(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week’s column is going to the dogs.)
This weekend’s theatrical offerings include two heavy hitting sequels in the form of John Wick: Chapter 3 and A Dog’s Journey. The two don’t share much in common plot-wise, but both feature scenes of dogs viciously attacking gun-toting baddies. Probably. I haven’t actually seen A Dog’s Journey, but I am pretty darn good at making educated guesses.
Dog attacks are a common enough occurrence in both real life and cinema, but there really aren’t that many films making the dogs, the attacks, and the threat of attack the key focus of the movie. When you think “dog attack” flicks you most likely land on one of the big dogs of the subgenre – the foolish dogs who dare stand against Joe Don Baker in The Pack (1977), the racist mutt in White Dog (1982), the pitiable canine in Cujo (1983), or the Terminator-like pooch in Man’s Best Friend (1993). These are all solid movies, but they’re not the only ones to find terror at the wrong end of our four-legged friends.
Keep reading for a look at the best killer dog movies you’ve probably never seen!
Read More »
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. This week’s descent sees us enter the unexpectedly light on fire sequel to 1991’s Ron Howard hit, Backdraft.)
Ron Howard is often viewed as something of a journeyman director making crowd-pleasers across genres, but while his filmography certainly supports the idea, I’d argue he’s also delivered more than a few legit great films. Rush (2013) was his last high-point, but his strongest run among his twenty-six features is a creative cluster that started with Parenthood (1989) and ended seven years later with Ransom (1996).
Nestled amid those six movies sits Backdraft (1991), and while it has some cheesy bits, it delivers where it counts with thrills, emotion, a stellar cast, and Kurt Russell’s intensely quivering cheek. It’s been twenty-eight years since that drama involving firefighters, arsonists, and political shenanigans, though, and if you’re like me you’ve probably been wondering where the story goes next. Right?!
Well, today’s your lucky day friends, as Backdraft 2 is new to DVD this month.
Read More »
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we get a little gross.)
Bodily fluids. Mention the term to someone and you’ll get a variety of responses as their thoughts move between the biological and the sexual, but the shared reaction on all of their faces will most likely be a slight cringe. Bodily fluids. It’s gross! And that’s precisely why movies will occasionally go overboard with a bodily fluid visual as it’s guaranteed to earn a reaction.
Think the blood in Dead Alive (1992), the vomit in The Meaning of Life (1983), the – stuff – in Happiness (1998), or the sweat in Airplane! (1980), and you’ll see what I’m talking about. But what happens when you’ve already seen these movies and are still craving more of the on-screen bodily fluids? Well lucky for you this week’s column is here to plug that hole.
So with an apology in advance for what you’re about to endure, please keep reading for a look at the best movies you’ve never seen featuring bonkers bodily fluid scenes! (Seriously, there’s some pretty gross stuff below and this is your final warning.)
Read More »
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition, we see if Scott Adkins can follow in the spin-kicking footsteps of Jean-Claude Van Damme.)
Depending on your affinity for the action genre, the name Jean-Claude Van Damme might mean different things to you. For some he’s an action star, for some he’s a has-been, and for others the news that he’s still alive and kicking might come as a complete surprise. From his first big role (as a villain) in the ridiculous and highly entertaining No Retreat, No Surrender (1986) through a slew action gems casting him as the hero on into the 90s, Van Damme was a big deal for action fans. Sure the quality of his films tapered off, but for a while there he was a Belgian god. One of his best is his collaboration with John Woo for 1993’s Hard Target, and for fans who like their action mixed with healthy dollops of absurdity it remains a classic. Seriously, if you haven’t watched it in a few years (or at all) you owe it to yourself to give it a spin.
Scott Adkins is one of modern action cinema’s most exciting and talented stars, and in 2016 he starred in a direct-to-video sequel to that Van Damme hit. Does it do the original justice? Is it anywhere near as thrilling or crazy? Are there any doves?! Let’s find out together, shall we? Keep reading for a look at the DTV sequel to Hard Target.
Read More »
Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to Seeing Double, a series where two strangely similar films released around the same time are put head-to-head. This time, we rev our engines and hit the asphalt with movies about high-speed, fun-filled car races across America.)
If someone mentions having seen a movie about a wild and highly illegal cross-country car race you’d most likely think they were referring to 1981’s The Cannonball Run. It’s understandable as the Hal Needham-directed hit is popular, filled with A and B-list celebrities, and even received a sequel, but it’s neither the first nor the best to tackle this very real race in the form of a comedic action flick. (And no, they’re definitely not referring to 1989’s Speed Zone. No one ever refers to that movie.)
Two movies were released in 1976 and opened a mere three weeks apart, and both put an eclectic group of characters behind the wheel for a coast to coast race where only the fastest can be crowned the winner. Big stunts, eccentric characters, and a massive disrespect for the law are the order of the day in both films, but which movie wins the race? Ready, set…go!
Read More »
Posted on Thursday, April 18th, 2019 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we focus on a director who made nearly forty films over forty years but is best known for only four of them.)
