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Escape From L.A. (1996) – Snake Plissken Is Back In A Parody Of His Own, Old Adventure

Escape_From_LAEscape From LA is the 1996 unnecessary sequel to the classic 1981 action film, Escape from New York. In Escape From New York, Snake Plissken (played by Kurt Russell), is enlisted to rescue the President, who’s plane has crashed in New York. New York, once a bustling metropolis, has been turned into a giant prison without guards, and run by different factions of criminals. Plissken goes in, and against all odds, rescues the President. In the 1996 sequel, Snake is back (and still being played by Kurt Russell). This time he is expected to retrieve a control for a space based nuclear weapons platform that was stolen by the new, President for Life’s daughter in an act of defiance, and brought to LA, now also a prison, separated from the rest of the continental United States by an earthquake, and given to Cuervo Jones (Georges Corraface), an ex Peruvian Shining Path rebel, and leader of the most powerful faction of criminals in L.A. Snake originally turns down the job… that is until he finds out he has no real choice in the matter, and only has about a day to complete the task…or else. Once in L.A., Plissken goes about the task of locating the President’s daughter and Cuervo. At first it seems like he may get some help from "Map to the Stars" Eddie (Steve Buscemi), but maybe…. just maybe Eddie has his own plans.

Anyway, Plissken gets captured, gets loose, gets into some fights (with and without weapons), and of course, gets the job done. But with almost all movies, things just aren’t that simple. Who is the true bad guy?

This is a silly, parody o the original Escape From New York. I could see some true fans of the original possibly hating this movie, but if you watch it with the mindset similar to mine, where you were looking for some silly action entertainment, then you might like it. Just don’t go in expecting a serious, action movie and you should be okay.

Check out the trailer below:


Eastwood Week Movie 2 – Every Which Way But Loose (1978) – Clint’s a Prize Fighting, Orangutan Owner With A Big Heart and Bigger Fists

EverywhichwaybutloosemovieposterDamn this is a fun movie. I saw this one back in 1978 when my Uncle Andre brought me to see it with him. I was eight, going on nine and I had a freakin’ field day. I loved the movie then, and I love the movie now.

Clint Eastwood plays Philo Beddoe, a truck driver who sidelines as a prize fighter to supplement his income. Philo is also the owner of Clyde, an Orang-utan that he won in a fight. Philo’s best buddy is Orville Bogg. Philo falls for a tiny blonde country singer by the name of Lynn Halsey-Taylor (Sandra Locke), who he pusues (though she doesn’t try to get away). Lynn tells Philo of her abusive, controlling  boyfriend who doesn’t mind is she sees guys on the side. She paints a bleak picture of a controlling jerk. Philo falls for this and her story of wanting to save up for a Country music club of her own, needing only $7000 (and unsure of how much she has as the jerk boyfriend controls all the cash). Philo, feeling for her, offers to take care of that boyfriend – something she declines. Instead, he starts giving her cash to get her toward that goal of getting her club. Well, one day Philo goes to the hotel where she was staying to find she and the abuser have left, leaving little or no trace. Philo decides he should follow/find her (thinking she may be in trouble). Orville and Clyde come along for the ride, quickly picking up a very cute Beverly D’Angelo who was working at a side of the road fruit stand – Orville charmed her and she decided to joining the search for Lynn. Philo take a couple of fights along the way to raise some cash. At one fight, after winning, the guys in charge of the betting try to screw them out of their winnings, only to be put in their place by an up until then quiet Beverly D’Angelo. Very funny. Of course the seach for Lynn doesn’t end particularly happy. Feeling bad for himself, Philo takes a fight against Tank Murdock, the king of the illegal fights. A great fight ends the movie, with a little bit of a twist…

Damn this is a good, funny movie. I strongly suggest you see this one. Check out the trailer below:


Eastwood Week Movie 1 – High Plains Drifter (1973)

High_Plains_Drifter_posterWow… Wowwowwow.

Wow.

