Friday, November 27, 2009

Sing (1989)

Why oh why can't I dance like Peter Dobson (or Lorraine Bracco for that matter) did in the failed attempt to capture the magic of Footloose with a Bensonhurst Attitude in the motion picture SING from 1989?

See trailer for more details:

Monday, November 23, 2009

DVD Evaders: An Elaine May Double Feature

Elaine May wrote, directed and starred in A New Leaf (1971) and gives a brilliant comic performance. A must see.

The Elaine May directed Ishtar (1987) may be best known for being one of the biggest box office bombs of the 80's, but it's actually a pretty funny romp. It so doesn't deserve the repuatation it was slapped with. Give Ishtar a chance!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

5 Blogs I love.

Sometimes you just want to spread the love, and these blogs have been on my mind lately. I am addicted. I want to be their crack whore. I want another fix. Apologies in advance to those of you I may have left out. I love you all. I really do. Yum-Yum's House Of Self-Indulgence makes me salivate. This blog hits me up in all the right places. I want to get down and get funky with it. I want to party with it like it's 1999. I want to wake up with it the next morning and not kick it out of bed. Billy & Jeremy's Tower Farm Reviews Blog. Their in-depth, loving reviews of films that time seemingly wants to forget always makes my heart happy. They are so good at what they do I can't even bring myself to encapsulate likewise films in a review past a paragraph or two. They already do it best. I may not be a dad yet, but FilmFather speaks to me. I find it hopeful that one can jungle parenthood and not lose their identity as a film fan. FilmFather's blog is informative, insightful and just plain awesome. When Is Evil Cool? is the epitome of just that. Between the rad movie choices and all the idol worship, I'm in movie blog heaven. There is no other blog like KinderTrauma. And how could there be? Aunt John and Uncle Lancifer are truly one of a kind. I wish they were my folks!

Friday, November 13, 2009

10 Remakes I love.

Remakes get a lot of flack, and I've been guilty as such for giving them so much hell. And why not? There have been so many awful ones in the last 10 years and so many more in development (I will have to literally cry when Michael Bay's THE BIRDS comes out)

Still, there have been quite a few good ones over the years (and at least 1 very recently--STAR TREK, which surprised me) so I wanted to make a list of 10 of my favorites.

Here they are, in no particular order.

Jim McBride's super stylish remake of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless was pretty despised, but it's one of my favorite films ever. Richard Gere has never been better in a movie.

John Carpenter's The Thing is undoubtedly the best horror remake of all time. It surpasses the original Howard Hawks film, though it sticks more closely to the original source material--the novella WHO GOES THERE?. One of Carpenter's very best.

David Cronenberg's The Fly is my second favorite horror remake of all time. Like Carpenter's The Thing, Cronenberg's film surpasses the original with a wit and style all it's own. I'm not into heavily F/X films so much, but these two are absolute standouts. They are ingenious scare films made with love and passion.

Howard Hawks himself took on a remake in 1940, and it was of THE FRONT PAGE. His Girl Friday still stands as the best version of that very adapted play by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur. Perfect Chemistry between the two leads and a very distinct rapid-fire style set the movie apart from everything else of the time.

The Last American Virgin is a remake of Boaz Davidson's own Lemon Popsicle series film GOING ALL THE WAY, and happens to be one of my very favorite teen films of the 1980's. It's mostly zany teen set pieces, but it's also pretty real and heartbreaking.

The Awful Truth is a movie that I have watched countless times, and it never fails to make me smile. There were 2 film versions prior to this one, but Leo McCarey's film reigns supreme. This is the screwball comedy at it's finest.

Paul Mazursky's reworking of the Jean Renoir film BOUDU SAVED FROM DROWNING was a great comedy of manners back in 1986. Mazursky played the balance of satire and sensitivity really well, and the actors are all pretty great. Down And Out In Beverly Hills is a film I can watch over and over and get something from every single time.

Back in 1988, the horror genre was starting to taper off, and good films in the genre were becoming few and far between. An update of The Blob seemed right for a new generation. With the new technology and F/X of the day, This Blob pulls out all the stops. The movie has some very memorable moments and manages to make that gelatinous goo from outer space seem scary again.

William Friedkin's sadly forgotten Sorcerer (likely because it was a costly flop at the box office) is a remake of the french film WAGES OF FEAR, and I really love Friedkin's take on it. From the tangerine dream score to the atmosphere and the dread lurking in every frame, It was one of the most tense movie experiences i've ever had.

A John Cusack college flick from 1985 finds it way to my list because it is a sincere, well written tribute to the great 1934 screwball comedy classic IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. The Sure Thing bears a lot of resemblance to that earlier film, enough for me to qualify it as a remake, but manages to put a fresh enough spin on it.

