Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meep Pic Of The Week: Tootsie (1982)

A Columbia Pictures Release 
Original Release date: December 17th, 1982
DVD Release: Yes

I heart Tootsie. Other than having a terrible score (But what 80's movie didn't?) this movie has aged beautifully. Dustin Hoffman gives the best performance of his career.... Two even. The movie is funny, poignant and always entertaining. There are very few movies in my book specifically about actors and their process that can pull of being fun while being so "inside". Tootsie gets it all right and is one of the best studio comedies of the decade.

Forget about Gandhi... Toosie was my hero in 1982. Check out this wacky posters of the era from the former eastern bloc:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My 10 Favorite Films Of 2009 List (Official)

Here's my official top 10 list for last year as I caught up on all of the Oscar bait releases now that they're on DVD (Though I don't think I'll ever have a need to see Avatar)

01. A Single Man dir. Tom Ford
03. The Hurt Locker dir. Kathryn Bigelow
04. Inglourious Basterds dir. Quentin Tarantino
04. Bright Star dir. Jane Campion
05. Adventureland dir. Gregg Mottola

06. Broken Embraces dir. Pedro Almodovar

07. Whip It dir. Drew Barrymore

08. I Love You Man dir. John Hamburg

09. The Messenger dir. Oren Moverman
10. Bad Lieutenant Port Of Call New Orleans dir. Werner Herzog

Best Horror film: The House Of The Devil dir. Ti West

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Capsule Movie Show Reviews - April 2010

The Crazies (2010) ***
Finally a remake I rather enjoyed. The new Crazies wisely bypasses a lot of aspects of Romero's 1973 original (How can one compete with that master's films?) and is a refreshingly no frills thrill ride.

Bad Lieutenant Port Of Call New Orleans (2009) ***1/2
Werner Herzog's take is neither a remake nor a sequel... It's a totally bizarre, sometimes hilarious look at a man's descent into hell. Easily Nicholas Cage's best role since he left Las Vegas. I had a blast.

Don McKay (2010) **
Thomas Hayden Church plays a high school janitor who returns to his home town and gets mixed up with one very kooky Elisabeth Shue. The film tries pretty hard to be a Film Noir with a personality but comes off like a Coen Brothers clone.

Did You Hear About The Morgans? (2009) **1/2
Not nearly as bad as everyone had it out to be, Marc Lawrence's newest film is a lot like his others. It's a loving homage to the more formal screwball comedies of the 1930's. It's greatest weakness is a lack of what made those films in the past really work... real chemistry between the leads.

Women In Trouble (2009) ***
Writer/Director Sebastian Guiterrez is trying (though not entirely successful) to give Pedro Almodovar a run for his money in this love letter to the ladies. Several interlocking stories of women (often on the verge of a nervous breakdown) provide ample moments for it's good cast to shine. A follow-up entitled "Elektra Luxx" is expected to be released later this year.

Black Dynamite (2009) **
I really wanted to enjoy this ode to Blaxploitation past, but the film makes a cardinal sin in merely attempting to spoof bad movies of the era rather than being a straight ahead spoof of films of the time. It's kind of like spoofing an Ed Wood movie... It's completely pointless unless you're doing in straight from the heart. The films of that era were certainly made on the cheap, but often by people who believed they were making something fun and entertaining for it's audience. Black Dynamite ends up condescending the genre it loves so much.

In The Loop (2009) ***
This razor sharp Brit comedy garnered itself an academy award nomination this year for it's screenplay. Deservedly so as it's a super fast paced and often witty satire on our current political climate. Peter Capaldi was the standout in the superb cast as the most foul mouthed spin doctor you'll ever meet.

Adam (2009) ***
Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne star in this look at a man struggling with Asperger's Syndrome after his father dies and leaves him to fend for himself in the real world. A surprisingly sweet and well acted romantic drama.

Pontypool (2009) ***
A deadly virus infects a small canadian town turning anyone with an open ear into a raving lunatic. A radio DJ and his small crew find themselves struggling to survive and spread the message before it's too late. A surprisingly intellectual and tense film that could have benefited from a tighter pace, but there's no denying it's power and the performance of his career by Stephen McHattie.

The Slammin' Salmon (2010) **
Broken Lizard's latest about a group of waiters competing to have the best service of the night feels slack and unfinished. There are some laughs, but they are few and far between. A far cry from the anything-could-happen feel of their now cult status favorite, the slob comedy Super Troopers.

