Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
10) Tango & Cash – I never said anything about all the movies on this list being good. Many of them aren’t “good” so to speak, Tango & Cash being example number one. T&C was a buddy-cop spinoff that was everywhere after 1987 (more on that later), and the teaming of Kurt Russell and Sly Stallone – a regular on this list – is curious to say the least. Stallone is Tango, a well-dressed, mannerly cop with straight edges all around. Russell is, of course, Cash, a loose-living Wildman a la Martin Riggs minus the suicidal thoughts. Once the two star cops are framed for a murder it is up to them to escape a prison full of their arrests and clear their name. There is enough cheese in this flick to feed a village, and the one-liners and the tongue-in-cheek action comes in spades. There is even a moment where Tango, after the opening action sequence that was necessary in so many of these movies, calls Rambo “a pussy.” Well played, Sly.
8) Cobra – Ah, the lone cop movie. If there were an onslaught of buddy-cop pictures in the 80s, there were plenty of lone warrior scenarios being played out. Sly Stallone is back on the list (2 for 3 so far), and this time he plays Marion “Cobra” Cobretti, a vigilante cop on the trail of a ruthless serial killer. Okay, hold on… Marion is his first name? That makes me laugh. Anyways… Cobra is a cop who plays by his own rules. He doesn’t much bother with regulations or procedures, a logical oversight that was a big part of the 80s, and he has a romantic interest in Bridgette Nielsen (Sly’s real-life wife at the time) that is necessary for these cops flying solo. Cobra drives a ridiculous roadster, lives life by ridiculous rules, and takes down the serial killer in ridiculous fashion. Cobra is ridiculous and awesome all at the same time.
6) Lethal Weapon – It’s a little tough to write about this one now (I am pretty sure that, as I write, another megalomaniacal Mel Gibson rant is being released), but regardless of how insane Mel Gibson has become in recent years and days, Lethal Weapon must be on this list. The first picture on the list without either Arnie or Sly is the beginning of the buddy-cop subgenre, and the beginning of a lucrative franchise that would spawn three sequels. Danny Glover is Murtaugh, the old-school cop with a six shooter and a few days until retirement (it is so strange that Murtaugh was going to retire at the end of every movie in a franchise that would go eleven years). Gibson is Riggs, a hotshot killer from Vietnam who lost his wife (cough, cough) and is now a suicidal wreck of a human. The two form the inevitable “unlikely bond” to take down heroin dealers and save the day. This is a staple of 80s action that may have been a bit higher on this list a few years ago. And while I think the sequel in 1989 is a better film, the original Lethal Weapon is more pivotal.
4) Commando – Arnie is back this time, playing John Matrix (that name just means business), a retired elite soldier whose daughter (Alyssa Milano) is kidnapped and he is forced to assassinate the leader of Bolivia (or some place, it doesn’t matter) for an exiled dictator (Dan Hedaya. Yes, Cher’s dad from Clueless). But instead he decides to go get his daughter back, and along the way racks up what has to be the highest body count in film history. The climax of the film has Matrix loaded down with machine guns (plural), grenades, grenade launchers, mines, pistols, knives, and a rocket launcher as he takes on an entire private army without picking up even one stray bullet. I know Arnie is big and strong, but how the hell is he supposed to walk with what has to be a thousand pounds of artillery strapped to his body? It doesn’t matter, what does matter is the awesomely over-the-top action and fantastic chase sequences. This is the 80s amped up to eleven.
2) Predator – Arnie’s last stop on this list is also one of his best action movies ever. With the fantastic action director John McTiernan at the helm, Arnie plays Dutch, an elite soldier and the head of a unit of badasses including Carl Weathers, Jessie Ventura, and the great Bill Duke (also in Commando) sent on a mission to Central America. After completing their mission, however, they begin to discover that they are being hunted by… something. There is a creature that is using the trees to mow down the soldiers one by one, and things grow more and more desperate. Aside from two future governors being in Predator, the film is rife with palpable tension, great action, and what is still one of Rick Baker’s finest creations in the predator creature itself. Arnie calls him “one ugly motherfucker,” but I would disagree. The predator is one of the most iconic modern movie monsters (along with Ridley Scott’s alien) to come around since Universal fired off so many in the 30s and 40s.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
* September is usually a bad month for films too. Which makes me a bit wary. But George Clooney’s The American is being released on Sep. 1. There is no way that can be bad, right?
