Thursday, June 30, 2011
What happens when you take an amazing director with a fantastic cast and a solid sci-fi plot...apparently not enough to excite people to watch it in theaters. What happened to Danny Boyle's ("Trainspotting"/"28 Days Later", "127 Hours", "Slumdog Millionaire") "Sunshine"? Using a particle physicist and professor at the University of Manchester as an advisor who also is a member of the team on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN in Geneva, Switzerland helps make this one of the smartest films around (Dr. Brian Cox).
This is also the first movie that made me think Chris Evans rocks as an actor. Before this it was just his role in "Fantastic Four" (which I didn't like) and the abominable "Cellular" that I had to judge him on. Since, I really enjoyed him in "Push" and though he technically beat me out for the role (by a long shot I'm sure), he'll be great as Captain America (the bastard). Cliff Curtis (Uncle Bully from "ONCE WERE WARRIORS" deserves a special mention as well. He was remarkable as Searle and needs more parts with substance like this one. Mark Strong, who I first noticed in "RockNRolla", but many will recognize from "Sherlock Holmes", "The Green Lantern" (as Sinestro), "Stardust", "Kick-Ass" and Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood", plays a stunningly psychotic villain. Cillian Murphy is the lead in this one and he's always a joy to watch. A favorite of Boyle (working on "28 Days Later" as well as "Sunshine") and Chris Nolan (both Batman films AND "Inception"), he's definitely hanging with the right people.
If you haven't seen it, this film is an eerily scary tale about a team of scientists on a mission to reignite the sun. I'm terrified of stuff we have no control over, like car accidents and the like, and the sun burning out or exploding definitely ranks up there. The crew is pushed to its limits and encounters unexpected events that complicate the mission, adding a horror element and some philosophically brilliant elements. One of Boyle's best and deserves more credit as a great film!
SUNSHINE ON IMDB
Awhile back I gave Emilio Estevez props for his work on "WISDOM" and made a crack at Charlie Sheen. Well, I'm here to give the man his due with praise for his biker/cop classic, "Beyond the Law".
Based on a true story (the actual Dan Saxon worked on the film) about an undercover cop who infiltrates the inner circle of a criminal motorcycle gang, this film is an awesome predecessor to "Sons of Anarchy" and an interesting sister flick to Brian Bosworth and Lance Heneriksen's "Stone Cold", which came out around the same time, but is much more campy and over the top.
Sheen plays a convincing role as a guy in over his head (probably drew from some life experience) and trying to do the right thing. His love interest is played by the lovely Linda Fiorentino ("Men in Black") and the leader of the biker gang is played by always charismatic and cool, Michael Madsen (who even managed to play a cool character in the abominable biker flick "Hell Ride"). I'm surprised this is the first time Mr. Madsen has made it into the blog. I'm sure he'll be back.
Also interesting to note is that Rip Torn makes an appearance in this film and he would work with Fiorentino again 5 years later on MIB. The film is directed and penned by Larry Furgeson who gave us the script for Russel Mulcahy's "Highlander" (the original good one) and also wrote the somewhat disappointing non-Hicks "Alien 3". Good film, but no Hicks? What the heck?
Overall, this is a great story (probably because a lot of it is true) with good performances by Sheen and company. Definitely should check it out if you haven't seen it.
Definitely WINNING for Charlie here!
BEYOND THE LAW ON IMDB
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Bill Paxton is my hero. I love his characters, his delivery, his style and if my acting career can be as cool as his, I will have considered myself a great success. From Aliens, to Predator 2, to Brain Dead, to Terminator and Navy SEALS, he is my favorite actor hands down. This is one of his finest films.
Starring as a small town Arkansas cop who has a chance to partner with LA police to take down some real badguys in the form of Billy Bob Thornton and Michael Beach (you might remember him from Sons of Anarchy as Cross or Stargate Atlantis as Colonel Ellis). Things are going fine until a dark piece of Paxton's past is discovered with the thugs attractive female compatriot played by Cynda Williams.
Paxton is wonderful and we already talke about him a bit in "FRAILTY". Also a Fort Worth native!\
Monday, June 27, 2011
So, it was Doctor Novotny in the form of Max Von Sydow who first pioneered the dream program that would become "Inception"? Interesting, but not exact parallels between the films could very easily make both take place in the same universe. Von Sydow is a film great primarily remembered for his role in "The Exorcist", but you may remember him from previously mentioned "INTACTO", where he plays the world's luckiest man.
