Tag Archives: Something Wild

A Week In Film #387: Hmmm

The LLF had never seen it – unbelievable. Nice, zippy 80s John McTeirnan-directed actioner, with Arnie, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, Shane Black and Richard Chaves on a secret jungle mission and becoming prey – along with captured Marxist guerilla Elpidia Carrillo – for an alien big game hunter.

Top Dog
I’m game for giving most things a spin; for cutting everyone a little slack; for making allowances for unpolished charm. But this – a football hooligan/gangster yarn – was shit. Good bits: Ricci Harnett was actually very good as a mid-league gangster of unspecified type, and the female parts (Lorraine Stanley, Nicole Faraday, Susan Penhaligon) are at least more substantial than most in these types of films. Bad bits: terrible script that just sort of stops (that would be Dougie Brimson’s fault), and director that does nothing to engage the audience (Martin Kemp’s fault). Leo Gregory shows flashes of acting chops in the lead, but is mostly just a bit vacant looking.

Vendetta title screen
Somewhat unexciting ‘thriller’, in which cop Dean Cain gets himself sent to prison to avenge his pregnant wife murdered by a gang boss. The first time I’ve heard of the Soska Sisters, and hopefully the last.

Something Wild title screen
Something Wild
I first saw this late night on BBC2 introduced by Alex Cox as part of the Moviedrome strand. I remember him flagging up the cameos by directors John Waters (used car salesman) and John Sayles (motorcycle cop). Anyway, an enjoyable twist on the eighties cycle of ‘yuppie in jeopardy’ movies, with white-collar management goon Jeff Daniels hooking up with meta-manic pixie dream girl Melanie Griffiths and going off on a road movie journey into self-discovery. En route: recently paroled psycho con Ray Liotta, the Feelies as a band at a high school reunion, and lots of great music (and some great shots of New York). Definitely one of Jonathan Demme’s best.

Die Hard title screen
Die Hard
Peak McTiernan, with Bruce Willis never better than here as world weary New York cop John McClane, in LA to try and win back his estranged wife Bonnie Bedelia at just the moment a bunch of Eurotrash terrorists-cum-robbers led by Alan Rickman. AND THE QUARTERBACK IS TOAST!

A Week In Film #011: Cutting back

Empire Records title screen
Empire Records
Messy, unstructured, episodic and ultimately utterly empty, but still rather cheery. A gaggle of young record store employees learn about life and each other, all whilst trying to keep their workplace in business. Directed by Allan Moyles, who also did Pump Up The Volume, with before-they-were-famous turns from Liv Tyler, Renée Zellwegger, Robin Tunney, Rory Cochrane etc. Anthony LaPaglia is nominally the adult in charge, Ethan Embry is great as the giggly cashier Mark, Brendan Sexton III is a confused shoplifter, Maxwell Caulfield (from Grease 2) is deliciously sleazy as an MOR singer there for a signing session.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) title screen
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978 version)
Philip Kaufman presents an unsettling updating of the Cold War era allegorical SF b-movie, with Donald Sutherland and Veronica Cartwright amongst those battling to stay ahead of the zombie-like invaders in seventies San Francisco.

Excellent Cadavers title screen
Excellent Cadavers
HBO telemovie about Sicily, the Mafia, Giovanni Falcone and the Maxi Trial. Given the subject matter it should have been great, but it’s not. Chazz Palminteri and F Murray Abraham give it their best shot, though.

Something Wild title screen
Something Wild
Lulu wig-wearing freewheeler Audrey (Melanie Griffith) picks up repressed suit Charlie (Jeff Daniels) for a couple of days of fun on the road; her ex Ray (Ray Liotta) threatens to spoil everything. Jonathan Demme directs with panache.