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Before & After: The Goonies All Grown Up

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The Goonies managed to personify everything you wanted to be able to do as a child, but it wasn’t possible and even if it was, you weren’t allowed to. It’s an inspirational tale of a group of kids who embark on a coming of age adventure, which manages to produce enthusiasm in people of all ages. But what are the child stars up to these days, all grown up?

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MIKEY

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Mikey, the leader of the group, was played by Sean Astin and this was his film debut. These days, he appears on TV a lot, including NCIS and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but his most famous role was that of Sam in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Should you ever fancy catching him as you’ve never seen him before, we highly recommend watching 2007 indie horror flick, Borderland.

Goonies Fact: Astin left halfway through recording a DVD commentary for the film and never came back. The recording session had started later than scheduled and Astin had already made plans to introduce his friend Joe Pantoliano who was M.C.’ing at a local theatre. He left the recording studio for a quick change of clothes, popped his head back in to say why he had to make an early departure, and left an action figure of his Lord of The Rings character, Sam Gamgee to take his place.

MOUTH

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Clark, or Mouth as he is nicknamed, was the loud one of the group, portrayed by Corey Feldman. Since then, his most famous role was in another iconic coming of age tale, Stand By Me, in which he played an equally bold and brash young lad. He has also been in many films such as cult fave, Lost Boys, but most recently took part in ITV’s Dancing on Ice. Quite the switch, right?

Goonies Fact: Mouth’s grandma is in fact Feldman’s real grandma.

CHUNK

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Chunk, the loveable inventor of the truffle shuffle, was played by Jeff Cohen. Since hitting adulthood, Cohen has shied away from the limelight and now runs a law firm which practices entertainment related law.

Goonies Fact: Cohen got chicken pox just after being cast as Chunk but pulled himself out of bed to turn up on set as he was frightened he would be replaced by someone else.

DATA

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Richard Wang or “Data” was played by Ke Huy Quan, who was already rather famous thanks to his role as Short Round in Spielberg’s classic, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Since then, Quan has also taken himself away from the limelight, and instead works behind it: he became a fight choreographer and has worked on such films as X-Men and The One.

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BRAND

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The oldest of the group, Mikey’s big brother was Brandon, AKA Brand, who was played by Josh Brolin. Perhaps the most famous of the bunch, Brolin has gone on to appear in many blockbusters including Gangster Squad, W and the Oscar winning No Country for Old Men. He also plays the lead role in the upcoming adaption of the Japanese classic, Oldboy.

Goonies Fact: When the Goonies gang is in the restaurant’s basement there is a scene with Josh Brolin and Sean Astin arguing. Pay close attention and you’ll hear Mikey say “There is so,Josh!”

ANDY

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Andrea or Andy, was the eye candy of the group, played by Kerri Green. Since The Goonies she quit acting and started a family some years later. Having said that, she has made a few causal TV appearances, including ER and Law and Order.

We’ll leave you with a vintage clip from Entertainment Tonight way back in June, 1985 featuring interviews with the cast on the brink of experiencing the success that The Goonies brought with it.

Goonies Fact: Out of all the main cast members of the film, she is the only one who doesn’t appear in the music video for Cyndi Lauper’s ‘The Goonies R Good Enough’.


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Features

FanTRASHtique #2 – Killer Image (1992)

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It’s time for some TRASH folks! Welcome to FanTRASHtique. This time we’ll start off with a little story. So, after making a list of films for the upcoming weeks, it occurred to Howard and myself that I actually have nothing to watch this week (the issues to come will be more well prepared). With that in mind, I went on a spiritual journey to where some of the worst films on earth dwell. That’s right, I poped along to Poundland. For anyone unaware of the concept, Poundland is the home of vaguely useful things, and things beyond your wildest imagination, all under the very affordable price of £1. You can imagine how their ‘entertainment’ section is somewhat dubious. I grabbed a basket and swiftly filled it with a stack of things that had vaguely recognizable names, and some trashy potential, and chose at random. The film for this week is Killer Image (1992) starring Michael Ironside.

Max Oliver (John Pyper-Ferguson) watches his photographer brother die at the whim of an assassin known as Luther Kane (Michael Ironside). Upon inspection, Max discovers his brother Ric’s photographs which explicitly show a powerful senator in a relationship of an intimate nature with a prostitute. Luther attempts to hunt down Max, in order to preserve his brother John Kane (M. Emmet Walsh) and his political career. As you’d expect, the plot can only go one way, as it boils down to an inevitable conclusion with Max and Luther.

