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Showing posts from January, 2019

Michelle Pfeiffer: The Story of Us

Revisiting and celebrating the work of Michelle Pfeiffer, the best actress of my lifetime.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm saying Chow Funs, because I love you."
Rob Reiner's The Story of Us (1999) turns twenty this year, and it's really grown on me over the years. After listening to Reiner's commentary track on the recently released Blu-ray edition, I can see why he considers the it one of his best. Mostly met with middling-to-negative reviews upon release, the movie still maintains a devoted fan base. Reiner notes how often people approach him to express much the film means to them. That's due in no small part to a terrific performance from Michelle Pfeiffer.
As a couple experiencing marital strain, Pfeiffer and costar Bruce Willis are called upon to do some heavy lifting, with extreme emotional highs and lows—and lots of shouting and crying. Like the film itself, Willis's performance has also grown on me over time. The actor has been accu…

(Not So) Deep Thoughts of the Pop Cultural Persuasion, Part 4

Kirstie Alley, bringing you the latest in portable computer technology, circa 1984!
I recently revisited the Tom Selleck sci-fi flick Runaway (1984), written and directed by mega-selling author Michael Crichton, thanks to it being available now on Amazon Prime Video. This is one of those movies I recall enjoying on basic cable as a kid, but even then I knew that it was kind of a dud. Good news, it's still a dud! Yet the highlights still make it weirdly watchable.

The cast is so stereotypical mid-'80s it hurts. Besides Magnum, P.I. himself, you've got peak 1984 big haired business suit and shiny black pantyhose wearing Kirstie Alley, just a few years before she hit the big time as Rebecca Howe on Cheers.

Then there's Cynthia Rhodes playing Selleck's cop partner, who spends the entire film in skirts and sky-high heels—both in and out of uniform. It's actually an impressive performance, as she's called on to run and jump and climb in this completely inappropri…

Terrifier More Than Lives Up to Its Name

Last night I watched Damien Leone's Terrifier (2018), an old school slasher with a modern edge, and I'm still in a bit of shock.

*Mild spoilers ahead.*

If you've read my horror reviews over the years, here and elsewhere, you know that I have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to gore in film. Sure, I have to look away as much as anyone, but it usually doesn't prohibit me from enjoying the movie. Terrifier has some truly brutal and graphic kills, though, meaning that I can't really recommend it to many except the most ardent slasher/horror fanatics out there, i.e., weirdos like me.

Terrifier makes the most of its straightforward plot—terrifying killer mime-clown hunts down and slaughters people on Halloween night. Part of the fun of watching slasher films is figuring out which character(s) will survive the mayhem. Terrifier plays off that well, continually killing off characters you think might possibly be the final survivor, or Final Girl. The film mercilessly le…

It Came From the '90s: Remembering Speed at 25, or, an Ode to Sandy and Keanu

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade.

Back in the day, my friends and I saw a lot of instant-classics at the cinema, often during college breaks., including Se7en (1995), Showgirls (1995),and Heat (1995). Jan de Bont's white-knuckle thrill-ride Speed (1994) was definitely one of our favorites. We walked out of the theater that night both dazed and energized. The shear breakneck pace of the film's sustained action was exhilarating—most of it is one long action set piece that only slows down occasionally for some beautifully timed character moments, especially those between stars Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, who share an undeniable chemistry

We're always looking for someone like us in the movies, someone who makes us feel a little better about ourselves. As a tall, lanky kid in an era of muscle-bound action heroes (including several of the popular guys at school), I always appreciated Reeves&#…

Streetwise and Book Smart: Avenging Angel

"One more step and I'll blow your balls into outer space."

That immortal line is delivered with extreme chutzpah by our tough-talking protagonist Angel (real name, Molly Stewart), played with a disarmingly effective nonchalance by '80s dream girl Betsy Russell, in Avenging Angel (1985). I'm always on the lookout for memorable cult classic, and with this one, I've struck exploitation gold. I don't know where this movie has been all my life, but thank goodness we finally found each other.

First, some facts. Avenging Angel, directed and co-written by Robert Vincent O'Neill (who worked in the art department on Easy Rider), is the middle installment in the Angel trilogy of films. One day I'll have to run the series, but I can't imagine anything else being quite as entertaining as this one. The plot: a former Hollywood Boulevard prostitute turned law student goes back undercover as a prostitute—but steadfastly avoids schtupping any Johns, to the ch…