Showing posts with label 1984. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1984. Show all posts

7 May 2018

5 October 2014

Jarmusch Colection Blu-ray Review - Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

No comments: Links to this post


Genre:
Comedy, Drama
Distributor:
Soda Pictures
BD Release Date:
6th October 2014 (UK)
Rating: 18
Director:
Jim Jarmusch
Cast:
John Lurie, Eszter Balint,Richard Edison
Buy:Jim Jarmusch Box Set [Blu-ray]

Stranger Than Paradise was the film that made Jim Jarmusch’s name, and became one of the first films to come out of Independent film boom of the 80s and 90s. It also has the feel of a first film despite it being Jarmusch’s second feature length film: it’s the first one that is quintessential Jarmusch. It has the characters who are hipper than hip, which are still prevalent in his work—for example in his latest film, Only Lovers Left Alive.

It is a master class in minimalist storytelling, not unlike the minimalism one of Jarmusch’s heroes, Robert Bresson, employed in his work. It’s the story of the New York hipster Wllie (John Lurie) whose Hungarian cousin Eva (Eszter Balint) is visiting but is forced to stay at his place after their Aunt Lotte lands in the hospital. Initially he makes it clear he doesn’t want her to stay, but gradually he starts to enjoy her company. After 10 days she leaves for Cleveland, and the film picks up a year later when Willie and his friend Eddie (Richard Edson) decided to pay Eva a visit.

The film’s performances are naturalistic partly due to all the cast basically playing versions of themselves. Tom DiCillo, who would later be a noted director in his own right with films like Johnny Suede and Living in Oblivion, did the cinematography. It’s shot on leftover film stock, which was supplied by Wim Wenders. Wenders became a friend of Jim Jarmusch’s after watching Permanent Vacation.

The film, despite its obvious limitations and the 30 years that have passed since its release, still is as fresh and exciting when it first came out. It has aged perfectly; it’s a snapshot of a time but at the same time remains timeless, which might be down to the use of black and white. It broke the perceived notion of the independent film as inaccessible artsy crap and made it possible to be entertaining and funny outside the big studio system. It was one of the first micro-budget films that would be a box-office success, something that would be the norm a decade later. It also wound up winning numerous awards, including the Camera D’or at 1984 Cannes film festival.

The film has been restored for this Blu-Ray release and looks as good as the film could possibly ever look due to it’s budget. It includes a silent short “making of,” which was shot by Jim Jarmusch’s brother Tom. It also includes the trailers for Stranger Than Paradise along with trailers for Jarmusch’s other films.

★★★★★
Ian Schultz

29 September 2014

Blu-ray Review - Night Of The Comet (1984)

No comments: Links to this post


Genre:
Horror, sci-fi
Distributor:
Arrow Video
Rating: 15
Release Date:
29th September 2014 (UK)
Director:
Thom Eberhardt
Cast:
Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran,
buy:Night of the Comet [Dual Format DVD & Blu-ray]

Night of the Comet is a very entertaining 80s B-Movie. It’s a crossbred of teen movie, sci-fi and horror film. It wears its cinematic influences on its sleeve and its influences are obvious like Dawn of the Dead, The Omega Man, Invasion of the Body Snatchers etc. It would in turn also become a big influence on Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

A comet is set to a hit the earth and it’s the first time there has been one of this ilk since the destruction of the dinosaurs. The teenager Reggie Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart) works at a local movie theatre and stays over night in the projection room with her boyfriend Larry (Michael Bowen). However outside of the cinema everybody has turned to red dust or has become a zombie. A zombie soon kills her boyfriend and Reggie runs back and finds her sister Samantha also survived so they have to survive the post-apocalyptic landscape Southern California.

The film is very much of its time, it has the big hair, the neon clothes, the cheesy power pop soundtrack that are stereotypical of 80s films. It also has a relatively witty screenplay by its director Thom Eberhardt, you find out in the special features the tone was also problematic but it ended up being a comedy. It’s certainly not the greatest film ever made but it has enough charm and humour to entertain pretty much anyone and it’s also refreshing to see girls as the protagonists in these kinds of films.

The transfer Arrow has used showcases’ the film’s vibrant neon aesthetic quite well. It features 3 commentaries, one by director, one by the film’s star and one by the production designer. It also features about an additional 45 minutes of interviews with cast and crew. It’s finished out with the film’s theatrical trailer and a booklet with new writing on the film.

★★★
Ian Schultz

15 November 2013

Blu-Ray Review - Streets Of Fire (1984)

No comments: Links to this post

Genre:
Action, Crime
Distributor:
Second Sight
Release Date:
18th November 2013 (UK)
Director:
Walter Hill
Cast:
Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Willem Dafoe
Buy:
Streets of Fire [Blu-ray]


Streets of Fire is directed by Walter Hill and is one of the most absurdly 80s films ever made. It was described as “ a rock n’ roll fantasy” in it’s marketing and I guess it is. It’s kind of like The Wanderers but as a dumb 80s action film with horrible musical numbers and none of the substance of The Wanderers. It was a mega flop but has grown to have a cult fan base so much an unofficial sequel was made.

The whole thing is set in this 80s drenched future that is partly 1950s which gives it an interesting aesthetic. The plot is basically this singer Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) gets kidnapped by the Bombers gang lead by Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe) and Tom Cody (Michael Paré) must rescue her. The musical numbers are wretchedly 80s that start and bookmark the film that really ruins the good comic book aesthetic of the rest of the film.

Walter Hill is a very fine director who made films like The Warriors, The Driver, Southern Comfort among others. Streets of Fire is certainly one of his lesser films and owes a lot to his previous film The Warriors. It lacks what made that film so good was your cared about the The Warriors gang and wanted them to get back to Coney Island but in this the performance by Michael Paré lacks any real humanity. The film however features a fun campy performance by Willem Dafoe as the main villain and a amusing cameo from the lead singer of seminal L.A punk band Fear Lee Ving as one of Dafoe’s main cronies.

Streets of Fire is perfectly watchable but Walter Hill has made numerous better films but it has a strange 80s charm at times which saves it from being a total disaster. It’s clear to see why it bombed though because it’s simply not that good and to off kilter at times for a mainstream audience. It was suppose to start a franchise but naturally that didn’t happen until recently with the unauthorized sequel with Paré reprising his role. Second Sight as usual has pull out all the stops with the bonus features including a feature length doc and the original EPK.

★★★☆☆

Ian Schultz