REVIEW: ANY MAN’S DEATH

Any Man's Death (1990)

 

CAST

John Savage (Dark Angel)
William Hickey (Puppet Master)
Mia Sara (Birds of Prey)
Michael Lerner (Elf)
Ernest Borgnine (Marty)

mia-sara-any-man's-death-4A veteran reporter is investigating the disappearance of a photo-journalist who was covering a civil war in Africa. The only clue is a roll of film he left behind. The reporter soon realizes he may have bitten more than he can chew. mia-sara-any-man's-death-3Despite the presence of such thespic heavyweights as Hickey and Borgnine, Any Man’s Death comes nowhere near to living up to its potential

Advertisements

REVIEW: HAIR

 

CAST

John Savage (Dark Angel)
Treat Williams (Marathon Man)
Beverly D’Angelo (American History X)
Annie Golden (Baby Boom)
Dorsey Wright (The Warriors)
Adrienne King (Friday The 13th)

Hair is a musical film focusing on the lives of two young men against the backdrop of the hippie counter culture of the Vietnam era. Claude Hooper Bukowski is a naive Oklahoman sent off to New York City after being drafted by the Army (“Age Of Aquarius”). Before his draft board-appointment, Claude takes a self-guided tour of New York, where he encounters a close-knit “tribe” of hippies led by George Berger. As Claude looks on, the hippies panhandle from a trio of horseback riders including upper-class debutante Sheila Franklin (“Sodomy”). Claude later catches and mounts a runaway horse, which the hippies have rented, and with which Claude exhibits his riding skills to Sheila (“Donna”). Claude then returns the horse to Berger, who offers to show him around.That evening, Claude gets stoned with Berger and the tribe. He is then introduced to various race and class issues of the 1960s (“Hashish”, “Colored Spade”, “Manchester”, “I’m Black/Ain’t Got No”). The next morning, Berger finds a newspaper clipping which gives Sheila’s address. The tribe members – LaFayette “Hud” Johnson, Jeannie Ryan, and “Woof Daschund” – crash a private party to introduce Claude to Sheila, who secretly enjoys the disruption of her rigid environment (“I Got Life”). After Berger and company are arrested, Claude uses his last 50 dollars to bail Berger out of jail — where Woof’s refusal to have his hair cut leads into the title song of the soundtrack (“Hair”). When Sheila is unable to borrow any money from her father, Berger returns to his parents’ home. His mother gives him enough cash to bail out his friends. They subsequently attend a peace rally in Central Park, where Claude drops acid for the first time (“LBJ”, “Electric Blues/Old Fashioned Melody”, “Hare Krishna”). Just as Jeannie proposes marriage to Claude, in order to keep him out of the Army, Sheila shows up to apologize. Claude’s “trip” reflects his inner conflict over which of three worlds he fits in with: his own native Oklahoman farm culture, Sheila’s upper-class society, or the hippies’ free-wheeling environment.After snapping out of his acid trip, Claude has a falling-out with Berger and the tribe members, ostensibly due to a practical joke they pull on Sheila (taking her clothes while she’s skinny-dipping, which forces her to hail a cab in just her underwear), but also due to their philosophical differences over the war in Vietnam – and over personal versus communal responsibility. After wandering the city (“Where Do I Go?”), Claude finally reports to the draft board, completes his enlistment, and is shipped off to Nevada for basic training. It’s now Winter in New York when Claude writes to Sheila from Nevada (“Walking In Space”). She in turn shares the news with Berger and his friends. Berger devises a scheme to visit Claude in Nevada. Meanwhile, Hud’s fiancée – with whom he has a son, LaFayette Jr. – wants to marry as they had apparently planned to earlier (“Easy To Be Hard”). The tribe members trick Sheila’s brother Steve out of his car, then head west to visit Claude.81afJ27DqlL._SL1500_Arriving at the Army training center where Claude is stationed (“Three-Five-Zero-Zero”, “Good Morning Stashine”), the tribe is turned away, ostensibly because the base is on alert (the MP on duty also assumes a condescending attitude toward Berger. caricaturing his perceived vernacular). Some time later, Sheila chats up army sergeant Fenton at a local bar. She lures the sergeant, with intimations of sex, to an isolated desert road, acquiring his uniform. The tribe members steal Fenton’s car, both of which Berger uses to infiltrate the Army base. He finds Claude and offers to take his place for the next head count, so that Claude can meet Sheila and the others for a going-away picnic they’re having for him in the desert. As fate would have it, just after a disguised Claude slips away to the picnic, the base becomes fully activated with immediate ship-outs for Vietnam. Berger’s ruse is (somehow) never discovered; clearly horrified at the prospect of joining the war, he is herded onto the plane and shipped out. Claude arrives back to see the base empty and the plane Berger is presumably on taking off and flying to Asia (“The Flesh Failures”). Much later, Claude, Sheila and the tribe gather around Berger’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery, in a scene implying he was killed in the war. As “Let the Sunshine In” plays, they mourn the loss of their friend. The movie ends with a full-scale peace-protest in Washington D.C.81afJ27DqlL._SL1500_This film is a gem. The music and staging are spot on perfect. Milos Foreman clearly loves this material. If you’ve never seen it before make sure to watch the widescreen version. Treat Williams, who has sunk below the radar these days, takes ownership of the character Berger and pulls us along for the ride.

