Category Archives: TV and Film

Forgotten Filmcast Episode 141: The Bedroom Window

This article is from Forgotten Films. Click the title to hop over there.

The Forgotten Filmcast is back! This time, Todd is joined by Howard Casner from Rantings and Ravings to discuss Curtis Hanson’s 1987 thriller, The Bedroom Window.

Download the Show:
iTunes
Podomatic
Your Listen

Show Notes:
Rantings and Ravings
Howard on Twitter

Movies Discussed:
The Bedroom Window
Rear Window
The Window
Racing with the Moon

Music:
“Protofunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Go to Source – Forgotten Films



Forgotten Filmcast Episode 139: The Adventures of the Wilderness Family

This article is from Forgotten Films. Click the title to hop over there.

On the new episode of the Forgotten Filmcast, Todd is joined by Matthew Turned from the Fatal Attractions podcast to discuss the 1975 film The Adventures of the Wilderness Family.

Download the Show:
iTunes
Podomatic
Your Listen

Show Notes:
Fatal Attractions
Matthew on Twitter

Movies Discussed:
The Adventures of the Wilderness Family
Summer of ’42
Tammy and the T-Rex

Music:
“Protofunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Go to Source – Forgotten Films



Wilder Napalm

This article is from Forgotten Films. Click the title to hop over there.

I’m someone who certainly enjoys sitting in front of a fireplace in winter, or around a firepit in the summer. Still, fire is something that is slightly scary to me. It’s just so unpredictable, and in the part of the world where I live, wildfires do happen from time to time. When my son was born eighteen years ago, my wife and I could look out of our hospital window and see a wildfire burning in the distance. It’s freaky stuff. Also freaky is the idea of someone who has the ability to create fire with their mind. The concept has been used in genre flicks from Firestarter to the X-Men films, but 1993’s Wilder Napalm is fairly simple romantic comedy, it just so happens that a few of the characters are pyrokinetic.

The film centers on Wilder Foudroyant (Arliss Howard), a quiet man working in a photo stand located in the parking lot of an otherwise-deserted shopping center. Arliss keeps his ability to start fires with his mind under wraps, even working as a volunteer fireman to help move away from his ability to burn things.  He lives in a trailer with his wife Vida (Debra Winger), who is under house arrest due to arson charges, and is also a bit of a nymphomaniac.  Enter Wilder’s brother, Wallace (Dennis Quaid), who works as a clown in a traveling carnival, and is also pyrokinetic. He plans on announcing his powers to the world on the David Letterman Show. The two brothers have always been at odds, stemming from a childhood incident where their powers caused the death of an innocent person. Oh, and of course, Wallace is also in love with Vida.

When Vida is finally released from the binds of her ankle monitor tracking device, she is anxious to spend time with her husband. He, however, is committed to calling the numbers for a BINGO game that night. This is the perfect opportunity for Wallace to move in for the kill.  He takes Vida miniature golfing and things do get a bit “hot,” shall we say.  When this is discovered by Wilder, it leads to a fiery showdown between the two brothers.

At its heart, Wilder Napalm is a simple love triangle story, but with some trippy elements that make it very unique.  It utilizes a lot of small town America eccentricities to great effect. Things like traveling carnivals with their questionable safety standards and employees (one of whom is Jim Varney in this film), miniature golf, BINGO, and living in a trailer.  This film even features a musically-inclined fire department whose members sing tunes, often related to heat or fire, as they battle blazes. In atypical Hollywood fashion, these staples of flyover country are presented with a loving visual style that makes them seem somewhat magical.  The shots are colorful and creatively composed, with much of the story unfolding visually.

The film also benefits from a trio of well-rounded characters, brought to life with virtuoso performances.  Arliss Howard’s Wilder is quiet and contemplative, and comes through as a very relatable character.  Where many films would present Wilder as living a pathetic existence, he comes across as an honest and hardworking man, trying to be a good husband and a model citizen in what may be considered less-than-ideal circumstances.  Dennis Quaid’s Wallce is brash and overconfident, a perfect fit for the wide-grinning actor.  His moments in clown makeup are a highlight, juggling both the silly and the sinister.  Debra Winger is luminous, as always, playing the sort of quirky free-spirit she excels at. There is no question as to why both brothers would be in love with her, despite her considerable issues.

