"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Geoffrey Lewis’

Maverick

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024

May 20, 1994

You know what – I had never seen MAVERICK until now. But look at these credits, man. Directed by Richard Donner (between LETHAL WEAPON 3 and ASSASSINS), written by William Goldman (BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, HEAT [1986]), shot by Vilmos Zsigmond (MCCABE & MRS. MILLER, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, HEAVEN’S GATE, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK), edited by Stuard Baird (DIE HARD 2, THE LAST BOYSCOUT) and Michael Kelly (CRIMEWAVE, BLACK EAGLE), production design by Thomas E. Sanders (BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA). Also I immediately wondered “why does this sound exactly like TOY STORY?” and realized that the score was by Randy Newman.

I would not say MAVERICK comes anywhere close to living up to the sum of its parts. But it’s fine. Pretty good for a while. The opening kinda reminded me of another ‘90s western-ish blockbuster sort of based on old TV shows, MASK OF ZORRO, and from me that’s a big compliment. Our hero Bret Maverick is introduced in the midst of a squabble, some guy named Angel (Alfred Molina, also in CABIN BOY, WHITE FANG 2: MYTH OF THE WHITE WOLF and REQUIEM APACHE that year) and his thugs leaving him on his horse in the middle of the desert, hands tied behind his back, noose around his neck, snake dumped in front of the horse to inspire movement.

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High Plains Drifter

Monday, January 1st, 2024

For eleven years now I’ve had a tradition/superstition/delusion that my first review of a new year has to be a Clint Eastwood movie. And I’ve written about other Clint movies at other times of the year, so the pool of untouched marquee titles is shrinking. Let’s go through chronologically: I’ve done A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, I’m saving the other Sergio Leones for a rainy day, and I’ve done almost everything else through the ‘70s: HANG ‘EM HIGH, COOGAN’S BLUFF, WHERE EAGLES DARE, PAINT YOUR WAGON, TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, KELLY’S HEROES, THE BEGUILED… I have not done PLAY MISTY FOR ME, but I feel like I’ll want to do that on a Valentine’s Day or something.

I’ve done DIRTY HARRY, I did JOE KIDD last year, and there are a handful after that I could still get to. But HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973) is an important one just sitting there, the second thing he ever directed, first western he directed, his movie that seems most influenced by working with Leone.

The only reason I hesitate is the same reason it kinda seems fitting as a start to 2024: I’ve seen this and it’s a dark one. I don’t want to jinx anything, I don’t want it to be representative of the type of year we have ahead, though I have a knot in my stomach every day telling me it might be. No, I want this to be an exorcism. Or at least an acknowledgment of some of the ugliness that’s out there, that we gotta get past. (read the rest of this shit…)

Double Impact (30th Anniversary Review)

Monday, August 9th, 2021

“All right, you want some real action, tough guys? Let’s do it.”

August 9, 1991

While the summer was dominated by the expensive studio action spectacles TERMINATOR 2 and POINT BREAK, there were plenty of solid action movies made with a little less money and a different type of star power. Case in point: Jean-Claude Van Damme was in the process of rising from the new Cannon Films guy to household name. By this point he had starred in BLOODSPORT, CYBORG, KICKBOXER, LIONHEART and DEATH WARRANT. The latter two had been his largest, with budgets of about $6 million each. This one jumped up to $15 million.

It was worth paying more for this gimmick: Van Damme plays twins. Originally conceived as an adaptation Alexandre Dumas’ The Corsican Brothers, it’s a story about brothers separated at six months old and reuniting at 25 to avenge the murder of their parents. (read the rest of this shit…)

Night of the Comet

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

NIGHT OF THE COMET is like OMEGA MAN reborn as a vividly nineteen-eighties movie. To me it feels like a cousin of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, and an acquaintance of MIRACLE MILE, CHERRY 2000 and A BOY AND HIS DOG. The tone is a little cartoony, but not silly; it has zombies, but the bigger threat comes from the government. It’s a good salty-sweet mix of bleak and cynical with sweet and fun.

The young leads, Reggie (Catherine Mary Stewart, NIGHTHAWKS, THE LAST STARFIGHTER) and her little sister Sam (Kelli Maroney, SLAYGROUND, CHOPPING MALL) are called “Valley girls” on the box, but luckily that means no more than where they live. Maybe they say “I’m so sure” or something, but they’re serious characters, not the goofy-talking stereotype we know from the Moon Unit Zappa song. Still, centering around youths of the ’80s, NIGHT’s primary locations are a movie theater, a radio station lit by neon art, and a mall. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Lawnmower Man

Monday, March 6th, 2017

I know you guys probly already have huge parties planned, but in case you’re in a part of the world that doesn’t celebrate, today is the 25th anniversary of STEPHEN KING’S THE LAWNMOWER MAN. And in March of 1994 we’ll be able to celebrate the anniversary of THE LAWNMOWER MAN, after King’s lawsuit made New Line Cinema remove his name from it.

(Weird detail from an Entertainment Weekly article at the time: King “hired a team of private investigators to check out video-store copies in five cities” to prove they were violating an injunction against using his name. Did he worry if he brought in four tapes from four cities New Line would say “Nah, it’s only the copies in those four cities, the rest of the ones we made don’t say Stephen King”?)