I’m not entirely sure how to approach Killer Image, given how Street Trash went down but here it goes. Here lies is a stable movie. It has a basic plot that gets the job done, although it’s incredibly uninspired and thoroughly unspectacular. From the opening scene, you can pretty much infer what’ll happen for the next hour and a half. It’s also chock-full of those typical action logic flaws we all know and love. Here’s just a few from the opening scene:

– How on earth did Luther manage to both kill Ric, and shoot Max off his motorcycle using a silenced pistol from several hundred metres away?

– Why did Ric just stand there when he was being shot at?

– How do you shoot someone off a motorcycle without shooting the rider or motorcycle?

– Why would Luther just leave, knowing full well someone just saw him kill a man?

I know it’s generally a bad idea to look for sound logic in an action film of all things, but they slow begin to irritate after an hour or so. Ultimately my enjoyment boiled down to one thing in Killer Image, Michael Ironside. Everything is vaguely mediocre, and not in a funny way, more of a ‘this is mildly flawed’ way. However, Michael Ironside is a horribly underrated character actor, and his stiff-upper-lip assassin, Luther Kane, is quite the watch. I imagine as we continue FanTRASHtique we’ll encounter a lot of awful films that seem to balance themselves precariously on one well known actor’s performance. Killer Image is pretty much the epitome of that.

My conclusion this time is quite a toughie. Killer Image is full of niggling errors, continuity flaws, with an all-around average plot. The acting and shot composition was all fine, and there’s nothing I could really say is laughably bad. I think that’s the problem though. If it was laughably bad, Killer Image would actually be a lot more enjoyable. As it stands, I’d probably say just watch a simply better thriller or action film, and give this one a miss, unless you really love Michael Ironside.

Verdict: Killer Image is certainly watchable, but I can’t think of a reason why you ever would. At points I leaned towards a positive verdict, but just plain trash seems much more fair.

Not quite as vivid as my look into the bizarre and surreal world of Street Trash, but they can’t all be winners. Not to lose hope though, I’ve some much more ‘exciting’ movies lined up for the next few editions. That’s it for FanTRASHtique this time folks, until next time, stay trashy and we’ll leave you with a trailer for Killer Image. And don’t forget,you can follow us over on Twitter @FanTRASHtique where we warmly appreciate your recommendations for future reviews.

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Short Film

A Short Mission #3: Superman

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When you think of comic book geeks, what comes to mind? Perhaps a spotty, short guy in a superman t-shirt who looks like he’s never seen the sun. Or a recluse who lives in mountains of vintage comics. Well, this guy is a little bit different.

The superhero genre attracts a large range of society, from the aforementioned, to casual followers. Rarely do you find someone so devoted yet so nonchalant and downright cool.

Superman follows a Clark Kent aficionado who religiously follows the caped crusader. His name is Christopher Dennis and to say the least, he is charming. It’s an interesting spin on how obsessive fans work, as he seems a genuinely down to earth person.

Superman follows his life: his job, his past and his one true love. It really is a heart-warming story: a man with a huge passion which is shared by his wife. There is not a single thing that is not loveable about Dennis: he came from the cusp of brutal desperation as his life was at a low thanks to an addiction to drugs. Cue Superman, and his life was changed forever: it is now his everything.

The documentary silently follows his life and creators and directors Copper and Canepari do not dictate his every step: instead they trudge behind him, watching his moves and letting him be the superhero he always wanted to be. This short has a very strong, genuine nature to it which gleams through constantly; also a reflection of Dennis’ personality.

Superman is an intriguing look into one man’s life; a man is so abjectly devoted to the franchise, yet he’s still fairly normal. Dennis’ life is a charming story and this short shows it perfectly. It is a tale of someone whose life was literally saved by Superman.

And the most surprising aspect? He’s just like any of us (but a little bit cooler).


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FeaturesMovie Lists

Before & After: Total Recall (1990)

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Total Recall is still – to this day – one of the best sci-fi movies ever made.

Why? Because it is based on a Philip K. Dick short story and he was one of the major science-fiction writers to ever have set foot on Earth. Total Recall also encapsulates the spirit of ’90s-style filmmaking thanks to director Paul Verhoeven’s vision. It features everything we loved about the ’90s : Arnold Schwarzenegger as your muscular common dude and part-time hero, Sharon Stone as a demonic uber-fit wife, a triple-breasted alien, suspense, action, romance, bad guys… Long story short, Total Recall is one of those movies that you have to watch once in your life. Or once a year.

