Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bright Light! Bright Light!

It’s been a while, but the vault is rolling out it’s old chestnut series,You Decide… Sequel Suicide? Although Kai feels the Christmas element of Gremlins is purely superfluous, it’s a holiday movie I love to revisit every year much like folks who plop down in front of the tele to watch A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life.


The quaint little town of Kingston Falls is about to have a Christmas it will never forget all because its resident inventor, Rand Peltzer (Hoyt Axton), has brought his son Billy (Zach Galligan) home a unique gift he uncovered in a Chinatown junk shop. The gift, a mogwai, an adorable, furry little creature he’s taken to calling Gizmo (Howie Mandel). Billy only need follow three simple instructions to care for Gizmo; keep it away from bright light, especially sunlight, never get it wet, and never, ever feed it after midnight. By Christmas Eve, two of the three rules have been inadvertently broken, unleashing a diminutive destructive horde of gremlins lead by Gizmo’s devilish, Mohawk-sporting offspring, Spike (Frank Welker).

Large Association of Movie Blogs

There's A Useful Four Letter Word, And You're Full Of It

It’s been a good long while since the vault kicked off a new series, and this one I’ve been holding onto a for while. Say hello to 007 on the 7th, which is exactly as it sounds; whenever a vault posting date falls on the seventh of the month, everyone’s favorite British Secret Service Agent will make an appearance. Premiering thirty-eight years ago in December of 1974, The Man With the Golden Gun is a perfect choice to for December’s 007 selection.


MI6 headquarters receives an ominous calling card, prompting ‘M’ (Bernard Lee) to recall James Bond (Roger Moore) from his mission. A single, solid gold bullet etched with ’007′ names Bond as the next target of the world’s greatest and most elusive assassin, Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee). Raised in the circus as a trick-shot marksman then recruited and trained by the KGB, he is now a hitman-for-hire with a $1,000,000 fee. Bond’s search for the Solex Agitator and its creator is put on hold, leaving Bond free to find his would-be killer before Scaramanga’s golden bullet finds him.

Rendezvous...

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Monday, December 10, 2012

MMM: Waiting for the Thunder

Folks here in Raleigh, NC have been waiting for rock/metal band KIX to bring the thunder back to our fair city for over twenty years. They did just that this past Saturday at the Lincoln Theater and I was lucky enough to be in attendance. Not all that familiar with KIX before the concert, I can happily say they've found a fan in me. Lead singer Steve Whiteman has a great stage performance and KIX rocks it from the first note played to the last. With my ears are still ringing, I thought I'd share a little taste with you by showcasing their biggest hit from 1989. Enjoy!

KIX - Don't Close Your Eyes

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Baddest Heeb This Side of Tel Aviv

Hanukkah begins at sundown on the eighth of December. I’m not Jewish, but the vault is an equal opportunity column. Sometimes, it’s that simple.


Ridiculed for his Jewish faith during his formative years, Mordechai Jefferson Carver (Adam Goldberg) has grown up and into a heroic career as a certified circumcised dick known as the Hebrew Hammer. As the baddest Heeb this side of Tel Aviv, the Hammer’s called upon by the Jewish Justice League Chief (Peter Coyote) when Damian (Andy Dick), the antisemitic son of Santa Claus (Richard Riehle), seizes control of his father’s reigns. Damian is hell-bent on eradicating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa to make Christmas the only December holiday. The Hebrew Hammer agrees to stop Damian, and though he has help from the JJL’s Esther Bloomenbergensteinenthal (Judy Greer) and Kwanzaa Liberation Front leader Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim (Mario Van Peebles), ultimately the fate of Hanukkah rests entirely on his shoulders.

Rendezvous...

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

You're My Boy, Blue!

With November at an end, I was at a loss for what flick to induct into the vault before embarking on December and the inevitable string of holiday fare. Being a sucker for a pretty face and for celebrating a birthday, I looked to my celebrity calendar and voila, the answer appeared in the petite, shapely form of hilarious Happy Endings costar Elisha Cuthbert. Cuthbert turns 30 today, but the funny Canadian cutie was just 21 when the world was introduced to her in the Todd Phillips feature, Old School.


After Mitch Martin (Luke Wilson) discovers his girlfriend Heidi (Juliette Lewis) is more adventurous than he realized, he leases a house near Harrison University. His friend, Beanie (Vince Vaughn), sees the house as the perfect party pad to get Mitch back in the game and to be an escape from his own wife and kids. Their recently married buddy, Frank (Will Ferrell), also sees it as a reprieve from his wife Marissa (Perrey Reeves). Mitch, Beanie and Frank make a huge impression on campus with Mitch-A-Palooza, drawing the attention of Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven), who rezones the house for university use in order to remove his former college nemeses. Beanie and Frank convince Mitch to create a fraternity, enlisting a rag tag bunch of pledges to keep their dream alive, the parties going, and to stick it to the Dean.

Rendezvous...

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Friday, November 30, 2012

American components, Russian Components, ALL MADE IN TAIWAN!

Although you might assume The Accountant in Drive Angry is immortal and has no need to celebrate trivial milestones like birthdays, but the vault loves a birthday. The vault also loves That Guys so that’s why I could not pass up the chance to wish William Fichtner a happy 56th birthday! We’re celebrating with a look back at his role as Colonel Willie Sharp in Michael Bay’s 1998 film Armageddon.

 
After a meteor shower rains down in the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on portions of New York City and Finland, NASA commander Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) and his scientists confirm the devastation is but a prelude. An asteroid the size of Texas is hurtling towards the Earth and its impact will trigger an extinction level event. The single best option NASA devises is to send two teams of astronauts onto the asteroid to drill an eight-hundred foot hole and drop a nuke into its core. To prep the mission crew and refine the equipment, Truman recruits Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), the best driller in the world, to train them. With only 18 days, Harry can’t train astronauts the fine art of drilling so he and his rowdy crew of men are instead given a crash course on space travel and sent into the ether to teach this massive hunk of cosmic rock you don’t tread on our Earth.

