Friday B-Movie Picks 2014

My Friday B-Movie picks from the Blog

The Wolverine
This Marvel Comic based movie didn't get the best reviews. It worked for me, but then I was really into comics back when Wolverine was first Uber-Popular with the fan base. So I knew all the backstory they tried to cram into this movie. It was a good action movie with nice fight scenes. The "ghost of Jean Grey" that the writers stuck in in order to give Logan more of tortured back story was a trifle over done in my NSHO. Bottom line, this is a Marvel Fan-Person movie. If you aren't you can give this a pass. If you are, and are willing to put up with the backstory butchering these films are infamous for, fire up the popcorn.

Sands of Oblivion
From 2007 comes this SciFi original movie in all its B-Movie crunchy goodness. It was spectacular in all of its low budget glory. The real draw to this was the cast. It had Morena Baccarin and Adam Baldwin, who worked together in Firefly and Serenity. Baccarin played her role pretty straight, while Baldwin was a bit over the top, which is what his role needed. It also had an 82 year old George Kennedy, who was pretty damn good. What you would expect from him, even for a role to get him out of the house for a couple of days. The other cool bit of casting was Dan Castellaneta hamming it up as Cecil B. DeMille. Which brings us to the plot of this thriller. The plot hook is that DeMille used actual Egyptian artifacts he picked up in his travels in his film "The Ten Commandments." One of these released an ancient 'Evil' loose to roam his California desert location, killing stage hands and committing other mayhem. DeMille and his Freemason buddies manage to capture the "Left Hand if Seti" and bury him, along with all the other sets and props beneath the sands of the California desert. Fast forward to the early 21st Century and we find a youthful Doctor of Archaeology, played by Morena Baccarin, engaged in digging up DeMille's old sets before some public works project destroys them. Stir in Adam Baldwin as her almost ex-husband, also a Doctor of Archaeology, and an expert on ancient Egypt. Add a young hero type (who they go to great lengths to mention having served in the First Infantry Division in Iraq), some young co-eds, and some low budget special effects, and you have a fine example of B-Movie making at its finest! Oh don't forget to throw in the Dune Buggy race and gratuitous shotgun-fu for flavor.

Bullet to the Head
Sylvester Stallone may be in his mid sixties, but he can still pay a convincing bad ass. He plays a career criminal who has worked his way up to professional assassin. The story starts with his latest employer deciding to kill him and his partner rather than pay them. His partner was killed and that really pissed him off. He ends up teaming up with an out of town cop investigating his ex-partner murder. Ok, the cop knows that Stallone character killed him, but he wants the man who paid him. Excellent fight scenes and the acting was pretty decent as well. Christian Slater as the other name actor, and is does a good job playing a crooked lawyer. The other actor I recognized was the big barbarian guy from Star Gate: Atlantis. He was delightfully bad ass himself as a mercenary working for the chief evil bad guy. In all it was a fun action flick. Well worth the rental and popcorn.

Logan's Run
We have to travel back to 1976 for this SciFi flick staring Michael York and Jenny Agutter. Based on the much better book, it tells the story of a Post-apocalyptic society where people are limited to 30 years of life (21 in the much harsher book). Logan is a "Sandman", a government official who hunts down and kills people who want to live longer than the government allows. Excellent special effects for when it was made, and it has Jenny Agutter.

American Hustle
This flick takes you back to the heady days of Disco, complete with the obligatory Studio 54 scene. It is based on an actual historic advent called "Abscam." For those of you who were not alive in the 1970's, Abscam resulted in a bunch of democrat congressmen and other democrat politicians getting arrested on corruption charges. So things really haven't changed much. This a well crafted movie, so play attention to the details, like the political party of the corrupt politicians never getting mentioned. You will have to watch in in High Def, so you can fully appreciate the carefully crafted difference between the con man's comb over and the federal agent's perm induced curls. It points out that the con man was more honest than the government officials. You'll also want the high def view of Amy Adams' breasts. Seriously, she wears those outfits with the neckline down to her waist for a reason. She's a con artist too, and wants the mark's attention anywhere except what she is saying. Those tits are certainly playing a bigger role than they did in a previous B-Movie pick, "The Wedding Date."

Films of Fury
A fun trip down memory lane for martial arts film fans. The animated narrator is a video store clerk with an extensive knowledge of martial arts films. Sounds familiar? He sorta looks like Quentin too. He touches on many of the classics, including several previous B-Movie picks Heroes of the East, My Young Auntie and Lone Wolf McQuade. Some gun-fu classics are mentioned, mostly by director John Woo, which is an often neglicted sub-genere. He does go into some of the modern American films by Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal, but leaves out any reference to Van Damme. Fire up the popcorn and check it out! See what films you think are missing, and make a list of the ones you now have to see.

1776 and An American Carol
It's an Independence Day double header. I'm going once again go with the 1972 film version of the Broadway musical 1776. Based on the Broadway play, it tells the tale of getting the resolution on Independence passed through the Continental CongressĀ in the summer of 1776. William Daniels is quite good as John Adams, but it is Howard Da Silva as Benjamin Franklin who steals the show. The second film was the 4th of July weekend pick for 2009. It is the story of Crocumentary filmmaker Michael Malone (name slightly changed so you will be sure which fat communist bastard it is supposed to be), who wants to ban the "4th of July" and is visited by the Ghost of John F. Kennedy, who tells that he will be visited by three spirits. Very funny, and a great cast, and of course the ghost of General Patton slaps the fat bastard!

The Octagon
Going way, way, back to 1980 for this Chuck Norris classic. In this movie, he takes on his brother, played by Tadashi Yamshita (OK, one of them was clearly adopted), who went over to the "Dark Side" and set up a Ninja training camp for mercenaries. Norris, who is busy training for his next big fight, doesn't want to get involved, but does anyway. Many the Ninja fall to his deadly, Ninjia killing inside crescent kicks. Of course there is the big brother on brother fight to the death, and plenty of gun fu as well.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
This is a film fan movie. Wonderful cast, and tight writing that just cranks the dry humor to eleven and keep it there. I nearly fell off the couch laughing several times during this movie. Most of the movie is set in the 1930s and is the story of concierge of a famous Alpine hotel and his protege. The acting was wonderful, given the cast (Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Geff Goldbulm, Jude Law, Edward Norton, and more) this is not surprising. The film was also carefully crafted, nailing you with the next joke before you had a chance to recover from that last one.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Ten years ago, this Diesel Punk classic hit the big screen with enough CGI to choke server rooms worth of servers. Most of the cast did all their work against green screens that later became the amazing background of the film that never existed outside the digital realm. Damn fine cast as well, Jude Law as the title character, Sky Captain, the leader of a group of lawful good mercenaries. Gyneth Paltrow as his on and off again girl friend and intrepid girl reporter. Angelina Jolie as the frost British air ace and the other woman in Sky Captain's life. This film is all about the larger than life aspect. From the giant flying robots to the Royal Air Corp helicarriers. Oh ya, there are dinosaurs too. Great film to escape and enjoy good old fashioned pulp adventure. Fire up the popcorn and enjoy!

It's Halloween, so let's keep with tradition here.

Young Frankenstein
The Mummy
An American Werewolf in London
Innocent Blood

Bonus for this year, Ghostbusters!

Let's not forget Near Dark and Dog Soldiers, picks from October 2011, for a double header of vampires and werewolves.

Die Hard
One this Boxing Day, I'm going with a traditional Christmas move. It takes place during a Christmas office party, the hero came to LA to visit his wife for Christmas, there are Christmas decorations all over the place. It's a staple of the holiday season!

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