REVIEW: FLYNN

CAST

Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
Steven Berkoff (A Clockwork Orange)
Claudia Karvan (Love My Way)
John Savage (Dark Angel)

 

Hollywood’s most notorious Golden Age star, Errol Flynn, will undoubtedly be the subject of a major motion picture, someday. Laborer, jewel thief, gigolo, ship’s master, slave overseer, hobo, boxer, repertory actor, movie star, writer…an astonishingly handsome ‘bad boy’ whose sexual prowess was legendary (even landing him in court on rape charges, more than once), and whose physical ‘perfection’ in his prime hid malaria, heart problems, severe alcoholism, and drug addiction. That he died at fifty wasn’t as surprising as the fact he lived THAT long! Beneath everything, however, was a shy, tortured romantic, who never felt himself appreciated for more than ‘superficial’ things, like swinging a sword, riding a horse, or looking at ease in tights (He once tried to convince Clark Gable to make a dramatic film with him, and Gable laughed in his face). In time, Flynn would give up much of his ambition, and settle for simply playing the roué that audiences expected, while squandering his health and fortune. But rarely an opportunity to really act would appear, and Flynn proved he was far better than people realized.

81afJ27DqlL._SL1500_

That was the ‘real’ Errol Flynn…but THIS “Flynn” manages to ignore nearly all of it, offering, instead, a callow youth (pre-stardom Guy Pearce), whose unhappy childhood and early sexual misadventures leads him to robbing his ‘true love’, gold mining in New Guinea, becoming sexually involved with an older German man, killing a native, being convicted of murder, and fleeing to Sydney, where, in desperation, he assaults and robs a male lover, takes another man’s identity, bluffs his way into an audition for “In the Wake of the Bounty”, becomes a STAR, overnight, then journeys to Hollywood and ‘legendary’ status. All of which is, fundamentally, pure hokum! Flynn did, in fact, journey to New Guinea to make his ‘fortune’, but he worked in a variety of (legal and illegal) jobs, while there, before his father paid his way back home. If young Flynn had killed anybody, it would have been the screenwriter who concocted the whole sequence! As for homosexual encounters…it has long been a subject of controversy, but has never been proved. As a time-killer, “Flynn” is passable…but don’t expect to find the ‘real’ Errol Flynn in it. That film hasn’t been made, yet!

