Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Youngblood (1986)

Yet another missed movie of the 80's for me to track down and screen, they're appearing more frequently of late.

"You can learn to punch in the barn, but you gotta learn to survive on the ice."

This is a fantastic movie and one which defines everything that I love about the 80's. The score is amazing, almost Tangerine Dream-esque in a lot of ways. The cast is sensational too, Rob Lowe takes the film of course but the inclusion of Swayze was a masterstroke, I just wish they'd have used Keanu a little more.
As an added extra, not only do you get to catch a glimpse of Rob lowe's butt, you also get to see the stunning Cynthia Gibb's rear of the year too, not to be missed.

I'd also like to add that I would very much like to have tea with Miss McGill, that woman is a fox.
There are the occasional ham acted moments too, especially all those involving Racki. it's no wonder that guy never appeared in another film, he was terrible. But like in all great movies, you can forgive and try to forget the ham as what you are witnessing is true 80's gold. I'll admit to having a huge grin on my Chevy throughout, especially when he starts training Rocky style.

This is definitely not one to be missed, an absolute cracker. This might just enter my top 50 movies of the 80's.

"The only thing better than a glass of beer, is tea with Miss McGill!"

Monday, 30 May 2011

Poor Pretty Eddie (1975)

"Look, I don't care if she shits Chaanel number 5, I want her out of here"

I don't think i've ever come across a movie with so many alternate titles or covers. This one is also known as Black Vengeance, Heartbreak Motel, The Girl in the Web, The Victim and Redneck County Rape as far as i'm aware.
This film really does grab you from the opening credits. It sets the tone with a chilling score and some intense dialogue. The dinner table scene is the first sign of madness, where you get a glimpse of these local hillbilly types who are trying to do everything they can to impress their new celebrity lodger. It's the reaction of Liz to each question which makes you a little uneasy. If it was me in that position i'd just smile, eat up the meal, drink the drink, laugh at all the jokes and then go to bed having been as polite as I possibly could. Sadly, Liz admits to not liking the music that Eddie was playing and also being quite sharp with her responses, a trait which is common with most celebrity types and this one appears to be no different.

I love movies that play the US national anthem, it's such a haunting theme to me on film and it really shouldn't be. I also loved the setting too, those creepy Texas Chainsaw/Deliverance woods are the creepiest.

There were a few minor gripes with this one but I don't want to spoil any of the plot if I can help it, so i'll leave one out. All I will say is this, I can understand the predicament but not the response.
My other gripe is the use of flashbacks and dream sequences, it's like I never know where I am with the film, you have to sort of catch up later. Luckily this only happens a few times, most notably when the action is hotting up like at the bar in town and also with the drunken guy who gives Liz a lift in his car.

"No, I would not like to suck on a Tomato, Sheriff."

The performances of everyone involved are pitch perfect, aside from my minor gripe from above. Shelley Winters puts in a phenomenal turn as a faded starlet Bertha, disillusioned and totally oblivious to the actions of Eddie. Another great performance comes from Ted Kennedy who plays Keno, a sort of caretaker for the bar and lodge but also a protector of Bertha. I loved him, my favourite character by a redneck country mile.

It's difficult not to think of the other movies from this genre, the likes of Deliverance, Straw Dogs, Wolf Lake and alike. This can stand among the very best examples. I loved it.
I'm also glad that we kept to the roads on our trip across the States last year because this sort of hick stuff scares the hell out of me.

"Did he bite you on the titties?" "Did he put his suck-box on ya?"

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

I hadn't seen this one in quite some time and I can remember not being that impressed by it all. It was showing on TV last night so I thought why not give it another shot.

Although i'm not blown away by the film, it was much better on a second viewing. Fincher is a masterful director and if I ever come across another one of his films that I slightly dislike i'm at least going to give him the courtesy of a rewatch, just to make sure. That means a screening of The Game will be arranged real soon.

