For a movie that’s almost as old as I am and features many a flat tops and pastel vests, “House Party” is a movie that’s barely aged. In fact, it’s a movie that so many studios have tried to duplicate but never quite have captured the same magic and enthusiasm. There’s just something about “House Party” that’s kept it a vessel of pop culture, hip hop, and comedy that was shifting from the eighties and in to the nineties. Not even the sequels lived up to what is basically the perfect party movie when all is said and done. The movie advertises itself in the title, but while the movie is centered almost completely on a party, it’s also a pretty excellent coming of age comedy.
In 2000, Syfy (then known as Sci Fi Channel) was undergoing a transition in programming that included the introduction of “original programming.” Among these new shows was “The Invisible Man,” a series that mixed classic HG Wells’ science fiction classic, with comedy, drama, crime, science fiction, fantasy, and some good old fashioned espionage and heist antics. The story followed Darien Fawkes (Vincent Ventresca), an inept cat burglar who accidentally murders the owner of a condo attempting to steal some jewels. He’s caught by authorities and given life in prison with only one way out: he can go free if he promises to sign up for a clandestine government program by a mysterious government benefactor.
He agrees to the stipulation and is injected with an experimental formula known as “Quicksilver.”
Before the over-the-top mayhem and dark humor of Amazon’s The Boys, before the post-apocalyptic nightmare of The Walking Dead, before the sprawling space adventure of Avengers: Endgame, there was MARS ATTACKS! The original pulp sci-fi card set, released by Topps in 1962, influenced them all.
Now nearly six decades later, The Topps Company has licensed Mars Attacks to SideKick Lab, who will develop, produce, and publish a new series of Mars Attacks trading cards, which is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. This campaign was fully funded in just over an hour!
If you were a witness to Bong Joon Ho’s historic victory at the Oscars this year, as he was the first to ever win Best Director, Best International Film, and Best Picture all in one night, this was a long time coming. Bong Joon Ho has managed to deliver so many cinematic gems over the last twenty years, including the painfully overlooked science fiction epic “Snowpiercer,” and 2006’s utterly fantastic “The Host (Gwoemul).” Joon-Ho’s 2006 science fiction epic is a masterpiece of monster cinema that’s intelligent, innovative, and reaches down to the basic core of family unity to propel its story beyond science fiction conventions.
Hollywood loves to look for new angles on public domain fairy tales and intellectual properties. They’re always looking for a platform for a brand new franchise, and they either go the horror route or the action route. If one fails, they automatically revert to the other a few years later. “Cinderella” and “Snow White” have been brought to the big and small screen as pseudo-horror movies and action bonanzas, with varying degrees of success. The one fairy tale that hasn’t dodged the massive overhaul for a new generation is “Hansel and Gretel.”
The Academy is always a fan of the historical epic. They love movies about perseverance to hard times during a bygone era, from “Lincoln” and “Glory” to “Amadeus” and “Saving Private Ryan.” One of the movies that they didn’t touch in 2020, despite being a relatively mesmerizing picture, was Jennifer Kent’s 2019 “The Nightingale.” Despite it being a virtually gritty and gruesome journey in to darkness a la “The Revenant,” the Academy never offered the film its due, even in the realm of cinematography and or acting. There’s not even a best original screenplay nod handed to the thriller, and it’s a shame. Jennifer Kent’s revenge period piece is the antithesis of the glossy Oscar fodder that they stumble over themselves to honor every year.
In 1969, America was forever rocked by the vicious Tate-LaBianca murders which saw the Charles Manson family convicted for murdering five people including up and coming actress Sharon Tate. Decades later, Hollywood and many artists are still considerably fascinated not just by Charles Manson, but the Manson Family. On the anniversary of Sharon Tate’s murder, a lot of Hollywood jumped on the band wagon to find a way to highlight or explore the events leading up to her terrible murder. Except for Quentin Tarantino. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has managed to become yet another Tarantino masterpiece that has sparked endless discussion and arguments.
Despite the fact that Tarantino stages another alternate reality where the bad guys endured horrible deaths, “Once Upon a Time…” still managed to get approval from Sharon Tate’s family. And that’s probably because, refreshingly, Tarantino takes the piss out of Charles Manson and the Manson Family.
I was always such a big fan of movie serials and pulp superheroes even before my initiation in to comic books. I loved characters like Superman and The X-Men, but I also loved The Shadow, Commander Cody, and the Green Hornet. Some of those heroes made up some of my most entertaining fantasies, and it wasn’t a big adjustment considering most of the nineties’ superhero movies were mainly adaptations of pulp heroes like “The Phantom” and “The Rocketeer.” Kerry Conran remains one of the most prophetic filmmakers of all time.