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War and Remembrance (1988– )
6 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This epic series is the sequel to the equally unforgettable Winds of War (WOW). I recall WOW being on TV when I was a kid and the imagery and mournful main theme being quite powerful, although I did not see the WAR series until many years later when I bought DVD set. It must be said that WOW is more easily digestible for the young and not nearly as bleak and violent as WAR. The networks were hesitant to show WAR uncut and I suspect would still resist showing it even today for these reasons, along with the practical matter of taking vast amounts of air time, but it is WELL worth your time if the subject of WWII from a human perspective interests you.

I had mixed feelings about replacing several key characters from the original going into this series. The only replacement I truly regret is Byron's character, which would have been better left to Jan-Michael Vincent if that had been possible. Jane Seymour brought much more depth to Natalie Jastrow, although she was quite serious from the start and didn't have any of the freewheeling lightheartedness that made WOW fun (I'm glad Ali MacGraw had that role in WOW). I can't help but think of how chilling it would have been to see Ali MacGraw's Natalie descend from her relatively happy life to the hell that lay ahead. Aaron Jastrow's character gained much depth via John Gielgud.

Although this also has the (sometimes distracting and overly long) romantic subplots of the original, the most consuming story here is that of Natalie and Aaron's attempts to escape persecution from the Nazis and their eventual capture. With so many hours of film to work with, the director was able to take his time to slowly build the paranoia and tension until it reaches fever pitch with great effect. Every time Natalie looked over her shoulder, her fear intensified (with good reason). The Eichmann character was done very well and added much menace to his scenes.

The camp execution scenes are given real impact by pulling no punches whatsoever on realism. The shock of the victims young and old forced to disrobe and march to their deaths is absolutely heartbreaking...they only knew at the last minute what lay ahead for them. I still cannot stand to watch the scene that follows Himmler's visit to one of the camps to witness the extermination process where even Himmler is shown to have been greatly disturbed (historically accurate). I've since skipped that scene in subsequent viewings, it's too disturbing to relive. During WWII, many of the even the most hardened SS guards were severely disturbed by their own grim duty as well to the point of cracking. Also horrifying was the tension when Natalie and Aaron arrived at their final destination and the Nazi guard decides their fate with a single flick of the wrist based on looking at them to judge if they were fit for work or not. It's incredible that all of these scenes were filmed at the actual locations including the death camp scene where Aaron draws his last breath. Natalie's dreary train ride to the camp was also draining to watch and such a contrast to the beautiful scenes in Italy and Switzerland before they were captured. The loss of freedom really sunk in during the last few discs of the series to the point of feeling like you were a prisoner there with them.

The massive scope of this series and it predecessor helps you understand what an important and complex story this is, and this is only the European theater. The only real weaknesses to me were of casting for Hitler and Himmler, neither of which captured the evil of the real men, which could have brought even more weight to this towering achievement. I've never seen anyone fully capture Hitler other than Bruno Ganz in the excellent Downfall (2004) and I've never seen anyone capture Himmler or Heydrich (who was not included in this film but should have been as he was the true mastermind of The Holocaust and probably the most heartless and intimidating Nazi of them all). But overall, this series is the best of its kind and I doubt it will ever be matched. As unpleasant as some scenes in WAR are, this should really be watched by everyone, because it did happen, and we must never forget that. After watching these two series, your perspective will be changed forever regarding what a movie can be. Although WAR alone was more than 25 hrs long, it never felt like a chore to me to watch the entire series (I finished within 1 week). It makes most other movies seem lightweight by comparison.