From the performances, to the visuals, to the playful score by Michael Kamen, Wilder Napalm is a creative concoction that is something familiar but uniquely its own.  If none of the rest of that sells you, this is a love-triangle movie where the two warring parties happen to be human flame-throwers and spend much of the film’s final act trying to burn each other to a crisp.  That’s something I never knew I needed in my life. 

Go to Source – Forgotten Films



Forgotten Filmcast Ep 138: This Could Be the Night

This article is from Forgotten Films. Click the title to hop over there.

On the new episode of the Forgotten Filmcast, Todd is joined by JR Jordan, author of Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures, to discuss the director’s 1957 film This Could Be the Night.

Download the Show:
iTunes
Podomatic
Your Listen

Show Notes:
Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures

Movies Discussed:
This Could Be the Night
The Sand Pebbles
Elmer Gantry

Music:
“Protofunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Go to Source – Forgotten Films



Starchaser: The Legend of Orin

This article is from Forgotten Films. Click the title to hop over there.

You can’t really blame any film producers of the 80’s for trying to copy Star Wars. Lucas’ galaxy far far away was a success of never-before-seen proportions. To get just a fraction of that kind of return would be well worth a few verbal jabs claiming you to be a ripoff artist. Eight years after the release of what we now know as Episode IV, copycats were still coming, including this animated, 3-D epic, Starchaser: The Legend of Orin.

Orin (Joe Colligan) is a slave who has spent his life in an underground crystal mine. The slaves are kept in line by an army of robots with laser whips commanded by the mysterious helmet sporting ruler Zygon (Anthony De Longis). When Orin finds a magical sword hilt without a blade, it begins an adventure beyond his imagination. 

To start with, he finds out that Zygon is just a purple skinned dude with a temper. Then, Orin manages to escape the mines and discovers an amazing world above the surface. After a run-in with a bunch of gruesome looking Man-Droids, he meets up with a lovable rogue of smuggler named Dagg (Carmen Argenziano). Of course, the smuggler has a ship, called the Starchaser, with a worrisome on-board computer. A curvy lady robot named Silica also joins the quest, as well as a princess with eyes for Orin named Aviana. Together this team will fight to help Orin free the slaves with the power of the mysterious bladeless sword.

Back in 1985, Starchaser’s time in theaters was short-lived. I remember it being marketed extensively, with ads airing during afternoon cartoons on local UHF stations. The chance to see a 3-D animated sort-of-Star Wars just didn’t resonate with kids. The film doesn’t seem to have been made with kids in mind, though. Yes, it’s animated and it’s rated PG (after the creation PG-13, by the way), but several elements are not typical kiddie fare.  The Man-droids, for example, are pretty grotesque, with torn skin and exposed organs. There are also several sexual references, most blatantly through the sexy robot Silica, who flirts with Dagg and in one scene must be reprogrammed by accessing a panel in her…um…posterior.  There’s certainly plenty of stuff kids will enjoy, but films like Heavy Metal or Fire & Ice seem to have been just as much of an influence as Star Wars.

Now, make no mistake, Starchaser is one of the films most guilty of pilfering from Mr. Lucas. There is an idealistic young man looking for adventure, and he happens to have a magic sword! He meets a cocky pilot/smuggler. There’s a princess. The bad guy has a big menacing helmet. Though, to be fair, Zygon sheds his headgear for most of the film. The biggest bit of Star Wars influence is the on-board computer, which could be C3-PO’s long lost brother. Now, did any of this bug me? Not that much. Ultimately, the film ends up being pretty enjoyable, despite being only about 60% original ideas.

I guess it wasn’t too difficult for me to get past the blatant Star Wars ripoffs as I found myself being quite caught up in the animation.  The film features creative character designs that are inspired by classic comic book art.  Refreshingly, the characters are also not overly buff or buxom as would be seen in the animated genre films of directors like Ralph Bakshi.  The film also features creative background designs and early uses of computer animation that are well-integrated with the traditional hand-drawn elements. The film certainly has moments where the narrative struggles, but for this viewer, the visuals helped pick up the slack.

