Archive for October, 2013

28 Days Later (2002)

Director: Danny Boyle

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns

There is a moment early on in “28 Days Later” which represents my worst nightmare so precisely that it’s scary. Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up alone in a hospital room. Part of his head is shaved and he has a scar from a recent surgery. Jim gets up, walks out of the hospital onto the streets of the town he’s lived in all his life… and there’s no one out there. Something’s definitely not right about this, because it’s the middle of the day and there should be hundreds of people on foot or in their cars. He shouts, “HELLO!” hoping that someone… anyone will hear his voice. No answer. Of course, eventually Jim does find other people, because the movie wouldn’t be able to hold anyone’s interest for the nearly two hours of its running time if he didn’t. But it’s the idea that everyone you’ve ever known has disappeared off the face of the Earth while you were sleeping that is truly frightening.

Alas, poor Jim has awoken into a world where his homeland of Great Britain is overrun with an epidemic, referred to as “the Rage,” that turns people into rabid animals. The virus is transmutable by the blood of the infected. All you have to do is be cut, bitten, or get their blood in your mouth or eyes, and seconds later you’re one of them. The first thing on Jim’s mind, as it would be with anyone thrust into a situation like this, is to go find his parents to make sure they’re okay. Selena (Naomie Harris) warns him that isn’t the smartest course of action. Selena’s world view is that “it’s all f***ed” and, with little hope for the future, the only reason to go on anymore is simply to survive. She softens up on this after she and Jim meet with Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns). Here at least is one family unit that is (mostly) intact… for the time being. They hear a radio message from a military officer (Christopher Eccleston) who tells anyone listening that his base offers safe harbor and an answer to the epidemic. The idea is too good to pass up, so off they go. What they’re expecting is somewhat different from what they find once they get there.

The first time I saw “28 Days Later,” just after the film’s DVD release in the fall of 2003, I had been lured in by the trailers and had created in my mind a false impression of what I thought the movie was supposed to be. When I watched it, and it turned out to be much different from what I had imagined, that produced a negative reaction. Remembering that, I had come into the preparations for my second viewing, ten years later, believing I was going to be writing my first negative review on this blog. That will have to wait, because I found much to my surprise that this is a REALLY good movie. Ten years ago, I must have been thinking I was going to be watching the typical zombie movie, where the dead rise and attack the living with superhuman strength. (How else can one explain the way that zombies tear through human flesh like tissue paper?)

“28 Days Later” is not the typical zombie movie. It’s not really even a zombie movie, per se, as those who carry the virus may occasionally bite the living, but you never see them devouring one. The worst they usually do is vomit blood on their victims (and yes, that looks as gross as it sounds). You also never hear anyone utter the word “zombie,” as anyone who catches the bug are henceforth referred to as “the Infected.” Yet, “28 Days Later” helped invigorate the zombie genre, which by the time of 2002 was close to dead. AMC’s immensely popular TV series “The Walking Dead” (and the comic upon which it is based) might not have been possible without “28 Days Later,” especially when you consider that its main character, Rick Grimes, also wakes up in a hospital to find his hometown empty.

Looking back, I’m fairly certain my main gripe with the story, aside from the lack of zombie action, was the second half of the film that deals with the military base. This part of the movie shouldn’t have affected me so negatively, as similar themes were explored in George Romero’s “Day of the Dead” (1985), and were also recently touched on in a Jonestown-like setting with Season 3 of “The Walking Dead.” In my opinion, there are no actual villains in “28 Days Later,” only victims. The idea is that, for every person with a strong constitution, there will inevitably be many others who will lose their minds trying to survive in a world where the rules no longer make any sense, and survival of the species means that extreme measures be taken. It’s not excusable, but it’s understandable.

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The Untouchables (1987)

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro

A single genre of film still remains that I haven’t quite warmed up to, and that’s the Western. Sometimes I don’t care for a particular actor, or maybe the story doesn’t engage me. It could just be that that particular era in general doesn’t strike a chord. I found to my surprise that the Italian Spaghetti Western does find its way into my heart, especially if Sergio Leone is in the director’s chair. But those movies would never be complete without the legendary Ennio Morricone as composer. Occasionally, the genre disguises itself, tricking me into enjoying the heck out of a particular story, as in the case of “The Untouchables.” Yes, it’s the 1930’s instead of the 1880’s, but the similarities are too obvious to ignore. Archetypes feature in place of actual characters, and there’s the familiar plot of the hero riding into town to take down the bad guy whose grip on the town is so tight that he lives like a king. And what do you know? There’s even a Morricone score! But the film takes place in Chicago, Illinois, instead of California, so we’ll call “The Untouchables” a Mid-Western.