In this film, Dr. Novotny has designed a way for psychic talents to go into other people's dreams, primarily for the purpose of helping them overcome issues. One such talent is our story's hero Dennis Quaid ("PANDORUM" and I did a movie with him in "GI JOE", though we were never on set together). He's a young brash psychic with a talent for getting into trouble. Another psychic talent is David Patrick Kelly. Now Kelly's name might not ring any immediate bells so let me help you.
He played the main badguy in the 1979 film "The Warriors" and had the infamous line "Hey Warriors, come out an PLAY!". Schwarzenegger also promised to kill him last as Sully in "Commando". He had it out for Bruce Willis as leader of the Irish gang in "Last Man Standing". He also did real bad by Brandon Lee as T-Bird in the masterpiece, "The Crow". Truly an amazing character actor and has been in so many of my favorite films.
As you can imagine, the government finds a way to turn the project sinister and Dennis Quaid ends up trying to thwart the evil mastermind behind it, played by Christopher Plummer. Rounding out the cast is the lovely Kate Capshaw, wife of Stephen Speilberg, female lead in "Temple of Doom" and Fort Worth native (also went to college in my native state of Missouri). George Wendt makes an appearance and Animaniacs fans will be saddened to know he was not eating beans.
Character actor Peter Jason was in this film as well as previously mentioned "THEY LIVE" and "IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS".
Some have drawn similarities between this film and "Nightmare on Elm Street" claiming that certain elements of the latter were stolen from "Dreamscape", however both films were released too close together for this to have been true. Also of note, the cover of the DVD/Blu Ray release, much like "WIDE AWAKE" completely misrepresents the film as an Indiana Jones type adventure film.
DREAMSCAPE ON IMDB
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Acclaimed writer/director, Michael Mann delivers a cool ride in one of his earlier films here. A cast of wonderful players like Scott Glenn, Alberta Watson (of previously mentioned "THE LOOKOUT", Jurgen Prochnow (Sutter Cain from "IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS" and featured in the yet to be named 100th film of the blog), Gabriel Byrne and Sir Ian McKellan. Made in 1983, it's fun to see some of these talents with almost 30 years shaved off of them!
Based on the book by F. Paul Wilson, Mann's film was originally 3.5 hours long. It's amazing that the studio was able to cut it down to 96 minutes and maintain any type of coherency, but they did. I would LOVE to see the director's cut of the film with the additional 2 hours. A cult classic with a bearable synth soundtrack by Tangerine Dream and some great old school effects. The entity Molasar is nearly as creepy as Darkness from "Legend". Coincidentally, Michael Carter, who portrays the big baddy was also in "CENTURION" and during the same year "The Keep" was made, was also Bib Fortuna in "Return of the Jedi"!
Basically Nazis occupy an old keep in the Carpathian mountains in Romania in 1941. When they mess with stuff they were told not to, bad things happen(a la Indiana Jones). Prochnow and Byrne are left to pick up the pieces and in response pull in a Jewish professor and his daughter (McKellan and Watson) to figure out what's going on. An evil semi-vampire in the form of Molasar is discovered to be behind the murder of the Nazis and Scott Glen shows up as a mystical entity to thicken the plot.
Again, it's a pretty solid and fun film, but would be AMAZING with the additional 2 hours! Time to track down the book.
On a final note, I mentioned the other day that in "LIFEFORCE" there's a prophetic scene with Patrick Stewart in a wheel chair regarding his future role as Professor X. In "The Keep", there is a scene with McKellan sitting in a concentration camp that was equally interesting.
THE KEEP ON IMDB
Saturday, June 25, 2011
In memory of Peter Falk, I checked this one out and haven't laughed like that in awhile. They just don't do comedy like this anymore. A constant stream of wit and absolute absurdity dealt by some of the best actors ever to grace the screen.