Most filmmakers would be thrilled to have even a single movie resonate with audiences to the point of becoming entrenched in pop culture, but Shanghai-born Englishman Terence Young can claim four such films to his name. Sure three of them belong to the James Bond franchise, but Young is far from being some Johnny-come-lately there as he directed three of the very first entries – Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), and Thunderball (1965). He also directed the equally acclaimed and well-respected Wait Until Dark (1967) which remains one hell of an intense and suspenseful thriller.
That’s just ten percent of his output, though, so what about the other thirty-five films? We know they’re not nearly as well regarded, but are they any good? Happily, the answer for some of them at least is yes with an even smaller number reaching the level of pretty great. Keep reading for a look at the best movies of Young’s filmography that don’t feature James Bond or a blind woman terrorized by Alan Arkin… and that you’ve probably never seen.
Read More »
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition, we take a look at a killer who can’t be seen. Because he’s sneaky. And invisible.)
Universal’s The Invisible Man (1933) remains a classic, but unlike the other “monsters” in the studio’s collection, the poor guy never got an official attempt at a reboot. (A new one was finally announced earlier this year from director Leigh Whannell, though.) We instead got variations on the theme with films like The Invisible Kid (1988), Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), and The Erotic Misadventures of the Invisible Man (2003).
One that comes close to the original’s murderous mad scientist formula is The Invisible Maniac (1990), but that’s more of a low-rent T&A “comedy” than a serious thriller. By contrast, 2000’s Hollow Man is a high-rent slasher with a mean streak. It was a box-office hit too, and while its director is no longer a fan, someone somewhere felt there was enough interest to warrant a sequel.
Keep reading for a look at the direct to video sequel… Hollow Man II.
Read More »
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we get a bit devilish and go looking for great movies starring Satan or his imps.)
Satan. Beelzebub. Lucifer. Ol’ Scratch. Big Red. Old Horny.
The name might change along with the look, but the one constant in Satan’s numerous onscreen appearances is that he’s something of a jerk. He’s always spreading evil, stealing souls, and being a general pain in the rear end for no reason beyond a simple desire to cause suffering. The devil is a fairly frequent visitor to the silver screen, and he’s unbound by genre, gender, or general guidelines – because he’s the devil.
Tim Curry’s devil (Legend, 1985) is big and imposing, Robert De Niro’s (Angel Heart, 1987) is mysterious and fond of eggs, Elizabeth Hurley’s (Bedazzled, 2000) is playfully wicked, John Carpenter’s (Prince of Darkness, 1987) is a mathematically inclined jar of swirling goo, Bill Cosby’s (The Devil and Max Devlin, 1981) is currently serving three to ten in a Pennsylvania State Correctional Facility – the list of memorable appearances by the devil is legion. But what about the lesser known ones? The onscreen devils that haven’t passed over from hell into the undying hellscape that is pop culture?
Keep reading for a look at some of the best movies you haven’t seen starring the devil… or reasonable facsimiles thereof.
Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2019 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition, we hit the road with troublemaking youths and a murderous trucker named Rusty Nails.)
If you didn’t know it previously or intuitively, horror movies are the ones most likely to see a direct to video follow-up in the years following a successful theatrical release. Sometimes, though, we get sequels to movies that bombed but later found a cult following – witness the abomination that is The Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting – and that’s kind of where we’re landing with this week’s DTV Descent entry.
I say “kind of” because 2001’s Joy Ride failed to find profit in theaters having earned back just a little more than its budget. It found its legs – wheels? – on home video and cable, and it’s there where 20th Century Fox’s Home Entertainment division saw dollar signs. Eventually. Seven years after the original’s release, a DTV sequel hit shelves, and six years after that a third film rolled onto home video. At this rate we should expect a Joy Ride 4 to be announced by the end of 2019.
Keep reading as we take a look at the two punnily titled DTV sequels to Joy Ride to see if they’re worth the road trip to your local video store.
Read More »
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we head into the night for films that start near dusk and end before dawn.)
Movies that take both characters and viewers on a short journey through a single night aren’t exactly rare. Numerous horror films employ the time crunch as an easy way of focusing and ramping up the intensity – imagine John Carpenter‘s Halloween (1978) spread over a full week and you’ll see why a single night of terror is far more terrifying. Carpenter also used it to increase suspense in films like Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and Escape from New York (1981), while other action/thrillers followed suit including The Warriors (1979), Judgment Night (1993), Collateral (2004), Attack the Block (2011), and more.
Comedies have played the overnight game too, with films as diverse as Superbad (2007), Go (1999), Clue (1985), Dazed and Confused (1993), and Adventures in Babysitting (1987). Hell, the entirety of The Purge franchise is built on the concept. There are so many examples that it’s difficult to pick the best of the bunch.
Ha! Just kidding, the best film set across a single night is Martin Scorsese‘s After Hours (1985), with a short list of runners up that includes 25th Hour (2002), American Graffiti (1973), Die Hard (1988), and Carpenter’s aforementioned 1976 classic. But you’ve seen all of those, so what do you say we find some new journeys into the darkness?
Keep reading for a look at great but lesser known movies set over a single night that you’ve probably never seen.
Read More »