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post #331 of 338 Old 06-05-2015, 12:30 PM
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Time to demand a Blu-ray! Or perhaps insist on a correct aspect ratio DVD.

I don't know who owns this one. Lorimar was one of the producers; might Warner now have it? If so, maybe their Archive line could do it. Are music rights an issue?

Or any boutique label, please.

You don't see many reviews, and even fewer with appreciative notes. Here's one: Underrated 80’s Thriller: “Mary Lambert’s Siesta” (1987).

-Bill
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post #332 of 338 Old 06-05-2015, 03:39 PM
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Back in the day (a brief day perhaps, but boy was it a sunny, warm, memorable day), Ellen Barkin was your go-to sexpot, bedroom eyes, husky voice vamp. And boy did she deliver. She brought it for lunch, and you stayed for dinner if you were smart. The Big Easy, Siesta, others. There were some notorious Barkin flicks, and you didn't go see them for the set design.


Still has those eyes, I see (from Google Image search). Viva Ellen!
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post #333 of 338 Old 06-14-2015, 05:05 AM
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The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), directed by W.D. Richter.

Quote:

Mission Control: Buckaroo, The White House wants to know is everything ok with the alien space craft from Planet 10 or should we just go ahead and destroy Russia?

Buckaroo Banzai: Tell him yes on one and no on two.

Mission Control: Which one was yes, go ahead and destroy Russia... or number 2?
When human experimentation releases moronic Red Lectroids trapped in the 8th Dimension, the rasta-like Black Lectroids of Planet 10 aren't having it. The always heavily armed Team Banzai has just a few hours to frustrate the plans of Dr. Emilio Lizardo -- who is possessed by Lord John Whorfin -- or it's curtains for the entire Earth.

And you know: it's always one damn thing after another. Super-genius Buckaroo Banzai has just discovered the twin sister of his dead wife, previously murdered by the head of the World Crime League. Love blooms again. Rescue her, save the Earth and get the band on the road again.

We were nuts about this when it was in the theater and have been quoting it ever since. The reviews were kind but somewhat befuddled about being dropped into an adventure with a huge backstory and no explanation, requiring the viewer to hit the ground running.

Well, yeah.

This was "meta" before it was cool. Superheroes who are actually pretty normal apart from intelligence, skills and warm loyalty to each other. They produce their own Buckaroo Banzai comic books and have a tour bus for their band which doubles as the World Watch One command center.

The conceit is attractive: these people come from truck stops and cheap lounges scattered across Nowhere USA. Any sincere viewer might imagine themselves as a Blue Blazer Irregular and part of the family. The plot summary sounds silly but is actually engaging, compared to something like Flash Gordon (1980), which is all silliness.

Great cast and abundant goofy charm. Ellen Barkin again: I'm on a binge.

Special effects and set dressing are pretty much hand-made and lots of fun to watch.

One criticism would be that the political satire with the President and his staff goes on too long.

(An aside: what is with the initials "P.P." for female sidekicks in fantasy adventure films? Barkin is Penny Priddy and her sister was Peggy Priddy. Gwyneth Paltrow is Pepper Potts in the Iron Man films and was Polly Perkins in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow).

The old special edition DVD has a lot of nice extras, but the video quality needs an upgrade. I see some Blu-ray imports are available, and a new Arrow Blu-ray appears in the UK in July 2015.

A commentary track on the DVD has the director with writer Earl Mac Rauch pretending that this is a filmed docu-drama of real events, with actors portraying their real counterparts. Rauch is supposed to be the real "Reno".



-Bill
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post #334 of 338 Old 06-14-2015, 08:32 AM
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Thanks for the review but as many times as I've watched this movie I can't warm to it. I know several people who love Buckaroo Banzai. Interesting that it has a big backstory that helps explain what's going on. Flash Gordon on the other hand is steeped in tradition and needs no explanation. It's dorky fun.

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post #335 of 338 Old 07-19-2015, 03:13 PM
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Krull (1983), directed by Peter Yates.

The interplanetary Slayers arrive on Planet Krull and kidnap the Princess. The Beast of the Black Fortress -- inexplicably -- wants to mate with her and make her ruler of this planet and others.

Her Prince picks up an Obi-wan type wizard and assorted outlaws and comic relief characters and sets out to rescue her. This takes time because the Quest always needs one more damned thing before they can get down to the real rescuing business.

