Good morning folks, it’s Friday, time for the News Bites. For my regular readers, a quick update on when I’m getting back to regular content: very soon. The bad tooth was pulled out Tuesday, and while I’m still catching up on sleep and awaiting eating solid food again, I’m feeling pretty good. I want to build up a small buffer of watched films before I start posting reviews again, but hopefully those will start going up on Tuesday. The MMV will be along on Monday; I’m undecided right now on whether I’ll be posting a Sunday article or using the time to build up the buffer. It depends a bit on how things go; got a busy couple of days today and tomorrow.
But enough about me. You’re here for news about the movies. And there’s quite a bit of that, with sci-fi films, comedies, and family films all being heavily represented in this week’s News Bites. Read on to find out what’s going on! Continue reading →
Friday morning has rolled around once again, and if I had thought that previous weeks were indicating an increase in the amount of press releases coming out of Hollywood, this week’s the mother lode. Even with the usual caveat that there are things I miss or overlook or just don’t attribute any significance to, there’s a lot. In fact, there are just shy of two dozen news items this week.
Sheer volume indicates at least some of it should catch your interest, so let’s get to it, shall we? Continue reading →
Sometimes you know you want to see a movie because of the trailer, or good word of mouth. And sometimes it’s because you keep seeing little bits and pieces of it. I have to have seen small parts of Tango & Cash at least a dozen times while channel surfing, but it was always well into the movie. I’m the kind of person who hates watching a movie if it’s even ten minutes into it, so I never stopped to watch any more than a few seconds. But what I saw was enough to make me want to see the whole film.
Released in 1989, Tango & Cash is part of the “buddy cop” action-comedy subgenre that was so prevalent in the 1980s. Starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell, two of the most unabashedly fun action movie stars, it seemed to me like a film that was guaranteed to be a good time. Continue reading →
I suppose on some level I should have known better. An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn is a mockumentary about a terrible film. The risk that it was itself a terrible film should have been apparent, especially after I’d watched the horrendous Not Another Not Another Movie, which has a similar root premise and format. And its reception on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes certainly wasn’t setting the world on fire. But I thought it might still be worth watching. After all, it could simply have been too avant garde for most people; hey, it’s possible, and it’s certainly not a mainstream premise, after all. And it starred Eric Idle, who I’ve usually liked in films. And unlike Not Another Not Another Movie it wasn’t lying about its stars; it really does star Eric Idle in the title role as Alan Smithee. The potential was there. But, alas, it seems that movies about bad movies are themselves bad movies. Continue reading →
It can be interesting, when watching a movie in a series, to see how the series slowly evolves over time. With Rocky III, I’ve now seen the first half of the Rocky series, and I think I could safely be called a fan at this point; I have yet to encounter one I didn’t like, and like quite a bit. But Rocky III is definitely a different film than its predecessors, and if I had to make a guess, probably a bit of a turning point in the nature of the series. I gather Rocky IV involves Rocky taking on a villainous Russian boxer, and I can’t really picture that happening without this film altering the tone just a bit from the earlier ones.
Part of the change has to do with it being made in 1982. It’s early in the decade, but the 1980s influence is obvious from the beginning. Fireworks are going off, celebrating Rocky’s win against Apollo Creed in Rocky II. “Eye of the Tiger”, by Survivor — a song written for the movie which is probably as well known as the franchise itself by this point — plays over a montage of Rocky’s rising fame. Where the original Rocky was a bit grubby and gritty, Rocky III starts off slick and polished. Even when it shows a rough neighborhood later on, it’s still a 1980s rough neighborhood, with the sense that the characters are more at risk of an outbreak of boomboxes than violence. Continue reading →
Very few actors manage to have a career that’s completely free of bad films. There are several reasons why an actor might make a bad film, and not all of them have to do with it being a bad actor. Some otherwise good actors have made some very bad films. Sometimes it’s because they weren’t aware it was going to be bad until it was too late. Sometimes it’s because they recognize that, although it’s a bad film, it gives them a chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do, whether it was play a certain role or work with a certain person. Sometimes it’s so that their kids have something they can watch that stars their parent. And sometimes it’s for the money.
Many times, an actor seems unaware of how bad their film is. But other times, they come to admit it later on — or immediately upon release. When they do, they often come out with something funny or insightful. So here I’ve gathered a small selection of quotes from actors about some of their least-favorite movies. With a couple exceptions, most of these are fairly well respected actors on the whole. But the films in question? Not so much.
Incidentally, I went with 13 quotes because that was the number of quotes I wound up with on distinct films, after trimming out quotes that didn’t seem as interesting or as pithy. There are a few bonus quotes thrown in as well. In all cases, I believe either the actor, the movie, or usually both, will be recognizable, but I’ve provided some details on the films just to show the reception they’ve gotten. Continue reading →
As I mentioned when I reviewed the original Rocky, when I obtained the DVD of that film, it was part of a double feature with the first of the sequels. Having it close to hand, I knew I wasn’t going to wait too long to bust out Rocky II and see how well it held up to the first. Well, it seems like three weeks was about as long as it took for me to decide that it was time.
As with the first one, Sylvester Stallone wrote the script for Rocky II; unlike the first, this time he also directs, the studio apparently having been convinced he knows what he’s doing after all. Writing an Oscar-winning movie will do that for you sometimes. Naturally, Stallone reprises his role as Rocky, and all the other major actors from the film return as well. Talia Shire returns as Adrian, and Burt Young as her brother Paulie. Burgess Meredith returns as Rocky’s trainer, Mickey. And Carl Weathers returns as Apollo Creed… who has decided he very much wants a rematch against Balboa. Continue reading →
I may have made mention before that although I am a movie fan and now write a movie-reviewing blog, there are a great many classic films that I have never seen myself. That’s part of the reason why this blog is so heavy on older films; I’m taking the opportunity to fill in those gaps that — according to film critics, fellow movie fans, and pop culture in general — I really ought not to have. One of those gaps is Rocky. I have never seen a Rocky movie. Any Rocky movie. In my defense, the first one came out in 1976, a few years before I was born.
Obviously this is an omission that couldn’t stand. Rocky is perhaps the most critically acclaimed sports movie around, and is one of the few that is seriously touted as being an entertaining film even for people who aren’t fans of the sport in question. It’s also the film that really put Sylvester Stallone on the map, and hey, who doesn’t like Stallone? I spotted a double feature DVD at a used video store, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to acquire the first two Rocky films for less money than it would cost to rent one. I have no qualms at all about this film being in my collection, especially now that I’ve finally seen it. Continue reading →
The listing on Hulu for Shade touts it as “the first feature film from real-life card shark Damian Nieman”, with Nieman both writing and directing the picture. A quick check on IMDb revealed that it is in fact the only feature film from Nieman, who has no other writing or directing credits at all, having apparently dropped out of feature films afterward. He has a TV producer credit to his name (“The Takedown”), but it appears to have been very short-lived, and was also several years ago. On the whole, it would definitely give one cause for some trepidation on this film.
And yet, the film actually managed to surprise me, turning out to be far better than I would have expected from a freshman effort, let alone a solitary effort. Perhaps it’s fitting that it surprised me, because Shade refers to an act of distraction to cover deceit. The movie is a tale of the con, a film built around the story of a group of con artists looking for one big score, against the legendary “Dean” of card sharks.