I hope everyone is excited for 1988 week. I know I am. I got started a few days early while waiting for the snow to melt. I started with a rewatch of THE VANISHING and a first time watch of A FISH CALLED WANDA. The Vanishing isn't my favorite movie of '88, but it could be the best. A mystery that pretty much gives up the game from the start, but has so much more to offer. I dont watch it much because it's so somber and tragic, but its so incredible. I also enjoyed A Fish Called Wanda, but like so many comedies I see for the first time decades after their production, it seems to have lost something with time. Either way, Kevin Klein's performance is terrific, and everything it was cracked up to be. It's absolutely worth a watch. What I really wanted to talk about was my other first time watch last night, Roman Polanski's FRANTIC. Without getting into who he is and what he's done, I think its the best Polanski movie I've seen. What I really liked about it was the structure and perspective of the story. Betty Buckley disappears at around the 10 minute mark, and we don't see her again until Harrison Ford does at around the 90 minute mark. So many other thrillers would give us 2 or 3 cutaways to remind us of the peril she's in, but Frantic keeps up in lockstep with Harrison Ford. We don't know any more about what's going on, or the motives of the people involved, than he does. I really loved it. Up tonight is a rewatch of the Comedy Central staple Coming to America (also a good primer for the upcoming sequel) and a first time watch of Oliver Stone's TALK RADIO. I'm not quite sure what to expect from that one. I know Stone is a site favorite, but I tend to find him more irritating than encapsulating.
Same for me with Coming to America and not sure what’s next though!
"Talk Radio" is going to quietly blow you away. It's sadly as relevant today as it was in '88, if not more. Eric Bogosian's Barry Champlain came in super strong, and he hasn't been able to top this role yet. That's a complement, BTW.
Yeah I really liked it. Bogosian is ridiculously strong it in, not just what he says (which is a lot) but I really loved the acting he did when he wasn't talking. It makes sense that he would nail it, he wrote it and had a year to work on it Off-Broadway. If only he could've brought that intensity to Under Siege 2!
Stay far, far away from "Safer at Home". Zoom horror is modern day Found Footage awfulness. Not to mention it's an awful story, meandering for 87 minutes and has an egregious ending that literally made me say F-U out loud to the TV. Hope everyone is well! Miss you guys.
"Host" was really good btw, so just like Found Footage, there are a few diamonds in the rough. Safer at Home is the diamond that Ferris Bueller stuck up Cameron's ass.
"Zoom horror" lol. That's hilarious.
What has Chaybee's TV ever done to deserve being cursed at? It only puts on what Chaybee chooses to watch, that's it. Get a mirror! :-P
Tom and Jerry on HBO Max 4.5/5 stars. Yep, I can't believe it either. Tom and Jerry is top 3 cartoons I grew up watching non stop and I've always loved it. This film captured the same fun feeling I would get from the original, of course, without the excessive violence that has been banned for years which I expected. It's a PG film that stays PG and doesn't try to be anything more, which I really, really appreciate. The Dolby Vision looks absolutely amazing and the Dolby Atmos mix is phenomenal, literally one of my favorite sound mixes of the year so far. The bass in this will shake your house! Doesn't hurt that it starts with a Tribe song and 20 minutes later an Eric B and Rakim joint, then a little Jodeci snippet. I laughed out loud a few times. The references to the OG are great and it was just such a fun watch with no stupid politics or any awful "in jokes" thrown in. Absolutely surprised that I liked it this much. Only deducted 1/2 star cause the momentum and fun let up just a little bit in the last act.
Wasn't crazy about seeing this, but you've convinced me to give it a shot. What is HBO Max for if not for trying out unknowns in-between AAA blockbusters?
👍 Cheers, man.
Just watched SYLVIE'S LOVE.Hmm...I must try to temper my disappointment with positive things. Love the costumes. Tessa Thompson is talented. Nnamdi Asomugha is a stunna. I didn't like it but I'm really glad that other people did.
I watched Sator this morning and it’s a slow burn that wrecks with generational horror and truly has a few scares
It was an extremely quiet week for movies. I only got around watching the 1989 Cannon release KINJITE: FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS. Even by the trashy standards of Cannon, KINJITE reaches a low point. Not only does it deal with "forbidden subjects" like child prostitution and pedophilia, but the story unfolds without much style or energy. It is yet another Charles Bronson revenge flick with the actor looking a little too old be the hero. There are too many late-1980s action cliches in it to mention here. One thing the film does well, however, is blow things up. 2021 is the centenary of Bronson's birth, but this is probably not the best film to mark it with.I also watched an hour-long documentary about Charles Bronson, a personal favorite actor, on Prime that was made in France. It was interesting to learn how he felt trapped by his stone-faced killer persona at the end of his career. Watching a film like KINJITE, I can see why he felt that way, but I do enjoy the Death Wish sequels a lot.
