Movies I Want Everyone to See: “Eight Legged Freaks” (2002)

eight_legged_freaksThere is a long history of movies where nature strikes back at the human world. From the “Island of Lost Souls” to “The Happening”, Mother Nature proves that she is not someone to be messed with. (Although running away from the wind may just be the one way to mess with her that would cause her to crack up and just stop trying to wipe us out). The most fertile period of time for these farfetched stories was the post war atomic age when exposure to radiation causes giant ants, killer rabbits, and irritated amphibians. In the lengthy annals of horror films featuring monsters that are simply real creatures pushed to the brink, no animal, fish or insect has been more widely used to terrify us than the spider. Most people instinctively withdraw their hands from proximity to a spider. The hair on the back of our necks raises at the thought of one normal spider crawling across our flesh. It is therefore no surprise that outsized spiders have been a go-to critter whenever a film maker is looking for a way to scare us. Our fear of spiders is also something that is regularly mocked. In “Annie Hall, Woody Allen’s character jokes ” Honey, there’s a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick.” It is this combination of the frightening and the ridiculous that makes “Eight Legged Freaks” a movie that I want everyone to see.

Continue reading

About these ads

Catching the Classics: Psycho

PsychoSince 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list is updated regularly and is currently more than 1700 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.

Out of all the films reviewed here, Psycho may be the least in need of an introduction. Everybody knows Psycho, whether they’ve seen it or not. We all know about the shower scene. We all know the “Psycho strings” sound that goes with it. I’m not even sure it gets passed down, exactly; I think it spontaneously forms in peoples’ heads sometime in grade school along with the Jaws theme. It’s almost impossible to discuss Psycho without discussing the plot twists, but that’s OK because everybody knows the plot twists. It’s not even possible to surprise somebody with them by sitting them down to watch it without telling them and skipping over the title, because they’ll get to that shower scene and say “Oh, this is Psycho!” It’s hard to remember sometimes that this isn’t how Hitchcock intended it be. Continue reading

New Episode of The (title pending) Movie Podcast with Tank and Fogs!!

PodcastWhat’s going on folks? Here’s this week’s episode of (title pending) for you to check out!

This week, Mr Tanski and I cover “Machete Kills”, “Carrie”, “The Escape Plan” and “Captain Phillips”, giving you the lowdown on what they’re each all about!

I also share tales of New York Comic-Con, and after, we discuss our favorite Stephen King adaptations! Of course, we also have you covered with this week’s Box-Office Roundup, On the Radar and more!

It’s a great episode and you won’t want to miss it! As always, you can download it directly, here, or search for us on iTunes or Stitcher radio by looking for (title pending) or Tank and Fogs!

Banner

Character Actors I Want Everyone to Know: Ed Lauter (1938-2013)

600px-Vlcsnap-62404

An unfortunate event has forced me to move on an idea I’ve been mulling over as a companion to this column. In addition to films that I want everyone to know about, there are actors I think everyone should know as well. I hope to post every few weeks about an unsung hero of the acting world. I want to sing the praises of men and women who have made my movie going special over the years. I could amuse you with my man crush on Gene Hackman, or get you to see how sexy Susan Sarandon is. Maybe I can convince you to go back and revisit Claude Raines or Jean Arthur. All of them will be well known however and while I want to share my enthusiasm, I want to spark a little fire for those who never really get the spotlight. It is with sadness that I launch this series with a few words about the late Ed Lauter.

Continue reading

Catching the Classics: The Thing

thingSince 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list is updated regularly and is currently more than 1700 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.

I don’t recall when I first heard about The Thing, but it had to have been a decade or more ago. I’ve known more about its reception than about the film itself; I knew that it wasn’t a major success initially, but that it is one of a number of films to have its stature grow over time to the point where it’s considered a classic of science fiction. Of course, I did know some details. I knew it was about a shapeshifting alien beast in the Antarctic. I knew it was directed by John Carpenter, who directed the horror classic Halloween. And I knew it starred Kurt Russell and Wilford Brimley, who are among my favorite actors and character actors, respectively. All of those seemed like perfectly valid reasons to check the film out. Continue reading

Movies I Want Everyone to See: Happy, Texas (1999)

Happy Texas Review by Richard Kirkham

The world is full of little movies that have charm, whimsy and a great story to tell. Once in awhile, a movie like that catches fire and becomes a critics and audiences darling. “Little Miss Sunshine” is a good example of that. It went on to garner Awards and sell tickets and DVDs for years. Unfortunately, that was not the fate of my first entry for FMR. “Happy, Texas” did enjoy some solid reviews and everyone I know who saw it has told me they enjoyed it immensely. That would be three people. This movie was made on a small budget of 1.7 million dollars, and it brought back 1.9 million in U.S. box office, without any International release that I found. That means that it lost money, because budget does not cover prints and advertising. Putting the movie in theaters cost someone some cash.

