Saturday, March 31, 2007

Blade II

It is always a great occurance when a sequel manages to top the original and here BLADE II does it in spades. Guillermo del Toro puts his touch on everything here bringing the comic book world of the "day walker" and his enemies to amazing life. Wesley Snipes simply own this character and is a supreme treat in the lead with the legendary Kris Kristofferson delivering some mighty fine crusty support. Ron Perlman, who would later work with del Toro on HELLBOY is fantastic as a vampire bounty hunter and if all vamps looked like Leonor Varela I say bite! A fine soundtrack with outstanding action make this one a ride for the ages.

Friday, March 30, 2007

World Horror Writers Convention 2007

Toronto is playing host this year to the spook scriblers and I'll get the chance to meet two of my favorite writers for the first time. Ramsey Campbell and Joe R. Lansdale. Sadly, I've nothing left for Lansdale to sign as all of my books by him are numbered or lettered states or previously flat signed. Thinking of taking a gem or two down to have the personalised just the same. I am fortunate enough to still have a couple of Campbell books kicking around in the old collection. Sick art man extrordinaire Gahan Wilson will also be on hand as well as Nancy Kilpatrick, Brian Lumley, the great F. Paul Wilson and Gary Braunbeck who should beat out Stephen King this year to take the Stoker award for best novel. Damn well looking forward to a weekend of bloody fun...oh....and did I forget to mention this is also WRESTLEMANIA WEEKEND! Good thing I'm unable to cross the border as I'd be down in Detroit right now missing my horror buds!

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I was over at the pub the other day and Grease came up in our random conversation. Some dick actually started taking the piss out of the film which promptly made me hit him. I figure if you don't enjoy this flick you have no emotions whatsoever and are therefor a vamp in need of staking. Coming up now to it's 30th anniversary there is not much I can say about this classic musical that hasn't already been said. As it was a period piece to begin with it holds up amazingly well in modern day. Notable cameos from Travolta's sister Ellen (an accomplished actress in her own right), Lorenzo Lamas and pre FRIED GREEN TOMATOES Fannie Flagg as Nurse Wilkins. Also in there somewhere during the dance sequences are Mimi Lieber, Andy Tennant, Michael Biehn and the late Wendie Jo Sperber. Break out you leathers and let the sock hop begin!


The first time I was thrown out of high school, it was for standing up in the middle of english class and proudly stating "Shakespeare is shit". I've long since seen the error in this proclamation, however, If old William were alive and kicking today he might very well stand up on the mount a solemnly declare "this adaptation of my play OTHELLO is shit". I'm not fond of the ever growing trend to take Shakespeare's plays and put them in different time frames and with the case in hand, adapting Othello to the world of college basketball in modern day is just plain ludicrous. Yes, some may say anything that can get kids in to W.S. these days is a good thing but to take one of his most controversial works and dilute it to tweenie pablum is just cause for an old fashioned beheading. Avoid it even more than you avoided reading it back in your school days!

Beyond Therapy

Robert Altman sure used to make some pretty fucking strange films and none are stranger than BEYOND THERAPY. It is one of those disturbingly odd flicks where you find yourself cringing more than laughing as the realization of just how damaged the characters are sets in. Brilliant work from Jeff Goldblum and Julie Hagerty with Christopher Guest getting his gay on and by far stealing the most laughs here. Keep your eye open for Matthew Leonard-Lesniak who I think is the nosey bald headed restaurant patron. This dude should definately team up with Michael Berryman and do a gay porn or something.

Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster

Standard TOHO studio fare from director Ishiro Honda. Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra show up for some fight action and the Ito twins belt out the haunting Mothra song. Considering the use of strings and rubber suits this 1973 offering looks far better than most of the CGI crap being produced today.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mr. Yink

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Turn of the Screw

In this 1974 made for television adaptation of Henry James we are exposed to sexual perversion, animal torture and just all around gothic creep out stuff. Starring the great Lynn Redgrave this is a faithful version....faithful in that it is slow, plodding and trying at best. If you've been asigned the novel for school and need a quick primer before exam day this number will do the job.

