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For Your Eyes Only (1981)

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The Roger Moore years of James Bond are quite frustrating.  Albert Broccoli probably couldn't have picked a better actor to portray Bond after both Sean Connery and George Lazenby backed out of the role, but for some reason the directors (usually Guy Hamilton) and writers of the 1970s couldn't decide whether they were making comedic super hero films are serious spy movies.  Thus, even though there are good (and even great) parts in all of the 1970s Bond films, only The Spy Who Loved Mestood out as approaching the classic adventures from the 1960s.  Unfortunately, after getting the series back on track, it was back to absolute silliness with Moonraker's attempt to jump on the Star Wars coattails.

For Your Eyes Only was another attempt to modernize the series as well as give it a more serious tone.  Originally planned to follow The Spy Who Loved Me, it unfortunately was delayed.  Despite the fact that a good portion of the film (ski slope chases, a technological McGuffin, un…

The Witches (1990)

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I remember the first time I saw The Witches.  All I knew is that it was a movie my girlfriend at the time wanted to see.  I had no idea about Jim Henson's involvement and even less about Roald Dahl, other than he wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  The name I did recognize when the credits started up was Nicolas Roeg.

Yes, it does seems strange for an 18-year-old on the cusp of graduating high school in 1990 to get excited when the name Nicolas Roeg came up.  However, there was good reason.  Science fiction and music were always a passion of mine.  I was not the biggest David Bowie fan at the time (except for the first Tin Machine album he was not releasing anything new or exciting) but appreciated him enough.  I was a fan of a rather strange science fiction movie he was involved in, The Man Who Fell to Earth, which in some ways dovetailed with his Ziggy Stardust persona at the time it was made.  I was suddenly interested in what an obvious art film director was going to do…

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

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John Carpenter and Debra Hill created one of the best horror movies of the 20th century with the original Halloween.  I know there are those who retroactively pick it apart, but that's a trend that has been around forever.  I will still stand by the original Universal films as being some of the best as well, but if all you are concerned about is that anything older than a decade is not worth watching, then I guess there's really no way of changing your attitude.

Still, attitudes do change.  I will always maintain that Halloween II was a mistake.  Sure, the first made a ton of money, so the sequel was almost guaranteed to do the same, especially since they got Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance back, John Carpenter was still tangentially involved and Debra Hill worked on the script.  However, if the original intent was to make a number of unrelated films with a Halloween theme year after year, then this was bad way to start.  It's not even that the sequel was a huge dro…

Coma (1978)

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Hospitals figure into many horror films.  Usually the killer has been brought there when they think he's did and starts looking for the protagonist who, conveniently, was brought to the same place.  Other times he's content to reduce the hospital's payroll.  Either way, it's long, deserted corridors with barely-functioning flourescents flickering on and off.  It is always the same way - not a soul around.  Security guards asleep. No nurses making rounds unless they conveniently get in the way of the killer's knife. 

The truth is I don't think a masked psycho killer has ever been on the top of anyone's mind when going into a hospital for surgery.  They are generally well-lit and full of people any time of the day, largely because all the bad stuff that happens outside the hospital doesn't keep a time schedule.  The fear most people when going into the hospital is whether or not they will leave.  Surgeons remove the wrong limb, leave stuff inside the pat…

Ghostbusters (2016)

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For decades Dan Aykroyd has been promising a third Ghostbusters film.  While Ghostbusters IIwas a financial success, it was nowhere near the fan nor critical success of the original.  Still, if everyone had been on board for it in the 1990s, and the proper script (that didn't break Sony's bank account) had come around, there was still enough life in the franchise to draw audiences back.  Of course none of that came to be.

Instead, after all the years have gone by, what we get is a reboot with an all-female main cast.  Director Paul Feig decided to follow up his Melissa McCarthy action-comedy vehicle Spywith this production, which had Aykroyd as executive producer and which Feig co-wrote with Katie Dippold, who had worked with him on a previous movie (also with McCarthy) called The Heat.  While there was some eye-rolling about the gender swapping early on, things heated up when the initial trailer dropped.  It became the most down-voted trailer on YouTube.

Honestly, there was …

Ghostbusters II (1989)

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In my review of Ghostbusters, I referred to this as a mediocre sequel.  Keep in mind that when this came out I was able to scrounge my own money together to see it with my then girlfriend in high school.  We were the same age and had the same general memories of seeing the original when it came out.  Because Bill Murray was so against doing another one the fact that this even got released was a pleasant surprise.  Then, of course, we sat through the film.

The disappointment was such that, until I watched it for this review, I had never seen it again.  Literally 30 years has passed since I had seen it, and I really had no desire to see it again.  My expectations were low, and I was bracing myself. 

This is only to find out that, while it has significant flaws, it is not that bad of a movie after all. 

My views are, of course, tempered by the fact that I spent 30 years hating it at this point instead of, when it came out, five years of revering the original.  I know that these days fiv…

Ghostbusters (1984)

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The second season of Stranger Things saw the kids dressing up like the Ghostbusters.  Other than the fact I would have liked to had the money and the time to make those costumes I would have loved it.  It would even be nice to buy them; I don't remember them on the market, but if they can be found in rural Indiana, then I am sure I would have found them in Phoenix.  Not that I would have had one anyway; 1984 was not a good time economically, something that Stranger Things tends to gloss over a bit.

I mention this because after rewatching this movie after about 15 to 20 years, I realize just how rooted in the '80s it is.  I am not talking about the obvious, like the music, clothes and hair, but just how you had to be there to get some of the references.  There is plenty for any generation to enjoy, from special effects that, except in a few cases, hold up today, to a lot of humor that avoids the politics of the day.  When it does make reference it's not enough to distract …