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1. My Tutor
$13.45 list($14.95)
2. Body and Soul
$9.95 $5.98
3. The Hearse

1. My Tutor
Director: George Bowers
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00003PE9J
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 7935
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Good Idea, Bad Execution
Partway through watching My Tutor on DVD, I remembered I'd seen it in the theater when it first came out. Back then I had the same reaction I do today: this movie could have been a whole lot better than it is.

Bobby Chrystal (Matt Lattanzi) has failed his high school senior year French finals. This means he won't be able to get into Yale, a situation intolerable to his overbearing Yaley dad (Kevin McCarthy, best known for playing the main character in the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Dad hires beautiful blond Terry Green (Caren Kaye) to be Bobby's summer live-in French tutor. If Bobby can pass a makeup French test at school, all past educational shortcomings will be forgiven and the halls of Yale pre-law beckon. However, Bobby learns a whole lot more from Terry than French as she becomes his first lover.

That bare description of plot sounds like it could make a sweet romantic comedy. And it could - it just doesn't. To start with there's the sub-plot of Bobby's friend Billy (Clark Brandon) and his repeated, unsuccessful efforts to get his younger brother (Crispin Glover) and Bobby laid, including a trip to the most dysfunctional brothel on God's green earth, hooking them up with a trashy waitress with a biker boyfriend, etc. These episodes simply aren't funny. Bobby, the main character we should like, is a whiny punk. The acting by all concerned is frankly not that great. There's not much in the way of chemistry between Lattanzi and Kaye, especially early-on. Rather than real people who find each other attractive, they come across like beautiful actors reading their lines - badly. (They do get better as the movie progresses.) The way the two characters hook up - not to give away too much of the scintillating plot - is unbelievable. We don't see the relationship develop through time, from attraction to liking to, eventually, sex. Toward the end of the movie, after Bobby's treated Terry quite decently during the relationship, it's back to acting like a whiny punk when it becomes obvious they're not going to last. You just want to slap this guy upside the head.

There are a few good things in My Tutor. In-between the unrealistic start of the relationship and Bobby acting like a baby toward the end, there's some genuinely sweet stuff as Bobby and Terry pillow talk in bed. It's nice. And Billy's comeback to a girl at a party who refuses to dance with him is one of the funniest things I've ever heard in any film. I really want to like this movie for the few things it does right; unfortunately they're not enough to counterbalance the many things it does wrong.

In my mind I contrast My Tutor to Coach, the 1978 Cathy Lee Crosby/Michael Biehn movie also dealing with a 30-ish woman in a sexual relationship with a high school student. Coach doesn't have quite the production values of My Tutor, it's not as slick and glossy, and its sub-plot of the upcoming "big game" basketball championship is frankly ridiculous, but at heart it's a much more successful film. Because (a) the acting is better - come on, we're talking Cathy Lee Crosby and Michael Biehn here, (b) the relationship seems much more real, not to mention healthy. The characters have great on-screen chemistry, it's believable these two people like each other, as well as find each other attractive. They spend time getting to know each other over numerous dates, talking for hours on end, before nature finally takes its course. You know, all the things My Tutor doesn't do.

The "extras" on this DVD are really lame. Of special note, the "Animated Bios" consist of still pictures of three of the cast (Kaye, Lattanzi, McCarthy) and sketchy bio text "animated" in that it scrolls up the screen. The one neat thing here is the "Naughty Bits Guide," a separate chapter menu for all the movie's "naughty bits," i.e. those featuring nudity/sex. This is such an inventive and fun idea I'm almost tempted to give My Tutor one more star just for that.

2-0 out of 5 stars Dull but cute
The main reason to watch this flick is if you have a thing for gay male porno star of yesteryear, Tom Steele. The leading guy looks just like him. You see a lot less of this guy, if you catch my drift, but it's cute and watchable in a nostalgia kind of way if you remember seeing it on cable 20 years ago.

3-0 out of 5 stars "School's out...but Bobby's education has just begun..."
See Bobby (Matt Lattanzi). See Bobby flunk French. Flunk, Bobby, flunk. See Bobby's dad (Kevin McCarthy). See Bobby's dad hire a tutor (Caren Kaye) to French Bobby during the summer. No, wait, I mean to teach Bobby French. "My Tutor" is a 1983 example of the teensploitation genre that kept USA's late night movie show "Up All Night" in business for years. It is a good thing Bobby's tutor likes to take advantage of the family pool late at night and take bikini breaks during class, because it gives us an excuse to ignore the leading man, who has zero charisma to go along with his low test scores. At least he looks old enough that your mind is not distracted by legal complications arising from their interaction. However, in a limited defense of this film it should be pointed out that the "love scenes" are taken seriously, avoiding the raunchy comedy that derails most of these films, so while "My Tutor" is bad it does not descend to the level of being truly awful. You just have to bite the bullet and treat the storyline seriously. Crispin Glover plays Bobby's best friend and serves as a reminder that some actors get out of these low-grade B-movies alive despite scenes that should have inspired them to buy every copy of this tape available in the world and have them destroyed. However, when the cutest girl in the film (Kitten Natividad) is just dropping by for a cameo, that is not a good sign. Otherwise, this is your basic arrested male adolescent sexual fantasy film, which is all you really need to know to decide if you want to spend 90-minutes of your life sitting through "My Tutor." All I can say is that I hope those who insist bad movies be reviewed to achieve a sense of balance are happy now.

