Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Revolutionary Road

As a social experiment I would love to get a hundred people together and plunk them all in a theatre to see a double feature of REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and THE HOURS. I'd lay good money on the odds at least ten of the hundred would be suicide cases within a couple of days after sitting through these happy little suckers! Mind you, I thought REVOLUTIONARY ROAD was great as a piece of art, well directed by Sam Mendes who just so happens to be married to star Kate Winslet who gives yet another stunning performance here. Of course much was made of the fact it teamed her with Leonardo DiCaprio for the first time since TITANIC. Also on board from that sunken ship is Kathy Bates and despite this being one mighty depressing film it is a pleasure to see the three back together again. Author Richard Yates, whose novel this is based on, was divorced twice in his life and it certainly shows in the way marriage is portrayed here. In fact, if you know anybody stupid enough to be getting hitched anytime soon you might want to lay this on 'em and I'm quite sure they will come to their senses mighty quick. A special mention must be made of the score Thomas Newman provides which is fabulous.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child

Number five in the series delivers pretty much the same old fare and takes up where THE DREAM WARRIORS left off so we have another batch of spoiled teens to join Lisa Wilcox for the annual slaughter. A few inovations in the death department and we get some interesting Escheresque styled moments towards the end but this is pretty much just for Freddy followers. Look for Ted Nugent and Eric Singer as members of The Hot Seat Band.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Even by David Lynch's standards this is one hell of a mighty dark and scary film, perhaps the most so of any he's made. It is a prequel to the series showing the sequence of events leading up to Laura Palmer's death as well as an introduction to several "new" characters of which we were to see in subsequent films. Due to the the poor response from the public, which is understandable because this picture is way the hell out there (even by Lynch's standards) and no doubt confused the bejezus out of a many fan of the TV series, the sequels were never made which is a shame becuase I would have liked to seen the agent characters played by Chris Isaak, Kiefer Sutherland and David Bowie. As far as the film goes I simply love it despite how dark it is and I'm rather shocked Sheryl Lee never won any awards for her amazing performance. If I have one complaint it would be Jack Nance not appearing. Scenes were shot and scrapped but somehow a Lynch flick without Nance just seems incomplete. A warning, this is not for the viewers who thought the TV show to be cute and quirky, it is extremely visceral and will even throw hardened vets for a loop or two.

Damien: Omen II

I was thinking about the near ending of the first OMEN when Gregory Peck was flying on the plane with the knives bundled up on his lap and how if the movie had been made today the climax to that film wouldn't have happed as due to security he would have had to check them with the luggage which would have been lost as Damien could live happily ever after.....and of course he does because he's here in the second picture. Not a scary as the first but an interesting metaphor for the troubles of puberty. They kind of rip off THE BIRDS as they do most of the dirty work here rather than the dog. Jonathan Scott-Taylor, who is quite the Shakespearean actor, fills the pants of the teen hell spawn and does a damn fine job of it. One scene in particular stands out as he questions the universe with the "why me" after discovering who he really is, an obvious reference to the famous monologue of Christ. Scott-Taylor did a few more pieces after this and then became a lawyer. Deduce from this what you will. While Damien is supposed to be the big menace here we actually get better chills from Lance Henriksen who once again provides the weirdness factor. Star power with William Holden, Leo McKern and Lew Ayres in his final big screen appearance. Not a bad follow up at all.

Minor Threat Live

Not a movie as such but some footage of their second show ever and another gig. As you all know I never subscibed to the whole "straight edge" mentality of which of which Ian MacKaye and the boys ended up at the forefront but anybody from that era who claims to have not been influenced by MINOR THREAT is simply full of shit. All of the songs we no and love and here in their furious glory and if nothing else this document shows us what hardcore gigs were like back in the day and how little things have changed in twenty some odd years.