The story is fantastic and one that you can really get behind, my only problem is that it's a little bit slow and overlong, but then again considering the story it kind of has to be, I guess.

A really good if not great film for me. There are much better films in Fincher's back catalogue to see first but this one should never be overlooked, it's a spectacle.

Honey (2003)

I never thoiught i'd live to see the day wehre i'd screen Honey. I remember seeing the poster in my local cinema and trying to avoid all contact with it. I had no idea it was Jessica Alba playing the lead role, it doesn't even look like her in the poster. Odd.

Well, I have now seen it and it's a bit of a guilty pleasure to be honest. Think Breakin'/Breakdance 2/Flashdance/Save the Last Dance etc. It's a mash-up of all those films and a little bit more.
The dialogue is absolutely terrible and the acting isn't too far behind, the plot is so cheese-tastic it's untrue. The only real thing it has going for it is the hot looking Alba, other than that it's pretty much a 12 year old's fantasy of a film.
Sadly, I found it quite enjoyable for all of the reasons above, revelling in the cheesiness of it all.

Bring on the Step Up franchise next, i'm ready for it.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Dead End Drive-In (1986)

My second film experience from the mind of Brian Trenchard-Smith, the first being BMX Bandits.

The soundtrack to this one is pretty fantastic, I was not expecting that at all. The acting is good too, and about what you would expect from BTS picture. It also features some genuinely great scenes, most notably the one where two guys battle to the death with cricket bats around a tatty old car.

Basic outline taken from a great review on imdb:
After the world's economy collapsed, Australia was turned into a wasteland where the unemployed youth uses the street as a battlefield and the law is forgotten. To fight this, the Government uses a Drive-In to lock them and keep them controlled using fast food and movies. A young man named Crabs (Ned Manning) is trapped in this way, but instead of becoming a conformist member of the nihilistic youth, he decides to fight back and escape no matter the cost.

I enjoyed it but so far BMX Bandits retains that much coveted top spot. Only another 50 movies yet to screen of his.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

After Hours (1985)

I hadn't seen this movie for about 10 years so I figured it was long overdue for a revisit. That and the fact that I had screened The Night Before a few days earlier, it certainly got me wantinh to see this again

Scorsese is known as a master of many genres but not many people associate him with comedy, and it's just a shame that he never ventured back into the dark side of comedy becuase this one is a real classic. It's hilarious, has an unbelivable amount of grade A cameos and features a magnificent central performance from Griffin Dunne. I think we've all had one of those memorable nights when you harmlessly go into town looking for a good night out but everyhting seems to go wrong, except this is the worst night ever imaginable.

A classic black comedy of the highest order.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Chopping Mall (1986)

I'm a little bit obsessed with movies set in malls. One of my favourite movies is One Wild Night aka Career Opportunities which is about a couple that get locked in a mall after hours. Mannequin is another one.

What I find hilarious about this one is the fact that for years i'd look at that cover art and think about what the robots looked like that patrolled the mall. They look like the hands that belong to a 7 foot Rollerball type robot, but instead they're from Johnny 5 and he's a little more than alive. I have some major issues with the killers but you need to look past that obstacle if you're going to enjoy the film.

The score is amazing, more than matches the tone of the film it at sometimes carries it.
I don't wish to give away any spoilers here but this one features one of the greatest deaths ever committed to film, that head explosion took my breath. I mean bravo, sir. Bravo.
The deaths aren't that bad in general to be honest. I mean you're looking at a 4 foot tall Short Circuit style robot, but they have these litter pickers for arms and shoot lasers.

A really cool 80's horror movie and possibly one of my favourites. The action is pretty much there for the whole running time, it just jumps right in with the killer robots from the get-go.

Making the Grade (1984)

"Oh boy, you is gonna score tonight."

Delving back into my missed movies of the 80's list and I pull out yet another rabbit from the hat.