(read the rest of this shit…)

Pink Cadillac

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

In PINK CADILLAC, Clint Eastwood plays Tommy Nowak, a skip tracer who has to bring in a woman who jumped bail after getting blamed for her stupid husband’s stupid prison buddies’ counterfeiting scheme. Of course he catches her, but ends up protecting her and falling for her and what not. Do not get this confused with the one where he’s a cop who has to escort a mob trial witness from Vegas to Phoenix and falls for her. That’s THE GAUNTLET. That one has a bus, not a Cadillac.

I’d say this qualifies as an action comedy. It takes itself seriously, it’s not broad like the EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE movies, but Clint goes further than his usual wry one-liners, because Nowak loves to wear disguises and play characters. In the opening he catches a guy by making him think he won a date with Dolly Parton from a country radio station. Just for this he does a “Crazy Carl Cummings” DJ persona and a briefly-British-accented limo driver. Since he later quibbles with his boss over gas mileage I really wonder how he paid for the limo and costume. I guess he just thinks it’s worth the expense to fuck with people. During the drive back to Sacramento he asks the guy what kind of music he wants to listen to, and when he doesn’t make a choice, Tommy puts on some Dolly Parton. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Jericho Mile

Monday, March 9th, 2015

tn_jerichomilerookiesIf you count TV movies – and I do – JERICHO MILE is Michael Mann’s directivational debut. It’s not as cinematic as his later big, wide movies, but it’s from the days when TV movies were legit enough to play theatrically overseas. It also stood out from other TV at the time, winning Emmies for writing, lead actor (over Kurt Russell in ELVIS!) and film editing for a limited series or special, and a Director’s Guild Award for “Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Special/Movies for TV/Actuality.” (?)

It’s a prison movie, and you know Mann isn’t gonna want to soften that up. I mean, it’s TV so we don’t get any profanity, racial slurs or rape, but it’s still got a gritty feel because it was filmed in Folsom with the real inmates all around, and plenty of establishing montages that are clearly just documentary footage. You can definitely tell that some of the supporting players are real cons. I wasn’t surprised when I read that Mann had to negotiate for each of the race gangs (white, black and Latin) to have representatives on screen and vow to prevent any race wars or riots during filming so the production wouldn’t be kicked out. I mean obviously it’s an unwritten rule on pretty much all movie sets that the actors should not be involved in any race wars. But I still give them credit for not having one. Apparently there were a bunch of stabbings, one fatal, but those were allowed. (read the rest of this shit…)

Brazilian Brawl

Friday, August 5th, 2011

"Brothers, we need to have a serious talk."
“Brothers, we have to have a serious talk.”

Once again browsing the action section in a video store has led me to a strange movie that I never heard of before. This way of life is rapidly crumbling. When everything is piped into our faces on demand we won’t have to stick with our risky bets. We’ll click on something and if it seems shitty we’ll click on something else and not give it a chance to turn interesting. In fact, we’ll probly just turn it off and watch porn instead. So we will never see BRAZILIAN BRAWL.

But in my world, where you gotta actually go outside, travel to a building, pick out the movies to watch and physically transport them back to your home, you’re gonna invest the time to try to give the thing a chance. And you are gonna watch BRAZILIAN BRAWL from beginning to end (about one hour) because you could not resist renting the movie with the cover that shows a guy doing a flying kick with two guns and the words “STARRING THE WORLD FAMOUS MARTIAL ARTS MASTERS THE MACHADO BROTHERS. THESE HOMBRES THROW DOWN.” (read the rest of this shit…)

The Butcher

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

tn_butcherThere are plenty of things wrong with the 2009 DTV crime movie THE BUTCHER. It’s made entirely of cliches. The filmatism is sometimes awkward and crude. It’s longer and more repetitive than necessary. There’s not much of a sense of danger, because the hero keeps getting in shootouts where all he does is hit everybody while they miss him. He keeps leaving his girl in the car, defenseless, and nobody ever notices her. And the things that are bad aren’t funny-bad.

So this is DTV through and through, but the things I liked about it won the fight with the things I didn’t. And the main thing I liked was Eric Roberts. (read the rest of this shit…)

Rob Zombie Presents The Haunted World of El Superbeasto

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

tn_superbeastoAs I’ve chronicled over the last few years, I have mixed feelings about Hollywood filmatist R. Zombie. On one hand I really like some things in all his movies (especially DEVIL’S REJECTS), on the other I hate things in most of them too (especially HALLOWEEN). On one hand I think he has a unique eye and a distinct vision, on the other hand he’s too undisciplined to know when his Kiss t-shirts and kitschy cartoon white trash aesthetic is fucking up the other things he’s trying to do. One minute he’ll win me back on the team (HALLOWEEN II) and the next he’ll get in my face and dare me to change my mind (HALLOWEEN II unrated director’s cut).

So I decided fine, you want to test my loyalty? Then I’ll watch your cartoon. We’ll se where that gets us. And I rented his DTV cartoon presentation ROB ZOMBIE PRESENTS THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EL SUPERBEASTO, allegedly directed by Rob Zombie (although the cartoonists might disagree, I’m not sure). (read the rest of this shit…)