**** excellent
***1/2 very good
*** recommended
**1/2 not bad
** not so hot
*1/2 skip it, buddy
* don't even think about it, mister

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meep Pic Of The Week: Tango & Cash (1989)

Tango & Cash
a Warner Brothers release
Original theatrical release date: December 22nd, 1989 (the perfect Christmas treat)

DVD Release: Yes

Tango & Cash is one manly movie. You'll find wall to wall action, one-liners & quips galore, monster trucks, a plethora of weapons of varying caliber, much talk of FUBAR, the tinny synth scoring genius of Harold Faltermeyer, prison torture, pimped out RVs and Teri Hatcher doing her best Flashdance. What you'll also get is one of the most surprising love stories between two men since Spartacus.

1989 was the year Stallone found himself in the slammer twice (Lock-Up was released 4 months prior) he had been recently himself divorced from Brigitte Nielsen (there's a line in T&C that digs into that fact when Sly expresses how much he doesn't like danish) and perhaps he was ready for something new... Kurt Russell has been in a long lasting relationship with Goldie Hawn, though the two never did marry. The star of The Thing & Big Trouble In Little China (both box office disappointments) found himself at the end of the 80's needing a macho movie hit. Overboard's cuddly family-friendly popularity just wasn't cutting it. Perhaps some of Stallone's Rambo heat would rub off.

The pairing of the two is Action movie perfection. Tango & Cash is a great summation of 80's action. The genre had come a long way in that decade, and by 1989 it was at it's most adroit.

Sample Dialogue:

Ray Tango: When this is over, we have to pay Jabba the Hutt here a visit.
Gabriel Cash: I'll bring the chainsaw.
Ray Tango: I'll bring the beer.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Just One Of The Guys to air in HD!

I just found out that my favorite flick Just One Of The Guys is going to be airing on Universal HD on April 18th!

This might be the first time I will be seeing this film in widescreen since it's theatrical run in 1985. Every home video incarnation since then has been Pan 'n Scan or Full Screen, losing part of the image. If it doesn't end up being Widescreen, at least it'll look all nice and spiffy in HD.

JOOTG fans get your DVR's ready!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When Nature Runs Amok! My Top 10 Favorite Killer Critters List.

Ah, the spring. The beautiful weather brings all sorts of little critters out. Have they made a killer pigeon movie yet? I would like to see one. They are the bane of my existence every spring... Sending "gifts" all over my car, window sills and stoop. Brooklyn is many things, but pigeon & dog crap should be high up on list of things you will see whilst you visit here. Maybe right after pizza but just before Hipsters and baby strollers.

Getting to the point, I love movies about god's little creatures... but only when they've gone completely berserk.

Here are 10 of my favorites:

The film that started it all. THE BIRDS (1963) is the absolute best of it's kind.

A close second, the awesome JAWS (1975) is equal parts terrifying and fun.

David Cronenberg's THE FLY (1986) is unlike most in this genre. It's genuinely heartbreaking... and really gross.

(1976) gets right what most of the rip-offs get wrong... An intelligent and fun little fright flick.

FROGS (1972) is fairly slow moving, but thought provoking and well acted. Ray Milland is god.

Directed by "The King Of The Rip-Offs" Ovidio G. Assonitis, TENTACLES (1977) is pretty fun stuff. Love the score by Stelvio Cipriani.

Joe Dante's bid at a Jaws rip, PIRANHA (1978) is actually more of a spoof. A fun one, too.

Man Vs. Rat. The ultimate battle in the ultimate movie. Of Unknown Origin (1983)

Kingdom Of The Spiders (1977)
is so much better than it has any right to be. Killer ending, too.

Long Weekend (1978)
is a true one-of-a-kind nature run amok film. That is until the solid remake from a couple of years ago entitled Nature's Grave.

More angry animal pictures of note:

Alligator (1980) - In the sewers and out onto your pavement! Robert Forster is called in to stop this giant mutha and his hair from falling out.

Cujo (1983) -
Never ever get trapped in your car with a Saint Bernard around.

Curse II: The Bite (1989) -
When you get bit by a snake 2 things will happen: 1) you'll slowly transform into a snake and 2) your only chance is to be saved by Klinger from MASH. God help you.

Jaws 2 (1978)
- For god's sake why doesn't anyone ever listen to Roy Scheider?

Jennifer (1978)
- Screw telekinesis. Fuck with this Carrie, and she'll give you a giant snake or tarantula to worry about.

Kiss Of The Tarantula (1976) - Speaking of Tarantulas, seek out this mostly forgotten gem from 1976.

