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Posts Tagged ‘Clancy Brown’

Promising Young Woman

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN is a black comedy I heard some good things about and had been wanting to see for a while and then right around the time it came out on disc it got nominated for best picture, director, original screenplay, actress and editing Oscars. Okay – didn’t know it was gonna be that kind of party, but I’m down.

The movie opens in a bar as three co-worker bros talk shit. One of them (Adam Brody, JENNIFER’S BODY) seems like the nice one, standing up for a female co-worker the other guys are complaining about, and seeming unimpressed by their sexist horndog talk. And of course when they spot Cassie (Carey Mulligan, DRIVE [the Refn one, not the Dacascos one]) so plastered she can barely sit upright on a bench, he’s the one who goes over and tries to make sure she’s okay.

Put quotes on that last phrase. We all kinda know where this is going: he offers her a ride home, playing it like hey, I know what this looks like, but I’m just trying to make sure she gets home safe before some jerk comes along. But the next thing you know it’s why don’t you come up to my apartment and let’s have a drink (!?) and then he’s on top of her taking her clothes off while she asks him what he’s doing and he keeps telling her it’s okay, she’s safe.

And actually she is fairly safe, because as she reveals when she sits up, she’s completely sober. She just has this hobby of faking drunk to see what assholes try to take advantage of her, and then shame them when they do. Try to scare them out of doing it again. Just a weird vigilante crusade of hers. (read the rest of this shit…)

Books of Blood / The Mortuary Collection

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

Well! Heh, heh! Hello there boys, ghouls and non-DIE-naries. It’s me again, your voluble villain of vivacious vicarious violence, Vern! I don’t tend to review the anthologies nearly as much as other types of horror, but this year two of the SCREAM-ing services have new ones that seemed promising. So I’ve prepared for you an anthology of anthologies, a little two-headed review I call THE PAIR-ER OF TERROR!

Hulu’s BOOKS OF BLOOD and Shudder’s THE MORTUARY COLLECTION both find fresh ways to deal with the horror host/wraparound story tradition. THE MORTUARY COLLECTION is formatted as stories told by creepy old mortician Montgomery Dark (Clancy Brown, PET SEMATARY II) – he looks like The Tall Man from PHANTASM – to Sam (Caitlin Custer, Teen Wolf), a young woman he’s interviewing for a job. I like that some of the stories had me thinking, “Well, that’s a pretty simplistic moralistic kind of ironic ending” and then Sam would point out as much, to Montgomery’s increasing frustration. And then the last and best segment is a story about Sam, ending with a great twist that leads into the wraparound finale, which really works as the climax of the movie and not just a wrap up.

BOOKS OF BLOOD sort of does the whole thing in reverse – instead of establishing up front what the stories are (comic books, campfire tales, etc.) they unfold and explain at the end what they’re all about, like an origin story. If you’re familiar with Clive Barker’s short story collections of the same name you know what that means (SPOILER: they’re the stories of the dead whose names are carved into a guy’s flesh.)

(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…)

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, jumps to credits cut rhythmically 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…)

Pet Sematary II

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Many horror movies, maybe even most, teach us that no matter what life throws at us, we can get through it. We can survive. Some of us. Hopefully. Most of the time.

But the practice of sequelizing in horror has taught us the more pessimistic lesson that in the long run shit really doesn’t get better. Maybe for a minute it does after the bad things happen and then the evil leaves for a while. But a couple years later maybe some new people come along and the evil comes back and does the bad things to them. And usually not as cool as the first time. The shriveling circle of death.

And so it is with PET SEMATARY II*. Released in 1992, three years after the first one, it’s once again directed by Mary Lambert (MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID), with new screenwriter Richard Outten (JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, uncredited rewrites on GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH) and no Stephen King book to base it on.

*VERY IMPORTANT TITLE NOTE: The posters and other advertising materials spelled it out as PET SEMATARY TWO, a rare practice that I’m a big fan of. However, I try to follow the rule of using the title shown on screen in the actual movie, which in this case uses the Roman numeral II.

The good news, though: Look at this fucking logo! The movie itself is fun but the logo is the best thing in it!