Now the film has been available since 1999, so some may have seen it on home video in some format or other. I hope you are one of those lucky people, but even more than that, I hope you are one of those people who has yet to see it and you have this joyful experience to look forward to. While I do think it has a high level of repeatability, it is a great discovery that will bring huge rewards to first time viewers. There is a funny premise, a heart warming story, and some of the best character actors around filling up the screen. This movie is flat out funny with quotable lines and awkward situations, as well as a simple plot device that drives much of the fun.

Harry Sawyer and Wayne Wayne Wayne, Jr are two convicts who get caught up in a prison break by a violent offender named Bob Maslow. They are not particularly dangerous but even more telling, they are not particularly smart. This film is not a slapstick based on their stupidity, it is a character story that follows the misadventures they get into, every time they make a decision. The biggest choice they make is to take on the personae of the two men from whom they steal an RV, in an attempt to hide in plain sight and gain access to some cash. This requires them to pass themselves off as pageant consultants for little girls in the small town of Happy, Texas. What follows should not be revealed too much, except to say they both succeed and fail in their disguise.

Continue reading

Catching the Classics: Jaws

JawsSince 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list grows regularly and is currently more than 1800 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.

If this were an audio review, I might simply start playing the Jaws theme here; as it is, I’ll spare you my text rendition of the classic sound. It’s such an iconic piece of film music that it was even used, semi-jokingly, as the “you’re talking too much” music at the 85th Academy Awards. Everybody knows the sound. Kids whose parents weren’t even born in 1975 know the sound. And lines from the movie show up in pop culture all the time as well, from “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” to “That’s some bad hat, Harry”, which inspired the name of a production company. To a certain extent, it feels as though I’ve known all there was to know about Jaws for most of my life… I just needed to see the film. Continue reading

New Episode of The (title pending) Movie Podcast with Tank and Fogs!!

PodcastWhat’s up everyone? Here’s this week’s new episode of (title pending) for your listening enjoyment!

This time out, Tank and I have two new movies to discuss for you! Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” and the Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck starring “Runner Runner”.

We also have a unique and fun feature discussion this week… Inspired by “Runner Runner”, Tank suggested we put together movie Royal Straights! We each come up with a movie related “10″, Jack, Queen, King and Ace. It was a fun idea and turned out to be a great topic!

It’s a great episode and you won’t want to miss it! As always, you can download it directly, here, or search for us on iTunes or Stitcher radio by looking for (title pending) or Tank and Fogs!

Banner

Movies I Want Everyone to See: “The Naked Prey” 1966

Naked-Prey-Poster

Since the invention of film there have been a number of stories that feature man against nature. Those stories have often cast a group of men against a an overwhelming natural force; Hurricanes, fires, floods, the cold of the poles, the heat of the desert and the savagery of animals trying to eat and live. My own experience with such films include “Jeremiah Johnson”, “The White Dawn”, and “Man in the Wilderness”.  In the American film experience, a number of these stories featured explorers or pioneers in the West, seeking to survive a trip through Indian lands, to build a new life for themselves or to profit from the natural resources they find on their journey. As part of the narrative there is often contact with other cultures and that contact takes a violent turn. Regardless of whether you sympathize with native peoples whose way of life is threatened or the intruder who sometimes acts foolishly and at other time heroically, these stories can be compelling and exciting.  Westerns are littered with ill fated travelers being killed in brutal ways by Indian tribes they encounter (And of course the inverse is true as well, the intruders are not healthy for the native population either). Continue reading

Catching the Classics: The Third Man

Third Man PosterSince 1998, I have been maintaining a list of movies that I wanted to see. Sometimes these are all-time classics that passed me by, sometimes they’re genre classics that interest me. The list grows regularly and is currently more than 1800 movies long. Fogs has gone through and hand-picked several classic films for me to “fast-track” and review here. This is one of those films.

It’s almost impossible to be a movie fan and not have heard of Orson Welles. Both as a director and an actor, his acclaim and influence are widespread. But as with a lot of classic actors, it’s possible to know of his work without actually knowing his work. My introduction to Welles came in my childhood, with his cameo in The Muppet Movie and his final role as a planet-eating robot in The Transformers: The Movie. While fun, neither is likely to be considered a definitive role for him. Then in seventh grade my English teacher played some of the old Shadow radio programs for us, and I learned to appreciate Welles’ delivery. But actually seeing him in action, in a major live-action role, always seemed to elude me. So one of the points of “Catching the Classics” was to finally rectify this matter. And although Citizen Kane will eventually be on the docket as well, I decided that first I wanted to check out his performance in Carol Reed’s The Third Man. Continue reading