REVIEW: BULLET (2014)

CAST

Danny Trejo (Machete)
Joanthan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
Eva Mauro (Crepitus)
Seri De Young (Laid to Rest)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Torsten Voges (Funny People)
Emilio Rivera (Traffic)

movie-bullet-thumb4Nearing retirement, maverick Los Angeles-based detective Frank “Bullet” Marasco is assigned to hunt down the notorious drug baron Carlito Kane, following a tipoff from Leroy, who is later whacked to death with a golf club due to interrupting Kane’s golf game. Bullet and his team storm one of Kane’s hideouts but fail to capture him.Bo22_U_00_53_49_00007The plot thickens when Governor Johnson’s daughter is kidnapped by Kane along with her boyfriend, in a bid to save his son Manuel from execution via lethal injection. Kane streams the execution of the boyfriend on a phone to the Governor and says that his daughter is next if they don’t stop the execution of his son. Thereafter, Bullet send his grandson Mario to a community park where Kane exacts revenge on Bullet by kidnapping his grandson. Eventually Bullet himself is abducted too, but only for a brief period of time, as he is able to escape. After a lengthy car chase, Bullet successfully evades Kane and his men but gets ambushed by them once again the next day.Bullet-DIFinally, Bullet calls it quits as a civil servant and resigns, secretly becoming a vigilante and goes to his cousin for weaponry to take Kane down. He proceeds to interrogate one of Kane’s aides, killing her in her bathtub after she fails to fully cooperate. Panicking, Kane and his closest subordinates retreat to a desert where Bullet starts to kill Kane’s henchmen one by one, including his grandson’s four kidnappers. The final showdown between Kane and Bullet has the latter emerge as victor. Bullet reunites with his grandson and rescues Johnson’s daughter. The victory is sweetened when Manuel Kane is publicly executed. Bullet, his daughter and his grandson savour the evening at the beach, just as the credits begin to roll.Danny Trejo as BulletThis movie will keep you interested only if you are the action lover. There’s actually nothing new in the story. But one can always watch it as a time pass action flick.

 

REVIEW: RED SCORPION 2

CAST

Matt McColm (They Live)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
Jennifer Rubin (Screamers)
Paul Ben-Victor (The Wire)
Michael Ironside (X-Men: First Class)
Vladimir Kulich (Angel)
Jerry Wasserman (The Flash 2014)

Uneducated, disaffected white youths known as skinheads are attacking racial minorities in the US. A government agent investigating the incidents traces them to a wealthy, extreme right-wing, neo-Nazi businessman who is secretly bankrolling the skinheads to carry out his wishes, allowing him to keep his hands clean as he preaches a non-violent message to his wide following. Nick Stone (McColm) is an agent with the National Security Agency who wants to retire after his last job going undercover as a weapons dealer resulted in the death of a fellow agent. He meets up with his boss Col. West to tell him about his retirement, but West offers him one last mission. To take down Andrew Kendrick (Savage), a charismatic and dangerous white supremacist and his Neo-Nazi militia group hellbent on taking over the United States with his sleeper cells. Nick often works alone but West tells him that he will be working with a team composed of Commander Sam Guinness (Rubin), Vince D’Angelo (Ben Paul-Victor), a womanizing computer expert from Hollywood, Billy Ryan (Michael Covert), a redneck sharpshooter, Joe Nakamura and Winston Mad Dog Powell, (Real Andrews), a disgraced Detroit cop. Forming an elite group of soldiers, each with their own set of skills, the group’s first assignment is to infiltrate a warehouse owned by Kendrick which may be housing “The Spear of Destiny”, an ancient spear used in the crucifixion of Jesus and believed by Kendrick to give him ultimate power in his goal. The team storm the warehouse. The team however don’t work together despite constant orders from Commander Guinness which results in Nakamura’s death and the spear not being recovered. Despite the failed mission, Col. West’s boss Colonel Gregori proposes to take the team to his cabin in the pacific Northwest. Under his guidance and training, the team become better and Gregori names them The Red Scorpions.Red-Scorpion-2-1A second infiltration is planned in which Winston enters one of Kendrick’s gatherings and Ryan, who establishes himself there as a violent racist redneck from the south. Impressed, Kendrick offers Ryan a chance to work for him. Billy is taken to the group’s own heavily guarded camp where Kendrick is training an army. However, after he sleeps with Kendrick’s female assistant Donna (Kaiser), the game is up and Ryan gets thrown in a dungeon. Stone and Guinness then infiltrate the camp, who are about to launch a nationwide campaign of violent action unless they are stopped in time. The pair pose as a couple interested in investing within the group, however they are soon discovered, although they manage to successfully lead their team of high specialized assassins and technicians on the raid of the covert American hate group. Stone is later tortured by Hans (Kulich) who later fights him in a battle to the death. Guinness manages to kill Donna and help Winston and D’Angelo infiltrate the camp and in the chaos, the team take out the Neo-Nazi’s. Kendick dies when his lair where he planned to launch his sleepers explodes and he slowly burns to death. The team are then picked up by helicopter after killing Hans whom they viciously gun. In the films closing scene, D’Angelo, noticing that the pilot is female, compliments her on what lovely eyes she has.hqdefaultThe only thing that makes this thing so fun is just how ludicrous and stupid it is. Plus Jennifer Rubin has a hard time either keeping her clothes on, or staying untied. Red Scorpion 2 is just that type of film.