The soundtrack to this movie is unreal, from the moment go you just wanna get up and dance like Molly Ringwald at the top of the stairs in The Breakfast Club. The best example of such moves is when Dice goes to the college and forms a little gathering of sorts, my head was definitely bopping at that point.
Plus, if you're not with this movie by the time Judd makes his entrance through the halls, turn off. This one is not for you.

Judd Nelson is brilliant and I even loved the real Palmer (Dana Olsen). He was pretty damn funny in the opening moments of the film but did get very tedious towards the latter stages, a few jokes too far and definitely a little over the top. But let's not forget that we're looking at the same director as Teen Witch here.
Apart from Dice who is my favourite character of them all, the coach deserves some singleing out here as he is just hilarious. He's like Local Hero, he runs everything.

This is a monumentally fantastic college movie and deserves to stand amongst the very best. I was, and please don't shoot me, never a huge fan of Animal House. I much preferred this one, but i'll definitely revisit it before I talk about that publicly. It's just great fun with great characters and a kick-ass soundtrack to boot.

Do not miss this movie like I did.

The Night Before (1988)

"Stay away from ginger ale and tequila. It's a bitch!"

Last year I spent some time visiting 80's movies that for some reason had passed me by. We're talking My Bodyguard, Three O'Clock High, Valley Girl, Summer School, Just One of the Guys, The Wraith and many many more classics. Don't get me wrong, I had to also sit and watch some of the worst movies too but thankfully this one can join the elite.

I loved this movie from beginning to end. It opens up with Keanu Reeves' character having just awoken on the streets, with no memory of the night gone by. As the hours go by his memory starts to come back to him bit by bit, and so we are introduced the gorgeous Lori Loughlin. She's a high school cheerlaeader and prom queen contender who was dared into going on a date with Winston (Reeves). It's hard to take Keanu seriously as a high school geek as he's a very good looking guy but that was a minor issue with an otherwise flawless 80's romp.
I loved the general seediness of it all. Pimps, brothels, tramps, hookers, carjackers you name it, they're all here. The soundtrack is pretty good too, it's not littered with 80's gold but a few tracks are repeated and they fit the film really well. It's from the same director as Night of the Comet too, which is good to know.

Think Ferris Bueller's Day Off meets After Hours, or something like that anyway. It's amazing!

Making Contact (1985)

I was looking for something light hearted to screen, something along the lines of E.T. What I wasn't planning on was being scared shitless by a demented dummy.

First off, don't let me fool you, this is an E.T. rip-off. They even draft in a kid (first and only timer) who looks like the spitting image of Henry Thomas. Then you can see him in one scene drinking some milk from an E.T. glass. The problem with this one though is that it's a million miles from Spielberg's effort.
After Joey's father dies the child receives strange phone calls on his toy phone, which he believes are coming from his dead father. He then finds a creepy old dummy in a basement and soon discovers that the calls aren't from his dad, they're from something much worse. The dummy is one seriously scary character, his voice so menacing. I was not prepared for the tone of his voice.

The one thing that saves this film for me are the kids from school who are hellbent on finding out what Joey is up to. These are all in the latter stages of the film, and maybe if it had have stuck to this from the start it could have been a better film. Because it spends a large chunk of the running time with the teacher and his mom, it's quite boring to be honest. The best scenes are definitely with the kids, Joey finally makes some friends.

Decent early morning fodder but if you want to see an Emmerich film which includes a dummy and is good, check out Ghost Chase aka Hollywood-Monster. That one is really fun.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Striking Back (1985)

This one has been near the top of my to-watch-pile for a very long time, tonight I finally decided to dust off the old VHS tape and give it a spin. I've heard so many great tings about it.

First of all, I was not expecting to see Tom Atkins in this. Very, very pleased with that.
This one was tailor made for James Spader, he is absolutely fucking terrifying as the hick with a grudge. His hair is gorgeous too. From the moment he tries it on with Lori 'lovely legs' Loughlin and gets knocked back, you just know how his character is going to be the centre of this movie. Well, between him and his fucked up brothers that is. They're all insane. The whole feel of the film takes you back to school, you feel intimidated immediately.

