Sunday, July 27, 2008
This was touted at the time as a sequel of sorts to 9 1/2 WEEKS which, other than having Mickey Rourke and the same production crew, was a bit of a marketing snafu. Zalman King directed this porno for real women, otherwise known as "erotica". I'm pretty sure King knew most women have harder tastes than the soft core he presented here but it does work as a nice art piece and holds up surprisingly well with age. There is of course the still ever preset rumor the sex scenes between Rourke and Carre Otis, who were a couple at the time, were not faked but the real deal, a trick which would be used lated with COLOR OF NIGHT. It's of no import, the scenes are steamier than a sauna regardless and having Jacqueline Bisset around to heat things up doesn't hurt. The majority of the action is set during mardis gras in Rio De Janeiro and the scene were they use a Public Image Ltd. song as a back drop during an all out dance scene is bizarre to say the least. Perfect date flick for those wishing to add a little spice to the evening.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Never mind THE DARK KNIGHT or HELLBOY 2 THE GOLDEN ARMY, this is the baby I've been waiting for. I miss Mulder and Scully and right from the first haunting notes of the theme this was a reunion of the first order. We've seen much of Duchovny since the demise of the series but Anderson has been low key and it was great to see she has aged well. Not that it's be so long but she has grown with her character and it shows here. Of course I'm not going to give any of the plot elements away, this would ruin all of the fun. What I will let you know is we have my man Billy Connolly as a defrocked child mollesting priest who may or may not be a psychic. He plays the role straight ala MRS. BROWN but I must admit I had a hard time watching him without cracking up. Rapper Xzibit plays an obnoxious FBI agent and he does his work well as I gather we're supposed to hate this character and we have the lovely Amanda Peet as another agent with a slightly more open mind shall we say. The story comes off as being slightly SILENCE OF THE LAMBS in feel but when you get right down to it who the hell cares. Everybody works well, the visuals are fine and the fact is, much like the recent SEX AND THE CITY film, we're just happy to see out old friends back. Diehards will be out in the theatre no matter what anybody says and they will not be disappointed. For those not familiar with the show, and you I must say what are your doing on this blog and which bloody race of aliens abducted you for the last 15 years?!?!!?!?!, save your money. It works so-so as a stand alone but there are better ways to spend your time. For those of you who still want to believe, the truth is in fact still out there, watch your head!
The X-Files Fight the Future
Rob Bowman was always the best director on the series, especially when it came to overstory episodes so it was a no brainer to have him at the helm of the series first foray on to the big screen. It ries it's best to be a stand alone piece of work which should allow it to appeal to those who had not watched the show. It half way succeeds but the few times I saw it in the theatre half the audience exited scratching their heads. Bringing Martin Landau on board was a nice touch and Terry O'Quinn has a great bit part but other than bigger budget special effects it comes off as a double episode.
This is by far my sleeper pick for the summer of 2008. I have a bad habit of putting Will Smith films on the back burner, not sure why, and with so many franchise pieces being released this year I figured I would wait for the DVD. Other than I AM LEGEND I seem to always do this and then kick myself for not having gone to see it in the theatre as you will see when I get around to blogging I, ROBOT. As fate would have thing lined up so I could catch this right before THE DARK NIGHT and I must say I was mighty damned surprised at how much fun HANCOCK turned out to be. The first half had me in literal tears from laughing so hard and all I could keep thinking was if were a superhero I would be HANCOCK. Granted, I'm not black and I ain't no Will Smith but I sure as hell can be a cranky old boozer with a talent for breaking things! Jason Bateman of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT fame makes a great straight man and Charlize Theron brings a nice touch as mother with the patience of Job. In fact, I found I enjoyed this more than THE DARK KNIGHT. It's not a better film by any stretch of the imagination but I thought it was more original and there is a twist in HANCOCK I didn't see coming from a mile away. My biggest complaint would be with the way it was shot, very jerky and disjointed which distracts from the action in my opinion. Don't wait for the DVD, HANCOCK is worth the ten bucks to see on the big screen.
