Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
While I'm the first to admit humans are by far one of the most stunned creatures to roam the face of this planet, I will never understand why they are incapable of walking down a sidewalk without banging in to one another. Please, try it for yourself. Go to downtown Toronto, pick a spot and try to walk a straight line to reach your destination.I swear, people willcross the fucking road JUST to walk right in to you! I'm not sure if this is just plain and simple stupidity or some sign of internal conflict requiring touch and contact or what have you. What I do know is there a not enough flame-throwers on the planet to facilitate a leisurely stroll down the street for my liking!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
NINE INCH NAILS RULES!
YEAR ZERO kicks some serious, serious ass! Call the USBM for details...1-866-445-6580
Thursday, April 19, 2007
The Brain That Wouldn't Die
Bad, just simply bad and one would think by 1962 such a film would never be made let alone released. Of interest to see Jason Evers who would show up in Star Trek TOS as Rael in WINK OF AN EYE and in his final role show up in BASKET CASE 2 (which might be worse than THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE...my jury is still out on that) and a cameo from Marilyn Hanold who was Playboy Playmate of the Month June 1959. Otherwise, look a the ladies head on the table on the package and then go find RE-ANIMATOR.
This would be the first and many say the best of John Wayne's war films. A fine bit of pre-war studio propaganda from director David Miller, FLYING TIGERS would give the world a glimpse of what was to come from the future iconic Wayne and when seen should be given some leg room considering it was made in 1942. A simple moral tale of why Americans are fighting a war not their own, it's core message, agree with it or not, still rings true. Fine support from John Carroll and Anna Lee, this baby will provide you with some nice vintage hard nosed testoterone drama as long as you can get past the Asian stereotpyes.
The Pink Panther
What can I add about this Blake Edwards comedy classic other than Claudia Cardinale was smokin' hot in her time. We all know this film introduced Peter Sellers to the mass audiences of the world and we all know David Niven was a perfect cad as the Phantom. What many don't remember was this was one of Robert Wagner's first major films and many still feel it was Jamie Farr in an uncredited role in the early part of the film. If you haven't enjoyed it recently, please do if for nothing else other than to remember the days when you didn;t need to bludgeon the viewer over the head with crudeness to make them laugh.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
One would think with stars like John Travolta and Dustin Hoffman MAD CITY would be a good film. Sadly it isn't and the fault lays on the both of them. An interesting story about a man who loses his job and can't cope with life so he takes a bunch of kids hostage at a museum not knowing he has a television journalist in there as well. The story is an interesting look at how society and media can destory us but it doesn;t work because both Hoffman and Travolta look like the a mailing in their performances. Good for a late night watch if there is nothing else on, otherwise, a waste of time.
Walter Hill hit a cult home run with this simple tale about a street gangly wrongly accused of shooting a prominant gang leader and their struggle to make it home to safe turf. Michael Beck and James Remar do a fine job carrying the action but the film belongs to Hill as he works his styling with the stark urban enviroment in to an oppresive jungle of fear and mistrust. While somewhat dated considering it was only made in 1979, this apparent defect works to the project's advantage today as it gives it a documentary feel and preys on the viewers voyeuristic tendancies. One of the nicest touches in this film is how Hill uses a radio deejay (played by the talented Lynne Thigpen's lips) to keep track of the plot's progress. THE WARRIORS intorduced a lot of new talent but none of them stand out more than David Patrick Kelly who is fantastic as the true antagonist here. Also of note is how Hill uses so many different styles of clothing and sports equiptment to differentiate the gangs. Look for a great cameo from Mercedes Ruehl and enjoy the far out score provided by Barry De Vorzon. Also, don;t make the mistake of taking this film at face value, there are many subtle moments in character development and some brilliant thoughts on hope and futility.....if nothing else, you'll enjoy the best bathroom rumble ever put to film.
A fine adaptation of Louis Sachar's children's book fit for the older one's in the family. Worth an adult look for the performances of Jon Voight (who really should have got an Oscar nod for his over-the-top work here) and Sigourney Weaver as well as bit work from Henry Winkler and Patricia Arquette who is happily not seeing ghosts here! Look for the legendary Eartha Kitt as Madame Zeroni and watch out for biting lizards.
