Category: Movies

VHS Verdict: ‘Vibes’ Starring Jeff Goldblum & Cyndi Lauper Is a Forgotten Gem!!

I do tons of hunting around town here in Portland Oregon and beyond for awesome VHS tapes for my own viewing pleasure and also for my shop Hollywood Babylon. The fun is always running across cool movies, often times I never even knew existed. This is most definitely the case when I ran across a VHS copy of ‘VIBES’ from 1988 starring Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum!? Yeah, at least for me this was a surprise as I’d never even heard of this one before and the unlikely pairing of Goldblum as “Nick” & 80’s pop icon Lauper as “Sylvia” kinda blew my mind. At first I thought it was simply an 80’s rom com, but upon reading the synopsis on the back I was even more excited to find that Vibes is actually a supernatural adventure flick with light elements of Indiana Jones sprinkled about it’s odd colorful plot.

Talk about a movie that sounds right up my alley? Vibes was indeed a ton of fun and it’s two unlikely leads make it a full on trip down 80’s nostalgia lane. Both Lauper and Goldblum play quirky down on their luck psychics who are hired to head off to Ecuador to find the missing son of a mysterious wealthy fortune hunter. Both seem reluctant to work together even though Sylvia who’s major bad luck with men, seems immediately enamored with Nick who’s character is as over the top Godlbum-esque here as they come. Both use their unique powers to piece together the mystery they become entrenched in, Sylvia speaks with a dead woman named Louise and Nick can see the psychic history of objects from merely by touching them.

Once the two leave the city they quickly realize there’s a supernatural element at play and their employer hasn’t been entirely honest about why they’ve been hired for the job. It’s a total pleasure to see the two leads playing off each other and it’s quite obvious from the get go it’s gonna be physically impossible for Golblum to resist the cute as a button Lauper. Cyndi shines here with her extra thick New York accent and most of all it’s the unlikely pairing of these two icons that really make this one such a treat.

The back of the VHS boasts something of a special fx extravaganza from one of the dudes from Ghostbusters which was sadly a bit misleading. There are a few neat scenes of 80’s fx at play here but ultimately the supernatural spectacle here wasn’t nearly as impressive as I’d hoped for. A few more scenes of paranormal mayhem would have made this one a full on lost 80’s classic. It does have some great sets though and the Ecuador back drop gives this a bit of a Romancing the Stone vibes at times although with less physical adventure actually going on. There’s a great dance sequence between the two as well that’s pretty darn cute as well. The main reason to seek this out is the two leads, it’s an interesting pairing and filled with a ton of fun moments despite it being a full on bonafide box office flop. One of the best parts of the movie is the closing credits song by Cyndi Lauper called “Hole In My Heart” which is one of her best and adds to the pure nostalgia of this little forgotten gem of an 80’s movie. 

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STAR WARS: Episode IX – How to Please ALL the Fans One Last Time!

I’ve been re-watching the original Star Wars trilogy lately (along with the prequels which are still pretty damn hard to sit through) and been thinking a lot about the latest trilogy’s aggressive backlash since ‘The Last Jedi’. It’s clearly evident there’s something that the originals had that these new movies are missing the boat on. Those first three films had a serious feeling of camaraderie along with strong totally relatable bonds between it’s diverse cast of characters, something that the latest movies seem to be struggling quite a bit with. I like the new cast but they really haven’t been given the screen time they deserve to fully develop into the tight knit unit that the original crew became so iconic as.

Let’s face it, the gang in the original had a certain chemistry among them that for some odd reason has been incredibly hard for ‘Disney’ Star Wars to replicate. In the late 70’s & 80s films were paced quite a bit differently as well and characters were given more actual story & screen time to be fleshed out, making their friendships all the more believable. We definitely got some tender moments in The Force Awakens between Finn, Rey, Poe, Leia & Han but it felt like ‘The Last Jedi’ just wasn’t able capture much real emotion amongst it’s large cast. Finn & Rose felt pretty forced, Rey and Luke lacked any chemistry, while Holdo and Leia really weren’t given the time together for their relationship to mean much of anything to the audience. Most of the main three new characters barely spent much time onscreen together at all. Think for a second about the way Luke, Han, Leia, Chewy, C3PO & R2 all felt together on an adventure onscreen, their friendships were a wonder to behold. They were all like family, I often compare them to the main characters in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. You really feel something genuine for them all that really warms the heart.

