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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

HELLRAISER – Christopher Young

September 14, 2017 2 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the early autumn of 1987 the movie world was introduced to its newest horror franchise: Hellraiser, based on the acclaimed novella ‘The Hellbound Heart’ by British author Clive Barker. It was directed by Barker himself, making his filmmaking debut, and contains sinister themes involving sexual experimentation and sadomasochism, dressed up with a darkly romantic sheen of gothic horror. The plot involves an ancient puzzle box which falls into the hands of the amoral Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) and which, once solved, releases a group of demonic figures known as Cenobites, who then abduct and subject their unwitting victims to endless torture. Years after Frank’s disappearance his brother Larry (Andrew Robinson), Larry’s daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), and Larry’s new wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into Frank’s old house; Larry is unaware that Julia had a passionate affair with Frank before he disappeared. A common household accident results in the skinless corpse of Frank somehow being resurrected in the attic; in order to finalize his reincarnation, Frank needs a fresh supply of human blood, which the still-obsessed Julia agrees to provide. However, the Cenobites have found out about Frank’s escape from ‘hell,’ and their terrifying leader, Pinhead (Doug Bradley), resolves to bring him back – at which point Kirsty finds herself caught in the middle of the nightmare. Read more…

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CHERRY 2000 – Basil Poledouris

September 7, 2017 1 comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Like most composers, Basil Poledouris scored his fair share of terrible films in his career. 1977’s Tintorera, one of the first films he ever scored, was a Mexican rip-off of Jaws. Amazons, from 1984, was basically a sexier version of Conan the Barbarian with warrior women in fur bikinis. However, 1987 may have seen him reach a low point in terms of ‘quality of movie’ when he was asked to score Cherry 2000, a low-budget sci-fi thriller. Directed by Steve De Jarnatt, the film is set in a post-apocalyptic America circa 2017 and stars Don Johnson wannabe David Andrews as Sam, who sets off on a dangerous mission across the lawless wasteland of what was once Nevada in order to find someone who can repair his Cherry 2000 sex robot (Pamela Gidley); to help him, he hires a tough-but-beautiful tracker named E (a strangely-cast Melanie Griffith), and together they set off into the desert. Read more…

SPACEBALLS – John Morris

August 31, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Comedy is such a subjective thing. What makes one person laugh uncontrollably leaves the next person totally confused as to what they could possibly find funny, and vice versa. My personal taste in comedy is one of extremes – on the one hand I like the smart and sophisticated comedy found in a lot of British films, while on the other hand I also love the absurdity, slapstick, and sight gags of things like Airplane and The Naked Gun. Mel Brooks is a director who made a career, at least in the movies, of parody. Blazing Saddles was a parody of westerns. Young Frankenstein was a parody of horror movies. And Spaceballs, my favorite movie of his, was a parody of Star Wars. It stars Bill Pullman as Lonestarr, a roguishly handsome space pirate, who has been hired to find and bring home Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) after she runs away from her wedding on her home planet, Druidia. Meanwhile, the evil Spaceballs, led by the incompetent President Skroob (Brooks) and the ruthless Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis), have hatched a plan to steal Druidia’s air supply, and want to kidnap Vespa before Lonestarr gets to her… Read more…

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE – Bill Conti

August 24, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When I was a kid, He-Man was all the rage, a staple of playgrounds the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. The franchise began as a line of toys introduced by the Mattel company in 1981, which were accompanied by mini-comic books giving each figure a backstory; this morphed into an immensely popular animated TV series which debuted in 1983, telling the story of the heroic Prince Adam, who transforms into He-Man when he holds aloft his magic sword and says ‘by the power of Greyskull,’ and his battles the evil forces of Skeletor, who wants to take over Adam’s home planet of Eternia. Naturally, a film adaptation of the story was put into production, and in the summer of 1987 Masters of the Universe opened. Directed by Gary Goddard, it starred the muscle-bound Dolph Lundgren in the leading role, with Frank Langella hamming it up in full prosthetic makeup as his bone-faced nemesis. Read more…

THE PICK-UP ARTIST – Georges Delerue

August 17, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Pick-Up Artist is a romantic comedy written and directed by James Toback, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Jack Jericho, an egotistical ladies man with a penchant for picking up beautiful women, but then discarding them without a second thought. Jack’s world is thrown into turmoil when he meets Randy Jensen (Molly Ringwald), a smart, independent tour guide whose post-coital indifference to him only causes him to become more smitten. Desperate to find a way to get into Randy’s good books, Jack offers to pay off her alcoholic father’s gambling debts, a decision he comes to regret once he finds himself locking horns with some local Mafioso. The film has a great supporting cast, including Dennis Hopper, Danny Aiello, and Harvey Keitel, but unfortunately it was both a critical and commercial flop, with Roger Ebert calling it “an appallingly silly movie, from its juvenile comic overture to its dreadfully sincere conclusion.” Read more…

THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS – John Barry

August 10, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Living Daylights is the fifteenth entry in the James Bond film series and the first to star Timothy Dalton as the British secret agent. Dalton took over the role from Roger Moore, who had retired from the part after A View to a Kill in 1985, but only after a long and protracted period of negotiations in which the original choice, Pierce Brosnan, was eventually blocked by producers of the American TV show Remington Steele. The film was intended to be a return to the grittier feel of Ian Fleming’s original novels after Moore’s previous few films were criticized for being too tongue-in-cheek and self-aware. The plot initially concerns the defection of KGB officer Georgi Koskov, which Bond helps facilitate, but quickly turns into an international conspiracy involving a beautiful Czech cellist named Kara Milovy, a megalomaniacal American arms dealer named Brad Whittaker, and an attempt to undermine the slowly thawing relationship between the Soviet Union and the West with nuclear weapons. Directed by John Glen, the film co-stars Maryam d’Abo, Joe Don Baker, Jeroen Krabbé, and Art Malik as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who helps Bond in his hour of need. The film was generally well-received, and I personally have always felt that Dalton was an underrated Bond, who successfully captured the darker, more dangerous side of Fleming’s character which had been missing from the franchise for too long. Read more…

SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE – Alexander Courage

August 3, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The original 1978 Superman film was a groundbreaking motion picture in many respects. It essentially introduced the concept of the contemporary comic book super hero to the movie world, it made a star out of its granite-jawed leading man Christopher Reeve, and it spawned one of the greatest scores in motion picture history, penned by the incomparable John Williams. However, as the 1980s progressed, each successive Superman sequel diminished in quality, until the franchise reached its nadir with 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Despite the presence of both Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman in the cast, and a potentially interesting environmentally aware plot involving nuclear energy, the film was an utter disaster. An increasingly shrinking budget put the film in a constant state of flux, and forced director Sidney J. Furie to shoot the film mostly in the English provincial town of Milton Keynes instead of New York. Special effects were left apparently half-finished, the script was constantly being re-written and footage re-shot, and the actors were disgruntled throughout. The terrible reviews of the film once it opened signaled the death knell of the franchise at that point, and Superman would not be seen on the silver screen again until 2006’s Superman Returns. Read more…