Shannon (that's right) Presby is also a bad-ass but meets his match with the Spader. I had a major issue with his tight white jeans and miniature running shorts though, do we really need to see his package in every frame? Too much Shannon, too much. I can't believe the Stoltz bags Loughlin, he's barely in the film.

The fun fair is a great element too, it provides a fantastic background for a scrap. And when Loughlin and Presby have taken all they can from the bullies, it turns into one great revenge flick battleground.

A brilliant 80's revenge movie that has it all, you won't regret hunting this little gem down.

The Next Three Days (2011)

I'd heard mixed things about this one so I went into it with pretty mild expectations. What I didn't count on though, was the running time. If I had realised that this one was on for over 2 hours I might have changed my mind and watched something else.

It's a real slow burner, that's for sure. I can't say that I wasn't gripped to a certain extent though, i'll give it that. I was genuinely interested in the finale and how it was all going to pan out. Crowe is pretty great in it but I just can't take Elizabeth Banks serious enough in this sort of role. Maybe it's because i'm just so used to seeing her play the comedic role that I can't quite make the transition.

It is a genuinely interesting plot, even if the actual crime is a bit lame and half assed. It would appear that director was more interested in the latter stages of the film because it feels a bit weak and rushed (at 2 hours long) too.

Overall not a bad little thriller if unspectacular at times. I can't see me ever revisiting it though.

Ghost Chase aka Hollywood-Monster (1987)

I can only remember snippets of this movie from when I was a kid so i'm treating this one like a new screening and not a rewatch.

What an amazing movie! This film literally has everything. A hot girl, two cool kids who love movies, ghosts and a great bad guy. It's made even better by the theme track 'Imagination' by Belouis Some, that immediately takes you into the 80's.

It's hard to believe that this film is made by the same hands that brought us The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. He really did have to be creative before moving on to major blockbusters and throwing the studios money away on CG effects.

The kids at the centre of this movie really do make it and the ghost butler is fantastic too. I had a really fun time with this one and can't wait to screen Emmerich's next effort Making Contact real soon. Great 80's fun!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Burlesque (2010)

Now i'm all up for being surprised by a movie, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would end up 'liking' this one. It's nothing spectacular but it certainly entertains.

Don't get me wrong I was cringing at some of the routines, and add to that the fact that it's cliched to hell. But I had a fun time with it and it starred the great Stanley Tucci who always raises a smile. He's practically his Devil Wears Prada character here and it works yet again. Aguilera is alright in the lead role and Cher does what Cher does best. It's quite long at just under two hours but the time really does pass quite quickly and I was on board too which always helps.

It's the new Coyote Ugly for the 21st century. That's another all singing all dancing sick fest that I seem to keep revisiting every few years. So why was I that surprised by this one? I have no idea.

Waiting For Superman (2010)

I don't have kids but I am in that unusual place where i'm entertaining the thought of them, but this documentary really moved me. So much so that I was reduced to tears by the final moments.
The weird part is that you invest so much into each child emotionally, that you almost forget about all of the other disappointed parents and children in the room. It really does break your heart knowing that there are so many kids out there who want to learn new things and further there education but get held back and thrown away by the system. Kids who have dreams of becoming Nurses, Lawyers, Teachers and alike, will most probably end up working in (not to over exaggerate here) fast food restaurants or waiting tables. Not that there is anything against those jobs it's just the fact that they never get the chance to make something of themselves, it's all down to a lottery. The random drawing of names. How can it be possible to live in a society where your future is left to chance? Just because your parents cannot afford to send you to a public school. It's heartbreaking stuff.

Brutal but neccessarily so, this is a must see for everyone.