I remembered nothing about this apart from the Princess gliding about in white. She picked up a sword once and I thought she might fight, but no: she threw it to a soldier who was instantly killed. She does a plot twist at the beginning, arguing for a political marriage, her father being against it. Usually it's the other way around.

We must be missing some backstory because the epilogue says her son will rule many planets; absence of a spaceship is not a problem somehow.

After Star Wars (1977) everyone wanted medieval-themed science fiction adventure/romances. This one is harmed by cheezy effects, poor dialogue, inconsistent tone and general silliness. Some of the mountain locations are very impressive and the large set designs are eerie and imaginative.

Early work for Robbie Coltrane and Liam Neeson, who often played hulking brutes in those days. They are among the good outlaws here.

James Horner score emphasizing John Williams motifs. The giant spider cavern sounds more like Bernard Herrmann.

Available on Blu-ray from Mill Creek. No subtitles.



-Bill
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post #336 of 338 Old 08-01-2015, 05:15 AM
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Scandal (1989), directed by Michael Caton-Jones.

A society doctor takes in a 17-year-old dancer and promotes her "career", which is partying with the rich and famous. He's not her pimp or her lover, just a friend whose pleasure comes from knowing and mixing with the elite set, doing them favors and getting favors in return.

A pair of inconvenient alliances draws attention from the authorities: she's been sleeping with both the Secretary for War and a Russian military attaché, probably a spy. Oops. That's a security problem.

This is the Profumo affair, the British political sex scandal by which all others are measured. Outraged, the establishment lashed out at the doctor and tried him for profiting from sex work. Which probably wasn't true, but it was an ugly proceeding. He committed suicide the last day of the trial and the Government resigned the next year, exhausted by scandal.

The film poster is adapted from a famous glamor pose by Christine Keeler, the key figure in the scandal:



This is not a thriller, either criminal or sexual or even political. It's more of a tragic romance, driven by fine performances from John Hurt and Joanne Whalley. It's a meditation on the nature of sex work: on those who provide the services, those who consume them, and those who facilitate.

Keeler is not actually a full-time prostitute, she just gets the society and some expenses. She doesn't mind the sex work, although we catch her yawning in bed with the Minister. The old story: in a man's world she gets plenty of sex, but needs something beyond that.

The early 1960s period detail is nicely done, and we constantly boggle at the orgiastic excess of the upper crust. What brought down Profumo was not his infidelity, but that he lied about in Parliament. That was the unforgivable sin.

Quite a lot of nudity and passion from both Joanne Whalley and Bridget Fonda. I think Whalley, last seen in Willow (1988) and Kill Me Again (1989), is one of the most beautiful actresses of those years.

Ian McKellen is the hapless Profumo. The historically accurate balding pattern makes him look like a timid samurai.

I watched this again because of something I read in an obituary of Mandy Rice-Davies, the roommate played by Bridget Fonda in the film. After he resigned in disgrace, Profumo went to the poor part of town and volunteered cleaning toilets and doing other quiet good works for the rest of his life. He did not speak another word in public for 40 years. His wife, actress Valerie Hobson (The Rocking Horse Winner (1949), Contraband (1940)), stuck with him.

Folks: that's how you show contrition. Contrast with the modern "I take full responsibility" -- and nothing happens.



-Bill
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post #337 of 338 Unread Today, 02:32 PM
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Imagine my pleasure when one of my favorite films from the '80s, The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), showed up on one of the Cinemax channels. It's still just as good as I remembered, filled with wonderful music and fine performances from all three of its stars, the Bridges brothers and Michelle Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer was a revelation. Not only did she turn in a fine dramatic performance, it turns out that she could sing too. She was nominated for an Oscar. Highly recommended, 8 Stars out of 10. If anybody is interested, it will be shown again on 5MAX at 12:10 PM on August 16.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post
Imagine my pleasure when one of my favorite films from the '80s, The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), showed up on one of the Cinemax channels. It's still just as good as I remembered, filled with wonderful music and fine performances from all three of its stars, the Bridges brothers and Michelle Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer was a revelation. Not only did she turn in a fine dramatic performance, it turns out that she could sing too. She was nominated for an Oscar. Highly recommended, 8 Stars out of 10. If anybody is interested, it will be shown again on 5MAX at 12:10 PM on August 16.

Or buy the Blu-ray release from Twilight Time.

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