Saturday Double Feature – Midway (2019) and…

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

mw1News Flash! The Japanese have launched a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor!

Flashier! The US Navy has launched a valiant attack on Japanese forces seeking to take the island of Midway, in a battle that is hoped will turn the tide of the war in the Pacific!

More Flash! Roland Emmerich has spent $100 million dollars on a two- hour plus movie telling this tale!

Still Flashing! There’s little hope that this film will be any better than the original film about this battle which was just as star-studded, just as long, and apparently just as middle of the road.

Yes, it’s true. For this week’s double feature, I’m going with a pretty obvious pick, but after last week’s nobody-coulda-guessed-it selection, I thought I’d go a little easier on you this week.

So, yeah, back in 1976, director Jack Smight (here’s where I would usually give you some of his other credits that you might recognize, but… yeah…) assembled Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, Ed Nelson, Hal Holbrook, Toshiro Mifune, Robert Mitchum, Cliff Robertson, Robert Wagner, James Shigeta, Pat Morita, John Fujioka, and Robert Ito in an attempt to bust the block with the story of this largely forgotten battle.

Let’s look at the trailer, shall we?

Saturday Double Feature – Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) and…

tdfI really don’t know how much I need to say about this we’d opener. Terminator: Dark Fate is the 437th film in the Terminator franchise, and marks the return of Linda Hamilton and Arnie’s beard to the franchise. If that excites you, then obviously both your friends will know where to look for you this weekend.

I do find it interesting that what started as a truly low budget affair has ballooned into such bloated effects-driven extravaganzas. Of course this really started with T2 and the introduction of the T-1000 and its morphing abilities which put another tool in the toolbox for filmmakers to way over-use for the next few years.

And it’s in that same spirit of movies which moved special effects forward in a truly groundbreaking way that I chose today’s film. As you’ll see in the trailer, 1953’s Robot Monster brought to the screen a creature the likes of which has never been seen before, and which, honestly has never been duplicated since.

Okay, I’m gonna get out of the way on this one and just let you be dazzled and amazed by the technological marvel that is the Robot Monster…

Saturday Double Feature: Black and Blue (2019) and…

Okay, let’s start with the obligatory recap of the rules, shall we?  The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the before the year 2000. (Yes, this is a change from the original rules, which said the movie had to be from 1980 or before, but let’s be honest, at this point even 2000 is ancient history to a lot of the younger readers out there, so while I’m most likely still going to go for older movies whenever possible, since the real reason for this idea is to introduce my readers to movies they may not be familiar with, I think the rule change works.) Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

bnb1So this week we get a gender-swapped version of the old trope of the police officer who sees something they shouldn’t involving their colleagues and then has to go on the run and find some way to bring the bad cops to justice. In the case of this week’s movie Black and Blue, it’s Naomie Harris who sees fellow cops murder someone (and since it’s 2019, the crime is caught on her body cam) and who has to somehow stay alive long enough to bring the crime to the attention of someone who will do something about it.

Yeah, like I said, we’ve seen this story plenty of times before, but that doesn’t mean this won’t be a good movie. Just because a story isn’t original doesn’t mean it can’t be told well. I just hope it has something to say beyond “it’s even harder for her because she’s an African-American woman.” I’m not saying that’s not true, but I’d just like to see the movie go a little deeper.

So what older movie do we pick for a double feature with Black and Blue? How about what is probably the ur- example of the genre, 1973’s Serpico. An obvious choice? Maybe, but only, I suspect for those of a certain age, and since part of the reason for this whole exercise is to introduce some of my younger readers to films they may not know, it seems like this is the perfect choice for today.

Al Pacino In SerpicoSerpico is based on the true story of Frank Serpico, a straight-shooting New York cop who quickly rises from patrolman to detective, but he soon discovers that beatings, bribes, and corruption are a way of life in the precinct and that he isn’t trusted by his fellow officers because he won’t participate in the wrongdoing. His partners even fo so far as to put him in deadly situations hoping that he will either change his mind and play ball or, just as well for them, be killed. When his superiors turn a blind eye to everything that is going on, Serpico finally decides he has no other choice but to go public with his allegations.