This 1987 crime drama, directed by Brian De Palma, is based on Eliot Ness’s 1957 autobiography, and had previously been adapted into a TV series which starred Robert Stack and ran from 1959 to 1963 (and later a less successful series in the early 1990’s). De Palma’s film stars Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness, and it unashamedly plays fast and loose with history. Some characters are entirely invented, while others meet fates which contradict that of their real-life counterparts. But this isn’t a documentary. In the end, it’s all about telling a good story, and De Palma is able to do just that, with the aid of a terrific cast. In addition to Costner, actors Charles Martin Smith and Andy Garcia make for fine additions to the foursome known as the Untouchables. Starring as the eloquent crime lord Al Capone is Robert De Niro, perfectly cast. Even more fun as a villain in this movie than De Niro is Billy Drago as Capone henchman Frank Nitti. The guy looks like he was born to play the role of a mobster. Speaking of Western archetypes, De Palma goes against that formula in the case of Nitti by having him dressed in a white suit and hat, a color normally reserved for heroic figures.

Sincerely, this movie is what it is because of Sean Connery. He takes over every moment of the movie in which he is present, starting with Malone’s lecture to Ness about the first rule of law enforcement: “Make sure when your shift is over you go home alive. Here endeth the lesson.” He may be just a beat cop when Ness first encounters him, but Malone is as wise as anyone to the level of corruption in every level of the city. If the Untouchables are the “good,” and Capone and his men are the “bad,” then Chicago itself as represented here is the “ugly.” In the early 1930’s, the United States was still under the law of Prohibition, which effectively banned the sale, production and consumption of alcohol. As if that was going to stop anyone. All it did was turn regular people into criminals, and ruthless cowards like Al Capone into businessmen. Malone knows all this and, unlike Ness, does not allow himself to be constricted by morals and righteousness in order to do the work that needs to be done. He’ll pretend to interrogate a corpse just to make the man’s still-breathing partner talk.

It cannot be said that “The Untouchables” is entirely Brian De Palma’s film. He didn’t even write the script. It also looks much more polished than his earlier films. Personally, I prefer the gritty look of his late 70’s/early 80’s work. Still, it is the most easily quotable of them all. De Palma is also able to use some of his old tricks, like the extended period of silence, courtesy of a terrific courthouse staircase shootout that owes certain visual cues (like the baby carriage in peril) to the Russian silent film “Battleship Potempkin” (1925). There is no other De Palma movie I have more fun watching, and it’s the only one I can think of that inspires a certain appreciation for a genre that it does not technically represent.

Blow Out (1981)

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz

Conspiracy theories are a tricky subject. People on both sides of the argument are quick to insist that their version of events must be what really happened. Anyone who says anything different must not be paying close enough attention, or is otherwise crazy. This line of thinking goes nowhere. Meanwhile, time ticks away, evidence gathers dust, and anyone who truly knows how to fit all the pieces together succumbs to illness and old age. In the case of a murder conspiracy, you also must ask yourself why the search for the truth is so important. Who will the answer benefit, besides yourself? It certainly won’t matter to the deceased. What about the friends and family they’ve left behind? Would a resolution satisfy them, or would they find it easier to deal with the pain and move on? Once again, these and other questions always seem to have different answers, depending on whom you ask.

The way that Brian De Palma begins “Blow Out,” you’ll wonder just for a moment whether you’re watching the right movie. Everything about the pre-credits sequence seems to point toward a slasher movie but, by the time the naked girl in the shower screams, you know what’s really going on. The rest of “Blow Out” shares more in common with Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow Up” (1966) than just a similar-sounding title. In both movies, the lead character witnesses a murder, or rather he believes he has, and he spends an unhealthy amount of time trying to prove it. Instead of a photographer, Jack Terry (John Travolta) is a sound effects technician for a film studio that makes bad horror movies. One night while recording the sounds of animals, wind and water, Jack picks up the sound of a car blowing out a tire and crashing into the water below, its driver dead. Jack is able to dive in and rescue the woman sitting in the backseat. Her name, he later finds out, is Sally (Nancy Allen). What Jack doesn’t yet know, but is about to find out, is that the dead guy just so happens to be the Governor of Pennsylvania and a potential Presidential candidate.