No Drums, No Bugle

In this anti-war film shot in West Virginia we are treated to a tour de' force from the amazing Martin Sheen. Supposedly based on a true story the film opens with a narration telling of a cave with carvings and dates of unknown origin. Enter Sheen as Ashby Gatrell, a conscious objector to the Civil War who lives in said cave. The film follows him as he lives off of the land like the animals, scrounging here and there and avoiding the soldiers around him. It takes erious skill to pull off this almost one man show and you can be damn sure Francis Ford Coppola had this film in mind when he casted Sheen for APOCALYPSE NOW. It is worth noting the under 40 lots of us will be stunned at how you think you are watching Emilio Estevez here rather than Sheen as they look almost identicle. Made at the height of the anti-Vietnam war movement in 1972, the juxtaposition of the two wars produces a wonderful effect. On my first viewing I was quite annoyed by the repetative soundtrack. On a recent viewing I have to wonder if director Clyde Ware didn't do this intentionaly to represent the monotiny that would eventually drive Gatrell insane. Either this or it was a budget restriction problem and it falls right in with those damn Seventies film that always seem to have some stupid folk sone in the main credits, in this case here sung by the lovely Shelby Flint. Though flawed this film delivers it's "nobody wins in war" message loud and clear and it is just as relevant today as it was when it was released.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What is happening?

As I've been losing my attempted posts for almost the last week this is only a test.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Asparagus and Global Warming

Here is a little story you are unlikely to find present at one of Al Gore's slideshow presentations on the threat of global warming. While watching the pooch this past weekend I was reminded of an incident which took place a few weeks back. I was having some cream of asparagus soup of which I allowed Mr. Yink to have the remnants which resulted in the poor little guy tooting up a storm for the rest of the night which is really quite funny as everytime he farts he looks around all shocked and bothered as if somebody had grabbed his tail or something. This took me back to a recent night coming back late from a good friends house in which ample amounts of asparagus had been served. So, this is right at the end of the streetcar line and as it's late they are few and far between so I am running for one on the way, make it to the stop after doing the black ice shimmy and well buggering my back up and the prick just wizzes right by me even though he bloody well saw me running to the stop. Well, there I am on a deserted street listening to the streetcar rumble on off in the distance , cursing to myself and mighty pissed when the asparagus does it's trick and I let out this fart that reverberates all over Queen Street East as if I had been in the damn Grand Canyon or something. This, as such stupid bodily functions are ought to do, caused a fit of giggles which resulted in even more asparagus induced flatulance, and I ended up doubled over with gut busting laughter, farting away like a cannon and roaring my fool head off praying no police officer picks me up for public lunacy. It is for this reason I'm of the mind asparagus should be added to the list of global warming responsible agents. The cows have known it for years which is why they won't eat the shit!

Stick It

When I saw this one hit the cinema the first thing I asked myself was "just how desperate is Jeff Bridges for work these days?" and I was quite surprised to see not that damn desperate at all. Yes, this is a tweenie rebel film from the same writer who gave us BRING IT ON and here Jessica Bendinger makes her directorial debut. I sincerely hope to see more work from her soon and this was an amazingly satisfying little film. Bridges gives it just enough of an air of credibility to allow Missy Peregrym and others to do their thing and satisfy the teenage demographic this vehicle is aimed it. Leave it there, let the kids enjoy their damn films and leave the critics outside to their BROKEBACK MOUNTAINS and such. Keep your eyes open for a quick cameo from Anne Lockhart and a tip of the hat to film editor Troy Takaki who does a stellar job in bringing the gymnastic scenes to proper fruition.


It seems people love to take the piss out of Jennifer Lopez's film work and I've never quite figured out why. I find her movies to be a simple joy, don;t take them too seriously and enjoy them for what they are. Here we find her opposite Hollywood legend Jane Fonda and I honestly think she more than holds her own. Nevermind the story line, you can figure this out from the title. Look for BABYLON 5 interrogator Bruce Gray in a cameo as a television exec and the San Diego Chargers' head coach Norv Turner's daughter Stephanie in a hilarious bit part as an air-headed pop star.


