Worst Assassins Ever (The Non-Blogathon!) #1: The French Connection

the_french_connection

A good cop? Oh, the irony of that caption. Or, a picture is worth a thousand words (or less)…

IF yours truly was ever going to host a blogathon, it would either be something like the ‘That’s NOT My City!’ or ‘Worst Assassins EVER!’ blogathon because both are topics that make me chuckle in films more than they’re supposed to. As a native New Yorker who’s heard from a bunch of friends over the decades about how certain films shot here (or places pretending to be here) range from inspiring (great!) to “It’s so unsafe there! Do you actually go out at night?” (lousy!), I can think of far too many made in (or outside) in NYC films to scribble about. As for terrible assassins in films, with assistance I could probably write a book on how the best of the best go from first in their class to dirt-napping klutzes thanks to inconvenient plot monkey wrenches needing them to forget how good they are in favor of making a series of increasingly terrible decisions that put them into the hall of shamefully comedic demises.

However, between being a bit more scattered than usual (“I want the hangings public” is my mantra of late) and not motivated enough to create all those GIFs, promo posters and banner art to pass out to potential contributors, I’ve decided to flip a coin for the name and non-host a stealth blogathon anyone can contribute to. Or not. Actually, this particular film popped into my head first because it fits both categories perfectly AND happens to be a great essential flick that’s still well worth a look. For those about to complain… don’t. I love this film to death, but repeated viewings over a few decades show it’s got a hidden comic gold vein running through it in the form of one the the most inept professional killers you’ll ever see. Continue reading

Random Film Of The Week: Predator 2

predator_2_ver1As sequels go, Predator 2 shouldn’t even work as well as it does. But here it is in all its Hollywood circa 1990 R-rated violent glory, still making me laugh both with and at it. Granted, you need a particular sense of humor to appreciate the film as a whole, as trying to pick it apart into chunks of good and bad ends up wrecking the work put into making it completely bonkers yet a total blast to sit down with for a spell.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t available for this sequel thanks to disagreements over his fee (something a little film called Terminator 2: Judgment Day would take care of forever), the film dropped his Dutch character and moves the setting ten years ahead to a sweaty 1997 Los Angeles where a heat wave and gang warfare lure in a new Predator for some urban hunting action. Inspired casting abounds here, with Danny Glover leading the way as Lieutenant Michael Harrigan, a not quite by the book cop who, like others in these sorts of action flicks, has unconventionally heroic means of getting the job done. Reuben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso and Bill Paxton also play cops working with Harrigan as Jamaican and Colombian drug gangs blast each other as well as anyone that happens to get between them.

(Thanks, Forever Horror!) 

When the bulk of the Colombian gang is wiped out in what looks like a ritualistic sacrifice, Harrigan and his team immediately suspect the Jamaicans. But the loss of one of his team reveals there’s a third party at work here and Harrigan sets out to get to the bottom of things and possibly get some revenge in the process. Little does he realize that the bottom of things is very literally under the steaming streets in the form of a trophy packed alien ship. Continue reading

Happy Almost New Year (Burying The Hatchet With Haste Edition)


 

This year has been significantly… bumpy (to put it mildly). Here’s hoping 2017 gets off to a better start, although it’s going to be rough seas ahead in some important areas. I’m expecting mistakes to be made with either no or poor to unacceptable excuses made for each error that erases something that was just fine before the hammer fell on its foot hard. And that’s just here on the getting stuff done front, ha and ha-ha.

Or, to get real, let’s use Psycho II (a far better film than some give it little to no credit for) as a perfect analogy of just how crappy this year has been on some key fronts. That murderous old lady is 2016 and NormanBates is 2017. It’s your move, Norm:

(Thanks, IntgrScienceFilms3!)
 

Okay, let me shut up and go try to be a bit more productive. If I don’t post anything else today, Have a Happy New Year celebration, be safe and better yet, be prepared for the coming storm or at least, be ye not wholly surprised when wolfy promising yields rather sheepish results.

