With the eighties came a lot of frustration about the Vietnam War and the hell that many people had to endure to fulfill the political goals of the US government. Walter Hill’s “Southern Comfort” isn’t precisely about the Vietnam war but it is a allegory for the Vietnam war right down to the very final scene. “Southern Comfort” is a startling and often surreal survival thriller, set amidst a seemingly serene Louisiana Outback during the Vietnam War. With the Louisiana National Guard stationed in the bayou, they’re set to take part in mandatory maneuvers.
Mill Creek Entertainment unleashes another economy movie pack for movie fans, with a five movie DVD Collection. It’s another re-purposing of films already in their library, but for its price it might be worth it for folks interested in experimenting. Featured in the set is “Hands of Steel” featuring a cyborg assassin that is programmed and sent by a corporate industrialist to kill an environmental scientist who plans stop his unsafe work. When the cyborg gains a bond with the scientist, he has to fight the man that created him.
Despite what Disney and Lucasfilm have been doing lately with the “Star Wars” cinematic universe and promising “Star Wars” films until the foreseeable future, that doesn’t stop fans from contributing their own stories. “The Force and the Fury” is a great and simple short fan film that is beautifully directed and works on the fundamentals of “Star Wars”: The narrative is simple, straight to the point, and about family and how the Sith and Jedi affect those within its realm.
I first saw “Phantasm” thirteen years ago and it’s one of the more mind blowing horror films I’ve ever seen. It surely holds up better than the sequels, all of which I’d seen way before ever watching the original film. While “Phantasm” is still a bit of a goofy horror film in some instances, it’s also an entertaining one with some great moments of atmosphere and eeriness. Director Coscarelli is never afraid to stretch the limits of his premise, making “Phantasm” feel like some surreal nightmare that our characters are stuck in. There’s the demonic fly, the dwarf drones, and of course one of the best scenes involving character Mike watching the Tall Man stomp through his small town.
Once called “Stake Lander,” the follow up to the fantastic 2011 apocalyptic vampire film may be just a TV movie, but it’s thankfully a pretty excellent follow up to the original vampire thriller. “Stake Land 2” reunites just about everyone from the original film to extend the mythology of the original film and continue the epic journey of the enigmatic Mister and his young sidekick Martin. Except now, Martin is an experienced apocalyptic hunter who has managed to settle in to a life he loves, even in the midst of the end of the world. Despite Mister venturing out on his own, Martin has established a farm as well as married and had a son.
It’s a shame that this is the only movie that patient fans of “Phantasm” will be getting since “Ravager,” the apparent final film in the series, isn’t that much of a horror film. Despite David Hartman’s best efforts, “Ravager” feels more like a fan film for the “Phantasm” movie series than anything else. I went in to the movie expecting pretty awesome and big things and sadly only got the bare minimum. When the movie ended, I literally muttered “That’s it?” to myself. Even Angus Scrimm in his final role appears for a few minutes here and there, and is mostly seen in the prologue through flashbacks.
Wes Craven’s survival horror film is a bit rough around the edges in terms of editing and acting, but that’s also why it’s so stark and creepy. It’s a gritty and grimy film much like “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and its tone lends it something of a semi-documentary aesthetic. Everything, right down to the final shot feels so probable and possible of happening in this universe. It’s the destruction of the nuclear family by the ultimate clan of what society would normally deem the antithesis of the traditional family. Not to mention it’s the society cannibalizing one another right down to the very last man. I initially didn’t enjoy “The Hills Have Eyes” when I saw it a decade ago, but watching it again has allowed me to really enjoy what Craven intended and how soaked in dread and violence it is.
I think it’s a requirement for every American action star that they must have at least two movies on their resume that is their “Die Hard.” Harrison Ford happens to have one that’s pretty good, even if it’s about as jingoistic as John Wayne punching a Mexican bandit while talking about Baseball. “Air Force One” is one of the stronger vehicles for Harrison Ford, where he plays James Marshall, an ex-Vietnam soldier with a military background, who is president of the US. He is pushed in to a conflict involving a Russian dictator who is threatening to start a new Cold War, and said dictator has a host of loyal followers that want him freed. As a means of leveraging the release of their dictator, a group of Russian terrorists disguise themselves as American journalists and board Air Force One.