Sadly, I sat through this, which I thought was a mini-series and looks more like something intended to have gone on longer but was fortunately put out of it's misery. Even Mr. Yink, who was keeping me company while getting over this cold from Hell, yowled with displeasure as this baby went on and on and on and on.........
It's a great idea, following three generations of families going back to the Roswell crash but somehow you can't help but think Spielberg has got to get over this whole alien thing. I'd take another Jaws sequel over another "season" of TAKEN, which is aptly titled as this was exactly how I felt about having bought the damn thing.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Head Colds Suck!

They really do!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Flat Top

Sterling Hayden and Richard Carlson look all rough in tough in this mediocre war film. Director Lesley Selander seems to be more concerned with discovering how much stock footage he can cram in to a film rather than making one of his own. While a veteran of the war and western action genre, Sleander is perhaps better remembered for his directorial work on the television claasic LASSIE. Look for William Schallert who would later show up in STAR TREK-THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES.


It seems as if Martin Scorsese dug up up every Italian American he could find for this one and with amazing results. As so much has been written about this Scorsese masterwork starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta I won't waste your time by repeating it. What I will add though is how odd it is to see Lorraine Bracco and Michael Imperioli in this one. Odd as in how both would later become leads in THE SOPRANOS. Imperioli is great as Spider the waiter who ends up getting his foot blown off and then later just straight blown away. In this, only his third film, one would never imagine the great career to follow. Now that I think about it, almost everybody in this film, save the major leads, wound up in THE SOPRANOS at one time or another. Note also that Joe Pesci took an Academy Award for best supporting actor from this baby!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Last Boy Scout

Bruce Willis is one of those guys who I can watch in pretty much anything as long as it isn't directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Under the direction of the highly underated action maker Tony Scott, Willis teams up with Damon Wayans in this washed up detective burnt out quarterback buddy film. The formula is standard but the two of them work together and there are enough solid moments to keep this film moving to a reasonable conclusion. There is one scene in here dear to my heart, it is when Wayans as the football player Jimmy Dix signs the card for Danielle Harris. He inscribes it "to the daughter of the last boyscout". Chelsea Fields has a support role as well as Halle Berry and Taylor Negron bringing their talents to the table. An adequate time waster with a great nose smashed through to the brain scene to boot!

King Kong (1976)

Believe it or not, I've seen this film well over a hundred times. The 1933 original is my favorite film and I was fortunate enough to have seen it before the remake was released. I say fortunate because I had just turned 10 years old when the remake appeared. I spent my entire Christmas break at the theatre watching Kong in action and would actually hand out promotional mock New York newspapers detailing Kong's exploits but enough of the memory lane business. John Guillermin, who also gave us THE TOWERING INFERNO, does a fine job directing this updated version which has an oil research group heading to Skull Island instead of a film crew. Lead man Jeff Bridges is a stowaway anthropologist and Jessica Lange, in her film debut, is found floating in the middle of the ocean on a raft from a yacht that blew up real good! It has been fashion since it's release to bash the living shit out of this film and I've never quite understood why. Oh sure, the major gaffe was the animatronic life size Kong which they could have done without but overall this is one solid piece of work. The performances are way above average for a project like this, the visuals are stunning for the time and the make up top bloody notch. Rick Baker outdid himself with baby. John Barry provides a wonderful score with one of the best love themes ever used. As a small sidebar, it's weird watching it now in the post-9/11 world. With the World Trade Towers replacing the Empire State Building, there is one scene in which Bridges and Lange are in a deserted downtown bar in New York that seems very ominous when viewed from our modern day perspective. All in all, a fine couple of hours of fun you won't regret.


In HUD, the first novel by Larry McMurtry to be adapted for the screen, we are introduced to the life of a man who simply was born to break the rules. Paul Newman turns in what many consider to be his finest performance as the hard drinking, cussing and fighting womanizing Hud Bannon. At odds with his father, the world and the ways of old, here is a character you will just love to hate. A complex story of love, loss and regret, I will leave it up to you to exprerience for yourself. I will point out the lovely Patricia Neal and Melvyn Douglas received Academy Awards for their respective performances with a third going to cinematographer James Wong Howe. Sadly, Newman lost out for the best actor and it would be many years til he actually received one. The dynamic relationship and how it evolves between Hud and his nephew, played by Brandon De Wilde, is one of the finest ever put to film making HUD one of the true American masterpieces. Though director Martin Ritt would continue on with his illustrious career, he would never quite capture the same brilliance demonstrated here. Not only is HUD a must is a must own!