Again, I don't recommend this for children. I didn't even show this to my parents (who loved Winds of War) because I know it would have traumatized my mother. It's not for everyone. I consider myself hardened to horror movies, but reality is much more terrifying than make believe any day.
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Hardbodies 2 (1986)
Absolutely Wretched
10 October 2012
I normally consider myself a bit of a tough guy when it comes to enduring bad movies. Somewhat in the way alcoholics build up a tolerance to hard liquor, I have a thick skin against terrible cinema provided there are at least a few redeeming moments. Inspired by nostalgia for late night cable TV, the only way to see nudity and real debauchery as a kid in the '80s, I decided to watch this wreck on an ultra cheap DVD. But it hit me a Mike Tyson (circa 1987) uppercut. I couldn't watch all of it. It's THAT bad. And I can enjoy basically any CANNON GROUP production (horrid cheeseball '80s action producers) ever made! A much better movie that accomplishes somewhat of what they were trying to do here is Summer Lovers featuring a very young Daryl Hannah. Or the original and much better Harbodies.

The entire premise of these '80s airhead summer teen sex movies is naked flesh, but at least some of them had a certain level of comedy or sexiness. But nothing here is funny, or particularly sexy. Brenda Bakke is absolutely stunning, but no one gets to do anything worthwhile because the movie is a failure from start to finish. I guess simply admiring her beauty is worth something (and most starlets did not have fake body parts back then, which is very refreshing). But overall, life is too short to watch movies like this. Or review them. Hey wait.....I just wasted.....uhh THE END.
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Your reaction will depend on your imagination
4 July 2011
If you have a rich, vivid imagination and a fascination with the subject matter, I think you'll enjoy this. This movie was somewhat of a pre-reality era movie in that I don't remember any other cinema movie of this style being popular before, and certainly not hyped as having real footage. I do not understand how an adult or even a teenager could be naive enough to believe this footage was real, but I guess that added to the thrill for many.

Without question, not actually showing everything built suspense and mystery. The entire film would have collapsed like a house of cards if they had introduced a green skinned woman with a pointy hat at the end (LOL). Instead, we got a very cool ending. Along the way, you'll have to endure some overbearing acting by the female lead, but overall, this is worth watching at least once. You probably won't feel the need to watch it again after that for quite a long time, but it is an enjoyable experience nonetheless. It unfortunately typecast the actors (especially the female lead) forever as "that guy/girl in Blair Witch", but the men who made this film undoubtedly had no need to ever work again after this (budget $60,000 for a gross of $248 million, you do the math..). Definitely a one trick, one time pony, but an amusing one.
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Not perfect, but still a cult classic
9 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie's strengths are the effectively creepy mood in the beginning, which builds nicely to a point near the end, and the repulsive charisma of the two villains Isaac (cult leader) and Malachi (ambitious 2nd in command, all-around bad apple). Apparently it was the producer/screenplay writers's idea to use biblical names for the cult leaders rather than the more common names in King's original, good call. But unfortunately, that was the only positive contribution they made over King's original story. Actually, that's not true---they did manage to find the right person to compose the very creepy theme song, which has been in my head for the last hour as I've thought about this movie and review!!

I was in the age range of some of the younger children in Isaac's group at the time this was released on TV, so it seemed much scarier back then compared to when I recently watched it for the first time in many years. My mum probably wouldn't have let me see such a movie in the theater at that age, even if I would have been allowed in! I had the same immediate reaction to the movie as an adult----Malachi makes the movie! He is the one that gives true menace to the scenes. He was dangerous enough to keep all of the children in line, but not quite enough to easily challenge the adult hero of the movie (Peter Horton), so not knowing if the hero can overcome him or not creates tension, because there is no one else that appears to have a chance of saving the day.

All of the elements for a true classic are in place, and it could have made it to that level if not for the weak ending. There was really no need to attempt to give a "face" to the evil force worshiped by the children at the end, it would have been better implied (and no, CGI wouldn't have helped, either). To add insult to injury, after all the danger is over, the last seconds of the film are an unnecessary, dopey feel-good segment, which takes away from the dread that hung over the entire film to that point. I've been inspired to read King's original now after seeing other reviews here, as his ending is apparently MUCH less upbeat, which makes sense to me for this story....
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The Stone Face
9 January 2011
You either get Old Stone Face or you don't. I get him. He played virtually the same type of character in every movie from the '70s forward, although his character's profession changed from time to time. Didn't matter if he was an unflinching streetwise cop that walks outside the law to bring justice, an architect, or an amazingly tough journalist that can beat up bad guys as easily as normal people breath air (how often do you see that?), he was always a character that looked out for what was right, the law be damned. And no mamby pamby metrosexual stuff anywhere in sight.....