5-0 out of 5 stars Romance or porn?
Totally natural/realistic romance story in sharp contrast, sometimes indeed opposite, to current porn movies (where all characters behave almost totally like machines) and current romance novels (whose reading is almost always boring). ... Read more


2. Body and Soul
Director: George Bowers
list price: $14.95
our price: $13.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0006GAO40
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 31286
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars over all a very positive movie
I think that it was a positive movie. Leon the Lover started out doing what his family wanted him to do and that was to be a doctor. Instead he became a boxer and succeeded against the odds and got the beautiful reporter played by his then wife Jayne Kennedy. She was excellent as well playing the nieve reporter out to interview the champion boxer and falling in love.

3-0 out of 5 stars it was a good movie
I thought it was a good movie even though i never saw the origional

2-0 out of 5 stars storyline and boxing choreography were fair; love nudity
movie was fair including the nude sequences and the boxing sequences ... Read more


3. The Hearse
Director: George Bowers
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YUP7
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 21389
Average Customer Review: 3.29 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The Hearse is an example of a horror movie subgenre: the demon-possessed vehicle. When Jane Hardy inherits her late aunt's home, she faces just such a vehicle in the form of a vintage hearse. Tormented by the car and harassed by mysterious townsfolk, Jane has to unlock her aunt's hidden secrets or perish. Part of the suspense comes from wondering if Jane is being tormented by the supernatural, her fragile emotional state, or someone just trying to scare Jane off her property.

Possessed-car suspensers can be surprisingly effective and frightening. Unfortunately, this movie is a fairly low-budget effort, offering up many standard suspense techniques that were pretty shopworn even in 1980. The end result is a film that is predictable, and has few if any real chills. Notable only as one of Joseph Cotten's last films. --Mark Savary ... Read more

Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars It's okay
Not that scary, but it's worth a look. Watch it alone in the dark.

2-0 out of 5 stars Weren't there any good ghost movies in the 80s?
Trish Van Devere plays a divorcee who moves into an old house, and before long she's up to her neck in wicked ghosts from the past. Among the evil demons who pursue her is the chauffeur of the vehicle from the film's title. Joseph Cotton is on hand as a grumpy lawyer who presents obstancles to Van Devere's taking legal possession of the house. The film has a few frightening moments, but it's really just another routine haunted-house movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars Decent Haunted House Movie, But Not Great
I had heard about this movie for a while but of course as with many of these classic horror movies, no rental stores carry it. So I ordered it for cheap and found that while it had faults, it was fairly entertaining. Trish Van Devere was in another haunted house movie also from 1980 called The Changeling with her then-husband George C. Scott. The Changeling is regarded by many (including myself) as one of the greatest haunted house movies of all time. Here she gets top billing and plays a woman who inherits a home in a small creepy town where all is not what it seems. Now this movie can't compare at all to The Changeling and I won't even try to do so, but there are a few suspenseful scenes that make this movie worth a look. Van Devere's acting and beauty is well portrayed here, but some of the other characters in this film are quite over the top and take away from the believability factor. You kind of get the feeling that the movie didn't take itself seriously at times. This is especially true during some of the chase scenes as they feel kind of haphazardly edited together thereby making them seem less scary. Then there's the music which is effective at times with its simple piano score, but then changes to typical Friday the 13th like piercing music that makes the movie feel annoying and cheap. As for the ending, it could have made more sense than it did, but overall The Hearse is well worth a look. They just don't make these type of old fashioned haunted house movies anymore.

The DVD like I said is cheap, but has somewhat decent video quality. Some scenes look pretty bad while others look a bit sharper, but overall the color scheme to this one is pretty bland. The sound is mono, and really sounds as you would expect a low budget movie from 1980 to sound. The only extra is the trailer, which is probably best not to watch until AFTER you see the movie. Still not a bad value for what it costs.

4-0 out of 5 stars This creepy vehicle a nifty, nostalgic sleeper.
For a quite a long while (say twenty or so years) it looked like Crown International's The Hearse was the last of a dead breed, the low-key, character/mood oriented ghost story. Wrongly overlooked when first released in 1980, the movie suffered from having a PG rating when pushing the boundaries of special effects was all the rage. Audiences wanted flowing blood, not creepy chills. Well times have changed and now, thank goodness, creepy, subtle character oriented ghost stories are back in style, which makes The Hearse's return to commercial release all the more welcome.

A woman recovering from a near nervous breakdown chooses to do so in a dead relative's country home. However the townsfolk are far from friendly (save for the local minister, a young boy, and a handsome neighbor). Making things even more difficult are the strange dreams, spectres, and a hearse's scar faced driver that harrass the poor woman. Emphasizing character and mood, The Hearse is a near classic that is only hampered by a two swift climax (in fact, although the plot is nearly complete, it looks as if several scenes were shortened) and a too enigmatic ending. Still, fans of old-fashioned ghost stories will love having this movie in their collection. Recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good acting & mood, a bit anti-climactic
Trish Van Devere does a terrific job as the lead, and the supporting cast is uniformly convincing. The hearse itself is somewhat creepy, and the story is entertaining. Unfortunately, the climax is abrupt and a bit of a let-down. The film also suffers a bit from the "tameness" of many movies from this period. Ironically, today it would doubtless be more graphic and technically superior, but the acting and mood would likely suck. I recommend this as a "suspense" movie, but it's not really scary, just a little creepy. ... Read more


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