Brett Rutherford’s “The Lost Children”

Lost Children
Sometimes it’s okay to judge a book by it’s cover.  Look at that image.  Doesn’t really tell you much, does it?

But…

What if I told you that the skeleton, broken doll and book title are all beveled and embossed?

If you’ve ever read a mass-market fiction book from the ’80s, you’ll recognize those details.  Much like a soft white cover–with an oval cut out of it to reveal a hand painted portrait of a shirtless guy and a swooning woman–will let everyone know that a book is about fucking…  that embossed skeleton on black background tells the ’80s reader exactly what they’re getting into. 

HORRRR-RRROR

HORRRR-RRROR

What you’ve got here is a cheesey premise sketchily linking together a bunch of horror-ifying scenes.  Seriously.  Just look at that list of Tags down there.  This thing hits all the bases.  And it executes them all flawlessly hilariously.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Review Grab Bag (4-19-13)

RGB 4-26-13

Time for another Review Grab Bag.  Continuing with last month’s theme of having absolutely no theme, we’ve got a classic animated feature from Disney, a classic 80s toy, a debatable modern sci-fi classic film, and a relatively middle road, forgettable graphic novel.

Continue reading

Dolph Double Dip

Bubbawheat, over at Flights, Tights and Movie Nights is running a little something called “The Comic Strip Double Dip Blogathon“.  The idea is to get all us writey types to focus our creative energies on one specific topic.  In this case, it’s exploring the performances of actors who have taken on more than one Comic Book inspired movie role.  He put together a big list, making it easy to pick out a topic, and right around the middle of it, staring back at me was the perfect excuse to re-watch two movies I’ve been dying to revisit for years.

DolphLundgren

That’s right…  Dolph Lundgren:  Frank Castle/He-Man.  Dolph plays Frank Castle in 1989’s The Punisher, and he plays He-Man in 1987’s Masters of the Universe.  I’ve got a few thoughts about these movies in general before we delve deep into Dolph dichotomy discussion.

Both of these films are widely viewed as completely awful movies that don’t do any justice to their source material. Oddly, in both cases, I remember thinking that they were, in fact, widely underrated.  On a more personal note, since I’m not a big Rocky fan (I like Rocky III, and acknowledge Rocky is something special), these two roles, for me, are Dolph’s defining roles.  I mean, I can name at least two other non-Expendables titles he’s been in, but these two movies I remember as Dolph Lundgren movies.

So, without further ado… let us determine the answer to the age old question that no one has ever bothered to ask…  “Who does Dolph Lundgren play better, He-man or Frank Castle?”

Continue reading

Highlander (1986)

Highlander

I recently stumbled across a Blu-Ray copy of an amazing cinematic indulgence, Russell Mulcahy’s 1986 cult classic, Highlander.  Starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown as members of a race of Immortals that are undetectable to the rest of us normal schlubs.  They hide amongst us, secretly playing The Game, a swordfight to decapitation, the only way that they might die.  The Game rages on for centuries until the time of The Gathering, a time and place where the final few Immortals will be drawn to finish The Game and compete for The Prize.

In the end, there can be only one.

Obviously, if you judge from this establishing paragraph, this review is going to contain a lot of italics.

Continue reading

Meanwhile in Canada… II

Time to fulfill the Can-Con obligations of my Blog.  Here’s some 1980s Canadian TV Show intros.  I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I should describe the nature of these different series for those that may not have had an opportunity to witness them in all their glory way back when…  But I’ve decided that I should let the opening credits speak for themselves, eh?

The first one’s free…  but the next few are gonna cost you.

Okay… so it’s not quite entirely 80s. I couldn’t find a good video of Hockey Night In Canada from the 80s. It pretty much sounded the same anyway. I sure do miss hearing that theme on CBC. And I don’t even watch Hockey.

Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

Take Me Home Tonight is a quirky romantic comedy starring Topher Grace, Teresa Palmer, Anna Faris and Dan Fogler.  It’s the summer of ’88. Token-80s-Smartest-Kid-in-School, Matt Franklin (Grace) has just graduated from MIT and is spending the summer working at a shitty video store in the mall.  When the former Prom Queen, his High School Crush Tori Frederking (Palmer) walks in a well placed string of lies lands him with an opening to see her at a party later.  With the help of his twin sister Wendy (Faris) and comically chubby, recently fired, best friend Barry (Fogler), Matt sets out to achieve that which he never could in High School:  Getting Tori Frederking’s phone number.

Take Me Home Tonight (2011)


The reason I even knew of the existence of this movie is below.  It’s a video for Atomic Tom’s cover of Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me?”  The cover isn’t very good.  The video is fantastic.  Give it a minute or so for the awesomeness to kick in.

  

I wanted to watch Take Me Home Tonight because of the fun that the cast clearly had making this video, and the obvious love and attention that they had paid to 80s movies.  So, now that you’ve watched that awesomeness…

What we have in Take Me Home Tonight is a 2011 attempt at recapturing the greatness of the John Hughes/Brat Pack era 80s comedies.  Director Michael Dowse (Fubar 1 & 2, It’s All Gone Pete Tong) and company try their hardest to not fall into the trap of making a period comedy that constantly pokes fun at the period.  They clearly didn’t want to make a movie like The Wedding Singer where the film’s jokes are mostly “Ha ha!  Remember the 80s?  That shit was crazy.”

Take Me Home Tonight tries to have “the 80s” just be the film’s setting.  More than that, in my opinion, they really try to just have this be an 80s movie.  They clearly wanted this movie to look and feel like it could have been released in ’88.  The plot is simple, the characters are the same ones you’ve seen a million times, the plot is driven by 2 parts character and 3 parts completely implausible, yet tired, situations.  In a very weird way, it borrows from, pays homage to a laundry list of movies and actors, while never feeling like an outright parody.

The trouble, though, is that the film is trying to do too much.  Sometimes it wants to be an 80s movie, derivative, predictable, but outrageous and funny.  Sometimes it wants to be a goofball romantic comedy, with a not entirely unattractive but awkward and unsure leading man chasing after a hot girl that didn’t know he existed 90 minutes ago.  Sometimes it’s a Transition-Into-Adulthood movie, with all of the characters wondering what they’ve done with their lives, and how they’re going to face the long, confusing, boring rest of it.  It tries very hard to be funny, nostalgic, but relevant to today, all at the same time.

The trouble with trying to be all those things, is that you’re unlikely to pull it off.  Instead of feeling real, the characters feel like cutouts.  Instead of being nostalgic, the 80s setting ends up fading into the background.  Instead of being funny, it feels like it’s trying to be moving or inspiring.  Instead of being inspiring, it feels like it’s trying to be funny or outrageous.  Nothing that this film tries to do ends up being accomplished in the end.  It’s a mishmash of great ideas that aren’t pulled off.

Which is exactly why it ends up being terrific at one thing:  Being an 80s movie.  Seriously.  With only a few notable exceptions, the even the best 80s teen/young adult comedies are fucking terrible.  I love them, but I have to be honest.  They’re unrealistic, cutout characters that don’t come off like real people in the least.  The situations they get themselves into are fucking ludicrous.  (Even the most realistic 80s comedy of all, The Breakfast Club, has the pot scene.)  Once you combine the absolutely fantastic soundtrack with the fact that this movie desperately wants to be more than the sum of its parts, you have possibly the best 1980s comedy to be made in years.

That still only nets it 3 stars.

3/5