The film is about an eccentric madman in the form of legendary novelist Truman Capote who seeks out the world's five greatest detectives for a deadly game of intrigue. Peter Falk's, Sam Diamond, was hysterical. Typically fantastic Peter Sellers as detective Wang was joined by Pink Panther co-star David Niven as Dick Charleston with his wife Dora, played by Maggie Smith (of the Harry Potter films and the original "Clash of the Titans"). Watching James Coco at work as Belgian detective Milo Perrier, you could almost see the source of all Nathan Lane's comedy. Finally, Elsa Lanchester, who played the bride of Frankenstein in the 1935 classic) plays British super sleuth Jessica Marbles.
Supporting the cast of detectives are Alec Guinness (yes...Obi-Wan) as blind/crazy butler, Jamesir Bensonmum. James Cromwell (almost unrecognizable in his younger days) as Perrier's Belgian chauffer Marcel long before his days on "LA Confidential", "Babe", and being Jack Bauer's dad.
A script of comedic genius from Neil Simon (as if one would expect anything else). This film was amazingly funny. Sad to see that most of the cast has passed on, but I'm sure Falk has joined Guinness, Sellers, Coco, Niven and Lanchester on that great stage in the sky.
MURDER BY DEATH ON IMDB
Friday, June 24, 2011
Tobe Hooper's (legendary director of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre")follow-up to "Poltergeist" is one of the few vampire movies ever done right. Most are destroyed by crappy story, insufficient endings or loopy cures for the "disease". Having Dan O'Bannon (the man who gave us the scripts for "Alien" and "Total Recall" and wrote/directed "Return of the Living Dead") behind the writer's desk probably helped in this case. In "Lifeforce", the vampire entity is discovered in space and she's hot. Starring Mathilda May, regarded as one of the sexiest women in cinema, as the succubus vampire, the film also features Steve Railsback ("Ed Gein", "Helter Skelter", "The X-Files"), Peter Firth and an appearance by Patrick Stewart.
Interesting to note that there is a scene with Stewart slumped in a wheelchair which is somewhat premeniscient of his role as Charles Xavier...and he also kind of kisses a dude which may be exciting for a select group of Trekkies.
All in all, the film is very well done and certainly kicks the crap out of most other vampire films. One of my goals is to eventually do an awesome vampire movie. I can't understand why so many seem to mess it up.
LIFEFORCE ON IMDB
Thursday, June 23, 2011
When it comes to blaxploitation comedy, there is some great stuff out there. Right up there with previously mentioned "BLACK DYNAMITE" is the wonderfully whacky "The Last Dragon". In fact, I think Dynamite and Bruce Leroy would team up to thwart the power of Sho'nuff, the Shogun of Harlem, who remains one of the coolest villains ever. A link between the two films is classic character actor, Mike Starr, who plays Rock in "The Last Dragon" and Rafelli in "Black Dynamite". Starr has also been in about every movie with gangsters in it for the past 20 years.
Filled with kung fu badassery and epic cheese, this film is a must see if you haven't already caught it. Maybe you too will find the Glow and become a true Master! As much as I hate remakes, news that Samuel L. Jackson may play the role of Sho'Nuff in the remake has me a bit excited.
THE LAST DRAGON ON IMDB
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Also known as "They Call Me Trinity", this film is a comical take on the western in the same vein as "The Three Amigos" and "Blazing Saddles". You can actually see where both films borrow from "Trinity". Starring Terence Hill as Trinity, a lazy vagabond who also happens to be so good with a pistol he seems to have walked out of an anime episode. When he runs into his horse thief brother and quintessential brute, Bambino, played by Bud Spencer, the fun begins.
The two join forces to thwart a horse barren and a Mexican outlaw to protect a group of Mormon settlers on the high plains. Fight scenes that rival the keystone cops. Comic timing and dialogue that will leave you chuckling and all without losing the essence of the Western. Hats off to Italian director, Enzo Barboni, for creating one of the best westerns I've seen.
MY NAME IS TRINITY ON IMDB
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I love a good Fred Ward movie. Besides having a cool first name, he's just a fun actor to watch. His quirky, loveable detective in this film is one of his best roles. Alec Baldwin also really pushes himself in this one as dangerously crazy compulsive criminal Fred Ferenger "Junior". Lot's of Freds in this movie. Round out the cast with the beautiful (and for those who are interested, often nude) Jennifer Jason Leigh, in an early role. Her character, prostitute Susie Waggoner, who is hooking to put herself through business school, is so naive and sweet you just want to hug her.