With Sally’s cooperation, Jack intends to prove that what he saw that night was no car accident, but rather an assassination. All around him are forces intent on keeping a lid on the situation, including the meticulously homicidal Burke (John Lithgow), who throws the press off the scent by leaving a trail of bodies, thus creating the myth of a serial killer. Lithgow is mostly known for his comedic roles now, but he has also played some great villainous roles. His chilling performance here is one of his best. Dennis Franz is also great as the sleazy photographer responsible for this movie’s “Zapruder film.” He was in on the conspiracy for the money, but insists he was told no one was going to get hurt, much less killed. As grotesque a human being as he is, we believe him.

Of the movies which De Palma himself was responsible for writing as well as directing, “Blow Out” represents his most complete effort by far. Showing that he is truly a director who learns by doing, De Palma draws elements from several of his prior films (“Obsession,” “Sisters,” “Carrie,” “The Fury” & “Dressed to Kill”), throwing in Dario Argento’s vivid color scheme and the usual inspirations from Hitchcock (the most prominent being “North by Northwest”) for good measure. The emphasis that the plot places on what is heard in addition to what is seen demands that this film be viewed in high quality stereo surround sound, preferably with the use of headphones. The main theme from Pino Donaggio’s score, a track entitled “Sally and Jack,” may be recognizable to anyone who has seen Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof.” It is also notable for playing with the audience’s emotions. In a world where political candidates are resorting to having their opponents bumped off in order to get elected, there is still room for love at first sight.

Most impressive about “Blow Out,” however, is the ending. It is at this point that I must insist that anyone who deliberately spoils the ending of “Blow Out” should be flogged. It’s not because of some revelation that the entire movie’s plot hinges on but, in order to truly feel the full impact of the final ten minutes, you must come in unprepared. De Palma had come up with satisfying conclusions to his movies before, but they mostly serve only as a stopping point. This is the first time that one of them tells a story that follows both an A and B plotline, fuses the two together and brings the entire movie full circle. Bad word of mouth concerning this ending caused “Blow Out” to suffer at the box office. Proof that the right answer isn’t always going to be the popular one.

Dressed to Kill (1980)

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz

Take Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot redo of “Psycho” from 1998 and kill it with fire. Please don’t do that literally; I just want to emphasize how totally unnecessary its existence is. Brian De Palma’s “Dressed to Kill” is the only ‘remake’ of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic that will ever need be on your radar. I put the word remake in quotations because “Dressed to Kill” is not a remake in the traditional sense. Brian De Palma is not re-telling the story of Marion Crane’s ill-fated stop at the Bates Motel. He has his own threads to weave, but with a familiar enough ring to them that his movie is clearly meant as an homage to “Psycho.”

To say that Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson) is an unsatisfied housewife is understating things a bit. Her husband’s “Wham-Bam Special” leaves her frustrated, to the point of letting her mind wander into a nightmarish fantasy involving her being sexually assaulted by an unknown assailant in the shower! The threat of a visit from her mother on her upcoming birthday leaves her scrambling for excuses to be elsewhere. We know this because she confides these secrets to her psychiatrist, Dr. Elliot (Michael Caine). She also cannot seem to pry her son, Peter (Keith Gordon, looking VERY Harry Potter-ish), away from his school science project long enough to go with her to the museum. These grievances of hers make up the first few minutes of “Dressed to Kill.” By the half-hour mark, Brian De Palma will have played with your emotions several times before finally turning the plot on its head. He has a few more swerves and moments of misdirection left up his sleeve once Liz Blake (Nancy Allen) is introduced, most of which I should have seen coming, but which are still very well done.

