Predator (1987)

Predator

Usually, I try to focus on newer movies and TV shows for my reviews, but while I was researching potential things to write about, I came across last year’s The Predator, a remake of the classic 1980s action/sci fi film Predator.

Now, if I were a fair-minded person, which I often claim to be, I would have given The Predator a chance.

However, I’m not really that fair-minded. Ever since I heard they were working on this remake, I just couldn’t get over the fact that there was no reason to remake the movie. I’d have been much happier if they’d just re-released the original in theater.

Because if you’re looking for a veneer of outrageous, over-the-top 80s action overlaying a far more complex science fiction tale, then you can’t do better than Predator.

So, for that reason, this week I’m reviewing the original (and best) Predator.

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Movie Double Feature: Dracula (1931)/Near Dark (1987)

So, here’s a confession that will surprise nobody who knows me: I rarely like the hero in a story.

Ever since I was a child, I vastly preferred villains in books, movies, and television. And I don’t mean anti-heroes who you’re supposed to like or squishy villains who feel bad about themselves. No, the badder, the better.

Compared to the hero, good villains–by which I mean really bad villains–almost always have more memorable lines and better clothes. They always seem to be enjoying themselves way more than the hero ever does and usually have a great sense of humor (okay, a dark sense of humor but still a sense of humor) and usually are smarter or at least seem to display more ambition and basic organizational skills than the hero.

This love for villains started early. When I was 5 or 6, my favorite television show was Skeleton Warriors. I watched it faithfully every Saturday morning to see the adventures of Skeletor and, well, his skeleton warriors. I was so disheartened to never find anyone who knew what I was talking about anytime I talked to someone my age about cartoons.

It was only years later when I was in my mid-20s that I realized I had been watching He-Man and had somehow convinced myself that the show was actually about the bad guy. I still think rather fondly about Skeletor and his pet Panthor, but for the life of me, I cannot remember a single thing about He-Man himself. I don’t think I noticed him as a child, either. He wasn’t on my radar because he had nothing on Skeletor!

I have changed little as an adult in that regard. And since it is Halloween, I thought I’d pay tribute to some of my favorite vampiric villains in cinema.

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From Page to Screen: In Cold Blood (1967) and In Cold Blood (1996)

My love for Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (which some ungenerous souls might call an obsession) has been well documented on this blog.

But my interest in the story transcends the book. The 1967 film adaptation is one of my favorite movies and is one of the examples I always point to when people claim that a movie can never be as good as the book.

A few months ago, I watched the 1996 miniseries adaptation of the story with my coworker Jen. If the 1967 version is one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen, the 1996 version is easily one of the absolute worst.

Usually the “From Page to Screen” series is a venue for me to compare and contrast books with their adaptations. But this is my series and my rules, and I’ve decided to bend the rules for this one. So, this month we’re comparing and contrasting two adaptations and exploring why one is considered a masterpiece and the other, well, isn’t. Let’s just call it Screen vs. Screen for this month.

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book at the Bottom of Your To-Read List

I’m going to veer away from my usual routine here, so please humor me.

When I had to pick a book from the bottom of my to-read list, I wasn’t quite sure where to even start. I mean, my to-read list on Goodreads currently has 128 books on it, and that’s not even counting the books I want to read but haven’t added.

I ended up deciding to read Agatha Christie’s 1920 debut novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I love Agatha Christie mysteries–the twisting and, at times, convoluted plots; the witty characters; the atmosphere. I’ve read roughly 40 of her books over the years, but I realized that I’d never read much of her early work, including her very first book. So, I read The Mysterious Affair at Styles and also 4 of her 5 next books–The Murder on the Links, The Man in the Brown Suit, Poirot Investigates, and The Secret at Chimneys–within a couple of weeks.

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