Dan Shor

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Wise Blood Review


Excellent
John Huston's Wise Blood isn't bold-faced Americana. Rather, it is an alien planet of such thick perversity and everyday grotesqueries that one has to take pause and consider how close Mr. Huston's dystopia is to the American South. It is adapted from the fine first novel by Flannery O'Conner of the same name and it is the only time an American director has successfully translated the late O'Conner's haunting prose. Completed in 1979, it is also perhaps the most ballistic of Huston's late-period films.

Hazel Motes, played by Brad Dourif in a brilliant, physical performance, is a character John Huston would have had to create if O'Conner hadn't already written him. Aggressive and hissing like an angry cobra, Motes slithers his way into town from a stint in the army and begins yelling about a "Church Without Christ" that he will begin. He finds a believer in the young, brainless Enoch Emory (Dan Shor) who tells Hazel about the "wise blood" in his veins that tells him things no one else can hear.

Continue reading: Wise Blood Review

Strange Behavior Review


OK
Why are you hearing about this 1981 film today? Not because of director and co-writer Michael Laughlin, whose career may have ended after he wrote the notorious Town & Country in 2001.

No, the other writer was Bill Condon, who not only wrote Gods and Monsters, he also wrote the script for Chicago (not that that's such a Herculean effort). So riding on Condon's rising star comes his first film, made when little Bill was just 26 years old. He even appears in the opening scene, sneaking a cigarette before he gets killed (in shadow) as the first of several offings.

Continue reading: Strange Behavior Review

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Review


Excellent
The obvious inspirations for Wayne and Garth, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) first hit history in this witty, winning tale of two modern-day So-Cal misfits who end up travelling through time. The impetus? A future society bases all of its culture on the music Bill and Ted's band, Wyld Stallyns (And notably the phrase, "Be excellent to each other") -- but all of that might never happen if the burnouts don't get their history report done.

Alas, it doesn't look good. Bill and Ted are walking mistakes as it is. They can't pronounce Socrates and believe Caeser was "a salad dressing dude." But their grasp of superlative adjectives like triumphant and gnarly is impressive indeed, so maybe there's hope.

Continue reading: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Review

Tron Review


Good
Back in 1982, special effects never seemed more assured. In 2000, they look downright hokey. Disneyfied. And in fact, for its 20th anniversary reissue on DVD, Tron still looks pretty darn goofy, though it's easy to appreciate it as a pioneering work of its era.

In the film, Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner are largely forgettable in flourescent paint and blacklighting as they stumble their way inside the computer to foil the evil Master Control Program. You see, in Tron, computer programs actually take on sentience, fighting for supremacy in the belly of the machine, often as gladiators. That might explain why my system crashes so much. Bridges, though, plays a human, digitized with a laser and inserted into the machine where he does battle with his own creations -- which ultimately turns out to be the biggest letdown, as the MCP is a big red cylinder with a face reminiscent of the Kool-Aid Man.

Continue reading: Tron Review

Strange Behavior Review


OK
Why are you hearing about this 1981 film today? Not because of director and co-writer Michael Laughlin, whose career may have ended after he wrote the notorious Town & Country in 2001.

No, the other writer was Bill Condon, who not only wrote Gods and Monsters, he also wrote the script for Chicago (not that that's such a Herculean effort). So riding on Condon's rising star comes his first film, made when little Bill was just 26 years old. He even appears in the opening scene, sneaking a cigarette before he gets killed (in shadow) as the first of several offings.

Continue reading: Strange Behavior Review

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