Posts Tagged ‘made-for-cable-movies’
Wednesday, October 26th, 2022
I haven’t seen Joe Dante’s PIRANHA in many, many years, but here I am reviewing the remake. No, not Alexandre Aja’s Dimension Films version PIRANHA 3D (which I did review when it came out in 2010), but the 1995 Corman production directed by Scott P. Levy (MIDNIGHT TEASE, THE ALIEN WITHIN).
This thing was made for Showtime, and I never got Showtime, but the reason I remembered it existed was because I knew Punky Brewster herself, Soleil Moon Frye (KID 90) was in it. That was enough to lure me in. (Get it?) I guess she was in a couple horror movies (INVITATION TO HELL, PUMPKINHEAD II) but I’m actually kinda surprised they didn’t resurrect her in the post-SCREAM era! Maybe they tried but she was happy just doing cartoon voices.
I have to admit I didn’t remember the original enough to realize until reading the Wikipedia summary that this remake barely alters its script. Alex Simon (BLOODFIST VIII: TRAINED TO KILL) is credited as the writer, but it’s so close original writers Richard Robinson and John Sayles get both “based on the screenplay by” and “story by” credits. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alex Simon, Alexandra Paul, Darleen Carr, John Sayles, Lorissa McComas, made-for-cable-movies, Mila Kunis, Monte Markham, remakes, Richard Israel, Roger Corman, Soleil Moon Frye, Tim Hildebrandt, Tim Sullivan, William Katt
Posted in Horror, Monster, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 14 Comments »
Wednesday, June 29th, 2022
On June 3, 1992, historians will tell you, Bill Clinton played saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show. Arsenio made his usual big entrance, and sitting in with his house band The Posse was the former Arkansas governor, then presidential candidate, wearing sunglasses, taking a solo on “Heartbreak Hotel” and later “God Bless the Child.” Whatever you think of his playing (or politics, or whatever), Clinton’s willingness to campaign outside of the accepted outlets and methods may have helped end 12 shitty years of Republican rule.
Have you considered, though, that a more important factor might’ve been STEPFATHER 3, which premiered on HBO the very next day, June 4, 1992? Maybe its trashy mockery of phony Reaganite assholes gave the pendulum that extra push it needed. And by maybe I mean definitely, I bet. Citation needed.
Part 3 is from yet another set of filmmakers – writer/director Guy Magar (a veteran of TV shows like The Powers of Matthew Star, The A-Team and Hardcastle and McCormick) and co-writer Marc B. Ray (Lidsville, New Zoo Revue, SCREAM BLOODY MURDER, Kids Incorporated) – but this time Terry O’Quinn did not return. Accordingly, there is an escalation in tawdriness. It’s supposed to be the same character, but now he’s played a little more broadly by Robert Wightman (AMERICAN GIGOLO), the guy who took over as John-Boy for the last two seasons of The Waltons. That’s a reference I remember people making when I was a kid but honestly I never saw the show to verify my hunch that it’s pretty good stunt casting to have him play this corrupted version of a family sitcom character. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Adam Ryen, David Tom, Dennis Paladino, Guy Magar, Jay Acovone, John Ingle, made-for-cable-movies, Marc B. Ray, Mario Roccuzzo, Priscilla Barnes, Robert Wightman, Season Hubley, slashers
Posted in Horror, Reviews | 9 Comments »
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
Right after Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red wrote NEAR DARK for her to direct, they wrote UNDERTOW for him. Her vampire movie got off the ground first, and it was almost a decade later when his weird thriller about three weirdos out in the woods during a hurricane became a Showtime movie.
It’s not supernatural, and maybe not even horror, but the mood somehow does remind me of NEAR DARK. Lou Diamond Phillips (RENEGADES) plays Jack (last name Ketchum, apparently!), who’s introduced in his car, drifting to the next town after – as he explains in voiceover narration – falling for a sheriff’s daughter. Too dangerous. But before he can find a new place to stay he drives his truck off the road into a forest and wakes up the captive of a paranoid old redneck named Lyle (Charles Dance, LAST ACTION HERO) and his timid wife Willie (Mia Sara, TIMECOP), who I assumed at first was his daughter. They live in an isolated home in some North Carolina woods that’s somewhere between a hermit’s shack and a luxury resort lodge. It looks cold and some of it is built out of rusty car doors, but it’s huge, with various buildings and facilities. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Charles Dance, crossbow, Eric Red, hurricane, Kathryn Bigelow, Lou Diamond Phillips, made-for-cable-movies, Mia Sara
Posted in Reviews, Thriller | 3 Comments »
Wednesday, February 28th, 2018
GANG IN BLUE is a made-for-Showtime Melvin & Mario Van Peebles father-son directorial collabo from 1996. Mario plays Rhoades, a righteous cop surrounded by corrupt racists in a secret cop gang called The Phantoms. Please think of these “Phantoms” as dudes in white ghost hoods, not purple tights and skull rings. Their only uniform, though, is their regular police one or their tattoos or their softball jerseys and jackets, ’cause their softball team is also called The Phantoms. There must be some naive soul on the force who sees the tattoos and thinks “Geez, those guys are really into softball.”
