Posts Tagged ‘Fred Ward’
Thursday, May 19th, 2022
“It’s an art movie. Doesn’t count. I’m talkin about movie movies.”
April 10, 1992
I have enjoyed some of Robert Altman’s movies over the years, but never became a full-on “he’s one of my favorites” convert like so many film buffs a little older than me. In fact the only ones I’ve ever reviewed are MCCABE & MRS. MILLER, POPEYE and NASHVILLE. POPEYE was definitely the first Altman movie I saw, since it starred my biggest childhood hero (not Robin Williams – Popeye). THE PLAYER was the first one I watched as a grown-ish person trying to see good movies for adults.
I don’t hear people talk about it that much these days, but it has an 86 on Metacritic, which they quantify as “universal acclaim.” And it has a Criterion Edition. I remember it being viewed as a major cultural event in the film coverage I read in magazines and alternative weeklies of the time. In his review, Roger Ebert brought up Wall Street scandals and said the movie “uses Hollywood as a metaphor for the avarice of the 1980s,” but in my memory people enjoyed it as a satire of Hollywood executives. My most specific memory about it was a certain cameo in a movie-within-the-movie meant to parody the “pat Hollywood endings” joked about throughout the movie. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Adam Simon, Brion James, Bruce, Bruce Willis, Buck Henry, Burt Reynolds, Cynthia Stevenson, Dean Stockwell, Fred Ward, Greta Scacchi, Hollywood satire, Lyle Lovett, Michael Tolkin, Peter Gallagher, Richard E. Grant, Robert Altman, Steve James, Tim Robbins, Vincent D'Onofrio
Posted in Reviews, Thriller | 27 Comments »
Monday, May 16th, 2022
April 3, 1992
“We choose the right to be who we are.”
THUNDERHEART is not a weird movie like some of these other 1992 releases, but it’s a pretty unusual one: a procedural thriller that attempts to shine a light on real life injustices taking place on tribal land in the U.S. An opening title says “This story was inspired by events that took place on several American Indian reservations during the 1970’s.” From what I’ve read it’s largely inspired by the Wounded Knee Incident of 1973, but director Michael Apted (COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER) also released the documentary INCIDENT AT OGLALA later in the summer, and that was about similar clashes between traditional and Americanized Sioux and a shootout with the FBI on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. I assume those events influenced it as well.
After the murder of tribal council member Leo Fast Elk (Allan R.J. Joseph, later a stuntman on DESPERADO) on a South Dakota reservation, FBI Agent Ray Levoi (Val Kilmer following his MTV Movie Awards nominated role in THE DOORS) gets called to Washington DC by his boss (Fred Dalton Thompson, who had ACES: IRON EAGLE III coming out in June). They know from his file that he has mixed Native heritage through his biological father, but he’s so out of touch with it he has to be told it’s Sioux and that his father died when he was 7 (he says it was when he was a baby). It’s just not a part of his life, but they make it very clear that they’ve chosen him for this case so they can tell the locals he’s one of them. “You’re going in there as who you are— an American Indian federal officer.” Should go great. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: David Crosby, Fred Ward, Graham Greene, John Fusco, John Trudell, Michael Apted, Roger Deakins, Sheila Tousey, Val Kilmer
Posted in Reviews, Thriller | 13 Comments »
Monday, January 3rd, 2022
On January 1, 2013 I reviewed the movie TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE, and made up a superstition that it’s good luck for movie critics to start a year with a Clint Eastwood review. So then I ended up kicking off 2014 writing about A PERFECT WORLD, 2015 with THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, 2016 with KELLY’S HEROES, 2017 with PINK CADILLAC, 2018 with TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, 2019 with THE MULE, 2020 with WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART and 2021 with THE GAUNTLET.
It would be hard to argue that any “good luck” panned out in some of those years, and yet I will stubbornly continue the tradition. ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ is from 1979 and it was the last of Clint’s five movies directed by Don Siegel, because they had a falling out over which one of them got to produce it. (Siegel’s only subsequent movies were ROUGH CUT starring Burt Reynolds and JINXED! starring Bette Midler.)
