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The Naked Spur (1953) - ***
A decent western about a bounty hunter trying to collect his reward. He ends up with a couple sidekicks that join him. Things get a little more complicated when it turns out his fugitive has a woman with him. As you can imagine, there are a few twists and turns as escape plans and side deals are made. It's pretty standard, but it's made a notch better by the quality acting of Jimmy Stewart and Janet Leigh. A nice way to spend a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon.
Rank: #9 in

Narc (2002) - **1/2
A mediocre undercover police drama written and directed by Joe Carnahan. Jason Patric is a former undercover narcotics officer drawn back onto the force to solve a case of a cop that was murdered. He teams up with the dead cop's partner (Ray Liotta). Jason Patric turns in a decent performance, but if you want to see him play an excellent undercover narcotics officer, you should watch Rush (1991). The thing that kept this movie from being a little better was the script. The story seemed a bit implausible and was fairly predictable. I am a fan of these kind of movies, but this one fell short and left me flat.

National Security (2003) - *
I guess if I was smart I would just stop watching Martin Lawrence's movies. I should have learned my lesson with Black Night, but National Security proved it could get worse. Martin plays a police academy failure who ends up getting a cop thrown in jail after unintentionally being caught on a video tape that looks like the cop was beating him when actually he was just swatting at a bee. Sound ludicrous? It just gets worse from there. The little bit of humor gets lost among unbelievable plot lines. For my Jimmy Buffett friends, there is a Buffett reference in the movie.

Near Dark (1987) - ***
Along with The Lost Boys, this is one of two decent vampire movies to come out in 1987. While The Lost Boys has a lot of humor, this movie is more serious. Though Bill Paxton always adds a bit of humor, albeit not always completely intentional. Near Dark adds some interesting ideas that I hadn't seen much before. It shows a very personal side of the vampires, especially the recently turned Caleb and his love interest Mae. It shows his struggle between trying to be accepted by his new vampire compadres and his love for his family that he's been forced to leave behind. It really goes into detail about the fact that they have to kill nightly to survive. It also added an interesting concept on how to bring back a person who has been turned. It does have a bit of 80s cheesy feel to it, but the strong story and quality acting and characters provide a nice addition to the vampire genre.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - ***
A dark, but enjoyable animated holiday tale by Tim Burton that's brought to life with the quality music of Danny Elfman. Jack Skellington is the king of Halloween Town. After discovering Christmas town, he tries his best to bring Christmas to his neck of the woods. It brings us a good, new holiday story, but it's the stunning animation and music that give this movie it's edge. It's a feast for the senses and highly enjoyable to watch even with it's dark tones.
Halloween Movie, #6 Christmas Movie

Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (1922) - ***
F.W. Murnau brought us this quality early vampire film. It's surprisingly effective for it's time. By today's standards, it's pretty tame and the count looks a bit goofy, but I bet in 1922 it was pretty scary...like when he rises out of the coffin. It's quite an innovative film. It wasn't just in black and white, but used different color tints to signify different lighting (blue for night, yellow for candlelight, etc), which really made it more realistic. It had nice fades between the scenes and use of negative film for some interesting effects. The scenery shots at the beach were beautifully shot and they worked well to contrast the tighter interior shots. It had most of the key elements in a Dracula movie; Taking different forms, hypnotic telepathy, a good Renfield character, no sunlight, etc. Though his reflection did show in the mirror. The DVD I watched had a choice of two audio tracks: The Silent Orchestra or an Organ score composed and performed by by Timothy Howard. I sampled them both in the beginning and a couple times throughout the movie, but the organ won out. The orchestra was well done, but the simple organ music added to the eeriness of the movie. A must see for the fans of the genre or early film.
Rank: #1 in
1922, #2 in 1920s

Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens) (2000) - ***
A good Argentinian movie about con men. I've always been partial to good movies about con men and while this doesn't rank with the greats like The Sting or The Hustler, it's entertaining and not quite as predictable as most that are made these days. Though having seen quite a few and being a fan of the genre, I had a pretty good idea of the rough ending fairly early on. It's entertaining and keeps you interested regardless of when you start to figure it out.


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