Well now we’ve got one LAST movie left of the “Skywalker saga”, Episode 9 has got a lot riding on it’s back since the huge division amongst rabid Star Wars fans. It’s got to unite all fans again and there’s really an easy way to do exactly that, however it seems for some reason Disney just can’t wrap their heads around exactly what will please both new & old fans alike. To me it’s obvious, first off avoid making this last installment a copy of ‘Return of the Jedi’. Devise a bit more of an original story, because as much as Rian Johnson thinks his movie was divisive because it was “so different than any of the previous movies” in actuality it really did borrow a ton of it’s “unique” plot points from Empire & Return of the Jedi. Secondly it’s clear, Star Wars fans STILL love the old characters-I keep hearing everyone in the movie industry saying-it’s not the old characters story anymore, it’s about the new. My question is, why can’t the story truly be about both the old and the new?  Continue reading

Movie Review: ‘A Quiet Place’ A Big Hollywood Creature Feature Done Right!

Most of the big cinema Hollywood horror movies churned out these days are pretty damn forgettable but every so often we get a shiny gem thrown in our direction, this is most certainly the case with “A Quiet Place”. Yep, this one delivers on all levels, it’s an awesome tale of survival, a freaky creature feature and a totally tense original thriller all wrapped into one sweet package. John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe & Millicent Simmonds are a family trying to survive in total isolation in a house in countryside. In the surrounding forest the wrath of big blind alien creatures that hunt by sound look for their next meal. Get ready for the extremes between complete silence and jarring monster attacks to jolt you right the fuck out of your theater seat. Most of the movie is completely serene except for some of the score that creeps in and out from time to time and that’s what will keep you on your toes. I’d love to see a version of the movie that takes out the score completely as that’d certainly add even more tension to the sonic experiment at play here.

It’s really quite a great concept for a big cinema flick and if you’re chomping on popcorn and candy during the movie you’re likely to be heard by all around, the movie’s so quiet at times it can be a bit unsettling in a large theater full of people. This of course brings the audience directly into the tension and it’s done quite well cuz when the shit hits the fan from time to time it makes the tense action sequences that much more powerful. It also features the most awkward sequence of being stalked by a monster, one where Emily Blunt tries to escape being killed by one of these creatures while simultaneously going into labor! Damn-could it get an worse-yes it surely does..

The small cast also adds to the feeling of dread and isolation as danger lurks behind every noise presented on screen. The setting as well is lush and beautiful as most of it takes place on and around the old farm and a creepy ass cornfield, the perfect place for monsters to creep all about. Speaking of the monsters, we don’t really get any solid explanation about where they came from or why they’re here, maybe upon a second viewing it’d be easier to piece it all together from various newspaper clippings that are shown here and there. It’s been said this movie was also, in it’s early stages given the possibility to have a connection to Cloverfield, which also would have worked quite nicely. Continue reading

VHS Verdict: Grizzly Adams Becomes Hot Shot Action Hero in ‘Repo Jake’!!

Dan Haggerty (RIP) most famously known for his family friendly iconic role as “Grizzly Adams” also did some major ass kicking in the 80’s & early 90’s C-list cinema. I was lucky enough to check out a VHS copy of ‘Repo Jake’ and damn did it catapult Haggerty to a whole new level of awesome. First off, a movie with the name “Repo Jake” featuring Haggerty in the lead role might sound a bit ridiculous and it turns out in this case you can totally judge a book by it’s cover. From start to finish this one is pretty much nonstop idiotic fun, though not entirely intentionally a “comedy” per say it’s the perfect action party flick from 1990 that’s got enough going for it to charm the pants off a Tommy Wiseau.