* I wonder if Sidney Lumet is planning on directing any more films. He is 86, so I can see him not getting involved with another one. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead would be hard to top at his age.
* Somebody who needs to direct something else is Adrian Lyne. That guy has been MIA since 2002 when he directed Unfaithful. Sure, Unfaithful wasn’t the be-all end-all, but it was solidly entertaining.
* Edward Zwick (Glory, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) needs to get back behind the camera. He is directing Love and Other Drugs, a romantic comedy, but that doesn’t seem like his type of movie. Maybe it will be good, but it doesn’t really interest me coming from Zwick.
* I want to not like Let Me In, the remake of Let the Right One In, but the trailer just looks so good.
* Bruce Willis is ready to do another Die Hard. Is anyone else? Live Free or Die Hard, despite it’s stupid title, was a decent movie. Timothy Olyphant’s villain was one of the softest in film history, but it was still a solid action flick. But five? Really? I think Bruce should concentrate his efforts on other things.
* And speaking of Bruce Willis… doesn’t it seem like he is immune from all of the shit movies he does? It’s like, he did Cop Out at the beginning of the year, and he does so many terrible movies. But whenever he appears in the trailer for something that looks even mildly amusing, I know I get excited to see him. Red looks like a fun movie.
* I don’t even know if that last statement made sense.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Eyes Wide Shut is not literal, not in any sense of the word really. It is a psychological exploration into desires that may or may not ever be explored in relationships, and what those may or may not do. After the initial party and bedroom scene, Kidman is left on the sideline and this becomes a picture about Bill and his self discovery that goes horribly wrong. Kubrick, an infamous perfectionist, nails every bit of his techniques that separate him as an auteur. There are the long, patient shots, a calm unfolding of the stories, and a score – mostly consisting of a single piano note – that amps up the intensity. This, Kubrick’s final film (he died four days after finishing the final cut, a sign if there ever was one as to the taxing nature of the shoot), is on par with some of his best, and clearly should be reconsidered as such.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
THE TOWN - Everyone who rolls their eyes at Ben Affleck should really reconsider. Affleck has shed those years of Gigli, Pearl Harbor, and Reindeer Games and, after directing one of the best films of 2007 in Gone Baby Gone, he is back and it looks like he has made another stellar crime drama.
DEVIL - Maybe M. Night Shyamalan should take on a new title: idea man. Leave the writing, producing, and directing to other people. Because, judging from the fantastic trailer here, it may be a great idea.
DUE DATE - This pairing of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis looks to be a new-generation version of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and Todd Phillips does a good job of more than likely keeping the funniest parts out of the trailers.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK - This is a strange marriage of David Fincher and Facebook, but it looks well photographed and actually pretty gripping. And I love the choir singing Radiohead over the images.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
10) JOHNNY UTAH – Was there ever a cooler quarterback/FBI agent name? Or… was there ever another quarterback/FBI agent?
9) MARTY MCFLY – Nerdy and cool, the perfect mix for the character.
8) EBBY CALVIN “NUKE” LALOOSH – An epically goofy name for a goofy bastard. Also known as: MEAT.
Monday, July 19, 2010
5) Rocky II – The first sequel in this never ending series doesn’t really do much for me. And it doesn’t really move anything forward in the story. Sure, Rocky and Adrian get married and have their son, but Rocky has a rematch with Apollo Creed that I can’t remember as I sit here. I just know that he wins this time around, undercutting some of the original film’s charm in the fact that he and Creed tied. This is probably the one film in the series that I cannot map out without sitting down to watch it again, and I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon. Rocky II isn’t necessarily a bad film, or a bad sequel I suppose, it’s just flat and uninspired.