When I first sat down to watch “Dressed to Kill” in March of 2012, I went into it completely cold, and without much enthusiasm. Although not my absolute favorite Brian De Palma film, I like it well enough that it just missed being included on my list of all-time favorite films. Part of this is due to how much I adore Nancy Allen and, while “RoboCop” may be my favorite of her movies, Liz Blake is my favorite of all her characters. Dennis Franz is also a hoot as (what else?) a cop with an abrasive personality. There’s a lot of Andy Sipowicz in Detective Marino.

Ultimately, the two things that make “Dressed to Kill” work best are the direction of Brian De Palma, and the music of Pino Donaggio (who also delivered a fine score for “Carrie”). Probably the best example of this is the museum sequence. There’s a good ten minutes that go by without so much as a word of dialogue. Donaggio helps raise the tension as Kate Miller gets caught up in a cat-and-mouse game with a mysterious man, with whom she has flirted. De Palma feeds on this tension, and takes the audience places they may not have anticipated (or, perhaps they will, if they are Hitchcock aficionados). Another great scene involves the director’s split-screen technique. Usually, when characters talk over one another, they are in the same room talking to each other. Not so with the scene where Liz is having two simultaneous phone conversations about a potentially profitable stock market purchase, while at the same time both she and Dr. Elliot have their televisions tuned in to a program featuring a transsexual interviewee who was born male and fathered two children. As Liz’s phone conversation becomes increasingly irrelevant, the TV begins to drown her out. The only thing preventing “Dressed to Kill” from being my favorite Brian De Palma movie is that, like “Psycho,” it doesn’t seem to know when is the right time for it to end. One scene I could do without entirely, and another is something of a cheat. I would elaborate, but that would be telling.

There are many who have accused this movie of portraying the transsexual community in a negative light. Let me explain why this is not so. The killer in this movie is a transsexual, or rather he/she wants to get the surgery necessary to complete that process. However, the person in the aforementioned interview is presented as a perfectly normal individual who is simply living in a world that does not understand her. I see nothing here that suggests defamation of the transsexual community. Instead, I see it as an indictment against the prejudice that prevents some transsexuals from being who they know themselves to be in public. You don’t have to be understanding in order to be accepting of those whose lifestyles do not conform to your own.

The Fury (1978)

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Charles Durning, Amy Irving, Fiona Lewis, Andrew Stevens

Once again, director Brian De Palma gives us a story about a girl with extraordinary mental powers. This time, Amy Irving is not the one trying to help the girl. She IS the girl who can kill you with her thoughts if she’s not careful. “The Fury,” as “Carrie” did before with Piper Laurie, sees the return of an actress from years of retirement (Carrie Snodgress), as well as the debuts of several future stars (Dennis Franz, Daryl Hannah, James Belushi and Laura Innes). Both movies were based on novels (this one by John Farris, who also wrote the screenplay). Also, De Palma once again finds a way to emphasize his status as an Alfred Hitchcock fan, this time through the film’s soundtrack. By some stroke of luck, De Palma was able to obtain the services of John Williams, fresh off the success of “Star Wars,” to compose a score that is quite clearly meant as an homage to “Vertigo.” Any other similarities between the two De Palma films are minute. The plots themselves are quite different. While “Carrie” is a cautionary tale against bullying, “The Fury” is more like an early Marvel Comics movie.

This movie gets a rather large boost from its established stars, Kirk Douglas and John Cassavetes. Douglas’s character, Peter Sandza, is on a personal journey known as the “hero’s quest.” To use Western terminology, he’s the White Hat (or White Hair, thanks to a disguise involving a can of shoe polish). His son, Robin, has the gift of ESP. A person like Robin could be useful to whatever government or organization obtains his services, especially during a time of constant suspicion and fear like the Cold War. This is a fact not lost on Ben Childress (John Cassavetes), a friend of Peter’s. Childress betrays his friend, establishing himself as the Black Hat (dressing in black in all his subsequent scenes), but not before having his left arm rendered useless by a machine gun blast from Peter, who must go into hiding as Childress kidnaps his son. Eleven months pass. A young girl named Gillian Bellaver (Amy Irving) discovers that she, like Robin, is gifted with psychic abilities. But, like Rogue of “X-Men,” she finds much to her horror that harm can come to those whom she touches. Gillian also gradually learns of a psychic connection between herself and Robin. This link is the lead that Peter has been longing for in his efforts to find his son. It all leads to a bittersweet reunion, and a (literally) explosive finale.