Bend It Like Beckham
This film came out of supposed nowhere and rocked the socks off of audiences world wide and with damn fine good reason. Never mind it being a sports film, it is a merely a vehicle there to allow writer/director Gurinder Chadha to explore the differences of culture, the burden of tradition and the need to follow one's own path. This is all I want to tell you about it as it is something you must discover for yourself. Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley are fantastic in the leading roles and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who was bang on as Steerpike in GORMENGHAST) is great as the coach and male love interest. Juliet Stevenson has a film stealing support role here as well in a film I guarantee will lift your spirits and leave you with a wonderful smile on your face.
James Michener had a knack for writing what he considered an average length novel and they would make one of Stephen King's tomes look like a short story. It was for this reason it took two years to adapt a script for HAWAII and even then it only dealt with one part of the book. The story deals with the trials and tribulations of a missionary set to the island to teach the ways of God to the "heathens" as it were. Max Von Sydow does brilliant work in this role though I must say here it is uncanny how much he looked like Christopher Walken (or he like him as would be the case of senior) when he was young. His two real life sons play his film sons here in an interesting choice of casting. Julie Andrews is his long suffering wife and the late great Richard Harris is a whaler captain who was once her suitor. You can figure how their stories unfold for yourself. The big story here is Jocelyne LaGarde as island mother Queen Malama whose only film was this one and she walked away with an Oscar nomination for her efforts. Hawaii also marks early roles for Gene Hackman and Carol O'Connor and is Bette Midler's first big screen appearance. George Roy Hill paints a wonderful picture here from his director's chair and though slow at times HAWAII will provide a fine afternoon's viewing for all.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Even with Kevin Spacey in the leading role this was one film I avoided like the plague. When critics and general public rant and rave about "how good" a film is I usually take this to be a sign of "must be real shit". With American Beauty I could not have been more wrong. Brilliantly directed, supremely casted and inspiringly acted this will no doubt one day considered a classic. This is all I want to say about this baby because you simply must, if you haven't already, see it for yourself.
As the novel cemented the reputation of Stephen King, the film version would do the same for Brian De Palma. Easily his best horror film it holds up amazingly well 30 years after it's release. I've had the misfortune of meeting people who fancied themselves horror directors and sadly have not seen CARRIE which to me is a damn good reason for them to go back to school as this is viewing 101. A serious story of teenage development, cruelty and disocvery Sissy Spacek well deserved her Oscar nomination for the title role as did Piper Laurie as her overbearing religious fanatic mother. Rounding thing out are John Travolta in his first major film role, P.J. Soles, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley and William Katt, CARRIE was at fault for many a gen-Xer nightmare. The end still packs an amazing wollop. My biggest complaint though is with the split-screen technique De Palma uses in the finale though I suppose we can forgive him as it was rampant in many a film in the mid-seventies. Might even be the fault of studio tampering...who knows. What I do know is if you watch this one alone in the dark it will still spook ya well.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
If this had been directed by just about anybody else it would have been utter crap. Under the hand of award-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski however what we have is one serious little creep fest. Try and think LAW AND ORDER meets THE OMEN. I say LAW AND ORDER because even though there are none of the stellar cast from said show here they sure as hell look like they ought to be. Other than lead WInona Ryder who turns in some fine work here, we have Ben Chaplin, Elias Koteas, Sarah Wynter, Philip Baker Hall and the likes and because of them the film has a made-for-tv feel to it. John Hurt weighs in with a fine bit role but the plot and acting are almost secondary to the visual style. So, why this may not work as a film for some it will be a gruesome feast of the senses for others. Not only are the visuals superb, the sound effect work is true top drawer. As I mentioned before, not for everybody but sure worth a look if Devil conspiracies are your cup of hemlock.
