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.
Rise of the Back Flame #1 is another totally solid debut straight from the Mignolaverse. This one traces the origins of the legendary villain, The black Flame from the pages of Hellboy/BPRD and gives us an excellent set up for an intriguing jungle horror adventure that I’m sure Indiana Jones would most certainly sign up for. The setting is Burma and there’s been a series of disappearances of young girls that the locals believe to be the devilish work of a near by cult.
On the case are two Brittish detectives who’re on the case searching for clues, quickly meet Sarah Jewell and Marie-Therese Lafleur who tell them they’ve got an expedition set up to find the Temple of the Black Flame. Sarah Jewell goes on to tell them of some of her incredible supernatural adventures she’s shared with The Witchfinder himself Sir Edward Grey. I’m getting the feeling we’ll be seeing much more of these characters in the future of the Mignolaverse….if they can survive this expedition that is.
Here we have again everything I love about reading comics, grand adventure set in exotic locales with a supernatural mystery brewing. Like I’ve said before Mignola’s books to me are the best on the scene, whether it be Hellboy, BPRD, Witchfinder or Lobster Johnson. They’re always a helluva great time to read and are all connected by a deep lore that’s been running strong for decades. So here we have the opening of another chapter in the saga and a true prequel for fans of the villain of the BPRD’s ‘Hell on Earth’. I’m certainly going to be back for issue #2 as it’s bound to be filled with some excellent storytelling and some creepy jungle adventure, for a good time check out this debut!
Night’s Dominion is a brand new comic from Oni Press that came out today and the first issue is a pretty promising little start to what’s sure to be an epic adventure. I’ve been looking for a cool comic book to quench my thirst for fantasy adventure and stuff like Dungeons & Dragons for a while now. Well this book could end my search with a strong first issue that’s a ton of fun & feels like the opening evening of a great classic game of D&D. The book is written and perfectly illustrated by Ted Naifeh. His artwork and rich colors are quite impressive as well, setting the tone of mystery nicely in this first issue. Excellent artwork is almost always a determining factor of whether I’m gonna drop the cash for a new title. It’s also got some heft in the dialogue so it’s not a five minute blur which is always nice in this age of quick read comic books.
This debut issue essentially starts out much like most D&D campaigns, we’ve got a gang of interesting characters meeting in a dark, smokey tavern where an old bard proposes a dangerous journey in search of an ancient presumed treasure of legend. Of course it’s rumored this treasure is supposedly guarded by a menacing effigy. The group he proposes this to are an interesting bunch, a shady alchemist, his young assistant, an assassin and a bar maid who claims she’s secretly the greatest thief in all the kingdom.
It also in a way feels like a superhero story set in a classic fantasy world as by the end of the issue you’re introduced to a character that reminds you more of Batman than Aragorn. I totally dig it to as I’ve always thought of The Fellowship in the Lord of the Rings & the teams formed in a classic game of Dungeons and Dragons to feel much more like a midieval version of The Avengers. It’s also got some nice meat to it as well as interesting character motivations and cool subplots that drive the desire to get rich for this band of vagabonds.
So if you’re looking for a strong, playful new title to pick up this week I think Night’s Dominion is a super solid offering. I’m feeling a bit of an Indiana Jones meets Lord of the Rings type vibe to the whole thing. if that’s the case then we’re dead set on a path to a ton of fun and hopefully it will take us on a memorable trek through some fantastic and dangerous landscapes. I’ll drop the four bones for issue #2 next month!
Ok, so my title above is a bit misleading because as of right now there’s not currently rumors about Jonathan Ke Quan returning to the role of “Short Round” for the upcoming Indiana Jones Part 5. BUT let’s start that rumor here because maybe it will catch fire on the web and actually happen!
So this whole idea really began the other evening when I saw the amazing 1991 movie ‘Breathing Fire’ starring Ke Quan as a teenage ass kicking kung fu machine. If you haven’t seen this movie and love his roles in Indiana Jones and Goonies you best check this one out asap. Seriously. Movies rarely reach level of pure fun and some great over the top kung fu! He even faces off against the legendary Bolo Yueng and it’s just jam packed with amazingly awesome & hilarious retro action cheeze. Seek this one out asap. The full movie can be found on Youtube.com!
However I digress, Ke Quan’s acting career ended in 2002 with the Hong Kong sci fi feature film “Second Time Around” so he’s not exactly been focused on acting lately. As you can tell from the previous Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Speilberg is heavily focused on nostalgia from the previous films as one of the key moments is the return of Marion Ravenwood. So in this next installment how amazing would it be to have Indy once again team up with his buddy Short Round on another adventure?
During filming ‘Temple Of Doom’, Quan studied Tae Kwon Do under film choreographer Phillip Tan. Something about the discipline of martial arts really appealed to him, so he began rigorously studying many different techniques. Once his acting career had become more quiet, Quan became an assistant fight choreographer to Hong Kong legend Corey Yeun on movies like ‘X-Men’ and Jet Li vehicle ‘The One’. Ke Quan now is 45 years old, has kept himself in great shape and could likely bring his seasoned martial arts exploits into the next Indy flick with pure adoration from longtime fans. He’s even been asked more recently from fans about appearing in part five answering with an enthusiastic “I don’t know!”. From what I understand he’s also down for a trip down nostalgia lane for the forever talked about Goonies sequel. So this here is all a real possibility considering Indiana Jones part 5 is indeed happening for sure.