The Fisher King
For all of the work Tery Gilliam, Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges have done you will not find anything that comes close to matching the magic they created here in THE FISHER KING. Nothing! On every level this is one thoroughly satisfying adventure into desolation and ultimate redemption and is truly one of the most uplifting films you will ever encounter. Mercedes Ruehl actually took an Oscar for her work here and Robin Williams came mighty damn close ultimately losing to Al Pacino for his performance in SCENT OF A WOMAN. The sad part is Bridges was not given the nod and it's hard to say why as his broken character based loosely on shock jock Howard Stern is a powerhouse matched only by his work in THE BIG LEBOWSKI. By far the most accessible of Gilliam's films it is one you must see for yourself as the story is an intricate one though I will say watch out for Tom Waits in a great cameo.
July 27th is just about here. 5:51 AM EST. This is when Prot will depart earth to return to K-PAX, his planet in the Lira System. Iain Softley has had a diverse approach to what he chooses to direct from BACKBEAT to THE WINGS OF THE DOVE and I've always enjoyed his work but I don't imagine he can make a finer film than K-PAX. Other than some minor variations and the omission of a small character this is a faithful adaptation of the Gene Brewer novel which is well worth taking the time to read. Kevin Spacey turns in yet another stellar performance and is well paired here with Jeff Bridges. This spirited and touching story of a man who ends up in a psych ward and may happen to be from another planet is full of wonderful twist and finely crafted subplots which allows for some fine character actors to do their thing, most notably David Patrick Kelly as Howie who does some of the best work of his career here. Still, what makes K-PAX stand out is Softley's directing touch. His use of light and architecture here is utterly amazing as well as being integral to the overall plot. The ending may may confuse and depress some but it will most certainly leave you wondering. July 27th, 5:51 AM EST, be there!
The Dark Knight
This may be a close as we come to the universal blockbuster we will have in the modern age. I was having a conversation with a theology student bud of mine who was talking about an article he had read concerning monoculture. It went along the lines that we no longer have the level of shared entertainment experience we had back in the day where everybody would go and see, say JAWS or THE GODFATHER. Now, with internet and DVD and such people are more diverse in how they chose to spend their viewing time. Such is not the case with THE DARK KNIGHT. This is the film EVERYBODY has or wants to see and has in one week pretty much shattered every box office record known and with good reason. It's a dark, complex, damn near perfect film. Strangely enough Christian Bales Batman is not the center of attention here, in this ensemble piece everybody gets their chance to shine. Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, soon to be Two-Face is a nice addition and Maggie Gyllenhaal is a far cry better than Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes but everybody knows this is the late Heath Ledger's film! This is one instance where the hype can't even begin to match just how great his performance here is. It reminds me of Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. He owned that role much as Ledger does The Joker and I strongly doubt anybody will ever top the portrayal he delivers here. As with BATMAN BEGINS I don't think anything else needs to be said, it's a rollercoaster ride which will appeal to the comic heads and average public alike and I loved the pop Lindsay Lohan got in her 10 second cameo, It stands out as pretty much the only "real" laugh in the film. I also don't think this needs saying but be forwarned this is not a kid's flick. This is a very very very dark and serious piece of work even if it does concern a guy running around in a bat suit!
When it was announced Christopher Nolan would direct the new Batman back it 2004 the alarms went off in every home in Geekville. Sure, we all loved MEMENTO but then there was the horrid INSOMNIA so the concern was of a genuine nature. Then came word Christian Bale would don the cape and we all started licking our chops and the rest is history. Nolan was careful to craft a feature which satisfy the old fan boys and still grab the toy money of the kiddies. In truth it was more than likely the adults buys up all the assorted bat guano and I'll own up to having more than a few "action figures" kicking about the place! It was ahard ballancing act to bring the Frank Miller visioned Batman to the screen and not scare the hell out of the rugrats, one scene in particular standing out being when he gives the young kid the batarang as proof he had met him, totally thrown in there to make the bat kid friendly because Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow sure as hell isn't. I don't see the point of writing much more on this one, we all know it breathed much needed life into the franchise and Bale totally rocked the role. Perhaps it borrowed a bit too much from THE SHADOW but we can forgive this as the film kicks ass!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Anticipation was high back in 1983 when LOCAL HERO was hitting this side of the big pond. Bill Forsyth had wowed us a couple of years before with the charming GREGORY'S GIRL and we all wanted to see if he could match the magic with the new one and boy oh boy did he ever. LOCAL HERO was way ahead of it's time in a Faith Popcorn type of fashion, it shows what fast lane burnout can do to the soul and it's the type of film which will make you want to walk away from your world and start all over again. Nearly a quarter of a century later this film is just as fresh as an ocean breeze. The late great Burt Lancaster almost steals the film as the eccentric oil tycoon whose company sends Peter Riegert to the Scotland to buy up an entire village. What ensures from this is a mix of introspection and humor and the blend is such to make this one very special film. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
The ending may bum a few people out but I've always liked to believe Mac (Riegert) is the one phoning the booth, more or less to say, I'm outta Houston and I'm coming back. Truly a heart warming experience this and required viewing in my books.