It’s often said that there are no original ideas in Hollywood. Starchaser is evidence of that, no doubt. But if you’re going to rob other films in broad daylight, at least make it interesting and entertaining. Starchaser did that for me. It’s a film that is creative in its presentation, even if it isn’t in its ideas.   

Go to Source – Forgotten Films



The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak

This article is from Forgotten Films. Click the title to hop over there.

Though she appeared in a number of films throughout the 80’s, Tawny Kitaen will always be known, first and foremost, for one thing: dancing on the hood of a car in that Whitesnake video.  Like Phoebe Cates emerging from the swimming pool, it’s one of the most iconic pop culture images of the decade.  The films she appeared in were nowhere near as memorable.  Amongst them was a 1984 film that answers one of those nagging questions every film fan has: What do you get if the director of Emmanuelle were to make an Indiana Jones ripoff? I’ll tell ya what you get; released a few months before Temple of Doom, it’s The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak.

Kitaen stars in the title role, a young woman who has traveled to China in search of a mysterious butterfly which her lepidopterist father staked his reputation on trying to find, but failed. Immediately, she and her associate Beth (Zabou Breitman) end up captured by nasties and need saving. Enter mercenary Willard (Brent Huff) who saves the ladies and gets roped into leading them on their search.

Their journey includes many perils, including an encounter with the cannibalistic Kiops, and the building sexual tension between Willard and the virginal Gwendoline. Just as it seems the adventurers have found the elusive butterfly they seek, they end up in a mysterious city inhabited only by shapely women with a disdain for wearing clothing.  Any man that arrives is used for procreation and then executed. That means it’s up to Gwendoline to fight gladiator-style to save Willard and claim him as her lover.

This is a film that goes by a variety of names. Here in the US it was released as The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak.  Sometimes it’s listed simply as The Perils of Gwendoline, sometimes it’s just Gwendoline. No matter how you list the title, its a heck of crazy film.  The first half feels like many mid 80’s attempts to get some of that Indiana Jones cash, but perhaps with a bit more nudity involved.  Extra skin is to be expected with Emmanuelle director Just Jaeckin at the helm, but in the first half of the film it’s not too excessive. Everything changes, though, when our heroes reach the city of Pikaho. All of the inhabitants of the city are either half-naked bald gladiator women, or ladies dressed like samurais who get their hair done by Grace Jones’ stylist. The city itself seems to run on naked-lady-power, complete with huge pistons that are made of, you guessed it, naked ladies. Insane doesn’t even begin to describe it. Crude is also a word that comes to mind, but, I’m embarrassed to admit, the filmmakers do get a few originality points.

Although titilation seems to be the major driving force behind most of the film, there is a level of creativity at play that I can’t help but admire. I mean halfway through the film it suddenly abandons jungles, deserts, and cannibals, and we end up in a futuristic environment where everything is stark white. It’s part cheap Italian sword and sandal flick, part Logan’s Run. There’s even a chase involving chariots pulled by, say it with me, half-naked women. For all its ridiculousness, it works.

It doesn’t hurt that the cast, though not exactly high-level thespians, are very likable. Kitaen’s approach to her role is a bit flighty and disconnected, but it fits. She’s not supposed to be Marion Ravenwood, but she’s not your standard girl-that-needs-saving either. She begins the film as a damsel in distress, but by the end, she’s the one taking control and doing the saving. It’s one of Kitaen’s better performances, that doesn’t involve trying to seduce a car. Likewise, Brent Huff does a solid job as Willard, who’s cut more from the same mold as Jack Burton than Indiana Jones.  Zabout Breitman is serviceable as the story’s third-wheel, Beth. Ultimately, though, the character is really not necessary.

For many years, this was a film that had pretty much vanished from the radar. Recent DVD and Blu-ray releases have brought it back into the spotlight, though. Actually, let me change that…it NEVER had its moment in the spotlight back in 84, as it came and went from theaters very quickly and never really became a cable TV staple. It’s fun to see it resurrected. It’s not for the kiddies, mind you. You’re not going to put this on a post-Raiders double feature with The Jewel of Nile!  However, anyone with a taste for the weird will find something here to appreciate.

Go to Source – Forgotten Films



Next page →
← Previous page