Rhoades talks about hiring diversity and minority policing of minority neighborhoods while his co-workers are talking about “ching-chong” and “homeboys” and “ooga booga” and “the jungle” and calling people “animals” like Trump always does. His presence fucks everything up when they go to shake down an illegal casino. Despite all the anti-racism talk the only Asian we see after these stereotypical gangsters is a thickly accented officer at headquarters who’s kind of a doofus. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Cynda Williams, J.T. Walsh, Josh Brolin, made-for-cable-movies, Mario Van Peebles, Melvin Van Peebles, police brutality, Stephen Lang
Posted in Crime, Reviews | 5 Comments »
Thursday, January 12th, 2017
For those of us disappointed that MOONLIGHT, although very good, was not about werewolves, here is a pretty okay wolfman movie to dig up. (You know, like a dog would dig up a bone or something.) It stars Mario Van Peebles, it’s directed by Anthony Hickox right after WARLOCK: THE ARMAGEDDON, and it’s written by Richard Christian Matheson (THREE O’CLOCK HIGH) & Michael Reaves (Super Friends).
I like that it combines werewolves with a straight up cop movie. It’s hard to classify as horror exactly, because the lycanthropy is treated more like super powers than monsters. In fact, they have Wolverine style claws and Magneto type helmets. But they are werewolves in a legit action movie complete with cliches about cops and their partners and one of them saying “I’m too old for this” and everything.
Even better, this came out the year America stole John Woo, and the style seems pretty influenced by him. Lots of leaping through the air to fire guns, slow motion, intense, lingering closeups. For the opening set piece Hickox revisits his HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH idea of terror in a dance club full of big spooky body part sculptures, but with bullets and debris and people flying everywhere, usually with LAPD detective Max Dire (Van Peebles) dropping from above or jumping in the air or laying on the floor while shooting two guns. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Anthony Hickox, Bruce Payne, made-for-cable-movies, Mario Van Peebles, Patsy Kensit, Richard Christian Matheson, Tony Denison, Victoria Rowell, werewolves
Posted in Action, Horror, Reviews | 13 Comments »
Friday, December 23rd, 2016
CHRISTMAS RUSH (or BREAKAWAY on DVD) is a 2002 action movie made for the cable channel then known as TBS Super Station. (Other original TBS movies that year: DEAD IN A HEARTBEAT, DISAPPEARANCE, ATOMIC TWISTER, COUNTERSTRIKE, FIRST SHOT). It’s a DIE-HARD-in-a-mall type setup and I believe the only DIE HARD copycat besides DIE HARD 2 that takes place at Christmas time.
Dean Cain (A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE …FROM A BOOK CALLED WISELY’S TALES, A CHRISTMAS WEDDING, THE DOG WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS, THE CHRISTMAS GIFT, A NANNY FOR CHRISTMAS, THE DOG WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS VACATION, THE CASE FOR CHRISTMAS, THE DOG WHO SAVED THE HOLIDAYS, DEFENDING SANTA, SMALL TOWN SANTA, A BELLE FOR CHRISTMAS, MERRY EX-MAS, BEVERLY HILLS CHRISTMAS, A DOG FOR CHRISTMAS, BROADCASTING CHRISTMAS) plays Cornelius Morgan, edgy Chicago cop who gets suspended and is being sued for a shooting that happens while arresting Chinese gangsters. On Christmas Eve day he’s handed a subpoena and gets in a small snit with his wife Cat (Erika Eleniak, UNDER SIEGE, an episode of Hunter and a Wet ‘n Wild video). At night he tries to visit her at her work, a jewelry store in Chicago Place Mall, to give her flowers and apologize.
BUT! He sees the supposedly-retired thief Jimmy Scalzetti (Eric Roberts, CHRISTMAS IN COMPTON, SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS, ALL AMERICAN CHRISTMAS CAROL, A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS, SANTA’S BOOT CAMP) strolling in looking all tough and intent on something and clearly not there to shop for holiday gifts or trenchcoats, which they are stocked up on. He follows them into an employees only hallway and sees that they’re there to rob the place. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Charles Robert Carner, Christmas, Christmas action, Dean Cain, Eric Roberts, Erika Eleniak, made-for-cable-movies
Posted in Action, Reviews | 8 Comments »
Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
A year before TALES FROM THE HOOD was a black Tales From the Crypt, the Hudlin brothers’ HBO TV movie COSMIC SLOP was “a multi-cultural Twilight Zone.” Even if the VHS cover didn’t have a Chicago Tribune quote calling it that, you’d get the idea from the intro, when a trail of terrible 2D computer animated objects (basketball, rolling pin, chair, bust of Beethoven, electric guitar, bra, asterisk) float in under George Clinton’s familiar “free your mind and your ass will follow” narration and a re-recording of the 1973 Funkadelic song that the title comes from.
