John Hughes was considered the master of teen oriented cinema in the 1980’s, often depicting somewhat lower middle class kids on the verge of adult hood. While the movies were raunchy and funny, they were also intent on building characters centered on self reflection and facing potentially dead end adult hoods. While “Weird Science” has mostly been lambasted as Hughes’ worst, I think I’d choose his debut “Sixteen Candles” as the weakest of his eighties outputs.
The nineties had a weird trend where studios took classic films and attempted to rework them in to contemporary trash films. Pamela Anderson starred in a “Casablanca” remake with “Barb Wire,” Vanilla Ice tried for his own “Rebel Without a Cause” remake with “Cool as Ice,” and oddly enough Paul Verhoeven aims for a remake of “All About Eve” with the cult Joe Esterhas anomaly known as “Showgirls.” Simultaneously lambasted and praised for being so unabashedly stupid and sleazy, Verhoeven attempts to hide a narrative better suited Skinemax than world wide release in theaters beneath thin art house veneers that fool no one.
I pretty much grew up with Elvira as a kid, and I’m old enough to remember the bygone era of the horror host. Elvira was one of the last hold outs for a long time as Television changed formats and needed less filler with big personalities introducing us to movies. Elvira managed to live on as a cult icon, appearing in music, and on pretty much anything and everything that involved horror and or Halloween. It was only a matter of time until there was “Mistress of the Dark”
Danish film master Carl Theodor Dreyer’s “Michael” is a very good LGBTQ drama that tackles a lot of the sexual politics of the period and the often unrequited loves between queer individuals. The entire taboo nature is explored very subtly with Dreyer’s fascinating narrative. Here, “Michael” dissects the relationship between a master artist and his apprentice and how their love for one another fueled their love for art as well as their misguided affections for a young woman.
Mostly unknown for years and years, Reinhold Schünzel’s musical comedy is a very good musical comedy that would set the template for the LGBTQ iconic movie and musical “Victor/Victoria.” Although known as “Viktor und Viktoria,” director Schünzel creates a funny, adorable, and entertaining musical that mixes cross dressing and heavy queer overtones. It otherwise salvages the pretty clumsy finale that doesn’t resolve much when all is said and done.
Often times when you’ve been indoctrinated to conform to what is perceived as societal norms, the emotions between two people can be mixed and misguided. Leontine Sagan’s romance drama is a brilliant tale of unrequited love between two women and the confusion of identity amidst such an archaic institution. There’s nothing really discreet when it comes to what happens behind the walls of the boarding school as the girls within have essentially adapted to turning to one another for comfort.
It’s too bad when you go in to a Troma movie and know that this isn’t them at their best. While you can kind of blame it on lack of funding, “Volume 2” of the “Nuke Em High” movie series leaves a lot to be desired and never quite sticks the landing in regards to its slew of sub-plots and sidebars. Director Kaufman spends a lot of the first twenty minutes of the movie catching us up to what went down in volume 1 (with the help of narration by the late Stan Lee) and this gives the movie a chaotic pacing that’s tough to focus on.
It pains me because I rarely ever go in to a film, let alone an indie film, wanting to dislike it; especially zombie movies. I’m a sucker for apocalyptic zombie movies, and the very good ones can affect me for days. I’m also a fan of sidestepping typical character molds with a focus on the relationships in the LGBTQ corner. “By Day’s End,” though, is not a good movie. “By Day’s End” tries to have its cake and eat it too by forcing a relationship drama within the mold of a pretty cookie cutter zombie movie, when all is said and done.