I’ve got high hopes for the next Indy movie, I enjoyed the last one but I’ll agree it’s far from perfect and nowhere near as classic as the first three. Still this next movie is likely Harrison Ford’s last as the character so Speilberg will get one last shot to right the wrongs of the last movie. Ditch the ridiculous CG you promised you weren’t going to use and give us something that truly feels like a classic Indy movie and please leave Shia Labeouf’s Mutt Willaims at home. Let’s feel the nostalgia and let’s see Jones & Short Round team up once again, I know that fans would flip their shit if this was worked into the movie and it’d make sense that a fully able, older Short Round could help Indiana Jones kick some butt this time as our aging main character likely needs all the help he can get this time around. What do you think? Would you like to see Johnny Ke Quan return? If so share this post and let’s make it happen!
I’m always and I mean ALWAYS down for an Indiana Jones rip off movie! There are a few out there that reared their heads back in the 80’s and this week I had the pleasure to find “The Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck” on vhs and give it a watch. This one’s actually pretty damn entertaining, if you can get past some of it’s non PC-ness that would today surely have people in a wildly frantic uproar. Basically what we have here is a kind of Indiana Jones meets Romancing The Stone meets Crocodile Dundee with less of budget and a far more crude trashy style to it. That being said the flick actually visits some pretty awesome locations and it’s sets are top notch as well, which is always nice for a movie trying to rip off Indy!
This one has a little star power too with David Keith (An Officer and a Gentleman) in the lead swashbuckling role also directed this one and Sydney Lassick (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). Yeah Tennessee Buck is a crude dude alright, a boozing, womanizing jungle guide who’s hired by a young yuppie couple named (Barbie & Ken) to help them find and hunt a white tiger. The woman just happens to be Kathy Shower, former Playboy playmate of the year, so I knew there was going to be some senseless nudity in this one and boy is there a ton of that here! I also knew that she’d most likely leave her husband for Buck and though I was right the way it played out was like nothing i was expecting!
But the movie actually took some odd twists and turns that in a way shocked me a bit. Tennessee Buck starts out as a comedy but around it’s third act it gets pretty dark suddenly. Characters endure some things that seem quite out of place with the movies otherwise fun loving, wisecracking vibe. I guess it’s what you expect when they become pursued by a crazed band of headhunters with a horny chieftan as it’s leader.
This one kinda played out a bit like “The Last American Virgin” which started out like Porky’s and ended up a bit of perplexing shocker. Buck here is an odd movie that’s most definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of the jungle adventure style movies, trashy 80’s schlock & weird out of place plot twists!
Well, sorta! I just had to share this cool video called “Indiana Bones: Raiders of the Lost Bark”! Check this rad little video out and see what grand adventure this canine version of Indy gets into! I’d rather have this cool dog pick up the character than Shia Labeouf any day!!
I’ve been picking up a ton of VHS while out on the town doing while doing vintage shopping for my business here in Portland Oregon, that means that I’m watching a ton of awesome old flicks that have been somehow lost in the shuffle for years, at least for me! So the other night I decided to put on an interesting looking one called “If Looks Could Kill” way back from 1991, starring none other than fan fave from 21 Jumpstreet (the original series yo!) Richard “Booker” Grieco! Ol’ Grieco was destined for stardom when he exploded onto Jumpstreet & briefly rivaled Johnny Depp as the series heart throb. So Grieco quickly got some offers to make some movies-some bad and some good in a bad way. This particular film is pretty awesome, directed by William Dear hot off the success of the brilliant “Harry and The Hendersons”.
What we get here is a great obnoxious teen comedy (which I’m a big fan of, well, since I myself was a teen!) with a heavy dose of James Bond & equal parts Indiana Jones! What’s not to love there?! Dear clearly had a budget for this box office flop and it shows as it rarely skimps on cool set pieces and rather impressive action sequences. The flick was panned by critics, but like me, Roger Ebert got it and awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars. The plot’s simple, Grieco is a high school student flunking out of his french class while too busy boozin’ it up and slackin’ off. Now before I continue I have to ad that Grieco is clearly no teenager, nope- he’s got a serious dark ass five o’clock shadow the entire movie and the body of an olympic athlete, truth be told that in 1991 he was nearly 2y years old, though to me he looks more like 37!
Anyway because he flunks French he’s forced to…get this….go France for summer school!! Boo hoo what a life huh? Fail and get a free trip to France? Yeah right!! So that’s where things get crazy, as he’s quickly mistaken for a secret agent bearing the same name as his and begins an adventure of his own! Mistaken identity never felt so good. He’s almost tempted to reveal that he’s simply a high school student until the British Gov’t gives him a Ferrari to roll around in, so then at that point he decides it’s totally like worth playing along! Duh!
This begins a zany chain of events that involves Grieco playing his teenage luck with deadly sexy secret agent ladies, explosive chewing gum, wall walkin’ suction cup LA Gear sneakers, killer scorpions and a dastardly villain with a robotic Terminator style hand. It’s pure camp gold and a entertains with quite an impressive finale with Grieco trapped in an Indiana Jones style deadly villain castle hide out! So if you’re looking for a fun flick to watch with friends and a few beers check this one out-it should have made ol’ Grieco a star like Depp! Oh well!!