But what happened to the cast of Total Recall?

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Then : Arnold was obviously the hero, Douglas Quaid. The year is 2084. Doug is a construction worker on Earth but has strange recurring dream about Mars and a mysterious woman. As it turns out, Quaid’s memory was erased and he is in fact a secret agent…

Now : After a few years in office as the Governor of California, Arnold has been back on the silver screen. As of now he has 3 announced projects for 2015 : Terminator, The Legends of Conan and Triplets. He has just finished filming Sabotage that has been sent to post-production and he is on the set of two movies : Maggie and The Expandables 3. In case you missed Arnold when he was no longer acting, you’ll be pleased to be seeing plenty of him in the next years.

Rachel Ticotin

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Then : Rachel was Melina, Douglas Quaid’s mysterious dream-girl. Melina is a resistance fighter who knew Quaid before his memory was erased.

Now : Ticotin has mainly scored small roles in TV series for the past few years. With a last appearance in an episode of Blue Bloods, it doesn’t seem like she has any upcoming projects.

Sharon Stone

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Then : Sharon played Quaid’s wife, Lori. This loving-wife persona is just a cover and she actually works for the bad guy in order to monitor Quaid.

Now : Sharon will star in 3 movies that will be released this year : Lovelace, Fading Gigolo, Gods Behaving Badly. While on the set of Un Ragazzo d’Oro, she has acted in What About Love – currently in post-production – and will be part of 3 projects coming up : Papa, Army Bratz, Mothers Day.

Ronny Cox

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Then : Ronny was Vilos Cohaagen, the governor of Mars. He is the corrupt head of the bad guys.

Now : Cox has appeared in a few TV series and is back to the silver screen. The Reach is currently being filmed and Nadia’s Promise is in pre-production. Both projects are scheduled to be released in 2014.

We’ll leave you with the trailer for Schwarzenegger‘s latest movie, Escape Plan which is released in the UK on October 18th.

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Features

Guilty Treasures: 1996’s Evita

Evita-DI

If I had a choice, I would round up all musicals, especially mainstream musicals, and pop them in the guilty pleasures pot. I’d leave out the truly outstanding ones, the cult ones, so people can marvel on how exactly you can make a musical without being so ludicrously over the top. You may not agree with me because nearly everyone I know loves musicals, I do too. But when it comes to mainstream movies good acting is abandoned for singing and if you are going to do a movie of that nature, then at least include some stellar performances (see: Moulin Rouge!) Otherwise it just becomes dance numbers and songs, looped together by a strained plot.

The point being is that most musicals are, or should be, guilty pleasures. In particular is this movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Evita.

Evita stars Madonna and Antonio Banderas and depicts, in flashy song form, the life of Argentinean First Lady Eva Peron and her rise to fame. Starting off life as an illegitimate child who is denied attending her own father’s funeral, Eva is spurred on by being outcast by his middle class family. Eva is determined to succeed and she will leave a string of lovers behind her wake. This is until she runs into Juan Peron, the future Argentinean president….

Why Is It Bad?

There is always going to a problem with translating a much loved stage show to the big film and director Alan Parker runs into many issues. In order to film in Argentina, the movie has to cut a lot of risqué material from the show, much to the show’s dismay as it loses some of those darker elements that work so well on stage. And for some reason, Madonna is sandwiched into every age of Eva, jarring when it comes to her younger self. This process could have worked better opting for a younger actress and aging her.

Also, on the note of Madonna. I have never been a massive fan of hers anyway but Madonna here is testing. Trying hard as Eva, Madonna somehow makes her sympathetic when the whole point of the story is to show how much of an actress and how cut throat Eva Peron was in succeeding. Madonna is given songs that don’t work for the character, extra ones written out of context such as “You Must Love Me” that ruin genuinely subtle moments.

It’s all a bit to grandiose and it means the film suffers.

Why Is It Good?

evitaAntonion Banderas, for one, is an excellent Che. Playing a role of Eva’s conscience and indeed, the voice of reason, Banderas is cutting and judgemental. He delivers a fine performance and succeeds in acting bitter within his vocal and dancing performances. Astonishing to watch, Banderas pulls this movie round.

There are some moments of pure emotion here too, whether it be frightening or enjoyable. The crowd scenes are hauntingly powerful. As crowds chant names just outside the consulate house, the people become this terrifying amalgamation of blind following and it is chilling to watch. This added to the gripping war and protest scenes, Evita does grip you into to its flowery vocal bosom.