The ending may bum a few people out but I've always liked to believe Mac (Riegert) is the one phoning the booth, more or less to say, I'm outta Houston and I'm coming back. Truly a heart warming experience this and required viewing in my books.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Cameron Crowe has already well established himself in the teen film market by writing FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and with his directorial debut SAY ANYTHING I think we could all be excused for not seeing the likes of VANILLA SKY, JERRY MAGUIRE and ALMOST FAMOUS coming down the pipeline. As a movie SAY ANYTHING is nothing special in particular but it does provide us with one of thise idelible cinematic moments, that being the image of John Cusack holding the boombox over his head outside of Ione Skye's window while Peter Gabriel's IN YOUR EYES blares through the night. Sure, the jaded of heart can laugh at it now but it still remains a powerful and effective scene. Good clean fare which still can work for the tweenie set.
This religious thriller came out at the end of the Nineties when everybody in the film industry seemed hellbent on ripping off THE EXORCIST and cashing in on the millennium. Who can balme 'em, that's their job but what is interesting is how a guy who used to direct M.C. Hammer and N.W.A. could pull off such a stylish and genuine creep fest. Gabriel Byrne excels as the priest who travels the world to verify or debunk miracles and is matched in whole by the talents of Patricia Arquette who of late has been making a living of of this sort of thing with the MEDIUM series. Jonathan Pryce rounds out and all around spaced and spooky bunch of robed dudes and all of this is driven by an amazing techno-house score which is solid enough to buy the CD. They try their best to infuse some reality by discussing the Gnostic texts of the Gospel of Thomas and toss in all kinds of obscure references from Catholicism but really...you want to leave the thinking cap off and just enjoy the ride with this one.......it's a fast paced a bumpy one!
This early Blake Edwards flick is about the hit the big FIVE-O and damned if a boatload of modern comedies couldn't learn a thing or two from it. NO need to ramble on about this baby, Tony Curtis and Cary Grant light up the screen with a sub full of beauties in some classic fun. Still packs some racey laughs and is even funnier when you take into account the fact it is "slightly" based on a true story.
I love to be able to write something nice about this tweenie thriller especially as some of it was shot in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia but I honestly cant. I suppose if I were a gay male or teenage girl I might find something of interest here but I'm not and the only thing entertaining to me was Kenneth Welsh who I don't imagine, no offense Ken, will rock the worlds of either of those demographics. Speaking of Welsh, do try and catch him the Dylan Thomas play UNDER MILK WOOD running at Soulpepper here in Toronto through to August 2nd 2008. Check www.soulpepper.ca for details. As for THE COVENANT, there is no blood, no scares and though it is a fair little story it simply did not float my boat.
The Devil Wears Prada
While watching this I couldn't help but wonder if UGLY BETTY creator Silvio Horta hadn't read the Lauren Weisberger novel and morphed the idea into his show. I'd like to think not as I'm a fan of Horta's writing on the URBAN LEGENDS films. In any case, as great as Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway are in this film I just couldn't get that damn UGLY BETTY out of my head. Easy to see was the Academy gave it the thumbs up but it really wasn't my style or cut.
