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

Humor: A Vote For Iris Steensma Might Start Some More Fireworks

“I got some bad ideas in my head.”

 

taxi_driver_ver2_xlgWhile it’s still an example of great American film-making and a must-see movie, I’ve been having a recurring dream of a Taxi Driver followup for quite some time. As in over 20 years of random story ideas hitting me in the dream-space or while strolling around NYC. The city has changed so much since the film’s 1976 release, but in a (not so) weird way certain elements have cycled back into that film’s bleak version of the city, citizens, and some of the politics around them.

Granted, it’s never (ever!) going to happen unless the stars are in order (on a few fronts, ha and ha-ha) and some other key people think it’s a good idea. It’s not (at all), but Hollywood has done far worse updates of other films (for better or worse… mostly worse in my opinion). Nevertheless, I’m getting this silliness off my chest and out of my head so I can clear up space in the grey matter filing cabinet. 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

So, There’s a Horrible Bosses 2 On The Way. Um, Thanks?

 
Wait. Horrible Bosses 2? Well, there’s no accounting for taste, I suppose. Now, I didn’t “hate” Horrible Bosses, when I finally caught it on cable but it certainly wasn’t a film I’d thought I’d see a sequel for. The again, it seems that ANY major Hollywood comedy that rakes in some bucks takes the easy money route to Sequeltown, offering bigger paychecks to the returning cast while adding more names into the pot to get those who liked the original to go rushing into theaters for that big weekend or four before slowly to quickly declining returns push the feature down the other road to the inevitable “Own it on Blu-Ray/DVD” commercials that kick off without fail in under six months these days before the film is either bought or not bought on it’s next road to that cable premiere.

I’m not at all interested in Horrible Bosses 2, in case you didn’t guess. Nice try though, Warner Bros. (and that’s all I’ll say about that). Still, I bet there’s a Horrible Bosses 3 next year…

Random Film of the Week: Psycho II

psycho_ii_xlgWell, it’s Mother’s Day this week as well as my birthday (tomorrow, so you still have time to get me that gift or else!), so I’m going to have fun with this week’s pick. While seen as sacrilege to some fans of the original movie, for my money Psycho II is a nice surprise that does well at following up on Norman Bates’ life post-release from the institution he ended up in thanks to his deeds in the original.

Screenwriter Tom Holland and director Richard Franklin get some great (albeit limited) mileage out of Anthony Perkins here as he portrays Norman as trying to live the “normal” life, but ends up instead plagued by forced memories from the past intended to drive him back to his old ways. Or perhaps he’s hallucinating all that bad stuff? Whatever the cause, bodies start piling up (well, the actual death count is small compared to other films of the era), the mystery deepens and it’s not until the final reel that things become clear with a double twist corker of an ending that’s still amazing… Continue reading

Ro, No You Didn’t NBC… But I’ll Try To Keep An Open Mind…

Ro-NO-you-dont-NBC 
So… this is actually happening and let’s just say my skin is crawling (and NOT from fear). Granted, the cast seems solid and veteran TV director Angiezka Holland is an excellent choice (her work on AMC’s The Killing, HBO’s The Wire and other shows shows she’s a master at her craft), but the original film is so (and still) perfect at what it does that even the best intended reworking will fall short by comparison. I may catch this when it runs, but why the hell is it playing on Mother’s Day? Yeah, I get the inherent humor here, but ha-ha, I know some people won’t like the idea of this being a way to end an otherwise fine holiday. Eh, my mom will probably watch it just because she was around to see the Polanski classic and I think she liked it a lot.

(Yeah, it LOOKS creepy… but sadly, by network standards ONLY) 

The mini-series format and network not cable airing bugs me as well, but given that network TV has been approaching mild levels of cable-like content for a while now, I’m sure that this will deliver where it counts. That said, I definitely don’t like some saying this isn’t a remake because of the Parisian setting and whatever else has been changed from the book and original film. Zoe Saldana’s got a similarly skinny frame and has a variation on the haircut Mia Farrow had, it’s still the same plot (despite a few changes here and there) and if they show the baby in this one, it’ll destroy the ending of the film because it ruins the mystery completely of what the spawn of the devil would look like. That and you can’t top the dream sequence from Polanski’s classic one bit.

As noted in the title, I’ll try to keep an open mind, but there are a few strikes against this one already for me. Hopefully, the cast and director can save this one enough that even the more ardent fans will want to check it out. I’d imagine though, if it DOES do well, we’ll either see NBC trot it out yearly (eek) or get a sequel fast-tracked for next year (double eek). That idea didn’t do well for the original film at ALL, by the way…

The Raid 2: Before The Brutal Ballet Begins, A Brief Peek…

SONY-XROS-01_MPAA_030614.indd

1. DSC_5266With The Raid 2 finally hitting theaters this Friday, here’s a peek at some stills you can see without wincing or ducking down behind the back of the seat in front of you as well as a few GIFs to make your eyeballs bounce around in their sockets if you happen to like that sort of thing. I still catch the first film on cable when I have time to spare or need the sounds of bones cracking as background noise when I write. It’s actually very relaxing under the proper circumstances.

Um… well… I guess you need to be here when I’m in a good mood and can work to anything playing in the room. Here’s the film’s trailer in case you need to know what I’m babbling about:

More pictures (moving and not) below the jump…

Continue reading

The Raid 2 Trailer: Well, Ain’t That A Kick In The Head (And A Few Other Places)?

 
Oh, the pain, the paaaain. The Raid: Redemption was one of the wilder action movies of the past decade thanks to some well shot brutal, lightning paced edge of the seat action and a twisty plot that kept audiences guessing. I won’t go over the story here at all as this is one of those movies that needs to be seen with a few friends just so you can all pick up each others’ jaws when they keep popping off and falling on the floor. The upcoming sequel (written and directed by Gareth Evans) looks to up the ante with even more creative uses of violence and wait, is that the crazy fighter MAD DOG making a return? WHAAAAAT? Hey, he was dead in the first film! Hmmmm. Unless it’s his twin ass-kicking brother or he somehow survived that fluorescent tube to the neck (OUCH!) and some other grievous injuries, there’s gonna be some ‘splanin’ to do. Oh, I think it won’t make mucg sense in the grand scheme of things, but now I have to find out what the heck he’s doing here other than making people flip out because he’s still alive…

This should be innnnnnnteresting, people, stay tuned.

EDIT: a bunch of you kind folks have chimed in to let me know that that guy who LOOKS just like Mad Dog is not Mad Dog at all, but an entirely different character named Prakoso… who just so happens to be played by the same actor. Well, that changes things up quite a lot. Let’s hope it’s not revealed that it’s really Mad Dog’s evil clone, second of a set of sextuplets or anything else too goofy that sucks the fun out of all that carnage.

SHARKNADO 2 On the Way? It Is if You’re a Fan of NWA!

Yeah, I watched that damn dumb flick last night and man, it was AWFUL. And awfully hilarious. And why the hell were some of the funniest and crudest jokes said in the background as if they were dubbed in later? Oh well. Junk TV is Junk TV. Of course, the mad, mad satirists at Taiwan’s wonderful NWA World know this AND they do better cheesy CGI effects than the guys at Asylum. I say let THEM do that sequel. This fake trailer PROVES they can hack it and make it cheaper to boot! Hell, I’d BUY this if it were on a DVD…