It is possible to make a decent movie with a miniscule budget. But it takes, at least, a decent filmmaker to do so. W. Lee Wilder, unlike his brother, Billy, was no decent filmmaker. W. Lee Wilder, if Phantom from Space is any indication, was a corpse propped up in a chair.
Released in the spring of 1953, Phantom from Space looks super cheap. There are special effects in the opening scene showing a UFO descend upon the San Fernando Valley. It’s about the least convincing effect I’ve ever seen in a movie, and this reviewer has seen a lot of bad special effects. The effects in this flick are as bad as early Bert I. Gordon flicks. The only effect that really works is a floating space helmet, but that’s getting slightly ahead of things. There is a plot that needs explaining. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Phantom from Space”
Samurai Cop, the 1991 stinker from writer/director/producer/editor Amir Shervan, has more shitty filmmaking moments than are possible to recount in any review of reasonable length. Here’s a sample:
Fight scenes and car chases have sped up footage to simulate quickness. It’s not subtle, either — approaching Benny Hill Show levels of speed.
A great deal of dialogue was recorded in post. That’s not unusual. But Shervan did many of the voices himself, dubbing the voices of stars and bit players, alike. That is unusual.
There are a lot of cops in this flick. Many of them wear uniforms. Some of those uniforms don’t have badges.
Star Mathew Karedas cut his glorious locks after principal shooting wrapped, but was called back months later for reshoots. Shervan put a ridiculous wig on his head with little regard to whether or not it looked right. It does not look right. In at least one scene, it briefly popped off of Karedas’s head.
Forget for a moment that Death Wish II is one of the defining films for The Cannon Group and its producing pair of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Forget that it was this film, along with Enter the Ninja, that would come to define a style of shamelessness that has brought endless amounts of joy to both the shitty movie fan and the wider action flick audience. Forget that a film like this scratches a primal itch that high culture would like to pretend doesn’t exist. Instead, revel in the fact that Jimmy Page did the music for this flick. That’s right. Jimmy Page. From Led Zeppelin.Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Death Wish II”
Tango & Cash is somewhat of a watershed moment for the excessive 1980s style of action flick. It’s so ridiculous and over-the-top that a viewer could be forgiven if they thought this film was a spoof. It is not. However, it is an excellent example of what can go right and wrong in an action film, and in film productions in general. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Tango & Cash”
It’s somewhat amazing, but Point Break, the 1991 action flick from director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter W. Peter Iliff, has become a classic. It’s a film that’s loaded with contemporary action tropes. It’s also one of the flicks that, despite its success, can be pointed to as partly responsible for the downfall of 1980s-style action films. It has aged well over time, but when it came out it was an eye-roller. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Point Break”
Gene Hackman is still alive! As of this writing he is, anyway. Throughout his career, beginning with a bit role in something called Mad Dog Cole in 1961, to his final appearance in 2004’s Welcome to Mooseport, it was odd for a year to go by without multiple films featuring Hackman. But, after Mooseport, Hackman decided to retire. Too bad. Thank goodness, then, that Hackman plied his trade on the silver screen rather than on stage. His work is still available for all to see, including this little neo-noir flick that has slipped into some obscurity. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Night Moves”
Predator, the 1987 film from director John McTiernan, is among my favorite action and sci-fi films. It’s one of those dumb 1980s action flicks that it’s easy to turn one’s nose up to, but which is actually pretty damned good. I would like to try making an honest effort at not comparing the sequel unfavorably to the original, but that’s just going to be too hard. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Predator 2″
Fair warning. This trailer is packed full of spoilers.
It’s incredible how little redundancy is built into Skynet. Not long after Terminator Genisys opens, we see the mythical John Connor leading an assault on Skynet’s time travel facilities. Connor, played by Jason Clarke, has ordered the bulk of his forces to attack Skynet itself, farther north, much to the consternation of Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), who hasn’t been let in on the Terminator series canon at this point. As the battle rages at the time machine, all of Skynet’s killer robots go inactive, signaling that Skynet has been destroyed, and only the war in the past remains undecided. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Terminator Genisys”
I couldn’t wait for after the Horrorshow to post this review. This flick is just too special. And what a gloriously stupid movie it is. But, a big, bombastic disaster flick is good to see every now and again. They come in waves, too. Some studio will put out a big budget disaster flick that makes a pile of cash and then all the others can’t wait to put their own into production. Then after a year or two the quality takes a dip and audiences get tired and disaster flicks go into hibernation until audiences are ready again. Marvel and DC would do well to take note. They’re reaping the benefits of their respective formulae now, but eventually audiences will rebel and one of those two will lay a big fat turd at the box office — something kin to The Core — and ruin the party for everyone (an argument could be made that this happened with the Fantastic Four reboot this summer, but for now audiences are not blaming Marvel for franchisee Sony messing up Marvel’s intellectual properties). But, I digress. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: San Andreas, or, an October Horrorshow Interlude”
Every serious actor has to do a film where they play a deranged freak — someone sociopathic or supremely bent who decides to interact with the people around them, much to those people’s distress. Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, Christian Bale in American Psycho, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast, and many others, all played men who were malignancies to every person they met. Jake Gyllenhaal has come close before, but with Nightcrawler, last year’s film from writer/director Dan Gilroy, he has gone full creepy. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Nightcrawler”