Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Various New(ish) MOVIES!

* Universal's just re-released one of my favorite 70's horror movies, THE CAR, starring James Brolin and a... well, a killer car. I remember seeing this deadly vehicle/prop parked in a storage lot alongside Columbo's rattle-trap when I took the Universal tour in the early '80's. What makes THE CAR actually work (the movie, not the car) is that everyone takes the insane story at face value. No winks, no snark, just people being terrorized by a big black car with red windows. It's surprisingly creepy, considering many scenes are done in broad desert/Southwest daylight. The logic of a driverless indestructible killer car from hell (and sorry if that's a spoiler, but that's what it is!) is a little dicey, but who cares? Still, I would have LOVED to have been a fly on the wall during those script meetings... "and this is where the killer car terrorizes a kindergarten!"

* Val Kilmer's done great work in the past, but he seems to be falling into a Seagal/Van Damme DTV rut recently. His latest film, CONSPIRACY, is a deadly dull formula action movie about a Iraq vet whose buddy gets offed by some desert-dwelling hardliners (led by "Ricky Bobby's" Dad!), provoking the inevitable and rather tedious "revenge." Unfortunately, Kilmer spends most of the movie staring blankly at the camera and occasionally shooting someone. To clear my palate, I popped in SPARTAN for another viewing, written and directed by David Mamet, where Kilmer plays a similar character but to infinitely better effect.

* I've been trying to find a DVD copy of EXTREME CLOSE-UP, a 1973 movie from a Michael Crichton script, directed by Jeannot Szwarc (who coincidentally directed a SMALLVILLE I wrote called "Perry"), but it's been tough. Websites suggested the movie was retitled and issued in the early 2000's as SEX THROUGH A WINDOW, but even that's hard to find. I finally got a copy of SEX today, but... it sure ain't EXTREME CLOSE-UP. Instead, I received a compilation of people having sex (unknowingly, mostly) in front of surveillance cameras. Wonderful. The original EXTREME was an early exploration of the surveillance society, and I remember liking it quite a bit on first viewing. Ahh, maybe one of these days...