Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, October 02, 2009

The Ghosts of Big League B-Movies past,present and future

The B-movie,back in the olden days of Hollywood,used to be the province of the low budget,big flashy style of film making that was lucky enough to break even and make the rounds on the late show TV circuit. Like everything else in these fast paced times,the once little known slice of cinematic cheese has gotten huge,with just as much attention and circulation as it's more respected siblings on the A list.

I see that as a good thing,in some cases. Many a time,the charms of a well made genre flick have given me more bang for my buck than the fancy film fare meant to entice my cinematic palate. So,I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back,as well as forth, at a few of the prime examples of this expanded mid section of general entertainment.


To honor the late Patrick Swayze,I thought it would be fitting to showcase Point Break as a fine specimen of the beginnings of the bigger budget B movie. This was also a favorite of my late father as well-he liked a good action thriller every now and then and the combo of Kathryn Bigelow's direction with Keanu Reeves as the undercover FBI agent who takes up surfing in order to bust a gang of bank robbers known as "The Ex-Presidents" was right up his alley(and mine):


This was one of those movies that I walked into one afternoon back in 1993,truly not expecting much out of it but wanting to see something regardless. Turns out that I got more than I bargained for.

Yes,it's a sci-fi social satire that ends up with a big blow-'em-up finale but there's a lot of good humor and fun along the way. It's also eerie how many of the P.C. dictates of that future landscape in which old school cop John Spartan(Sly Stallone)was reawakened into are still alive and kicking today.

Even if you don't care about all of that,any movie where Denis Leary is the rebel leader and Wesley Snipes gets to ham it up as the Big Bad is definitely worth watching:

That brings us up to the present,where the release of ONG BAK 2 is soon to be upon us. Martial arts movies are a mainstay and fresh new faces on the scene are crucial to it's continuing success.

Tony Jaa made a great first impression on American audiences in 2004 with the original Ong Bak:The Thai Warrior and followed it up a year later with The Protector.This new movie is more of a prequel than a sequel,so if you haven't seen any of Jaa's formidable fighting skills before,this will be as good a time as any to do so:

When Boondock Saints was first released back in 1999,it had a small run in theaters before becoming a cult movie success on home video. Now,the long awaited sequel due out at the end of October,Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day,has double the budget and expectations of a much larger theatrical distribution.

It looks as if the follow-up will be along the lines of the black comedy vigilante tone set by the original,with some extra special guest stars such as Peter Fonda and Judd Nelson plus Julie Benz taking over the role of eccentric FBI profiler that Willem Defoe made infamous. Should be a real wild ride:

Now,the gruesome face of the future is leering over the horizon,ready to pounce on us during the winter and spring of 2010 and let me tell you,it may not be as bad as we feared. Despite my many doubts and general misgivings regarding remakes,the trailer for the upcoming new version of Nightmare on Elm Street does hold the promise of a decent tribute to the Wes Craven original.

Casting Jackie Earle Haley as Freddie was a good idea(instead of Billy Bob Thornton as planned)and the film makers's determination to emulate the fright factor of the first film and avoid the comedic pitfalls that plagued later entries in the series clearly shows some respect for the fans there. It's too soon to tell if this reimaging of a modern horror classic will be the exception to the pointless remake rule but hope is alive in this trailer,even if Freddy and friends are not:

Fortunately,even with all of the hoopla surrounding the current vampire craze,there is a bit of fresh blood and creativity out there. Daybreakers shows us what a world overrun by vampires would be like and it's not a pretty picture,folks. The supply of human blood is scare and vampire scientists are racing to find either a cure for their condition or an artificial source that can keep them from dying out.

Ethan Hawke stars as one of the vamp researchers who teams up with a band of renegade humans lead by a former bloodsucker(Willem Dafoe,who else?)to fight the evil corporate interests. Sounds a bit over the top but that's been the lifeblood of B-movies since cinema began,so accept no substitutes!:

Some may think that B-movies are a waste of time and while too many of them in your movie diet is not healthy,they provide a truly necessary service. B-movies give folks troubled by hard times some much needed relief and plant the seeds of movie love within young audiences,a few of whom will be inspired enough to make their own cinematic impact on the world. So,mellow out at your local matinee and bring the family for a real slice of quality time:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

I haven't seen Point Break though I really want to now but I have seen Demolition Man... I just don't really remember it. I adore Denis Leary so I've GOT to see it again. Looking forward to Nightmare On Elm Street. The originals scared me to pieces.