-GW

ALIEN: Covenant Trailer: Eggs Over Uneasy

Officially, it’s this:

517-film-page-large

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT, a new chapter in his groundbreaking ALIEN franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

In Theaters – May 19, 2017

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby

Tonally, for me it’s this: I’m getting Prometheus repeat visual vibes from the gorgeous CG landscapes with that magnificently muted but sharp high-def color palette, a crew of clueless soon to be victims stuck on a planet poking around at stuff better left to robots to check out and some of the interesting casting choices made. Hopefully the film won’t suffer from the same stupidity of poorly written characters clogging up the story with 50’s era “B” flick shenanigans that took me completely out of Scott’s last attempt. Which means I’m not too sold on Danny McBride (although I love him in his comedic work dearly) the same way I wasn’t sold on Paul Reiser in Jim Cameron’s ALIENS until I saw the film in a theater when it first opened. We shall see.

aliencovenant-header

Other than this post, I’m not going to follow the film at all online other than to run any newer trailers Fox drops with as little commentary as possible. Weird, yes. But I like not having an entire film ruined for me by constant hunting for every bit of info which only leads to too much speculation and eventually disappointment when and if something major is or seems missing. Besides, aren’t new experiences SUPPOSED to be fun and/or surprising? This blasted modern culture of seeking out secrets and spilling them is nothing but a destroyer of otherwise interesting entertainment, I say.

Now go have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I got one of my presents early. Thanks, Ridley!

-GW

Save

Blade Runner 2049: Wake Up… Time To Cry

(Read in Deckard’s voice):

I woke up late and with a headache. This teaser was waiting for me like a cat sitting on my chest with a freshly killed canary in its mouth as a present. Of course, that cat and the canary were from the dream I had last night, but that’s not important. Did you know you can’t accidentally step on a cat in a dream because it’ll always get out of the way? Of course, you can definitely step on an origami unicorn, which is kind of painful if you’re getting out of bed at 3am to go to the bathroom. Ow. Someone keeps leaving those damn things around the house in the strangest places. I found one in a sealed bottle of whisky last week. If it’s Gaff, he’s got some talent… and a weird sense of humor…

Yeah, that makes no sense because I never thought Blade Runner needed a proper sequel. We shall see, though. This teaser copies the languid pacing and gritty future noir tone of the original and yes, seeing an old Ford pop out of the shadows in a grin-worthy sight. That said, if he’s the sole link to the first film cast-wise, it may feel a bit awkward to younger viewers who never saw it or somehow don’t get what the connection is to Gosling and his funky coat. Oh, you can stop doing that Deckard voice now. It was only for that fake quote. I actually did wake up late, though. Off to find some coffee – back in a bit.

-GW

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Teaser Makes EVERYONE a Critic


Wow. Well, I generally hate over-hyped movies to no end, but the marketing team for Luc Besson’s gorgeous-looking upcoming adaptation of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is made up of some raise-deserving geniuses. Clearly realizing the director’s work tends to be polarizing to those who take it too seriously or go in with biases, they’ve decided to let anyone who comments on the trailer get their own personalized blurb version just for commenting on the teaser. This made me chuckle to no end and yes, I needed that laugh. If you need a similar laugh of your own, well here you go. Have at it and feel free to share that link when you get it.

The Jury’s (Not) Out: Out of Service, Down For The Count

blacksloth_1024x1024

Rather appropriate for my current situation, I’d say. Go click that pic and buy a shirt. Hell, buy ME a shirt while you’re at it!

Ugh. So, thanks to running back and forth to serve on a jury in a modern but not cleaned too regularly court packed with common folk and their assorted germs, I’m sick as a dog. Well, a sick dog with a raw throat and assorted aches. While I have no issues with serving at all other than the long waiting times, uncomfortable seating and yeah, people coughing, sneezing and sniffling like mad, feeling as if I’ve been trapped in the most boring convention meets Groundhog Day is both annoying and amusing.