Man's Best Friend (1993) -
A genetically altered cross-breed of Rottweiler, Tibetan Mastiff and Panther falls in puppy love for Ally Sheedy, hoping to make a Brat Pack of his very own. Mayhem ensues in the silly, slick and fun flick.

Monkey Shines (1988) -
George Romero's captive tale of a paraplegic held hostage by a trained Monkey with a real mean streak. What is it with animals loving their owners just a bit too much? CREEPY.

Prophecy (1979) -
You pollute the earth, you're gonna pay... big time. Armand Assante shows up to help, this time playing a strong silent type American Indian... of course.

Rogue (2007) -
Crocodile Dundee wouldn't last a minute with this huge (mostly CGI) sucker. A pretty fun film despite it all.

Spasms (1983)
- You'll learn that giant serpents from hell can only be stopped by potheads like Peter Fonda or drunks like Oliver Reed.

Sssssss (1973) -
More snakes, but with an extra added value... Piranha/Playboy's Heather Menzies sporting some huge eye wear.

The Uncanny (1977) -
Peter Cushing, Ray Milland and supernatural kitties. Need I say more?

and Willard (1971/2003) & Ben (1972) - That's a lot of rats. BEN sports the sweetest song ever written about a rat... Michael Jackson's theme song was even nominated for an Oscar.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Friday The 13th The Final Chapter Day!

26 years ago on this very day a movie opened that promised to kill off the scariest man of my dreams (Sorry, Freddy) Friday April 13th was dubbed Jason's Unlucky Day.

Obviously they never really succeeded in killing off poor 'lil Jason with all the sequels to come, but that April the 13th boy did he ever get it! And there I was in a rat infested theater in Times Square having the time of my life. I'll never forget it.

Happy Friday The 13th The Final Chapter Day! Let's boogie!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Meep Pic Of The Week: The Puppet Masters (1994)

The Puppet Masters  
A Hollywood Pictures Release 
Original Theatrical Release Date: October 21st, 1994  
DVD Release: Yes  

The Puppet Masters from 1994 will never go down on record as the premier adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein, but given a chance you'll be in for a fun ride. What I like most about this picture is that doesn't take itself so deadly serious as a lot of films do in this genre. It's a slick, fast-paced SciFier with plenty of action, humor and even a good dose of sexiness (Thankfully Star Donald Sutherland doesn't disrobe) Co-stars Eric Thal and Julie Warner on the surface seemed mismatched, but generate a considerable chemistry.

Through the movie's slam bang pace, we actually find ourselves caring for these crazy kids. MASTERS would make a fun double bill with 1978's Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (also starring Sutherland) or better yet, the most successful Heinlein adaptation to screen: 1997's Starship Troopers

Monday, April 5, 2010

What movie shows can you watch over and over?

Dear readers,

We have gotten to know each other for some time now, but I'm curious. What movie favorites of yours get the most replay value? Which picture shows do you find yourself watching over and over, and never really tire of?

I'll name 5 that stand out in my mind to get the ball rolling.

Just One Of The Guys (1985) I may love many movie shows, but my love for JOOTG is everest. I've watched this film more than any other.

Roller Boogie (1979) I can't fully explain why I'm so drawn to this one, but I've seen it countless times and I'm ever ready to boogie with the girl who'll always make my head spin.

Halloween (1978) The mood and atmosphere of Halloween has enraptured me since the beginning as this is the first film I remember seeing at the Cinema. I go back to it time and time again and it never fails to get my ghost.

Prom Night (1980) is a modest and straight forward slasher picture, for me has become truly out of sight. I don't know what it is about Jamie Lee Curtis' early films, but I can watch THE FOG and TRADING PLACES over and over as well. Jamie Lee Curtis = movie crack.

Bitter Moon (1992) Probably an odd choice of a film to watch over and over, but the heart wants what the heart wants. The picture show at nearly 2 and a half hours is leisurely paced, but I get sucked in every single time. Roman Polanski has arguably made better films (The Tenant is my favorite film of his) but there aren't many films quite like this wicked love/hate story.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

DVD Evaders: 5 Cinema Masters Early Works

Sadly each of these films directed by some Cinema giants have never been released on DVD here in The US. Some have never been released on VHS. Nutty. Steven Spielberg's 1972 spooky Television Movie: Orson Welles' second masterpiece: John Cassavates' 1963 film: Elia Kazan's first feature: William Friedkin's 1968 adaptation of Harold Pinter's Play:
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