Friday, November 17, 2017

WHAT AM I WATCHING THIS WEEK? - Edition 10: 11/17

This week's streaming selections on Amazon Prime should be very familiar. They all come from the year 1993 and are nowhere to be found on Netflix. Movie lovers rejoice, because there are options out there for your needs. This week, we have the final installment of a well-known trilogy, a Stephen King adaptation and a sci-fi film that is based on alleged actual events.


RoboCop 3 - The third and final installment of the RoboCop trilogy. Robert John Burke steps in for Peter Weller, and the difference is really night and day. Where Weller brought some humanity to everyone's favorite crime-fighting cyborg, Burke is much more robotic. The OCP corporation gets much more evil in its machinations here, with Rip Torn now standing in as CEO. They're losing money, see; so now it's time to pull no punches, as they attempt to forcefully remove citizens from their homes so that they can bulldoze inner-city neighborhoods and create Delta City. Circumstances see RoboCop joining forces with an underground resistance to take on OCP and their brutal enforcers. There is also time to throw in robot samurai warrior into the whole shebang. Much maligned by critic and fans alike, RoboCop 3 isn't all bad, but it certainly brought the trilogy to an unsatisfactory end.


The Dark Half - The late, great zombie genre master George Romero directed this big-screen adaptation of the Stephen King novel. The story concerns a writer, Thad Beaumont (played by Timothy Hutton), who decides to figuratively "bury" his alternate pen name "George Stark". It turns out, however, that it's not as easy as it sounds, as "Stark" is fully alive and murdering anyone that participated in the "burial". Of course, suspicion falls on Thad and he attempts to clear his name while simultaneously dealing with "Stark". The film attempts to explain how the alternate identity came to be but that is the biggest issue with this movie: it fails to really, convincingly explain anything. Hutton's performance as "George Stark" is great, however. Stephen King film completists, this is the movie for you. For everyone else, proceed with caution.


Fire in the Sky - Based on an alleged alien encounter, as detailed in the book The Walton Experience by Travis Walton, played in the film by D.B. Sweeney. Six loggers witness a UFO sighting while working in the forest of Snowflake, AZ. Walton gets out to investigate and disappears, leaving his comrades to get their stories straight for the authorities, who are led by James Garner. There is suspicion, of course, that the one or more of the guys killed Walton and are concocting the UFO story to cover up. However, when Travis suddenly returns, things get even stranger. The movie is mostly concerned with crew leader Mike Rogers (played by Robert Patrick) and the lives of his crew after the fact. Near the end of the film, Travis has a flashback to his time on the alien ship, which is the best part of the film. The set design and special effects here are the highlight. The film takes the side of "yes, there are aliens" rather than remain impartial, so believability is up to the viewer. As a stand alone film, this is a solid entry in the sci-fi realm.




Friday, November 10, 2017

WHAT AM I WATCHING THIS WEEK? - Edition 9: 11/10

Amazon Prime's streaming service has a ton of variety, which is just what you want when you're looking for a movie to watch. This week's selections are ample proof of that. We journey back to the year 1977 for a trio of films that include a King Kong knock-off, Shaw Brothers style; an early Anthony Hopkins film about reincarnation that polarized critics upon release; and a 1970s "animals gone mad" cult classic that pits Leslie Neilsen against a grizzly! Why struggle with the weak selection on Netflix when you can jump on Amazon Prime and have selection up the wazoo?



The Mighty Peking Man - aka Goliathon (for its US release). From the famed Shaw Brothers studio, known for their martial arts productions, comes this story that was clearly developed to take advantage of the hype surrounding the 1976 remake of King Kong. An expedition sets forth to the Himalayas to find the Peking Man, or a ginormous ape. Along the way, we meet a beautiful blonde jungle girl named Samantha who can communicate with the big lug. There are definitely plenty of funny moments in this film, as you can't help but not take it seriously. Eventually, the story moves from the jungle to Hong Kong, where the similarities to King Kong get even more blatant. The movie is terribly goofy and silly and the mileage you get out of it may vary depending on your own level of entertainment expectations. Note: There is a tremendously hilarious slow-mo romantic interlude (replete with a 70s-style love song) at the 35-minute mark that needs to be appreciated.


Audrey Rose - Based on the novel of the same name by Frank De Felitta, the plot deals with a young girl who is believed by a man to be the reincarnation of his dead daughter. Anthony Hopkins stars as Elliot Hoover, the father of Audrey Rose, whose sole he believes to be inside the young Ivy (Susan Swift). Marsha Mason and John Beck star as Ivy's parents, who have trouble coming to believe Elliot's story. The movie is more drama than horror, but there are a few terrifying moments, as we watch Ivy go through much conflict which may or may not be the pull of Audrey Rose's soul. However, there are many more moments of boredom as everything boils down to a courtroom drama. Not really for fans of the horror genre. It contains quite a bit of discussion about the idea of reincarnation, so it may appeal to those who have an interest in the metaphysical.


Day of the Animals - Earth's ozone layer has depleted, allowing dangerous UV rays to turn every mountain animal into batshit insane predators! This is the concept behind this 1977 sci-fi/horror starring Leslie Nielsen and the husband/wife duo of Christopher and Lynda Day George. A group of innocent humans are taking part in a hiking tour in the mountains, unaware of the change in every animal over 5,000 feet above sea level. Nielsen is a bastard in this film, a change of pace from his usual comedic roles. One of the movie's highlights is Nielsen going toe-to-toe with a grizzly! This saw it's release during the post-Jaws killer-animal mania of the late 1970s and tends to be overlooked for more outrageous fare like Grizzly and Orca. It's a movie with an environmental message, but it's also fun. The stuff that 70s cult movies are made of.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

GO HOME IN A BOX: EPISODE 27 - "THE HUDSON HORROR SHOW"

On this very special edition of Go Home in a Box, your hosts Chris Jordan and Joel La Puma talk to the founding father of one of the east coast's foremost film festival. Chris Alo of the Hudson Horror Show joins the guys to talk about the day-long festivities that take place on December 16th at the Empire South Hills 8 in Poughkeepsie, NY. They will have screenings of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Blacula, Savage Streets, The Boogens and Prison (as well as a mystery movie), all in the form that they were always intended them to be screened: 35mm! Chris, Joel and Chris will also be discussing each film lined up. But first, Chris & Joel get into the week's new retro releases on blu-ray/dvd (11/7 release date) with such high cinema as Darkman II and III.

It's a great show, so check out why Go Home in a Box should be your podcast source for genre film discussion.

A downloadable version of the show can be found here

Go Home in a Box is also available on iTunes and Google Play under the Place to Be Nation POP network of podcasts.

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