This movie was interesting to me in that it was filmed during the prime of the '70s Cop Movie glory days and also happened to be part of the golden age for Bronson himself. I dig the terrible period clothing, hair and lingo. I also dig the neo-psychedelic soundtrack. It was rather amusing seeing Bronson amongst the young hippie burnouts at a wacked out party when he was searching for clues, talk about a fish out of water! And even way back then, the ever popular grouchy old Italian mobster stereotype was in full play, although this was one of the first Bronson films to do this (and it often resurfaced in his movies, even in Death Wish 4 decades later). It also featured several familiar faces including "Mr. Roper" of Three's Company as a cop(!) and "Jack Tripper" of the same show as a bumbling, inept rookie cop. Those with either sharp memories or an extensive Twilight Zone collection will recognize Mob Boss Vescari as the star of the much loved wax figures episode (New Exhibit).

You're not going to see Oscar type performances in a Bronson film, but then again, that's not what they were shooting for. You do get a glimpse of a great period of gritty American cop films. They didn't have the internet to help them. No GPS. No Google maps. Just coffee, steel revolvers, typewriters and good old fashioned investigational work, and of course real cars that were driven to death by stunt men, not computer generated crashes. And you do get politically incorrect, 150 proof MANDOM of the kind that isn't made any more. And that makes for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon in my book.
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Bloodtide (1982)
Just enjoy it........
2 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Some people here seem to take B-movies far too seriously. They aren't meant to be Gone With The Wind, just gritty fun. Here we have a photogenic young '80s couple (including the consummate bad guy sensei from Karate Kid and his hot young lady), two other '80s total babes and a relatively young James Earl Jones, who brought weight to an otherwise even more lightweight film. I bet he enjoyed this role, certainly not a serious part by any means and something fun to do between Star Wars films and Conan the Barbarian in 1982. The fact that he has The Voice (the voice of Lord Vader, that is!) is a considerable plus for the entire film.

The presence of the demon is suggested more than shown, but considering the limited budget, I'm sure that's a very good thing. I think the premise of the movie is quite good and could potentially be done very well, but it was merely passable here. I like the cast and the Greek islands always have their charms. There is no "quick fix" that could make this an excellent movie, but I think it was entertaining as is. I don't have a 1 second attention span or a need to see special effects every 3 minutes, but I do appreciate mood, atmosphere and a story, which this film has.

I got this as part of a 15 movie Horror compilation for $5 and it was one of the better films of that collection with ease. I certainly wouldn't pay a lot for it alone, but I have no regrets for having watched it and will watch it again at some point. Without James Earl Jones, this would have been a C-movie, but it DID have him, and thus hasn't been completely forgotten...
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A Worthy Entry to the Moore Collection
4 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen several here say Moore was too old---Moore himself said it on the DVD extra----but the fact remains, I don't think there was anyone anywhere that could have done a better job for this film at that time. Dalton certainly dropped the torch when it was handed to him, although the series recovered with Pierce. Bond is a distinguished British gentleman of high culture, he was never intended to be a brash young action hero. You can't find the kind of class Moore has in young upstarts, it takes time to attain it. I think Moore did a great job, although the story wasn't as strong as some of the other Moore films.

For one thing, there was a lack of exotic locations, always a huge part of the Bond mystique. And I never understood why Grace Jones had a moment of fame in the '80s (what was her talent, exactly?). But the incomparable Christopher Walken was devilish and unrepentant as a Nazi-bred villain and some of the other staples of the Bond series were there in fine form. Tanya Roberts was utterly lacking in depth and lacked the smoldering, mysterious sex appeal a Bond girl should have, but she was certainly beautiful. In the end, Moore delivered the goods, which is why I still treasure the film. And the '80s modernism thing is captured 100% by Duran Duran's great theme song, one of the very best Bond themes ever and a huge pop hit for the band, which was at its peak around this time. It must be a great honor for British citizens to be asked to perform a Bond theme! Well anyone, but especially for Brits.