How have I not seen High Plains Drifter before this? this 1973 Western is a gritty, dark tale. A tale of deceit, of murder and vengeance. Heck, it’s even a ghost story. This is a very unique film, and a very good one at that. A drifter enters a small town, apparently looking for a drink, a shave, a bath and a bed. Once there he is confronted by three guys, Company men, they are called. In defense he kills all three. The local sheriff tells him they were known to be trouble and that he didn’t have to worry about charges. Heck, the sheriff would like to hire him to protect the town from three gun fighters, just released from jail that will most likely be coming back to the town to seek vengeance for their incarceration. The stranger, played by Clint Eastwood, at first declines, but when the sheriff offers him “anything he wants,” he accepts the job, and goes about making big changes to the town. These changes cause some of the town to question the decision to put him in charge of the town’s defense. The stranger is also troubled by dreams, dreams of the town’s Marshal being whipped to death by the men who he is hired to protect the town. While the murder is taking place, the people of the town stand by and do nothing to stop it. Is it a dream? Or are these memories? It seems pretty obvious to me. The stranger gets the town busy making changes. He run drills simulating an attack and has the town folk put up resistance, preparing them for the inevitable attack that is to come. He also orders unusual things to be done, like painting the town red, and having the towns people tear apart a livery barn to build picnic tables an such… The business men of the town are really questioning their initial decision to hire this stranger. So much so that they try to kill him themselves… Yeah, good luck boys. When the attack comes, the towns people’s weak attempts at fighting off the gun men come to little, and eventually (hell, pretty damned quickly), they have the upper hand, and have gathered the remaining towns folk together in the saloon. Well, this isn’t over folks – they still have to deal with the Stranger…

Okay, let’s not give it all away. I will say that this is a creepy, dark Western. It’s also one of the best Westerns I have ever seen. Actually this is just a really good movie, chock full of darkness and hidden meanings. Heck, it’s a Western and a Ghost story, and it does both great. For the first movie of Eastwood Week, I have to say it’s an incredible start. Check out the trailer below, and then immediately go find yourself a copy and watch it today!


Vampire Week Movie 5 – Shadow of the Vampire (2000)–The Troubles of Casting a Vampire – In Your Vampire Movie

ShadowoftheVampireposterSet during the shooting of the iconic 1922 Vampire film, Nosferatu, Shadow of the Vampire tells the tale of the dangers that can face you when you look for too much realism in your films. Staring John Malkovich as famous German Director, Frederich Wilhelm Murnau, during his filming of the above mentioned Nosferatu. Taking his cast and crew to film on location in Czechoslovakia, where he instroduces the rest of the crew to the star of the film, Max Schreck, whom, Murnau explains, will be in character for the entire time of the filming, and will only be seen at night. Schreck is played masterfully by Willem Dafoe. When members of the crew start to disappear, we see interesting back and forth  between Murnau and the Vampire, in which we find out that Murnau has made a very interesting and questionable bargain with the Vampire: His good behaviour for the life of one of his cast. Shame it’s so difficult to deal with the undead. 

Shadow of the Vampire puts a new twist to the Vampire movie: it’s a movie about the making of a vampire movie – wherein the Director of said movie chose to hire a real Vampire to play the title role. The cast is composed of a lot of “A” Listers and they all do an amazing job in this unusual film. The story is gripping, and the switch between regular filming, and the representation of what Murnau is capturing on his cameras is a great way to capture the dualism of the story. After watching this, I was compelled to watch the original, 1922 Nosferatu the very next day. If you enjoy horror movies, plot twists and damn good acting then you owe it to yourself to watch this film. Check out the trailer below:


Tarantino Week–Movie 5–Jackie Brown (1997)

Jackie_Brown70'sYou know what? I think Tarantino likes the 1970’s.. well, so do I, so do I.

Jackie Brown is such a throwback to the Blaxploitation films of the 1970’s that I almost think that Tarantino travelled back in time to gather up some magic, earth toned 70’s mojo to pack into this film… or not.

Starring Pam Grier (yeah, the tough chick from… those 70’s Blaxploitation films… see? I told you!), as Jackie Brown, a tough attractive flight attendant, who supplements her meagre wage by smuggling cash into the US from Mexico for a gun runner named Ordell Roberts, played by the seriously awesome Samuel L. Jackson. When one of Ordell’s mules gets caught and incarcerated, Ordell aranges for their bail, and kills them so they won’t turn informant. Soon after, Jackie herself gets caught by the feds bringing in cash and drugs (which were placed on her, without her knowledge). Refusing to testify against Ordell, she is locked up. Despite her refusal to talk, Ordell is still worried that she may talk to the feds, so he arranges her release, and plans on killing her too. Turning the tables on Ordell (a pistol will do things like that), she negotiates with Ordell to pretend to be working with the feds while smuggling a crap load of cash for Ordell.

This movie, like almost all Tarantino films, is freakin’ jam packed full of great stars. Honestly, here is a list of the stars in this crazy, throwback of a movie:

-This list was copied directly from the Wikipedia article on this movie which can be found here .

