Sunday, February 12, 2012

ROAD GAMES (1981) review

"Road Games"

Directed by Richard Franklin

Written by Everett De Roche

Road Games is a Australian thriller, little seen by the U.S., revolving around a truck driver named Quid (Stacy Keach) who is delivering packages through the Australian outback with his trusty dog (or what he thinks is a Dingo), Boswell. During this time, he is listening to the radio out of boredom and hears announcements of a local serial killer killing women.

One thing leads to another, and Quid ends up picking up a mysterious hitchhiker (Jamie Lee Curtis) who he just calls Hitch. The two decide to find the killer themselves. Knowing he drives a green van, after spotting it in the desert where the killer was digging a hole for a dead female corpse.

Through their hunt for the killer, the two of course build a special bond together. Romantic, yes. But more of a strong friendship. Quid's a loner. Hitch is a runaway.

Things take a massive turn when Hitch is kidnapped by the killer at an autobody, right in broad daylight.

The film is not bad by any stretch of the imagination. But quite slow paced and a little boring at times. Nothing that you wish would happen, really happens. There are some intense moments here and there, but nothing that really keeps your full attention all the way through. Certainly drags and doesn't quite pick up until the third act.

However, the performance by Stacy Keach (yes, a little dated at times with the delivery of the dialogue) is the stand out. Quite possibly one of his best performances next to Burt Kennedy's The Killer Inside Me. Keach has quite a bit of scenes where he's just talking to himself, driving his truck. Sometimes about nonsense. Other times about the killer. Should he go after the killer? Or should he keep it to himself?

The lighting of this film is very creepy. The tone I got from this film really reminded me of other 80s road thrillers like The Hitcher.

If you're heavily into oz-ploatation, I certainly recommend this film, but if you're an average joe -schmo, there's not much true excitement in this. I'm sure seeing it for the first time back in 1981 was much more of a thriller than it is now.

It is certainly dated and isn't really scary, but it's certainly realistic and gives you a bird's eye view of the isolation a truck driver can have. Especially in the Australian outback.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Favorite Martin Scorsese films

1. Raging Bull (1980)

2. Casino (1995)

3. GoodFellas (1990)

4. Taxi Driver (1976)

5. The Aviator (2004)

6. Cape Fear (1991)

7. The Departed (2006)

8. Mean Streets (1973)

9. Bringing out the Dead (1999)

10. After Hours (1985)

Favorite Abel Ferrara Films

Granted, the underground, overlooked New York based filmmaker, Abel Ferrara, hasn't made a truly watchable film since 1996, but during the beginning and middle of his career, he was on fire.

Below are a list of my favorite films from the zany director.

1. China Girl (1987)
A beautifully lit, beautifully performed, cautionary tale. A modern telling of "Romeo & Juliet" centering on a young Chinese girl and a young Italian boy who fall in love on the streets of New York. Causing an all out gang war between the two families.

2. Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Abel's flawless masterpiece. A New York police lieutenant (Harvey Keitel) is a junkie, gambler, thief, and even a killer. He soon finds redemption when he is assigned a case regarding a young nun who is viciously raped in her church by two Hispanic hoodlums.

3. King of New York (1990)
Very stylish retelling of "Robin Hood" set on the gritty streets of New York City. Powerful drug lord, Frank White (Christopher Walken) is released from prison and is eager to back into the swing of things. But this time, using all the profits he makes from the drug running, to donate to local, broken down hospitals. All the while, beating out his competition.

4. The Funeral (1996)
Very underrated period piece. A powerful 1930s crime family is caught in a lethal crossfire between union organizers and brutal corporate bosses.

5. Body Snatchers (1993)
Yet another version of the fascinating "Body Snatchers" saga. This time taking place on a military base in Alabama. A young girl (Gabrielle Anwar), her half-brother, her Step-Mother (Meg Tilley) and her Father (Terry Kinney) try to survive the epidemic.

6. The Addiction (1995)
Ultra cool black & white docu-drama centering on a young Anthropology major in New York (Lili Taylor) who must adapt to her new lifestyle as a vampire, after she is bitten by one (Annabella Sciorra).

7. Dangerous Game (1993)
Fascinating, yet complicated, experimental character study revolving around a Hollywood independent film director, Eddie Israel (Harvey Keitel) who, for his newest film, takes two married movie stars (Madonna and James Russo) and has them play a married couple in the film. But through rehearsals and long rolling takes, fiction begins to merge with reality causing a destruction of their own humanity. Including Eddie Israel.

8. The Driller Killer (1979)
The complex, yet disturbing birth of Abel Ferrara, in this practically self-produced exploatation bloodbath. A young troubled painter (Played by Ferrara himself), living in a New York loft with two female roommates, decides to plow through the urban streets slaughtering people with a power drill, because of how frustrated he is with society.

Favorite Films of 2011

Now that the Academy Awards are creeping up on us, I thought I should list my top 20 favorite films of 2011. It was a good year for cinema, folks. REAL GOOD YEAR.

Here they are...

Dir.: Nicolas Winding Refn

2. Midnight in Paris
Dir.: Woody Allen

3. Moneyball
Dir.: Bennett Miller

4. The Artist
Dir.: Michael Hazanavicius

5. The Descendants
Dir.: Alexander Payne

6. Hugo
Dir.: Martin Scorsese

7. Warrior
Dir.: Gavin O'Conner

8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Dir.: Rupert Wyatt

9. Bridesmaids
Dir.: Paul Feig

10. Shame
Dir.: Steve McQueen

11. Red State
Dir. Kevin Smith (Yup. KEVIN SMITH)

12. Mission: Impossible 4
Dir.: Brad Bird

13. Hanna
Dir.: Joe Wright

14. The Tree of Life
Dir.: Terrence Malick

15. Carnage
Dir.: Roman Polanski

16. Hesher
Dir.: Spencer Susser

17. The Wave
Dir.: Dennis Gansel

18. I Saw The Devil
Dir.: Jee-woon Kim

19. Beginners
Dir.: Mike Mills

20. Super
Dir.: James Gunn