Remember way back when Rob Reiner was a great director? This is one of my favorite teen movies to emerge out of the 80's. Oh, and it also stars Daphne Zuniga, giving one hell of a breaking-out-of-her-shell performance.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ten "Bad" sequels I love.

Everyone knows how disappointing a sequel can be, but I feel there are quite a few that have been slammed over the years simply because they were birthed from a better film.

Here are 10 of my favorite sequels that are considered bad by the majority (whoever that is)

Oh you, just leave the wolf man/boy alone. He means no harm! He's just having some harmless college fun trying to find time to learn science, get a girl with big glasses (she's smart) AND try not to die while boxing. That's a lot of plot to chew on and have fun with. Plus Teen Wolf Too has a lot of montages. I love montages.

Death wish 1 was a classic 70's revenge film. Death wish 2 was a serviceable follow-up. Death Wish 3 however is so bad, so over-the-top, it's glorious. Just the very thought of this film makes me crave boiled cabbage.

A choice Paul Kersey line from Death Wish III: "I'm going out for some ice cream... this is America, isn't it?"

The unfairly maligned follow-up to Saturday Night Fever (a film which I count as one of my absolute favorite pictures of all time) got a ton of flack in the early 80's. I guess making Tony Manero's driving force to become this kinda hurt the film:

I still don't care. Even though Staying Alive isn't a masterpiece of 70's gritty filmmaking like the original, it's still pretty damn entertaining.

By the time Poltergeist III rolled around in 1988 everyone yawned. And since the film only retained one original cast member (Heather O'Rourke--who passed away while filming) audiences just chalked it up as another useless sequel. I find it to be a fairly effective little chiller with imaginative special effects and a great setting. Part II on the other hand...

Amityville 3's theatrical gimmick was the 3D, and even without it I find the movie to be a fun ghost story with some wacky set pieces. Plus it stars Tony Roberts! But wait, that's not all...It also has both Meg Ryan and Lori Loughlin playing with a Oujia board in the house!

The Karate Kid Part III suffers from the "3's" (see also Superman III, the aforementioned Death Wish 3 and so on) but much like Death Wish 3, it's so over-the-top bad, that it's good. The dialogue and acting style of the villain (played by Thomas Ian Griffith) are so ridiculous and trashy, they make the movie actually worth watching. This along with 1994's Not-so-hot but not-quite-awful The Next Karate Kid makes for one long, bumpy road for Mr. Miyagi.

Much like Staying Alive, most people find Grease 2 to be a most unnecessary sequel. Not here. In fact, I prefer Grease 2 to Grease 1. Call me insane, but I love it. LOVE IT.

Was Troll 1 even good? Who cares, no one remembers it. Troll 2 has become a legendary bad movie with hipsters and seniors alike. And rightfully so. It's pure cheese. And cheese is delicious.

Mannequin Two On The Move will go down on record as the most embarrassing movie that I'd ever admit to being a fan of. Yes, it is in all aspects a bad movie, but somehow in it's warped universe of fairly tale getting a makeover in a modern department store, I find it comforting. Awesome use of Kristy Swanson's wooden acting style, too!

I am a big fan of The Rage: Carrie 2. Sequels to films made many years before (23 years prior in this case) never work. But what The Rage does is craft a fairly sensitive and realistic portrait of an outsider teenager who's struggling to find some happiness in her otherwise miserable life. The film would never be able to top the Prom sequence of the original, but does have a fun gore-filled sequence as well.

The Rage with Katt Shea's (Poison Ivy) instinctive direction, plays the horror and the drama really well for a teen movie made in the late 90s.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

DVD Evaders: So Fine (1981) & The Legend Of Billie Jean (1985)

2 very different yet equally entertaining 80's pictures make the list this week.

1981's SO FINE is a wacky comedy about a stuffy professor who's desperate to save his father's business and comes up with the idea of ass-less jeans. Only in the 80's would there be such a film released by a major studio! And it's actually pretty funny.

Andrew Bergman (Screenwriter for the superlative Fletch, The In-Laws and The Freshman) writes & directs.

1985's THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN takes the legend of Michael Kohlhaas, throws in some Joan Of Arc and gives it healthy doses of 80's teen angst and zaniness and what you get is a bonafide cult movie. To top it all off the great Pat Benatar song "Invincible" becomes the movie's anthem. Classic.

While the movie was bashed by critics of the time, those of us who grew up with this picture know better. Fair is fair!

***UPDATE*** So Fine has been released on DVD exclusively from Warner Archives!
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