Directed by Sidney Lumet, Serpico stars Al Pacino who was fresh off The Godfather, and who delivers a relatively restrained performance here. (Well, restrained compared to his more recent work where he is AL F@#$ING PACINO BABY!!!) The two would team up again just a couple of years later for Dog Day Afternoon – another film from the era which, if you haven’t seen I highly recommend.

In the end, Serpico is, in many ways a portrait of another time, and it gives us a glimpse of a New York that really doesn’t exist anymore. But, at the same time, just as these “one good cop against the corrupt force” movies are still being (and probably forever will be) made, let’s be honest, corruption among those with power will never really be gone either.

Here’s your trailer:

Saturday Double Feature: Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) and…

zombieland-2Yeah, it’s been a minute… but we’re back, and let’s kick things off with a double feature, shall we?

I guess since it’s been awhile we should start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the before the year 2000. (Yes, this is a change from the original rules, which said the movie had to be from 1980 or before, but let’s be honest, at this point even 2000 is ancient history to a lot of the younger readers out there, so while I’m most likely still going to go for older movies whenever possible, since the real reason for this idea is to introduce my readers to movies they may not be familiar with, I think the rule chnfge works.) Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

So we’ve actually got an interesting week at the box office this time around since there are two movies opening that could be vying for the top spot, depending on what kind of mood audiences are in when they plunk down their ticket money.

First up, there’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the sequel to 2014’s colon-less Maleficent which is Disney’s latest attempt to see just how much money they can squeeze out of live-action “prequels” to their well-beloved animated movies. (As opposed, of course, to their other strategy of seeing how much money they can squeeze out of “live-action” remakes of their well-beloved animated movies.) (Or their other strategy of simply buying up anyone that night be considered competition.)

The other big opener, however, is the one I want to concentrate on today, and I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on Disney opening a sequel, since it, too is a sequel, this time to a movie that’s ten years old. That’s right, I’m talking about Zombieland: Double Tap.

I’ll admit I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the original Zombieland, and that’s due in large part to the performance of Woody Harrelson, who I honestly think has become… maybe not one of the best actors working today, but certainly one of the most interesting. It seems lately that no matter the quality overall of the movie he’s in, Harrelson is going to give it his all and bring an interesting interpretation to the character he is given.

So… having made my choice of a modern feature, the question then became what to pair it with. As always, there were a lot of directions I could have gone in. In the end, however, I decided to go with yet another zombie horror-comedy, but perhaps not the one you’re thinking of.

cemetery-man-movie-poster-1996-10204714051994’s Cemetery Man finds Rupert Everett starring as the caretaker of a small cemetery in Italy who finds himself busier than one might expect because, for reasons that are never really explained (the question does at one point come up as to whether this is an isolated phenomenon or perhaps part of a more widespread issue,but it’s pretty well dismissed with a simple “I don’t know”) the people who are buried in the cemetery return as zombies seven days after they are buried.

His life becomes even more complicated when he falls for a beautiful mourner at a funeral who is burying her husband. He manages to seduce her by showing her the cemetery’s ossuary, but they are interrupted while making love on her dead husband’s grave when the deceased in question suddenly rises and bites her before he can be dispatched for good. And that’s the least odd thing that happens in this movie.

If you’re getting the idea that this movie is a quite odd and more than a bit darker than the one at the top of the column, then you’re absolutely correct. But that’s also why I like it so much and highly recommend checking it out. Obviously, it’s not going to be a movie for everyone, but if you find this premise intriguing, and want something more challenging and out of the ordinary than what you’re going to find in your local multiplex, then I highly suggest checking this one out.

Here’s your (NSFW) trailer:

 

 

 

Saturday Double Feature: BlacKkKlansman (2018) and…

Hey! We’re back! And another Saturday means another Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

It looks like there will be two movies vying for the top spot this weekend, but the one that interests me most is Spoke Lee’s latest project, BlacKkKlansman,

Set in 1979, the movie, “based on a true story” (sorry, but I always put that in quotes, because quite often it means “I heard about this once from a friend of mine”) is the story of an African-American detective who tries to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The movie stars John David Washington (the son of Denzel as Detective Ron Stallworth and Adam Driver as Detective Flip  Zimmerman who is the white officer who provides a face for Stallworth when he is unable to avoid showing his.