Late in his career, much of Kirk Douglas’s roles appear to be those for which he was simply collecting a paycheck, particularly the bloody awful “Saturn 3.” Still, there’s no doubting the man’s status as a legend. Here, I am reminded of Liam Neeson’s hero character from “Taken.” He’s old and grey, but he can still outsmart you, and kill you if need be. There is admittedly a bit of silliness to “The Fury,” and most of it takes place in the extended sequences where Peter is being chased by Childress’s men. There is one section of this that I do like, however, and it comes as Peter jumps into an unmarked police car and enlists the two officers’ aid in evading the hitmen. The driver of the vehicle is, of course, Dennis Franz, who shows up again in a few other De Palma films, to my delight. Amy Irving is splendid as Gillian. Even as her powers continue to grow, Irving’s character is just as confused and in the dark about what’s going on as we are.

Out of everyone, the real treat here is John Cassavetes. Always great at playing shady characters (particularly in “Rosemary’s Baby,” where I first saw him), Cassavetes is full-blown evil in “The Fury,” and he’s simply amazing. As Childress, he works under the pretense of trying to prop up the United States as the only power in the world with an ESPer as its weapon, but I get the impression that he would use Robin, Gillian or whomever else as the means to gain global domination for himself alone. That’s the kind of evil which has no place in this world or any other. It’s the kind of evil that you’ll stand up and cheer for its swift demise. I hate the fact that Cassavetes was taken from us at such an early age (died in 1989 before his 60th birthday). We could still be seeing new work from him to this day, whether from in front of or behind the camera.

As for “The Fury” itself, it’s not De Palma’s best effort, nor is it anywhere close to his worst. I personally would rank it fifth out of the ones I’ve seen. But if you’re looking for a movie you just want to have fun with, and don’t care at all about the illogic of the ESP stuff, “The Fury” should provide a solid two hours of quality entertainment. You might even be able to find a hidden meaning behind the fact that the film’s final shot is repeated from thirteen different angles.

Carrie (1976)

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta, Betty Buckley, P.J. Soles

As part of my review of “The Breakfast Club,” I brought up the social hierarchies of high school and submitted that if everyone recognized that they share similar worries and doubts, our children might be less likely to be burdened by the need to fight for position. That might work in an ideal world, but the problem is that we do not exist in an ideal world. There will always be fragile creatures who, try as they might, have a hard time integrating themselves into the rest of society, their long and difficult road made worse by bullies who are quick to attack what they don’t understand. Occasionally, you get a truly horrific story of a child or children inside whom something snaps. Maybe their parents are just as screwed up as they are, or worse are just as culpable for the cause of their pain as the kids at school. With no one to comfort or relate to them, the only release for their inner turmoil is violence. This is the tragedy of Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), but unlike her real-life modern day counterparts, Carrie does not put dozens of holes in her abusers with a high-powered rifle, for hers is a weapon that is far more dangerous: her mind.

Chances are, you’ve known someone like Carrie in your life. She’s the girl who sits in the back of the classroom and rarely speaks, hoping that by hiding behind her long hair no one will take notice of her. This is the case for some but, for others like Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen), it is all the more reason to taunt Carrie. When Carrie has her first period in the girls’ locker room shower, Chris leads the charge as Carrie is pelted with tampons by her female classmates. Apparently, Carrie had no prior knowledge of the menstrual cycle, and believed herself to be bleeding out. She has her ultra-repressive, religious zealot mother (Piper Laurie) to thank for her ignorance, as well as the other half of her mental abuse. Your mother should be the one you can come home to and seek advice from when the kids at school have been mean. But Margaret White would rather lock her daughter in the closet until she admits that her period is a sin. Although Margaret’s history with Carrie’s father is briefly touched on, I have to wonder at what point this woman went off the deep end, or did she simply start out life as an undiagnosed psychopath?

