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Showing posts from May, 2017

The Thing (1982)

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It should come as no surprise that remaking older films is as old as film making itself.  The popular versions of The Wizard of Oz and Ben-Hur are themselves remakes, as are many films that people don't really expect (the Will Smith version of I Am Legend was the third take on the Richard Matheson book, for example).  While many of the remakes are just as good (or even superior) to the originals, cashing in on the original is always the point. 

What many forget is that you can cash in and still make a great movie.  That is exactly what John Carpenter did with 1982's The Thing, a remake of 1951's The Thing from Another World, itself based on the novella Who Goes There? by John Campbell. 

The boredom and peace of an American scientific outpost in Antarctica is shattered when a helicopter from a nearby Norwegian base lands, apparently in pursuit of one of a sled dog.  After one of the research team is shot, Garry (Donald Moffat), the head of the facility, kills the man, whil…

The Black Godfather (1974)

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Blaxploitation may be one of the most misunderstood genres.  While initial movies like Superfly and Shaft received mainstream audience and critical attention, much of the attention seemed to focus on the violent aspects of the films - so much that many devolved into self-parody over the next few years.  However, while they had their initial run, it proved two things: anyone who had some ambition, a few friends and a camera could possibly make a decent profit on an independent film, and American audiences, regardless of race, were becoming open to some of the ideals within these movies.

I understand that many of the messages about racism, second-class treatment of African-American citizens and police brutality got lost among the sex and violence, but they were there.  Many of the movies featured flawed heroes, but heroes none-the-less.  They were all human beings, and that resonated with white audiences - a little too well in the end, since it was ultimately white audiences being a bi…

The Nude Bomb (1980)

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Get Smart! is one of those comedies from the 1960s that one can still appreciate.  It was one of the few that got making fun of James Bond and its imitators correctly, while being surprisingly innovative and exciting at the same time.  The fact that Mel Brooks was involved had more than a little do with it, but all the writers did a good job in keeping the show consistent.  And, of course, there was always Barbara Feldon as Agent 99, adding both sexiness and competence in her pairing with Maxwell Smart (Don Adams). 

The show lasted until 1970.  Brooks had moved on to making hit movies, and American television was moving on as well.  Still, the show remained popular in reruns so, 10 years later, a Get Smart! movie still sounded like a great idea.  The Nude Bomb is a prime example of how Hollywood is often a place where great ideas go, get a job waiting tables, get discovered, get worked over and then crawl away to die in a flophouse. 

Maxwell Smart may no longer be in CONTROL, but he s…