Directed by hit and miss director George Armitage, this one is definitely one of his hits. He directed my favorite film of all time with "Grosse Pointe Blank" and left me hanging on "The Big Bounce" and wondering what the heck happened with "Vigilante Force" where Jan Michael Vincent performed with the emotional depth of a cardboard standee.
Like "Grosse Pointe Blank" this film also features a Saturday Night Live vet in the form of Nora Dunn and I just realized that a friend of mine's mom was the stewardess in the film.
The film is basically about Junior's inability to deal with life outside of crime which spawns a dark, dark comedy about his influence on the lives of Waggoner and Ward's character, Sgt Moseley. It's funny. It's disturbing. It's very awkward, but in a fun way. Also, it's Alec Baldwin when he was young and thin and quite the lady's man.
Check it out.
MIAMI BLUES ON IMDB
Monday, June 20, 2011
Rarely do I watch a film on a whim and consider it a 5 star movie. This is one of the best films I have ever seen. Directed by Masaki Kobayashi and starring the legendary Toshiro Mifune, "Samurai Rebellion" is the story of a samurai family struggling between a code of honor and a horrible injustice from their lord. Do they suffer the injustice quietly as demanded or risk everything and take a stand?
Amazingly, this is a samurai movie with no sword fight until 3/4 of the way through the film. By that time, it is the most righteous dispensation of vengeance captured on screen. Mifune plays the head of the samurai family and another notable performance comes from his best friend in the film, Tatewaki, played by Tatsuya Nakadai. Tatewaki is a fellow samurai and the only rival for Mifune's Isaburo at swordplay. He embodies the samurai way and displays love for his friend and honor in the most amazing of ways.
This is truly a wonderful film and a must see for EVERYONE! Heart-wrenching, informative, moving and solidly written, directed, acted and the cinematography by Kazuo Yamada is breathtaking. I would put him head to head with anyone in the business today.
SAMURAI REBELLION ON IMDB
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Yesterday, I promised to share another movie from about the time "IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS" came out that really freaked me out. Here it is. Brought to you from the demented mind of Clive Barker. I heard once upon a time that all of his ideas come from nightmares. It's amazing the man ever sleeps.
Scott Bakula plays detective Harry D'Amour, a private detective hired to protect popular stage magician, Philip Swann (Kevin J O'Connor) from a dangerous cult. Along the way, the descent into madness and dangerous forces at work reveal that not all is what it seems. Daniel Von Bargen is chilling as cult leader Nix. Even listening to his voice in the trailer sent shivers up my spine. Also an early film for Famke Janssen. Another fun fact is that this film features actor Wayne Grace, who made a brief but memorable appearance in previously mentioned "MIDNIGHT CLEAR" AND he and I worked together on the film "Coyote County Loser" in which I played the title role. Wayne is a class act and an amazing actor.
LORD OF ILLUSIONS ON IMDB
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Do you read Sutter Cane? This is another one of those great films that when I ask, "Have you seen this?", the reply is sadly, "No". It's John Carpenter for God's sake! Sam Neill stars as John Trent who is on the hunt for missing hit horror author (a la King and Koontz, Sutter Cane. What follows is Cthuluesque/Lovecraftian fun time that freaks me out every time I watch it. There were two films right about this time that came out and just freaked me out. I'll talk about the other tomorrow.
Featuring the always talented Jurgen Prochnow as Cane (you'll hear him mentioned again when we get to film 100), Hayden Christensen (as a paperboy), papa Luthor (John Glover) and Charlton Heston. I still get chills when I think of this movie. One of the coolest endings to a film EVER. If you haven't seen this, rush out and get it.
IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS ON IMDB
Friday, June 17, 2011
Here's a Spanish sci-fi thriller for you. Say you're a nosy neighbor...and the guy next door has a time machine and you basically break in and screw with it, launching yourself into the past. Sound fun. You'll dig this movie then.
Incredibly well done without the need for any real budget. Small cast. Reasonable props and sets. A wonderful movie with some fun twists. Director Nacho Vigalondo's only feature to date, but he has two in the works. He also makes an appearance in the film as El Joven, owner of said time machine.
