• Timecop

    Timecop

    I guess it's a budget thing, but it stood out to me that most of this time travel sci-fi action movie takes place in 1994 in non-descript malls and warehouses, the entire climax taking place in... a house. The villain's plan is prescient though: (paraphrasing) "The president should be filthy rich and funnel wealth to the top 10% like in the 1980s."

  • Descendant of the Sun

    Descendant of the Sun

    The 35mm print of this film held by the American Genre Film Archive still has enough color left to show-off what an optical spectacle this movie is. During a particularly rotoscope laser heavy fight (there are many) there was some sort of emulsion damage (maybe water damage) adding an extra layer of noise to already busy, chaotic frames. Were it not for the ear-piercingly shrill sound effects it could have been mistaken for some sort of 80s new wave Stan Brakhage. Pure cinema indeed.

    Love this neon-pastel, hazy, smeary, anything-goes psychedelic Superman dream.

  • Everything Everywhere All at Once

    Everything Everywhere All at Once

    Took my mom to see this because she'd seen so many stories about it and saw interviews with Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis on TV. She liked it. She laughed pretty hard a few times (though not at the butt plug gags). She wanted to know how long it took to make (38 days, reportedly). She was very impressed to hear how small and intimate of a production it was. I know a lot about the production because Daniel…

  • Twin Dragon Encounter

    Twin Dragon Encounter

    Every movie is a series of choices. The decision to edit every single fight scene in this maple-glazed chopsockie in slow motion with a droning synth and echoing sound effects... is one of them.

    I've long felt that 21st century movies are too self consciously cool. The first time we had an X-Men movie where they wore leather and designer sunglasses, it's been all downhill from there. This movie is not cool. These guys are not cool, and watching them play act through a macho fantasy daydream is an oasis in a desert.

  • The Quick and the Dead

    The Quick and the Dead

    I know he's now directed plenty of actual comic book movies, but even more than Darkman or any of his Spider-Mans, Raimi's The Quick and the Dead seems to jolt whatever optical nerve I have that receives stimulation from looking at well-executed comic book panels. The spaghetti western story and theme influences are obvious, but it rarely *looks* like a Leone or a Corbucci as much as it does something not previously realized on film like EC Comics' Two Fisted…

  • Highway to Hell

    Highway to Hell

    ★★★

    The amount of times characters say common phrases with "hell" in them is staggering. Features Jerry, Ben, and Amy Stiller (and Gilbert Gottfried as Hitler). Wish it was a bit more... something... hard to put my finger on, but there's nothing quite like it.

    Doesn't feature the AC/DC song but does credit Tangerine Dream with "additional music."

  • Darkman

    Darkman

    Recommended reading: This too brief oral history from 2020: www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-features/darkman-turns-30-liam-neeson-frances-mcdormand-and-more-remember-the-arduous-making-of-sam-raimis-influential-superhero-film-4047928/

    Favorite notes:
    - Bill Paxton was considered for the lead (damn!)
    - McDormand was roommates with Raimi and the Coen brothers.
    - A rebellious Bob Murawski secretly led a last minute recut without studio permission restoring a fraction of the nearly half hour that was cut after initial test screenings.
    - pretty much every scream is Bruce Campbell

  • The Plumber

    The Plumber

    ★★★★

    Totally devious. Plays on everything from class anxiety to the anxiety of allowing someone to use the bathrom at your place. Way more complicated and thorny than it needed to be.

  • The Story of Mankind

    The Story of Mankind

    Vincent Price as Satan! Peter Lorre as Nero! Harpo Marx as Sir Isaac Newton! Dennis Hopper as Napoleon! Sorry about all the exclamation points, I was trying to stay awake. Those should be periods.

    This is like one of those Disney produced social engineering history lessons nominally addressing man's capacity for good and evil, but doing this weird dance where it doesn't want to be explicitly Christian (they're not angels in Heaven they're the High Court of Outer Space) and…

  • Delta Space Mission

    Delta Space Mission

    There's never a moment without wild kinetic activity, which honestly makes me feel pummeled and a bit confused within 20 minutes, but wow, what a work of art the painting and animation are.

    There are plot contrivances and there are plot contrivances, but establishing an alien dog sidekick that just happens to eat metal for pleasure and having the main conflict be a robot attack really takes the (robo)cake.

  • Mortal Thoughts

    Mortal Thoughts

    ★★★

    According to IMDB, a year later this was remade as an X-rated sex film called Anything That Moves. Bruce Willis's character ducttapes a baby into a pair of tighty whiteys, snorts coke and sings "Kung Fu Fighting" acapella. Harvey Keitel eats a very powdery donut with the panache of an Oscar winner. There's an archness to this that presages To Die For (and probably undercuts tone a bit), but the performances and Rudolph's quirky direction make up for it.

  • GoodFellas

    GoodFellas

    ★★★★★

    Thelma Schoonmaker and Michael Ballhaus as the Dutch and Dillon muscular handshake meme.