Posts Tagged ‘Cold War’
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021
I don’t necessarily think of Renny Harlin as one of my favorite directors, but the truth is he’s very foundational to my viewing. I grew up being obsessed with all kinds of movies, but when I try to pinpoint what truly hooked me on my twin obsessions of horror and action, it seems like the main culprits are A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS and DIE HARD. So their sequels, both directed by Harlin, were huge for me at the time.
I understand why A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER doesn’t get the same love as DREAM WARRIORS, but for me it was monumental because it was my first Freddy movie in the theater. When it came out on tape I watched it (and its making-of tape) over and over again. That’s how I knew there was this hot up-and-coming director named Renny Harlin, a long-haired Finnish dude who showed such promise with the 1987 horror movie PRISON that he did Freddy 4 and DIE HARD 2 – followups to two of pop culture’s biggest things going. I think some article I read in Newsweek or somewhere called Harlin “The Sequel Master.”
I rented PRISON, of course, and I’ve seen it since then, and it’s pretty good, and stars Viggo Mortensen before he was classy. But until recently I never really paid attention to the fact that Harlin made one movie before that, a Finnish production, but about Americans, and more in the action vein. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Albert Salmi, Cold War, Finland, Mike Norris, Renny Harlin, Stack Pierce, Thalmus Rasulala
Posted in Action, Reviews | 13 Comments »
Monday, March 4th, 2019
I don’t think I’ve ever seen any IRON EAGLE sequels, and I always love to see how the franchises unfold, so let’s do it. Part two came two years later, in 1988, with director Sydney J. Furie returning after SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE. The script once again is credited to Furie and Kevin Elders (Albert Pyun’s RAVENHAWK).
I was glad to see Jason Gedrick back as Doug Masters, now graduated from the academy that Chappie got him into at the end of part I. Oddly call-signed “Thumper,” he’s still popping in the rock ‘n roll cassette tapes to inspire his F-16 hotshottery. I was less glad to realize a couple scenes later that it was supposed to be his jet that got blown up in an encounter with Russian MiGs when they accidentally went into Soviet air space while fucking around, and that part II is about his just-introduced best friend Captain Matt “Cobra” Cooper (Mark Humphrey, FAMILY OF COPS II-III). (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Clark Johnson, Cold War, Colm Feore, Jason Gedrick, Kevin Elders, Louis Gossett Jr., Mark Humphrey, Sidney J. Furie, Stuart Margolin
Posted in Action, Reviews | 8 Comments »
Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
Our Lady of the Swaddledog, Academy Award winner Charlize Theron, stars in her first post-Furiosa ass-kicking movie, and holy shit it’s from JOHN WICK co-director David Leitch and the 87Eleven action team. ATOMIC BLONDE, based on a 2012 graphic novel called The Coldest City, is a twisty Cold War spy thriller set in Berlin right before the wall came down. Theron plays Elaine Broughton, a beaten and bruised MI6 agent recounting a disastrous mission to obtain “The List,” a document listing all the spies active in the Soviet Union (similar to the NOC List in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE), and to kill whoever stole it.
Broughton has the qualities we look for in a larger-than-life movie spy: three steps ahead, improvisational when necessary, hyper-fashionable, sexy. When less experienced French agent Delphine Lasalle (THE MUMMY herself, Sofia Boutella) follows her, Broughton immediately makes her and beds her. The movie could get away with treating this like a conquest, but instead they start helping each other – spies with benefits – and you get to like Delphine.
The same cannot be said for David Percival (James McAvoy, THE POOL), the goofy, shifty contact who shows her around but might be the Russian double agent known as Satchel. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: 87Eleven, Berlin, Charlize Theron, Cold War, Daniel Bernhardt, David Leitch, Eddie Marsan, James McAvoy, Kurt Johnstad, Sofia Boutella, spies, Til Schweiger
Posted in Action, Reviews, Thriller | 45 Comments »
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
The last Guy Ritchie movie I watched was the first SHERLOCK HOLMES. When it ended I realized first that I wasn’t sure what the mystery was that Sherlock Holmes had solved, and then that I was having a reaction from accidentally combining medication and alcohol. But some people told me they saw it undrugged and didn’t know what the mystery was either. At any rate, I had long since given up on Ritchie since the initial excitement of LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, which I have not revisited.
That’s why I took much too long getting to THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., a fun, charming, stylish summer blockbuster Cold War spy thriller that represents Ritchie at the very top of his game. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer, based on a TV show, Cold War, Guy Ritchie, Henry Cavill, Hugh Grant, Nazis, spies, Sylvester Groth
Posted in Action, Comedy/Laffs, Reviews | 19 Comments »
Thursday, November 19th, 2015
“Yo, can you turn your robot down?”
Which is stranger: that a legit, best-picture winning sports drama like ROCKY would eventually have a part IV that was this ridiculous, or that such a part IV could still stand apart from the series as a classic of a totally different kind? IV goes all in on the Reagan-and-MTV glitz of part III, crafting a preposterous Cold War face-off with so many song montages in the second half it almost qualifies as a rock musical. In fact, the whole sound of the movie is different because I-III composer Bill Conti and his inspirational brass section are replaced with a cool synth score by Vince DiCola (TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE) that was “one of the first to exploit the Fairlight CMI and Synclavier II computers’ sequencing capabilities” according to DiCola’s websight. I guess that’s fitting for the ROCKY where the first new scene is about Rocky giving Paulie a robot for his birthday. The robot will occasionally pop up to force Apollo or Rocky’s driver to barely suppress a “these crazy white people” look, or to be used as a boombox. So if you were hoping III was a fluke, and that this one will be gritty again, I got bad news.
