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"I ask you not to worry about that possibility. Because my son and I live on the Demon Way in Hell, we're prepared to descend into Hell through the Six Realms and Four Lives."

Posts Tagged ‘Russell Mulcahy’

New bonus on Patreon: Duran Duran’s “Wild Boys” video, directed by Russell Mulcahy

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Friends! I hope you’ve been enjoying the HIGHLANDER studies so far. On Monday we’ll continue with a look at the pilot of Highlander: The Series, which features Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod, reaching through the portal from real movies into syndicated television to hand off the torch. For those who have been asking, no, I’m afraid I’m not able to cover the full six seasons of television, but I look forward to your insights into the rest of it.

It is true that we’ve already covered the two best and most cinematic movies of the franchise, but trust me, there’s plenty more interesting stuff to enjoy and dissect. Before that I’d like to cap off this Russell Mulcahy portion of the programming with some EXCLUSIVE PATREON BONUS SHIT. If you are a current Patreon supporter or want to sign up, you can click the link below for my heavily illustrated look at Mulcahy’s most extravagant Duran Duran video, made two years before HIGHLANDER when he was trying to make a feature film out of a William S. Burroughs novel.

And this is my obligatory occasional post of gratitude to all those who have supported me on Patreon and in other ways. You very directly made it possible for me to work fewer hours at the day job and more at preparing this series, which I’m very proud of and excited to share with you. So I hope this extra post serves as a small thank you and/or enticement for new subscribers. (Reminder: you’ll also get access to my reviews of the entire TWILIGHT series, starring Batman.)

Read about “WILD BOYS” on Patreon!

 

 

Highlander II: The Quickening

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

“It’s weird how they built a huge franchise off of the first film. I can’t quite understand it. It’s like they say in the film ‘There can only be one. ‘ In a genre film you can create any scenario you like, but once you break your own rules, the audience feels betrayed, which is what happened with HIGHLANDER II.”–Russell Mulcahy to Money Into Light, 2016

“The more cornered we were, the more stupid things we had to come up with.”–Christopher Lambert

From the dawn of 1986 they came…moving stylishly down through the decades. Movies, TV shows, cartoons, struggling to reach the time of The Reviewing, when Vern will look back at the whole franchise

I missed out on being disappointed by HIGHLANDER II: THE QUICKENING with the rest of the world in 1991. Somehow I never watched the HIGHLANDER movies until the 21st century, at which point I’d lived many years knowing part II had been universally rejected and mocked. And when I did watch it it was the re-edited and 19-minutes-longer “Renegade Version” put together for DVD in 1997, and I’ll be honest – I liked it! I’ve always been one for weird, not-taking-the-easy-road sequels like BABE: PIG IN THE CITY, BATMAN RETURNS, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME, BRIDE OF CHUCKY, RETURN TO OZ, JASON X, etc. So I was into the idea of Connor MacLeod in a dystopian future city working with rebels to, uh… blow up a shield around the earth, because it’s not necessary anymore. I mean — sure. Why not? (read the rest of this shit…)

Highlander

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

HIGHLANDER is the 1986 cult classic about immortal warriors of different nationalities waging a battle across centuries, and its opening is a clash in its own right. It starts with Sean Connery narrating flowery fantasy movie text, cuts to credits rhythmically cut to a rockin Queen theme song, and before we know it the gorgeously grainy cinematography of Gerry Fisher (WISE BLOOD, THE NINTH CONFIGURATION, DEAD BANG) and the orchestra of Michael Kamen (DEAD ZONE, BRAZIL) are lavishing cinematic glory on a super-powered sword fight between trenchcoated acquaintances in the Madison Square Garden parking garage during a professional wrestling match. The stadium rock band influenced by opera butts up against the rock arranger turned classical score composer for a sword-and-sorcery meets urban-action cage match. And somehow this all feels perfectly natural.

The production itself is a battle royale of nationalities: British and American financiers, Australian director Russell Mulcahy, Frenchman Christopher Lambert playing Scottish, Scotsman Connery playing Egyptian-Spanish, carrying a katana. Classes, cultures and eras fit together in unexpected ways, forming a movie that feels a little closer to the neo-noir-and-loneliness cinematography-porn of BLADE RUNNER than to other action films of ’86 like THE DELTA FORCE, AVENGING FORCE, NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER, QUIET COOL, DANGEROUSLY CLOSE or NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE. And yet HIGHLANDER developed enough multi-generational populist appeal to be declared “best movie ever made” by Ricky Bobby in TALLADEGA NIGHTS. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Shadow

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

a survey of summer movies that just didn’t catch on

(NOTE: I’ve decided to go back to cover two Summer Flings that I regret having skipped.)

July 1, 1994

Look, I can’t say for sure what audiences were yearning for in the summer of ’94, but it might have been a cartoon about lions and it might not have been a super hero movie set in the 1930s, based on a character from serialized radio dramas. Here is yet another entry in my beloved genre of old-timey-super-hero-movie-that-totally-failed-at-the-box-office-but-I-thought-it-was-pretty-good. I suppose THE SHADOW seemed like a more sensible bet than some of them, because it was at least a character with vague name recognition and noir influences like BATMAN (in fact some believe the first Batman story was a rip-off of a Shadow story called “Partners of Peril”).

