Thursday, March 30, 2017

Fool's Views (1/1 - 2/28)

My name is Inigo Drago. You killed my brother. Prepare to die.

Howdy, folks.

Wow, what the hell happened, AC?

So, here’s the story: In late December, I started rehearsals for a new play (an adaptation of Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood) with First Folio Theatre, my first time on the boards since embarking on my newfound career as a personal trainer in late 2015. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to run around in fancy duds, playing a scurrilous plantation owner with a penchant for flogging in the first act and then buckling the swash as an underdressed pirate in the second.

Putting the AC in bACkstabbing since 1685

However, the trade-off for having a full-time job as a trainer means that a show is suddenly (gasp!) a second job. Now, I’m not complaining – I know that plenty of my colleagues do the day-job thing and work their asses off doing play after play and it’s just a way of life for them. I’m just saying that I hadn’t done it myself in quite a while and it was a bit of a shock to the system, especially when my day started at 4:30am and often didn’t end until midnight. It’s a good thing I was having a good time doing burning both candle ends, or I’m not sure I would have made it through.

Additionally, there was the trauma that our new U.S. government presented on a daily basis. I mean, WHUH THUH FUH PEOPLE. I don’t need to go into it all over again here, but suffice to say that I found it difficult to tear myself away from the computer screen to watch imaginary horror and conflict what with all the real-life chicanery and bloody outrage going on. The silver lining is that, in response, I and a lot of my friends have been finding ways to push back, protest, be the change we want to see in the world, etc. and the pendulum will eventually swing back the other way. However long that takes.

As a result of all of the above, I only knocked out a measly eight films in January and February COMBINED, not a one of them categorically a horror flick, which has got to be some kind of record in my adult viewing lifetime. However, now that Captain Blood has sailed into the sunset and hysteria has coalesced into a battle plan, I’ve been able to lay eyes on a few more flickers and my fingers to a few more keystrokes. So, while the cinematic fever may not blaze as brightly, it’s still simmering under the surface and faithful readers will note a decided uptick in the months to come. (For those who missed the announcement a couple weeks back, I will be returning to the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in early April to serve on the 7th Orbit jury. Life never fails to amaze.)

But let us not get ahead of ourselves; on to the matter at hand. Below are the anemic results of the first two months of 2017 – may we never experience such a heinous drought again.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Nope, wasn’t kiddin'. Better luck next month, though. I promise.


Enchanted (2007) d. Lima, Kevin (USA) (1st viewing)

Amy Adams stars as the princess of a Disney-like animated movie who gets catapulted into the corporeal world (of Manhattan, no less) by evil witch Susan Sarandon. Her guileless naiveté and bodacious bod prove equal parts charming, baffling, and annoying to uptight executive and single dad Patrick Dempsey. Unabashedly romantic and goofy, with James Marsden’s heroic hot-headed prince and Timothy Spall’s weaselly manservant providing excellent support.

Gone (2012) d. Dhalia, Heitor (USA) (1st viewing)

Years after escaping from her captor, kidnap victim Amanda Seyfried’s deepest fears come to pass when her sister is abducted in similar fashion. The cops find it hard to believe (especially since they don’t even believe that she was originally kidnapped herself), so it’s up to our plucky heroine to track the guy down on her own. Seyfried is undeniably attractive and appealing, and we’re clearly meant to side with her character, but she’s such a basket case of lies and paranoia that we keep waiting for the "unreliable narrator" alarm to go off. I won’t spoil the party by confirming whether said wait is requited, but it’s all we’re thinking the whole time.

Ice Station Zebra (1968) d. Sturges, John (USA) (1st viewing)

Rugged and well-crafted adventure yarn about an espionage satellite landing at the North Pole and the race betwixt the Russians and the Americans to retrieve it first. Rock Hudson is the no-nonsense sub captain tasked with the assignment of carrying mystery man Patrick McGoohan and his equally mysterious Russian double agent Ernest Borgnine to the top of the world. And because we don’t have enough machismo on board, Jim Brown is tossed into the mix as well.

Jason Bourne (2016) d. Greengrass, Paul (USA) (1st viewing)

Apparently, after you’ve come back from being turned into an amnesiac killing machine and annihilating everyone who ever did you wrong, the only way to earn a living is to compete in underground boxing matches. (Am I the only one who immediately thought of Rambo III?) Anyway, Matt Damon’s eponymous badass is back in action, recruited by gal pal Julia Stiles to take down government baddie Tommy Lee Jones and hired killer Vincent Cassel. Solid action sequences, but the plot (unchecked cell phone and computer browsing surveillance) isn’t really as deep as Greengrass would like us to believe.

Nighthawks (1981) d. Malmuth, Bruce (USA) (3rd viewing)

Sylvester Stallone grows out his Serpico beard to deal with rogue terrorist Rutger Hauer (in a smashing Hollywood debut), chasing each other all over the Big Apple. Sly and Billy Dee Williams seem determined to out-hokey one another with their hysterical line readings, while former bionic woman Lindsey Wagner is wasted as Stallone’s estranged wife. I remember first finding out about Nighthawks in the 1984 horror documentary Terror in the Aisles, back when having a ruthless killer in your flick was apparently all you needed to qualify (see also Vice Squad). Available now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory with tons of fun extras including interviews with Wagner, producer Herb Nanas, police consultant Randy Jurgensen and DP James A. Contner.


Arrival (2016) d. Villeneuve, Denis (USA) (1st viewing)

Liked it, didn’t love it.

La La Land (2016) d. Chazelle, Damien (USA) (1st viewing)

Liked it, didn’t love it.

Moonlight (2016) d. Jenkins, Barry (USA) (1st viewing)

Liked it, didn’t love it.

2017 Totals to date: 8 films, 8 1st time views, 0 horror, 0 cinema


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