The Green Hornet (2011)

I missed this one when it was released in the cinema as I do with many that come out to bad reviews. Sometimes films are better when you wait for the heat to calm down and you can just view the DVD. This one wasn't as bad as I expected it to be though, quite surprising.
My only problem with it was the fact that I hardly laughed, and for a film of this kind it really needs to be quite comic-al. < See what I did there?

On a side note, how ugly is Cameron Diaz getting? She states in the film that she's only 36 but the creases on her forehead suggest otherwise. That womans 'looks' are deteriorating at a seriously high speed.
I loved the character of Kato, he was a huge plus point and Seth Rogen does what Seth Rogen does best I guess. The casting of Christopher Waltz was wrong. As great as he is he shouldn't be doing this kind of work, it does not suit him at all.

Overall this is a fun watch but don't go in expecting too many laughs. I'm sad to see a director of such work like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Science of Sleep reduced to these types of crowd pleasing films. I'm sure he'll bounce back though.

Gulliver's Travels (2010)

Wow! I heard bad things when this film was first released so I avoided it like the plague, but then as time went on the comments got better and better. Firstly, this is just about not as bas as Year One, but it's not too far from it. For a film essentially labelled as a light hearted comedy, I never smiled, smirked or even altered my facial expression. I found it boring and very childish, and coming from someone who had earlier screened Care Bears the Movie, you can imagine how awful I found it.

Jack Black was funny when he first burst on to the scene, but i've found him quite tiresome ever since. School of Rock has gained something of a cult status among many but i'm not a lover of that one either, despite my love for Linklater.

The British cast was cringeworthy and how they got Emily Blunt on board astounds me to the point of no return. I hope she'll think twice before rushing into such a rash decision.

This film gains it's one star on the basis that I didn't turn it off. This was largely down to the fact that I love films based around small people. Films like Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Toy Story, The Indian in the Cupboard, Small Soldiers, The Borrowers etc. Other than that, AVOID!!!

Judgment Night (1993)

A personal top 20 movie of all time for me. I have seen it more than a hundred times and I never tire of it.

A few years had passed before my last screening and just as I was heading off to bed, it comes on BBC1. What was I going to do? It would be a crime to miss it.
It's like The Warriors for the 90's. You've got 4 guys who have to bop their way back home from the middle of nowheresville against some of the meanest American gangsters. Cuba Gooding even sports a brown leather jacket and Stephen Dorff has the exact same pair of black gloves that Ajax has, and he's the rogue one of the group.
Some of the scenes are really tense, the classic one that always sticks in my mind is where they all hide in the carriage of a train on a deserted track. The carriage is full of tramps and in order to pay for their silence, the group have to give away all of their valuables. It's one of those where you dare'st move yourself at home, in fear of Leary finding you. Then of course you have the roof scene with Piven tring to negotiate with the gangsters who are after them.
I can literally quote 80% of the script and do most days. The soundtrack is incredible too, rarely bettered.

For me it's one of the most star studded, underated movies ever released. Did it even get a cinema release? If you haven't seen it, correct that right now.

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Imp (1988)

Chosen by the good people of Twitter from a bunch of 6 contenders, this little stunner packs a punch.

Not only can this film boast one of the greatest VHS cover arts ever committed to paper, this also has one of the most kick-ass opening tracks too in 'Here in the darkness'. The whole soundtrack is pretty incredible to be honest, it just never lets up.

In the States this film was known as Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, thankfully they shortened it for the UK release on Colorbox, a pretty obscure Video label.
The voice of the Imp is played by Michael Sonye, for anyone that doesn't know that's the writer of Blood Diner. Weird, huh?

There are many flaws with this film as it's pretty much a glorified Troma movie, best described as a mash-up of Ghoulies, Night of the Comet and Nightmare Sisters. Linnea Quigly, of course steals every scene as the Punk rocker, money stealing Spider. She looks hotter than ever in this film and that's saying something because there are breasts-a-plenty on show from the moment go. Within the first 10 minutes you're witnessing spanking, spray cream, naked breasts and hot steamy showers.

