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Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

The Matrix Resurrections

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

“I’m sorry. How could I know this would happen?”
“We didn’t understand all of it back then. No more than we do now.”

(you have entered THE SPOILERTRIX)

When I saw the first trailer for THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS, it wasn’t what I expected. That is to say that it seemed like the sort of thing you would expect from a normal 2020s “legacy sequel” to an old series: bringing back some of the original stars, addressing that they are older now, stripping away some of the excesses of previous sequels, visually and otherwise referencing famous scenes specifically from the first movie. Which is all fine and good, but I figured they must be hiding something, because I didn’t believe Lana Wachowski (working without Lilly, who wanted to take time away from the industry) would come back to THE MATRIX after 18 years just to do something normal. I was betting on her having come up with some weird approach that even if I didn’t like it very much I would respect, as was the case with CLOUD ATLAS and JUPITER ASCENDING.

RESURRECTIONS might be the most accessible movie a Wachowski has made since the original MATRIX, but I don’t think I was wrong. This is a filmmaker making the movie she wants to and not what she thinks anyone else wants, therefore ending up with something no one else would’ve made. And I’m happy to say that I more than respected it. I kind of loved it. Though I wasn’t sure at first. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Francis Ford Coppola’s BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA is an incredible fucking movie that I previously mistook for a pretty good one. I saw it first on opening night in 1992, when I thought it was cool and weird, if flawed. (If you would like to imagine my wild teen years, I remember it was a foggy Friday the 13th and I was bummed that I hadn’t done anything good on Halloween, so I drove a carload of friends to an evening show, blasting the score from NIGHTBREED in the tape deck.)

The second time was in 2000 after reading the book (Dracula by Bram Stoker, not Bram Stoker’s Dracula: The novel of the film by Fred Saberhagen and James V. Hart Based on the Screenplay by James V. Hart from the Bram Stoker novel, which I have not read and can’t afford). At that time I wrote about it along with a bunch of other Dracula movies, and you can see I was pretty hard on the “ridiculous origin story” and “trying to make him into a more sympathetic Dracula,” among other things.

But it felt overdue for a revisit and on this viewing all that stuff finally clicked for me. Though I always thought it was a stylish looking movie, I feel like I didn’t fully appreciate just how much, or how special that made it. And everything else worked better this time too. (read the rest of this shit…)

Joe Versus the Volcano

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

I have been sort of aware of JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO since its release in 1990, but never decided to actually see it until now. I know it was poorly received at the time, and somewhat infamous for a time, and also that it was staunchly defended by Roger Ebert, and beloved by a select few – I most associate the movie with Bright Wall, Dark Room editor Chad Perman, who talks about it similar to how I talk about BLADE.

It’s pretty different from what I pictured, especially in the beginning. This is an Amblin production that starts out feeling way more Terry Gilliam than Steven Spielberg. That’s not enough to make me one of those people who swears by it, but it seems crazy to me that anybody hated it! 

It’s the story of Joe Banks (Tom Hanks, precariously perched between TURNER & HOOCH and THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES in his filmography), a depressed hyopchondriac working miserably as a clerk at a Staten Island rectal probe factory that looks like a dystopian prison. Every day the employees do a slow sort of death march through the gates to the entrance (I liked that they were forced to walk further by an inexplicably zig-zagged path, though I can’t say I grasp the significance of this shape being a reoccurring symbol throughout the movie).

(read the rest of this shit…)

The Jewel of the Nile

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Wow, THE JEWEL OF THE NILE came out less than two years after ROMANCING THE STONE, which was expected to be a flop, so it’s not like they had a head start. Fast turnaround. Robert Zemeckis was off making BACK TO THE FUTURE and Diane Thomas was writing scripts for Spielberg (and wanted to be paid well) so producer/star Michael Douglas hired director Lewis Teague (ALLIGATOR) and writers Mark Rosenthal & Lawrence Konner (THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN, later SUPERMAN IV, SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK, STAR TREK VI, MERCURY RISING and the bad PLANET OF THE APES).

