Some Trailers, “Hmm…” Version

Okay, my “don’t watch any more trailers!” phase lasted about two whole months or so before I started getting bugged by a few folks to, you know, go watch some trailers. I really didn’t want to because in my mind, they make me less likely to want to see a film thanks to too many of them being more or less edited in such a similar fashion that they tend to blend into “CG… or not CG” affairs with performance a secondary consideration. But that’s just my more jaded take. That and hey, I find seeing films totally cold makes them a lot more enjoyable.

In any event, I finally sat down and caught a few trailers for upcoming or already released films and as predicted, liked a few and didn’t like others. Here are a few I liked:



Okay, I’ve liked seeing Kristen Stewart really getting into some roles where you forget she was in all those Twilight films, so this not quite new (it was supposed to be released in 2017) 20th Century Fox release has my interest piqued. There’s an ALIEN vibe here that I like but the film seems to touch a few bases I hope get tackled well. It certainly seems to be more action-oriented than Ridley Scott’s 1979 film, though. But then again, modern trailers tend to make everything in a genre look like it’s going to pack in endless action scenes. I’m hopeful this one explores more than expected and can stand alone without a need for sequels galore. We shall see, of course.

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Random Film of the Weekend: Under Fire

(Thanks, robatsea2009!)

Under Fire MPIf it were released today, Roger Spottiswoode’s excellent drama Under Fire would probably carry an unfortunate “inspired by a true story” label it really didn’t require. While the film is a fine work on its own right, it’s at least partly inspired by the 1979 killing of ABC News journalist Bill Stewart and his translator by Nicaraguan National Guard forces, a tragic event that was shot on the sly by his cameraman from a nearby van and televised worldwide.

In the film, this moment comes fairly late in its running time, is staged differently and happens to one of the three American reporters we get to see go through hell as they try to survive the upsurge in violence that sweeps the country and eventually targets them…

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Random Film of the Week: Sharky’s Machine

Sharky's Machine_MPOkay, I’ll admit it. I saw Sharky’s Machine with a few friends back in 1981 just so we could see a massive train-wreck in action. Of course, we were all surprised that the Burt Reynolds-directed film was not only quite good and well made, but actually a lot darker in tone than expected. There are also plenty of scenery-chewing funny bits in here as well, but none of them come at Burt’s expense and very few come from him (another surprise!).

Those bits of comic relief come primarily from the supporting cast made up of some of those “Where do I know HIM from?” actors (Bernie Casey, Brian Keith, John Fielder and Charles Durning among others) while Burt underplays Sharky as a moody and determined cop out to make the best of his earlier demotion who discovers love, death and dismemberment in a few strange places. Only two of those things actually happen TO him during the film, but I’ll keep you in suspense here (for the most part) just because I want you to check this one out at some point…

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Random Film of the Week(end), Too: THE HAND

THE HAND_MPFor the record, I hated THE HAND when I first saw it and don’t like it much more today. Not because it’s not scary at all (its one or two jump scare moments and the nutty ending work for me), and not because Michael Caine isn’t “givin’ it ‘is awl” (heh) as a strip cartoonist who loses his drawing hand in a freak accident, gets a prosthetic replacement and soon has a bit of a psychological breakdown afterwards that involves a few dips into murder. Nope, Caine is fine and creepy here as Jon Lansdale and in fact, the other actors do a mostly fine job with Stone’s script (based on the Marc Brandel novel “The Lizard’s Tail”).

My big beef with the movie is how very, very little of Barry Smith’s outstanding comic art (created specifically for the film, mind you) is seen once the main credits have finished rolling. It’s a shame because the films isn’t quite the horror film it needs to be despite trying very hard to bridge the gap between low budget indie and major studio first effort (it was Stone’s first time behind the camera on a feature film). Granted, this isn’t supposed to be a Smith biopic or anything like that and I eventually saw a chunk of the art in an interview Smith did around when the film was released or so (and it’s some beautiful work). But for all the story’s emphasis on Lansdale’s Mandro character being so important (hell, no hand, bro means NO Mandro!), we never see that much of the artwork up close or find out much about Mandro other than the art looks like Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian when Smith’s art really matured near the end of his run on the book… Continue reading

Random Film of the Weekend (Too): Time After Time

(thanks, warnervod!) 

time after timeAmusingly enough, this RFoTW post was going to be about Somewhere in Time, but I’d mistakenly typed in Time After Time as the title of that film when doing a search for the poster, looked at the results and remembered that while SoT is indeed a fine (and highly underrated) gem, TAT is more pure fun to watch and does a few more interesting things with its characters and plot as it takes them from past to present.

Adding some unique twists to the time travel and Jack the Ripper mythologies, it combines mystery, drama, action and romance with bits of comedy that work despite some first time director flaws in the ointment. Oh, and it’s a grand little science fiction film that works because you’re sucked in so quickly and completely forget the fantastic elements being so farfetched thanks to the story, characters and direction making it so real…
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