Showing posts from August, 2020

Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020)

  I have had some major problems with comedy movies over the last 20 years.  The last one I can remember actually liking was Knocked Up , and to be honest that had a lot of the problems present that I have with current comedy films - an over-reliance on humor dealing with bodily functions (including ingesting such - even nearly 50 years after Divine took one for the team and did it for real) and, unfortunately, politics.  It's not that it's my side that usually is the brunt of the joke; it's that the politics are in there at all.  A mere decade after a comedy film comes out I feel like I have to explain half the jokes because the people they are making fun of are retired or dead.  Another problem is length, and not the length joke that almost every cookie-cutter comedy goes for.  It's the fact that, unless you are Ghostbusters or The Blues Brothers and have something more to offer the audience than the handful of good jokes that survived the rewriting process, the magi

The Old Guard (2020)

  I don't mention it much in my reviews, which is surprising given that my primary hobby is collecting records, but a movie can often live or die on its soundtrack as much as it can on script, directing and acting.  One executive at 20th Century Fox once mentioned how, when seeing Luke Skywalker watching the double sunset on Tatooine in Star Wars   just looked awkward in the initial prints before the music was added, but the John Williams score behind it made all the difference in the finished movie.  Equally, many think "Duel of the Fates", during the three-way light saber battle between Qui-Gon Jin, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace is one of the redeeming parts of the film.  It was in fact the soundtracks to such films as Fast Times at Ridgemont High and The Breakfast Club that helped sell those movies to teenage audiences, just as much as the honest portrayal of the transition from adolescence to adulthood in these movies.   It doesn't always hav

Abar, the First Black Superman (1977)

  There are plenty of blaxploitation films that are remembered for various reasons.  Some of those reasons is that they took an existing property and just added the word "black" to it - like Blacula or Blackenstein .  So, it should come as no surprise that at some point we were going to get SuperBlack .  Unlike the other two, which have long entered public domain (the characters, at least), Superman was, and still is, owned by DC Comics. Therefore, we can't just have a Kryptonian with extra melanin fighting crime and bigotry in the ghettos of Metropolis (see how this practically writes itself?), the necessity was to come up with a whole new concept.  The person responsible for this was one James Smalley, who wrote and produced what would ultimately become Abar, the First Black Superman (sometimes just titled Abar ).  The titular character (Tobar Mayo) is a popular community activist that is both trying to organize against the politicians that give lip service to cleaning

Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)

  Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was one of those movies that just came out of nowhere.  It starred two unknowns, barely had a budget and had a plot that was completely ludicrous.  I'm not just talking an entire society based on the music of a fledgling metal band, but it came down to a packed auditorium for a history presentation.  When I was in high school I sometimes purposely got myself detention to get out of more exciting events, and I happen to love history - just not out of the mouths of football players.   I ignore most of those particulars in the original film because it is, in many ways, as parody of many of the teen comedies at the time.  It's purposely over the top in certain cases, and goes overboard with the importance of high school.  By the late 1980s the realism that Penelope Spheeris and John Hughes had brought to the screen concerning actual issues with teenager growing up at the time were largely in the past, replaced by what seems to be a purposef

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

After Star Wars: The Return of the Jed i , rumors circulated for years about what George Lucas had in store for further movies.  One thing that was distilled from all the plans, as early as the late 1980s, was if (and that was a huge if ) there were any further movies, we would get three prequels and three sequels.  The three sequels were always in question; turns out that Lucas's original sequel plans didn't really work after some of the events in Jedi , and there were questions on if he would direct or even want to be bothered with anything else Star Wars related.  Really, there was no direction in what would happen in the prequels, either.  Obviously Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker would figure prominently, and there was a good chance the Clone Wars would be covered.  That was made even more obvious as that was a time period left out of any of the books that came out later; the furthest back anything seemed to go with known characters was the Han Solo adventures, and tha

Quantum of Solace (2008)

Imagine spending six week setting up an elaborate car chase.  You plan out everything, but your lead actor still ends getting stitches and one of your stuntmen ends up in critical condition in the hospital.  At some point you dump a $120000.00 vehicle into a lake, even before things get going.  In the past, as with the chariot races in both the 1920s and 1950s version of Ben-Hur , you would expect that the effort would be worth it, and that you get one of the classic action sequences ever put on celluloid. Now, imagine, the final result looking like the editor let his 12-year-old son take a pair of scissors to it and reassemble it using Scotch tape and a flashlight. How about filming during a famous horse race in Italy, with an exciting chase for a turncoat assassin through ancient sewers?  Or filming thousands of extras and putting on a performance at a floating opera, sparing no expense - and the final cut of both looking like it was put through a shredder and reassembled by a meth-a