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Witty Sci-Fi Spoof
W.D Richter's Buckaroo Banzai succeeds on many levels, thanks to a wonderfully droll sensibility and inspired casting. Peter Weller lends a perfect, dead-pan seriousness to the very 'out there' proceedings, while John Lithgow chews up the scenery as the fiendish Dr. Lizardo. Ellen Barkin is particularly fetching as Penny Priddy, while Jeff Goldblum stakes out his turf with an engaging feverishness that is all his own. Christopher Lloyd takes a relatively low-key approach to his role and does well for it, allowing for Lithgow's extravagance. Welding the pieces together is a delirious, kinetic script by Earl M. Rauch.The film, although essentially a spoof of science fiction films and comic book superheroes, remains a delightful, inventive enigma of eighties cinema. The look of the picture is quite good, and (considering it's meager budget) highly-digestible. Given that the film never found a mass audience, it is surprising that so many individuals seem to remember it as vividly, and as fondly as they do. I can only hope that after everyone has gotten their fill of a certain "galaxy far, far away", that a return to the more substantial basics of storytelling and characterization is deemed imperative. Meanwhile sit back, relax, and laugh yourself silly with a charming, 'little' film that tends to be so much more.
"Dammit Janet, Again!"
A fun, vigorously entertaining romp that never gets old. Jim Sharman's take on the Richard O'Brien stage play is filled with wonderful, bizarre characters, a memorable score, and splendid set designs by Brian Thomson. Tim Curry contributes one of his most memorable performances as the beloved, outrageous, and ultimately tragic figure 'Dr. Frank'N'Furter', while Pat Quinn, Ritz O'., and the other cast members rise to the occasion, turning in equally stellar work. From Bostwick and Sarandon, to the delectable Little Nell, everyone shines. The score, written by O'Brien, is as relevant a player in the film as the actors are, and is one of the key ingredients to the piece's continued success. It is difficult, now, to refer to, or to even consider this work as a 'cult' hit, or chic phenomenon. It really is too good of a movie and nearly everyone who has access to the home video market has seen it. I only hope that the real triumph of the film, which is it's message, isn't discarded, or eclipsed by it's more apparent offerings of camp dialog, and witty, off-beat humor. The central theme of the film being that there are no real 'freaks' in the clinical sense of the word, that genitalia doesn't necessarily specify gender, and that we are all capable of turning our innermost desires and fantasies into flesh and blood reality. A glorious treat for the senses! As genuinely moving, as it is clever and well-made. You really must see this lovely work to truly understand the rabid devotion of it's ever-growing fan base.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
"Zombies On Fire!"
One of the best films in the zombie sub-genre, and indeed a true horror classic. George Romero's Dawn Of The Dead continues to both thrill and sicken fans and unsuspecting newbies, nearly twenty-seven years after it's initial release. With the Ultimate Edition DVD now available containing an exhaustive amount of assorted goodies and added features, the film that made flesh-eating ghouls a staple of grotesque cinema finally has it's day! The cast does an exceptional job with Ken Foree, in particular, delivering a towering, robust performance, and kudos to Gaylen Ross, whose story arc contributes an unexpected, moral dilemma not usually associated with this type of film. In the many years since Romero's masterpiece was released (unrated!!!) in the American and European markets, there has been a distressing amount of crass imitations and messy knock-offs diminishing somewhat the power and impact of this seminal work. If you want to see a landmark film that revels in it's own excess, and leaves that lovely taste of copper in your mouth, then set the alarm for "Dawn", and pray you don't oversleep!!!
The Fly (1986)
"The Terror Of Genius"
One of the greatest genre films to come out of the eighties. With this film David Cronenberg finally realizes his full potential,and in turn creates a riveting experience that few audience members can ever hope not to forget. The always enjoyable Jeff Goldblum shines in a career-defining role, while sultry Geena Davis proves she can be more than just eye-candy. The concept of disfiguring illness and mad science experiments gone awry have been utilized in genre films before to varying degrees of success. Cronenberg's films, however, are always much deeper than their initial face value, and The Fly is certainly no exception. It is the agonizingly, realistic, well-paced transformation sequences that cement the film in the minds of viewers and film historians alike. By depicting the devastating after-effects of Seth Brundle's abuse of his own genius, whilst in a jealous rage over Davis' character, we as an audience can feel for ourselves the pain and mental anguish exhibited by Goldblum at his body's ultimate betrayal. When we, as a species, create for ourselves (whether through cultural choices or imposed and regimented political structures) an environment where the value of our own Humanity is negligible, then we cease to be Human at all. In fact, we become a form of contagion. A master germ of hellish intent and purpose. The mutation has begun, and everyone's invited to the party. See for yourselves why David Cronenberg's films are regarded as the most influential by any director alive today!
Talk Radio (1988)
"A day in the life of a radio shock-jock"
Oliver Stone hits the bull's eye with this film, aided chiefly by Bogosian's electrifying screen presence and biting, brilliant screenplay. Every moment crackles with a steadily-growing tension, climaxing in a truly, memorable movie-going experience. If there was ever an indication of a writer and a director's ability to meld two highly volatile temperaments into a seamless union of creativity, then this is it! The result is a powerhouse achievement, made more timely now perhaps because of our culture's disturbing fascination with celebrity, and it's distorted interpretations of fame.
An ultimate indictment of our society's increasing morbidity, and self-sickening hunger for the next big thrill.
A film not easily forgotten. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the darker side of human nature.