Stallone Month: Demolition Man

I didn’t think I was going to like this silly movie. If not for this month of reviews, I doubt I would have seen it again, ever. Demolition Man feels like a pure expression of movie by committee. The action genre had had much of its life polished out of it by the time this flick came around in 1993. The effect on this film is that, bizarrely, it feels as much like a stage play at times as it does a movie. There is no possibility for suspension of disbelief, nor does the movie require it for the viewer to be entertained. The ideas behind the film are outlandish, something of which the filmmakers were aware. Therefore they wisely shied away from heavy-handed seriousness in favor of the absurd. Continue readingStallone Month: Demolition Man”

October Horrorshow: Alien 3

Alien 3This is the film that started the long decline of the Alien franchise, but much of the bad feeling this film generates is misplaced, I think. There’s a lot of love out there for the first two films in the series, so any continuation of the story is going to face both closer scrutiny and higher expectations. I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with that, so long as opinions aren’t magnified beyond a reasonable consideration of a film’s quality. Luckily for the filmmakers of Alien 3, it was made in a simpler time — the 1990s — when a franchise flick wasn’t judged with any sort of finality before it was even released.

Alien 3 hails from 1992, and was director David Fincher’s first feature film. He worked from a screenplay cobbled together by David Giler, Walter Hill, and Larry Ferguson, after the project had been bouncing around in development since shortly after Aliens hit it big at the box office. At one point, sci-fi legend William Gibson was hired to write a script by Giler and Hill (who also served as producers on the film). Gibson’s script was wildly different from what was eventually filmed, so much so that he received no writing credit. For the curious, Gibson’s screenplay can be found online. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Alien 3″

October Horrorshow: The Keep

What a weird fucking movie. I’m glad I watched it.

The Keep, from 1983, was Michael Mann’s second directorial effort, coming two years after Thief. The film tells the story of a unit of German soldiers who occupy a remote castle keep in Romania during World War II. But, this is no normal keep. The walls are inset throughout with over two hundred crosses made of nickel. The battlements appear designed not to keep an invading army outside of the walls, but rather to keep something in. There’s even a creepy caretaker on site to make sure that anyone who crosses the threshold knows the story of all those before who tried to spend a single night in THE KEEP. Spooky. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Keep”

Schwarzenegger Month: Raw Deal

This movie is Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cusp. After Conan and The Terminator, people knew who he was, he was a legitimate star, and this earned him more roles. But he was still making movies for Dino De Laurentiis. That man was a producing legend, but not always for the best reasons. For every Blue Velvet or Serpico, there were about five or six Maximum Overdrives. De Laurentiis movies look cheap, like the filmmakers that made them didn’t have the cash they needed, or weren’t competent filmmakers in the first place. Raw Deal was the last De Laurentiis film with Arnold to hit theaters, and Arnold was probably glad about that. Continue readingSchwarzenegger Month: Raw Deal”