Rendezvous...

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh Shit. There Goes the Planet

Three weeks ago the Walt Disney Co. announced its purchase of Lucasfilm Ltd. Ever since the interwebs have been all abuzz about Episodes VII, VIII, and IX; who’s writing, who’s directing, who’s starring, and, most importantly, how much shittier (or for the hopeful, better) will they be than the last three installments? Personally, they will be what they will be and they will keep coming because it’s such a major cash cow. Thinking about all the money Disney stands to make not only with the new trilogy, but with merchandising, it’s the perfect time for Mel Brooks to dust off script ideas for Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money.
Once upon a time warp very, very, very, very far away, a ruthless race known as the Spaceballs has nearly exhausted the supply of fresh air on their home planet. On behest of President Skroob (Mel Brooks), Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) has been dispatched to kidnap the Druish Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) on her wedding day. Cold feet drive Vespa off planet, prompting King Roland (Dick Van Patten) to hire Captain Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his Mawg partner Barf (John Candy) to rescue the princess from the clutches of Helmet and return her safely home.

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MMM: Growing Up So Fast

Just heard this for the first time today despite their album releasing in May of this year. Can't believe I'm so behind. It's a decent little tune and the quirky video makes it even better. Enjoy.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros -
That's What's Up

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Those Aren't Pillows!

It’s two days before Thanksgiving and many of us are finalizing plans to travel home to feast on bird and visit with family. I wish you well on your travels and hope you have better luck than Neal Page.


It’s two days before Thanksgiving and ad exec Neal Page (Steve Martin) need only catch his 6pm flight to Chicago to return home to his loving family. His indecisive boss, a fleet-footed businessman (Kevin Bacon), and a cab thief signal the beginning of his troubles. While waiting on his delayed flight, he meets Del Griffith (John Candy), a shower curtain ring salesman and the thief of his rush hour cab. The irritable, hostile Neal couldn’t be more opposite to the easy-going, upbeat Del, but when their Chicago-bound flight is diverted to Wichita, Neal has little choice but to team up with this jovial tradesman if he has any hope of making it home for the holidays.

Rendezvous...

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Monday, November 19, 2012

I Done Told You Once...

Sorry for the Monday Mood Music's recent absence, but I'm bringing it back! Since I just reviewed a movie set in Georgia, why not post a little music feautring the Peach State? Enjoy.

The Charlie Daniels Band - 
The Devil Went Down to Georgia

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis vs. The Confederacy: Part I

Spielberg’s latest epic, Lincoln, expands to theaters nationwide today and reviewers are raving. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis and we all know the man is a phenomenal actor. It got me thinking; he’s so good in these weighty, dramatic roles, but has the man ever made a funny movie? Turns out, he has.



Tightly-wound Henderson Dores (Daniel Day-Lewis) moved from Britain to New York for his fiancee Melissa (Laurie Metcalf). In NYC he meets computer saleswoman, Irene Stein (Joan Cusack), and though his love for Melissa has faded, he’s still employed as an art buyer by her father. Henderson’s fortune is about to change because he’s being sent to Luxora Beach, Georgia to procure a rare Renoir painting thought lost. With Melissa’s daughter Bryant (Martha Plimpton) in tow, Henderson arrives at the less than stately manor of Loomis Gage (Harry Dean Stanton) who’s more than happy to sell. But his son Freeborn (Maury Chaykin) is anxious for Henderson to scram because he’s already made a side deal to sell the painting. Henderson just has to suffer the wrath of Gage’s children for a few days for the happy ending he thinks he has coming.

Rendezvous...

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Don't Cry. Hold It Back!

Three months ago, intrepid Lead Contributor Justin began keeping us abreast of the latest news concerning the upcoming release of the Red Dawn remake. Like Justin, I was at first intrigued by Chris Hemsworth’s latest feature, especially considering I’ve enjoyed his roles thus far. With it’s release just one week away, what better time than now to finally queue the original Red Dawn?


A Soviet Union wheat shortage, unrest in South America and the dissolution of NATO signals that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. In the sleepy little All-American town of Calumet, Colorado, enemy soldiers literally descend upon the town and, after quickly killing the Town’s one black man, the high school history teacher (Frank McRae), lay siege upon the heartland. In the chaos, Jed Eckert (Patrick Swayze) rescues his brother Matt (Charlie Sheen) and a handful of other young men and together they seek refuge in the mountains. Months pass, the war drags on, and the boys, surviving forty-miles behind enemy lines, begin to employ guerrilla tactics against the invading forces and adopt the moniker of their high school mascot, the Wolverines, as a symbol of hope.

Rendezvous...

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Friday, November 9, 2012

One Night in Paris...

The vault can’t get enough James Bond! It was just one month ago that Timothy Dalton’s The Living Daylights was featured in honor of Global James Bond Day. Today, on the opening of Bond’s twenty-third film, Skyfall, I reached into the hat and pulled out a worthy Bond title to feature.



Egomaniacal media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) is poised to launch the Carver Media Group’s satellite news network with the tragic, breaking news of an impending war between China and Great Britain. He knows this because his henchmen, Henry Gupta (Ricky Jay) and Stamper (Götz Otto), have instigated the entire incident on his behalf by sinking the HMS Devonshire and destroying a Chinese fighter jet. As the British Royal Navy mobilizes to confront the Chinese fleet in the South China Sea, M (Judi Dench) orders her top agent, James Bond (Pierce Brosnan), to uncover the truth. With only forty-eight hours before the advent of World War III, Bond finds himself teamed with fellow spy, Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) of the Chinese People’s External Security Force, to stop the presses on this madman’s war for ratings.

Rendezvous...

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, November 8, 2012

MILF Rendezvous: The Blustery Gang Bang

With Halloween, my birthday and the election all happening these past couple of weeks, I've been delinquent in rendezvousing with Man, I Love Films. Before I dig my hole any deeper, let me bang out a few all at once to get back on track.