And as much as I hate to say this, apart from making Eva a sympathetic character instead of the cutthroat bitch she is supposed to be, Madonna is actually good. Although that makes her music career even more frustrating, Madonna can sing and sometimes, in moments, can act.

Evita is flashy. It is big and bold, grabbing you by the wrist and singing in your face. It is hard to ignore, certainly I’ve had “Goodnight and Thank You!” in my head for weeks now. And although it does abandon some of the realistic or shockingly dark moments for colours and prettiness, Evita is enjoyable. It is a movie you can watch with your family and get past this irritability to enjoy the Webber/Rice music.


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Features

FanTRASHtique #1: Street Trash (1987)

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vlcsnap-2013-10-08-16h40m21s221I suppose I should start this article off with an explanation of what FanTRASHTique is. Basically, it’s an ongoing feature where I watch awful, awful films, as suggested by my editor or Cinema Chords readers, or more specifically, films that are so inconceivably bad that they’re actually quite good. I go in blind each time knowing completely nothing about the film. I watch it, then write this up with the verdict of whether it’s FanTRASHTique, or just plain … trash.  Well, let the suffering begin. We’re starting with Street Trash (1987), a film I knew absolutely nothing about at the time.

Street Trash is about filthy, filthy hobos and their constant war for supremacy in the streets of…not sure? I’d tell you the characters’ names, or actors if they were relevant, or if I actually knew them. For the sake of hilarity (or more likely my own convenience) I’ll use nicknames.

Shabby Hobo is stressed because his brother, Mini Hobo doesn’t talk to him as much since they both became homeless. Meanwhile, Shabby Hobo goes to the local boozery and buys the finest liquor he can, for the astounding price of 1$. What the chubby bearded shopkeeper sold him is an old unknown liquor he found in his mouldy basement, known simply as ‘Tenafly Viper’. His booze is stolen by another hobo, who promptly melts and dissolves down a toilet bowl. Some bums play a fun game of catch-the-dismembered-penis. Meanwhile, Shabby steals an Italian Mafioso’s date, violates her in the junk yard, then leaves her to fend for herself, as she’s horribly gang-raped and killed by street-bums. Detective Tough-As-Fuck takes the case, shaking down the local street trash for her whereabouts. As more and more drink the dreaded liquor, the hobo population begins to dwindle…

A messy synopsis, but rather suiting for a film with about 5 narrative sub-plots, and an improperly planned storyline. The melting deaths are both hilarious, but rather horrifying too (don’t worry, that why we include images). The whole thing is just indescribable. You have this main storyline of this heroic hobo, who mainly just does things for his own want. There’s no real build, as it ‘builds’ up to a confrontation with Vietnam flashback Hobo, for no apparent reason. Meanwhile between these horrifying visual deaths, and seemingly unrelated character events, there’s a Mafia sub plot involving a tough chinned cop and a not-very-Italian Italian man. Again, for seemingly no reason. Not to mention the gang-rape that comes out of literally nowhere. The conversations are also pretty garbled and non-sensical, except for the occasionally golden line of dialogue.

Street Trash is a truly terrible film, and I can only recommend you BUY IT RIGHT NOW AND DON’T LOOK BACK. I’m dead serious. Street Trash is a fantastic film, and a true tome in cult cinema, that everyone MUST see. It’s hilarious, comically bad, captures the entirety of ’80s film-making in about two hours, and I really can’t do it justice. It’ll amaze, appal, astound, and it may possibly be one of the best (WORST) films of all time. Watch Street Trash (MORE LIKE SWEET TRASH), and tune in next time for another edition of FanTRASHTique.

We’ll leave you with the original trailer and also the rare original short film it was based on to whet your appetite for this masterpiece. Be sure to follow this section on Twitter @FanTRASHtique where we’d love you to recommend which bargain basement movies you’d like to see us cover here.


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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission #2: Right Place

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The economy of Kosai Sekine‘s short is pretty impressive, with every shot contributing towards the overall theme, including the title animation. It wastes absolutely no time in establishing its character’s personality with quick shots that let us know everything we need to know. It uses established visual cues, such as him going against the tide on the escalator, to inform us about him, but doesn’t linger long enough either for the short to drag, or for us to really have the time to think about how we have seen that device a million times before. It is perhaps the tightly controlled focus of this short that makes it so impressive.