The story starts six months later, with Joan and Jack sailing around the world on the boat he bought with the proceeds from part 1’s stolen jewel. (I thought he bought it for her as a gift, but I guess not.) This time she’s having trouble writing her books because her life is too much romance and adventure. She’s actually bored of all the exotic locales and beautiful sunsets and sits in the boat with her typewriter writing a garbage pirate adventure which she now imagines starring herself and Jack but also gets thrown off and accidentally turns the pirates into punks? I don’t know if that represents a typo or a failed artistic flourish or what. (read the rest of this shit…)

Romancing the Stone

Monday, September 14th, 2020

I don’t think I’ve seen ROMANCING THE STONE since the ‘80s. I’ve been curious to rewatch it forever because it’s one of those things that was huge at the time that hasn’t survived as much in the cultural memory as other things. Like, maybe I didn’t study the crowd scenes enough, but I didn’t notice Kathleen Turner’s character Joan Wilder in READY PLAYER ONE. I suppose because this appealed a little more to the parents of the kids now in charge of the world’s nostalgia. But it’s directed by Robert Zemeckis, who I tend to like, so when I heard that my friends at the podcast The Suspense Is Killing Us were doing a Patreon bonus episode about the ROMANCING THE STONE/JEWEL OF THE NILE duology it prompted me to finally get to it.

Kathleen Turner (who’d only been in BODY HEAT and THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS previously) stars as Joan Wilder, Waldenbooks Romance Author of the Year winning author of Love’s Wicked Kiss, who we meet just as she’s completing her latest novel, as depicted through a re-enactment with her first person voiceover. She imagines her heroine Angelina as March 1981 Playboy Playmate of the Month Kymberly Herrin (GHOSTBUSTERS blowjob ghost, BEVERLY HILLS COP II, ROAD HOUSE, ZZ Top “Legs” video), but our glimpses of the rugged hero who rescues her look suspiciously like Michael Douglas. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Bride

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

August 16, 1985

Two John Candy movies in a row, and now all the sudden we’re back to weird science? THE BRIDE asks the question “What if WEIRD SCIENCE happened not in the modern day with teenagers, but with adults a long time ago, and instead of Gary the main guy’s name is Frankenstein?” Or “What if FRANKENWEENIE was a Franken-adult-human-lady?” Or I guess if you want to be a wet blanket you could call it a riff on BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. But it’s totally different. The hair is not even the same, to name only one example.

Director Franc Roddam had done QUADROPHENIA (1979) and THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE (1983) and was attempting his first big mainstream movie. According to his refreshingly frank DVD commentary track, he had Sting (who had been in his first film) originally slated to play the small part of Josef, but “we said to ourselves this could be a great movie for young people” if they had it star this huge rock star, with his first solo album coming out in June, alongside Jennifer Beals, the hot newcomer fresh off the massive success of FLASHDANCE. So they gave the Josef role to some schmuck named “Carrie Elways” or some shit and Sting played Baron Charles Frankenstein opposite Beals as the titular Bride. But it’s only modernized in some of its themes, while being fairly classical in form and content. It’s not rock ’n roll or flashdancy at all. So I’m not sure the young people much noticed. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Patreon exclusive)

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

My friends, the time has come for the THRILLING CONCLUSION to the Twilight Saga review saga. This is the one where the most crazy shit happens, especially in a big deadly snow battle between all the characters. So I had fun. If you support me on Patreon thank you, if not thank you also but consider signing up some time if you can. Either way, more reviews coming soon and

CLICK HERE FOR THE LAST TWILIGHT

GLITTERY VAMPIRES FOREVER

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Patreon bonus business)

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

My friends, we have come to the penultimate chapter in the special Patreon-only Twilight Saga Review Saga. In Twilight Part 4a there’s a big wedding, destructive humping, and some truly creepy birth related stuff. This one is directed by Bill Condon (GODS AND MONSTERS) and he does his thing with it.

CLICK HERE FOR THE REVIEW

or to sign up to pay as low as a dollar to support my writing, with the side benefit of reading these reviews.

Thanks!

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Patreon bonus shit)

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

This week for anyone who pledges $1 or more on Patreon I have my third Twilight review, ECLIPSE. This is the one directed by David Slade (30 DAYS OF NIGHT), who added some interesting new weirdness. I particularly had fun with this review because of some Seattle-specific details I noticed.

CLICK HERE FOR THE REVIEW or to sign up

Thanks everybody!

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (special Patreon bonus shit)

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Okay, let’s try this again. Due to the troubles with the Patreon plugin I’m going to try housing the exclusive reviews on Patreon itself. (Thanks for the suggestion, Shan.) So if you pledge $1 or more to my Patreon you can enjoy the ever-loving werewolf shit out of this exclusive review series. Thanks for your patience!

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON REVIEW

And here’s a link for the first one, TWILIGHT.