I cannot bring myself to watch "Kinjite" even though I've had the opportunity to do so for years now. There's something mean spirited and nihilistic about Cannon's last batch of flicks. The last two "Death Wish" films escaped this mean streak, but just barely!
No matter how mean-spirited the Death Wish sequels get, there is a strong entertainment factor to them. Even the grimy Death Wish II is engaging and, in odd way, fun. Kinjite lacks anything that can cut through the unpleasantness on the screen.
What a weird and unexpectedly delightful night of movie-viewing I experienced earlier in the week. Let me explain.I planned a shark movie double-bill of 1977's TINTORERA! KILLER SHARK (TCM Underground) and 1983's JAWS 3-D (3D Blu-ray). "Tintorera!" was first, and holy Junesploitation! grade A prime beef! This post-"Jaws" Mexican ripoff has the look and feel of the genuine article... before making a 180 degree turn to focus on the (mostly nude) sexual adventures and romantic entanglement of a trio of attractive singles (including Mexican super star Andrés García and Susan George) that keep hopping into each other's luxury boats, hotel rooms, etc. There is a killer Tiger Shark on the prowl, but he's secondary (and often tertiary) to Hugo Stiglitz dealing with the rules of a threesome relationship. All that plus footage of sharks/turtles killed on-camera (think "Cannibal Holocaust" dialed down a notch) makes "Tintorera!" the rare "Jaws" ripoff that carved its own distinctive, family unfriendly niche. Kino Blu-ray (released just a few weeks ago) ordered. :-DThen it was "Jaws 3-D" time, except I couldn't get the damn thing to play on 3D. After an hour I gave up and randomly picked Ernst Lubitsch's DESIGN FOR LIVING (1933, TCM) from my DVR without knowing anything about it. Wow! This pre-Hays code charmer makes no bones about the fact its two Americans-in-Paris struggling artist buddies (Fredric March and Gary Cooper) are engaged in a 'ménage à trois' with muse Gilda (Mitiam Hopkins), who is also being wooed by a square ad executive (Edward Everett Horton). Somehow my shark double-feature morphed into a pair of threesome flicks! :-O As expected from Lubitsch, sophisticated humor and likable performers (had no idea Gary Cooper could be this funny) make you forget "Design for Living" couldn't have been made as is one year later.I still wanted to see "Jaws 3-D," though, so I hooked-up a PS3 and that did the trick. I've seen the 2D version a handful of times, but it's been 37 years since I saw this in proper 3D back in theaters (cheap disposable 3D glasses). Forget that it's the laziest, most boring, toothless and unimaginative shark movie ever made (especially for a would-be summer blockbuster), with acting to match. The Oscar curse was alive and working for Louis Gossett Jr. (his first movie after "Officer and a Gentleman"), Dennis Quaid is over his head and Lea Thompson lucks out when a shark bite lets her escape this stinker 30 minutes before it's over. The toward-the-camera 3D effects, cheesy as they are, are as impressive as the subtle 3D for regular everyday photography... during the first half of "Jaws 3-D," which mostly happens in daylight. But the 2nd half unfolds mostly at night, which kills the effectiveness of the regular 3D. Glad I finally own a proper "Jaws 3-D" disc, even though as a tech demo or a shark picture it's rotten from the head down. :-(Also watched Wolfgang Petersen's AIR FORCE ONE (1997, 4K UHD BD) while my folks in AZ watched alongside via online synchronized streaming. Xander Berkeley's role as the secret service agent that betrays President Marshall and lets Gary Oldman's Russian hijackers onboard feels completely different in this post-Jan. 6th Capitol Attack times. :'( The "Die Hard" formula gets the Hollywood A treatment across the board (acting, special effects, set design, music, etc.). Even though it's not as good as you remember it and doesn't end as strongly as it starts (action becomes "G.I. Joe"-level stupid after you-know-who gets off the president's plane) "AFO" entertains and never gets boring. And let's face it, America could use a President Solo right about now. :-)
I was eyeing Design For Living last weekend, but there is only so much DVR space. I will definitely get to it the next time TCM airs it.
