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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The Death of Stalin (2018)

death of stalin

Okay, so I’ve never really watched the show Survivor, but the catchphrase is embedded in my brain from years of commercials: “Outwit, outlast, outplay.” If one were to devise a similar catchphrase for the historical comedy film The Death of Stalin, it would probably be “Out-scheme, out-mourn, outlive”. . . .

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Rustler’s Rhapsody (1985)

Ruslter's Rhapsody

It’s that time of year where entertainment is Santa, Christmas, and snow, non-stop. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you, like me, need a break from all that, perhaps 1980s cult classic comedy Rustler’s Rhapsody will do the trick!

Rex O’Herlihan (Tom Berenger, Platoon, Gettysburg) is a singing cowboy, one of the good guys. You can tell because he has a fancy wardrobe and follows a code of honor that involves only shooting the bad guy in the hand. This plays well in the singing cowboy movies he was designed for but is substantially less useful when he’s dropped into the real world. . . .

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I, Tonya (2017)

I Tonya

During her career as a figure skater, Tonya Harding attracted attention for her impressive athleticism, as well as for her blue collar background and tumultuous life off the ice. But her career ended when her personal life collided with her professional career, and her main rival, Nancy Kerrigan, was assaulted by Harding’s ex-husband’s associates. Last year’s Tonya Harding biopic, I, Tonya, purports to deliver up a black comedy about her life.

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Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016)

Dawson City

Dawson City is a remote outpost, deep in the rugged Yukon and not far from the Arctic Circle. Nevertheless, it was a veritable boomtown in the late 1800s and early 1900s after gold was found there. At its peak, tens of thousands moved to Dawson City in the hopes of striking it rich. As with most boomtowns, though, the town’s fortunes waned, and it now has a population of only about 1,000. Dawson City might have just been a footnote in Gold Rush history if it were not for the treasure trove of silent films found there in the 1970s, long forgotten.

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Movie Review: Loving Vincent (2017)

Loving Vincent

Armand Roulin is the neer-do-well son of the postmaster in 19th century Arles, France. His father tasks him with delivering the final letter of a late friend to surviving relatives, a task Armand resents because he never much cared for that friend, Vincent van Gogh. In Roulin’s eyes, Vincent was little more than a shiftless painter, who caused his father and the town much grief before he committed suicide after moving away.

Even more irritatingly for Armand is that he is having trouble finding anyone to give the letter. Vincent’s beloved brother Theo is nowhere to be found. However, as Armand spends more and more energy trying to track down a surviving relation, he finds himself more and more intrigued by the mysteries surrounding the life and death of Vincent van Gogh.

My friend Craig recommended this film to me, and I’m so glad he did! It was a lovely, visually-stunning movie. (Thanks for the great recommendation, Craig!)

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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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