It’s tradition to replay part of the fight from the end of the previous movie. This one not only reminds us of the fight with Clubber Lang, but also the private, no witnesses rematch between Apollo and Rocky. Of course it was ambiguous like the Toretto-O’Connor rematch, or King Kong vs. Godzilla or Freddy vs. Jason, it froze just as they were swinging at each other. But now for the sequel they’re replaying it, so we must be about to finally find out who– ah, never mind. Freeze frame again. I’m not sure why they had to replay that.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: boxing, Brigitte Nielsen, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Cold War, Dolph Lundgren, robot, Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Tony Burton, Vince DiCola
Posted in Reviews, Sport | 53 Comments »
Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
It’s like a whole bridge full of spies. Or at least, there are a couple spies on this bridge. It’s the climax of the story, two countries meeting up one cold night to trade prisoners. I guess that’s where the title comes from.
Tom Hanks plays James Donovan, who is not a spy. He’s just a lawyer who, through luck, foresight and principles, ends up rescuing a downed American spy pilot in this true Cold War story.
When we first meet him Donovan seems far from an American hero. He’s an insurance company lawyer in a bar having an argument where he’s comparing motorcyclists run over by a truck to bowling pins. But when the Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance, BLITZ) is captured, somebody (Alan Alda) decides to give Donovan the shit job of defending him. What nobody expects is that he will take the job seriously.
They tell him he should defend Abel to show that America believes in giving everybody a fair trial. But of course none of these people want to actually give him a fair trial. They’re angry and confused when Donovan tries to, like, do his job. But his attitude is that if we’re gonna brag about what we stand for then we should put in the work to actually stand for that.
I gotta be honest, if I didn’t know this was a Steven Spielberg movie I would never have seen it. The trailers and the poster really make it look like a chore. You can picture the righteous speeches and triumphant music as a Regular Man stands up for noble ideals in court rooms and wintery period settings. And don’t get me wrong, this is a movie for grown ups. It is a 2 hour, 21 minutes drama starring Tom Hanks about the Cold War and the idea of America. That is true. But it’s way more fun than the trailers make it out to be. It’s not that dry, and it’s got plenty of laughs. It’s entertaining. It’s Spielberg. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, Austin Stowell, Coen Brothers, Cold War, Jess Plemons, Mark Rylance, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks
Posted in Drama, Reviews, Thriller | 25 Comments »
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
Well, I was stupid to write off K-19 all these years. I don’t know why I did. I didn’t even know what it’s about. I think I knew K-19 wasn’t a mountain, it’s a submarine. I knew it had kind of an audacious name but was directed by this year’s #1 Oscar snub, Kathryn Bigelow. That should’ve been enough, but I never heard anything too good about it and didn’t feel the need to see it.
Maybe it’s the submarine thing. I know this is blasphemy to alot of people, but I never even got into that one submarine movie that everybody loves that’s by the director of DIE HARD and PREDATOR. I’ve tried and it’s fine and everything but I just can’t get myself excited about it like everybody else. Maybe I’m subconsciously rebelling against my old man, who worked on subs. I never went that way. I’m a proud surface dweller. Strictly a land man. Vote no on Atlantis.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Cold War, Harrison Ford, Kathryn Bigelow, Liam Neeson, National Geographic, Peter Sarsgaard, Russia, submarine, Walter Murch
Posted in Drama, Reviews, Thriller | 26 Comments »
Friday, November 18th, 2011
FIREFOX – not the cinematic adaptation of the popular web browser, but the spy thriller – was the Clint Eastwood movie I chose to watch on Veteran’s Day. It’s not a war movie, but Clint’s character is a Vietnam vet who suffers from PTSD and has flashbacks during stressful moments. This wasn’t really the best choice of an Eastwood movie to watch, it turns out. Unfortunately it’s a pretty dull one. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Clint Eastwood, Cold War
Posted in Action, Reviews | 34 Comments »
Saturday, April 17th, 2010
In honor of the historic first ever ACTIONFEST going on right now in Asheville, North Carolina, I thought I should watch a Chuck Norris picture. Mr. Norris is the recipient of the Actionfest Lifetime Achievement Award (and coincidentally brother of Actionfest co-founder Aaron Norris). For their retrospective they’re showing CODE OF SILENCE (Seagalogy p. 13-14) and BRADDOCK: MISSING IN ACTION III. Since I’d already seen CODE and didn’t have time to catch up with MIA 1-2 yet I followed your recommendations and went with INVASION U.S.A. I think the deciding factor was that Drew Barnhardt told me it was “Norris’s DEATH WISH III.” And Drew loves DEATH WISH III, I don’t think he’d throw that comparison out there lightly. He would be completely aware of all its consequences and implications. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Billy Drago, Cannon Films, Chuck Norris, Cold War, James Bruner, Joseph Zito, Richard Lynch
Posted in Action, Reviews | 69 Comments »