Richie Keen’s “Fist Fight” is pretty much just a remake of “Three O’Clock High,” this time around it’s amped up to a lighter tone and steeped in hazy intentions. “Fist Fight” could have an important message to tell, but the commentary about public education, class overcrowding, and the under appreciation of teachers is lost in a flurry of empty sub-plots, pointless gags, and under developed characters. “Fist Fight” could have worked since the film itself does garner some laughs every now and then, but it never can figure out if it wants to make a social statement, or if it merely just wants to show Charlie Day and Ice Cube engage in a huge fist fight by the climax. For all intents and purposes, “Fist Fight” works in some areas, setting itself up as a teacher’s nightmare fueled by anxiety of unemployment and poor work conditions.
Arrow Video is easily one of the best movie distributors around, and if you ask certain movie buffs collectors, they’d argue that they’re the best, period. I can’t decide as Arrow Video has been on a mission for the last few years to deliver fans some of the most unique movie titles on blu-ray and DVD, and offer them in deluxe collector’s packages that would make most cineastes hyperventilate out of sheer excitement. Arrow Video has taken it upon themselves to offer fans the two tales of “House,” two films that were big movie rental fodder in their heydays and are now brought together for what is a heavily suggested anthology. Arrow Video combines two of the true “House” movies that are—ironically—about as different from each other as the last two “House” movies.
John Waters has always been great about featuring the anti-culture of America and showing how charming the anti-nuclear family can be. “Serial Mom” is one of the more mainstream cinematic efforts that feature one of the finest performances from Kathleen Turner. It’s just a shame that “Serial Mom” never knows what kind of movie it wants to be. At times it’s a satire on the phony façade of white bread suburban life, sometimes it’s a satire on the spectacle American can build out of murderers, and other times it’s reminiscent of a classic slasher movie. All we know is that Waters depicts main character Beverly Sutphin as a John Waters character stuck in “Leave it to Beaver.” Sutphin is a happy homemaker who takes pride in her family and preparing good meals and recycling.
It’s daunting how predictable we’ve become when it comes to discourse about race relations and politics. In response to 2014’s “Dear White People” becoming a series, an angry user on Twitter asked “Why is there no “Dear Black People”?” In the very first scenes of the movie, while Samantha White is recording her college radio show “Dear White People,” character Kurt calls in asking “Where is there no “Dear Black People”?” Justin Simien’s “Dear White People” plays with perceptions of events, and ideas of chaos, by toying with our frustration with the normality of racial incidents, and stages a racial war that unfolds within the seemingly monotonous underbelly of Winchester College.
I would be lying if I said that “Troma’s War” is one of the best efforts from Troma. While it tries very hard to elicit some kind of political satire and tackle the idea of exploitation movies, it’s kind of a missed effort. Truth be told, “Troma’s War” is more of a chore to sit through than anything. It’s creative and a neat addition to a collection if you love Troma, but overall, it’s a loud, head ache inducing attempt at an action movie that can never quite put a finger on what it wants to be. It’s a disaster movie, a war movie, an action movie, an “Airplane!” style spoof, and then a political satire. It tries to roll all of these genre elements in to one frantic ball, but stumbles left and right with its intentions.
Jordan Peele has effectively fired off the starting gun of what I think will become an landscape of cinema filled with social commentary about the racial climate, and division among a certain kind of people. As with all horror movements, Peele expertly crafts a movie that reflects the racial relations of modern America, and how there is a thin line between acceptance and cultural appropriation and fanaticism. Peele is a man who has devoted most of his career to brutally sharp and funny comedy, and here he delivers what is a darkly comedic but very scary tale about cults, the racial dynamic and what is arguably the next movement in the racial hysteria in the country. “Get Out” derives a lot of uncomfortable laughter from the audience, but it has a lot to say about the extremes of racism, and the sheer horror of pure ignorance and naivete.
Say what you want about Frank Henenlotter, but even when he makes a bad movie, it’s a guarantee you won’t see another movie like it ever again. I am by no means a fan of “Basketcase” but I still have yet to see another movie like it. “Brain Damage” is another movie so far ahead of its time and so surreal that it didn’t stand a chance at being recognized in 1988. It’s too bad too, since the eighties embraced a lot of interesting premises, so “Brain Damage” should have caught on. Thankfully it later garnered a following in the VHS rental market, and it’s a horror comedy that deserves to be embraced by the horror community. It’s short, and simple but absolutely gruesome, and a unique spin on the theme of drug addiction and substance abuse.