Showing posts from March, 2019

Bad Taste (1987)

Every director has their starting point, and often it is a labor of love.  Rarely a masterpiece, and Bad Taste definitely isn't, but typically a budding film maker will learn a lot about what they can do and can't do, and many ways to overcome the latter.  It's that one film that you make on weekends with your friends, most of you playing multiple roles and taking on many roles on and off the camera.  And, if you are in New Zealand, you may just find yourself getting some government funds and a pat on the back even if what you are making is a violent alien invasion comedy.  Bad Taste took four years to make.  In that time, one of the cast members got married, left the production, got divorced and returned.  Hairstyles, sock colors and other continuity errors pop up.  The actor playing the lead villain passed away.  Ultimately, the result was a movie that laid the foundation for director Peter Jackson to make the movie Braindead (released in the United States as Dead

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

I sometimes do not know who is trying to kill the Star Wars franchise faster: Disney, who currently owns Lucasfilm and the rights to the series, or its so-called fans.  When I say Disney, I don't mean the usual complaints that people have of politically correcting the series; I loved The Last Jedi , and am happy to defend it both from those who have a knee-jerk reaction whenever they see a movie has a female lead and the rest who get upset because their fantasies they had playing with toys 40 years ago never made it to screen. But Disney really needs to figure out what it wants to do with this series, and with the anthology movies it wants (or wanted) to produce alongside the main saga.  What I loved most about The Last Jedi and Rogue One is that, even though they fit within the timeline that was retconned by the prequels and Lucasfilm, they still went in directions that were not expected.  One of the main complaints with The Force Awakens   was that it took no chances, even

The Fearmakers (1958)

Fake news is one of those buzzwords for our modern times.  Both ends of the political spectrum use it both when there is actual fake news and when one side wants to discredit the other without going through the lengthy process of providing facts to back up their claims.  Opinion polls with loaded questions are used to not gauge public opinion but rather to guide those polled into responding a certain way so that agendas can be pushed.  And, as usual, we are most afraid of what those dirty Russians might be up to, possibly manipulating everything from behind the scenes. It's something that is a reflection of our internet age.  The previous generation wrings its hand and dreams of the good old days when news was news and everyone gave everything to us straight.  If it wasn't for those evil computers and the armies of hackers that are trying to control every aspect of our life, things would go back to the way they were, and everyone would be happy again. Hate to tell you,

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

Too often one gets caught up in movies as being art.  The idea, promoted by various critics, books and professors, is that a truly good movie must be the moving version of a painting by Rembrandt or Van Gogh, combined with the plotting of Shakespeare and the poetry of Tennyson.  It is similar to those that want to place "art" so far above the ken of the masses and keep it in its own boxed-in room, reserved for those who truly "know" what it is and can appreciate it. The truth is that many who appreciate, understand and even collect works of high art - at least those that are not obsessed with sampling their own emanations as if each one smelled of a new form of rose - also understand that the same feelings invoked from the masters can often be found in a four-panel Peanuts cartoon.  There is a reason that the best superhero films hit on every convention of story telling, and while many of the recent films may be repetitive or have major flaws, they are often en

You Only Live Twice (1967)

It should be no surprise that Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery  chose to use You Only Live Twice as the source for a lot of its parody of the spy genre.  As we have seen with many modern films it is hard to keep things on an even keel with just three films, much less when you reach the fifth one in the series.  James Bond had reached such popularity that it was being copied and satirized (notably with a horribly unfunny film called Casino Royale , released the same year as this installment), it's would have been no surprise if the series itself began to devolve into self-parody. It didn't help that Sean Connery had already begun to become dissatisfied with the role while making Thunderball .  The constant media attention (including attempts to get pictures of him while sitting on the toilet), friction with his costars and with Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman themselves led to a somewhat phoned-in performance and his ultimate departure, leaving the role open f