Saturday, August 30, 2014

VIOLENT ROAD (1958)

I don't mind a remake or even a ripoff...if you can improve on the original or bring something new and fresh to the table.  Although it never gives onscreen credit VIOLENT ROAD is a direct remake/ripoff of 1953's excellent THE WAGES OF FEAR.  TWOF is a beautifully photographed and masterfully acted thriller about a four broken men desperate enough to drive two explosive laden trucks across a rugged terrain for the promise of $2,000 each.  VIOLENT ROAD is about about a six broken men desperate enough to drive three explosive laden trucks across a rugged terrain for the promise of $5,000 each.  Whatever, as long as it's exciting...it ain't.

The film starts off well enough with Brian Keith being all macho and shit.  Then the set up is introduced and it's three trucks and all three trucks have to make it.  Well fuck, right there you can pretty much bet that all three trucks are gonna make it.  Next off Brian picks five complete dorks for his team.  One of them is even a race car driver with a lead foot!  So finally they take off and these idiots are driving on the open road!  What the fuck?  There's normal cars all around and all these champions have is a warning sign and some flags.  Anyway, they eventually get off onto some desert roads and the hot shot driver is driving balls out!  You can see the trucks bouncing all over the joint, mud splashing, they're banging into shit and hauling ass.  Plus they're always crowded up together just waiting to blow each other up.  And speaking of stupid, at one point a guy sees that an concentrated acid tank is leaking out of a loose cap.  So what does this supergenius do?  Does he put on some badass gloves/protective clothing and use a pair of pliers?  Ohhhh no, this brain surgeon just grabs the cap with his bare hand and of course burns his hand off.  Brilliant!   Multiple other totally preventable injuries happen, but it's all silly.  There's even a runaway bus full of children!  Oh brother.

I really wanted to like VIOLENT ROAD, but the story was garbage.  Absolutely zero tension and nearly all of their troubles were caused by their own negligence.  The acting was fine for what it was, but the budget was too low and the story just shit.  Skip it and rewatch THE WAGES OF FEAR again instead.
 Robert Williams.  He has 331 credits on IMDb over the course of 40 years.

Friday, August 29, 2014

BROADWAY DANNY ROSE (1984)

After the boredom of ZELIG Woody Allen got right back on track with BROADWAY DANNY ROSE.

Danny Rose (Woody Allen) is a character.  He's is a talent agent that specializes in odd and/or washed up acts that nobody else wants.  He has a skating penguin that dresses up like a rabbi, piano playing birds, a woman who plays musical cups, balloon folders and so on.  Whenever one of his acts starts to get a little bit famous they leave him.  Only the losers stay with him.  Danny is kind of a tragic figure, but despite this he works his ass off and dedicates himself completely to his clients.  One such client is has-been lounge singer Lou Canova (played by real life singer Nick Apollo Forte).  Recently, things have been looking up for Canova and Rose is spending all of his energy promoting him.  One lucky day Rose lands a potentially huge gig trying out for Milton Berle, but right before the big day Canova tells Rose that he's cheating on his wife.  Even worse, he wants Rose to bring his mistress to the show and act like she's his date.  Rose reluctantly agrees, but when he arrives to pick her up she's in the middle of a screaming match with Canova on the phone.  She refuses to go to the show and Rose has to somehow get her there come Hell or high water.

Quick pace, entertaining story, hilarious lines and body gestures by Allen, beautiful B&W photography by Gordon Willis (I especially loved the shot starting at 8:15 and the one starting at 1:07:22), NYC street scenes, great singing by Forte, strong performance by Mia Farrow.  Excellent 80's output by Allen.  Highly recommended.
 Despite the flashback taking place in 1969, there's a theater marquee advertising HALLOWEEN III.  Could that be a nod to Stacey Nelkin?

 Is that Ricky Schroder?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

THE LOST BOYS (1987)

Teen brothers Sam and Michael (Jason Patric and Corey Haim) move with their mom (Dianne Wiest) to the small coastal town of Santa Carla, California.  They soon discover that the area is a home to a gang of young vampires that like to feed on the all the burnouts and tourists. After falling for a local girl (and half vampire), the older brother Michael is soon taken in by the vampire clan. Now it's up to younger brother and his new friends to save Michael before he turns into a full blown bloodsucker.

Unless you've been living underneath a pile of garlic for the last 400 years you already know that THE LOST BOYS is the greatest pure 80's, big studio, teen audience, vampire movie ever! Mohawks, Molly Ringwald poster, Rob Lowe poster, vampires dressed up like Guns N' Roses; Corey Haim's wardrobe itself should have its own wing at the Smithsonian; the first on-screen pairing of the two Corey's (who would change the course of the universe just a year later with LICENSE TO DRIVE); blood squirting, interior of a video store, soundtrack featuring Echo & The Bunnymen and INXS, Jami Gertz looking hot as fook, surprisingly good direction by Joel Schumacher, tons of iconic lines, performances and moments including one of the greatest moments in the history of Cinema: that sweaty dude with the fucking sax. What. the. fuck. was that?!   Even if the rest of the movie sucked (which it didn't) that completely uncalled for 40 second clip of some bizarre, shirtless, oily, chain covered, spandex wearing, muscly beau hunk motherfucker gyrating/pre-twerking while whaling on his sax and flames shoot up around him would make the movie completely worth watching.  And what was up with that crowd?!  That song was fucking horrible, but they were going completely nuts over it!  There was even some nerds headbanging to a sax solo!!! 

I honestly could go on about THE LOST BOYS for hours, but how about you just watch it instead.  Highly recommended for all lovers of everything 80's and/or just vampire movies in general.  If you need me I'll be in my room eating maggots.

Part 2 - Lost Boys: The Tribe
Part 3 - Lost Boys: The Thirst