Phantom of the Paradise

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 June 2017 20:32

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Liquid Sky

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 June 2017 20:28

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Earth Girls Are Easy

earth-girls-are-easy-revEarth Girls Are Easy  (1988)    Vestron Pictures/Comedy-Sci-Fi-Musical    RT: 100 minutes    Rated PG (mild sexual innuendo and references)    Director: Julien Temple    Screenplay: Julie Brown, Charlie Coffey and Terrence E. McNally    Music: Nile Rodgers    Cinematography: Oliver Stapleton    Release date: May 12, 1989 (US)    Cast: Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, Julie Brown, Charles Rocket, Michael McKean, Larry Linville, Rick Overton, Angelyne.    Box Office: $3.9 million (US)

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When choosing a movie to watch, you really have to keep an open mind or else run the risk of subsisting on a steady diet of Bergman and Godard.  Even the biggest cinephile would go mental after a while. I’ve always been attracted to movies with goofy titles like The One-Armed Executioner, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Surf Nazis Must Die, Surf Ninjas and (my fave!) The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. As much as I love and appreciate quality film, I can’t resist any title at which others scoff. Naturally, I was instantly drawn to Earth Girls Are Easy, a goofball sci-fi-comedy-musical set in 1980s Southern California, the place on Earth that most resembles another planet. Those of a certain age know it as the birthplace of that now-extinct species commonly known as the “valley girl”.

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 January 2015 20:32

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Samurai Cop

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Last Updated on Thursday, 11 May 2017 19:59

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Carlito's Way

carlitos-way-revCarlito’s Way  (1993)    Universal Pictures/Drama-Action    RT: 144 minutes    Rated R (pervasive language, strong violence, nudity, sexual content, drugs)    Director: Brian De Palma    Screenplay: David Koepp    Music: Patrick Doyle    Cinematography: Stephen H. Burum    Release date: November 3, 1993 (US)    Cast: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, John Leguizamo, Ingrid Rogers, Luis Guzman, James Rebhorn, Joseph Siravo, Viggo Mortensen, Richard Foronjy, Jorge Porcel, Frank Minucci, Adrian Pasdar, John Augustin Ortiz, Angel Salazar, Rick Aviles.    Box Office: $36.9 million (US)/$63.8 million (World)

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 I suppose the comparisons to the previous Pacino-De Palma collaboration Scarface (1983) are inevitable, but it isn’t completely accurate. Carlito’s Way is a gangster movie of a different color. I knew it was going to be great. It’s one of the few times I’ve seen audiences applaud a trailer. It happened at the pre-release screening of the Jean-Claude Van Damme actioner Hard Target that August. It was a very riveting two-and-a-half minutes. I could only imagine that the actual movie would be as cool. Carlito’s Way didn’t go over as well as Scarface did the previous decade and I understand why. It’s a much darker movie. Whereas Scarface was an all-out gangster flick, De Palma’s newer movie was more of a film noir piece. Tony Montana was a coked-up megalomaniac while Carlito Brigante was a gangster trying to go straight. He’s a more complex character than Montana. I think audiences were looking for a de facto Scarface sequel. I had a feeling that wouldn’t be the case.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 December 2014 22:13

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Over the Edge

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Last Updated on Friday, 24 July 2015 07:00

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Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Faster-Pussycat-Kill-revFaster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)   Eve Productions/Action-Comedy   RT: 83 minutes   No MPAA Rating (violence, sexual innuendo)   Director: Russ Meyer   Screenplay: Jack Moran and Russ Meyer   Music: Paul Sawtell   Cinematography: Walter Schenk   Release date: August 6, 1965 (US)   Cast: Tura Satana, Haji, Lori Williams, Susan Bernard, Stuart Lancaster, Paul Trinka, Dennis Busch, Ray Barlow, Mickey Foxx, John Furlong (narrator).   Box Office: $36,122 (US)

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In order to fully understand and appreciate a Russ Meyer (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) movie, it’s important to know that they’re all about the same thing. Women with big breasts! That’s it. Everything else- plot, acting, narrative, dialogue, writing and production values- is secondary and that’s even attributing too much importance to these non-essential elements. That brings us to his 1965 action opus Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! which features a trio of go-go dancers on a weekend long crime spree. I first saw this one when it was rereleased in April ’95 to arthouse theaters around the country. I found it shocking and not for the reasons you might think. There’s not a single bit of nudity in it. That is, Meyer doesn’t treat us to gratuitous shots of the actress’ boobs or butts. By today’s standards (almost 50 years later), FPKK! is actually fairly tame. A few shots of the ladies’ backs and a bit of making out ….. that’s it.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 21:05

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Mad Max

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Last Updated on Friday, 15 May 2015 22:26

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Up in Smoke

up-in-smoke-reviewUp in Smoke (1978)   Paramount Pictures/Comedy   RT: 85 minutes   Rated R (language, nudity, sexual content/references, pervasive drug use and humor)   Director: Lou Adler   Screenplay: Tommy Chong and Richard “Cheech” Marin   Music: Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar, John Beug and Lou Lombardo   Cinematography: Gene Polito   Release date: September 15, 1978 (US)   Cast: Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Strother Martin, Edie Adams, Stacy Keach, Tom Skerritt, Zane Buzby, Louisa Moritz, Mills Watson, Karl Johnson, Rick Beckner, June Fairchild, Val Avery, Rainbeaux Smith, Rodney Bingenheimer.   Box Office: $44.3 million (US)    

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Up in Smoke, the first movie to feature the comedy team of Cheech & Chong, is a stoner classic! I’ve been a fan since I first discovered them in ’79 when I heard the “Earache My Eye” routine on Dr. Demento’s late night radio program. I bought the soundtrack to this movie and immediately fell in love with their brand of drug humor. Naturally, I wasn’t allowed to see their movies at the time. My dad referred to them as “creeps”. I didn’t get to see Up in Smoke until April ’83 when I stayed home from school specifically so I could watch it one morning while Dad was at work. It was every bit as good as I had been hearing from my friends for years. As far as film debuts go, this is one of the best! Directed by Lou Adler (executive producer of The Rocky Horror Picture Show), it’s a laid back, free-flowing affair about the misadventures of a couple of stoners searching for the perfect high.

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 January 2014 21:40

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