The Professional (Leon)

By far the greatest work ever from director Luc Besson, THE PROFESSIONAL is what movie making is all about. Aside from the amazing shoot outs and explosive action, Besson manages character development with a deft hand akin to Kubrick or Hitchcock. With Jean Reno as a hitman who takes in a recently orphaned Natalie Portman, a story of love, acceptance and discovery unfolds in the unlikeliest of fashions. The great Gary Oldman shows up as a pill popping corrupt drug enforcement agent and Danny Aiello as the old mobster Tony is brilliant. Though at times extremely violent this film will no doubt stand out as one of the greatest you will ever see and pay close attention to the fantastic score from Eric Serra and the stunning eiditing work of Sylvie Landra.

The Odd Couple II

Neil Simon pens this sequel to his 1968 classic only this time he has the "grumpier" old men Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as the leads. A fine comedy due, this would mark their last pairing and both would leave us shortly after. Not a great film by any stretch of the imagination but fine viewing for a Sunday morning hangover. There are some great funny moments scattered throughout with fine support from Christine Baranski and Jean Smart as crazy biker gals but all in all you are better off sticking with the original.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Video Dead

No big mystery here.....I can see in in my mind's eye right now....couple of dude's sitting around getting stoned while watching VIDEODROME or THE EVIL DEAD and "bing"...let's make a movie. Yeah, it has some low grade splat and Jennifer Miro from wave band THE NUNS in it....but kiddies...the idea should have stayed in the bong.

The Little Vampire

When German director Uli Edel shocked the world with CHRISTIANE F in 1981 the last thing in the world I expected to see from him in the future was a vampire film for the kiddies. Oh sure, an episode of TWIN PEAKS or LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, this was to be expected....but this?!?!?!?! OK, maybe he needed the work and let's just leave it at that! This film isn't for us anyways, it's for the children and there is where the trouble starts. Sadly, many American religious groups boycotted this film for supposedly being ANTI-CHRISTIAN. Oh, these would be the same morons who won't let their brainwashed offspring view the HARRY POTTER or LORD OF THE RINGS films and whatnot. Fine, let them do whatever the hell they want, shut the fuck up about it and leave everybody else bloody well alone!
Rest assured, you can let your chilen' watch this baby without any fear of them ever turning in to little goth heads and adding more money to the coffers of MARILYN MANSON or ANNE RICE.......nah...this is just simply well presented little lark suitable for the whole family. Oh sure, it does star that annoying little twerp from JERRY MAGUIRE, Jonathan Lipnicki but hey, they didn't make this film for the likes of me and I don't have to watch it if I don't want to. On the other hand, Richard E. Grant and the stunning Alice Krige are also here as the paternal vamps and they, along with John Wood as a Scottish Lord are well worth taking a boo at. Point is, lighten up and let the kids watch this one on their own terms. If you do happen to be floating about, cooking or doing housework or whatever, be sure to keep an eye out for the cows...they are a blast riot!

Last Man Standing

You just know things are going to be fun when you roll in to town and there is a dead horse in the middle of the road and the undertaker is staring at you from his shop window. This is how Walter Hill's LAST MAND STANDING starts out and from there things don't get any better for poor Bruce Willis. Taken from a story by Ryuzo Kikushima and Akira Kurosawa, this film mixes hard boiled crime elements with the wild wild west to give us a hybrid of pure mayhem. With William Sanderson as the local barkeep and Bruce Dern as the Sheriff, two rival gangs reak havok on this ghost town with their festering conflicts. Christopher Walken, Michael Imperioli, David Patrick Kelly and many other weigh in with some right fine nasty performances all of them pretty much having to do with who will "own" the lovely Karina Lombard. All of this with a Ry Cooder score on top make for one mighty fine slobberknocker of a good time!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Spencer's Mountain

