Creepshow
Film

Creepshow

If horror films, and horror anthology films in particular, are not your thing, skip the Creepshow. If the opposite holds, well – come on in. This is good stuff. Why does it have such a small following? Maybe the film’s rep sank after its weak sequel; after the so-so HBO series, Tales From the Crypt, and its … Continue reading

Avatar
Film

Avatar

Director Jim Cameron’s Avatar is fun, but it’s not great. (The only thing eventful about it was how neat it looked.) I miss the ultra-violent Cameron of futuristic hardware and needle-like tension. Today, the hardware behind the scenes bloats the budget, and the tension is whether it pays off. Cameron ups the ante on popcorn flicks, but … Continue reading

U Turn
Film

U Turn

Twice now I have tried to re-watch U Turn. I can’t do it. I hated the movie the first time. So, rather than gauge the technical merits (it has the Oliver Stone we know: extreme violence, shock editing, varied film stock), or fault what is basically flawless casting, I will cut to the chase. Stone wants … Continue reading

The Fog
Film

The Fog

I love The Fog. I love it, because the guys and gals who made Halloween did it partly as an homage to the films of Val Lewton, Alfred Hitchcock, and Howard Hawks. I love it, because they shot chunks of it in Point Reyes, CA and Inverness, CA, two of the most beautiful places in the world, and … Continue reading

Narc
Film

Narc

Narc is a cop’s journey into hell. It looks mainly at the interaction he (Jason Patric) has with another cop (Ray Liotta) who may be responsible for killing a fellow narc. That tension, that dialogue — sharp, colorful, and grounded in the stark world in which they breathe — is the meat of the movie. These … Continue reading

Scarface
Film

Scarface

Brian De Palma’s Scarface is like an inverse Godfather. The movie is semi-epic – a dry cartoon of the American dream gone numb. But (and this may stem from the nature of the gangsters involved), it lacks the broad elegance of Coppola’s auspicious rendering of Mario Puzo’s potboiler. And the original Scarface (1932, dir. Howard Hawks) is much more efficient, … Continue reading