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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

EVIL DEAD 2 – Joseph Lo Duca

April 6, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the wake of the unexpected success of the low-budget horror movie The Evil Dead in 1981, writer/director Sam Raimi was given $3.5 million by producer Dino Di Laurentiis to make a bigger-budget sequel, which both re-made the original film with better special effects and more professional production values, and continued the story. The result is 1987’s Evil Dead 2, in which the hapless hero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) continues to do battle with the terrifying ‘deadites,’ re-animated corpses possessed by the evil power of an ancient book who prevent him from escaping the ‘cabin in the woods’ and returning to civilization with all his extremities intact. With it’s spectacularly gory blood-splattered special effects, overblown humor, and frenetic visual style, Evil Dead 2 quickly became a cult hit, almost doubling its budget at the box office, and initiating a franchise that continues to this day. The film co-starred Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, and Richard Domeier, and had an original score by Michigan-born composer Joseph Lo Duca. Read more…

RAISING ARIZONA – Carter Burwell

March 30, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Raising Arizona is the second film in the career of writer-director brothers Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, their sophomore feature film after Blood Simple in 1984. It’s a comedy crime caper starring Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter as Hi and Ed McDunnough, an ex-con and an ex-cop who meet, fall in love, marry, and desperately long for a child of their own. However, when it is discovered that Hi is unable to have children, they decide to steal one of the ‘Arizona Quints,’ a set of five babies born to locally famous furniture magnate Nathan Arizona. Hi and Ed, wanting to raise their child in as normal an environment as possible, try to keep their crime a secret, but a parade of co-workers, ex-cons, and bounty hunters contrive to make their lives impossible. The film, which also stars John Goodman, William Forsythe, Trey Wilson, and Frances McDormand, has become something of a cult hit over the years, and is fondly regarded as being the film which introduced many of the Coens’s idiosyncratic filmmaking touches, although personally I don’t like the film at all – it’s just too ‘weird’ for my taste. Read more…

LETHAL WEAPON – Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton, and David Sanborn

March 23, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Although it was pre-dated by films like 48 HRS., Lethal Weapon is the film which for me best defines the 1980s buddy-cop movie sub-genre. It’s a thrilling, action-packed, funny, surprisingly moving film written by Shane Black and directed by Richard Donner, starring Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs, a loose-cannon LAPD cop and former Vietnam War sniper with a suicidal streak after the death of his wife. In an attempt to rein him in, Riggs is assigned a new partner in the shape of Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), a cranky, by-the-book homicide department veteran with a wife and three kids at home, and who doesn’t tolerate Riggs’s increasingly off-the-wall antics. However, things become more difficult for the new partners when they become embroiled in a plot which links the death of a woman who committed suicide by jumping from a high rise with a gang of vicious drug dealers, and which becomes personal when it is revealed that the drug dealers may be men from Riggs’s past. The film co-starred Mitchell Ryan, Gary Busey, Tom Atkins, Steve Kahan, and Darlene Love, and was an enormous box-office smash, grossing more than $65 million in the United States alone. Read more…

ANGEL HEART – Trevor Jones

March 16, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Angel Heart is a neo-noir mystery-thriller with elements of psychological horror, written and directed by Alan Parker, based on the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg. Set in the 1950s, the film stars Mickey Rourke as Harry Angel, a hard-boiled New York private detective who is hired by a mysterious businessman named Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to track down Johnny Favorite, a musician who Cyphre helped become successful before World War II, but who has been missing for more than a decade. The trail leads Angel from New York to New Orleans, where he becomes embroiled in a labyrinthine plot of sex, murder, betrayal, and occult voodoo symbolism, which leads him to question his own sanity. The film was not especially well-received when it was first released, and was more notorious at the time for the fact that it cast 19-year-old Lisa Bonet – best known as the wholesome Denise on The Cosby Show – as a sultry Cajun nymphomaniac named Epiphany who has a torrid love scene with Rourke. However, time has been kind to the movie, and it is well-respected today for its sweat-soaked Southern Gothic atmosphere, intelligent screenplay, compelling lead performances, and impressive visual style. Read more…

AMERIKA – Basil Poledouris

March 9, 2017 1 comment

amerikaTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the spring of 1987 viewers of the network TV channel ABC were treated to a 6-part mini-series imagining a horrific alternate reality for the United States where the country has been insidiously, but bloodlessly, overtaken by the Soviet Union. Amerika posits the country as being essentially a puppet state of Moscow, with the President and Congress mere figureheads for the Soviet regime; the population is kept under control by a UN peacekeeping force called the UNSSU, which is supposed to be multi-national but is in reality a Russian Communist military arm, which uses fear and intimidation tactics to suppress opposition. From out of this nightmare three heroes emerge: former politician Devin Mitford (Kris Kristofferson), who is released back into society after spending years in a labor camp for treason; administrator Peter Bradford (Robert Urich), who pretends to collaborate with the Soviets while working to bring down the regime from within; and Colonel Andrei Denisov (Sam Neill), a KGB agent becoming more and more disillusioned with his country’s politics. The series, which was written and directed by Donald Wrye, has been in the news of late after more than 20 years of relative obscurity, mainly due to the accusations of Russian influence in Donald Trump’s successful run for US President in 2016… this fiction couldn’t be happening in reality, could it? Read more…

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS – Angelo Badalamenti

March 2, 2017 1 comment

nightmareonelmstreet3THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As a way of continuing to capitalize on the unexpected success and popularity of the first two films in the series, the producers of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise continued the story of the maniacal mass murderer Freddy Krueger in 1987’s third film, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Directed by Chuck Russell, the film stars Patricia Arquette as Kristen, a young woman who dreams of Freddy (Robert Englund), and who is subsequently sent to a psychiatric hospital when the wounds from her encounter with Freddy are mistaken for a suicide attempt. At the hospital Kristen meets her fellow patients, a doctor named Gordon (Craig Wasson), and a trainee therapist, who turns out to be Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), from the original Nightmare on Elm Street movie. Gradually the patients begin to realize that they are the surviving children of the parents who killed Freddy in real life, and that he is now trying to finish off the job. Read more…

84 CHARING CROSS ROAD – George Fenton

February 24, 2017 Leave a comment

84charingcrossroadTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

84 Charing Cross Road is a genteel British period drama directed by David Hugh Jones, based on the semi-autobiographical novel by American author Helene Hanff. The film stars Anne Bancroft as Hanff, and tells the story of the long-distance friendship that develops between her and antiquarian bookseller Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins), who manages a shop at the titular address in London in 1949. The film is little more than a quiet character study, a snapshot of life on opposite sides of the Atlantic in the period immediately after World War II, but the story has proved to be immensely popular: the original novel was a best seller, the subsequent Broadway stage play was a smash hit, and this screen adaptation was a critical darling in the UK; Anne Bancroft won a BAFTA for her leading role, and the film was BAFTA-nominated for its screenplay, and for Judi Dench’s supporting role as Frank’s wife, Nora. Read more…