Category Archives: Film Review

Lifeforce

Toby Hooper’s LIFEFORCE is one of those films made in the 80s that would never be made today. Space vampires, psychic mayhem, lots of nudity, amazing visual effects and a phenomenal score by Henry Mancini. A childhood TV staple that always freaked me out. Saw it for the first time on Bluray, director’s cut, and it is still a zonkers film. Thank God for Golan and Globus!

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Lethal Weapon

LETHAL WEAPON is a classic piece of 80s product, distinguished somewhat with some suicidal edginess and amusing zingers by Shane Black, who has since graduated to Iron Man 3 (a contemporary piece of product also distinguished by some wit and devil-may-care attitude). The fact that Lethal Weapon came out in 1987 makes me feel a bit old, and revisiting it now was pretty fascinating. Mel Gibson, as yet untainted by his own failings, Stephen Goldblatt’s cinematography, Stuart Baird’s crisp editing and a refreshingly physical rather than digital action approach are big pluses. The desert showdown is easily the visual highlight. Must dig around for some more 80s action now!

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Rasputin the Mad Monk

I saw the Hammer Films production of RASPUTIN THE MAD MONK, and was very impressed by the entire show. Christopher Lee makes for a very powerful and charismatic Rasputin, a most sinful saint if there ever was one. He climbs his way up through Czarist Russia, turning all in his path under his power. Every shot counts and builds great tension all throughout, something most films of today cannot purport to do. Highly recommended.

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Spirits of the Dead

SPIRITS OF THE DEAD is a wicked anthology of Edgar Allan Poe stories from 1968, with the triple bill of Roger Vadim, Louis Malle and Federico Fellini as the episode directors. The entire production is beautifully (and in Fellini’s case insanely) photographed, and there is plenty of star power on hand. Here’s the breakdown:

METZENGERSTEIN (Vadim) stars a hot Jane Fonda as Baroness Metzengerstein, a cruel and tyrannical ruler who lives a debauched life. She grows obsessed over a black horse which she believes is the reincarnation of a cousin who she inadvertently killed. This is the least of the episodes, alternately dull and overcut. Jane rides a black horse, gets to wear a ton of suggestive clothing and look good in front of lovely landscapes. That’s something I guess.

WILLIAM WILSON (Malle) stars Alain Delon as a nasty fellow who encounters a doppleganger throughout his life that seeks to thwart his ugly schemes. This is a wonderful piece of filmmaking, with great tension and many surprises throughout. A highlight (among many) is his card game against Brigitte Bardot, just a fantastic bit of pacing and brio. I love this piece, and it is the strongest episode here.

TOBY DAMMIT (Fellini) stars Terence Stamp as a washed up British actor who comes to Italy to shoot a Catholic Western in exchange for a (super-freaking-sweet) Ferrari. The cinematography and editing is giddy and delirious, outrageously expressionistic and full of energy. Some amazing high speed car scenes, and a great sense of experimentation. I only rate it below WILLIAM WILSON as the storyline is more diffuse and slight.

I saw this on the Image Entertainment DVD release from 1996, if there is a better version out there I’d check that out. A real trip!

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Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone

I saw SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE the other day. It was a silly yet fun early 80s sci-fi film to watch, with some pretty good effects and nice cinematography by Frank Tidy. Though not on screen often, I liked Michael Ironside as Overdog, the Forbidden Zone ruler. Good makeup and sort of a kinky character, bleh heh heh! Good way to spend an hour and a half!

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Insanitarium

Watched a particularly ridiculous film called INSANITARIUM yesterday. Low budget horror thing, which had the saving graces of Peter Stormare as a particularly warped research scientist and Armin Shimerman as one of the patients. For every awful thing that happened there was something else that actually provoked a gut level response, mostly the brutal violence and comically bizarre behavior of… everyone. Doesn’t do much for promoting mental health reform, that’s for sure!

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Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon)

I returned from seeing Joss Whedon’s very entertaining adaptation of William Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. It has a breezy light-on-its-feet feeling to it, and the comedy is well played without being at all strained. The words are basically Shakespeare’s, and under Whedon’s hand his very game and contemporary cast handle the verbiage with aplomb. Big respect for ANGEL veterans Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof as the leads, respectively as Beatrice and Benedick, and special mentions for Clark Gregg as Leonato and Nathan Fillion as Dogberry. I saw this at the Montgomery Cinemas and it was well projected there, for all locals go check it out there! For the rest, look for it in your area!

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Man of Steel

So I went to see MAN OF STEEL last night. Aside from a few tender human moments courtesy of Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, it was rather overwhelming. The massive human carnage and destruction, the Christ parallels, Michael Shannon’s obnoxiously loud General Zod, and other things just bulldozed me. Henry Caville as Clark/Kal was very good though, having a rare mix of human frailty and alien superiority fighting for control within him that was subtle and well played. Too bad this movie wanted to be A Big Deal, it wound up shutting me down. Ah well.

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Party Monster

PARTY MONSTER (2003), the docudrama on Michael Alig and the NYC club kid scene of the 80s-9s was rather infuriating to watch. I liked Seth Green a lot as James St. James, and Wilmer Valderrama as Keoki was cute, but overall the entire cast of characters was repulsive and worthless. I mean, they really were vapid and selfish bastards, and it was like watching a fabulous train wreck. Good costumes and makeup though, the eye candy and catchy music track helped it slide down a little easier. I will give credit to Macaulay Culkin for trying to break from his Home Alone days, but it was a tough act to watch. My goodness.

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World War Z

So overall WORLD WAR Z was was like a string of coke hits with their subsequent lulls, and by the final third it was more of a low level “Will star Brad Pitt get his zombie cure-thing?” By then my bladder was dangerously full, and the greatest relief I had was when I made it to the bathroom and had a good long piss. I’ll remember that longer than this film. I should be more charitable, but there you have it.

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