TIMECRIMES ON IMDB
Thursday, June 16, 2011
This movie didn't get near the attention it deserved. Remarkable performance by Dennis Quaid (who I always dig...and is mentioned in my blog post about ACTORS WHO SHOULD PLAY BROTHERS) and the always wonderful Ben Foster. With this and "The Mechanic" opposite Jason Statham, Foster is proving he can not only play quirky, crazy types a la "The Punisher", "30 Days of Night", "Alpha Dog" and badass crazy in "3:10 to Yuma", but also a strong badass hero/anti-hero.
Pandorum is basically the story of an interstellar spaceship where Quaid and Foster wake up from a prolonged hypersleep with no memory of who they are or what they are doing to discover the ship has gone mad in their absence. It's a great mix of madness, badassery and cerebral twists and turns. It plays the heart strings, makes you jump and messes with your head.
The film also features a cameo by Boondock Saint and zombie slaying badass Norman Reedus!
PANDORUM ON IMDB
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Long before "Falling Down" and it's letdown of an ending, there was "Wisom". The film stars Emilio Estevez as John Wisdom, an ex-con who is struggling to find his place in the world. On a personal note, I think it's appalling how we treat our "rehabilitated" criminals. If you're let out of prison it should only be because you are fixed. Taking away your right to vote, own firearms and forcing you to put your past on your job applications forever is utter stupidity and is probably a high contributor to a high rate of repeat offenders. Putting away my axe now.
Unable to live a normal life when he's even fired from a burger stand for lying on his application (by his brother Charlie Sheen), Wisdom turns back to crime, but in a very Robin Hood sort of way. In the 80s, before all records were kept electronically and when farmers were losing their land left and right to foreclosures, John decides to take matters into his own hands. He robs banks, but takes no money. He does, however, destroy all records relating to the farmer's debts, hampering the bank's ability to take away their land. He becomes a hero outlaw with his girlfriend played by Demi Moore.
The ending of this film is one of the most beautiful left hooks have ever seen. Things go very wrong and the final confrontation and resolution is just fantastically executed. This was also the directorial debut for Estevez at the age of 24, which, according to IMDB made him the youngest person ever to write, direct and star in a major motion picture.
WISDOM ON IMDB
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
"When I was little, my mamma taught me to do two things: chew bubble gum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubble gum". What happens when aliens invade our planet, live among us and control us through subliminal messaging. Keith David and Roddy Piper get together, beat the hell out of each other and then kick some alien ass. That's what!
While a remake of this film makes more sense than "Total Recall" or "The Crow", I definitely don't see the need and think that a remake will miss out on all the fun we had with David and Piper. One of Carpenter's finest and that is saying something. Definitely won't be the last you hear about Carpenter on my blog, but it definitely deserves to be the first.
THEY LIVE ON IMDB
Monday, June 13, 2011
One of the greatest thing about doing this blog is the treasures I get to discover when searching for more films. Awhile back, I had seen "Dog Soldiers" and liked it, but re-watched it for this blog and liked it even more. So, I started searching out Neil Marshall's other films and I think I've found another favorite director. We've also talked about his film "Centurion", and now, "Doomsday".
Marshall is a film geek's director and "Doomsday" is an all you can eat buffet of genres and classic Sci Fi. It has elements of fantasy, Road Warrior, zombies, ALIENS, Escape from New York and so many other great films. Marshall once again uses strong female characters who dress practically and kick butt. Rhona Mitra kicks ass in a way that puts Beckinsale, Jolie and Jovovich to shame.
In addition, fans of Marshall's other films will recognize some returnees. Darren Morfitt, Sean Pertwee and Chris Robson all show up from "Dog Soldiers". You'll remember me going on about Morfitt's final scene in the werewolf flick. Also from "Dog Soldiers", though he was in a cameo role in that one as a camper early in the film is Craig Conway who plays one of the main villains in this film as Sol. The film also features the talents of Bob Hoskins and David O'Hara (who was one of the best things about "Darfur") and Malcolm McDowell.
The premise of the film is that a virus runs rampant in Scotland to such an extent that the whole country is quarantined behind massive walls and mined seas. The inhabitants are left to die. Flash forward 30 years and the disease (The Reaper Virus) has reared it's ugly head again and is threatening to wipe out Britain. A team is put together to go into the no man's land to find recently discovered survivors and bring back a cure. However, the inhabitants have degenerated into something out of a Mad Max film...and they eat people.
