John Sturges’s “The Great Escape” is easily one of my favorite action movies of all time, and one of my top five McQueen pictures (“The Getaway” takes the number one prize). It’s legacy and influence on pop culture and action cinema as a whole has been lasting, with John Sturges presenting a slew of brilliant actors at the top of their games in what is a very intriguing tale about escaping Nazi clutches, and fighting for freedom. “The Coolest Guy Movie Ever” is a fine and entertaining historical documentary for anyone that fancies themselves a fan of the movie. It’s exhaustive, meticulous in its detail, and we even get some candid stories about the cast.
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, the film makes a case for the viewer to see Marie Antoinette in a better light than what they have learned in history class. Here she’s painted as a teenage girl sent to marry a man she’s never met, pushed to produce heirs to the throne, while given a lavish and decadent lifestyle which led to her life feeling unfulfilled and thus making her do all she could to make her life as interesting as she could with what was offered to her. Here the take on Marie Antoinette is almost friendly, showing her as a complex person who was raised in luxury, married into more luxury, and thus completely disconnected from the French populace that ultimately took her and her husband down. The film approaches this without judgment and an interest in humanizing without glorifying a woman who’s often only known for a single quote.
Written and directed by Masanori Tominaga and based on the autobiography by Akira Suei, the film starts in the 1980s and goes back and forth in time, showing important moments in his life, from his childhood, including his mother blowing herself up, to his meeting his wife to his life painting cabaret billboards and then building his pornographic magazine empire. The film shows this in a light that lets the viewer makes up their own mind about Suei and his work and in a way that does not condone or condemn any of it. It shows things as they were and raises a few questions about censorship and morality policing.
If anything, “Gotti” will go down as one of the most infamous movies of 2018. It’s a movie was in development hell for years, snuck up on audiences, and garnered a ton of bad reviews. And it responded by insulting critics and talking down to its audience. Make no mistake though, “Gotti” is bad. It’s very bad. It’s pure Oscar bait, with a director who realty wants his film to be “Goodfellas,” and a leading star who is so completely out of his lane it’s kind of sad to watch. Here John Travolta doesn’t seem to be acting, so much as competing for an Oscar nod, and it’s an endurance test from beginning to end.
“Funko” is not a flash in the pan and it’s not a fad. It wants us to know that, and that it loves us, the fans. It’s been around for twenty years, manufacturing bobble heads and dolls in the background. Most recently it broke in to the mainstream consciousness with its series of Funko Pop Dolls, a long line of dolls with big heads, black eyes, and no mouths that have become humongous, coveted collector items far and wide. The Funko Pop craze has even managed to save some waning businesses with its broad line of dolls that range between anything from Batman, to The Sandlot, to The Golden Girls. “Making Fun” is a documentary by category, but in reality it’s a big promotional reel for stock holders of the company in the midst of its massive popularity.
Andre Gower’s “Wolfman’s Got Nards” is a fantastic, long overdue look at the making of, and legacy of “The Monster Squad,” one of the best horror movies of the eighties and one of my favorite films of all time. Anyone who knows me, knows I love “Monster Squad,” just love it. So “Wolfman’s Got Nards” was ninety minutes of pure bliss celebrating this unique horror comedy. “Wolfman’s Got Nards” is not only a testament to the importance of the video age, but how “The Monster Squad” turned in to a classic underdog tale.
Every horror fans knows of The Monster Squad by now, but that wasn’t always the case. Back when it came out, The Monster Squad played against The Lost Boys in theaters and flopped. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t become a bonafide cult favorite over the years.