Battle of the Sexes (Women Won)

This new flick Battle of the Sexes, about the chauvinist gambler and former Wimbleton winner who took on female tennis pro Bill Jean King, is a good combination of humor and social commentary. The film is well balance in a way that few films are. Kind of reminds me of Rain Man in that regard. The sets and costumes really capture the era of the 70s very well.

Do you remember hearing about the tennis match in the 70s between them, in which Billie Jean King won? I remember HBO sports pushing documentaries about it really hard when I was like 5 years old, in between Mike Tyson boxing decapitations. This movie makes an interesting point: that women won the battle of the sexes, in terms of independence, pay, and social prestige. Billie Jean King becomes liberated from her husband by a dike lover to rub in the fact that she wins this charade of a tennis match. It is rather unsettling. The husband has to cuck. And that’s the problem. Don’t blame women for being misguided. Its the men who cucked societally and allowed this corrosion, where men get walked all over.

 

Steve Carell plays the male chauvinist very effectively. He is a dead look-alike in fact. At the time the guy was so past retirement that the match was a bogus litmus test for the make species. John McEnroe would have kicked Billie Jean;s ass. Anyhow, Carell brings a zeal and enthusiasm to the role which is unmatched in the film. He does manage to beat the #2 tennis star in the world at the time, who is the more traditional woman. Strangly, the movie subtly hints that a traditional woman does not handle pressure as well as a gay one.

This is a hard film to review and grade so I would recommend you see it yourself and come to your own decision. Prepare to have a few laughs and possibly be outraged at dike scenes where you were not invited in as a threesome.

Bladerunner 2049 Review

As a sequel to perhaps the greatest science-fiction film of all time, “Blade Runner 2049” has a lot to live up to. And, surprisingly, it does, in one of the year’s best films. Ryan Gosling plays Agent K, a replicant blade runner who is assigned to track down and kill Deckard (Harrison Ford, returning from the original). He soon discovers that, through Deckard, he may hold the key to a secret that could change history forever.

This film cost $150 million and looks it. Society on Earth is barely surviving an environmental onslaught, but it is still recognizably a “Blade Runner” world. There is a big Sony presence in the future, and a gigantic hologram of a naked woman (which must look great in 3D). The line between human and androids has further blurred.

Harrison Ford is much better in this film than he was in the first one, exuding warmth, humanity, and purpose. I also really liked Jared Leto as the sinister, blind android manufacturer, and Robin Wright as K’s understanding superior. Besides being excellent science fiction, the film is also a mystery and a film noir. As with the first one, the ending is surprisingly moving and provides a real emotional catharsis. Hans Zimmer’s score (with an assist from Vangelis) is his best in years.

If I have a complaint, it is that the film, photographed by Roger Deakins, is not as aesthetically pleasing as the original. That’s a small gripe, though, for a film that accomplishes so much. “Blade Runner 2049” is a must-see.

Beyond the Gates: Cheesy Fun

Are you a fan of “Stranger Things” and “Jumanji”? Have you always wondered if there is more to board games than meet the eye? Welcome to “Beyond the Gates,” an entertaining and sometimes frightening low budget horror film that won the Audience Award at the 2016 Los Angeles film festival.

This film concerns 2 adult brothers whose father disappeared a decade ago who discover a strange board game he was playing before he died. Titled “Beyond the Gates,” of course, the game is an elaborate, mysterious concoction that threatens your mind, body, and soul and takes you to another dimension. In order to survive, you must listen to the game master (played on videotape by Barbara Crampton from “Re-Animator”) and win the game. The two brothers (who are hoping to save their dad from the other dimension( and their friends are affected by the game, and there will be much confusion and weirdness, a body count, blood and gore, and an ending that may not be what the viewer will expect.

I thought this movie was excellent, primarily because of its great premise and unpredictability. The actors are fine and the special effects are good. It’ll make you think twice about playing a board game! It is currently streaming on Netflix and is available on Blu-ray and DVD.

Night of the Demons / Nightmare at Noon

Tired of big Hollywood stinkers like “Assassin’s Creed” and “Beauty and the Beast”? Ready for some serious B-movie fun? Prepare yourself for two movies out on DVD that are way more entertaining than that “Boss Baby” crap.

First up is the 2009 remake of “Night of the Demons,” which stars Shannon Elizabeth (from “American Pie”), Monica Keena (from “Freddy Vs. Jason”) and Edward Furlong (no introduction needed). This film follows the basic plot and features many of the same exploitative elements (read: boobs) that made the 1988 movie with Linnea Quigley (who cameos here) so much fun. In short, a bunch of dorky college kids plus a drug dealer (Furlong) get together at an old New Orleans manor to celebrate Halloween. Soon they discover that the house is a conduit for demons who want to possess seven of them and take over the world. Can Edward Furlong and company stop taking heroin and playing spin the bottle long enough to save the world?

This is a $10 million film that went straight to video, probably because the original film is not nearly as famous as classics like “The Omen” and “Halloween.” The story is acceptable and the special effects, makeup effects, and other technical attributes are really good. The only actor to make an impression is Furlong, who plays his part convincingly and with pathos. He deserves a chance at a comeback. Overall, the film is about as good as the original, which means it’s undistinguished but tons of fun. Readers are advised to rent it on Netflix.

Second up is 1988’s “Nightmare at Noon,”(aka “Death Street U.S.A.”) a truly whacko ripoff of “The Crazies” about a mute albino (played by Brion James) who starts a government experiment by contaminating the water of a small town, turning those unfortunate people who drink it into crazed killers. Meanwhile, a scummy lawyer (played by Wings Hauser) and his wife pick up a hitchhiker (Bo Hopkins) on their way into this town while the sheriff (played by George Kennedy) and his daughter try to figure out what’s going on.

Basically this starts as a zombie film, turns into sort of a western (“High Noon” is playing at the town drive-in.), and then it turns into a high-concept “Blue Thunder” kind of thing. It’s completely crazy and absolutely never dull. George Kennedy is great, the technical credits are good and the music by Stanley Myers and Hans Zimmer are very effective. Bo Hopkins and Wings Hauser are quite the team, having also starred together in “Mutant,” In short, this is a crazy killer B film that is worth seeking out.

I should note, in closing, that I had never heard of either of these two films before picking them up. As a result, they were much better than expected. Check out “Night of the Demons” (2009) and “Nightmare at Noon” if you want good old-fashioned B-movie fun! –CoolAC