Empty Balcony: Risky Business

When I was a child, my parents made a poor decision. They wanted to go see a movie, but they couldn’t find a babysitter. I don’t recall if a sitter canceled, or they decided to go out on short notice, or if I was such a young terror that I’d burned through all the numbers in the address book. Either way, my folks were determined to go see a movie, and if no sitter could be found, then I was going to see a movie, too. If that movie was an R-rated feature about a lustful teenager and a smoking hot call girl, then so be it. Besides, as my parents reasoned, the boy is only six years old. Not only will he forget what he sees, he won’t understand any of it, anyway. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Risky Business”

Empty Balcony: Night Moves

Be warned, this is a spoiler-heavy trailer.

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 readingEmpty Balcony: Night Moves”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Substitute

What a gloriously stupid movie. From director Robert Mandel, The Substitute tells the story of Jonathan Shale (Tom Berenger), a black ops soldier who leads a team sent abroad to fight the scourge of illegal drugs. But, we viewers never get to see one of these missions. As the film starts, we meet Berenger and his team at the back end of an incursion into Cuba that has left three team members dead. The government disavows any knowledge of the operation or its participants, and throws Shale and company out on their asses. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Substitute”

October Horrorshow: Psycho III

...And then there was Psycho III. Part of the appeal of the first two films in the franchise was that there was a fair amount of ambiguity to events. There were murders, but it wasn’t at all clear until the end who had been committing them (of course, a person would have to be living under a rock to not have picked up on Psycho’s twist at some point in their lives). Not so in Psycho III. Norman Bates is doubtlessly the bad guy in this one, so it just remains to be seen how he will get his comeuppance. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Psycho III”

The Empty Balcony: Dirty Harry

Dirty HarryThe tough-nosed cop with a disdain for the rules is a staple in film. Always butting heads with desk-bound lieutenants and mayors more concerned with getting reelected than cleaning up the streets, this breed of law enforcement officer has little time for procedure or the niceties of due process. Largely a fabrication of Hollywood, this cop operates in a world where the worse the crime, the more likely the guilty will go free due to the dreaded plot device known as “technicalities.” It’s all the more galling because there is never any doubt to the audience or to the hero that the bad guy is bad. Letting the bad guy go free because his rights were violated is nothing less than a miscarriage of justice, and it’s always left up to the hero cop to right such grievous wrongs. No film comes to mind that explored these ideas more effectively than 1971’s Dirty Harry. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Dirty Harry”