REVIEW: SUMMER OF SAM

CAST

John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2)
Adrien Brody (Hollywoodland)
Mira Sorvino (Mimic)
Jennifer Esposito (Crash)
Michael Rispoli (The Rum Diary)
Saverio Guerra (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bebe Neuwirth (Jumanji)
Mike Starr (Ed Wood)
Anthony LaPaglia (Empire Records)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
John Turturro (Transformers)

It is the summer of 1977, and New York City lives in fear of the “.44 Caliber Killer”, who shoots young women and their male companions. The killer, David Berkowitz, later identifies himself as “Son of Sam” in a note left at a murder scene. Berkowitz lives in a messy apartment, where he is driven crazy by the barking of a neighbor’s large black dog and has a vision of the dog directing him to kill. In an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, hairdresser Vinny and his pretty wife Dionna go disco dancing at a local nightclub, where they meet Dionna’s attractive cousin Chiara. Vinny offers to drive Chiara home while Dionna remains at the club. Vinny and Chiara then park on a residential street and have sex in the car. Son of Sam watches them, but he is scared off when the couple accidentally set off the car horn during sex and, embarrassed, quickly drive away. After they leave, Son of Sam kills another couple who had parked behind Vinny. When Vinny picks up Dionna back at the club, she notices the smell of vaginal lubrication on his face and realizes he had sex with Chiara, but does not let on that she knows.

On the drive home, Vinny notices police near the location where he had parked with Chiara, and sees the dead bodies of the slain couple. The religious and guilty Vinny, realizing he could have been a victim, decides that God spared him in order to give him a chance to reform his ways and stop cheating on his wife. Although Vinny loves Dionna, their sex life is suffering because Vinny enjoys anal sex, “69” and other sex acts that he considers kinky, but he cannot bring himself to discuss or perform these acts with a wife. He is also having an affair with Gloria, the owner of the hair salon where he works. The next day, while Vinny is hanging out with neighborhood drug dealer Joey T and his friends, Vinny’s old friend Ritchie, who has been away for some time, suddenly reappears, sporting a punk spiked hairdo and clothing and affecting a British accent. Vinny, Joey T, and the others dislike the change in Ritchie, and he soon finds himself unwelcome in the neighborhood. However, Ruby, a promiscuous local girl, is attracted to Ritchie, and the two begin a relationship. Unlike other men, Ritchie takes an interest in Ruby as a person, not just as a sexual outlet. She learns that he makes money by erotic dancing and prostituting himself at a gay theater, but remains loyal to him and over time begins to dress in punk fashion herself.

As the Son of Sam killings continue, tension rises in the neighborhood. A police detective from the neighborhood asks the local mob boss to help him find the killer; Joey T and his friends also make a list of possible suspects, including Ritchie whom they regard as “a freak”. Ritchie and Ruby invite Vinny and Dionna to come see their punk band perform at CBGB, but once there, Dionna feels intimidated by the punk crowd and refuses to go in. Vinny and Dionna instead go to Studio 54, where they are denied entry, and finally end up at Plato’s Retreat where they take drugs and participate in an orgy. Vinny becomes upset when he sees Dionna appearing to enjoy the experience of having sex with another man, even though he himself is having sex with other women. He berates Dionna in the car on the way home, causing her to get mad and reveal that she knows he cheated on her with Chiara. She storms off to stay at her father’s house. Vinny begins to drink and use drugs heavily, and makes a scene at Gloria’s hair salon, causing her to angrily throw him out and then inform Dionna about their affair. Upon hearing from Gloria, Dionna leaves Vinny for good.