It’s based on the true story of the only maybe successful escape from the notorious island prison. Three guys got out, they may very well have drowned, but they were never found. I remember going on a tour of that place as a kid and hearing the story. Man, prison tours are fucked up. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alcatraz, Bruce M. Fischer, Bruce Surtrees, Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Don Siegel, Frank Ronzio, Fred Ward, Jack Thibeau, Jerry Fielding, Larry Hankin, Patrick McGoohan, Paul Benjamin, prison, Richard Tuggle, Roberts Blossom
Posted in Reviews, Thriller | 25 Comments »
Thursday, January 11th, 2018
Speaking of Florida projects, here’s one where three guys with very little in common set out on a small fishing boat to try to snatch some gold abandoned in Cuba. FLORIDA STRAITS (1986) is a fun little adventure from GET CARTER and I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD director Mike Hodges.
Chalk another one up to video store browsing. I had never heard of this when the flashy painted art on the tape cover caught my eye. When I noticed who the director was and that Fred Ward was in the cast I decided to give it a shot. Apparently it was made for HBO, but it seems like a theatrical release (and was in many countries). I was thinking maybe it would be an attempt to cash in on Miami Vice. Instead, the way the setup unfolds in a series of compelling, non-expository scenes reminded me of the excellent Billy Dee Williams slow burn spy-revenge movie HIT!, and this is probly my best only-on-VHS discovery since that one (which has since been released on Blu-Ray and DVD). As of this writing, FLORIDA STRAITS doesn’t even have any external review links on IMDb, which is very rare and always something I will brag about. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Antonio Fargas, Cuba, Daniel Jenkins, Fred Ward, Ilka Tanya Payan, Mike Hodges, Raul Julia, Roderick Taylor, Victor Argo, Zero External Reviews on IMDb
Posted in Action, Reviews | 12 Comments »
Monday, November 24th, 2014
“Computer said you were a smartass.”
You know what’s great about movies? Any of us who are reading this who are currently alive were born some time after they were invented. They got a head start on us, and no matter how hard we try we’ll never catch up with all the good ones that already exist. It’s just a beautiful thing to realize that even now there are movies out there as perfectly tuned for me as REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS that I haven’t gotten around to yet. Thank you, Lord. Good work on that one.
One reason it’s great: it’s an action vehicle for Fred Ward. He’s been a great utility player in SOUTHERN COMFORT, UNCOMMON VALOR, TREMORS, etc. but even playing the lead in the great MIAMI BLUES he has to compete with scene-stealing villain Alec Baldwin. Here he’s the main attraction from beginning to end. It glorifies him as a fit badass in his 40s, and it shares his dry sense of humor.
We first meet him as a tough but lazy cop (with mustache) sitting in his patrol car eating a burger and drinking coffee, being hassled over the radio about gambling money he owes. When some dude gets chased right past him he doesn’t react at first. It doesn’t seem like he’s even gonna bother to intervene. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Fred Ward, Guy Hamilton, J.A. Preston, Joel Grey, Kate Mulgrew, Patrick Kilpatrick, Reginald VelJohnson, Wilford Brimley
Posted in Action, Reviews | 46 Comments »
Monday, March 15th, 2010
Right now Nimrod Antal is a director-of-interest because they got him doing that PREDATORS movie. And I hadn’t seen his movies (like KONTROLL and VACANCY) but ARMORED is out on DVD this week so I decided to check it out. (And yes, every movie he’s directed so far has a one word title.)
I read somewhere that when Robert Rodriguez saw ARMORED it sealed the deal for Antal doing PREDATORS. I’m not sure what that says, because there’s nothing too wrong with ARMORED, but nothing too right, either. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Fred Ward, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Dillon, Nimrod Antal, some guy from Lost
Posted in Crime, Reviews | 96 Comments »
Monday, August 13th, 2007
I don’t remember this one, but it was in a book about action movies I’m reading (Action Speaks Louder by Erich Lichtenfeld) and sounded pretty good. It’s one of those “Vietnam vets go back to rescue POWs” movies, but according to the book it’s the first one. And the weirdest part is that it’s from Ted Kotcheff, director of FIRST BLOOD, and made two years before George P. Cosmatos’s RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II. Maybe that’s why Kotcheff didn’t come back for part 2, he’d already done that movie.