John Phillip Law is the man! For that matter, so is Mario Bava but we'll get back to him. Long before Law donned the wings or the turban he got all funky with the leather and the latex (and a super hot babe and Jaguar to boot!0 bringing to life Italy's most famous comic book character DIABOLIK. Hardly a hero, Diabolik is a master criminal who has a dislike for authority which might explain his immense popularity in post-WW II Italy. Bava does a wonderful job bring the strip to life and though his stylings may not be to the taste of all this is a real treat for fans of over-the-top action mayhem. The late and lovely Marisa Mell as Eva Kant is not to be missed and with fine support from the legendary Michel Piccoli and future Band villian Adolfo Celi DIABOLIK delivers fine sixties excess. Sadlym the biggest downfall of DIABOLIK is the uneven score provided by Ennio Morricone. While bang on in some spots, others go right off the friggin' rails and for some reason he's fixated on this horrid lead hook with this chick singing some nonsense...no idea what the meaning is but it is annoying as shit. Still, for fans of fun this baby will fit the bill!
Full Metal Jacket
With FULL METAL JACKET Stanley Kubrick redifines the concept of the war film. Suprb directing, extremely fine acting and editing, special effects and a score to match this is not a film for the faint of heart. This was the second Vietnam outing for star Matthew Modine and he and his supporting cast are in truly amazing form here. I'll let you see for yourself.....however if amazingly you've not yet seen this motion picture then it is worth warning you to watch out for the performances of R. Lee Ermey and Vincent D'Onofrio........fuck man they should have shared an Oscar for the dynamic work they did....just bloody stellar!
Flesh Gordon Meets The Cosmic Cheerleaders
No doubt Howie Ziehm and Billy Hunt used to get together for drinks and fun and after a few wobbly-pops too many wax on about how they should have made a sequel to FLESH GORDON. I say no doubt because they are the olnly holdovers from the original and nobody in their sober mind would have bothered to make such a flick let alone release it. Sure, it gave kickboxer Vince Murdocco he start in motion pictures and as bad as it is one probably couldn't regret the experience because there is so much tit in this baby it would make the late Russ Meyer blush. Point is, where the original was bad it was also ambitious and funny to boot.....this one is neither. Die hard fans of camp may enjoy it and those looking for the perv factor will enjoy seeing former Miss Canada Morgan Fox and the great Melissa Mounds but really, you'd be far better off saving your money and reading an old issue of Hustler while watching Star Trek or something.
Unlike the recent PAN'S LABYRINTH, here is a film suitable for the whole family. The great David Bowie and the lovely Jennifer Connelly spearhead this fairy tale of epic proportions. No need to ruin the plot for you as it will be a joy to disocver for yourself. What is worth pointing out is this is another team effort from Jim Henson and Frank Oz with George Lucas as executive producer. If this is not enough to wet your tongue, then how about ex-Python Terry Jones helping out in the writing department. You just know the "farting stepping rocks" had to be his idea. I'd tell you to look out for Star Wars vets Warwick David and Kenny Baker but I doubt you'd find them as I had no luck...none the less they are in there somewhere.....and Bowie....man oh man...Bowie. You just know he had a blast doing this baby!
Friday, April 06, 2007
Poltergeist II-The Other Side
Here's a simple question for ya'........when the hell are folks going to get it throught their thick skulls to leave Indian burial sites the fuck alone?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Actually, in this case it's some Jonestown type whack-job come back from the other side with a crew of spooks to wreak havok on the already buggered lives of the Freeling family. Let's get the film itself out of the way....stupid as can be but surprisingly entertaining. The scene where Craig T. Nelson pukes up the demon tequilla worm is worth the price of rental alone and all jokingness aside I suspect this was a very serious take on the affects of alcohol on ones normal demeanor. Perhaps the director or one of the scripters is an AA member, doesn't really matter, the message is loud and clear even if it is as funny as a shit storm in a flour factory. Also worth mentioning is the late Julian Beck as the Reverend Henry Kane who is the Quaker styled Jonesey here and man oh man am I ever glad I never had any relatives who looked like this dude when I was a growin' up because you'd never be able to give me all of the trannies in T'rana to go a visit them if they did. Serious, this guy has got that skin stretched over skull with a smill straight from Hades look going for him that Peter Murphy would have died to have been born with.....come to think of it..only place I've ever seen a face like this was on Ruth Rendell when she smiled! Now, let's get to to the real meat here....made in 1986 this baby is only 20 years old and more than half (HALF dammit) of the cast are dead! Maybe there was something to that curse on the film afterall...and here is the real kicker....they used real skeletons for some of the corspes supposedly and this got the crew and cast all weirded out to the extent they demanded an exorcism be performed on the set. Well, wouldn't you know it but Native American actor Will Sampson (who we saw in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUKOO'S NEST, which gets a great in-joke in this flick) just so happens to be a mystical shaman, how bloody convienient, so he shoos everybody away and does his shaman thing and still half the damn cast end up dead! Sure he had nothing at all to do with this as his reputation was pretty damn solid as these sort of things go but still makes you wonder a bit doesn't it. Anyway, take this baby with a grain (or circle) of salt and enjoy the ride and make sure not to miss the funniest part of the film, this being when little person Zelda Rubinstein shows up in a reprise roll from the first. Though the joke is at her expense it is downright gutbusting if you fall for it!