If you can only see one Moore film in the short term, check out The Spy Who Loved Me or For Your Eyes Only first, but make sure you eventually catch this one, too.
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Criminally underrated classic Bond
4 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Having been a huge Bond fan since I was a mere lad in the early '80s, I still don't know why I just recently saw this film for the first time in 2010. I suppose I must blame the fact that it is criminally underrated and under promoted. It's very rarely shown on TV except on holiday Bondathons (I love those!) and casual fans typically know nothing of it. I've always considered myself more than just a casual Bond fan, so I finally ordered the Ultimate Edition DVD recently and I INSTANTLY ranked this among the all time greats of the series. Wish I had seen it earlier, but no matter, I will view it many more times over the years....

Lazenby's Bond was much more realistic and true to the novels, a human being that is far more talented than most, but not a superhero and in this movie not armed with numerous gadgets. He certainly played the role with dignity and it's a shame he didn't return for at least one more. But I am glad that Roger Moore was able to enter the series in his prime shortly after this rather than waiting until later, so it worked out.

Beautiful places have always been an integral part of Bond films, and it doesn't get more beautiful than the Swiss Alps. I'm going to make a point of visiting Blofeld's headquarters (a real restaurant) one of these days. It must have been quite an undertaking to build it in such an isolated place as they discussed in the DVD extras. I also love Bond's modernized Aston Martin in this film and the look of the film in general is just fantastic. And for home theater owners, the avalanche scene sounds absolutely amazing on a powerful system! I thought pictures on the wall in my theater room were going to fall!

SPOILERS: This film is unique in that Bond falls in love marries for the only time in the entire series, but being Bond, it was bound to end badly. A touching scene, the only real one in the entire Bond series actually. His wife was a very memorable and charismatic Bond girl and now I can put into context the visit that Roger Moore made in the beginning of For Your Eyes Only.

Bottom line, if you're a Bond fan, having this in your collection is mandatory.
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ANYONE can kill a vampire?
18 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This film is notorious among a couple of my friends after we rented it years ago and had many laughs. Still, it's a shame, because the original Salem's Lot was so strong and the framework story for this one could have put it in the same category----if it had been handled well, but it wasn't.

The dad (Michael Morarity) was a bit of a hard headed putz that couldn't see his hand in front of his face. His uninteresting, overly foul-mouthed brat son wasn't very endearing either, yet we are supposed to believe he can wrestle with an ancient Master Vampire and actually offer resistance!! A 120-lb kid should not offer ANY physical resistance whatsoever to a creature with superhuman strength!! Aggravating to put it mildly. The overall impression is that vampires are just weaklings waiting to be killed by your local dog catcher, ice cream man, schoolteacher, anybody in fact.....far from the case of the deadly Mr. Butler in the original, who was not someone you would try to fight when he was awake!!

The cheeseball "Nazi Hunter" was the source of the most laughs, but not for the reasons intended. To this day, I can still do a spot-on impression of some of his dumbest lines lol....

I was initially excited to watch this movie for the first time and dug the cool small town atmosphere and obvious potential for creepiness, but it wasn't realized. I still enjoyed it somewhat (I enjoy many "bad" movies), but I hope one day someone will come along and do this the right way. That will probably never happen until it is sparked by a highly successful remake of the original first.

EDIT: I revised my rating from 3 to 5 after thinking about how I feel about watching this, rather than what a movie critic that has to answer to his bosses would say. Truth be told, it would merit a 2 or 3 in those terms, but my ratings here are heavily biased by how much I am entertained by the film, good or bad.
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Absolute Failure......
10 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is the most wretched waste of time I have seen in many, many years. Utterly inferior to the classic 1981 original (one of my all time favorite movies!), it was a true chore to watch this. In fact, I couldn't make it all the way without fast forwarding through some of the duller sections. It has the dubious distinction of being the only one star movie that I actually took the time to review here.

