Tag Archives: Bruce Campbell

A Week In Film #018: Spring sunshine

Year Of The Dragon title screen

Year Of The Dragon
More Michael Cimino business – post-Heaven’s Gate but pre-The Sicilian. Mickey Rourke is Stanley White, a New York cop trying to clear up Chinatown.

There are some interesting techniques, and some good performances, but it is a mess. Of particular note are Cimino’s repeated use of his gunshot victims looking directly into the camera at the moment of impact (as if down the barrel), and the peculiarly abandoned sub-lot of the untainted rookie being recruited by White into his small gangbusting team (as subsequently used to greater effect in The Untouchables).

The plot point about White being a Vietnam vet (who sometimes seemed to have forgotten that he was now in NYC) and overall tone reminded me of the TV movie Dragonfire (aka Tagget).

In terms of casting, Rourke works well as a weary cop. On the other hand Ariane is an odd choice to play the Chinese-American TV reporter character Tracey Tzu; she appears to have had no previous screen acting experience and looks nervous much of the time. The punky junior triad kids (responsible for much of the carnage) could easily have had more meat. Oh, and the script was co-written by Oliver Stone. It certainly has plenty of testosterone and beefy contemplation in it.

Attack title screen

Attack
Robert Aldrich’s adaptation of a stage play set during the Battle of the Bulge around the fate of an infantry company bedevilled by a command structure eaten through with political patronage.

Jack Palance is an angry combat-seasoned junior officer, Eddie Albert is his cowardly captain, whilst Lee Marvin is the cynical colonel, with visions of holding public office once he gets back home. Bitter, angry, powerful.

(Trivia: I once spoke to Bob Mills on GLR about the film during a phone-in about Eddie Albert, and described his character as “a lily-livered, medal-wanting, son-of-a-gun” – a last second moment of self-censorship at the end there – which Bob then turned into a jingle-cum-slogan for the show.)

Sky High title screen

Sky High
The LLF isn’t really keen on most of the sorts of films I watched, so I got this one to watch together. It’s a Disney family film, about a high school for the progeny of superheroes. Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston are the biggest capes in town, and proud to see their son Michael Angarano off to start at their alma mater; this being a Disney family film, he starts off with no super powers or any idea of what he wants in life, so must go on a journey of self-discovery and realise the true hero inside, etc etc etc.

Lynda Wonder Woman Carter is the school principal, Bruce Campbell is the sports coach, Kevin McDonald from Kids In The Hall is the science teacher. It’s quite good fun, but nothing spectacular. I’ve not seen any of the Harry Potter films, but I’d guess it was pitched as a kind of all-American version, with the high school romantic subplots of something like Smallville or Pretty In Pink thrown in for good measure.

A Week In Film #6: Wet wintry nights

Gorky Park title screen
Gorky Park

Boring, slow adaptation of the Martin Cruz Smith potboiler, with William Hurt as Moscow cop Arkady Renko. A shame, seeing as it’s written by Dennis Potter and directed by Michael Apted (usually bankers), with Lee Marvin, Michael Elphick and others adding oomph to the screen.

Crimewave title screen
Crimewave

Awesome, comic book-style shenanigans with Sam Raimi directing from a Coen Bros script. The LLF thought it was boring, but I found it as entertaining as I remembered it being on first seeing it nearly 20 years ago. Bruce Campbell, Bryon James and Paul L Smith are all superb.

The Quick And The Dead title screen
The Quick And The Dead

More Sam Raimi, more comic book-style photography and framing, this time laid over Western tropes, with Sharon Stone a woman-with-no-name entering a shoot-out contest in a frontier town.

The Sound Of Music title screen
The Sound Of Music

The hills are alive with the sound of music, etc. One for the LLF. Nice tunes, nasty Nazis.

In Cold Blood title screen
In Cold Blood

Excellent late 60s treatment of the Truman Capote proto-new journalism book, as recommended by the LLF. Two bottom-feeding hoodlums commit incompetent, heinous crime, and are caught. Robert Blake (the short chap from Electra Glide In Blue) is good. Writer-director Richard Brooks approaches the material with imagination and creativity.