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Universal Soldier: Regeneration-Hybridizing Van Damme and Modern Warfare

Posted in Harrison Gish, Review with tags , , on May 8, 2010 by hgish

As a general rule, I will like any film that has the word “regeneration” as a subtitle.  Be it a zombie movie, a political thriller, or, as is the case with Universal Soldier: Regeneration, an action film as heavily influenced by Modern Warfare 2 as it is by Eastern Europe paranoia, I’ll probably get my jollies.  Add an over-the-hill Jean-Claude Van Damme and an over-the-hill-and-into-the-chasm Dolph Lundgren, revisiting an action “franchise” they roundhouse-kick started back in the early nineties, and the appeal only grows.  Throw in a dash of some of the most visually-striking cinematography ever included in a straight-to-video action film, courtesy of the accomplished Peter Hyams, and superior fight choreography, and I’ll start exaggerating the movie’s importance to my friends. Continue reading

New Classic: Jacob’s Ladder

Posted in New Classic with tags on January 22, 2010 by hgish

Jacob’s Ladder, directed by Adrian Lyne and released in 1990, is a remarkable movie.  To classify it specifically as a horror film is to oversimplify, for Jacob’s Ladder fucks with notions of genre as much as it fucks with the minds of its viewers.  Indeed, the film might be best classified as a complex horror-drama, as its story is one of self-discovery and personal growth in the face of excessive mental and physical trauma.  In fact, I’ve encountered no other film that deals with the Vietnam War so abstractly, and yet so fully asks (or forces) the viewer to consider the aftereffects of gratuitous, perhaps pointless, armed conflict.  Continue reading

The Book of Eli: Deliver us from January

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on January 17, 2010 by hgish

The Book of Eli, the newest movie from ghetto (filmmaking) celebrities the Hughes Brothers, is better than any January film has any right to be.  As you are probably well aware, January is generally understood as a cinematic graveyard, a time during which all films theatrically released are expected to die short, unpleasant deaths.  This is due to the fact that Oscar gambits come to a close at the beginning of the New Year – any film released after December 31st won’t be considered for the previous year’s Academy Awards.  Hence, though Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones wasn’t released nationally until January 15th, it played in Los Angeles and New York starting in mid-December, so that it could hopefully garner the desirable Oscar nod.  Those films that are released theatrically on a national scale during January are expected to be entirely off the cultural and Academy radar by the time the next round of nominations are picked.  Continue reading

New Classic: The Princess Bride

Posted in New Classic with tags , on December 12, 2009 by hgish

Is The Princess Bride the greatest family fantasy of the 1980s?  I certainly think so.  The epitome of a Hollywood style that has literally disappeared during the past twenty years, Rob Reiner’s 1987 adventure classic stands as a testament to the period during which it was created.  Continue reading

New Classic: King of New York

Posted in New Classic with tags , , on November 13, 2009 by hgish

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“My emotions are dead.”  So says Christopher Walken’s gangster and New York City drug kingpin Frank White, recently released from prison and eager to revitalize his life of crime and vice, at the beginning of Abel Ferrara’s 1990 film King of New YorkContinue reading

New Classic: Elephant

Posted in New Classic with tags , , on October 30, 2009 by hgish

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The beauty and brilliance of Gus Van Sant’s 2003 masterpiece Elephant are deeply indebted to two of the film’s inseparable elements: the visual style of cinematographer Harris Savides’ mobile camera and Van Sant’s mature, even-handed approach to the subjects of both Columbine and the trauma of school shooting. Continue reading

New Classic: 28 Days Later

Posted in New Classic with tags , , , on October 23, 2009 by hgish

zombie foxtrot

It’s scary to think that the modern zombie cycle, currently moving into the realm of parody with Ruben Fleischer’s hilarious Zombieland, is less than a decade old.  Continue reading