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ROGER CORMAN'S CULT CLASSICS:...
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Reviewed by: Mike Catalano

Directed by: Michael Miller and Jonathan Demme

Starring:
Tommy Lee Jones
Yvette Mimieux
Juanita Brown
Robert Carradine

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Jackson: All Dinah wants to do is leave her shitty life in California for a fresh start in New York. Unfortunately, her drive across the country ends up being a literal nightmare.

Caged: Poor Jacqueline is busted for drugs and attempted murder and is sent to an all-girls prison filled with bad-ass babes, strict wardens, torturous doctors, and group showers!

Is it good movie?
A women's prison two-fer from the glory days of 1970's grindhouse! Are both these bitches worth locking down? Let's get behind the bars and see...

Jackson: Five minutes into this flick, I was shocked to learn that some grindhouse flicks of the 70's could actually have a brain as well as competent actors. And Tommy Lee Jones hadn't even shown up on screen yet! Director Michael Miller really showed some fine style in the manner with which he chose to start his film and gradually reveal where the plot was headed. I particularly enjoyed the first shot, which showed a reel of film being placed on a projector.

The high quality of the acting jumps out at you almost immediately. Yvette Mimieux was outstanding as the straight-laced business woman looking to start over. As she is reluctantly put through hell, every facial expression and reaction she exerted felt shockingly real. And it goes without saying that Tommy Lee Jones was born to be an actor. The dude was just awesome, as always. It was also pretty funny seeing him as a fugitive on the run in direct contrast to the Federal Marshall he played in THE FUGITIVE.

If I had any complaints, it would be that perhaps the action took a little while to come, however once the shit hit the fan, I really enjoyed the ride. The only other negative I can think of would be the way the movie ended. I guess, since I was fully on board with the two main characters, I wanted to be more satisfied with how things all turned out. The ending happened too abruptly. Jones and Mimieux had built their characters up so well, that I was craving a grand finale. What I got, although did fit the grindhouse mold, didn't quite do the trick.

Caged: The thing that screamed out at me immediately at the beginning of CAGED HEAT was that is was actually directed by none other than Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning helmer of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS! Just further proof that even the most talented of filmmakers have to get their start somewhere. And maybe after knowing who it was that guided this flick, I could see some shades of intelligence and technical poise... but nowhere near enough to enjoy what I was watching.

I suppose that HEAT could be enjoyed on some kind of "group participation" grindhouse experience level with its over-the-top acting and nonsensical script. None of the characters are very engaging, but you do get a copious amount of ladies in various forms of undress. Beyond that, there just wasn't anything very fun to latch on to.

I cared only a little about the troubled female inmates, mostly because they were so annoyingly crazy to begin with. And there really was no linear plotline to follow whatsoever. It was frustrating to watch. Plus, there wasn't any extremely outlandish or sick shit that happened that you would normally expect from a "taboo" grindhouse-style flick. What's the point?

Video / Audio
Video Widescreen 1.78:1

Audio English dolby digital.

The Extras
Both flicks feature:

A cast and crew Commentary.

Theatrical Trailera.

A Poster and Stills Gallery.

A Leonard Maltin Interview with Roger Corman.

Some Trailers for other 1970's grindhouse flicks that can be played for a "full grindhouse experience".

Last Call
JACKSON is definitely the superior flick over CAGED and the reason why this double-pack isn't an entire waste of money. You get some enjoyable grindhouse-style cheese and even some surprising creative style. Sure, CAGED is pretty bad, but you do get your nudity. I suppose if the price is low, you could do worse than this package deal.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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