Posts

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) *****

Image
There really is no other film like 2001: A Space Odyssey(1968). No other film before and no other film since. And there really was no other filmmaker like Stanley Kubrick. Before or since. It's a film of impeccable style, grace, and patience, filled with gorgeous visuals, sumptuous and occasionally terrifying sounds, and ponderous and unnerving moments. It's the existential sci-fi film to end all existential sci-fi films, and one to spark endless theories.

This was my first time seeing 2001 on the big screen and it was something else — a stunning 70mm print struck from the original negative. Some people in the audience had never seen the film and some saw it when it was originally released. I can only imagine what the latter must have been like, given that it still wows me, after having seen it numerous times on home video.

The Great Silence (1968) ****

Image
The best and one of multiple westerns that Sergio Corbuccidirected, The Great Silence (1968) is one of the bleakest and best Italian westerns. Jean-Louis Trintignant delivers a strong, completely mute performance and Klaus Kinski gives us one of his best — intense and nihilistic. Given that women's' roles in Italian westerns tend to be pretty thankless, Vonetta McGee is given one of the better ones, where she emotes heavily with her striking eyes. Though less iconic than his work with that other more famous Sergio (Leone), Ennio Morriconestill composed a memorable and rousing score. And that ending is chill inducing, no matter how many times you see the film.

Ninja III: The Domination (1984) ***1/2

Image
Ninja III: The Domination (1984) is the kind of cult film that is a ****1/2 on an enjoyment level and about a *** on a film level so you kind of have to meet near the middle. I love it but it's ludicrous. I love it because it's ludicrous. It has ninjas, a floating sword, a love scene involving V-8, aerobics, a demonic possession scene featuring James Hong, an arcade game that shoots rainbow lights and a fantastic soundtrack/synthesized score. Extremely rewatchable.

For fans of Miami Connection(1987), Enter The Ninja (1981) and Big Trouble In Little China (1986).









Satan's Cheerleaders (1977) **1/2

Image
Satan's Cheerleaders (1977) is recommended if you're in the mood for a live-action Scooby-Dooepisode with some nudity, loads of double entendres and atrocious line readings. It also helps if you don't mind not knowing what's going on half the time.

Fun fact: this was one of legendary cinematographer Dean Cundey's earlier efforts, made the year before Halloween(1978) (look him up - he shot some of the most classic 80s and early 90s movies).

Crimes Of Passion (1984) ***1/2

Image
Crimes Of Passion (1984) is a bizarro esoteric drama with darkly humorist undertones that only Ken Russell could make. Featuring an intriguing and risky performance by Kathleen Turner and a creepy and cathartic performance by Anthony Perkins, COP is equal parts porno satire, surrealistic erotic fantasy, and commentary on fidelity, marital bliss, sex and religion.
For fans of Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Hardcore (1979) and Body Double (1984).

Hereditary (2018) ***1/2

Image
Hereditary (2018) is a strong debut by Ari Asterwith a riveting performance by Toni Collette. It's a mostly glacially paced family drama with the majority of the scares falling in the last third of the film. Milly Shapirodeserves praise for her peculiar performance as a weirdo tween as well, but I couldn't help feeling underwhelmed by Gabriel Byrne (who mostly looks bored the whole time) and Alex Wolff(who is either hysterical or non-reactive, depending on the scene).

It's a really well-made, very tense film that I'm interested in seeing again, to help sort out some questions I have and to determine if it will hold its star rating.

It very much feels like an A24 distributed film, but I still prefer The Witch(2015) and It Comes At Night(2017), as far as horror films released by that company go.

For fans of Rosemary's Baby (1968), The Exorcist(1973) and other such slowburn horror.

Jim Thompson 'Heed The Thunder' (1946) ***1/2

Image
In Jim Thompson's Heed The Thunder (aka Sins Of The Father) (1946), his second novel, he still hadn't settled into his well-known pulpy style. Instead this book focuses on the deeds and misdeeds of a prairie family in the early 20th century. A breezy read, much like a lot of his work, but with nicely developed characters and the occasional pondering, poetic touch.

Wild At Heart (1990) ****1/2

Image
Wild At Heart (1990) features probably my favorite young rebellious on-screen couple, Sailor and Lula, two innocents who deal with all the shit that happens to them the only ways they know how. WAH is a film about true love, passion, crime, dancing, individuality, freedom, good and bad witches, temptation, menacing baddies, weird families, and much more, all filtered through the strange and wonderful mind of David Lynch.

You can find my David Lynch Feature Films Ranked list here.

Basket Case (1982) ***

Image
Basket Case (1982) is a trash classic. a key Z flick, featuring atrocious acting and terrible f/x but plenty of blood and fun. It was clearly made with passion and heart, and while it's really not a good film, it's incredibly rewatchable.






Big Trouble In Little China (1986) ****

Image
Big Trouble In Little China (1986) is simply one of the greatest action/adventure/comedies of the 80s and John Carpenter's most fun film, featuring Kurt Russellas Jack Burton, his final iconic (new) role for the director.

Russell plays Burton as a caricature of 80s machismo, an all American truck driver quipping laughable one-liners and sporting a furious mullet, who in reality is the most inept character, largely taking a backseat to the action handled by the mostly Asian cast.

So just remember what ol' Jack Burton does when he's in the mood for an over the top spectacle of ridiculous plot devices and Chinese mysticism, chock-full of fantastic production and costume design, impressive cinematography, incredible practical visual f/x, magical martial arts and a great musical score. He watches Big Trouble In Little China.

You can find my John Carpenter Feature Films Ranked list here.