Oozing cool, Jackie Brown delivers 1970’s awesomeness, updated (just enough), for a (mostly), modern audience. If you haven’t seen this film, and like the style of Tarantino films, then this is for you. If you like your films, antiseptically clean, then walk away…and why are you reading this blog anyway?

Check out the trailer below, and why not watch this masterpiece tonight?


Tarantino Week–Movie 4–Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp_Fiction_cover1994’s epic movie, Pulp Fiction, is a crazy, head spinning movie that just doesn’t give you a chance to take a breath. Like almost all Tarantino movies, it has a cast that is virtually a who’ who of Hollywood (as of 1994).

Pulp Fiction is a homage to the crazy B-Movies of the 60’s and 70’s, right down to the out of order timeline of events in the film. You’ve got a couple of thugs, or muscle for a Mobster by the name of Marcel, Vincent Vega (John Travolta), and Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson), who among other jobs, are sent to collect a briefcase with…something in it, from some young guys, who apparently believe Marcel is a bitch (watch the movie…). Things go wrong and things get messy.

We also have a sub story about a boxer, Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), who’s been paid heavily by none other than non-bitch Marcel, to take a dive in his upcoming fight.. yeah, things go wrong, and Butch and his weird and annoying French girlfriend are on the run.  Later, Butch and Marcel end up captives to some hillbilly homosexual sadist rapists. Things get crazy again. Release the Gimp. and in another segment, Butch surprises Vincent… with deadly results.

We also have Vincent, charged with keeping Marcel’s wife, Mia (Uma Thurman), entertained while Marcel is away. The two end up at a cool, over the top, 50’s style diner. There’s some talk of a $5 milk shake and a great dance off… and then later, back at Marcel’s and Mia’s things get crazy, Mia ends up almost dead, rushed to Vincent’s heroin dealer’s house with a syringe of adrenalin sticking out of her chest.

Somewhere in the middle, a crazy criminal couple (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) decide they want to rob the restaurant where Vincent and Jules are chilling out in. Things get intese this time, with Jules and holding a gun to Roth’s neck and explaining the deal to him…

Damn this movie is cool – awesome and out of sight. Some people (my wonderful wife included), do not like the fact that the story line is not linear, but I think that’s part of what makes the movie as great as it is. Should you watch this film? Yes, many times.

Check out the trailer below:


Tarantino Week–Movie 3: True Romance (1993)

True_romance

True Romance is a crazy, wild ride of a movie. Written by Quentin Tarantino, and starring Christian Slater as Clarence Worley and Patricia Arquette as Alabama Whitman, a young couple who meet at a Sonny Chiba triple play at a theatre in Detroit. They hit off real good, have dinner and then both end up at Clarence’s apartment, having sex. Alabama then admits she’s a hooker hired by his boss, to help him blow off some steam. She also admits that she’s managed to fall in love with him over the course of the evening.  This is fortunate, as apparently Clarence has fallen in love with her also. Having known each other for a whole night, they do the logical thing and get married. Now Clarence has to deal with Alabama’s Pimp, Drexl (Gary Oldman). What confronting the pimp, and after a ruckus, and a visit from Clarence’s muse/alter ego/imaginary friend in his head, Drexl ends up dead, and Clarence accidentally ends up with a suitcase full of cocaine. The newly webs hatch a plan to sell the cocaine and restart their lives somewhere warm… Well, the coke was the Mobs, and soon the two are being tracked down by some unsavoury characters, one being the always awesome Christopher Walken as gangster Vincenzo Coccotti. Before the duo leave Detroit for California, they stop by Clarence’s estranged fathers, a police officer by the name of Clifford, played by Dennis Hopper a Detroit police officer, to find out what the police believe the motive for Drexl’s murder. After they leave, Coccotti and his crew end up at Cliffords to drill him on the location of Clarence and Alabama… A great exchange between two great actors happens…only one survives.

Off to Cali, the dynamic duo meet up with an old friends of Clarence, who begrudgingly agrees to help him sell the cocaine to a director he kind of knows, using a go between, played by Bronson Pinchot. Things go wrong, cops get involved, a meeting happend and everything goes to crap…

This movie is crazy and cool – crazy cool? Yeah. Unlike the Kill Bill movies (and the others I will be reviewing), this is written by Tarantino, but directed by Tony Scott, and therefore has a different feeling than Tanatino directed films – but don’t think that is a bad thing, it’s just different. This is a great film and deserves to be watched.

Check out the trailer: