"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Yuji Okumoto’

Nemesis

Monday, March 21st, 2022

Would you believe I’d never seen NEMESIS (1992) before? I’d heard claims it was one of the better movies for director Albert Pyun and/or star Olivier Gruner, but I didn’t get around to it until now. From the cover I always thought it was gonna be kind of a TERMINATOR knock off, so I was very surprised and impressed when it opened seeming more like BLADE RUNNER in the style of THE KILLER.

It starts in Los Angeles, 2027 A.D., which does not look overly futuristic, but is covered in an eerie orangy brown haze. Alex Rain (Gruner, who had only been in ANGEL TOWN) is in a hotel for a liaison with a woman, but then he shoots her in the head, revealing a bunch of wires and electrodes. “God damn cop,” she says. “God damn terrorist” he replies. Though he very poorly delivers a one-liner to her exploded head, he looks very cool when he walks out of the hotel with a Chow Yun Fat style tie-overcoat-and-sunglasses look, passing a bunch of people in the hallway who take a minute to figure out he’s the cop who shot their friend. But then they follow him. (read the rest of this shit…)

Better Off Dead

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

August 23, 1985

The success of movies like FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and SIXTEEN CANDLES kicked off a wave of teen films in the ‘80s, but the ones that came out in the Summer of ’85 were not typical of the genre. Most of the season’s movies about high school kids involved some sort of fantastical element (BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE HEAVENLY KID, WEIRD SCIENCE, MY SCIENCE PROJECT – and I guess the younger GOONIES and EXPLORERS count too). The most straight ahead, down to earth teen movies were THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN and REAL GENIUS, neither of which were exactly standard issue.

And BETTER OFF DEAD is an even odder one. It has a pretty normal premise (high school kid gets depressed when his girlfriend dumps him for the captain of the ski team, thinks he can get her back by defeating said captain in a ski race), but it’s filtered through the distinct humor of first time writer/director Savage Steve Holland. Though I don’t personally hold it in nearly the same reverence, I think it has a little bit in common with PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE, in that it’s a comedy with its own distinct tone and deadpan presentation of absurdity brought to us by a rookie whose ignorance about how to make a normal movie works as a strength. On a more superficial level, it uses little bits of animation (including stop motion), and jokingly applies thriller film techniques to silly things (for example, using horror movie synths and atmosphere whenever the paperboy shows up looking for his $2). Burton and Holland are also the same age, both went to CalArts, and both worked as animators before becoming live action directors (in Holland’s case creating the famous “Whammy” animations for the game show Press Your Luck). (read the rest of this shit…)