Friday, July 13, 2007
This has always stood out in my mind as the apex of Bill Murray's work. Yes, I'm well aware of the various characters he's tackled over the years but for my dollars he's nailed none quite like he has here with his portrayal of Hunter S. Thompson. Never mind Johnny Depp in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, Murray is the real deal here and with the late Peter Boyle as his friend and lawyer Lazlo by his side the adventures are top drawer mayhem to say the least. With a haunting score by Neil Young this is one for you to discover all on your own though I must point out the nebbish Dooley found on the press junket is portrayed by none other than Mark Metcalf who we would all come to know and truly loathe as THE MASTER on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. This is one simply not to be missed.
The twin Hughes Brothers do a fantastic job in their own right of depicting the hardships of inner city veterans of the Vietnam war and right from the get go I should say comparing this film to THE DEER HUNTER is in no way proper or fair. Larenz Tate in the lead excels at presenting the fresh faced lead who is hardened and burned by his experiences in the war. Chris Tucker is his usual annoying self but he sure is fun to listen to when he gets his cuss on. Small role for the great Michael Imperioli, large role for the now uber-famous Freddy Rodriguez. Story aside DEAD PRESIDENTS is worth seeing if for nothing else the Hughes brothers sense of visual styling and in this case we've yet to see them provide anything better. Most certainly worth a single view!
Friday the 13th Part III-3-D
Well, you just knew I had to watch one today...it's tradition...sadly..unless you are going to see the on the big screen with the polarized 3-D glasses you may want to take a pass. The over the top in your fave 3-Disms wear mighty thin on video...of import to Jason purists as this is the episode where he finds the now famous hockey mask.
An Inconvenient Truth
No doubt all of the hot air from the controversy this film has stirred up will contribute it's own fair share to the very global warming Al Gore is trying to fight....nevermind...this is a film everybody should see. I won't bother adding my two cents to the scientific debate here as I find the data to be solid and it truly strikes me as dumb ignorance ofr anybody to argue against the premise our industrialization is causing the planet to warm up.....I'm serious...to me this is no brainer but for those of you who are in need of even more hard facts please allow me to suggest you pick up the May/June and July/August 2007 issues of the SKEPTICAL INQUIRER where you will find a two part article to knock you doubting socks off. So, I'll leave the hard science to others and focus on something else this film is about which is Al Gore himself. I found this an extremely compelling representation of a man who may very well have had the United States presidency stolen from him and AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH is a wonderful testament to what a bloodied man can accomplish in the face of adversity when he decides to pull his socks up and soldier on. So if for nothing else this becomes a very important documentary on the human spirit. It's also one hell of an amazing display of what can be done with POWERPOINT....I'm serious...this traveling anti-global warming show looks like something LAURIE ANDERSON would have gone on tour with. I guess what I'm trying to say is this...nevermind the global concerts and the preaching for or against from both political fronts.....see it for yourself. I guarantee your world won't look the same after you do.
The First Power
Well, let's get this out of the way right now....this film sucks! Really, it does. It tried to get off of the ground and simply never manages to take flight which is a damn shame as all of the elements were there for it to succeed. Lou Diamond Phillips is fine as the brooding cop hunting a serial killer who he has already seen put to death. Stewart Copeland, who is out with his bandmates THE POLICE right now, provides an excellent score to backdrop the psychotic performance of Jeff Kober who we should all remember from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and THE X-FILES. Tracy Griffith (who I hear writes cook books now?!?!?!?) is fine as the psychic love interest here but to no avail...the vehicle simply does not have wheels. So why watch it? Well, old Chop Top himself Bill Moseley has a great little cameo as a bartender but the real credos go to the flying bag lady as portrayed by Nada Despotovich. Sure, the rip off a key fright from SALEM'S LOT to make this scene work but Nada plays it with such fervor I think it more than justifies the price of rental. Also of note is a small role for Melanie Shatner, daughter of William, who you may not remember was one of the young girls in the STAR TREK T.O.S. episode MIRI but for my money the flying bag lady is the real star here!
On the surface this looks to be a simple formula comedy best suited for multiple viewings on TBS which is no doubt where most have seen it. Might I suggest you grab this one on DVD and make a concerted effort to give a proper look see because there are a lot of interesting things going on here. Yes, it is a film about life long buddies and midlife crisis yet this is only scracthing the surface. Beneath the high jinx and one-liners is what appears to be a very serious look at how we as humans and constantly searching for a higher meaning and purpose in this life and here is where Billy Crystal brings that special talent of his to full force. While ever the ham he always adds this level of pathos to his characters which allow them to transcend the norm and in CITY SLICKERS this becomes the lynch pin which all else revolves. On a sad note it's a shame this is the film most will remember the late Jack Palance from though I gather from interviews he was not as upset my the misjustice as say...Alec Guiness was about STAR WARS. Character actor Tracey Walter, who all have seen but few know except us die hard REPO MAN fans here, is probably quite happy with the memorable role he was granted here and as always is a treat to watch. Yeardley Smith of THE SIMPSON'S fame is along for the ride as it SUPER GIRL herself Helen Slater by what I find super interesting is this happens to be the debut film of Jake Gyllenhall who would of course become quite famous as a silver screen coyboy himself years later. All in all, this is a hats off to director Ron Underwood who truly delivers a pleasant yet eye opening piece of work here.