The vault’s Halloween hoopla continues as does our all-too-favorite practice of celebrating celebrity birthdays! It was this day fifty years ago that the world welcomed the actor that would one day be known as the Dread Pirate Roberts, or to Psych fans as Pierre Despereaux. He also has the distinction of starring in two films about the vampire Dracula. The first, 1992′s Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a more traditional retelling of the legend while the second, today’s selection and a more innovative retelling, is the 2000 film Shadow of the Vampire.
Director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (John Malkovich) is filming the last of his studio shots in Berlin for his masterpiece, Nosferatu. The next day he and his crew embark for Czechoslovakia to join their principal star, Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe). Schreck, who will portray Murnau’s vampire Count Orlok from his thinly veiled plagiary of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, always appears to the crew in character; full dress and make-up, demanding only to be shot at night. Unbeknownst to them, Schreck’s predilections are not a product of his acting style, but because he is in fact the vampire Count Orlok that Murnau has struck a shady bargain with in order to add authenticity to his work.
Rendezvous...

Today is October 30th, the day before Halloween, and the night which is referred to as Devil’s Night. The Crow is the first time I ever heard of Devil’s Night and, since the story centers on events occurring on this night of mayhem and mischief, I could think of no better choice for this month’s last vault selection.
It’s Devil’s Night and Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) returns home to find his fiancée Shelly (Sofia Shinas) being beaten and raped by four thugs. Though he attempts to stop them, he is stabbed, beaten, shot and thrown from their window to his death for good measure. One year later those responsible; T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly), Funboy (Michael Massee), Tin Tin (Laurence Mason), and Skank (Angel David), get pumped for another night of arson, debauchery and wanton destruction on behalf of their boss Top Dollar (Michael Wincott). Elsewhere, a crow ushers Eric from his grave. He’s returned from the dead to inform their murderers that, as he explains to Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson), “they’re all dead, they just don’t know it yet.”

Rendezvous...


If you’re living in America, especially in a battleground state, you have got to be absolutely sick of all this election hoopla. Candidate ads monopolize every commercial break. I never thought I’d be so relieved to see that herpes commercial or even Pepsi’s idiotic dancing baby ad. Well, maybe I’m not that relieved. At any rate, the vault can not ignore the importance of the electoral process so we’re throwing out a single bone before moving on to less wearisome subjects.
Early one Omaha morning, high school history teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) runs into the peppy, enterprising Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) in preparation to bid for Student Council President. Jim doesn’t much care for Tracy, especially since he considers her responsible for the dismissal of his friend and coworker Dave (Mark Harelik). The overachieving Tracy quickly amasses the required signatures to run, and is anxious to start her campaign though she’d be running unopposed. In the spirit of healthy competition, Mr. McAllister convinces the simple-minded jock, Paul Metzler (Chris Klein), to throw his hat in the political ring. Shortly thereafter, Paul’s apathetic, malcontent sister Tammy (Jessica Campbell) decides to run against her brother since her special lady friend Lisa (Frankie Ingrassia) left her for Paul. As tensions run high, McAllister finds himself drowning in personal and professional dilemmas.
Rendezvous...


Today is huge. Sure, sure, it’s election day, but what’s more important is it’s my birthday! Like all of us, I share my birthday with quite a number of talented celebrities. I ultimately decided to honor 81-year-old comedian, director, producer and writer Mike Nichols who’s been at the helm of memorable projects since his first Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to his most recent, Charlie Wilson’s War. Of his projects, I have chosen the 2004 play adaption Closer because it’s also my birthday and ogling Natalie Portman as she sports a sequined lavender thong that barely covers her jungle book and executes a spread eagle split on the back of a plush purple couch seemed like a nice treat to myself.
Obits writer Dan (Jude Law) is traversing the crowded London streets on his way to work when he’s enamored of the vibrant, disarming woman approaching. Her mystique is cut short when she’s hit by an oncoming taxi. Dan rushes to her aid and so begins his romance with Alice (Natalie Portman). Later, Dan visits photographer Anna (Julia Roberts) for head-shots for his upcoming novel and confesses he’s been instantly smitten with her. Denied his heart’s desire, Dan enters a cyber-sex chat room pretending to be Anna and woos Larry (Clive Owen) into a lewd rendezvous. The prank backfires and Anna and Larry become romantically involved. Much later, they all meet at Anna’s exhibition, revealing their loving relationships are anything but.
Rendezvous...

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Week of Reel Whorror!: Who Wants a Clean House?! - Day 7

Happy Halloween Stargazers! As you may have noticed it's Day 7 of the Week of Reel Whorror!, but the last post was only Day 5. Make no attempts to adjust your PC. That post, much like the Freelings' home, and my grandiose plans and good intentions has imploded, never to be seen in our realm. Not one to dwell over spilt milk, or in houses of evil, I am moving on to wrap this domicile-centric endeavor with the premier of a show worth watching, whether it's Halloween or not.

American Horror Story, Season 1




Premiered: 10.05.11
Channel: FX


Full Price



I had my misgivings with the first season of American Horror Story right from the start. It seemed they were trying to cram too many different types of horror into one seemingly innocuous Los Angeles home. I usually give a show three episodes, and by Murder House, the only things that kept me from moving on was Jessica Lange's wonderfully bigoted and hate-filled performance, the promise of yet another delightfully twisted character portrayed by True Blood's Denis O'Hare, and the undeniable allure of seeing Alexandra Breckenridge slinking around in a naughty maid's outfit. Let me tell you just how thankful I am for those three things, especially the latter.

Somehow I made it to the episode Piggy Piggy due to the continued promise of fun guest appearances like Eric Stonestreet, Alessandra Torresani, and Mena Suvari. It was with that sixth episode I realized the show would only last six more episodes, and decided to see where this strange mesh of horror cliches and sadistic characters would lead.

Boy am I glad I decided to maintain residence with the Harmon's a little longer. Each episode got a little darker, the acting of Taissa Farmiga, Evan Peters and Connie Britton had drawn me in. Lange was getting nastier and more mesmerizing with every episode, and I found myself calculating all the possibilities of where it would lead.

AHS hit the final turn with Smoldering Children and turned everything on its head. Even me, with my vast years of television and movie watching was thrown for a loop. I found myself wishing I had waited to watch AHS on DVD; not because it had grown dull, but so I could immediately jump into the next episode. Instead I had to wait and wait for two more whole weeks for the ever darkening conclusion.

In the end, I was mostly satisfied and a little disturbed by it all. I fretted the second season would return for more of the same in the dreary home, particularly when I heard Jessica Lange and Evan Peters, among others, would be returning. I was relieved to hear the setting had changed to an asylum for season 2, though I was concerned it would be more of the same monsters lurking in dark corners. Two episodes in and I am already floored by Lange's Sister Jude, and while the walls are coated with tons more horror cliches, I can't wait to see how they flow together.

If you've not seen Season 1 of American Horror Story, do what I did not give myself the opportunity to do; rent or buy the DVD and plow through the episodes one after another. Unlike going to live in the Murder House, you won't regret it.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week of Reel Whorror!: Who Wants a Clean House?! - Day 5

Today is normally reserved for my Monday Mood Music, and though it's posting later than usual, it's a selection that also fits in snugly with the Week of Reel Whorror!. Seeing as how this week's all about the evil that houses do or hold, it's impossible not to mention the film Rob Zombie crammed every conceptual ounce of horror into. And, being a rocker prior to debuting as a writer-director, he was all too happy to supply his initial offering with a killer (no pun intended) soundtrack which included his cover of this Commodores classic. 

Brickhouse -
Rob Zombie featuring Lionel Richie and Trina




House of 1000 Corpses


Release: 04.11.03
DVD Release: 08.12.03
Rated R
1 hours, 29 minutes


Matinee


I have to go on record as saying House of 1000 Corpses is perhaps one of the best and one of the worst horror films I have ever seen. Approximately three-fourths of it is edgy and phenomenal in its delivery; the remaining just utter filth and a waste of good celluloid. Then again, the horror genre has a wealth of depraved avenues one can traverse; I just prefer some concepts more than others.

The debut picture from musician turned writer-director Rob Zombie opens on All Hallow's Eve with four college kids traveling along the back roads of Texas (has a familiar ring to it, right?). Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig, Jackie Brown) runs the roadside Gasoline, Fried Chicken, and Horror Museum where the kids stop to stock up for the last leg of their voyage home. The museum tour chronicles notorious mass murderers, including the local legend, Dr. Satan, which sparks the kids’ need to drive out to the fabled killer's remote stomping grounds in the cold, rainy dead of night. One hitchhiker named Baby (Sheri Moon) and one flat tire later, the kids end up at the home of the Firefly family. After partaking in the Firefly Halloween celebration and getting the car repaired, their fun really begins.

The darkest, most twisted character is Otis, creepily portrayed by Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). Otis will single-handedly freak you out. He’s the answer to the question “What if Ted Nugent was insane?...correction...an insane mass murderer?” Sid Haig's Captain Spaulding is a vulgar, dreadful delight and may just hold the record for most profanity per minute from a character. Spaulding couldn't open his mouth without making a sailor blush. I always wished Haig would start appearing in more features after 1000 Corpses, but seems only Mr. Zombie appreciates his talent. Sheri Moon's Baby is a sexy, sultry psychotic woman who flaunts it. Her high-pitched, joyful schoolgirl giggle will send chills up and down your spine. My favorite sedate scene with Baby involves a liquor run to the local ABC store with the ingenious name. (I was so enamored by her character that I penned two pieces of fan fiction for the LAMB).

The unsuspecting travelers are played by Chris Hardwick (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), Erin Daniels (One Hour Photo), Jennifer Jostyn (Deep Impact) and a then, mostly unknown Rainn Wilson (Juno). As each becomes the playthings of their sadistic hosts, they give great ear-piercing screams. The gore and torture are wonderfully sick and twisted; the influences of many horror classics are plainly evident in 1000 Corpses. It's a very bloody and deliberately brutal film with a smidgen of violence tossed in to help offset the blood. Unfortunately, 1000 Corpses has many horrific horror film fumbles that disengaged my interest at times. Likewise, Zombie's direction is tense, creating a nail-biting ambience, but at other moments he segues into a music video vantage with random cuts and digital effects unnecessary to the story's development.

House of 1000 Corpses has something for every aficionado of the horror genre, and that is where it fails. In trying to make a dish palatable to all connoisseurs, Rob Zombie inevitably created a film with some indigestible tripe. That said, it is still a must see. I recommend 1000 Corpses on the well-developed and unique characterizations alone; what you try to get from the rest of the flick is done so at your own risk.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week of Reel Whorror!: Who Wants a Clean House?! - Day 4

Actually, you can't always blame the houses for horrific deeds done within their walls. Sometimes evil just meanders its way to the front door and let's itself in.When that happens, it's always best to be prepared; just ask the Collingwoods.


The Last House on the Left



Release: 03.013.09
Rated R
1 hour, 50 minutes


 
Matinee


Meet John (Tony Goldwyn, Abandon), Emma (Monica Potter, Saw) and Mary (Sara Paxton, Soldier); the Collingwood Family. They've left behind their daily drudgery for their annual summer vacation at the lake. Mary bounces into town to visit her friend, Paige (Martha MacIsaac, Superbad). The two teens finds themselves in the midst of a clan of miscreants, led by recently escaped convict Krug (Garret Dillahunt, No Country for Old Men). The Family Krug and the Family Collingwood are on a collision course with destiny. The sign post up ahead reads "Lake Ends in the Road." Your next stop: the last house on the left.