Despite the fact that the ending is already known to us by the time we first sit down to watch “Carrie,” whether because of Stephen King’s novel, the movie’s promotional material, or the remakes on the big screen, TV or on Broadway, there are characters and situations introduced which give one hope that, somehow, it’ll all turn out differently than we know it will. Sue Snell (Amy Irving), who originally joined in on the tampon incident, later feels the need to make it up to Carrie by having her boyfriend Tommy Ross (William Katt) take Carrie to the Prom. Sadly, it is this very act of kindness that allows the tragedy to unfold. But that’s how you know that “Carrie” is not simply a collection of “stuff happening.” Every action has its cause and effect. The tampon incident leads to detention for Carrie’s tormentors, which leads to Chris’s Prom privileges being revoked and Sue asking Tommy to take Carrie in her place, which leads to the prank with the bucket of pig’s blood devised by Chris and boyfriend Billy Nolan (John Travolta), which leads to Carrie unleashing her fury. Take out just one of these steps, and maybe everyone has a happy ending.

Stephen King’s protagonists often are unfortunate souls cursed with powers that no mortal human should ever have to be burdened with. Carrie White’s supernatural talent is telekinesis, or the ability to move objects with your mind. Unlike Jean Grey of “X-Men”… and unlike the 2013 version of Carrie as played by Chloë Grace Moretz… she does not have to extend her arms in order to make her powers work. When Carrie’s powers explode at the Prom, Sissy Spacek is able to convey this just by looking in the direction of the object she wants to affect with widened eyes. This is also effective in showing how traumatized Carrie is, and in how she has in this moment allowed her powers to completely overtake her.

Brian De Palma’s early films all seem to share a certain style. Many of the more obvious characteristics seem to congregate within the Prom sequence. There is the split-screen technique, which is more effective here than in any other De Palma film in which it appears. Also used here is the extended period without dialogue. De Palma, never afraid to remind us how much he appreciates Alfred Hitchcock, also loves shower scenes. They are never gratuitous, nor are they particularly sexual. No, it seems to me that De Palma’s shower scenes are generally meant to make you feel uncomfortable, particularly the one that comes during the opening credits of “Carrie.” It isn’t just because Carrie is experiencing her period; you also are mindful that this is supposed to be a 17-year old child you’re watching (even though Spacek and the other actresses are all clearly older than that). Also, and I’m not sure whether this was intentional or not, but in this opening scene that sees pretty much the entire young female cast in a state of undress, one of them at least manages to keep her bra and panties on. I bring this little detail up because the casualty list at the film’s climax will include everyone in this scene EXCEPT for that person.

As easy as it would be for me to choose the mayhem at the film’s climax as my favorite part of the movie, I find that there are two other moments that stand out for me, one for its clever use of music and the other for its camerawork. Firstly, there is the detention scene, where the girls are all being forced to workout for a fifty minute period. The very 70’s musical track starts out as fast paced as the exercise, then slows down to a crawl as the girls continue to grow fatigued. I can’t help but chuckle. Secondly, I choose the scene where Tommy and Carrie are dancing at the Prom. An otherwise sweet moment seems almost to spiral out of control as the camera begins to spin around the couple at a very dizzying, somewhat nauseating pace. A brilliant sign of the dark times that lie in wait.

Thanks to all who have been reading and following me up to this point! Your support keeps me highly motivated. When I started this blog back in August, I have to admit I was not prepared for the level of interest it would generate from all over the globe. Now that I am done reviewing all of my favorite films, in what I refer to as “Phase One” of this blog, I am ready to move on to “Phase Two.” This will include themes such as director filmographies, novel adaptations, and the popular topic of “original vs. remake,” which I’ve touched on with a couple of my reviews already.

New to my page is an “A to Z” archive (located at the top of the screen) of all the reviews I’ve done so far, presented as clickable links, as well as titles of forthcoming reviews listed in regular text. Who knows… you might actually see a NEGATIVE review on here for once. First up is a look at selected works of director Brian De Palma. If I skip over any that you think I should review, and the odds are that there will be at least one, post a comment, and I’ll add it to the list of stuff to get to. ANY titles you can think of, no matter the genre, are welcome. I’ve only reviewed one movie from before the year 1970, so I know that has to change before too terribly long.

Writing movie reviews is something I’ve thought about doing for years, largely thanks to my appreciation for the late Roger Ebert. We don’t always agree, particularly where the slasher film is concerned, but I trusted his judgment more than most critics. I would love someday to be doing this for a living, but I’ll settle for blogging on my own time for now. I’m a little behind schedule, otherwise my next review (which I hope to get to either tonight or tomorrow) would have been posted last Friday to coincide with the release of its 2013 remake.