Star Trek TOS: Return to Tomorrow
Here is another episode where aliens (aren't they all?), in this case god-like beings (don't they all have that complex?) need to borrow some bodies for a spin but the one in Spock doesn't want to give it up. Roddenberry did the teleplay from a John Kingsbridge story and it's not one of the better ones. Of note is James Doohan providing the voice for Sargon and this is the introduction of Diana Muldaur to the franchise who we would see again in the original series episode IS THERE IN TRUTH NO BEAUTY? and then later in THE NEXT GENERATION as Doctor Pulaski.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
It is easy in this modern era to look back at the films of Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart with a jaded eye....those were simpler times, they had a child's view of the world and so on. It's easy to understand why this is but it still remains wrong. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON was released in 1939 less than a month after what is considered to be the beginning of World War II.....indeed the times were not simple! The story should be well known to you by now, honest politician goes to the big show and is confronted by corruption on the "hill" and decides to do something about it. It is heroic democracy at it's very best and it is only because of Stewart's body of work that I don't single it out as his best performance. What is so great about this film is that it pissed EVERYBODY off from the U.S. government to the press to the Boy Scouts of America and even Hitler and the Nazis themselves! On this side of the pond we had the powers that be upset at it showing a disfuctional system while overseas they feared it showed democracy working! Hell, Stewart and Capra had to break the law just to get shots with many of the Washington landmarks as the feds would not give them permission to shoot! Their work paid off as it was nominated for a then amazing eleven Oscars though no doubt due to political outcry it only managed to take the once for best original story. This is one you DON'T want to watch on television, you want a clean viewing for this look at an ideal America, one many wish existed today.
Monday, July 14, 2008
The War of the Worlds
55 years and one remake later and this George Pal special effects masterpiece still holds up. I have one book in my collection where sixty some odd pages alone are dedicated to the marvels of this adaptation of the famous H.G. Wells story and I don't think there is much more to be said on the subject other than good directing and acting will win out over CGI and visuals everytime. The basement scene here with the probing "alien eye" still packs more pound per punch than what Spielberg managed to provide and even the alien itself manages to be scarier than the computer animated ones in the remake and it goes without saying this film well earned it's Oscar in that department. As a bit of trivia, look for the great Pal himself as an old rubbie listening to a radio broadcast detailing the attack, a nice tip of the hat to the panic Orson caused years earlier with his broadcasted play.
xXx: State of the Union
I quite enjoy the films of Lee Tamahori but I'm quite sure even he would rather this one were struck from his official record. Sure, great action sequences but the mostly seem to be of the CGI nature which is cheating and yesh, we have Samuel L. Jackson back for the ride looking meaner than usual but I suspect this had more to do with being in this stink fest rather than being in character...and then we have Ice Cube. Damn, but somebody should have told him he was in an ACTUAL film and not a gangsta video. Speaking of gansta, rapper Xzibit stand out as one of the better talents here which is a sure sign the film is in trouble. Oh, and did I mention Willem Dafoe is in it? No? It doesn't matter because he's no help in this mess either. An utter four lane highway pile-up mess in the fog!
Grossly ignored, for good reason, when it was released in 1985, this is perhaps one of the best "sleeper" of the Stephen King based films and for many, many reasons. For starters, it maked the directorial debut of Daniel Attias. Don't recognize the name? I'm not surprised but if you've watched any of the cool shows on television in the last 20 years you've seen his work, from ALIAS to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER to THE SOPRANOS to SIX FEET UNDER....this guy has been in there....delivering some key episodes to boot. With SILVER BULLET you don't get any glaring indication of where his future was headed and like many of the big studio productions of the period it is firmly rooted in it's time frame, right down to having one of the "Coreys" in it, in this case Haim who does his job so no complaints there. As a matter of fact, what makes SILVER BULLET so special now is the cast, from Gary Busey playing the old drunken Uncle, Terry O'Quinn (with hair which just weirds me out these days) as the local Sheriff to Everett McGill as the Reverend. Hold on a second......EVERETT McGILL as a man of the cloth....sorry folks of Tarker's Mills.....you're fucked! This is the other element of SILVER BULLET which is so great and ful props have to be given to the head of casting Jeremy Ritzer. The assortment of faces and such here make it very much like TWIN PEAKS and because of this the film, despite it's look, has aged well. So much so they could lift the King screenplay as it is and remake it right now without a problem. Well worth another look, even if just for old time's sake, providing you can find it.