I really dug Last House. Granted, it's a far cry from the insanity of the original, but it's a well structured tale of terror. So I keep asking myself, why am I hung up on this damned house!? Let me explain. John's a doctor and Emma seems to do important work, too. Obviously well-to-do, it seems only natural that they own a summer home. But the family owns a two-story home at the lake, with a boat house, a massive tool shed AND a two-story guest house!?! Both domiciles are loaded with furniture, linens and even the medicine cabinets are fully stocked. The main house even has a cabinet full of wine, enough to carry the family through Indian summer. Is it just me or does this seem a bit excessive? And the kicker; they own a 10,000 watt, faux-wood veneer, approved-for-nuclear-testing microwave you'd find in your gram-gram's kitchen. Really?! You couldn't spring for a portable funcooker like normal people!! But I digress.

Dillahunt is my man. I've enjoyed his roles on Deadwood as well as Sarah Connor Chronicles and his twinge of devilishness works well here. However, he and his compatriots aren't nearly as crazy and drug-addled as the original's gang...except, maybe, Sadie (Riki Lindhome, Million Dollar Baby). Potter and Goldwyn, too, make you feel the anguish and anger over the evening's events. By the way, what's up with Monica Potter's career? It's like she's been on the Sandra Bullock short bus for her entire career. I don't think Paxton will suffer the same fate. She gives a top-notch performance and her Aquamarine training probably helped, too.

Dirty Undies
Last House isn't for the timid or faint of heart. The Family Krug are introduced in an explosion of blood-spatter, but their deviant ways settle into a very cautious and calculated routine that's surprisingly weak in comparison to the meek Collingwoods who wreck shit once their ire's agitated. The film does feature scenes of graphic rape and torture, but its conservative nature keeps it from attaining Firefly-family infamy.

The Money Shot
The Last House on the Left pulls off a decent amount of tension and dread, but it could have been truly nail-biting had they trimmed off a solid fifteen minutes. Still, horror films with a fairly realistic, well-explained story are a rarity these days, so you should catch the good ones whenever possible.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Week of Reel Whorror!: Who Wants a Clean House?! - Day 3

Whether a house is truly haunted by spirits or inhabited by fiendish people, one thing that makes a house truly scary is its history. A house with a history of malevolence, whether true or imagined, makes it far scarier than that cookie-cutter home in the cul de sac. 
 
Since the Week of Reel Whorror! has been resurrected, I felt it fair to resurrect another of the Reel Whore's delightful features.The Jizt is the wham, bam, thank you ma'am of reviews and a perfect fit for the busy pre-Halloween weekend.


Silent House


Release: 03.09.11
1 hour, 26 minutes
Rated R

 

Full Price



Cast: Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Adam Trese (Zodiac), Eric Sheffer Stevens (Julie and Julia)
 
The Build-up: Sarah returns to her family's lakeside vacation home to help her dad and uncle prep it for sale, but finds herself trapped inside, hunted by a mysterious figure.
 
The Blurt-out: Were it not for Olsen's exceptional acting and magnetic screen presence, my TV screen would have gone as dark as the recesses of this house within the first half hour.
 
The Jizt: Shot as real-time, this tense thriller is the kind of well-made remake that makes me want to go back and see if it improved upon the original film.

Why it's always a good idea to read the manual before operating power tools.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, October 26, 2012

Week of Reel Whorror!: Who Wants a Clean House?! - Day 2

I hope last night you didn't have too many things go bump in the night. No matter, the Week of Reel Whorror! continues nonetheless. Not all houses are built evil. Some have evil bred into them. It's a strange concept to be sure, and some movies do a real shit job in conveying that idea. This is one such story.

The Haunting in Connecticut


Release: 03.27.09
1 hour, 42 minutes
Rated PG-13


Group Rental




In the same way her son Matt (Kyle Gallner, TV: Veronica Mars) can barely stomach his cancer treatments, Sarah Campbell (Virginia Madsen, Number 23) cannot bear to watch him suffer on their long road trips back to suburban Connecticut. Sarah and husband Peter (Martin Donovan, The Quiet) decide to rent a house near the treatment facility to ease everyone's stress. Sarah finds the perfect house for cheap; perfect and cheap if you don't mind living in an old funeral home. No one minds, except for the wayward souls that keep lurking around the Campbell's dying son.

Haunting, based on true events, tries to strike a balance between Matt's battle with cancer and the recurring appearance of ghosts in his basement digs. At times, Matt sees through the eyes of a young spirit, Jonah, who appears to Matt as an extra crispy version of his former self. The KFC spectre mainly just stares at Matt and lurches over him while he sleeps. Startling moments of here-one-second, gone-the-next are the extent of the film's overused scare tactics. I was more frightened by how often mommie dearest inexplicably left her children alone for large spans of time.

The whole damn film is one huge exercise in tedium. Like most lame-ass, teen-friendly horror flicks, jittery flashbacks tease audiences with the house's dark side. Whenever the KFC spectre goes on break, Matt splits his time between entertaining his siblings and cousin Wendy (Amanda Crew, Sex Drive), and by calling fellow cancer patient, Reverend Popescu (Elias Koteas, Zodiac), to talk death and ghosts. Judging by the Reverend's baggy attire, I assume John Goodman backed out of production and the budget didn't allow for a refitting for Koteas. Regardless, Koteas gives it his all.

Haunting cuts a lot of corners. Scenes are notably grainy. At first it seemed to set a mood, but when conversation sequences shift continually between poorly-shot and strikingly clear, it's friggin' annoying. The script works the same. When Matt's visits by the KFC spectre are confirmed, Encylopedia Wendy is on the case and in an afternoon uncovers the entire history of the hell house. The religious faith of Sarah and the Reverend are treated as taboo, almost as if the spirits themselves didn't allow more to be written into the story. I could stomach all these weaknesses if I wasn't being spoon-fed every other frivolous detail of the Campbells' life.

Dirty Undies
Gentle scares are mildly unnerving at best. The children seem to be in peril, but aside from treating Matt like an Etch-A-Sketch, the ghosts do very little besides stand around. Also, the shockingly horrific reveal doesn't make a lick of sense! A sure-fire indication a horror flick sucks is when the explanation creates more questions than it answers.