Okay, I’m going back to bed now, tonic in hand. My inbox is BURSTING with nice, busy news and such,but I’m in no shape to get to it. Ooof. We’ll see how I feel in a few hours/tomorrow, as I hate being this sick for no reason other than I was pressed into service in a public place that should be a great deal better maintained.

-GW

Blu-Ray Review: The Bloodstained Butterfly

the-bloodstained-butterfly-av063Duccio Tessari’s 1971 thriller The Bloodstained Butterfly is a great entry point to the genre for those squeamish viewers curious about gialli but not willing to commit to the more violent entries known to more ardent fans. The film is part murder mystery, part courtroom drama and part revenge flick, all stylishly shot and scored to excellent effect.

It’s also a bit of a slow fuse to its conclusion, but that’s not a bad thing at all. The film’s structure where a murder is committed and witnessed, a suspect is caught, tried and jailed, but more murders take place is yes, pure TV drama stuff you’ll see on way too many episodes of whatever Law & Order series you’ve been hooked on for who knows how long. But, Tessari’s confident style comes through in every shot, making for a highly watchable viewing experience.

Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: The House of Seven Corpses

the_house_of_seven_corpses_mp“Trust me… dying’s easy! Living is hard”

And so is watching some movies, pal.

Upon finding yourself on the set of a horror film or hell, ANY film where someone starts reading from a musty old book written in an indecipherable language, Rule Number One is this: LEAVE. You want examples? Sure. Equinox, The Evil Dead, In The Mouth of Madness, The Beyond, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, The Ninth Gate, and so forth and so on.  ALL of these flicks were initially rom-coms until someone on set decided to crack open a nasty, smelly old book they found, bought, pilfered or borrowed and all hell lit-er-al-ly broke loose.

Okay, not really. But you know you’re in for a deadly day for night shoot when there’s an old tome read and not much common sense exhibited by the cast once stuff starts going south. Sadly, 1974’s The House of Seven Corpses isn’t as good or fun enough a flick to watch as the above mentioned ones, wasting its tome (ha!) with too much “exposition” from annoying characters, John Carradine phoning in a performance from a better, scarier but campier film, and some slightly to moderately creepy undead that whittle down the cast and crew of a romantic comedy cheapie horror flick one by one.

hotc-zombie

It’s probably not a big co-inkydink that the film was produced by a company called Television Corporation of America, as save for a few moments, this looks and feels like a TV movie of the era. No, that’s not a complement.

Continue reading

DVD Review: Psychomania

psychomania-1973This one’s for Mr. Bruno, who asked how this 1973 British “horror” flick was. Here’s your answer in the form of an opinion, sir. While it’s got a cult following, is fun as hell to watch, has some striking imagery, Psychomania (aka The Death Wheelers) is very much a “meh” genre flick overall that hasn’t aged well and isn’t even remotely scary. It has some fine ideas and even a solid John Cameron score holding things together. But a lack of “edginess” or even a true sense of danger doom it as a “serious” scare flick.

That said, it’s got that cult following that adores it for a few key reasons such as a brilliant opening sequence, those GREAT skull painted motorcycle helmets worn by The Living Dead cycle gang, a killer shot of a formerly deceased biker bursting from the grave on the bike he was buried on, and a bunch of hilarious demises as most of the gang kills themselves in order to return as immortal bikers… from helllllll!

(Thanks, BFI!)

The plot goes like so: Death-obsessed cycle gang leader Tom Latham (Nicky Henson) discovers he can die via suicide and come back as an un-killable death-obsessed cycle gang leader with the aid of his frog-cult worshiping mum (Beryl Reid). Once risen, he lets his gang, The Living Dead in on his secret and they follow suit, save for his girlfriend Abby (Mary Larkin) who doesn’t want to join the ranks of the undead. There’s a bunch of bloodless murders and pre-Mad Max road crimes and chases, a lot of talking and a very weird finale that may baffle you if you weren’t paying attention to the kooky story and just wanted a more brainless flick to chill out to.

Continue reading