How is this a failure? Let me count the ways. For starters, it was totally miscast. Greek demigod Perseus looks and talks like an Aussie rugby player with a 2010 haircut? Zeus wearing northern European knight's armor from the Middle Ages? Who approved these decisions??!!! There wasn't a single memorable character. The original had Harry Hamlin who looked to be the very personification of Perseus, and the great Burgess Meredith to lend weight to the movie and a generally excellent cast.

Then you have several key scenes out of sequence, or cut altogether such as the awesome early appearance of the Kraken from the original! Since this film HAS nothing else, they should have had the Kraken on-screen as often as possible. I give honorable mention for the creepiness of the Medusa scene, but it is cheapened by Medusa groaning like a frustrated cheerleader when she misses a shot with her bow and general bad editing. Wow. The Kraken itself was impressive enough and provided the most exciting moment in the film when he was seen rapidly swimming toward Argos, then surfacing like an emerging volcano. But you have to wait (or fast forward) through this entire dog to see that scene. So much wasted potential. Just think what could be done with this story in the right hands using CGI tech....

I've said it many times to the point of sounding like a broken record, but CGI more often than not ruins modern movies in my opinion, especially remakes of old classics. I suppose anyone that is a big fan of this failfest probably isn't even old enough or aware enough of history to know what a record is anyway......
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Best of the Amicus Anthologies!!!
26 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'll admit to being biased when I reviewed this since it was my introduction to the series. I saw this film for the first time in ~2005 on the late night "Fear Friday" on AMC, which often pulls obscure gems like this out of cold storage for new generations. I made it a point to watch the entire Amicus anthology series before reviewing any of them here to make sure I had perspective. Looking back, I still rate The House That Dripped Blood as my favorite, followed closely by Tales From The Crypt and then Asylum.

I think all of the elements that make this series charming---the vintage '60s/'70s style cinematography, creepy to kooky, far-fetched tales and the utter Britishness of it all right down the backing music----came together better here than any of the others overall. The movie centers around a very old English country house and the misfortune that befalls all that dwell within.

The first story involves a horror writer and his wife, who moved into this secluded place to get a break from the city so he could concentrate on his passion. He creates a murderous character called Dominic and soon starts experiencing great difficulty telling reality from fiction. There is a subtle psychedelia here via his torment that I found amusing yet creepy. Oh and those horrible prop teeth (then again these are British actors, maybe those were REAL!!!)

The second story is the tale of a lonely old man (Peter Cushing) that has moved here to escape his loneliness, yet it only worsens as he is haunted by lost love. He seems to have found possible salvation at a local (very creepy) wax museum, but it turns out he would have been much better off alone.......

The third story includes the great Christopher Lee (my fave British horror actor) as a single father with a rather disturbed and thoroughly creepy young daughter. He is constantly wary of her getting into things she shouldn't---like witchcraft! She has a natural talent for it, with good reason. Lee is superb here as the ice cold disciplinarian, that man has a true talent for playing characters that are absolutely devoid of warmth!! But despite his best efforts, the little troublemaker does in fact learn forbidden knowledge and bad things follow......

This final story is the tale of a cynical old veteran actor that feels the young director he's working with isn't qualified to capture a proper vampire film, right down to the quality of the costumes and his cloak in particular. So he goes to a old curiosity store in the middle of a foggy night to get something more "authentic". Little does he know that he picked up a truly authentic vampire's cloak! Putting it on at the stroke of midnight has rather noticeable effects. By the time I had gotten to this fourth and final story, it was after 3 am and I couldn't quite stay awake on the first try (not from boredom). But I did experience something that I have hundreds of times, a curious bonding experience I have with films or music when I drift in and out of sleep and the film/music becomes part of my dream!! Great fun!! This bizarre story was perfect for that and seemed much scarier the first time than it actually was because I woke up right when he was levitated by the cloak's power and couldn't quite comprehend was what happening at first. Not long after, the lovely Ingrid Pitt, a costar on his movie set, came to visit and he warned her not to put on the cloak at midnight---but he needn't have bothered, for she was a real vampire herself. The chintzy keyboard jingle that followed as she flew toward him on the staircase was simply hysterical!! And again in my half-asleep state, seemed rather confusing! Side Note: Make sure to catch Lee and Pitt and Britt Ekland in the all time classic film The Wicker Man (1973).

