Director Peter Berg is a man of varying flavors of cinematic outputs. He’s been a working man’s director more than an artist, but some of his work has been very good, while his other films have been complete dreck. Falling squarely in the “dreck” peg, there’s one of his earlier efforts, 1998’s “Very Bad Things.” It’s pitch black confused mess that takes us through a spiraling vortex of violence, as a group of emasculated men struggle to maintain their lives after a bad night involving a prostitute, a bachelor party, and disturbing murder. Continue reading
When you get down to it, you can examine “Klute” as something of a neo-noir set in the darkness of New York City where society shifted out of the Free Love era and in to much dimmer years. But deep down “Klute” manages to be a rather fantastic character study about a woman who is hopelessly and probably forever exploited by the world. Throughout “Klute” she struggles with whether she wants to have what she perceives as an easy ride and allow herself to become exploited, or resist, and try to carve out a better world for her that’s more respectable, but so much tougher than she’s prepared to handle.
Harley Quinn has been one of the most popular DC Comics anti-heroes of the last twenty years, and for good reason. She went from an abused spouse who served her partner thanks to years of mental abuse, gas lighting and Stockholm Syndrome, to someone who cast off the shadow of the Joker to carve out her own niche. Harley Quinn should be an easy adaptation but DC and Warner haven’t quite mastered it yet. After stealing the show in “Suicide Squad,” she steals the show again in “Birds of Prey” but still never quite comes out unscathed thanks to what is an imperfect and brutally flawed, albeit balls to the wall entertaining action movie.
Like many movie lovers, you mainly associate Alastair Sim with his iconic portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1951 masterpiece “A Christmas Carol.” His take on Scrooge remains one of the most celebrated and imitated to this day. But Alastair Sim also had a very seasoned career in various film roles that challenged the performer, and the cinema curators at Film Movement have made his other under seen, otherwise under appreciated performances from the period of 1947 and 1960 available for purchase.
I was never aware of what “Carnival Magic” was until “Mystery Science Theater 3000” covered it years ago. I’d never seen an alleged kids’ film that was so adamantly uncomfortable, and droning, and inappropriate before. Al Adamson, who was known mainly for adult exploitation films, took his hand at making a children’s adventure film, ends up making in inadvertent cult item that promises to confuse and dumbfound movie lovers for years in the same ilk as “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” and “Troll 2.” I don’t know if I’d call it a cult gem, but it certainly is a cinematic oddity.
Happy April! We hope you and yours are doing well during these bizarre times. What with most things slowing down, I thought it’d be a great time to bring back “Shorts Round Up of the Week” once again with some back logs being cleared out from our submissions. This week we have some great short films that you can check out, now including a science fiction drama, a comedy, and a drama about the #MeToo movement.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
Full Disclosure: Film Detective were kind enough to allow us viewing of the digital elements of “Fist of Fear…” for the purposes of this review, since the release of the Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD have been delayed indefinitely due to the ensuing worldwide pandemic. Pre-orders are still open and Film Detective are ensuring copies to consumers when they’re given the green light to continue manufacturing.
There’s a hilarious segment in “The Simpsons” episode “Homer Badman” where Homer is interviewed by tabloid reporter Godfry Jones who promises to redeem his image after he’s accused of groping a young girl. Jones expectedly exploits Homer for the sake of ratings, editing the interview to make Homer look bad. But the editing is so awful that it’s an obvious hack job, and you can’t help but laugh at the sheer shamelessness of it all. The same can be said for “Fist of Fear, Touch of Death” the sheer height of Brucesploitation that takes scraps from Bruce Lee’s career and repurposes, re-edits, and splices footage in to just a god awful faux-documentary/sports drama.