of Luis Guzman, PlÃ¡cido Domingo, and Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo) a pair of concerned humans (Piper Perabo and Manolo Cardona), an anxious iguana (voice of Paul Rodriguez), and a crafty rat (voice of Cheech Marin). ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
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