Kate & Leopold
I must admit this one surprised me and perhaps it shouldn't have. With the star power of Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan behind it one would be of the mind it should work but the big studios have a wonderful knack for screwing these sort of things up hence why avoided this little romantic comedy and that is all it is.....a little romantic comedy. A delightful one too in which director James Mangold shows why he is a cut above the rest. No need to go into the details here, it works if this is what you are looking for and there is a neat cameo from the late Spalding Gray and even though Ryan has made a living off of rehashing this character she still comes off smelling fresh as a daisy.....not a small feat in this age of "been there, seen that".
Why oh why do I waste my time watching stuff like this. Well, maybe it's because this tweenie things surprise me sometimes. This Nick Cannon vehicle is nothing special by any stretch of the imagination but it does it's job. Director Marcos Siega, who has done some fine work on DEXTER, brings a nice feel to the project and Cheech Marin delivers an out of character performance other than this (and maybe Kelly Hu) it's an easy to forget film, much like much of what happened in school.
Eddie Murphy Raw
Twenty years later this is still one of the funniest stand-up comedy films ever made. Murphy was never better than he was here, top delivery of amazing material and still able to offend while being spot on in the life observation department. I can't blame him for doing the whole family oriented film thing these days, I actually enjoy some of them but after watching RAW one question comes to mind......was he thinking he ran into Goonie Googoo when this whole Scary Spice business went down?!?!?!?!?!? Look for Samuel L. Jackson briefly in the opening sketch.
"-don't never let nobody make a movie of your life's story"....thus author Winston Groom states in the opening paragraph of the sequel GUMP & CO. which I doubt they will ever bother to put to film. No matter how crass and greedy Hollywood is there just ain't no point after FORREST GUMP. We have two things working here, Tom Hanks, who is the closest to a Jimmy Stewart we'll have in this age and Robert Zemeckis who is the closest we'll have in this age to a Frank Capra. There is simply nothing bad I can say about this piece of work, in EVERY aspect it excels making this what will, with absolutely no doubt, one of the top films of this age people will look back on with the same awe as we might THE WIZARD OF OZ or CASABLANCA.
Yeah, do I really need to write baout this one?!?!?!?! It's Joe Dante's best film, I'd almost say it is perfect except I thought it could have stood on it's own without the Christmas time setting though that aspect did set things up for some nice visuals. The great vocal artist Frank Welker does some amazing work here and if you look closely you can catch composer bar none Jerry Goldsmith in a cameo and if you look really, really hard you'll even see Steven Spielberg.
It's easy to take the piss out of poor Patrick Swayze for the likes of DIRTY DANCING and GHOST but let's face the facts...the dude makes more money and got more damn sheet action than an entire football team and any guy who can rap on the guy for ROAD HOUSE is more than likely to be found at STARBUCKS drinking some frozen hyphinated concoction nowhere new a fuckin' cup of joe and reading the diaries of Sylvia Plath. I have nothing against Plath but these limp wristed so called film expect dick wads who can't sit back and just enjoy a film really piss me off. This story is so simple it could be a Western, and in fact it is only it concerns a bar called The Double Deuce. That Swayze saves the day is a given. So is having Playmates Kym Malin and Kymberly Herrin running around for no reason other than to be naked! Don't make that mistake with Julie Michaels however! She may have one smokin' hot bod here but she may in fact be the most dangerous person in the film and is still regarded as one of the best female stunt workers in the business. Sam Elliott has some excellent moments here and we have some cool bit work from John Doe and the great Terry Funk! Then of course there is the late Jeff Healey. I'm sad to have seen him go but it's great to watch him here as you can tell he's having a blast. Good solid nonsense fun with some spiffy violence and some wicked cursing and one-liners make ROAD HOUSE a place well worth visiting and while your at it, say a little prayer for Swayze who is fighting pancreatic cancer....if he scraps like he does in this film the cancer doesn't stand a chance!
That Tim Burton was able to gather so many lives and fuse their hopes, dreams and fears into a two hour film is an achievement in and of itself.......that he was able to do it in such an artistic fashion in utterly amazing. Perhaps one of his best films I see no need to say naything more than Martin Landau well derved his Oscar for his work as Bela Lugosi and casting George "The Animal" Steele as Tor Johnson was perfect. Come to think of it, everybody was perfectly cast EXCEPT for Johnny Depp! He's great in his role, no questionm but when you compare it to how we no the other "characters" his is the one that seems the least authentic which is odd as Wodd's widow thought he was a dead-ringer! One stellar film, almost all true, which just goes to show reality can indeed be stranger than fiction.