There are some clever hooks in the film and a series of some of the coolest action sequences around. I love the tributes in this film to some of the greatest films ever. I love Marshall's style. I can't wait to see him do more work!
DOOMSDAY ON IMDB
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Friend and film connoisseur Scott Meeker recommended this film and I am glad he did. Korean cinema has a fantastic way of using incredibly graphic violence in conjunction with a powerful story. Directed by Jee-woon Kim (who we'll be talking about in future posts) this is the ultimate tale of vengeance in a way that American cinema can't seem to tap in recent years (with few exceptions).
The film stars Byung-hun Lee (who my film geeks will recognize as Storm Shadow from the recent GI Joe film...that I was also in) as a special agent who's fiancee is brutally murdered by psychopath Kyung-chul (played by Min-sik Choi of "Oldboy" fame). In response he sets out on a dangerous game to torture the man responsible that leads him down a road to damnation.
The compelling parts of the film are the mix of graphic violence (I physically cringed three times) and very human characters to produce a wonderful film that deals with the psychological side of vengeance. I kept thinking of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" as the lead puts off what needs to be done until it's too late to make it out in tact. I would also compare it with Fincher's "Seven".
Min-sik Choi's performance rivals Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" as a truly twisted villain. Granted his character in "I Saw the Devil" is a bit more insane, but the portrayal of the madness was flawless. One of the best performances I've seen in years. Reminded me of Tucci in "The Lovely Bones" as well. Hats off to Choi.
Again, this film is incredibly violent and disturbing. If you liked the previously covered "AUDITION" you will love this film. In fact, there are a lot of similarities in style between Takashi Miike and Jee-woon Kim, not only in their execution, but the films they choose to tackle. Definitely not done with either of them on this little adventure of a blog series.
I SAW THE DEVIL ON IMDB
Saturday, June 11, 2011
As promised, the second part of a two-part blog. "Hunter Prey" was directed by Sandy Collora, who gave us yesterday's "Batman: Dead End". This is an example of a director who used fan films to launch himself into a feature film directors gig. It's also an example of using what you have to create a movie that looks more expensive than it really was. In this case, Collora has a solid background in effects as a concept artist and creature designer. He started working with Stan Winston's crew when he was 17.
Another fantastic thing about this film is it takes the sci fi genre with space travel and cool battle armor, weapons, aliens and does it in a way that is low budget but not Roger Corman. You don't have to make a bad film because you don't have money or big names.
The secret here is an alien looking terrain scape (desert), a hand full of actors and make a cool film. You also improvise and adapt, using what you have and your skill set to add production value on the cheap. I mean, the cool looking rifles are modified NERF guns for goodness sakes.
The story is basic with a group of soldiers transporting a dangerous prisoner who escapes in a crash landing on a desolate planet. Things are definitely not what they appear. It's a cool flick and I love seeing people make themselves. That's what Collora did. Fans of "World's Finest" and "Batman: Dead End" will recognize Clark Bartram (Batman) in the film as Orin Jericho. Damion Poitier, better known as Duprez on the hit series "True Blood" also makes an appearance.
If you like low budget sci-fi done right or if you want to see the right way to make the leap into directing bigger stuff, check out "Hunter Prey".
Help fund Sandy's next film here!
HUNTER PREY ON IMDB
Friday, June 10, 2011
Another two part blog. Makes it easier to do when I post this late in the day. I first saw this on a screen at a small comic convention in San Antonio (Live Oak to be precise) while stationed there with the Air Force. I was blown away and remember thinking that THIS is what a Batman film should be. In 2003, Sandy Collara put together this cool Batman flick featuring The Joker (played rather adeptly by BONER from the show "Growing Pains"), Predators and Aliens as the villains. Apparently Kevin Smith called this the "truest, best Batman movie ever made" and it might have put Collara in line to direct a comeback for Batman had Nolan not sealed the deal with the epic "Dark Knight". With a reboot in the works, why not bring Sandy in this time around.