Of course, the feel is pretty different from RAMBO. And there are three major differences in the type of story we’re dealing with here. Number one, it’s a team movie, it’s not focused on one dude. Number two, these are normal vets who have gone back to civilian life, they are not maniacs who have gone on a rampage and must get a pardon to go on the mission due to their skills with explosive tipped arrows. Number three, they are privately funded, they are not working for the government. In fact, the government is trying to stop them from doing it (you know how those fuckin bureaucrats are, with their red tape and what not. It makes you so mad BRING OUR BOYS HOME! etc.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Fred Ward, Gene Hackman, John Milius, Patrick Swayze, Randall "Tex" Cobb, Reb Brown, Ted Kotcheff, Tim Thomerson, valor
Posted in Action, Drama, Reviews | 5 Comments »
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004
Okay, this group of National Guardsmen (Peter Coyote, Powers Boothe, Keith Carradine, Fred Ward, others) are on one of them training exercises, right? Basically, they gotta go out into the Louisiana swamp with a map, try to locate this one particular place. To practice their navigation skills. Most of them aren’t taking the job too seriously, paying more attention to their plans to hook up with some whores when they’re done. I mean they’re carrying guns, but with blanks, because who are they gonna shoot at anyway. There’s no enemy in this exercise.
And then they get to some water, and they realize either they’re reading the map wrong or the water has shifted and the chunk of land they’re supposed to find is now a chunk of underwater. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Brion James, Fred Ward, Peter Coyote, Powers Boothe, Sonny Landham, Walter Hill
Posted in Drama, Reviews, Thriller, War | 25 Comments »
Tuesday, August 10th, 2004
I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of this one. It’s a weird crime movie starring Fred Ward as a cop with fake teeth, Alec Baldwin as a crook who steals his teeth, and Jennifer Jason Leigh as Baldwin’s dumb hooker turned naive fiancee.
From the cover you’d assume this is just some boring cop movie, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s something completely unique. Or don’t take my word for it. Let me explain to you a little bit about the plot, and see if that waxes your mustache.
See, Alec Baldwin (back when he was young and skinny, and made the gals swoon) gets off a plane in Miami, steals somebody’s luggage, and heads for the exit. At the bottom of an escalator he is approached by a hare krishna, who asks him what his name is. He says, “Trouble,” breaks the guy’s finger, and leaves. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alec Baldwin, Charles Willeford, Fred Ward, George Armitage, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Posted in Crime, Drama, Reviews, Romance, Thriller | 13 Comments »
Monday, February 5th, 2001
Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
If you haven’t checked out VERN’s website yet, follow the link at the bottom of his story. He’s a serious sumbitch, and he deserves your attention. And, no, he didn’t threaten to shank me unless I gave him a good intro. With a pen this sharp, who needs a toothbrush with a razor melted into the tip?
Hey boys it’s me, Vern. Remember I am the ex-con who has done a couple reviews for you, etc. I Write in the vernacular and then about 75 people complain about it in talkbacks. But as an acclaimed Writer on the films of Cinema I THINK a motherfucker knows what he’s talking about. (In this case me being the motherfucker.)
So I haven’t been in touch with you boys in a while but here’s what’s up. I got hold of a copy of THE CROW: SALVATION which is part 3 for the Crow series. Miramax made this picture and dumped it off in one theater in Spokane, Washington or somewheres. Nobody and their mother saw it so they said, forget it, straight to video for this one. There was some Crow fans on the internet trying to start a petition or something but, fortunately, they failed. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bharat Nalluri, DTV, DTV sequels, Eric Mabius, Fred Ward, Kirsten Dunst
Posted in Action, AICN, Crime, Fantasy/Swords, Reviews | 12 Comments »