Black Sunday (1977)

Link: Black Sunday

Summary: A terrorist plans to attack the US by blowing up a Goodyear blimp at the Super Bowl.  Why, of all the crazy schemes!  Can they be stopped in time?

Thoughts: This was awful.  The writing was just silly, with characters talking to each other as if they had to make sure third graders could understand their dialog, yet trying to sound really cool.  The plot was completely bloated; the film is two hours and twenty minutes, yet only has maybe an hour and a half of real story.  The rest is just bad bland writing that takes too long to move the story forward.  The special effects were just disastrous.  Not even charmingly cheesy, just sad, especially the fake explosions that leave you laughing rather than caring about any of the characters you just watched perish.  Ridiculous film.  Not the worst film ever; it leaves you more with a good laugh than feeling sad for humanity and overly self-conscious about your own art, but still, pretty ridiculous.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)


Link: The Manchurian Candidate

Summary: A man is psychologically reprogrammed to do the bidding of evil foreign communists.  His mission: to assassinate an important political figure.  Can he be stopped in time?

Thoughts: Poor Frank Sinatra.  Good singer, lousy actor.  But even if he hadn’t been part of the film, the premise was rather absurd.  People can get psychologically reprogrammed through some mysterious special hypnosis?  What?  Granted, normal men can go crazy if pressured under the right conditions (as in the Stanford Prison Experiment), but to become controllable robots that will unquestionably do the bidding of someone else?  It ends up being rather silly.  Which would’ve worked if the film had treated itself like a comedy.  The film featured some interesting directing decisions, interesting photography and cinematography, but not enough to make up for the over-the-top storyline that seemed to try to take itself too seriously.