For those of you not familiar with Aliens and Predator mixed with Batman, it was first done in a Dark Horse/DC crossover. Both books were amazingly well done and would make great films (of course the Aliens Vs. Predator comics destroyed what they did as a film). I love the costume for Batman in this version and it captures the dark grittiness and yet comic book feel that we later saw in Nolan's Batman.
This is quite possibly the greatest fan film ever! There have been quite a few solid ones too. Can you guys guess what part 2 of this blog is?
BATMAN: DEAD END ON IMDB
Here are a couple of making of videos for your enjoyment as well:
Thursday, June 9, 2011
So I was around 12 years old and my sisters and I would sleep downstairs in our house on weekends and during the summer so we could watch cable TV all night. Comedy Central was just starting out and had like 8 shows in total, Liquid Television graced MTV and HBO was a source of constant corruption with shows like Real Sex and HBO's Thursday Night Prime films like "Maniac Cop" or a number of films featuring Michael Pare or Eric Roberts.
One early morning around 2AM, a little flick called "Hardware" came on and was forever etched into my memory as one of the creepiest, trippiest films I would ever see. Tonight was the first time I have seen the film since. Some of the scenes were so vividly in my brain in a way that barely any film has stuck with me without repeat viewing. The movie features Stacey Davis long before "Desperate Housewives" and Dylan McDermott long before "The Practice". It's also a fairly early film for the Weinsteins as producers. Iggy Pop's voice also makes an appearance.
The film is set in a nasty post-apocalyptic future. Mo (McDermott) is a scavenger out in the wastelands. In his travels he discovers the discarded head of what's believed to be a maintenance droid. Thinking it will make a great present for his artist girlfriend (Davis), he snags it up. Turns out the head belongs to a rather destructive force that has a tendency to rebuild itself. What follows is a psychedelic excursion into sex, violence and weirdness and the epitome of all that is cyberpunk goodness.
The film is just as crazy as I remember it and I can definitely understand why it messed with my head so much back then. If you're into dark, gritty cyberpunk craziness, this is definitely the film for you.
HARDWARE ON IMDB
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Another of my favorite comedies and who knows funny other than Weird Al?! I mean this film should go down in history if only for Miguel's Wild Kingdom and Wheel of Fish. Clubbing baby seals, using turtles for suction cups and being dumb enough to choose what's in the box are some of the most classic comedy moments of all time...or should be. This is an odd one in that when I mention it (like "THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE", too few people seem to know what I'm talking about.
Do yourself a favor. If you like to laugh and have fun watching a movie, then you need to see "UHF". If it's been awhile since you've seen it, pick it up again. Comic genius!
UHF ON IMDB
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
It seems Olga Kurylenko is officially on my radar now. The title doesn't do it justice. It makes it sound like an over the top action flick when it's more of a heady psychological drama...with the occasional shootout. Think of it as the Israeli "La Femme Nikita".
Basically the film is about a Russian girl (Kurylenko) who is running from her past and ends up being forced into work as an assassin for an Israeli crime boss. Her neighbor is a young woman in an abusive relationship and in need of a champion. Some wonderful elements of Israeli culture, serious looks at the price of killing and a great depiction of strong women in film.
As for Kurylenko, I've already talked about her a bit in reference to her role in "CENTURION", but for the average film goer, you may remember her as a Bond girl in "Quantum of Solace" or from her roles in "Hitman" and "Max Payne". Watching her in "Centurion" and "The Assassin Next Door" she is incredible.
THE ASSASSIN NEXT DOOR ON IMDB
Monday, June 6, 2011
An ingenious idea for a documentary. Take four babies from four entirely different cultures (Mongolia, Tokyo, San Francisco and Namibia) and follow the first year of each of their lives. A wonderful display of diversity and four incredibly cute kids.
There's no tragedy or craziness, just a slice of life view of these four babies and their families.
If you want a feel good film and a great family friendly experience (my girls both loved it), then check out "Babies". A few interesting points are the lack of subtitles and narration. It's just a series of raw moments, but you feel the story. Also great to see how similar the babies and family dynamics are despite the vast difference in cultures. A real treat.
BABIES ON IMDB
Sunday, June 5, 2011
A wonderful French film starring the adorable Audrey Tautou. Like previously discussed film "MIDNIGHT CLEAR", this film focuses on the subtle interconnectedness of all things. One small gesture here can produce events years down the road. The film actually shows how an intentional random and seemingly insignificant action affects the whole course of the film.