(read the rest of this shit…)

Homefront

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

tn_homefrontHOMEFRONT is a Jason Statham vehicle with an interesting pedigree: screenplay by Sylvester Stallone (Academy Award nominated writer of ROCKY), meth manufacturing villain played by James Franco (Academy Award nominated lead for 127 HOURS), James Franco’s girlfriend played by Winona Ryder (Academy Award nominee for LITTLE WOMEN and THE AGE OF INNOCENCE). Unfortunately the weak link is director Gary Fleder (CableACE Award winner for an episode of Tales From the Crypt), who’s just the guy who did KISS THE GIRLS and RUNAWAY JURY and stuff like that. He’s not terrible but also not the type of strong director that could shoot a bullseye with a simple story like this.

This is the second movie in a row where Statham starts out wearing a long hair wig. This time it’s because he’s a DEA agent undercover in a biker gang. He busts the kingpin Danny T (Chuck Zito), whose son gets shot to death by other cops. Danny and his gang want to kill the shit out of him for this so he has to shave his hair. Also he either goes into witness protection or just retires and moves to a small town somewhere in Louisiana. (read the rest of this shit…)

John Dies At the End

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

tn_johndiesDon Coscarelli is really underappreciated. Including by me. Everything he’s done is good, right? I haven’t seen his first two, but one (JIM, THE WORLD’S GREATEST) is not on video and the other (KENNY & COMPANY) I’ve heard nothing but good things about. All four PHANTASM movies are pretty great. I like THE BEASTMASTER. I like SURVIVAL QUEST. But he’s a low budget independent guy who wants to do his own thing, so he takes a while. It’s been 10 years since his last movie, the one-of-a-kind BUBBA HO-TEP. It’s been 7 years just since his last TV work, INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD, easily the best Masters of Horror episode I’ve seen.

So he’ll be out of sight for years and then he’ll travel through the portal of time to bring us one of these distinctive sort of fringe horror-ish movies. This time he brought us JOHN DIES AT THE END, probly the closest thing he’s done to an actual comedy. You could compare it to something like JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER or maybe CABIN IN THE WOODS or TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL, but still with enough weird, non-jokey horror in its guts to keep me satisfied. It arguably leans a little bit more to the left on the horror-to-comedy spectrum than those ones, but not by a huge amount. (read the rest of this shit…)

Past Midnight

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Do you guys know about this one? How come I never knew about it? Not that PAST MIDNIGHT – a 1991 thriller starring Natasha Richardson, Rutger Hauer and Clancy Brown that went straight to video in ’93 – is very good, but it holds an important enough place in cinematic history that I figure I should’ve heard of it before.

On his commentary track for TRUE ROMANCE, Quentin Tarantino talks about the time before he sold that script and directed RESERVOIR DOGS. He mentions a job at the production company CineTel, where he says he would do punch ups on scripts “which were really page 1 rewrites.” I don’t know if he’s exaggerating that part or not, but I’m sure it’s true that he rewrote a line here or there. So did any of those ever end up getting produced?

Yes, at least one did, and it is PAST MIDNIGHT, Tarantino’s first film credit besides production assistant on Dolph Lundgren’s MAXIMUM POTENTIAL workout video. Associate producer Catalaine Knell thought his contributions to the script were important enough that she shared her credit with him.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Pathfinder (2007)

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

tn_pathfinder07
I bet Brion James would’ve played that viking if he was still alive.

PATHFINDER is the remake of that little Norwegian movie I just reviewed. The remake is directed by Marcus Nispel, the director of the remake of TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and the remake of FRIDAY THE 13TH and a TV remake of FRANKENSTEIN and the remake of CONAN THE BARBARIAN coming out tomorrow. As is his tradition he is not very familiar with the movie he’s remaking, so on the commentary track he calls it “a short film from Scandinavia or, from… the ’80s, I think.”

But this one’s not about the Sami people of Finnmark being invaded by the Tchudes, it’s about Native Americans being invaded by vikings. The idea is that vikings could’ve set up shop here centuries before Columbus, and this is the legend of why they didn’t. (read the rest of this shit…)

A Nightmare On Elm Street (remake)

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

tn_elmstreetremakeLook man, I’m not completely racist against remakes. I hate the blatant wholesale creative bankruptcy of modern Hollywood as much as the next guy. But I gotta admit there are some remakes that are upstanding movies in their own right, that have richly contributed to our culture and society as a whole. Or that at least don’t suck. Two of the better modern horror remakes in my opinion are from Wes Craven movies: THE HILLS HAVE EYES and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Both have their problems, but they’re a good balance of disturbing and entertaining, they have some respect for the original themes and ideas of the movies but also put some new spins on them. Both were produced by Craven himself, by directors he handpicked. (well, I don’t know if he used his hands specifically, he probly just had seen their work and called em up.) (read the rest of this shit…)