Quick Shot: The Adventures of Ford Fairlane

Directed by: Renny Harlin
Category: Action/Badass Cinema

Call me crazy, but I have a really soft spot for this film. In fact, I love it. I know Andrew Dice Clay isn't everybody's cup of tea, and I don't really care much for his brand of humor myself, but the guy can be funny, and above all else he can act when he needs to act, pretty well actually. I remember a television show he did a while back where he played an average Joe and he was married to Cathy Moriarty. I don't remember the name of it but thought he was great as a Al Bundy type. I thought this was the film that was going to make his acting career explode, but that never happened. The film was a flop and his box office career went nowhere after this.

There are a few reasons why I love this so much. Renny Harlin in the directors chair for one. He made this the same year as Die Hard 2 and it's a stylish testament to his "former" directing chops. The guy had a talent and a unique style back then. Unfortunately he seemed to have lost this style and converted into different styles altogether, first with a more freestyle steadicam approach with insane amounts of slow motion with films like Cliffhanger and The Long Kiss Goodnight, and then into something else entirely that I can only describe as lazy and uninspired with pretty much every film after Deep Blue Sea in 1999. I keep hoping and waiting he will deliver another winner again, but it's been a long, long wait.

But anyway, I'm getting off track here. Visually, it's stylistically awesome, brilliant even in some scenes. It's got a fun frenetic energy and pace, an insane amount of over the top characters, and Andrew Dice Clay just knocking this out of the park. Yes, his jokes are vulgar, offensive and insanely insensitive, but they're also hilarious. Most of them anyway. His voice over narration even had me cracking up. I had been wanting to see this again for years, but never got the chance. And when this came up on Netflix the other day, I jumped at it and on a day where I needed some cheering up, this did the trick ten fold. It was funny, it had action, a ridiculous plot with even more ridiculous scenarios, and and a who's who of entertainment types in all fields supplying cameos and supporting roles. Just a fun time all around. And when is it not fun to watch Wayne Newton as an evil villain? Never!

I've gotta say it again. I'm surprised Clay's acting career never took off. I thought he did great in this, funny when he needed to be, but also really good when it called for him to be serious. I had envisioned this being a series of films, with a different director and a different tone with each one. Like maybe one would be more serious than the other or maybe it would have progressed into something like that. Or maybe it would've just turned into another Beverly Hills Cop trilogy. First was good, second was the best and most awesome, and the third just left a bad taste your mouth. I guess we'll never know. What I do know though is that Clay nails the character and director Renny Harlin knocks this one out of the park creating a fun ridiculous movie. A cool mix of style, cameos, action and comedy and Robert Englund as an English hitman with a penchant for dominatrix. It just doesn't get any better than this.


Art: Bruce Lee Portrait

Bruce Lee: Pencil on Bristol Paper 11 X 14

I've always enjoyed drawing ever since I was really young. Comic book characters, cars, whatever. For as long as I can remember I've enjoyed drawing. But around 1995 when I was about 19 I gave it up. I don't fully understand why. I started getting into different things, collecting, partying, moving around, eventually getting married and working various jobs. But I've recently entered a new transition in my life, a new phase and as a result I've met some new and fascinating people, artists in almost every respect in different areas and I've become inspired by them. My creativity is at an all time high right now and I'm finally drawing again.

This is the first pencil drawing I've attempted in 17 years. When I sat down to think of who I wanted to draw, it took me about 30 seconds and Bruce Lee was the first name that came to mind. I'd never done a Bruce Lee portrait before and now was my chance. When it comes to drawing, I always do portraits, I don't know why. It's what I've always been drawn to as opposed to drawing dragons or fantasy pictures. But I'm a little rusty still having not ever attempted this in almost 20 years, so I have a little ways to go to where I feel comfortable with it. But I'm going to do it, every day and with practice I hope to get better and to be able to do these faster and faster. This one took me a week (way too long) and I just wanted to be done with it already! Anyway, hope you like it!



Quick Shot: Internal Affairs

Directed by: Mike Figgis
Category: Thriller

Richard fuckin' Gere man. What a bastard he is in this movie. When this first came out, I was too young to really appreciate it. Some of these kinds of films always stood out in my head from this time period, even at a young age, like Black Rain or Blue Steel. But a lot of these passed me by and it's only now that I can fully appreciate the awesomeness of these kinds of films. And this one is good. This one is really fuckin' good.

I love these kinds of films. I'm finding myself digging and scouring the late 80's to early 90's for such treasures and boy have I found some gems. It's amazing that these kinds of films were made, and made a particular way, rampantly in this era. A really great one I just had the pleasure of watching for the very first time was Michael Mann's excellent Manhunter. Oh to be the age I am now and to have the opportunity to see these films in the theater.

Internal Affairs tells the story of a corrupt cop named Dennis Peck (Richard Gere) and the Internal Affairs agent (Andy Garcia) assigned to investigate a case within the Los Angeles police force. Soon though, he sets his sights on Peck and uncovers a much bigger case than he could have imagined.