Terror of Mechagodzilla
Yeah yeah, the space aliens have come again with a bunch of monsters and they is gonna take over the Earth, starting with Tokyo of course, and there are some hot chick cyborgs and some cool Japanese in sunglasses smoking cigs and yammering away and Godzilla has to save the day when he really should just stay wherever the hell it is he lives in the ocean or on Monster Island or wherever and watch cartoons and let poor director Ishiro Honda who was happily retired from all of this rubber suit nonsense and it shows because his fowl mood creeps over with the overall dark bent this Toho offering has and even with all of that it real boils down to the guy in the rubber suit saving the day and everybody goes hooray.
Mr. Yink and the Napoleon Complex
While walking the pooch and freezing my everlovin' nuts off at 6:15 this Good Friday morn, I cam e across an interesting find. Around the side of the apartment where I dwell there is what we call the "communal junk pile". This is where we put things no longer of use to us but possibly needed by somebody else. There, to my amazement, were two brand new looking oversized dog dishes. These suckers look like something a Great Dane or a Newfoundland dog would dine from and as I have a German Sheppard by the name of Bear who visits from time to time I felt these would be quite welcome in my not so humble abode. Now, these things are closer to a hubcab for an Austin Mini rather than a dog bowl and I was stunned to see the reaction of Mr. Yink when he focused his little peepers on them. When we returned to the kitchen Mr Yink was doing his best pig impersonation....this is to say he grunts like a porker rather than the Shi Tzu he just so happens to be. For the hell of it, I put some Kibbles N' Bits in one and some fresh cool water in the other and placed them on the floor for his approval. What does the little fucker go and do but use his head to flip over the food dish and then plunk his furry little butt in the water dish and proceed to make one hell of a canine mess in my bloody kitchen! I'm sure there is lesson to be learned here though I have no idea what it is!
To see the said "Mr. Yink" use the "SEARCH THIS BLOG" option.
To see the said "Mr. Yink" use the "SEARCH THIS BLOG" option.
Smart Kitchen Tip #10
A boiled egg left out for more than two hours, coloured or not, should NEVER be eaten!
Due to it's nature of dealing with teenage suicide and overall murder, hormones and mayhem, this wonderful jewel of a flick from Michael Lehmann is a must see for the teen angst ridden crew of this or any future generation. The title comes from a group of "in-girls" all who share the name Heather and how they make life a living hell for the other girls in the school around them. The lovely Winona Ryderm, though not a Heather is in with the group. When she meet a psychotic James Dean (played by Christian Slater at the very top of his trampoline act) type the whole fabric of the high school begins to unravel and as Ryder's character observes "my teenage angst now has a body count". Dark humor at it's finest look for a bit role filled by Glenn Shadix as Father Ripper and prepare to howl your head off at the joy of being a teen again. GREASE this ain't and you can sure as hell see where MEAN GIRLS stole their chops!