One of its other most notable elements is the sound design. The use of music is very well matched to the story, and in fact functions as a key part of the narrative. It strongly places us within the protagonist’s mindset, in many respects taking the place that dialogue or voiceover would normally hold, which only further enhances the film’s clean and crisp style. When we do finally get some dialogue it’s almost disappointing at first because of how well the film was managing without it, however upon reflection, it is needed at precisely the moment in which it is used, in order to quickly further the story, rather than by taking longer to explain the character’s thought process visually.

All in all Right Place is an extremely well made short. It’s sharply written and directed, has a great sense of style, tells a simple story effectively, and isn’t afraid to use humour to advance the story. It’s a great example of what short films can be, and one which we hope you enjoy watching!

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FeaturesMovie Lists

Before & After: Star Wars

star wars

It been over 35 years since A New Hope stunned audiences worldwide and cinema has changed a lot since then. Incidentally, so have the actors who made up the famous cast of George Lucas‘ first three Star Wars films.

So, who’s been the most successful? And who’s still clinging to their fame from the 1970s? Find out below…

Mark Hamill

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Probably the best way to make a film debut, Mark Hamill hit the screens in 1977 as Luke Skywalker: farmer boy turn Jedi hero. After no more real film success, Hamill took to voice acting, most notably in the recent Xbox 360/Playstation 3 game Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, in which he voiced the Joker.

Carrie Fisher

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Like the rest, she was propelled to fame by Star Wars but has suffered mentally and physically since the films. She is open about her struggle with bipolar disorder as well as prescription drug addiction. Nevertheless, Fisher has been in numerous TV shows and films including When Harry Met Sally and Smallville. She has also written books about her life including Wishful Drinking, which was adapted into a successful stage show.

Harrison Ford

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Cast as the coolest cat in the galaxy far far away, Harrison Ford was shot to stardom with his role as Han Solo. Arguably the most famous out of the bunch, Ford starred in numerous films such as The Fugitive, Blade Runner and also the iconic Indiana Jones.

Peter Mayhew

Peter-Mayhew-–-Chewbacca-While-working-as-a-hospital-orderly-in-London-the-7-foor-3.-When-Mayhew-attended-a-casting-call-for-Star-Wars-he-got-the-job-the-moment-he-stood-up-to-shake-Lucass-hand.

Unphased by typecasting, Mayhew continued his career as Chewbacca by making a living from it. He has made numerous appearances as Solo’s furry friend and the 7-foot actor continues to this day.

James Earl Jones

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His iconic voice spans more films than just Star Wars, but perhaps his most well known is that of Darth Vader. Starring in numerous films, his most prolific is perhaps Lion King, as the voice of Mustafa. Earl Jones continues to work in many areas of entertainment to this day, including an appearance on Two and A Half Men.

Anthony Daniels

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The man behind the gold plated cyborg, Daniels’ iconic performance was replicated in all six of the Star Wars films. And he stuck to what he was best at, voicing in numerous Star Wars console games (The Force Unleashed), television series (Droids) and CGI films (The Clone Wars).

Kenny Baker

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As well as Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker is the only actor to appear in all six of the franchise’s films. In a 2011 interview, he informally came out about his friction with Daniels: “He thinks he was the greatest gift to Lucas and I was merely a nobody operating a robot’s controls and didn’t contribute anything from an acting perspective.”

And with these reassuring words from Ford “It’s not in the bag yet, but I think it’s happening” regarding his involvement in the new Star Wars film and also Hamill and Fisher’s returns heavily rumoured, it’s only a matter of time before we see them back on the big screen, fighting the Empire once again. We’ll leave you with a recent interview with Harrison Ford proving that even all these years later there are still a few grudges that were frozen in carbonite along with Han Solo.

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Features

6 Sequels You May Not Have Known Existed

Attack-of-the-Sequels

Sequels are an odd species.

Sometimes they’re stunning, particularly if James Cameron’s involved – any Part 2 he undertakes is generally the epitome of cinematic perfection: case in point, Aliens and The Terminator 2. Others tend to flail and fall by the wayside, doomed for eternal comparison to their far superior originals. Here’s a list of some of the most prominent sequels that vanished into the ether.


