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Time Bandits (PG) (Blu-ray)


Many times, when we revisit the movies that we loved and cherished as kids, we're faced with two roads: brutal disappointment or, in the case of Star Wars fans, blind reverence based entirely on nostalgia. Not having seen Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits in, oh, say, 25 years, I was ready to ease on down one of those roads. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there was a third path: Time Bandits is about as close to perfect as a movie can get, revealing many layers of depth and creativity, as well as a gallows Monty Python-esque sensibility (complete with Michael Palin and John Cleese) that totally went over my then-undeveloped brain. No one has really come close to producing a cinematic tale this fantastic since — even Gilliam himself — and this Blu-ray edition will definitely be something I hold onto to show my own children. If I ever have any. — Louis Fowler

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City Island (PG-13) (Blu-ray)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

At first glance, City Island seems like just another irritatingly quirky look at the comedically fractured family life of an Italian-American family with no mute button. God, I have seen so many of those in the past few years; behind zombies, quirky families are the ultimate go-to cliché for low-budget filmmakers. All the typical indie devices are there, including cheating spouses, sexually advanced teens, Alan Arkin ... but City Island's got one thing that those others don't: the foresight to cast someone like Andy Garcia, an actor with real gravitas who can elevate the material far above its designated caste. He's a prison guard and loving father with dreams of being an actor, but when a son from a previous relationship shows up, family issues come to a head. It's a very satisfying surprise that makes you want to rethink indie dramas. That is, until the next uninspired one comes along. — Louis Fowler

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Escape From New York (R) (Blu-Ray)

MGM/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The "future" world of 1997. Crime is at an all-time high, with jails overflowing to the point at which the entire island of Manhattan has become a maximum-security prison overseen by the fascistic American Police Force. Writer-director John Carpenter may have been a bit off on the year, but, really, can't you see this happening eventually? Hell, I can see it happening tomorrow. Either way, Carpenter's 1981 post-apoc western Escape From New York, just released on Blu-Ray, set a whole new bar for cool with the introduction of the ultimate anti-hero, Snake Plissken. The president's plane has gone down over the prison and Snake's got 24 hours to find him. Along the way, he meets an insane number of characters while maintaining a trademark aloofness that no one could ever hope to recapture. But, believe me, I'll try when the time comes. Look out, future prison-state! — Louis Fowler

Humanoids From the Deep (R)

Shout! Factory

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we've all heard about Roger Corman's Piranha, especially in light of the big-budget 3D remake currently in theaters. The original is a very fun movie, but should it have been remade? Sure, but I would have gone even deeper into the library and re-imagined the muck-monster flick Humanoids from the Deep first. If ever a movie called out for a 3-D redux, this is it. A cadre of slimy, mutated humanoid monsters are wreaking havoc in the fishing village of Noyo, which especially sticks because everyone is looking forward to the annual Salmon Festival. (Why do killer aberrations of nature always attack when there is a festival of some sort going on?) The Shout! Factory DVD contains the uncut international version with more rampaging men in rubber-suits ripping off heads in a carnival atmosphere than ever before. Unless my dreams come true and this gets remade, of course. Ahem, Hollywood? — Louis Fowler

Loose Screws (NR)

Severin Films

I shed no tears when John Hughes died. Not a one. The man killed fun '80s teen cinema, turning riotously irresponsible sex comedies into banal explorations of unwarranted teen pathos. Proto-emo BS, if you will. Who wants to sit and watch five losers cry over how bad their parents treat them when there are Alpha Beta jocks that need a nerd-based comeuppance? Hot on the heels of his Porky's rip-off, Screwballs, director Rafal Zielinski refused to let the Hughes mafia dictate his passions, so he went back to Canada and made Loose Screws, a companion piece that, of course, features more of the same boobs, pranks and all-around plotless offensiveness that made Screwballs so entertaining. The only time these kids sit around and cry is when some sort of trauma happens to their testicles. Try to top that, Judd Nelson! Loose Screws is an absolute trash classic of a long-buried, wrongly maligned era. — Louis Fowler


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