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Showing posts from January, 2017

The Last Dragon (1985)

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When I mentioned that I would be watching The Last Dragon, my wife immediately mention Debarge's "Rhythm of the Night".  I was surprised that she was aware of this film, since, although we both grew up in the '80s, I had never heard of it.  Sure, "Rhythm of the Night" I have heard over and over again, and it was one of those ubiquitous songs of 1985.  I just never knew it came from this movie. 

She was under the impression that it stars El Debarge which, thankfully, it does not.  There is a brief segment of the music video being played, but that's about it.  It is, however, as '80s as you would expect a movie with that song to be.  It is also still quite entertaining.

Leroy Green (Taimak) is a young man obsessed with martial arts.  While training with his master (Thomas Ikeda), he manages to show that he is ready for the final level, known as The Glow, in which his spirit guides his body motions.  Since he has reached this step, Leroy is told that …

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

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Often with current Hollywood films one can practically predict the outcome of a movie.  There is so much buildup, from teaser trailers one would swear are made from the screen tests to rumors, leaked photos and opinions that are formed before even one frame of the movie ever shot.  Rogue One was plagued with these: the usual MRA screaming about a woman being a lead to legitimate worries about the film being taken away from director Gareth Edwards for extensive reshoots.

In a way I can't blame the aura that surrounds even films like this one, as the prices to go see films are astronomical, and many of us have less and less time to go see a movie unless we have adequate planning or know who we are seeing it with.  It's why I largely see revival films these days.  It also doesn't help that, when things are going wrong with a movie, predictions are often accurate.  The Ghostbusters reboot died not because a few men were upset about the gender changes, but because word of mouth…

The Lost Boys (1987)

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One thing that can get annoying when watching a movie with me is that I get wrapped up in the technical aspects.  I have wondered if this is because I have spent so much time reading about films rather than sitting back and enjoying them like others, but that's not it.  I truly enjoy watching movies, and the technical aspects that lead to visual story telling are much of my enjoyment.  I have enjoyed a number of movies largely due to decisions the director and cinematographer make, while ignoring obvious plot holes and serious deficiencies in acting.

These are not criticisms of The Lost Boys, mind you.  It's largely to set up why I remembered certain aspects of this film above others.  I saw it around the time it came out, and probably last saw it in the early 1990s.  What always struck me was Joel Schumacher's direction, from the long flying shots over the ocean and heading toward the boardwalk, the set design of the destroyed resort hotel and the creative effects as the…

For a Few Dollars More (1965)

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In typical Italian fashion, For a Few Dollars More was practically in production before Sergio Leone's previous film, A Fistful of Dollars, was in the theater.  That movie made Clint Eastwood, known largely at the time for his part in the U.S. television show Rawhide, an international star, and this sort-of sequel went on to cement his reputation.  It also served to resurrect Lee Van Cleef's career.

Still, this movie is overshadowed by both the preceding movie and the other one in the unofficial "Man Without a Name" trilogy, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  It does contain some elements that would be reused in the latter, and is a tighter story, though not as intricate.

Col. Douglas Mortimer (Van Cleef) is a bounty hunter.  After dispatching his current quarry, he goes for a bit more profit in pursuing "Baby" Red Cavanaugh (José Marco), only to find out that another bounty hunter named Monco (Eastwood) is after the same bounty.  Monco gets to Cavanaugh fi…