The plot:
Three frat boys sneak into the Tri-Delt sorority to witness the initiation of new pledges and are caught. The pledges must go to the local bowling lane and steal a trophy, aided by the unwanted frat boys. An accident causes the trophy to break, releasing an evil imp who then begins wreaking havoc with the teens, who begin suffering an attrition problem.

It's a truly bizarre little film but I can't deny that I had a great time with it. For a fun night in with some friends and alcohol (it helps), this is one you could easily rewatch over and over.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Attack the Block (2011)

The pre-buzz for this film had me thinking back to the days before Shaun of the Dead, not just because it was Produced by Edgar Wright, but because it had the same feel to it. Joe Cornish is somebody I have loved and respected for many years, most notably for the Adam and Joe show that used to grace our screens.

Personally speaking (which is the whole point of this blog) this movie delivered on every level. It's never going to be an Oscar contender or be considered for the top 250 list on imdb, but it deliveres in terms of a directors first effort, a wonderful snippet of the talent still to come from one Joe Cornish.
It was funny in parts without trying too hard, gruesome, gritty and well thought out. Yes, I did think that the so-called gang language was a bit over exaggerated at times but that was probably intentional. My only fears for the film was that it was going to go down the route of something like Eden Lake or F with it's typical image of hoodies and gang culture. For once it actually blended aspects of those films with a little bit of Edgar Wright's humour and movie references.

I really did have a fun time with it and that's coming from someone who sat through the entire film with a large group of loud talking teens and giggling girls, a minor blemish on an otherwise fun film for me.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Dilemma (2011)

Well this one hit me by total surprise. I flew out to Turkey last week and this movie was the outbound special. At first I sighed but after realising that reading a book was not an option due to the engine noise, I decided to plug the headphones in and give it a go.

Now, Kevin James has done nothing but dross ever since I found him sort of likeable in Hitch. After that I have avoided almost all of his work, and it seems to have been the right choice. Vince Vaughn has hardly covered himself in glory either with his choices so it didn't start well. But this turned out to be a decent little flick in all.
Maybe it was because I didn't need to invest much time and effort into it due to being stuck on a plane and having no other alternatives but it genuinely entertained me throughout. Yes the story is cliched to hell and pretty pointless from a plot point of view but throw in a wonderful Channing Tatum performance and two half decently amusing leads and it was a winner. Not an Oscar winner by any stretch but pleaser.

Don't expect miracles, in fact, go into it with the lowest of expectations and it just might pay off like it did for me.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Tomboy (1985)

Pulled straight from my VHS collection, this one jumped right out at me.

The opening 5 minutes of this film features more than 12 high fives, that must be some sort of record. Then you have a meaningless but pretty awesome dance montage, the kind of routine which would make Heavenly Bodies and Aerobicide blush. I know I had to calm myself down after it.

It could also be the first film to show a greeting in which a man sucks a woman's finger instead of the more universally spoken symbol of hello. That whole scene was bizarre.

The acting is abysmal for the most part with Eric Douglas putting in a terrible performance as Ernie Leeds Jr. I wanted to punch ten tons of shit out of his face, and talking about face punching there's a scene in the middle part of the film where Randy flattens Tommy with a rabbit punch. You won't expect it but you'll find it hard not to laugh.

The scenes in this movie are so pointless. The most ridiculous of them all is when Tommy sees the desperate Harold at the bar and invites him back to hers. She drives him there on the back of her bike, walks into the house and then says, "You better go Harold. Another time maybe." What was the fucking point in that? Arrggghhh, so annoying.

I haven't seen another film with this much cheese in it and doubt that I ever will. It's not annoying fun for the most part but there is a certain charm to it, I guess. And it's that charm which shines through and a good job too because it saves this from being a total piece of dogshit. The soundtrack is it's only real saving grace though.

A real cheese-fest with some terrible acting. Don't say you weren't warned first.