The Blob

I recently came across an apple. It had been in the fridge for quite some time and was starting to wither away. In a fit of genius I remembered I had some brwon sugar in the jar which had turned hard and cut up said apple to see if the old story was true. Sure enough the next day I had nice flowing apple flavored sugar on my oatmeal and all was well in the universe. Of course male logic when applied to old wives tales is flawed and nobody ever mentioned I was supposed to take the apple out of the sugar jar so that when I went to grab some a month later I encountered a fuzzy bloobish oozing mess which may very well have held the cure for cancer or at least the drug resistant neurosyphilis shit bothering the hospitals these days.
This of course has very little to do with Chuck Russell's 1988 remake of THE BLOB other than the crap in my sugar jar reminded me of said thingy. As far as the flick goes it delivers the goods, upping the special effects while maintaining the campy fun of the original. Kevin Dillon (yes, brother of Matt!) and the lovely Shawnne Smith (not playing a psycho for a change) do a fair job of carrying the action through and we are treated to appearances from the likes of Candy Clark, Bill Moseley, Erika Eleniak and the late great Jack Nance. Other than that, what else needs to be said? It's a remake of THE BLOB......you prety much know what you are in for.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Omen

When I was a kid I always swore I would get those triple sixes tattooed on my head! Of course I didn't and anybody who knows me is well aware I'm allergic to the ink hence perhaps my fascination with Suicide Girls. Alas, tattoo or not many of those who do know me are of the mind I didn't need any mark of the beast to be a right royal shit disturber and I certainly had Damien growing up as a great roll model. Over thirty years later and this Richard Donner religious thriller can still get the ol' adrenaline flowing and there are many reasons why. Not a bad script, a stunning score which earned Jerry Goldsmith his only Oscar to date and a serious performance from the great Gregory Peck. It is Peck who brings the air of authenticity to what could have easily been just another low budget spooker and in taking a pay cut for ten percent of the profits it turned out to be his highest paid roll ever! We also have the great Lee Remick to add some melodrama and David Warner brings an annoying zest to the proceeds along with a nice cameo from the late Leo McKern. Doing duty in this one as Damien is Harvey Stephens who only did one other bit part in a TV movie and had an interesting cameo in the 2006 remake. This might be due to the fact he concentrated his efforts on becoming a futures trader and is now a property developer somewhere in the U.K.. Deduce from this what you like, doesn't matter, he brings the creep factor in this film big time. Throw in a crazy nanny, some nasty Rottweilers, a kick ass hanging and a killer decapitation and it all makes for one fine viewing experience.

The Masque of the Red Death

Of the fifty plus films Roger Corman has directed over the years THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH stand out as one of his finest if not the best he's done. Using elements of Poe's titled story with aspects from HOP-FROG, Corman sets the stage for a fine array of character actors to put on one serious little spook-out. Vincent Price is in malicious fine form and we are treated to the talents of Hazel Court and Jsane Asher as well as a menacing performance from the late Patrick Magee whom most know best from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Yet, all of the gruesome hi-jinx aside it is the dream sequences and the cinematography, provided by the then soon to be reknowned Nicolas Roeg, which make this production special and help eliminate the oft found campiness of Corman's work. It' s a poweful presentation and one still capable of giving you a bad dream or two.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

R.I.P. Joseph Wiseman

The first proper and one of the best Bond villains ever.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Don't Look Now

With all the fuss recently being made about PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, that supposedly made for $15,000 cerebral spooker which has the internet groups doing overtime, one might well be better served going back to this Nocolas Roeg classic. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie give stunning performances as the couple haunted by the drowning death of their daughter. Oddly enough, the sex scene between the two gets talked about more than the film itself which is a shame as this is one destined to give you chills and I still know ladies who are unable to watch it alone. This has nothing to do with what you see as much as what you don't and though somewhat based on a Daphne Du Maurier story it is far more Roeg's tone and stylings whichh will do you in. Some have said this was the inspiration for THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT which I think unfair though there is a scene the makers may very have lifted or paid homage to and you certainly cant miss the image in question but DON'T LOOK NOW is a far different picture. As always, I refuse to give away the plot, as ambiguous and resolved/unresolved as it may be but I will say it moore than worth your time.