By far one of the worst films to star Bruce Willis, should have taken an award for the stupidest movie title and I have never seen Alec Baldwin so wasted in a role. Neat story, bad execution and despite all of this is still manages to entertain for the couple of hours it will occupy in your life. Then you will forget about it. I don't know much about autistic children but I gather Miko Hughes as well all know and love as Gage from PET SEMATARY did a bang up job showing his research into the role paid off....it's just a crying shame they didn't have a script for him to work with.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Give it twenty seconds and some useless critic out there is going to call HELLBOY II "Pan's Labyrinth on steroids" and it will be wrong and lazy of them to do so! No, this is a different plate of nachos indeed but I'm sad to say not different enough. Damn near everything we see in THE GOLDEN ARMY we've seen before and you'll sit there thinking to yourself something like this.......didn't I see that in THE MUMMY, hold on, isn't that from LORD OF THE RINGS, damn, didn't they use that schtick in MEN IN BLACK and hey this really reminds me of STAR WARS and damn does that creature ever look like it's from PAN'S LABYRINTH. All of this being said, del Toro does his very best to put a fresh spin on it and it is certainly a showcase for every special effects trick in the book...problem is the story doesn't match the action. For some this won't be a problem but for those wishing for it to be a step up from the first will be sadly left wanting. A damn fine piece of work, no mistake and there are a few moments in which you will howl with delight....just not enough of them to blow fifty bucks on a night out at the cinema.
Next to the new X-FILES film and possibly the next BATMAN installment, nothing has me more excited than HELLBOY II. By the time this Mike Mignola comic creation was being adapted for the screen Guillermo del Toro was already weel know to the fan-boys for his work on BLADE II and the underground hit MIMIC. As great as BLADE II was, it did not prepare us for the spectacle that would be HELLBOY. Sadly, lack of promotional backing from Sony pictures caused it to fade into cult status which will no doubt be rectified when the Universal produced part 2 hits the screens today nut never mind the second part for now. HELLBOY is every bit a comic book film but due to the strength of our lead hellion, played to absolute perfection by the once again heavily made up Ron Perlman, and a strong suppost cast of characters it easily transcends the genre and takes on a life of it's very own. I cannot emphasise enough just how great Perlman is in the lead and he really should have been considered for an Oscar here. Utterly amazing he is and despite being under a hundred plus pounds of latex, foam and whatever you STILL know it`s him! John Hurt shows, yet again, he will act in damn near anything and there is yet again another narration sequence provided by him. Rupert Evans as the new liason for Hellboy is the only weak link here and it`s a small detail. Sharply directed, wonderfully written and an absolute visual feast, make sure to do yourself the service and see it before you hit the big screen for the seocnd part this weekend.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
This one has two things going for it to raise it above average, Spike Milligan and Barbara Shelley. It's amazing to think Spike was in the depths of a major deep and dark bout of depression while he was filming this as it doesn't show one bit. A good natured tale of a rural postman transfered to central London where he must adjust and ends up foiling a gang of robbers. Light stuff but so well presented by Milligan you can't help but enjoy it!
The Black Godfather
Never mind the fact this blaxploitation number stars Super Bowl and Babylon 5 veteran Rod Perry, even by the standards of the genre it's junk. Perry does his best to carry it but much like the L.A. Rams did against the Steelers in the big game of 1980 he fumbles the ball. Boring, boring and again, boring. Did I mention Pittsburgh burried them 31-19?
Jason Lives:Friday the 13th Part VI
By the time a part six rolls around one would be tempted to say a franchise has "jumped the shark" as it were. This is not the case with JASON LIVES. What we have here is a straight forward installment except the director chose not to take himself too seriously and injected some mighty fine humor into the mix and for once IT WORKS. All too often we see folks try to do this and it goes over like the proverbial lead balloon. Tom McLoughlin, who is pretty much a TV director now, throws some high jink around here that will quite possible make you bust a gut, in particular the scene where the paint ballers run into Jason....friggin' hysterical! Good bloody fun to be had here.