Thursday, April 05, 2007
84 Charing Cross Road
Here we have one of the few films capable of making me cry. Based on the true story of the transatlantic correspndence between a New York writer and a London book-seller this film ranks as one of the most uplifting yet heartbreaking you will ever see. There are many subjects covered throughout and I will ley you discover them for yourself. I will mention this...considering English director David Hugh Jones would go on to direct episodes for many current TV faves such as GHOST WHISPERER, BONES and the likes it is amazing how he crafts this adaptation to work on the screen. Not only are the cast superbly directed, the sense of timing and blocking of scenes it remarkable to say the least. Also worth noting is Connie Booth playing an American visitor to London and horror's CANDYMAN bad ass Tony Todd weighing in with a nice cameo. All of this aside, this is the Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins show and here you will see them at their finest. Also of interest is Helene Hanff, who helped adapt her autobiographical book to screenplay took the USC SCRIPTER AWARD along with collaborator Hugh Whitemore. So successful was her story her old apartment house in New York city has been renamed Charing Cross House where a plaque commemorates her memory.
In the Heat of the Night
Easily the greatest film to come from Norman Jewison this tale of racial tension from 1967 is just as riveting today as it was upon release. A stellar performance from Sidney Poitier is amazing overshadowed the one turned in by Rod Steiger who earned himself a well deserved Oscar for his portrayal of a small town southern police chief. Though Jewison lost the best director here it did walk away with BEST PICTURE and really, the best advice I can give you is to see why for yourself. It is worth mentioning modern viewers may find the plot and stylings to be dated and stale...please keep in mind this is because it has been ripped off so many times since. Where the word "masterpiece" is so often overused it's nice to see when it duely applies.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Michael Mann does a stunning job in bringing Thomas Harris' RED DRAGON to life in this 1986 classic. He did such a great job many still feel this be far superior to the recent version. For the few who have not yet seen it I don't wish to spoil anything by going in to plot details. What I will mention is Brian Cox is brilliant as the first to play Dr. Hannibal Lecter and some (I'm not one of them!) still prefer him to Anthony Hopkins. William Petersen is his usual brilliant self as the lead profiler on the case and I'm sure this role was well in Anthony Zuiker's mind when he cast him as Grissom in the CSI series. Dennis Farina and many other Mann main-stays are present here as well and Tom Noonan gives his all as the head sicko here. Pay close attention to Mann's use of architecture...one of his signature tricks and it is extremely effective in this one.
Roswell, The U.F.O. Cover-Up
This made for television movie serves as a great introduction to the Roswell mystery for the hand full of people on the planet not yet familar with the whole thing. It follows the story of the actual Major Jesse Marcel who was the original chief investigator of the New Mexico crash site. Portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan who brings wonderful depth to the character, we follow Marcel to the end of his life where he is still searching for answers and expanations for the government cover-up. Though it is a TV drama, it does offer some fine stylings from the hand of director Jeremy Kagan and there is some mighty fine support work from Martin Sheen and Xander Berkeley. In all of this, Dwight Yoakam steals the show as the famer whose field the flying saucer crashed in. To this day, the Roswell Incident still catches the imagination of ufologists world wide and even if it simply was a weather balloon the story has become part of American legend...with this..you won;t find a better telling of the tale!
HP Sauce and Brand Loyalty
In an odd new story from a few weeks back H.J. Heinz Co. announced they would no longer produce the world famous HP sauce in central England. For some, what I consider to be, stupid reason this really bothered the living shit out of me. I've been well aware for years the very HP sauce I use here at home is produced somewhere here in Canada as opposed to England itself and yet the idea of this HP (which I think stands for House of Parliament though as a kid I swore it stood for HORSE POWER) sauce being no longer made in England distresses me. It will now be made in a factory located in the Netherlands which bothers me even more, again for some stupid reason! So, I will now boycot HP sauce yet for some (yes, stupid) reason I will simply buy A1 Steak sauce instead which is also a Heinz product. Same with ketchup and many other condiments occupying my fridge shelves. Speaking of ketchup, Heinz is the best...no argument here and when idiots try to bring no-name or generic ketchup to a picnic or what not I think they should get a swift bust to the chops! I have no idea what the import of any of this might be, just thought I would share it with you.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Joel Schumacher gets funky with the black-light in this story about young doctors in lust who also get their kicks by stopping their hearts, hence the title, and bringing back all kinds of guilt laden nasties from their pasts. Keifer Sutherland does the broody sulk better than anybody, Julia Roberts plays the self rightous bitch as per normal, Kevin Bacon adds something here though I'm not sure what and one of the Baldwin boys plays a moraly bankrupt slut....go figure! Oliver Platt rounds out the ensemble in and once again I'm not quite sure why. Both Amy Rochelle and Hope Davis make their film debuts here which I suppose is important, but overall the heart in the film flatlined as soon as the opening credits ended.