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet

Here is an odd little bit of history you'll find floating around in the dollar bins at the moment. On the surface this grade Z sci-fi yawner looks like a pass though the curious may wish to take a boo just to see the great Basil Rahtbone in one of his final roles. Truth be told he's horrid here but one can't blame the man for taking the money. What makes this interesting is the history. Roger Corman somehow got his hands on footage the Russian government shot for propaganda purposes releasing their own fiction films to bolster the interest n space exploration. Corman then added a few people and some new plots and overdubbed the archival footage. Peter Bogdonovich (under the name of Derek Thomas and the eye of Corman) would use the same footage for his big screen directorial debut in the highly orignal titled film VOYAGE TO THE PREHISTORIC PLANET OF WOMEN. Not much in the way of entertainment but stimulating for historical reasons.

The Butterfly Effect

Well, you can throw the science out with the baby and the bath water on this stupid little thriller and if you are capable of this you just might enjoy THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT. In a nutshell, Ashton Kutcher has inherited a genetic curse which allows him to go back and "punk" time which causes all kinds of mighty hell with his personal history. It's a fun enough ride if you don't question it but if you can't stand Kutcher this flick will be unwatchable. Amy Smart who we know and love from ROBOT CHICKEN and the CRANK films does her best to addsome emotional weight to the project and the young Jesse James does teen anger better than most. We are treated to a great cameo from body double extrodinaire Amy Esterle and Kelowna's own Brandy Kopp has a couple of great moments but it is Ethan Suplee (MY NAME IS EARL) who steals every scene. If you happen to to be watching the DVD opt for the theatrical cut over the director's. While the D.C. does fill in a couple of minor points it's ending leaves much to be desired and this is one case where the theatre ending is far better.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jane Eyre

Don't even bother wasting your time on the Cole's Notes for this one, I'll sum it up for you mighty quick and proper.
Haughty brat gets sent off to boarding school where she gets a bit of a brain and her BFF gets offed by the typhoid and then the young feminist tobe gets shipped off to some old broody gits castle where he becomes smitten by her nubile charms and then wants to marry her but there is some crazy ex locked up in the attic who buggers these plans and then she shacks up with some religious zealot who wants to trek her ass of to India and marry away while feeding the poor to which she says screw that and goes running back to the old broody git only to discover the crazy bitch in the attic burnt the friggin' castle down and checked out in the process leaving old broody guy blind and lookin' like an overdone grilled cheese sandwich but what the hell, he has money and love prevails and they spit out a kid and everybody lives happily ever after and even the dog gets a bone. The end!
Sadly, it is not the end as everybody and their cat seems to want to make a bloody film or mini-series or carve her face on Mt. Rushmore, whathaveyou, point is this damn vehicle refuses to go away. In this 1997 version, considered by many to be the worst, we have Samantha Morton as said Eyre and Ciaran Hinds as Rochester and bu gawd it is some of the worst work I've seen either do yet stranglley this remains my personal fave. Why? It's pretty and it's damn short which suits me just fine as I'd rather burn my eyes out with a soldering iron than sit through another drawn out episode of this romantic crap!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is it just me or

should there be a law against selling stale chicken-bones?

Friday, October 02, 2009


Here is a classic case of the goods not matching the hype which, much like the story CHANGELING deals with, is a travesty of justice. There is nothing wrong with Eastwood's direction, Angelina Jolie was terrific but certainly not Oscar worthy, and the great J. Michael Stracznski delivers a stunning script for all to work with. Problem is it comes off as made as a television production rather than a feature. This isn't bad but they way people went on about CHANGELING lead me to the opinion the average film viewer these days looks at anything with a bit of substance as a masterpiece and this is simply not the case. Well worth a view and I'm stunned nobody tackled this story sooner but look at this one as a slow burn and not a quick fix,