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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Root’

John Hawkes Horror Double Feature: Scary Movie (1991) and Night of the Scarecrow (1995)

Friday, October 29th, 2021

Do you like scary movies? What about SCARY MOVIE? I’m not talking about the original script title for SCREAM, or the parody movie series named after the original script title for SCREAM, but the 1991 movie starring John Hawkes and taking place on Halloween night. It was shot on 16mm in Austin and when the American Genre Film Archive released a restored blu-ray and DVD in 2019 they said it had never been “legitimately distributed” until then. I did find a reference to it playing “limited runs in Europe and Asia,” but anyway, that’s why most of us never heard of it before.

Hawkes is from Minnesota, but as a young man he moved to Austin, where he was in a couple bands (including one with Rodney “Joey from ELM STREET 3 & 4” Eastman) and started appearing in locally filmed movies like FUTURE-KILL (the one with the unrelated H.R. Giger cover), D.O.A., and a thriller called MURDER RAP where he’s the star. He’s also the lead in SCARY MOVIE, playing a fraidy cat nerd named Warren who goes with his more outgoing buddy Brad (Jason R. Waller, Austin Stories) and Brad’s girlfriend Shelley (THE BALLAD OF THE SAD CAFE) to a haunted house attraction. (read the rest of this shit…)

V.I. Warshawski

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

July 26, 1991

Kathleen Turner is… V.I. WARSHAWSKI, a Chicago private detective who falls into a case when an ex hockey player she picks up at a bar dies in a suspicious explosion during an inheritance squabble. The movie was a notorious flop, making back less than half its $24 million budget, and Rotten Tomatoes calculates its reviews at 21% (though Roger Ebert and Janet Maslin liked it). But I’ve wanted to see it for a long time, at least since realizing it was a character from a series of novels. I haven’t read the books, but maybe that helps, because movies never seem to be able to capture these characters the way fans want them to (see: Parker, Jack Reacher, Matthew Scudder… I guess people like Jason Bourne and Lisbeth Salander?) and yet, when you don’t know any better, they make for fun movie material.

The novels are by author Sara Paretsky – the movie credits the whole series as its basis, but apparently it’s mainly from the second one, Deadlock. Though the author and character are noted feminists, Hollywood Pictures got three dudes to write the screenplay – Edward Taylor (no other movie credits), David Aaron Cohen (POINT OF VIEW starring John Savage) and Nick Thiel (Eight Is Enough, The Fall Guy, Magnum P.I., THE EXPERTS, FIREBIRDS, WHITE FANG). Actually, director Jeff Kanew says on the commentary track of the blu-ray and dvd from Kino-Lorber that he never met Thiel and didn’t use any of his work but that another guy who wasn’t credited did to a bunch of work. Anyway he’s a dude also, the one who did EDDIE MACON’S RUN, GOTCHA!, REVENGE OF THE NERDS, TOUGH GUYS and TROOP BEVERLY HILLS. They have one of those “hey, check this out” boxes around his name on the movie poster, so I guess that resume held some cachet in ’91. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Empty Man (plus AM1200)

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

THE EMPTY MAN is an interesting horror movie that’s on VOD right now. Turns out it’s based on a comic book from Boom! Studios, but I was not aware of that when I saw it. I just knew it was getting some word-of-mouth as a good horror movie that had not gotten its due upon its release in October. After further research I learned that after it got dumped by the studio (with a misleading trailer dropping one week before release) and completely flopped it got bad reviews and a D+ Cinemascore. Luckily I was listening to the right people.

If you’re game, I suggest doing a trust exercise here and just watching it without reading what it’s about. I liked seeing it unfold knowing nothing at all. But for those of you who can’t do that, I’ll get more specific. It opens in Bhutan in 1995, where four American friends are on a hiking trip. You know – all excited to visit a foreign land, waving at passing monks and shit. They get to the top and it’s beautiful and amazing and then Paul (Aaron Poole, THE SAMARITAN) is all, “Do you hear that?,” walks toward a ledge and slips right into a crevice. Just drops right in like it was an open manhole. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Lone Ranger

Monday, July 8th, 2013

tn_lonerangerFuck it. I loved THE LONE RANGER. I’m not gonna downplay it. It doesn’t surprise me it’s not a runaway hit, ’cause it’s a cowboy from a fuckin radio play, for chrissakes. Every several years they sink a bunch of money into a movie based on an old timey adventure hero like The Phantom, The Shadow, The Green Hornet, John Carter, or this guy, and maybe with the exception of Zorro they’ve all failed to make money or capture the public consciousness. But I tend to like these kinds of movies, so thank you, corporations, for losing so much scratch on my behalf, especially this time. Here we have the most artful and original of any of those mentioned. I wouldn’t expect everybody to want to see it, but I honestly can’t comprehend the hatred for it by people who have.

It’s made by Team Pirates of the Caribbean: director Gore Verbinski, star Johnny Depp, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, studio Walt Disney, writers Terry Rossio & Ted Elliot (this time with Justin Haythe, who wrote SNITCH), composer Hans Zimmer. And I personally really like their three Pirates movies, so keep that in mind, but this is much more concise and focused. I’m not gonna say it’s better than PIRATES 2, with all those crazy creatures and shit, but it’s faster moving and better structured. (read the rest of this shit…)