Objectively, I would say the third story is best, but I like the 4th most because it makes me smile so much.Very highly recommended for vintage horror fans. I'd say it's worthwhile to view the series in chronological order if you can. The last film of this series, Monster Club (1980) is certainly the weakest. I think the first 3-4 films except for the at times mediocre Torture Garden (1967)are the best, but if you like any of them, you should watch them all at least once. You'll probably be back many more times to watch your favorites.
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All Time Classic!!
10 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Some movies affect me in a way that defies rational judgment. I've seen some reviews here and elsewhere that bring up legitimate gripes, but I simply don't care. I love this movie and that's all that matters, it is high on my list of all-time favorites and I still often watch it once a year during winter, much like The Shining and other classics. The mood is appropriately foreboding throughout, and I've never seen another actor in my life that could so perfectly portray Damien as Jonathan Scott-Taylor---he was BORN to play Damien!! This is one of the first truly creepy movies I saw as a kid.

It's fascinating to see the opulence in which Damien is raised and how he still feels empty in spite of it, knowing he is part of something bigger that hasn't been revealed. This is especially well conveyed in the lake house scenes where everyone is happy for Damien's brother's birthday on what should have been an ideal vacation as enjoyed by a privileged class, yet Damien knows something is......wrong. He still feels only emptiness, loneliness. I also enjoyed the sense of sheer dread in the elevator scene and the cackling raven in the roadside scene.

You absolutely MUST watch the original Omen movie before this one, it is essential to the storyline and even better than this superior film. Unfortunately, Omen III totally dropped the ball and left a hideous black mark on the series. It's a shame someone couldn't have done a better job of completing the trilogy, perhaps someone will eventually....but not through excessive CGI, through mood and clever writing, as seen in the first two films.

Highly recommended! Make sure to watch The Omen first...
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Firefox (1982)
Cold War Epic!!
10 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's absolutely absurd to think you could pull off such a scheme in reality, that is, an American pilot infiltrating a Russian airbase and leaving with their new top secret fighter, but just suspend reality and enjoy this entertaining movie, OK? Made near the peak of Cold War tensions and pro-USA action/military films, this is a more grownup film as opposed to the shoot 'em up and/or karate fare that was becoming common by the mid '80s.

I remember watching this on TV as a kid and being spellbound by the last 3rd of the movie once Clint took off in Firefox, although it was slow at times leading up to that point. Having viewed it again recently, I can see why a young kid would find the first 2/3 a bit slow, but it's certainly not difficult to be entertained by it as an adult. Although I understand it was important to build up the plot, the early parts of the movie could still be trimmed slightly to make it a bit tighter. Think of the action at the end as a treat for having gone through the longish buildup, it is truly an exciting time in the skies! I much prefer Clint's no-nonsense portrayal of an Alpha Male pilot to the campy, hot-shot frat boy behavior of the pilots of the Tom Cruise movie Top Gun.

Some of the technical details were also a bit absurd (Mach 6?!!!), but the story reflects the fear Western powers had when learning of the ultra fast real Soviet Mig 25, capable of over Mach 3 at a time when the best US warplane was more like Mach 2. Fortunately for the rest of the world, the real Soviet Mig-31 "Foxhound" wasn't nearly as potent as the fictional Firefox, but nonetheless, the fact that this film was loosely (ok very loosely!) inspired by real events gives it extra cool points.

Highly recommended.
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Endless Love (1981)
Wasted Potential
2 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There was so much potential squandered by this film, it's a crime. Although I haven't read the book, I understand that considerable liberties were taken with the film; regardless, it is an illogical mess. How many mothers would admiringly watch their own high school aged daughters having sex in the living room, then pursue the teenage boyfriend?! How many idiots would think destroying their girlfriend's house via arson would be the way to win them over?!!!