What I liked about this is that it's pretty straight forward. It's not over stylized or anything like that, and it's pretty devoid of any unnecessary fluff. The main draw here though is Gere and Garcia. These guys bring their A game and pull of some pretty damn impressive performances. Gere as the diabolical, conniving and just plain evil LA police officer Dennis Peck, and Garcia as the dedicated and passionate IA agent who sets his sights on Peck soon after being assigned to investigate a case involving one of Peck's fellow officers. I think what surprised me the most is that I'm just not used to seeing Richard Gere like this. Man, he is really fucking evil in this and the worst part is that he's such a charmer that he often gets away with it. He knows how to manipulate people and get inside their head, a technique he uses to ultimately get inside agent Raymond Avilla's (Andy Garcia) head that brings out his personal problems and inner demons for all the world to see. It also helps that he's incredibly good looking.

This is a taut and tense crime thriller of the best caliber. Great story. Great performances and a great look keep you hooked from beginning to end, even if it felt it maybe ran a tad too long. Speaking of the great cast, I just loved the casting of Laurie Metcalf as agent Avilla's new partner. She was outstanding in this role and I couldn't imagine anybody else pulling it off as well as she did.


Quick Shot: The Man Who Wasn't There

Directed by: Joel Coen
Category: Crime Thriller

One thing's for sure. Only the Coen Brothers are able to pull of making films like this. I felt the same way when I saw A Serious Man. If anybody else had attempted to take the concept of that film and it's script to a studio, I doubt they would have ever greenlit the thing. But the Coen Brother's can pretty much do anything they want, so they do.

If you're looking for a slow burn kinda film to put you to sleep, this is it. It's not bad at all, just very uneventful, yet it looks beautiful and has a pretty outstanding cast, which makes it hard to hate on it too much.

This was a Coen Brother's entry that I just had no desire to see when it came out. Even the trailers didn't make it look the least bit interesting. I can dig Billy Bob in some roles, but having to sit through an entire movie where he hardly utters a word or express any real kind of emotion just didn't really peak my interest. Did I mention he also narrates the entire film in a monotone drull? And before you jump down my throat, yes I know what kind of film this is supposed to be, I get it. I just didn't dig it. Would it have been any better with someone other than Billy Bob in the lead? I don't know. And while we're on the subject, the Coen Brother's seem to be hit or miss with me. They have a good handful of films I have yet to see because I just have no interest. But I respect them as filmmakers because they have come to make films their way and on their terms, somehow beating the Hollywood system. I must admit though, I do enjoy the majority of their output because they've turned out some pretty amazing films in their long career. The type of films not a lot of other filmmakers could make successfully.

Buuuut whatever. Visually impressive film with style to burn, just not a lot of substance for my taste.


Quick Shot: Savages

Directed by: Oliver Stone
Category: Thriller

I went into this thinking, simply based on the trailers alone, that this was going to be something similar to True Romance, or a cross between True Romance and Natural Born Killers. This is not that kind of film, even though you're kinda led to believe this. It's a good flick mind you, just not the type I was expecting.

Here we have Oliver Stone returning "somewhat" to his former directing style. Sure he throws in some of his hyper-active new style of camera tricks here and there, but he's surprisingly restrained here, yet still not achieving the visual greatness of some of his earlier and better films. Complaining aside, it's indeed a noble effort and I must commend him for not converting back to his NBK style of filmmaking.

The best thing Savages has going for it is it's ensemble cast. This cast is amazing. I keep reading a lot of shit about Taylor Kitsch as an actor. How he's the one anchor responsible for two of this summer's biggest flops, but I think he's a kick ass actor. Maybe he's not ready to be the summer blockbuster leading man the studios had hoped, but in a supporting role, especially this one, he's killer. Technically Kitsch, Blake Lively and Aaron Johnson are the leads here, but Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek and John Travolta own this fucking movie. Every single scene they are in "makes" Savages what it is, Del Toro in particular. The guy's a sick fucking bastard, yet surprisingly likable at the same time, even garnering some laughs from you at some of the most disturbing sequences.

I was surprised to see that there wasn't nearly as much action as I was expecting, and that it maybe ran a little longer than it needed to. The cast is great, the look and sometimes gritty feel is pretty decent, but there felt like times when it seemed to drag on and on when it didn't need to, and maybe some decent bursts of violence and action would have broken up the monotony, at least for me anyway, but if you take it for what it is, then you won't be let down. I found the ending, and then the surprise semi-twist to be entertaining enough to make up for the lack of any excitement during the long stretches in the mid section. But it's really Del Toro, Hayek and Travolta's performances that really elevate this thing. If they weren't in here, I doubt this would be as watchable as it is. They really brought their A Game in here.

