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”?
You have to give it to Lucille Ball. While there are countless stories about her latter years in show business and how much of a tyrant she was, she seemed to show a lot of respect for Carol Burnett. Burnett was prompted by network executives to build a big time television special. Burnett recruited Ball, who was more than happy to co-star. Burnett, an old school queen of comedy, shared the stage with Ball, another titan of comedy.
It’s really charming how much confidence UA Pictures seems to place on the fad of roller disco. I’m assuming what with the implentation of the disco scene for John Badham’s “Saturday Night Fever,” I guess someone naturally assumed UA Pictures could market on that success by featuring a coming of age drama in the same vein but with roller disco. The problem with “Roller Boogie,” though is that while it aspires for bigger things, the film falls squarely in the middle of mediocrity. “Roller Boogie” is not a bad film, nor is it a terribly cheesy one like “Breakin’.” It’s merely a depiction of a dance fad that didn’t have a real staying power, and the gimmick isn’t used to tell a very compeling tale when all is said and done.
Not even Mark Lester could breathe a sense of life or energy behind his film, as it suffers from too much plot and a narrative that’s much too formulaic for a film with the pretense of originality. That’s a shame since Linda Blair is a very solid actress who can pull off the girl next door protagonist whenever she really wants to. Considering the film is more for teens, Blair never really sheds her clothing, but that doesn’t stop her from running around in tight tank tops, hot pants, and short skirts. Blair’s own sex appeal drowns out anything else the movie tries to push in terms of character or sub-plot, and she only comes out ahead slightly above everyone else. Blair is Terry, a young privileged teenager who is on her way to college.
She is a gifted classical musician whose posh parents have gotten her in to an upscale college but, woe is her, she wants to be a roller disco dancer. Apparently there’s a massive population of roller disco dancers in California and on the boardwalk. They travel in packs and perform tricks for tourists while riding to their every day jobs, and Terry wants anxiously to be a part of it all. Bobby James is a fast talking hustler who is also the best roller disco dancer of them all and Terry hires him to teach her all of the best dance moves and skills.
Meanwhile, Terry wants to garner her affection and become her boyfriend while teaching her how to master dance moves on roller skates. The writers also feature a sub-plot involving Bobby’s group of friends which never has a major impact on the overall resolution of the film.
The main crux of the movie is that the roller disco club Jammers is being strong armed out of business by local thugs, and the owner of the club has decided to retire. The roller disco crew want to keep it opened, though, and decide to band together to help the owner. Because disco is forever, baby! Most of the film is centered around the relationship between Terry and Bobby, and how Terry is so not your normal rich girl. She loves him, then hates him, then loves him, and then loves him more because he wants her for her body and not her money.
“Roller Boogie” wouldn’t be so bad if it managed to dig up an interesting storyline and wasn’t so concerned with being more of a safe drama comedy, with dancers suddenly banding together to save their favorite hang out and battling evil land owners. It’s such a dull premise considering there could have been so much more developed around a fascinating form of dance. Look at “Roll Bounce,” a movie about roller disco that happens to be pretty fun since it draws an interesting conflict and channels the vibe of the seventies so much better.
Here it’s less about the dancing and more about Terry rebelling against her upper crest wealth family. Which contradicts the tone as a whole since Lester spends a lot of time with montages of the roller disco dancers doing what they do best. For a film a little under two hours, if director Lester didn’t spend so much time filming various dancers flipping and rolling around the film would be much more compact and easier to endure. Lester has a clear idea of how to spotlight the unique dance form, but the writers have absolutely nothing to do with it. Terry wants to rebel, then she falls for her trainer, then she teams up with the other dancers to save her favorite club and there’s a very rushed climactic dance competition. Of course Terry and Bobby win the contest easily, since the lack of minorities in this movie is more frightenin than “Hell Night,” but that’s a whole other topic altogether. If anything, at least “Roller Boogie” sports a neat disco soundtrack, including a prominent playing of “Boogie Wonderland.”
Plus there’s Lester’s nigh endless footage of dancers rolling around and flipping begins to feel like a documentary, screeching any attempt at momentum with the narrative to a grinding halt. With director Mark L. Lester directing, and Blair starring, you assume we’d have an instant classic on our hands, but “Roller Boogie” isn’t anything remotely special. It’s so plainly bland and forgettable, I’d just about forgotten everything I’d seen when the credits rolled. The movie is barely at the level of “Xanadu” concerning cheese and kitsch value, which doesn’t bode well for star Blair who likely hoped this would skyrocket her as a bonafide leading lady for more youth oriented films.
It’s too bad, too, considering Blair is a solid actress with a girl next door appeal that makes her worth watching in other kinds of films that aren’t horror oriented. And let’s face it, the only reason to watch “Roller Boogie” is because of Blair who looks insanely sexy during her performance and is pretty much off the charts in hotness.
Mark L. Lester’s goofy attempt to market on the Roller Disco craze is a very non-threatening and silly movie whose main crime is being so utterly forgettable. It’s not one of the worst movies ever made, but it also never achieves heights of cult infamy like “Xanadu” and “Staying Alive.” It’s just a brutally mediocre and middling sport drama comedy that you’ll forget about, even in spite of the incredibly vivacious Lindar Blair starring.