I am a HUGE fan of '80s movies and enjoy the distinctive look of films from this time. And I defy anyone to find a more beautiful creature than Brooke Shields in the '80s. But these are the only real bright spots, and can only overcome so much. The big appeal of this film to me is the idea of what it would have been like to have Brooke as your girlfriend back in high school (I'm not the only one!!), but unfortunately, you've got to endure her imbecile boyfriend who not only sets fire to her family home, but indirectly causes her father's death. By the midpoint of the movie, I was hoping SOMEONE would knock his lights out and that Brooke would leave him far, far behind. I'm sure any real family would feel the same way.

Although I was a Brooke fan in the '80s and had seen Blue Lagoon, I never got around to seeing Endless Love for some reason. Nostalgia inspired me just last year to watch it for the first time. The only thing about this that has aged well is Brooke's timeless beauty and the beautiful theme song. The strength of these two things makes it worth watching, at least once....
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Xanadu (1980)
2 February 2010
I've noticed many reviewers here and elsewhere saying things like "worst movie ever", "horrific", etc. Honestly, LIGHTEN UP. If you want to see the worst movie ever, it would be one of a series of bombs by J-Lo for example like Anaconda or Gigi, or anything by David Hasselholf, not this charming, bizarre yet lovable piece of '80s cheese. I once read somewhere that a critic wondered aloud how someone could come up with this plot, even if "everyone was doing handstands in piles of cocaine back then", LOL. Or was that a review of the '80s sci-fi movie Dune? No matter, I can see where it could apply to Xanadu as well.

The reason to watch this movie is for the escapism, the mostly excellent soundtrack and the absolutely mesmerizing Olivia Newton-John. I was in 2nd grade when I first saw this on TV and was completely drawn to Olivia, I credit her for being the first female to make me realize that there was something I liked very much about girls, she was my first crush. She easily convinced me that she could be a goddess, her voice was perfection and she had some of the best songs of her entire career in this film: "Magic", "Suddenly" and "Xanadu".

This movie is loaded with the optimism that was present at the dawn of the '80s, I remember it well, a sort of naivety that had faded forever by the end of the '80s. The opening scene where the muses jump out of the wall is etched in my mind, as is the scene where Olivia skates down the California sidewalk and right into Sonny's life, I remember wishing that could have been me!

It was fun to see Gene Kelly being spry even at his advanced age and playing in a movie that was totally foreign to his era, he was a good sport to even entertain such "young people stuff". He was a sort of father figure in the film, making the other adult characters seem almost like children. Olivia in particular, although already 31 at this time, was as radiant as a teenager.

Sure, there is an abundance of general badness here, but overall, ONJ makes it worthwhile for me. Without her, I wouldn't even bother to review it and probably would have never seen it. But alas, it DOES have her, and some classic tunes with help from ELO.

Don't take this film (or yourself!) too seriously and I think you'll enjoy it.
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Death Wish 3 (1985)
"I sent them a message"
2 February 2010
Classic Bronson, one of the best of the Death Wish films. In the original Death Wish, Bronson used a snub-nosed pea shooter to take out the trash. But in this one, he used a variety of military grade weapons, including the .475 Wildey Magnum, surely one of the most iconic handguns ever, which he made famous with this movie (to this day, he is featured very prominently on Wildey's website). He also used a belt-fed Korean War era heavy machine gun and mail order rocket launcher, among others!! Pure '80s take-back-the-streets fantasy, but it's oh so fun. New York was a virtual war zone in the '80s, so the desire to simply blast the creeps and clean up the neighborhood was very attractive to many. Since you can't really do that, just let Paul Kersey do it!!

By all conventional means, a terrible film, but I love it! Between the comically stereotyped characters such as the cartoon gangsters, the elderly Jewish couple, etc and numerous cheesy lines, there is no way to justify liking this other than pure BRONSON. Bronson's unflinching delivery is so simple and direct, and he has no moral objection whatsoever for example to baiting two punks that were trying to steal his car into a deadly showdown, which he wins of course.

Highly recommended for Bronson fans!
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