1. The Birds 2: Land’s End (1994)

Poster_of_the_movie_The_Birds_IIThis bizarre TV movie was given the green light a full fourteen years after Hitchcock’s death, so it’s unsurprising that it doesn’t hold a candle to the original. The Birds 2 is a notorious train wreck of a movie – note that Alan Smithee is classed as director, as real director Rick Rosenthal evidently deemed it too dire a project to be associated with. Doing its best to deviate from the plot of Part 1, the film tells the story of Biology teacher Ted (Brad Johnson) and his wife May (Chelsea Field), who take their two children to their island summer house to give Ted time to write an important thesis. Similarities to The Shining are abundant up to this point, but lacking any of Kubrick’s artistic flair or Hitchcock’s ability to build tension and fear out of the frankly dopey premise of killer birds. Ultimately, when the birds do start attacking the cast, it’s a welcome distraction from the consistently clunky dialogue and wonky acting. Most absurd is the town mayor’s persistent denial that the waves of attacks have been caused by birds at all: surely the peck marks and wing-shaped bruises would give it away?

Tippi Hedren makes an appearance, this time as Helen rather than Melanie, though she too publicly denounced the flick. “It’s absolutely horrible,” she told interviewers after its release, “it embarrasses me horribly.” It’s no wonder no one’s heard of it, then, when even its stars are pretending it doesn’t exist.

2. S. Darko (2008)

s-darkoAn indirect sequel to Richard Kelly’s 2001 cult hit Donnie Darko, S. Darko sees Donnie’s little sister Samantha (Daveigh Chase) plagued by sinister visions and creepy bunnies on a road trip to California. Whilst this film admirably stuck to the original’s low budget, it lamentably abandoned its intelligence, ultimately winding up being weird for the sake of weird. Critics lambasted its muddled storyline and superficial dialogue – “The world is going to end!” yells One Tree Hill’s James Lafferty. Chase’s acting is a highlight, but all she does is stand out against a cast of drab co-stars, including Saved By The Bell’s Elizabeth Berkley, which seems a peculiar casting choice, given how perky all the teenagers in that nostalgia-soaked show always were compared to the ample insecurities of Donnie. Worst of all, the intriguing insight into teen angst that Part 1 did so perfectly seems to have been discarded in favour of quirky CGI, and consequently the absence of both Richard Kelly and Jake Gyllenhaal is sorely felt.

The film is also notable for its utterly bizarre marketing strategy, in that prior to its release, the film’s PR company uploaded a video to YouTube of faux surveillance footage depicting a child being crushed by a dumpster falling from the sky. Whilst dying children are rarely an effective way to promote a film, the footage was so obviously fake that no one suspected its authenticity for a second. The Comments board on the YouTube page speaks for itself.

3. Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby (1976)

db_5855It’s safe to say that Rosemary’s Baby didn’t need a sequel. Roman Polanski’s horror masterpiece left its most disturbing scene for the last ten minutes, creating a supremely creepy and ambiguous ending for its audience to mull over for weeks after viewing. By the time the chance to direct a sequel rolled around, Polanski had moved on to bigger things, but Ira Levin (writer of the original novel) was evidently eager to continue milking the cash cow, and serves as co-scriptwriter on this subpar follow-up. Based on Levin’s own novel Son of Rosemary, the film depicts the life of Adrian, Rosemary’s son, picking up eight years after the events of Part 1 and sticking with him as he gets adopted by the madam of a Southern brothel until the birth of a child of his own. Ruth Gordon returns as Minnie (the role that won her an Oscar in 1969) but even she can’t redeem this lavish descent into hokey ritual and bizarre mime acts. Whereas the first film preyed on the disturbing idea of satanic forces invading the family unit, compelling us to question the haunting prospect of how much we can really trust our loved ones, the second one is never really sure what it wants to say, or how it wants to scare us. Fans of Part 1 should avoid at all costs.

 

4. Ace Ventura Jr: Pet Detective (2009)

Ace_Ventura_Jr_Detective_de_Mascotas-174747570-largeAnother direct-to-DVD sequel: not a horror film this time – though it may as well be. Ace Ventura 3 stars young Josh Flitter as Ace’s son, forced to step into his father’s shoes when his mother is wrongly arrested for stealing a panda. (You read that right.)

Whilst the two original Ace Ventura flicks were smash hits for the ‘90s and gave Jim Carrey a role that fit him “like a glove,” this one struggles – and fails – to compete in any capacity. Carrey doesn’t show up in this, though Flitter has evidently watched the first two films on a loop to master his impersonation. As a result, it’s a bit like watching those “junior” spinoffs of popular cartoons (Disney Babies, Muppet Babies) which were always fairly weird and extremely pointless.

