Chubby Checker managed to get a lot of mileage out of his dance hit “Twist.” Not only did he get three movies, but he presents variations of the dance with a variety of the songs where he beckons us to twist. There’s “Don’t Knock the Twist,” “Slow Twistin’,” “Salome Twist,” “Bucket Twist,” “La Paloma Twist,” and “I Love to Twist”! “Don’t Knock the Twist” is a sequel to the 1961 movie headlined by Chubby Checker. Though he’s the headliner he’s not the star per se, but he does show up every so often to present another performer or twist for us.
By the time Fred Sears’ “Rock around the Clock” arrived, the Bill Haley and the Comets song “Rock around the Clock” was already a massive hit thanks to “Blackboard Jungle.” It’d been accepted already as the quintessential youth anthem about rocking out and partying to rock and roll until the broad daylight. Banking on the beloved anthem was a stroke of genius, with a film that puts Bill Haley and the Comets front and center and zeroes in on the appeal of rock and roll. Well—the Caucasian version of rock and roll, anyway.
There really is no one on Earth that can top the combined forces of Dario Argento and Goblin’s excellent “Suspiria,” so Luca Guadagnino doesn’t even try. Instead, this new version of “Suspiria” is less a remake and more of a new tale in the same universe, or a spiritual sequel if you really want to get technical. Luca Guadagnino definitely approaches his spin on “Suspiria” with about as much ambition and enthusiasm he can muster up and what results is a wonky, surreal, bizarre, and yet overstuffed six act horror film that never quite knows when to call it quits. That said, “Suspiria” will most definitely acquire a fan base and I assume years from now fans will debate on whether this or Argento’s original is the superior film.
I have to admit that “The Big TNT Show” isn’t nearly as good as “The TAMI Show.” Despite being a big sixties fanatic and lover of the styles and attitudes, “The Big TNT Show” suffers from being a pretty humdrum concert with an unusual line up. If anything the best way to watch and appreciate “The Big TNT Show” is as a sixties oddity that took a lot of what was coming in the decade, and what was popular and kind of mixed them together in one weird show with an enthusiastic audience. If anything there is a ton of good music and some raucous performances.
ABC Television’s remake of “Dirty Dancing” is a god awful and ill conceived version of the eighties classic. I don’t say that as a fan of the original, or an eighties kid, but as someone who just can’t abide a truly awful reworking for a film that didn’t need it. Did we forget “Havana Nights” already? ABC goes for an over two and a half hour remake that is just about as listless and ridiculous as you can imagine. For some reason the writers thought it’d be a good idea to add a story frame for the actual story that ensues between Baby and Johnny.
Then there’s a verbatim remake of the original, a goofy melodrama about Baby coming of age, and a musical that stages a bunch of forgettable tunes. Not to mention a relationship drama about Baby’s parents experiencing a crossroads in their marriage. Lest we forget an interracial romance with Baby’s sister falling in love with an African American singer for the country resort, and the steamy torrid love affair between Johnny and a local middle aged resort guest (as played by Katey Segal).
Director Max Beauchamp’s “Iridescence” is an excellent short film and one that we desperately need these days. Conveyed through motion, body language, and dance, “Iridescence” is the story of one family torn apart and destroyed by ignorance and misunderstanding. Relying on ace editing by Duy N. Bui and fantastic choreography, director Beauchamp tells the story of the tragic death of a wife at the hands of her husband one fateful night. Years later their son grows up confused about his own sexuality and is struggling to hide his affair with another man from his violent father.
ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE – I love a good romantic movie and I especially love it when directors approach the genre from a different angle. The reason why “Timecode” might just win an Oscar come February is because the way director Juanjo Giménez approaches the love of two people. The romance is built through technology, but not in the way you’d assume. Director Juanjo Giménez unfolds his short film with very little dialogue and a lot of acting that relies on facial expressions and heavy reactions to events that ensue.
Returning to the big screen on January 29th and February 1st for a 30th anniversary presentation from Fathom Events and Lionsgate.
“Dirty Dancing” represents a lot of what made eighties cinema so great. There’s the obsession with the sixties, Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, a pretty brilliant soundtrack, and of course a story about the guy from the wrong side of the tracks and the upper class girl above him in certain respects. Sure, “Dirty Dancing” can be silly, but it’s silly in a good way, and it’s bold in its approaching abortion as a key story element that sets the narrative in to motion. “Dirty Dancing” is one of the best movies about the love of dance and music ever made, and while it’s definitely associated with the chick flick label, it’s a movie that just about anyone can enjoy. And how can you not love “(I Had) The Time of My Life”?