The Facts of Life
Despite having the great Bob Hope and Lucille Ball in the leading roles this is not the best of what were known as the "bed room" films back then. The chemistry is somewhat there and there are some true skin crawling moments of a tense nature in the dark comedy vein to be had but it just doesn't seem to have the punch others did. Snagged an Oscar for the costumes oddly enough and Ruth Hussey is a pleasure as always to watch and we get an uncredited bit showing from character actor Vito Scotti but to be honest, if you have the DVD or video, fast forward it to the airport scene towards the end and this is where you will find the meat of the film.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Ok, I guess we can wrap out heads around the premise of PANIC ROOM, kind of, but when you get to the story in FLIGHT PLAN, and I use that word in a very loose fashion, well....it's just bloody stupid and if Jodie Foster wasn't piloting this baby it would be utter shit. She makes it watchable even if it is in no way shape or form believable. Sean Bean is totally wasted here and so will you time should you bother!
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Maschera del demonio, La (Black Sunday)
There is a damn good reason why Mario Bava is loved so, it's because he's a fuckin' great director! This guy gets horror and it's amazing just how many people have ripped his style off over the years. This was released in 1961 and it manages to have that classic look of a Universal film of the Thirties only it has the guts and balls to go with it. Perhaps one of the most famous aspects of this film is the still photo of Barbara Steele with all of the holes in her face from the devil mask. As a kid, seeing this picture in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine I always thought she was a victim of the plague as the film is known as BLACK SUNDAY here, hence the stretch between "black" and "plague" is not a large one. It's amazing how still images we encounter in childhood stick with us throughout our lives and even though I've seen this film a half a dozen times in my adult life I STILL think it is about the black death. A classic for sure!
Evil Dead The Musical
Sometimes I have my head stuck so far up my ass I can't see the forest for the demons! I had avoided this one like the plague......something about camping out one of my favorite horror films of all-time just pissed me off....and you must remember, no matter how laughable THE EVIL DEAD seems now, back in the day it scared the living crap out of legions of tweenies and such. By a stroke of fate I attended EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL for my birthday which yes, I know, was weeks ago but between that, Canada Day and a FISH concert the last while has been a blur. I am more than happy to report this is one of the funniest things to come down the pipeline since sliced jugular veins! Well written, superbly acted and a set that will quite sreiously blow your head off! Due to amazing response from the ticket buying public this baby is being held over yet again so you have right up to the end of the summer to catch this bawdy bit of bloody fun at the Diesel Playhouse here in Toronto. Make sure to shell out the extra coin for the splatter-zone seats, trust me on this one, you'll regret it if you don't and afterwards perhaps you can do THE NECRONOMICON at the EVIL DEAD KARAOKE which you can find out the details about at their Facehook fan page. Don't be a spoil-demon like me and miss out on this and damned if Tenja Hagenberg isn't the hottest stage actress in all of Canada!
Monday, July 07, 2008
Because I had heard so many negative things about this, from bad acting to bad writing to arrogant direction etc., I let it sit on my shelf for years before finally getting around to giving it a proper viewing. One of the many mistakes I've made in this life! SCARLET DIVA is the feature directorial debut of Asia Argento, she of the Italian family of horror film making greats and here, while doing triple duty as writer and star as well, she presents a different type of horror. That of fame, sex, drugs and their horrid consequences. I'll let you discover this one for yourself, it's a extremely complex yet simple peice of work and where she has been roasted for trying to be too artsy with her blocking shots is where I think she is best. The shooting style lends to the frenetic development of the characters and while I would never say this one will garner mainstream interest it is a far cry above the cult status it has been fated to.
Kiss Me Goodbye
When you consider this remake of this 1975 Brazilian classic was directed by Richard Mulligan of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD fame you have to scratch your head and wonder what he was thinking. Featuring an all-star cast of Jeff Bridges, Sally Field and James Caan, this story of a widow about to remarry who is saddled with the ghost of her deceased husband is devoid of any real emotion. It's hard to say why, the actors are giving it their best, the story is a good one but the directing is such as all the efforts of those involved are wasted and this comes off as a second rate made for television piece of work. The original DONE FLOR E SEUS DOIS MARIDOS is a hard flick to track down and I must confess I've only seen it once back in the early 80's but as my memory serves me it was a whole lot better than this heartless mess.