2011 Friday B-Movie Picks

My Friday B-Movie picks from the Blog for 2011

Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Light video game action fun with a good cast. Nice fight scenes and ya, it was cool that Knives uses Butterfly Swords. Romona's giant hammer was cool too.

Pirate Radio
A fun comedy about the off shore Pirate Radio days, back when the United Kingdom ruled the airways and practiced very strick censorship of what played, specifically limiting the amount of Rock and Roll that could played on the BBC. Great cast, clearly having a lot of fun making this movie.

Damn fine soundtrack as well.

Ip Man
This movie about Yip Man, a Wing Chun Master, who was one of Bruce Lee's main instructors in Hong Kong. This movie focuses on his younger days, starting the 1930s and through the Japanese occupation of China. Great fight scenes!

The Eagle Has Landed.
A classic WWII Era thriller with a truly stellar cast. Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Jenny Agutter, and Donald Pleasence all make this film worth watching. Oh did I mention that Jenny Agutter is in it?

A Van Damme classic from 1994. A good SciFi Time Travel adventure with really good fight scenes.

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol
I'm a Doctor Who fan going back to the early 80's when I was watching the Tom Baker episodes on the local Community College public access channel. The new series does Christmas specials every year, and I have to say, IMNSHO, that this is the best Doctor Who Christmas special yet. They set the bar very high with this one.

Tango and Cash
A popcorn worthy action flick in the cop buddy genre from 1989. Sly Stallone and Kurt Russell star as Ray Tango and Gabe Cash. Billed as the two top cops in LA, one works uptown, the other downtown. Bad guy Jack Palance frames them to get them out his hair and in prision where he can then have them killed by all the criminals they put there. Bonus star: Teri Hatcher as Tango's sister Kiki. Double Geek points for having Michael J. Pollard and Clint Howard in the movie.

Ninja Assassin
Not a film you are going to study in film school, but a fun action flick with much, much more than its fair share of blood, gore and violence.

Ya, it's Friday the 13th, but I'm going to skip the obvious horror film selection, and go with this Michael Crichton classic from 1981. Sort of a SciFi suspense/thriller about your average Hollywood plastic surgeon getting caught up the murder of beautiful young actresses/models. It has a good cast, which includes James Coburn, Albert Finney and Susan Dey.

The A-Team
For pure crunchy B-Movie goodness, I'm gonna have to go with this tribute to the 1980's TV series. There were "film critics" who complained that the movie was too fast paced, too loud and was short on plot. Dude! It's the A-Team! It's all about loud and fast. Plot wasn't even in the top five! Fun was right up there with loud and fast though. This wasn't a bloody 'art film' you discussed over expressos. It's a comedic action movie that was true to the original series, right down to the cigars and Ruger Mini-14s! For extra bonus nerd points, how many of you caught the A-Team/Star Trek reference in the movie? The name of Dwight Schultz's character from ST:TNG was briefly flashed on screen during the 3D movie scene.

This close to July 4th, I gotta go with the 1972 film version of the Broadway musical 1776. William Daniels is quite good as John Adams, but it is Howard Da Silva as Benjamin Franklin who steals the show.

Marked for Death
Classic Steven Seagal from 1990. Yup, this flick is now old enought to buy booze. Great martial arts scenes though. Solid 'don't piss off the wrong DEA agent by making it personal' plot line and plenty of gun-fu, but like the other three word title Seagal flicks from that era, it's watching Seagal's rough and tumble, definately not "hearts and flowers", Aikido that makes the flick.

The Perfect Weapon
Yup, it's been 20 years since this martial arts action flick first hit the big screen. As martial arts films go, it's fairly typical. So-so script, typical revenge plot with a prodigal son twist thrown in for flavor, and a cast of regulars in the genre. This was supposed to be the big break film for American Kenpo master Jeff Speakman. Didn't quite turn out that way, but the karate scenes are good and the rest of the cast (which includes Mako and Professor Tanaka), make worth the rental, if you can find it.

Just Go With It.
Ya, it's a romcom, but it is an Adam Sandler romcom. So expect some low brow, but damn funny humor. While swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker provides most of the eye candy in the film, Jennifer Aniston manages to slip in one bikini scene, which she handles quite well. That scene also leads to one of many great lines in the movie, "She takes spinning classes like they're M&M's." Aniston holds her own with Sandler on the comedy as well. While she was hired as a pretty face on Friends, ten seasons of a TV sitcom show did give here plenty of time to hone her comedic acting skills. If you are looking for an off-beat romcom, complete with sheep CPR, check it out.

This nerd fest of a film is a big sloppy wet kiss, with tongue, to Steven Spielberg. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost wrote the screenplay and star as a pair of British SciFi fans who make the pilgrimage to Comic Con in San Diego. Then they start on a road trip to obsure SciFi and UFO sites, including the spot where the ST:TOS episode Arena was filmed in order to act out the battle between Kirk and the Gorn. Then they run into the title character. A Gray, who is colored green in the film ("Little Green Men" reference). From there it, the film becomes a drinking game as you spot every single SciFi reference slid into nearly every scene.
Oh ya, of course this film, like every episode of The Middleman, has a Wilhelm Scream.

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen
Donny Yen, son of Boston Kung Fu Master Bow Sim Mark, and start of the Yip Man films, stars in this excellent martial arts flick. He plays Chen Zhen, Bruce Lee's character from The Chinese Connection. After seeing the horrors of war in WWI France, Chen returns to Shenghai to continue his battle against the Japanese. The action is excellent, and the acting quite good. As Joe-Bob would say, check it out!

Near Dark and Dog Soldiers
It's almost Halloween, so today we have a double header of Vampires and Werewolves. The first is a low buget classic from 1987. A group of vampires roaming Oklahoma those recent yet far away days before ubiquitous cell phones, multiple 24/7 news channels and new media news back channels. There is plenty of blood and mayhem to go around in this dark and violent vampire flick that never uses the word "vampire." Dog Soldiers was made fifteen years later, but has a lot of the same noir grittiness. A small group of British soldiers are dropped into the remote countryside for some "routine" training. Add a group of werewolves that "just happen to be in the area", and you have a nice flick to get you in the mood for Holloween.

Yup, it's almost Halloween, so we're going with the classics:

Young Frankenstein
The Mummy
An American Werewolf in London
Innocent Blood

Black Belt Jones
Another martial arts classic staring Jim Kelly. Coming at you straight from 1974, this "kung fu" flick also falls squarely in the blaxploitation sub-genre as well. This is mid-70s low budget drive-in theater fodder in all its glory. Jim Kelly delivers the martial arts goods, and manages to carry this flick with some decent acting chops as well.

Genesis II
Dipping into the mid-70s well again, we find this 1973 SciFi flick by none other than Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Set post-apocalyptic where humankind nuked the crap out of the planet, and people are digging out, rebuilding, and empire building. Mariette Hartley provides some nice eye candy, and ya, Roddenberry gets a bit preachy. No surprise there.

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