Long before E. Annie Proulx put her cowboys up on Brokeback Mountain, Earl Hamner Jr. had his American family working the land of Spencer's Mountain. Hamner would later still turn this novel in to the long running television favorite THE WALTON's and it is he himself who narrates each episode. Though male lead Henry Fonda was not fond of this role (he is noted as having remarked the "script is so corny it will set American filmaking back twenty years") it stands out as one of his best and most endearing. As Clay Spencer he personifies the salt of the earth working man in perfect fashion. I imagine most of my age group will have seen this one as a kid on tv so I won't waste time going over the episodic story plots though I will say my favorite is when he gets the preacher spiffed. Maureen O'Hara is wonderful as always as the matriarch of the brood and look for a young Veronica Cartrwright as little Becky Spencer. At times a little over partiotic and tub-thumpy, you would do well to put your cynicism aside and enjoy the ride, either again or for the first time.

Nobody's Fool

If there were such a thing as a chick flick for guys this would be it! Paul Newman, in one of his finest roles as the grizzled old Sully Sullivan, perfectly portrays the rogue saint here. As a man in his twilight years coming to grips with the sum of his life and his meaning to those around him Nobody's Fool touches on the key issues of what it truly means to be a man. With amazing character contrast provided by Bruce Willis this is the perfect stormy winter night film to share with a loved one. Sadly, Newman lost out at the Oscars to Tom Hanks on this...sadly because it is certainly his defining role from this time period. Also sadly, this marks the last film of screen legend Jessica Tandy whose turn as landlady Beryl Peoples is a pure joy to watch.

I Spit on Your Grave

Although made in 1977 it wasn't til the early 80's when this film made such a fuss. Lumped in with all of the slasher films I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, alternately released as DAY OF THE WOMAN, this film was banned in many parts for perceived gratuitous violence towards women. In fact, it is about a woman who avenges herself on a group of men who raped and beat her. Make no mistake, though this was one low budget flick, the rape scenes are still extremely disturbing to this day. With no doubt influence from DELIVERANCE, writer/director Meir Zarchi does a credible job of presenting this tale in a believable fashion. One of the best death by castration scene you will ever witness is included here and I must say it was a shame Camille Keaton didn't do more films as her work is quite solid.

...And Justice For All

Canadian great Norman Jewison brings us this tale of corruption and frustration in the justice system with a simultaneous light and heavy hand. Al Pacino portrays Arthur Kirkland, a young lawyer having great difficulty with his lot in life as as defence attourney surrounded by injustice and absurdity. While dealing with many hotbed issues for 1979 such as rape, midlife crisis and elderly aging, general disillusionment with life and many other topic, Jewison still manages to direct his stars in a way where many laughs are to be had. In some ways this film reminded me of NETWORK. Look for outrageous performances from Jack Warden and Jeffrey Tambor as well as amazing scum work from veteran John Forsythe as a crooked judge. I'm not quite sure how you will feel after viewing this one but I am sure you won't forget it anytime soon.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dream No Evil

I'm not too sure which is worse, the fact this film was made or that I actually bought it. This 1970 offering from John Hayes is all over the board, from ladder diving divas to axe wielding psychos, this baby has it all. Doesn't mean it's any good mind you. Brooke Mills gives good space cadet and Marc Lawrence can always be depended on to bring good slimeball to the table but none of this helps this plodding vehicle. Spend your time on something else, like, cutting your toenails or something.

Uzumaki (Vortex)

As all who read here on the regular know, I have a great love for the modern horror films from Japan. With UZUMAKI, not only do we get some serious creep-out action, we get people turning in to fucking snails. Yes, human snails! We are also treated to "death by washing machine" and rolling eyeballs galore. Believe it or not there is quite the complex story surrounding all of the bizarre activity but I will let you discover this for yourself. Director Higuchinsky does marvelous work with the visuals and sex-pot lead Eriko Hatsune is a joy to behold as she weaves her way throughout this maze of absurdity. I sincerely hope they bring her in to future RINGU films as she is a pure delight to watch. Speaking of RINGU, this film in North America is known as VORTEX or SPIRAL yet should not be in any way shape or form be confused with Koji Suzuki's follow up to RING. Of all the odd films you will witness in your lifetime, I guarandamntee this one will be in the top five!