Haggerty stars as Jake Baxter an ex military dude who moves from the midwest to LA to make some quick cash as a repo man to pay off his own debts on a repossessed home in Minnesota. From the get go we know Repo Jake Baxter is a total bad ass with a big heart as he immediately helps a woman recover her stolen purse on the streets of Cali. This opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie, Jake kicks the purse snatchers ass big time an while doing so completely demolishes some poor dudes corner store. But hey at least he recovers that purse!!

From that point on it’s clear, Repo Jake has got some seriously unusual magnetic sex appeal too as pretty much every woman he runs into from that point on wants to relentlessly get down with him. Jake of course can’t help that he’s so damn sexy and in that wholesome “Haggerty way” never caves to their advances. Whatta guy I tell ya. Who knew he was such an object of desire? Well that’s not the only mischief Jake gets involved in, when he lands his job as a repo man there’s trouble around nearly every corner and his co-workers are a full on 80’s style motley crew of crazy over the top characters. Jake’s first job is fucking amazing as he heads off on his own to repo a car from a gang of drunk morons who’re cheering on their buddy as he drives in circles around Jake in a parking lot. It’s not long before Jake’s on the hood of the car for a ridiculous drunken joyride. Jake always gets the damn job done.

He gets his repo on kickin’ ass along the way, Jake even repos a fucking helicopter from a seriously persistant pilot, yeah he’s a total natural, like the Rocky Balboa of  repo men. He’s got it all at this point, the money’s a’ flowing an of course he’s soon dating his sexy aspiring actor neighbor in his apartment building! Clearly twice her age it seems his rugged animal magnetism is just too damn much for any human to resist. Eventually he pisses off a “powerful” crime lord and reveals he was once a hotshot drag racer who lost the love of his life due to his passion for kick ass car racing. Of course Repo Jake gets another chance to show off his mad skills as a car racer when he’s put to the ultimate test forcing to compete against the local crime boss in a high profile high octane race and then all sorts of madness ensues in full on ridiculous final boss battle.

Haggerty totally shines in this flick, I’d say it’s one of his best and proves him to once again be an unlikely action hero. He certainly does have a degree of humbling charisma that always makes him a pleasure to watch on screen. As far as movies that fit into that “so bad that they’re great” this one is a winner and a lot of it’s charm comes from director Joseph Merhi, who knows how to push the perfect buttons with a limited budget. He’s got quite a few movies from the 80’s and 90’s (The Newlydeads, LA Heat, Epitaph) I’m looking to check out now after having such a great time with Repo Jake. Check this out on a Saturday night with a gang of rabid movie maniacs along with plenty o’ booze and it’ll surely provide all with one helluva good time!! Here’s the full movie on Youtube for a Repo Jake quick fix:

 

Save ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ & Support ‘Season 3’ For Real!!!

It seems our ol’ pal Ash Williams might be in need of our help, Season 3 of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ just recently kicked off & it seems there’s a serious possibility that the show may not be renewed for ‘Season 4’ by Starz. The show is one of the most pirated out there meaning all of us Evil Dead fans haven’t really been supporting the return of Bruce Campbell in the way he’d hoped we would. I’m fully up to date having just finished watching the most current episode of season 3. I’ve at the moment got a free 7 day trial for Starz, that’ll be over in a couple days and I’m planning on getting a membership at least for a month to watch the rest of the show. I figure $8.99 is way more than worth it for rest of the season,  besides I spend more than that to see a movie at the theaters usually for a movie that wasn’t that all that good. So if you’re a real fan of the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise it just might be time to show up for real, cough up 9 bux and support Ash in his quest to stomp out evil!

Now onto season 3 thus far, upon watching the first episode, it felt a bit too familiar to season 2, Ash is now the hero of his small home town, everything seems to be peachy for him again and his companions (starting off a bit too much like the “Jacksonville paradise” season 2 first episode). Of course the Necronomicon appears again, someone recites it’s passages and ‘Deadites’ are back raising hell for the small quaint town. My only initial gripe was that we’re spending yet another season in Ash’s hometown, at least for now & I’d really have liked for Ash and his crew to have been sucked into another time warp similar to ‘Army of Darkness’ to really mix things up. However it was apparent my small gripe would soon be totally erased by just how bat shit crazy and fun everything quickly escalated to. So far season three just might be the best of them all, every episode delivers the wild and crazy gore, monsters & special fx fans have been clamoring for all these years. Continue reading

The Predator Sequel: Reshooting Begins…ls Dutch Secretly Returning?!