To wrap it up, this wasn't the badass shoot 'em up Oliver Stone film I was hoping for. It's not bad, but it's not great either. This seems more like a matinee or discount cinema type film, so save your money or just wait for it to hit DVD or Netflix. Oh, and I had no idea Travolta was actually going bald. I'm totally serious. I couldn't believe it. I'd heard rumors, but I'd never actually seen a picture of him like that before. I know he's always had some weird hairstyle going on in almost every film he's in, but it was surprising to see him finally admit it and just let show on the big screen.


Quick Shot: Manhunter

Directed by: Michael Mann
Category: Thriller

First and foremost:
I would like to take a quick moment to apologize for the lack of postings of late. I have recently found a new passion (photography) and have also re-acquainted myself with an old passion (drawing) and I've dove into these mediums full force. Yet I still continue to watch an insane amount of films, just not really having the time to sit down and do a thorough review on them. So this will be a new format I would like to call "Quick Shot", basically meaning Mini Review. I have a handful I will be posting like this just so I can get these suckers out before they start building to such a ridiculous number that I would just give up on them altogether. So I hope you don't mind the shorter format, but at least it's something. So now, back to my first Quick Shot review, the awesome title Manhunter, a movie looooong overdue for a viewing. 

You gotta respect a film, and a Hannibal Lecter film for that matter, that ends with Iron Butterfly's In-a-gadda-da-vida blaring over the finale. A pretty outstanding finale I might add.

First off, I need to admit something. I'd never seen this until now. I know, I know.....for shame. Honestly, I'd never seen anything about it and it wasn't until seeing some of Mann's earlier stuff that I got the bug to check this out. Thief and The Keep just blew me away. Two completely different types of films, but brilliant cinematic experiences by a truly gifted filmmaker. I figured if Manhunter was even half as good as those films, then I'd be in for a treat.

Manhunter didn't disappoint. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that I prefer this to Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon (the Thomas Harris book of which this was also based on). This is a solid and intelligent psychological thriller done the way that only someone of writer/director Michael Mann's caliber can deliver. I found the script quite intelligent, surprisingly. I think I was expecting something along the lines of an action thriller, when in fact there's no real action at all. It's a psychological mindgame that takes up the majority of the films running time, but done with an 80's pizzazz. I think if this had been made today, it wouldn't have the same effect, but having been made in the mid to late 80's, it has that special something that gives it the perfect edge to make this ever so enjoyable.

William Peterson, all brooding and and serious, carries the film quite well. As the recently retired FBI profiler Will Graham who gets pulled back into the job at the request of his old friend Jack Crawford (Dennis Farina), Peterson plays him as a very unlikable character with a severe case of OCD. In fact, he's an asshole plain and simple and he doesn't care who thinks so. Tom Noonan as the "Tooth Fairy Killer" was great. Only, I must have seen the theatrical cut and not the Extended or Directors Cut because I keep seeing pictures of him shirtless sporting an impressively badass chest and back tattoo, yet there were no such scenes in the cut I saw sadly. So it looks like I'll be forking over some cash for this Extended Cut, which is fine because I need to own this film. It's an essential.

Did I mention during the harrowing and riveting finale that Iron Butterfly's In-a-gadda-da-vida is blaring through your speakers? Awesome. Just awesome.
So after doing some digging, I see there are at least 3 different cuts of this film. I know I must have seen the Theatrical Cut, so it looks like of all the versions out there, this 2003 Divimax Restored Directors Cut release looks like the best way to go. Get it, that's all I'm gonna say. It rules.

P.S. I really wish Mann was making more films like this. I don't really dig his new style of filmmaking at all.


They Live Blu-ray release info!!

Yes, I know you've probably already heard and if you're smart, have already put your pre-order in for this awesome piece of Badass Cinema, but I'm seriously lagging in my posts and reviews. I have a good half dozen on my computer needing to be finished, but as I've recently found a new passion (Photography), and well, it's very time consuming but a lot of fun. So anyway, I thought I should post "something", so here you go. 

I LOVE this fucking movie and am so glad to hear this is finally getting a Blu-ray release, and by Shout! Factory no less! Details are still pending on what will actually be on this release, but hey, does it really matter that much at all? It's fucking They Live on Blu-ray! 

As if just having this new release isn't enough to make you squeal like a girl, you also get an exclusive extremely limited edition 18 X 24 poster of this awesome new cover art. Heeeell yea! 

Special thanks to Ingo over at Hellford667 Movie Reviews for the heads up!

To pre-order this cult classic release, go to Shout! Factory's store page by clicking HERE 

To visit Shout! Factory's website, click HERE

Here's some general info via Shout! Factory:
They influence our decisions without us knowing it. They numb our senses without us feeling it. They control our lives without us realizing it. They Live.

Horror master John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) directs this heart-pounding thriller in which aliens are systematically gaining control of the Earth by masquerading as humans and lulling the public into submission. Humanity’s last chance lies with a lone drifter who stumbles upon a harrowing discovery — a unique pair of sunglasses that reveals the terrifying and deadly truth.

Production now underway for extensive and insightful bonus features that include all-new interviews, an audio commentary and archival material. We will announce in-depth bonus features and additional news in the next couple months.

Also available on DVD.