The Money Shot
The Haunting in Connecticut was so dull, I felt my brain shut off about ten minutes into it. As the climax approached and I snapped to attention, I realized I didn't know anything about Matt, his family, the KFC spectre or the other spirits I'd been watching for over an hour. The worst part? It didn't fucking matter. When it was all said and done, The Haunting in Connecticut amounted to nothing more than boredom in the theater.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Week of Reel Whorror!: Who Wants a Clean House?! - Day 1

As Carol Anne would say, They're here. While I've been a complete blog slacker most of this year, there was no way in hell I'd let Halloween go by without resurrecting my Week of Reel Whorror!. For those savvy horror fans, I have no doubt you've deduced this year's theme is houses!. If it's gloomy and creaks or is home to a family of freaks, for the next seven days we'll be taking up residence. If it's got a roof, four walls, and a door that's keeping otherworldly denizens at bay, we'll be part of the group of idiots dumb enough to snoop around.

ENTER... IF YOU DARE!!! 

House

Release: 02.28.86
Rated R
1 hour, 33 minutes


Matinee


Roger Cobb’s (William Katt) writing career and marriage falls apart after his son mysteriously vanishes from the house of his Aunt Elizabeth (Susan French). After his aunt’s passing, Roger moves into her house and starts penning his latest project, his Vietnam War autobiography, hoping the book will end his terrible wartime flashbacks of his buddy, Big Ben (Richard Moll). However, the house, always thought to be haunted, has plans of its own for the tortured writer.
Billed as a horror-comedy, House is successful at satisfying both descriptors with jump scares, outlandish monsters, and riotous dialogue delivered with deadpan seriousness. William Katt, portraying Roger at first as a tired, suffering writer turns him quickly down the path of full blown looney tunes once the house intimidates him with self-propelled hand tools, flopping fish mounts, and grotesque harbingers. The nervous wreck that Roger becomes is at his most hilarious when he simultaneously flirts with his sexy neighbor and keeps a bloated zombie from wriggling out from under a tarp. The role is also quite physical for Katt; he’s tossed down stairs, into pools of water, and dragged around for a substantial chunk of the story.
Pairing Katt with George Wendt is pure genius. Wendt, who plays Roger’s neighbor Harold, has the role of oblivious neighbor down to a tee. His delivery of the line, “solitude’s always better with someone else around,” still has me cracking up as does his reaction to Cujo, the raccoon. As Big Ben, Richard Moll gets to chew up the scenery by playing crazy with a capital K and shooting up most of the sets.
Following the plot of House isn’t quite as enjoyable. While it’s clear the house is haunted, the supernatural logistics of the house are somewhat at odds with the overarching premise. Sorry if that’s too vague, but I don’t want to give too much away in case you still haven’t had a chance in the last twenty-six years to watch it. All I can say is, House is just further proof of how good the drugs were in the 80s.
Sometimes shocking, sometimes confusing, and sometimes just plain weird, House is entirely entertaining. If you have been putting off viewing it, queue it up before its thirtieth anniversary for a good laugh.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Signs Point To Yes

The vault has spent most of October’s buildup to Halloween showcasing movies featuring either ghosts or murder and today’s selection features both. I promise I’ll mix it up a bit with the next post, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to review a Sam Raimi film when today is his birthday.

Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett) is a widow with three young boys who makes a living foretelling people’s future; people like the abused housewife Valerie (Hilary Swank) or the kind but troubled mechanic Buddy (Giovanni Ribisi). The spirit of her Granny (Rosemary Harris) warns of an impending storm just as Annie is caught in the cross-hairs of Donnie Barksdale (Keanu Reeves). The hateful Donnie threatens Annie and her kids repeatedly after she tries to convince Valerie to leave him. Meanwhile, Sheriff Pearl (J. K. Simmons) searches for missing socialite Jessica King (Katie Holmes). Desperate, her fiancée Wayne (Greg Kinnear) and father (Chelcie Ross) beseech Annie to divine Jessica’s whereabouts. Annie’s gift reveals Jessica’s fate and places her in the path of an unsettled spirit, obstinate non-believers, and a murderer.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

MMM: Happy Endings

Not sure what all TV you're watching, but overall fall's new show line-up has sucked pretty hard. I've already dropped several of the new shows and it's looking like I'll nix a few more once I've given them a full three episodes to impress/disappoint. I owe a debt of gratitude to my returning shows for being quite exceptional, and thereby making the overall fall 2012 television season decent.

I have only the premier of Happy Endings (this Tuesday!) before I can say I'm completely satisfied with the returning shows. I'm not too worried because I love me some Elisha Cuthbert, even more so now thanks to this show. I first tuned into Happy Endings mainly to ogle Elisha in all her yumminess, but she and her costars had me in stitches within seconds. Since I also tuned in to see how Casey Wilson was faring after being axed from SNL, I was very pleased to discover she has found a non-Wiig world where her talent could really be showcased. Happy Endings is a hilarious show that you should be watching. And, even though I just featured Weezer here a month ago, flaunting Elisha on the site should help sway you to tune in. Enjoy!

Weezer - Perfect Situation

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Right in the Bahoogies!

At the start of October, I kicked off the vault’s Halloween retrospective with a previously untested film which bit me in the ass with its awfulness. Since then, I’ve been hesitant to add another first-time viewing in the mix; partially for fear I’d find an even worse selection and also because there are so many wonderful choices out there. With wounds healed, I decided to once again dip into personally uncharted territories.


In a last-ditch effort to save his Irish heritage, Castle Plunkett, from relocation, well-intentioned Peter Plunkett (Peter O’Toole) vivifies the castle-turned-B&B by converting it to a haunted-castle-turned-haunted-B&B by enlisting the help and creativity of his staff. The spooky spectacle’s first victims include the crabby couple of Jack (Steve Guttenberg) and Sharon Crawford (Beverly D’Angelo) celebrating their anniversary, the priest-in-training Brother Tony (Peter Gallagher), the recently single Miranda (Jennifer Tilly) and with his family in tow Malcolm (Martin Ferrero), a parapsychologist anxious to prove Plunkett’s phantoms fake. When Peter’s charade falls apart all seems lost, but Jack interferes into the afterlife of actual ghosts of Mary (Daryl Hannah) and Martin (Liam Neeson) causing other-worldly, and inter-marital, complications. Meanwhile, the rest of Castle’s incorporeal inhabitants decide to legitimize their descendant’s phantasmic promises.