Fun offering which helped cement John Carpenter's reputation as a horror master. He uses many of his regular faces here in this old fashioned ghost story of some wrong done by lepers who come back a hundred years later to get some payback. While there is no splat to speak of this baby does pack some good spook factor and it marks the first time Janet Leigh and daughter Jamie Lee Curtis would work together. Look for special effects legend Rob Bottin in a cameo as Captain Blake and enjoy Hal Holbrook as he hams up the drunken Father Malone.
A Low Down Dirty Shame
I like Keenan Ivory Wayans...come to think of it...I like all of the Wayans. Keenen wrote, directed and stars in this not so vain homage to the Shaft films and the results are surprisingly not as bad as many critics would have you believe. I must say thought, rather than this being the Keenan Ivory Wayan show it is in truth the Jada Pinkett show. As Peaches she steals the film in every scene she is in. Makes me feel for old Wil Smith too because if Jada is anything like Peaches when she gets mad...well...let's just say that is one celebrity dog house I don't ever want to check in to! I should also mention next to Paul Newman and his wife, Pinket and Smith are my favorite Hollywood couple. I don't profess to know them but they sure do seem to know what the hell they're doing as a family and more power to them for it! Also worth noting is Corwin Hawkins in a supporting role as Peaches' transvestite room mate. From what I've read, he was not acting in this role at all...the lady was really like this and it's fucking hilarious to watch. Sadly, Hawkins passed away of pneumonia (yeah, I know...isn't it always pneumonia for the gay of heart) in 1994 and this is his only legacy on film though I've been told bootlegs of her stand-up work a floating around. In closing, this film is worth a close look as there is a lot more here than readily meets the eye, speaking of eyes, watch out for the scene with the attack dogs...bloody priceless!
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Wow...this film sure has some great music in it...other than that it sucks. Clive Barker wrote the damn thing so it should be good. The director does a great job with a cast of Irish stage and television veterans so it should be good. It looks like a real film so it should be good. Problem is Rawhead Rex is a giant rubber monster who is about as animated as one of my first girlfriends who had a thorazine addiction. Not sure if they didn;t have the money or what as the entire makeup and fx crew would go on do some great work though one poor bastard worked on FIRST KNIGHT so that's two boo boos on his resume. Worth a look for Barker diehards or as a late night tv movie when nothing else is on....other than that...rent a Disney or something really scary.
It would be hard to imagine a film such as this one being made today let alone in 1972. Considered John Waters directorial masterpiece it really is nothing more than a parade of every local freak and deviant Baltimore had to offer all of whom just happened to know or been known of by Waters. There ain't a damn thing wrong with this either. Second only to THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW on the midnight cult film circuits of old, PINK FLAMINGOS offers classic scenes of depravity which makes me think this would be the end result if one were to attempt to shoot a snuff film on laughing gas and acid. Take your pick, the masturbation insemination scene, the chicken fucking incident, the mother/son felatio scene, the dancing asshole or the dog shit eating....where does one begin.? Beleive it or not, the flick does have a story and a plot and is just so bloody over the top it almost defies words. Ringmastered by the late great DIVINE, this one is not for the faint of heart and I must say the tagline "AN EXCERCISE IN POOR TASTE" is one of the few times there is truth in advertising. Still, it was and remains an important part of American film history and is just as outrageous in today's desensitized as it was when it first hit the screens. Check it out and tell me if you still find JACKASS to be original or funny!