It’s even lower budget than TALES and much cheesier, with crude, video toaster style digital effects. It’s clearly a pilot for a show they decided not to make, but it’s another admirable attempt to bring a different perspective to the tradition of short genre stories that explore social issues.
Clinton’s disembodied head floats in, on fire, a blinking animatronic third eye on his forehead, and morphs between different hairstyles as he cryptically Rod Serlings a trio of stories with his cryptic afro-futurist catch phrases. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: anthology, Casey Kasem, Chester Himes, Chi McBride, Derrick Bell, George Clinton, Kevin Rodney Sullivan, made-for-cable-movies, Michele Lamar Richards, Nicholas Turturro, P-Funk, Paula Jai Parker, racism, Reginald Hudlin, Robert Guillaume, Roger Guenveur Smith, Trey Ellis, Warrington Hudlin
Posted in Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 4 Comments »
Thursday, January 15th, 2015
PANTHER reminded me of one of the few Spike Lee movies I hadn’t seen, the 2001 made-for-cable A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY. When it comes to the Spike Lee Jointography there are three categories. There’s the main ones you think about – DO THE RIGHT THING, MALCOLM X, all the way through his recent OLDBOY remake. And sprinkled in between are the documentaries, often made for cable. They’re less widely seen, of course, but really good, movies like FOUR LITTLE GIRLS and WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE. But even rarer than that there’s the performance films. I gotta admit I haven’t gotten to most of these. PASSING STRANGE was one, that’s a Broadway musical. I did see ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY. That was pretty good.
A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY, A SPIKE LEE JOINT is a filmed version of a one-man show that Roger Guenveur Smith did starting in 1996 at the New York theater where Hair started.
I don’t know if you know who Smith is. He’s gotta be best known for playing Smiley in DO THE RIGHT THING, so I’m sure people walk up to him on the street every day and say “M-M-M-Martin. M-M-M-Malcolm.” He’s actually been in several Spike Lee movies, he was on Oz I guess, he was one of the stars of Steven Soderbergh’s improvised lobbyist drama K-Street on HBO. But also he was the bad guy in Seagal’s MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE.
He’s an actor I’ve always liked, but I could understand if you didn’t. He has a very theatrical style. He’s a character actor but he likes to show off. He always carries around a little stick of scenery in his pocket to chew on. MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE is an example of him getting a little loosey goosey with the accents. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: civil rights, made-for-cable-movies, one man show, performance art, Richard Pryor, Roger Guenveur Smith, Spike Lee
Posted in I don't know, Reviews | 4 Comments »
Sunday, March 25th, 2012
I found this DVD called MOTORCYCLE GANG, starring Carla Gugino and Jake Busey, directed by John Milius. That’s gotta be a TV movie, right? Yes, upon closer inspection I figured out it was part of the Rebel Highway series that Showtime did in 1994.
Rebel Highway was what happened when producers Lou Arkoff (son of Samuel Z.) and Debra Hill (one-time producing partner of John Carpenter) put together a group of ten directors and let them choose titles from the American International Pictures library of ’50s drive-in movies. They could remake it or just use the title if they wanted. They got low budgets and short shooting schedules, but apparently they were given final cut and encouraged to make them sleazy. So it was alot like the original AIP. Some of the directors included John McNaughton, Joe Dante and William Friedkin. The only one I’d seen before this was ROADRACERS, which was Robert Rodriguez’s practice movie between EL MARIACHI and DESPERADO. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: bikers, Carla Gugino, Debra Hill, Gerald McRaney, Jake Busey, John Milius, made-for-cable-movies, Rebel Highway
Posted in Action, Reviews | 13 Comments »
Thursday, May 12th, 2011
This is another one of these random movies I came across in the action section at the video store. It stars Mariel Hemingway as a Secret Service agent who has to rescue the Vice President from guerillas after Air Force 2 crash lands on a remote island. You don’t usually see a woman playing that type of action hero, but what really caught my eye was a logo from the Here! cable network, which I believe is all gay-themed programming.
A gay action movie? That’s something I’ve never come across before, and I like coming across things I’ve never come across before. But it’s a made-for-cable movie, so I hesitated. My instincts to give it a shot only won out because the director is Brian Trenchard-Smith, the sometimes-great director of DEAD END DRIVE-IN, THE MAN FROM HONG KONG and DEATH CHEATERS. And, uh, LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Brian Trenchard-Smith, David Keith, made-for-cable-movies, Mariel Hemingway
Posted in Action, Reviews | 48 Comments »