Rendezvous...

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Death Ain't No Way To Make A Living!

Sick of the Halloween hype yet? I hope not, because the month is only half over and the vault’s got plenty of fun fare waiting for induction! Today’s selection is special because it is the first of Peter Jackson’s film I saw before the Lord of the Rings trilogy made him a household name.


Fairwater is plagued by death. In the past five years nearly thirty residents have died from a mysterious heart disease and decades before this grim medical phenomenon beset the town, orderly Johnny Charles Bartlett (Jake Busey) and his lover Patricia Bradley (Dee Wallace) became famous for murdering twelve people in just under half-an-hour at the psychiatric hospital. It’s the perfect burg for Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox), architect-turned-psychic investigator, to offer his specialized services. Though Bannister can actually communicate with the dead, he uses his friendship with the ghosts Cyrus (Chi McBride), Stuart (Jim Fyfe), and the Judge (John Astin) to instead con trusting people. But when his abilities forewarn of death’s next victim, he teams up with physician Lucy Lynskey (Trini Alvarado) to uncover the Grim Reaper’s fascination with this quaint town.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

MMM: One Inch From the Edge of This Bed

I had this really great song in mind for today's selection. I ran across it while driving around last Wednesday. At the time I thought to myself that I should go ahead and prep this post, but then thought better of it since lots can happen between Wednesday and Monday and what if what I wrote wasn't reflective of my Monday mood. Boy, was I right on both counts. My mood has certainly changed and that song has long since been forgotten. That's right. The great song is now lost to the recesses of my addled mind. Instead, let us revisit some pre-SNL Passion Pit with the debut single they released from their first EP way back in 2008. Enjoy.

Passion Pit - Sleepyhead

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ray... This is Walter.

Today the vault continues its month-long build-up to October’s big holiday with Hanks Goodness for Halloween! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.


Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) and his wife Carol (Carrie Fisher) live amongst a circle of quirky neighbors at Mayfield Place; his obnoxious, nosy pal Art (Rick Ducommun), militant veteran Lt. Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) and his wife Bonnie (Wendy Schaal), the snooty geriatric Walter (Gale Gordon) and his dog Queenie, the street’s young punk Ricky Butler (Corey Feldman), and the mysterious new neighbors, the Klopeks. Ray intends to take advantage of the cul-de-sac’s quiet by enjoying his week-long vacation at home. That is, until Art convinces the skeptical Ray of the notion that the Klopeks’ seclusion and the ominous noises emanating from their basement hint to their nefarious natures. The equally curious and suspicious Rumsfield joins Ray and Art as they spend the week snooping into the odd life of Hans (Courtney Gains), Uncle Reuben (Brother Theodore) and the “good” Doctor Werner Klopek (Henry Gibson).

Rendezvous...

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!

I enjoy watching horror movies most any time of the year, but October gives all of us the perfect excuse to sample all kinds of horrific craziness. The first October Tuesday kicked off my countdown to Halloween with a less than stellar slasher spoof. Before the countdown continues, I’d like to mention that if you’re looking for hardcore horror, I’ve decided to leave those films to our resident horror expert, Jason, and instead tackle other Halloween-worthy features.

Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) and his wife Barbara (Geena Davis) are celebrating their anniversary with what would be called a stay-cation in the parlance of our times. A quick trip into town for supplies ends with the kind couple careening off the town’s covered bridge and into the afterlife. Death seems peaceful until their home’s new residents, the Deetzes, arrive. Charles (Jeffrey Jones) is looking for peace and quiet, but his high-strung, artistic wife Delia (Catherine O’Hara) and her friend Otho (Glenn Shadix) already have their sights on transforming the rustic home into a modern monstrosity. Charles’ strange and unusual daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) befriends the Maitlands despite their attempts to scare the Deetzes away. Exasperated by Lydia’s dad and step-mom, Adam and Barbara ignore the advice of their caseworker Juno (Sylvia Sidney) and summon a shady bio-exorcist by the name of Betelgeuse to handle matters.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

MMM: Were You Expecting...

Some other selection today? I thought you knew me better than that. Enjoy!

Adele - Skyfall

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MILF Rendezvous: The Living Daylights

Happy Global James Bond Day, stargazers! My original intent was to review a Kate Winslet film for her birthday, but I’m too big a Bond fan to not commemorate his fiftieth birthday. To solve this conflict in the future, 007 producers need to hire Ms. Winslet to be the next big Bond villain. Phenomenal idea, no? Remember you saw it here first!

After surviving an ambushed training exercise in Gibraltar, British Secret Service Agent 007, better known as Bond… James Bond (Timothy Dalton), is assigned to aid Agent Saunders (Thomas Wheatley) in the defection of KBG General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) during a symphony concert. Czechoslovakian cellist/sniper Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo), is foiled in her assassination of Koskov during his escape by Bond, but his intuition spares her life. A free Koskov informs MI6 that General Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies) has re-instituted the Smiert Spionam, a.k.a. Death to Spies, initiative. Before he can divulge any further Russian intelligence, Koskov is abducted by Necros (Andreas Wisniewski). M (Robert Brown) orders Bond to kill Pushkin during his upcoming visit to Tangier, but Bond takes a detour back to Bratislava where he befriends Milovy hoping she may have more insight on Koskov’s disappearance and Pushkin’s murderous motives.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

MILF Rendezvous: Class Reunion

One benefit of being locked in the vault with so many years of movies to choose from is that I get to not only reflect on my past cinematic love affairs, but I can also broaden (or refine) my appreciation for those who made those much-watched films possible. I’ve most enjoyed revisiting the works of John Hughes and have been trying to experience the man’s entire catalog. Being October, I jumped at the chance to watch National Lampoon’s Class Reunion,  Hughes’ spoof of my favorite horror subgenre, the slasher film.

