October Horrorshow: Predator 2

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 readingOctober Horrorshow: Predator 2″

The Empty Balcony: Nightcrawler

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 readingThe Empty Balcony: Nightcrawler”

Schwarzenegger Month: True Lies

A quick sampling of the directorial career of James Cameron is in order. In 1991, Terminator 2: Judgment Day was released. It was the most expensive film ever made at that time. In 1994, True Lies was released. It was the most expensive film ever made at that time. In 1997, Titanic was released. It was the most expensive film ever made at that time. Two other films he directed, The Abyss and Avatar, were both wildly expensive, massive productions for their times. I’m sensing a pattern here. Put simply, James Cameron spares no expense. Continue readingSchwarzenegger Month: True Lies”

Schwarzenegger Month: Commando

What a gloriously stupid movie. When I think about 1980s action, all sorts of flicks bang off the inside of my skull. Cobra, Road House, Die Hard, any of the Rambo flicks, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It was an amazing genre of film that Hollywood has never been able to fully replicate. That’s not for lack of trying. Last year there were two movies about terrorists taking over the White House, and both could have been Die Hard flicks, circa 1989. Something happened to moviegoing audiences since the ’80s, though. I’m not going to pretend for a second that we’re any more sophisticated as a group, but maybe we grew accustomed to the shenanigans of ’80s action, and that’s why it doesn’t work as well today. But if a viewer happens to be in a nostalgic mood for black and white characters, senseless one-liners, and guns that never run out of bullets, then there is hardly a better movie than Commando. Continue readingSchwarzenegger Month: Commando”

Schwarzenegger Month: The Terminator

Is The Terminator the best movie Arnold Schwarzenegger has ever been in? There’s a strong possibility that it is. Some viewers have an affinity for Terminator 2, others for Conan the Barbarian. As for me, I voted with my eyes a long time ago. Of all the films Arnold has made, The Terminator is the one I’ve watched the most. It is impossible for me to recall just how many times I’ve seen it, but I would not be surprised if it’s somewhere in the 20s, maybe even the 30s. So, pardon me while I gush. Continue readingSchwarzenegger Month: The Terminator”

October Horrorshow: The Colony (2013)

I don’t know why, but I love stories with an Arctic setting. The poles are some of the most inhospitable places on the planet for life, topped only by the few locations that rise into the deoxygenated death zones at the tops of mountains. The starkness, the harshness, of these places I find fascinating. So much so that, once upon a time, I looked into getting a job summering over at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Alas, I am unqualified. They have PhD’s down there scrubbing toilets. What more can I offer? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Colony (2013)”

October Horrorshow, Retroactive: Aliens

Alien is an artful film. It is frightening and suspenseful, but it also has operatic grace and gritty realism, despite being set mostly aboard a spaceship. It’s hard to imagine Alien spawning a sequel so tonally different yet still so successful, but Aliens does just that. The two films are poles apart, sharing with each other only the alien creatures and Sigourney Weaver, who reprises her role from the first film as Ripley. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow, Retroactive: Aliens”