At first glance The Shadow (Alec Baldwin, THE GETAWAY) does seem like kind of a Batman-esque character. He’s a rich handsome guy named Lamont Cranston who lives a secret life, going out at night as a scary figure, fighting criminals. He doesn’t have a cape, but a black cloak that serves the same purpose, plus a hat and a mask over the mouth and two guns. And hidden in an alley is the entrance to his Batcave-like secret base. (read the rest of this shit…)

Resident Evil: Extinction

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION is part 3. It takes place five years after part 2, APOCALYPSE, and was released five years after the first film in the series. It has a different style and tone, a little more serious, a little more grounded, but still pulpy, and it really works.

The opening tricked me. It begins so much like the first film – Milla Jovovich as Alice waking up naked and confused in the mansion, putting on the red dress and boots – that I thought I might’ve rented the wrong one. But she explores the place and ends up in a hallway in the Hive with the lasers and booby traps and one of them shoots and… gulp… kills her. Then some guys in biohazard suits appear, take the body up to the surface and throw it in a ditch. The camera pulls out to show a whole pile of dead Alices. And by the way, they’re all wearing that same outfit. I don’t know if that makes sense that they would have duplicate outfits to give these clones they keep testing, but if not it’s better than making sense. Nobody wants to see them wearing different outfits. (read the rest of this shit…)

Silent Trigger

Monday, August 13th, 2012

I hoped this would be one of the better Dolph Lundgren vehicles, because it’s directed by Russell Mulcahy, who used to be so good. This was ’96, his next movie after ’94’s THE SHADOW. I guess this is his punishment, but THE SHADOW is more fun. SILENT TRIGGER is at least watchable, but so are other things that are actually good.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Give ‘Em Hell Malone

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

tn_giveemhellmaloneThomas Jane plays Malone, a fedora-wearing, ’52 Buick driving, ten thousand bullet firing, fake film noir style opening scene narrating, badass private eye motherfucker in a mostly empty city portrayed by Spokane, Washington. The movie takes place in the modern day (email is mentioned once) but obviously takes most of its cues from the cliches of detective stories/film noir, including the femme fatale client, the fast, back-and-forth quipping and, you know, his hat. He’s old fashioned enough that he keeps calling women “sister.” Also, alot of the score is that cheesy type of saxophone they always use in modern movies and TV as a code for “it’s like an old private eye movie.” (read the rest of this shit…)

The Scorpion King 2: The Rise of a Warrior

Monday, August 18th, 2008

THE SCORPION KING 2 RISE OF A WARRIOR is the story of a warrior who rises. In movies we’ve seen many people and things rise, including The Machines, Carlito’s Way, The Silver Surfer, Leslie Vernon, Taj, Cobra, the Lycans, Gator, Jack Johnson, and Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. But never before have we seen the RISE OF A WARRIOR.

In this movie there are actually a bunch of different warriors but in my opinion the specific warrior who is rising is the one who will later be called the Scorpion King, not in this movie but in the very end of a different, better movie called THE SCORPION KING. What I’m trying to say is that this is the prequel to the prequel to the sequel to THE MUMMY, a movie I thought sucked. So the fact that this one is above average for DTV is pretty impressive. If you met a guy whose great, great uncle by marriage was a Nazi or a serial killer, but the guy you met wasn’t that big of a dick or anything, you would think “Good for him.” Same goes for THE SCORPION KING 2 RISE OF A WARRIOR. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ricochet

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

I think I saw this movie back when it came out and I remember it just being ridiculous, but seeing it again I thought it was a good ridiculous. The movie begins with a melodramatic Hitchcock style credit sequence, but then cuts straight to Denzel Washington, Ice-T and Kevin Pollack playing very aggressive basketball on a playground. As far as I know this one is one of only a handful of movies in all of cinematic history that begin with those three guys playing street ball.

I like this scene because it very quickly sets up most of the major players in the movie while also establishing just why the movie is cool. For one thing, the director is Russell RAZORBACK Mulcahy, video director turned movie director who is fond of fancy hotshot camerawork. But this is 1991, still firmly in the naive days when a director followed a code of honor that they were expected to provide visual clues to the audience to understand what the fuck is going on. For some of you younger individuals it’s probaly hard to imagine, but the camera is flying around in such a way that it enhances your enjoyment of the movie, instead of pissing you off. This starts in the basketball scene with the camera somehow following right behind Denzel as he weaves through the other players and slam dunks. (read the rest of this shit…)

Razorback

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

How do you do an Australian version of JAWS? You can’t have a killer koala. Maybe a rogue kangaroo that goes around punching people or stealing babies in its pouch. In 1984 these guys went with a huge fucking boar. And that would’ve been a great headline for a review if the movie was bad, but actually I really liked it.

I know this is the kind of movie people write off immediately. It definitely is a ripoff of JAWS and redoing JAWS with a huge pig seems even funnier than redoing it with an orca. But the movie doesn’t give a fuck what you think. It knows what it is and it has no shame. Go ahead, laugh at the razorback. Laughing is healthy and will make you taste better. As one of our heroes says, “It has two states of being. Dangerous or dead.” Mostly the first one. (read the rest of this shit…)