Lizzie Borden High’s Class of ’72 is assembling back at their ol’ stomping grounds to celebrate their ten-year reunion. As this motley crew gather, an ominous figure skulks through the now dilapidated hallways. After Milt Friedman (Steve Tracy) wrecks the slide show by showing up dead, the alumni are informed by Dr. Robert Young (Michael Lerner) that their old classmate and his patient, Walter Baylor (Blackie Dammett), is the culprit. Walter, traumatized ever since being pranked by jock Bob Spinnaker (Gerrit Graham) and his fellow seniors ten years prior, has escaped the nearby mental institution to exact revenge on his entire graduating class. Trapped inside their crumbling alma mater, a few brave volunteers including the repeatedly forgotten Gary Nash (Fred McCarren) search for a way out as Walter stalks from the shadows.

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

MILF Rendezvous: Brick

As I mentioned at the beginning of September, I’ve had a major hard-on in anticipation of the release of Looper. Today, I can finally have my cinematic urges gratified. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt working together under the direction of Rian Johnson should be awesome. The question is, will it be as awesome as Johnson and JGL’s first endeavor, Brick?


Panicked, high school student Emily (Emilie de Ravin) calls her loner ex-beau, Brendan Frye (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and before he can glean who, or what, has Emily so terrified, she hangs up. After finding her dead body, Brendan with the help of his friend the Brain (Matt O’Leary), begins to shake down everyone from the school’s upper crust like Brad (Brian White) and Laura (Nora Zehetner) to the pie-pan grease like Dode (Noah Segan) to solve her murder. All Brendan’s kicking around puts him in the sights of the Pin (Lukas Haas), head of the local drug trade, and the Pin’s hotheaded muscle, Tugger (Noah Fleiss).

Rendezvous...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

MILF Rendezvous: Born in East L.A.

These September Tuesdays, the vault has paid respect to celebrities lost to us this year. To close our In Memorium series I have chosen to honor an actress who has most definitely been seen by anyone who’s ever turned on a television or watched a film. One of my favorite That Ladies, Lupe Ontiveros, who passed away just two months ago.

Rudy (Cheech Marin) is a mechanic born and raised in East Los Angeles. Rudy still lives with his mom (Lupe Ontiveros) who, as she leaves for Fresno, asks him to pick up his cousin Javier (Paul Rodriguez) from the factory. Simple enough until La Migra, that’s the INS, a.k.a. the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services, raid the factory and toss Rudy into the truck along with the factory’s undocumented workers. Having left his wallet at home, Rudy’s dumped in Tijuana where his American attitude and poor Spanish language only get him into more trouble. That is until he meets Jimmy (Daniel Stern), an American expatriate hustler who can get him back across the border, but only once Rudy works off Jimmy’s fee.
Rendezvous...

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MILF Rendezvous: Judge Dredd

With Karl Urban donning the mantle of judge, jury and executioner in today’s highest profile release, was there any other choice for a vault selection? Absolutely. Plenty of alternatives, but as Stallone would decree, “I AM THE LAW!” and what I say goes.
In the third millennium, the Earth has become a barren desert where humanity can find no purchase, save for refuges like Mega-City One. An elite force known as the Judges were created to police the huddled and violent masses, but Judge Griffin (Jürgen Prochnow) urges the rest of the council to impose stricter codes and employ more Judges to suppress the escalating crime. Chief Justice Fargo (Max von Sydow) is more optimistic thanks to exemplary Judges like Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) who keep the peace and are faithful to the law. Fargo’s faith is shattered when Dredd is convicted of the murders of reporter Vartis Hammond (Mitch Ryan) and his wife. When the opportunity to clear his name surfaces, Dredd, though stripped of his Lawgiver gun and rank, returns to Mega-City One to exact justice.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

MMM: Brenda Lee's Coming On Strong

Morning stargazers! Personal commitments kept me from choosing a mood music last week, but I couldn't let a second week start off without a little tunage.

This is one of those songs that is no doubt being played on a rock station somewhere in the world at any given moment of the day. I've never really given much thought to the title or lyrics. It wasn't until today that I read along with the song and I now understand it's essentially a song about a booty call, and a telepathic one at that! The lyrics never concerned me nearly as much as the kickass tempo and all around great rhythms this Dutch band crafted. If you find yourself on the road, I highly recommend you queue this up to amp your drive. By queue this up I mean just the song, not the video... not looking to cause an accident!

Golden Earring - Radar Love

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MILF Rendezvous: The Eiger Sanction

Week three of the vault’s In Memorium series focuses on the work of producer Richard D. Zanuck who passed away two months ago. Zanuck is responsible for such classics as Jaws and Driving Miss Daisy. His more recent memorable films include Road to Perdition, Big Fish, and Sweeney Todd. His career featured many movies to choose from, but when I saw he was executive producer on one of the few Clint Eastwood films I’d never seen, I had the perfect selection.

Dr. Jonathan Hemlock (Clint Eastwood) is a man of many talents; art professor, collector of black market masterpieces, accomplished mountaineer, and retired assassin. Hemlock is content lecturing to lascivious young coeds, but his old employer C2, a secret government agency headed by Mr. Dragon (Thayer David), insists he return for two more sanctions, or hits. Dragon convinces Hemlock to return by first leveraging his illegal art collection then by playing on his sympathies for a fellow assassin and close friend. For his second hit, the “Eiger Sanction,” Hemlock must train with his old buddy Ben Bowman (George Kennedy). Bowman is also the ground man for the impending north face Eiger climb. Replacing the team’s American climber, Hemlock joins three other mountaineers, Freytag (Reiner Schöne), Meyer (Michael Grimm), and Montaigne (Jean-Pierre Bernard), any one of which could be the killer he seeks.

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