I really enjoy pondering the concepts of infinity, interconnectedness, parallel realities and all that comes with such thoughts. It's nice to see it embedded into a sweet and pleasantly awkward love story. Tautou is fantastic as always and is surrounded by a host of equals in the cast. A smart, witty, film that's fun to watch.
HAPPENSTANCE ON IMDB
Saturday, June 4, 2011
You can call me Betty. Without a doubt, one of the funniest and most creative comedies I have ever seen. When I first saw the trailer and box art, I was skeptical, but after having several people recommend it, I finally caved. So glad I did.
For the film Steve Oedekerk, basically takes footage from an old kung fu flick (Hu hao shuang xing (1976)) and using green screen technology, creative editing and digital effects, places new actors in the film to create an entirely different movie.
Reading the trivia on imdb for the film is like a how to for guerrilla filmmaking. Oedekerk did all the voices but one (Whoa). He filmed a scene in his backyard with a lamp for lighting and a hairdryer to simulate wind. For the bad dubbing effect, the replacement actors all read from a nonsense script having no relation to the dialogue later dubbed.
Oedekerk wrote, directed, starred in and did all the visual effects and even the soundtrack for the film. Probably the most creative no budget film ever made and it is a hilarious parody you won't want to miss.
KUNG POW! ENTER THE FIST ON IMDB
Friday, June 3, 2011
A wonderful Danish film directed by Anders Thomas Jensen (who wrote the 2004/2009 Danish/American film "Brothers") and starring Mads Mikkelson who we talked about earlier in his lead role on the film "VALHALLA RISING". "Adam's Apples" is the story of a neo-nazi, played by Ulrich Thomsen (also featured in yesterday's film "CENTURION") who is discharged into the care of a clergyman played by Mikkelsen. The problem is that Mikkelsen's character is a terminal optimist...literally. Suffering from a rare condition, he blocks out all things negative from his reality.
Also under his care are two fun characters who are wonderful participants in this dark comedy about the breaking of one man and the salvation of another. One of the few movies where a cat gets shot and I found it funny. Who knew that a film about baking an apple pie could be so dark, so funny and so wonderful?
Also interesting is that Ulrich Thomas and Centurion co-star Olga Kurylenko were both in "Hitman" with "THE HORDE" star Eriq Ebouaney.
ADAM'S APPLES ON IMDB
Thursday, June 2, 2011
In honor of only having 300 more films to go, this one is thematic with the film "300". Yes, I know this is Romans, not Spartans and the location, time and conflict are totally different. What I am referring to is the presence of Michael Fassbender (who you may recognize from "Inglorious Basterds" and the upcoming "X-Men: First Class") and Dominic West (who couldn't save the "Punisher" sequel even with the help of Ray Stevenson). Both men are "300" veterans.
As I said, "Centurion" follows a different conflict with the Roman occupation of Britain and the mysterious disappearance of the IX th Roman Legion around 113AD. Fassbender plays a Centurion who runs into remnants of West's Famed legion as they attempt to regroup and thwart their enemy. One of the coolest things about this thing beside the excellent sword play is the fact that the lead villain is a woman. Olga Kurylenko is fabulously brutal in the film as the ruthless Briton antagonist.
Good performances and another fun film from director Neil Marshall who gave you the previously mentioned "DOG SOLDIERS" that I mentioned about 10 days back. Fans of "Dog Soldiers" will recognize actor Liam Cunningham who played Captain Ryan in the werewolf classic and plays Brick in "Centurions".
For more info on the IXth Roman Legion go HERE!
CENTURION ON IMDB
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Woody Harrelson is wonderful at playing adorably simple characters. In Defendor he lets this shine as a real life superhero. You just want to hug him whenever he isn't beating up (or getting beat up by) badguys in this film. Great performances by Sandra Oh, Kat Dennings and Elias Koteas as well. Not sure why this didn't get more attention. I lucked into a trailer on a DVD I rented and eventually rented it.
This film is a wonderful dark comedy that will make you laugh, break your heart, give you hope and leave you thoroughly entertained. Being that this is the directorial debut of veteran Canadian actor Peter Stebbings, I hope we see more from him in the future.
DEFENDOR ON IMDB