Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fool's Views (1/17 – 1/23)

Not sure what happened to my manners, but somehow, the intros have fallen by the wayside. Let's get that back in there.

Watching movies is fun. I watch a lot of them. I like talking about them. I like hearing what people think about them.

That's where you come in. Thanks for reading!

Leave your two cents worth - we'll make sure you get some change back.


Silent Rage (1982)
(1st viewing) d. Miller, Michael
Being a young, blonde, pale child of the chopsocky 70s, Chuck Norris was a natural hero for me – although more in concept than execution, since I rarely saw any of his films growing up. This was one that constantly dangled around the edges of my video basket but for whatever reason, never made it into the player. Finally caught up with it via Crackle streaming and, well, if not exactly good, it’s never boring. Human guinea pig Brian Libby becomes an unstoppable killing machine and it’s up to Chuck to beat the bad guy down.

Dreamscape (1984) (3rd viewing) d. Ruben, Joseph
Seeing David Patrick Kelly in COMMANDO inspired me to revisit this trippy little sci-fi/fantasy flick that beat NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET to the punch with the “die in your dreams, die in real life” myth. While the all star cast is undeniably impressive (Dennis Quaid, Eddie Albert, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer), it’s the ultra-creepy Kelly who steals the show as a dream assassin. Effects and makeup by Greg Cannom and Craig Reardon still hold up.

Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971) (6th and 7th viewings) d. Hancock, John D.
Love this flick. Full review HERE:

Seeing Double #3: IT’S IN THE DETAILS:

Devil, The (1972)
(1st viewing) d. Zulawski, Andrzej

Devil (2010) (1st viewing) d. Dowdle, John Erick

M. Night Shyamalan stays out of the way for the most part (only producing and contributing a story credit) to this satisfying genre trifle about five people trapped in a high rise elevator, only to discover that one of them may be a bringer of darkness. By contrast, Zulawski (who brought us the mind-twisting 1981 stunner POSSESSION) has nothing but epic thoughts to impart, combining political allegory and otherworldly histrionics to construct a sprawling, overwhelming, hypnotic celluloid nightmare.

Commando (1985)
(1st viewing) d. Lester, Mark L.
It’s true, I’d never seen Ah-nold’s “classic” of the vein-popping 80s, and after watching it, I can sorta kinda understand its appeal, though Rae Dawn Chong’s (ongoing!) career continues to confound me.

Fighter, The (2010) (2nd viewing) d. Russell, David O.
Revisited this one courtesy of the SAG screening program, saving the femalien and I the ticket price. (Hey, I paid my dues...literally.) Good stuff.

Electric Dreams (1984) (1st viewing) d. Barron, Steve
Uneven love triangle between the stunningly uncharismatic Lenny von Dohlen, a young and stiff Virginia Madsen, and a cutting edge piece of technology called a “personal computer.” While I remember seeing the video box constantly in my younger days, I have no idea what prompted its inclusion to my queue. Wish it had featured a few more prurient 80s elements to make it worthwhile.

Head (1968) (1st viewing) d. Rafelson, Bob
Holy Monkee Butt! I’ve been meaning to see this for literally all my life, being that it came out the year I was born. Thanks to David White for finally tipping me over the cliff. A MUST-SEE.

Heartbeeps (1981) (1st viewing) d. Arkush, Allan
Sticking Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters into Stan Winston robot makeups and having them discover human emotions is the premise of this wannabe charming pic, and it works…for the most part. Not a classic by any stretch, but a curiosity worth a look.

Hooper (1978) (1st viewing) d. Needham, Hal
Yep, still rediscovering the Burt Reynolds flicks of the 70s and 80s, back when he was one of the biggest stars in the world. I think my mom didn’t like him, so I decided I wouldn’t like him and didn’t bother. Then again, she said the same thing about Clint Eastwood, and I didn’t discover how wrong she was about him until after seeing UNFORGIVEN, whereupon I went back and watched nearly everything the man had done, and liked it. Not sure what prompted the desire for the Reynolds re-evaluation, but so far, so good. Plus, a story about stuntmen directed by ex-stuntman Needham and starring easygoing macho-men Reynolds and Jan-Michael Vincent…what’s not to like.

In America (2003) (1st viewing) d. Sheridan, Jim
Having fallen for actor Paddy Considine last year in RED RIDING: 1980, DEAD MAN’S SHOES, and THE BACKWOODS (as well as his small role in THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM), it was only a matter of time before I got around to seeing his starring turn in Jim Sheridan’s autobiographical film about an Irish family immigrating to NYC. Lovely work from the entire ensemble, possessing the kind of intangible yet weighty charm oft sought but rarely achieved.

Pi (1998) (2nd viewing) d. Aronofsky, Darren
Saw this in the cinema when it first came out and was utterly stunned. Now that Aronofsky is quickly maturing into a full-on Hollywood force (without losing his distinctive voice, mind you), it seemed like a fine time to revisit his roots. If anything, more impressive on a second viewing.

Rabbit Hole (2010) (1st viewing) d. Mitchell, John Cameron
Well-realized drama about a couple (Aaron Eckhart, Nicole Kidman) coping with the death of their son, although I’m more curious to check out the stage play upon which it is based to see how it manifested itself on the boards.

Mad Max (1979)
(3rd viewing) d. Miller, George
Road Warrior, The (1981) (2nd viewing) d. Miller, George
Couldn’t really tell you what inspired this double feature: maybe it was having seen the Oz-ploitation doc NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, maybe it was all the 80s testosterone (COMMANDO, SILENT RAGE), maybe it was idling loading up the NF streaming queue, maybe it was just shame only having only seen them twice and once before respectively. Whatever, it was great fun. And now that MM: BEYOND THUNDERDOME is available for instant viewing, I can finally scratch the trilogy off the list.

2011 totals to date: 43 films, 28 1st time views, 15 horror, 2 cinema


  1. Heh, looks like you're working on the alphabet a little there. (I'm not being as methodical as you, but I've already got 15 letters down.)

    Glad you liked Head. It's the kind of film that gets better and better every time I see it. I'm hoping to get Criterion's America Lost and Found: The BBS Story box set soon so I can watch it again with the Monkees' commentary. (This week I've been delving into The Golden Age of Television set.)

  2. Sadly, no method to the madness. Same old random tactics as ever, with the occasional theme and/or double feature tossed in there.

    I loved HEAD - more than anything, I'm stunned it took me this long to catch up with it. It's always been "the Monkees movie" but no one ever bothered to mention that it's also *amazing*. I'll be back for a second and third helping before long, no doubt.

  3. Also, if you're looking for ideas for your "Seeing Double" series, you would do well to seek out Criterion's Golden Age of Television set, which features Marty, Patterns, No Time for Sergeants, Requiem for a Heavyweight and Days of Wine and Roses, all of which were later made into movies.

  4. I saw that you've been working your way through those! And considering that I picked up the GOLDEN AGE collection at the CPL recently, I wouldn't be surprised to see such a thing happen. ;-]