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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Winfield’

The Terminator

Thursday, June 24th, 2021

“Your world is pretty terrifying.”

Summer of ’91 origins: THE TERMINATOR

The only review I’ve written of the original THE TERMINATOR was in 2007 – so out of date it was combined into a review of the “trilogy” and framed as a response to THE TRANSFORMERS. There are some good observations and funny lines in that review, but I’m a smarter person now and I think there’s way more to say about the movie. So I thought I should take another crack at it before we get to its sequel in this Summer of ’91 retrospective.

In the fall of 1984, director/co-writer James Cameron exploded into filmgoer-consciousness with a stylish and imaginative little sci-fi chase movie called THE TERMINATOR. Made on about a fifth of the budget of the recent hit GHOSTBUSTERS and released by outsiders Hemdale (VICE SQUAD, TURKEY SHOOT) and Orion Pictures (MAD MAX, THE HAND, ROCK & RULE), it nevertheless immediately announces itself as a force to be reckoned with. The quiet, world-establishing text, the nightmarish glimpses of futuristic combat between man and machine, the absolute all-timer of a theme by Brad Fiedel (JUST BEFORE DAWN) and the slow reveal of the logo (title design by Ernest D. Farino, who later did GODZILLA 1985, CRITTERS, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, ALIEN NATION, THE ABYSS and NEMESIS) all set the mood for a genre movie of unusual ferocity. Not bad for a guy who had only directed PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING. (read the rest of this shit…)

Trouble Man

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

TROUBLE MAN is a solid tough guy movie from the early ‘70s Black action cinema movement. Director Ivan Dixon was an actor (PORGY AND BESS, A RAISIN IN THE SUN, NOTHING BUT A MAN) turned TV director (The Bill Cosby Show, Room 222, Mod Squad) making his first theatrical feature. He followed this with the much more politically radical THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he went back to TV after that.

The script is by John D.F. Black, a white TV writer who had worked on some of the same shows as Dixon and then wrote SHAFT. The feel of this one is closer to SHAFT than SPOOK. It’s a serious and gritty movie, but it’s less concerned with militancy and more the standard staples of the genre often referred to as Blaxploitation: the wish fulfillment of larger-than-life manliness, some garish period style, and an outstanding soundtrack album by a genius soul artist – Marvin god damn Gaye!

The hero (Robert Hooks, STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, King David in POSSE) is actually called Mr. T, or sometimes just T. Though he might be able to make a claim for Toughest Man in the World, he has little else in common with the other Mr. T. He has regular hair and wears suits and ties. Sometimes a little flashy, I guess. And the ties are almost as wide as your head, but everybody else in the movie is wearing those too. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Lost Man

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

tn_lostmanTHE LOST MAN is a 1969 Sidney Poitier heist movie, a pretty obscure one, never released on DVD. Maybe if it was better known then Tony Scott and Denzel would do a juiced up remake. But actually it’s already sort of a remake, based on a novel that was made as ODD MAN OUT in ’47, but that version had James Mason as an IRA type, this has Poitier as a Black Panther type. (read the rest of this shit…)

Tyson (1995 HBO movie)

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

tn_tysonhboFrom Uli Edel, the visionary director of BODY OF EVIDENCE and THE LITTLE VAMPIRE, comes the 1995 made-for-cable biopic of Mike Tyson. HBO had made alot of money off the Mike Tyson fights, but then he lost the title and went to prison. I guess they made this movie to keep him in their library and maybe spark new interest for his comeback.

The most notable part of the movie is that Michael Jai White plays Tyson, in the role that brought him to somewhat-prominence. Before that he had a small part in TOXIC AVENGER 2-3 and was in a couple low-rent martial arts movies that I ought to track down one of these days, but this is what got him the bigger roles like, uh, Spawn.

You know, in the first UNDISPUTED the Ving Rhames character was clearly inspired by Mike Tyson. I think he was the current-champ, not the former-champ, but he was in prison on a rape charge that he denied. I’m not sure if I thought about it before that when Michael Jai White took over the character for part II it was the same guy who played Mike Tyson! This movie ends with him about to go to prison, so for a real weird experience I challenge somebody to watch TYSON, then UNDISPUTED, then UNDISPUTED II all in a row. (read the rest of this shit…)

Cliffhanger

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Long ago, before the rogue Finn Renny Harlin’s Samson locks were shorn, he was not the director of DEEP BLUE SEA. He was the director of DIE HARD 2. Or DIE HARDER as everybody thought it was called then. (This was before the internet, so I couldn’t explain to them that it was called DIE HARD 2.) Well, CLIFFHANGER is another movie from that o.g. Renny Harlin, or Renny Harlin Classic. And from where I stand this may be his finest McClane-free picture.

Of course, I’m coming late to the party. I missed this one when it came out in 1993 but I was planning on seeing it, so I saw it this week in 2007. So the rest of the world has had 14 years to know what I’m about to tell you: some guys robbing money from a treasury plane drop the money in the mountains, call a rescue team to try to steal their helicopter, and wind up having to deal with ace mountain climber Sylvester Stallone. (read the rest of this shit…)

White Dog

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

WHITE DOG is the story of a racist German sheperd. Fuckin Germans. (Just kidding.) The story here is about Julie (Kristy McNicol) a small time actress who runs over a white German sheperd in the Hollywood Hills one night. She brings the dog (who never gets a name, so we’ll call him White Dog) to the vet and pays for his treatment, then takes him in while she tries to find the owner.

Before long, some Ernest Borgnine looking rapist breaks in and attacks her. White Dog not only takes care of the fucker, he does it in style. He even manages to jump right through a closed window to catch him. Everybody’s making a big deal about the guy in ONG BAK being the next big action hero, well what about White Dog. This dog jumps and climbs over all kinds of crap. This is a great dog. (read the rest of this shit…)