This film has a fond spot in my heart and if you've ever been involved in rock 'n roll journalism it will in yours too. Hence, as per usual, I will not bore you with detailing a story you no doubt already know. I will say even though Cameron Crowe apparently screws with the time frames for his personal source material the overall sentiment rings amazingly true. Kate Hudson is utterly amazing as Penny Lane and with Anna Paquin and Fairuza Balk as her sidekicks it is enough to make any red blooded male want to pick up a guitar and learn how to play...which is kind of what Billy Crudup did for real, under the watchful eye of Peter Frampton, to add authenticity to the concert footage. As a sidebar, say what you will about Peter, his FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE is still one of the greatest live albums of the era and should you get the chance to see him (check your local CASINO listings) you would be sorely remiss not to. He has a nice cameo here and on a closing note the stunning Philip Seymour Hoffman excels as the legendary Lester Bangs.......oh...and did I mention Jason Lee is here again? Amazing...before MY NAME IS EARL (which for my money is one of the damn funniest shows to come out of mainstream L.A. in years!) I never even knew this guy existed...now as I go back and watch all of these films it seems like he's everywhere...which is not a bad thing because he always seems to bring one hundered percent to everything he touches. Also of note is the fact Nancy Wilson of HEART fame provides the orginal score. Overall, a film to enjoyed with both a light and heavy heart....much like the era Crowe portrays here.
Nash the Slash Rocks Out with D.O.A.
I had every intention of closing last Sunday's reviews off with a blurb about the D.O.A. show here in Toronto the night before but Mr. Yink took it upon himself to eat my mouse cord and that was then end of that idea. So, now as it's almost a week later I won't go into massive details other than to say if the boys are in your area they are not to be missed. Uncle Nash did several of the Southern Ontario dates guesting for the encores and I'm told there is some killer footage availabel on UTUBE from the Windsor show....it would be up to you to find it as I've not seen it due to system restrictions. D.O.A. are once again a power trio with Randy Rampage back in the fold with Joey Shithead and the Great Baldini. For those D.O.A. fans out there who still not have read Joey's book I, SHITHEAD drop your twenty bucks down and get on with it already. It might actually inspire you to do something!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
1969 and you have George Roy Hill working with a William Goldman script and directing Paul Newman and Robert Redford...it just doesn't get any better than this. This flick won some serious awards and built some serious careers and if you haven't seen it you must. You can find reams of writing on this baby so I won't waste your time..I will mention this...it is the first big screen role for modern Western mainstay Sam Elliott. The great Cloris Leachman and Kenneth Mars who we would later see in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN team up for the first time here and Star Trek TOS vet Jeff Corey is here as is Ted Cassidy who we all knew and loved as LURCH in the Addams Family and some might even remember as BIG FOOT in THE BIONIC WOMAN (of which a new updated series is being shot as we "speak"). Once again I have to point out Hill falls victims to the frickin' hippies that must have plagued Hollywood at the time because there is all of this out of place flower power folksy crap on the soundtrack of which I will not include RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD as that piece actually works in the context in which it is used. Really though, the story here is Newman and Redford...the chemistry of these two is simply not to be outdone!
Time has not been kind to this early Eighties bit of nonsense. Based on a Robert Sheckley novel (which I've not read) the premise is simple...people die in the now...dead people in the future snatch them and use them for themselves. When one gets away they are known as a freejack..in this case Emilio Estevez sporting some fine feathered hair of the period. The bad guy here would be one Anthony Hopkins dialing in his performance from who knows where who send his henchman, who would be Mick Jagger, to get said freejack. Now, I'm of the mind Jagger can act but you sure as hell wouldn't know it from this "performance". It honestly looks as though he nipped in to Keith Richards' stash and decided to stroll out for a game of laser tag. Just the same, it's some mindless fun and if you were around back it 1982 you may enjoy it just to see how they envisioned the quickly approaching 2009. Rene Russo is here as are cameos from Jerry Hall, Amanda Plummer and David Johansen and if a quick fix of sci-fi schlock is your order of the day this will certainly fit the bill! Be sure to check out the high tech range rovers they're using...seems as everybody in the Beach has one these days!
Well, this should be a blurb on HIDEAWAY but when I pulled the video out of the box it was BIG TROUBLE which I had never heard of which is mighty strange considering it was based on Dave Barry's first novel which I also had never heard of. I honestly cannot remeber this flick hitting the screen which is again odd as my man Dennis Farina happens to star in this Barry Sonnenfeld comedic gem. Rene Russo, Tim Allen, Stanley Tucci, Johnny Knoxville, Tom Sizemore, Heavy D, Janeane Garofalo, Patrick Warburton, the lovely Sofia Vergara and MY NAME IS EARL star Jason Lee....I mean...this is the type of film one should hear about right? Well, I didn;t and when I've asked others they ain't heard of it either which is a crying shame as this baby has some super funny moments..let's just say you'll never think of Martha Stewart the same way after viewing BIG TROUBLE. Dabe Barry has a fine little cameo as a lawyer as does director Sonnenfeld as a bewildered Gator's fan on a radio call-in show. I think this is all you need to know.....not the best you'll see but certainly a fine entertaining ride!
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
What ...you didn't see the first one? No friggin' need to as more than half of it is used here in flashback form. It was bad the first time and even worse this time around. There are some briefs shots of Scream Queens Linnea Quigley and fellow screamerElizabeth Kaitan is here in the lead if you want to call it that...other than that...avoid as you would the in-laws during the holidays.
Bridget Jones's Diary
This is just the sort of film I would usually take the bloody piss out of but I simply can't do...it is simply too much fun so who cares if it is a supreme chick flick...sometimes you simply have to shut up and enjoy the ride. I won;t waste time going on about a plot you no doubt are already familiar with. I will say Renee Zellweger is an absolute delight here as is Colin Firth and even Hugh Grant is enjoyable to watch. It is also great to see Honor Blackman come out for a spin but the real treat for me was seeing the cameos from authors Julian Barnes, Salman Rushdie and Jeffrey Archer who I think would make a fine Bond villain someday. As I mentioned earlier...light fluffy fun which should be taken as such.