Under-10s may enjoy it, but judging by the YouTube comments on the film’s trailer page, including “Why is this a thing?” and “Kill it before it lays eggs,” this clearly isn’t the crowd-pleaser it intends to be. Which, again, is probably why it’s disappeared without trace.

 

5. The Sting 2 (1983)

the-sting-2-movie-poster-1983-1020248549The first and only film on our list to be nominated for an Oscar – or for anything – and to actually be any good.

The sequel to 1973 classic The Sting, The Sting 2 picks up on Gondorff and Hooker as they attempt to scam “Countess Veronique” (aka Phoebe from Friends’ mum). Confusingly, certain aspects of the original have been altered for apparently no reason: Henry Gondorff has been renamed “Fargo,” whilst Johnny Hooker is now Jake Hooker and has a background in boxing, and Newman and Redford’s absence is sadly all-too-blatant.

Given the explosive success of Part 1 (seven Oscars including Best Picture, nominated for an additional three, and a profit of over $150 million), you can’t blame them for trying, and whilst this does feel a little Ocean’s Twelve in parts, it’s not abysmal. Fingers crossed, however, that this will never be a trilogy.

 

 

6. I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006)

Ill-Always-Know-What-You-Did-Last-Summer_341c098aPart Three of the infamous franchise could opt to take the story to an entirely new realm. It could have Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. raising their young son in the suburbs, only to have the hook-wielding fisherman reappear to cause havoc for Freddie Prinze Jr. Jr. and family. It could. But it doesn’t. Instead, the premise treads almost identical territory as Part 1, producing what can only be labelled a remake with none of the original’s teen heartthrob cast or its kitschy charm.

It’s predictable, but a shame, that none of the original cast make an appearance. At least the Final Destination franchise kept Ali Larter billowing about for as long as credible storytelling would permit. And can’t you just envisage Jennifer L.H. cropping up as a Wise Old Owl character, living alone in the woods or babbling away in a mental asylum, warning the new young cast of their impending doom? But she doesn’t. Equally strange is how the characters seem entirely aware of the events of the first film, but never choose to question how bizarre it is that history’s repeating itself. If you’re a fan of the first one, you may as well just re-watch it, if only for the nostalgia factor, and for the fact that it was made when direct-to-DVD horror was thankfully rare.


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Short Film

A Short Mission #1: Dr. Easy

dr-easy

Welcome to the very first of (hopefully) many short film showcases here on Cinema Chords, and we’re kick things of in humungous proportions, as we take a look at Dr. Easy. This is a short film from Shynola, primarily a music video company aiming to branch and expand out of that. It was released by Film 4/Warp Films just a few months back, and had us in awe the first time we saw it following the global release on Twitter.

Dr. Easy places us outside a house presumably in London, with the road littered with police demanding a man inside step down. We see numerous personnel, armed to the teeth. A skinny android unfolds from a small port in a van, and begins to move, it’s holographic face glowing with surging blue light. It ascends the stairs and scans its surroundings before reaching the top floor where the subject stands. We see a man, Michael Sawyer, holding a shotgun. He’s bleeding profusely from the mouth and can’t talk due to a police sniper wound, and seems very distressed. Dr. Easy treats him attentively with a local anaesthetic, before realising what Michael’s intention is. We can only helplessly stare at Michael’s fate as it unfolds, as we see a glimpse of humanity in the robot’s cold display.

Obviously the first praise goes to Dr. Easy, and it’s empathetic voice by Geraldine Jones. It seems so robotic and cold at first, with its gangly frame and garish structure, but the voice and motion goes to personify it as human. By the end of the very brief time frame of 9 minutes, you will almost certainly feel empathy for the machine. The pacing of Dr. Easy is timed to a tee, and manages to build such tension and suspense which is almost impossible for such a short film. From climbing the stairs, analysing it’s environment, and pleading for Michael to surrender. Each step it pulse-pounding, building to a shocking crescendo as the short climaxes.

We can’t recommend Dr. Easy enough. I hope you enjoyed watching it, and I certainly look forward to seeing more of what Shynola can do.

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FeaturesMovie Lists

10 Sequels That Just Weren’t Meant To Be

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There are so many films we all dream will get the sequel treatment but then there are so many we just can’t for a reason understand why they made one, let alone two or three.

Here is the definitive list of sequels which were nearly but never came into existence, ranging from the ‘that needed to be completed’ to the ‘thank you universe for not letting that happen’.


1: Superman Lives

tumblr_inline_mk12s07jd11qz4rgpA reboot of the franchise in the ‘90s, which was to be directed by Tim Burton and written by Kevin Smith. Who was going to be Superman? None other than Nicholas Cage.