So this September we’re getting a brand new sequel to the ‘Predator’ franchise and it’s been stated that this new installment directed by Shane Black (who also starred in the original) would be a direct sequel to the first two. This lead people to believe we might be seeing Arnold Schwarzenneger return to his iconic role once more as cigar chompin’ Dutch.

What we were then told was that he was indeed approached by Shane Black and even met with him about returning. However it was quickly revealed the meeting went south and Arnold simply didn’t like the script, as he was featured in just a small cameo therefore declining to be in the movie altogether. I was a bit surprised to hear that, as Arnold hasn’t really been in anything that was a “hit” since he returned to acting after his time as Governor. In fact I my guts been telling me we’re indeed going to see Dutch return, I think the whole “passing because of the script” thing is just a well planned diversion.

Today we’ve learned there are reshoots taking place right now for ‘The Predator’ and my gut feeling is that these just may indeed be Dutch’s scenes. I highly doubt Arnie would turn down even a cameo and having him in the Predator series again would be very similar to Mark Hamill returning recently to the Star Wars franchise. If Dutch does indeed return it’d be a gift to all the Predator fans and I highly doubt Shane Black is oblivious to this. It’d be quite a twist if  he did appear to help kick some Predator butt, especially because of his statements about turning down the role in the new movie. We also have to mention though ‘The Predator’ did receive some mixed reviews to test screenings saying the heavy handed humor was tonally off  so perhaps they’re just reshooting some scene’s to level out the comedy? Hmmm….

Regardless I’m hoping to see Dutch return AND how awesome would it be if Danny Glover from ‘Predator 2’ returned as well to help out? That’d be just too good to be true, interestingly enough though, the new movie has a direct link to ‘Predator 2’  as Jake Busy is actually returning as Gary Busey’s Predator 2’s characters son. Soooooo anything is possible. I don’t imagine anyone would pass up the opportunity to at least feature Dutch again one more time in the franchise, let’s face it Arnold is getting old and isn’t going to be around forever…

VHS Verdict: ‘The Johnsons’ is Early 90’s Oddball Dutch Horror at it’s Finest!

‘The Johnsons’ is a damn weird ass Dutch horror flick from 1992 that I’ve been curious about for years. Well to my surprise, while out combing the thrift shops, I came across this one on VHS and could’t wait to see what it was really all about. ‘The Johnsons’ first off has a really weird name for a horror movie, it sounds like it might be some sort of 80’s comedy, but alas, this one’s truly an oddity with it’s bizarre plot that I’m fairly certain might offend a some folks especially in the year 2018. It’s also got a reputation as one of the best Dutch horror films of all time. That being said, it should be noted that Holland hasn’t exactly pumped out a lot of horror movies through the years. So the competition ain’t exactly all that fierce!  

   

 

The Johnson’s has one crazy story to tell, that’s for certain, we’ve basically got a 14 year old girl who was conceived from a test tube and her seven completely bald, weird ass brothers who break out of an insane asylum (where they’ve lived most their lives after they killed 16 kids when they were seven years old ) to hunt her down while out on a camping trip. Their intention isn’t to kill her but to supposedly impregnate her so she’ll give birth to some weird demonic fetus who’s destined to fully fuck up the Earth. Got that? Yeah it’s quite an odd premise but it’s actually a pretty damn interesting, well executed little tale and the imagery involving her mute bald psycho killer brothers when they’re children is actually worth the price of admission alone. The scenes of the kids smearing blood on the walls and sticking razor blades between their teeth (& that boink, boink, boink sound he makes with it) are quite chilling. It’s also cool to see a horror movie in the early 90’s with it’s main characters being a black professor who’s trying to solve the mystery along with a mother and daughter duo trying to escape the bad siblings. Continue reading