(Not So) Random Film of the Week: Slipstream (1989)

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This one’s a real woozy-doozy, folks. But an innnnteresting woozy-doozy.

Welcome to this latest installment of VSAH, folks! Definitely check out this month’s other reviews from Todd at Cinema Monolith, Mike at Mike’s Take on the Movies, and Sir Wolf (you’ve been knighted, pal) over at Wolfman’s Cult Film Club.

slipstream 1989Ambition can be a weird and wild thing at times, particularly when it comes to film production whether it be a big deal studio film or tiny independent flick. Taking a pack of awesome ideas and turning them into reality (well, of the cinematic kind) while keeping an audience hooked into the world you’ve created it a risky business, specifically when it comes to fantasy and science fiction.

Granted, the actual “science” in most sci-fi is at best, suspect and at worst, more than enough to yank a viewer clean out of the experience and leave them scratching their heads raw (ow!) while they try and figure out what the hell is going on in some scenes as they miss an important plot point or three in the process.  On the other hand, a film like Steven Lisberger’s (TRON) absolutely ambitious 1989 film Slipstream isn’t going to be one where you question the science all that much (if at all) because you’ll likely be questioning a few other more important things from parts of its plot to some offbeat cameos that may add to the star power, but come off a bit too much like stunt casting or a few folks popping in for a fast paycheck.

 

slipstream pax

Bill Paxton, doing his best Bill Paxton doing Christian Slater look, circa 1989.

 

The film certainly kicks off ambitiously enough with a properly bombastic Elmer Bernstein main theme and a wonderfully shot flying sequence using one of a few of the custom made aircraft created specifically for the production. That plane is carrying the somewhat cantankerous “peacekeeper” Will Tasker (Mark Hamill) and his able-bodied assistant Belitski (Kitty Aldridge) and said plane is chasing a man in a nice suit (Bob Peck) running away from them to no avail. He’s caught up with and captured by the pair who plan to take him to some faraway location to be tried and executed for the murder he’s committed. Unfortunately for them, their nattily dressed prisoner is swiped by Matt Owens (Bill Paxton), a genial illegal arms dealer looking to make a big score when he discovers how valuable that prisoner is before he decides to try his hand at kidnapping.

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Random Art: Lost Weekend Or Future Gold Mine? It’s Your Move, Hollywood

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A few years back I was sitting in a diner listening to some folks at a nearby table debating some recent Hollywood remakes that were terrible (what else is new?) because they were basically updated version of the original films with more modern jokes. One of the guys at that table made the point that it would be better to remake a film that kept the title for familiarity but yanked the concept into new territory. A light bulb went off in my nosy little head and later at home I whipped up a poster idea for an old film I hated, Weekend at Bernie’s, re-imagining it as a dead serious zombie film of some sort with some of the same cast just to mess with the minds of those who recall it as a comedy.

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For some reason, this idea keeps popping in and out of my head every few months or so. Recently, thanks to more remakes that don’t need to be made at all getting some funky not so fresh trailers (like this one. Seriously? WHY?) But I’m not about to suggest any budding to veteran screenwriter tackle this for real. Well, unless you’re willing to deal with those who somehow hold this stinker “sacred” lining up at your doorstep (or on some message boards) to take you to task for desecrating their nostalgic memories of this flick.

WAB concept 3
 

Anyway, that first piece above is my latest revision of the idea, the one below that has a font I like better, the third is an old piece I just added some lettering to and this link goes to my horrible-looking original poster concept. I even worked up a plot outline at that time, but it didn’t have much of an ending. Or a middle for that matter. Hey, I just come up with ideas, ladies and germs. Someone toss me a sack of money and yeah, I’ll come up with the rest of that movie in a heartbeat. Inspiration comes from the strangest of places. Like a sudden sack of money, for example.

Society Blu-Ray Review

Society BR-DVD SetWhile I missed out on seeing Brian Yuzna’s Society during it limited run, I’d been hearing quite a lot about this 1989 film over the years while still managing not to see it until a review Blu-Ray popped up in the post. The outrageous “body horror” flick packed with intentionally campy performances, icky practical makeup effects by the legendary Screaming Mad George and a finale for the ages makes for one of those films that will cling to one’s grey matter for a while. Those squeamish to gore or sexual themes will be reaching for something to barf in, but there’s a definite “last gasp” of the 80’s Reagen era excess in the film’s themes and overall tone. Plus there’s just an overall sense of pure insanity that makes the film seem like both the best and worst nightmare you’ll ever have.
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Back to the Future Part II Proves The Future Actually Sucks…

Yeah, yeah. I was trying to be less of a curmudgeon this year, but the fact that people are waxing a wee bit too nostalgic over Back to the Future Part II and its “predictions” about the world of 2015 has roused me into a stupor over all this fanciful fawning. Let’s face it, folks: most of us are just too eager to over-appreciate some forms of technology despite realizing it’ll be abused and very royally mucked up once it gets into the paws of the public. The combination of old and new bad habits will make that otherwise cool tech too damn deadly to be of any use unless it’s under VERY highly controlled conditions… Continue reading

Madhouse Mondays: SOME New York City Employees Will Make You Lose Your Mind…

Edge of SanityIt kind of figures that the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has a Department of Vital Records where one needs to get a new or replacement birth certificate. Based on my experiences today with a few less than helpful people, I can clearly see why some see a trip to these official places to do the simplest of things can turn into the trip to mental hell. Crazy man, Crazy. I must have stepped on a black cat while walking under a ladder that a mirror had just shattered under after falling from my bag or something, as I ended up in the Coven of Ineffective Nepotism with the queen of the harpies as what they call “customer service”. Someone NEEDS to tell these people if I fill out a form as required AND bring in materials as requested AND have proof that I was emailed answers to the questions I’d asked (not once, but twice), I should be able to walk out of there with what I need and NOT my blood pressure much higher than it needs to be. To make matters worse, I was told flat out that “we don’t send out emails” when I noted that the lease with my signature on it WAS one of the items I was told I could use as proof of ID. Hell, all it would have taken to get me out of there was ONE phone call to the rental office to prove I’m who I say I was, as for some STUPID reason, they don’t take ANYTHING official with your name on it that’s past 60 days old… Continue reading

Review: R-Type Dimensions (PSN)

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Developer: Southend Interactive
Publisher: Tozai Games
# of Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Official Site
Score: A (95%)

Some things never change, and in the case of R-Type and R-Type II, this is a great thing even if you’ve always hated both for being so incredibly brutal to play through. Developer Southend Interactive has put together a neat little retro package with a few great modern twists for you arcade shooter fans as well as anyone looking for a true old school challenge that’s finally flown onto PSN after appearing on the Xbox 360 last year. R-Type Dimensions is an absolute must-buy if you like your games tough, tricky and full of replay value. Sure, both games combined only total a mere fourteen stages, but just like back in 1987 and 1989, both games will test your reflexes to the maximum. And if you take what’s here for granted, how far you can throw a controller.

If you’re terrible at these types of shooters, terminally lazy or just want to see the endings of both before you flee this mortal coil, Dimensions includes couch co-op play and a new Infinite mode that gives you multiple lives, allowing anyone to blow through the game no matter how many times you’re blasted into space dust. Of course, purists will want this because the classic games are intact and perfectly presented in terms of gameplay and even the terrible “Get me a proofreader!” text that spells out the rather minimalist story… Continue reading