Spike Lee can always be counted on to make interesting and provocative movies, and the fact that among the names of the producers are Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions and Jordan Peele, fresh off last year’s Get Out just serves to fuel my interest even more.

Here’s your trailer:

Of course, this is far from the first time the Klan has been depicted on screen, perhaps most famously in D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. Instead of going with that one, though, I thought we’d take a look at a slightly different hate group Michigan’s Black Legion.

The 1937 film Black Legion stars Humphrey Bogart as Frank Taylor, a midwestern factory worker who is passed over for a promotion in favor of an immigrant friend. Taylor soon joins the ranks of the Black Legion (a pseudo KKK anti-immigrant group) who drive the immigrant from town, allowing Taylor to get the job he “deserves”.

From there, however, things actually start to go downhill for Taylor, who increasingly finds the Legion an outlet for his frustrations and hatred and an excuse to indulge his most vile impulses.

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with BlacKkKlansman? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

Saturday Double Feature: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) and…

Another Saturday means another Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

Back when the original Jurassic Park came out, it was a fascinating blend of practical effects and the latest CGI technology. It brought the featured dinosaurs to life in a way that had never been seen before, and that, coupled with a compelling adventure movie plot catapulted it to the top of the box office and ensured that we would be seeing a number of sequels.

Well, with this week’s release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, that number hits four, and although the law of diminishing returns pretty much ensures that by this time the franchise may not have hit rock bottom, but it’s certainly taking that swift slide down the slope.

As a matter of fact, considering how poorly we’ve seen other franchise entries perform of late, (I’m looking at you, Solo), I would only be slightly surprised if this doesn’t prove to be the lowest performing movie in the series yet.

Anyway, here’s your trailer:

So in looking for a movie to double feature with Fallen Kingdom, I thought we’d take a look back to a time when dinosaur special effects were… not up to today’s standards shall we say.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth was released in 1970 by Britain’s legendary Hammer Studio. The movie is the story of two ruling prehistoric tribes who are fighting over both territory and, of course,  a woman. In this case the woman is former Playmate Victoria Vetri.

As I stated, the effects in the movie are not exactly what would be considered state of the art today, but in 1970, they were actually nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 44th Academy Awards.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!

Saturday Double Feature: Mary Shelly (2018) and…

Another Saturday means another Saturday Double Feature!

Okay, let’s start with a quick recap of the “rules”, shall we? The basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.

Last week of course, was dominated at the box office by Solo, the movie which tried to prove that all you have to do i slap the Star Wars name on a movie and you have an instant blockbuster. Of course, while it did wind up winning the weekend, according to the early estimates I’ve seen, it, as the studio would say is “underperfoming”.

Anyway, as often happens on a weekend like that, other, possibly more interesting movies tend to get lost in the shuffle. One of those which also opened last week was Mary Shelly which stars Elle Fanning as the author of the classic horror novel Frankenstein.

Part of what makes this movie look more interesting than others is that, at least from the impression given by the trailer, the movie takes a feminist perspective and fights back against the idea that it would have been impossible for a woman, especially a young woman, to have written such a effective tale of terror or that she should even be interested in such things.

Here, have a look at the trailer for yourself:

Immediately upon seeing that I was taken back to 1986 and Ken Russel’s movie which tackled a similar retelling of the creation of the Frankenstein story, Gothic.

Russel, it should be noted, was not particularly interested in telling the feminist version of this story. Instead, as is typical of his films, he went straight for the more lurid aspects of the night of the story’s creation and created a drug-fueled nightmare of a movie that posits visits from demons and succubi inspired the creation of the story.

I could tell you more, but I think I’ll let the trailer sell it:

So what do you think? What would you choose for a double feature with Mary Shelly? Leave your thoughts in the comments, along with ideas of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.

Until next time, Happy Viewing!