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Posts from — May 2010

Classic Coburn Comedy – THE PRESIDENT’S ANALYST

THE PRESIDENT’S ANALYST is a worthy relic from an era when computers filled up entire rooms.

Writer/Director Theodore J. Flicker’s 1967 satire of cold-war politics is criminally neglected, showcasing the singular talents of the late, great James Coburn, who shines in the role of Dr. Sidney Schaefer, a brilliant analyst and head-shrink to the stars. So brilliant in fact is Dr. Schaeffer that he’s offered the coveted position of president’s analyst. He accepts the dream job only to find he’s in WAY over his head – as sole possessor of all of the president’s dirt, several countries will stop at nothing to extract it from the poor doctor. While scrambling for his life he comes across, and is aided by, some of the greatest mix of characters ever displayed in a satire or parody. It’s a futuristic (at the time) world of high espionage, governmental back-stabbings, and groovy 60’s psychedelica – with one rule above all: never trust the phone company. And I do mean never.

May 31, 2010   No Comments

R.I.P. Dennis Hopper: May 17th, 1936 – May 29th, 2010

First Ronnie James Dio, then Gary Coleman, and for the last of the “it happens in three”… Dennis Hopper. May God smile on you and your glorious acting career. Should this triumvirate arrive at the pearly gates at the same time, who goes to the front of the line? I’m betting on D.H.

We honestly had no idea where Sicilians came from before this memorable scene from the definitely-worth-another-viewing movie, True Romance:

And make sure to re-read our review of another of the many memorable Dennis Hopper performances, in Space Truckers.

May 29, 2010   3 Comments

Good Horror Farce – FUNNY MAN

FUNNY MAN is a modern take on Punch and Judy, minus the Judy but heavy on the Punch.

Simon Sprackling’s 1994 horror comedy is an unusual beast, a notch or two below the classics of the genre but worthy of a viewing if you like cult horror-comedies. The thing that truly separates it from the pack is its intense contempt for its characters, who are executed, tortured, ogled and mocked with a degree of flippancy which borders on the pathological. The movie’s nasty streak is wide and inviting, as the titular Freddy Krueger-esque villain (or is it hero?) quips and drops one-liners before dispatching these slightly imperfect but otherwise innocent beings. I mean, clearly the dad is a scumbag – a record executive with a cocaine habit (which provides one of the most memorable set pieces of the film) – but what did his kids do to deserve such punishment? Funny Man doesn’t care! He preens and postures and directly addresses the audience as if we’re asking him to play the psychopathic jester on our behalves (which we are: how meta-textual!). Full of WTF moments, like Thelma from Scooby Doo popping in, or Funny Man turning himself into a buxom stripper, or Christopher Lee appearing every once in awhile to comment on it all (harking back to his Hammer omnibus days), it all feels like Monty Python on bad acid – you know, fun!

May 28, 2010   No Comments

Great Zombie Flick – CEMETERY MAN

CEMETERY MAN is the last in the holy trinity of the zombie new wave (alongside Evil Dead 2 and Dead Alive).

Also known as Dellamorte Dellamore, this 1994 Italian production directed by Dario Argento protegee Michele Soavi, is an existential delight, a horror film which embraces the Pirandellian tradition – wherein suffering characters are hyper-aware of themselves as just that – characters. Rupert Everett turns in a Bruce Campbell-caliber performance as Francesco Dellamorte, a lonely graveyard attendant (whom everyone calls “architect” for some reason) who discovers that the dead in his graveyard rise 7 days after being buried (an homage to 1958’s I Bury the Living perhaps?). The town’s bureaucracy can’t help him, so he finds himself having to “re-kill” the dead with the help of his trusted assistant, Gnaghi – an Addams’ Family reject. But soon the lines between the dead and the living become blurred, as does Dellamorte’s sanity. The subplot involving the beautiful Anna Falchi as a mystery woman who appears as several different characters (both dead and living) brings to mind Luis Bunuel and further enhances the surreal overtones. Add to that a mind-blowing ending and what you have is a lowbrow zombie flick treading some seriously highbrow water. Plus it’s got tons of nudity! There’s been a long rumored sequel/remake in the works, based on the same source material- the Italian Dylan Dog comic. But it’s doubtful it’ll be as good as this genre classic.

May 26, 2010   No Comments

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