Been a while since I posted but counter-intuitively having a lot of free time due to my work being closed for the better part of a year (aside from a couple months of being reopened) has had me less motivated to post here or on social media. Fortunately my theater is reopening this coming weekend, with the downside being that I'll have to sit out most of F This Movie Fest.One thing I did watch recently though that I wanted to bring up was Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds, the first feature film from director Alex Proyas. I'd been wanting to watch it for a while especially since it got released on blu ray a few years back. It's currently available on Prime so I finally got around to watching it and I liked it quite a bit.It's a small movie. Only 3 actors in it really, and it takes place entirely in one location. Kinda post-apocalypse but that's not really the focus of the movie. A brother and sister live out in the middle of nowhere and a stranger shows up on the run from something. The stranger can't go back south, and can't flee in any other direction because of insurmountable mountains. The brother however has been working on designing a flying machine, while the sister is instantly distrustful of the stranger thinking him a demon.As a whole, Proyas has had an odd career having on directed 7 movies so far, along with music videos and various shorts. I still need to see Garage Days, but of the other 6 I think Gods of Egypt is the only one that's actually a dud. Dark City I think might be his best movie, while The Crow is probably my favorite, but even Knowing and I, Robot I think have a lot to like about them. Spirits of the Air is much more identifiable as being from the director of The Crow and Dark City as opposed to the director's later works, but unlike those two movies which take place almost entirely at night, Spirits is a much brighter film. It was really interesting to me to see Proyas using his sort of visual flair in a somewhat less oppressive feeling environment. Overall, very well worth watching in my opinion.
Didn't even know this existed. Thanks for the heads-up. :-)
Couple more reviews, since next week we're all watching 1988 movies together. :-)John Lee Hancock's THE LITTLE THINGS (2021, HBO Max) is an average-to-decent police thriller that is elevated by good acting and filmmakers' trust that viewers will appreciate the narrative choosing its own path rather than a manufactured Hollywood ending. Denzel Washington is reliably excellent as a fallen-from-grace L.A. detective given an unexpected second chance to solving a series of gruesome serial murders. Rami Malek, as a hot-shot young detective, engages in mannerisms that will either delight or annoy viewers. Ditto for Jared Leto... enough said. If I had paid money to see this in theaters I would have considered it money well spent, even though it doesn't re-invent the wheel and traffics on genre clichés.Last and certainly least, Fritz Kiersch's TUFF TURF (1985, Amazon Prime) is a curious follow-up to the director's "Children of the Corn" one year prior. Existing in a world of high school bullies, clueless parents and thirtysomethings-as-teenagers, the musical interludes and fashions deposit this squarely in the 80's time capsule department. It's as if "Karate Kid"/"Pretty in Pink" and "Footloose"/"Grease 2" fornicated, tried to abort the unholy offspring but the still-born creature wouldn't give up the ghost. James Spader, the East Coast kid who doesn't care for class or money, can't stop getting in the face of a gang of ruffians... which somehow turns on the girlfriend of gang leader Nick (Paul Moanes). Robert Downey Jr., looking like he shot this on his days off from Rodney Dangerfield's "Back to School," randomly pops in/out as Morgan's only friend... for which he gets shot at! "Tuff Turf" lives or dies by your tolerance for Frankie (Kim Richards) being the reason the dance/musical numbers go up to 11, and for Morgan's father (Matt Clark, the only relatable human being in the entire cast) paying the piper for his son messing up with a violent gang. Great as a group viewing on Facebook, YMMV if you watch this and weren't alive back in the 1980's. XD.
Hey! Hope everyone's having a good weekend!So I caught up with a couple of pretty good 2020 movies this week. News of the World is excellent and the little girl, Helena Zengel, gives an exceptional performance. And Possessor: Uncut is one of my favorites of last year, the story's captivating, the visuals are stunning, and the violence is gnarly. Absolutely loved it.And as if anybody didn't know it already, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan rules.But what I came here to write was, a minute ago I decided to start 1988 week with Maniac Cop, which I blind bought cheap on Blu-ray a while ago knowing pretty much nothing about it beforehand. Imagine my delight when the opening credits started rolling: Tom Atkins! Bruce Campbell!! Richard Roundtree!!! ROBERT Z'DAR!!!! I'm hyped for this movie now.
...I mean had a good weekend.
As good as "Maniac Cop" is, "Maniac Cop 2" is ten times better. 🎁 It's a wild sequel, and (bonus!) Bruce Campbell is in it as well. Feel free to skip part 3, but missing out on "MC2" would be an FTM cardinal sin. 🥵😷