Joey T and his gang decide that the latest eyewitness sketch of Son of Sam released by the police resembles Ritchie, and unsuccessfully attempt to track him down at CBGB. Joey persuades the unstable Vinny, who is high on drugs he has taken to dull the pain of his impending divorce, to help them lure Ritchie out of his house, since Vinny is the only local friend Ritchie still trusts. Unbeknownst to Vinny and his friends, the police have already arrested David Berkowitz, the real Son of Sam. Vinny goes to Ritchie’s family home, where Ritchie and Ruby are packing up to leave town, and lures Ritchie out on the pretext of talking about his failing marriage; once he has gotten Ritchie outside, he warns Ritchie under his breath to run, but Ritchie does not heed the warning and is attacked and severely beaten by Joey T and his gang. Ritchie’s stepfather, Eddie, emerges from the house brandishing his gun and rescues the badly injured Ritchie, telling the attackers that Ritchie is not the Son of Sam and that the TV news is reporting that the police have just arrested the real killer. Unable to face Ritchie, Vinny walks away.

‘Summer Of Sam’ was not what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it very much for what it is, an excellent snapshot of the time and a focus on interesting people’s lives and feelings. It’s a long film, and sometimes it does drag on, but it’s still one of those films you just have to tick off your list to see.

REVIEW: BEFORE WOMEN HAD WINGS

CAST

Oprah winfrey (The Butler)
Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love)
Tina Majorino (Veronica Mars)
Julia Stiles (Jason Bourne)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
Burt Young (Rocky)
William Lee Scott (The Butterfly Effect)

Life is hard for Avocet Abigale ‘Bird’ Jackson (Tina Majorino) and her sister Phoebe (Julia Stiles), constantly putting up with their parents’ arguments. Their father, Billy (John Savage) is always beating their mother Glory Marie (Ellen Barkin) and every time things seem to go right between Glory Marie and Billy, yet another argument begins. Unable to put up with it any longer Glory Marie tells Billy she’s taking the girls and leaving him. He punches her and knocks her teeth out, then drives off in the car. Later that evening a policeman (David Hart) shows up at the door to tell them that Billy has killed himself.

Image result for before women had wings

Set on starting a new life, Glory Marie takes her daughters and moves to a motel in Florida, where she gets a job as a bookkeeper in the motel office run by Louis Ippolito (Burt Young). They move into an old trailer because there are no rooms. Bird becomes friends with a kind black woman named Zora Williams (Oprah Winfrey) whom Glory Marie warns her to stay away from. Glory Marie begins to drink heavily, and beats Phoebe with a brush for staying out late with Louis’ son L.J (Louis Crugnali). She later hits Bird on the head with a mug for asking for a bike for Christmas. Glory Marie’s estranged son Hank (William Lee Scott) comes to visit for Christmas, as he left home because of his parents and there is still some friction between them. Bird spends more and more time with Zora, behind Glory Marie’s back, and realizes there can be a better life for her. Phoebe finally stands up to Glory Marie when she calls Phoebe a tramp for the way she’s dressed and slaps her, Phoebe slaps her back.

Image result for before women had wingsGlory Marie eventually discovers that Bird has been visiting Zora and violently beats her with a belt and leaves. Phoebe takes her to Zora. When Glory Marie returns the next morning she barges into Zora’s and demands her daughters come back with her, but Zora has a word with her and tells her she understands. When her husband died she ignored her daughter, but she never hit her, and she is going to see her daughter again, but she is not going anywhere until she knows Glory Marie’s daughters are safe. Glory Marie makes the hardest decision of her life when she decides to send her daughters away with Zora. On their last day together, Glory Marie makes them dinner, washes folds, and packs all their clothes and she brushes Bird’s hair, with the same brush she used to beat Phoebe. When the girls leave with Zora, Bird is unsure if she will ever see her mother again.

Image result for before women had wings

Ultimately, Before Women Had Wings is a moving, shocking, uplifting film, and thanks to all concerned, this adaptation of Connie May Fowler’s novel makes you really care for the characters and their fates