The movie would have been an adaptation of “The Death of Superman” storyline from the comics.

Should it have happened?

Judging by what Tim Burton did to the Batman films, a categorical no. And Cage as Clark Kent is just wrong. So, so wrong.


2: Mrs Doubtfire 2

Senora_Doubtfire_Papa_De_Por_Vida-Interior_FrontalAlthough the intention was there, Robin Williams claims that it simply couldn’t be written: the plot couldn’t really go anywhere now that her true identify was revealed.

Should it have happened?

Even though Mrs. Doubtfire was a fresh and funny approach to comedy and is still Williams’ highest grossing film, a sequel would have just seemed like a plug to make more money, therefore probably lacking in originality.


3: Unnamed 4th Spiderman

TOBEY_MAGUIRE_SPIDERMANA film that looked into Peter Parker’s school life. Tobey McGuire quit after reading the script and Sam Raimi was never involved.

Should it have happened?

If Raimi and McGuire were up for another one, as the franchise was a great addition to the superhero genre, it would have been welcomed. But without those two, Spiderman 4 would have been absolutely implausible.


4: Napoleon Dynamite 2

20060718_napoleon_dynamite_2Nothing was confirmed and it is still uncertain how far the project went, but, in 2006 Efren Ramirez, Pedro, told a radio station he was in talks about a sequel. Whilst an animated spin-off series was aired with the entire original cast returning to reprise their roles in January, 2012 it was as soon as May of that same year the Fox announced their decision to cancel said series.

Should it have happened?

Heck yes!


5: ET 2: Nocturnal fears

Drew-Struzan-etA very weird, disturbing proposed sequel involving E.T’s fellow alien chums coming down to earth and torturing Elliot for information about where the little brown guy went. E.T. turns up at the end and takes the kids away to safety. Spielberg later decided it wouldn’t fit in with the original (cant see why).

Should it have happened?

Maybe a sequel involving E.T. would have been a good idea, but one with echoing screams of children in the middle of a forest? I’m not so keen.


6: Matrix 4

am_6_4354462_421079What nearly happened?

It had been rumoured for years and still is and after the Wachowskis had a law suit filed against them for $300 million, accusing them of stealing the idea to numbers 2 and 3, perhaps this will never happen.

Should it have happened?

The Matrix was a classic, but the subsequent sequels were getting worse. Perhaps it would have been good, but with no plot details we will never know.


7: Forrest 2: Gump and Co.

forrest-gump-frases-celebresAfter the massive success of the first Gump film, script writer Eric Roth set to work on another movie in which Forrest makes more cameo appearances in certain historical scenes such as the taking down of the Berlin wall, dancing with Diana and strangely, helping O.J. Simpson escape from the police. This is the kind of stuff you might be able to get away with pre 9/11, but as the script was turned in literally on the 10th of September 2001, it was deemed a no-go. Roth said to slashfilm.com: “We don’t think this is relevant anymore. The world had changed [after 9/11].”

Should it have happened?

It simply wouldn’t have been the same and the thought of seeing Gump help O.J. escape destroys all the warm feelings we have towards Forrest.


8: Gladiator 2: Christ Killer

20090506_nickgladiator_560x335Russell Crowe asked singer-turned-actor Nick Cave to write a sequel to the film, already with the whole plot set out. Cave, according to Yahoo!, described the plot as follows: “The gods are dying so they send Gladiator back to kill Christ and his followers.” In doing so, he becomes an eternal warrior but has to kill someone who ends up being his son.

Very much in keeping with the original, it seems that Crowe was the driving force behind this, but it fell at the first hurdle, rejected by the studio. What a shame.

Should it have happened?

In no way, shape or form. Another case of a classic movie having a proposed sequel simply because the original was popular. A bit like E.T. 2 in the way that it wouldn’t have fit in with the first film.


9: Lord of the Rings (Beatles Style)

BEATLES-LOTRNot the actual title and not really a sequel, the Beatles wanted to make a film adaptation of the legendary book series by Tolkien. Ringo was to be Sam, Lennon to be Gollum, McCartney to be Frodo and George to be Gandalf. With Stanley Kubrick up for the film, unfortunately Tolkien owned the film rights and wasn’t so keen.

Should it have happened?

Erm, yes. John Lennon as Gollum would have been a sight to see.

“Our life together is so precious together…”


10: Batman v Godzilla

bvgartA follow-up to King-Kong vs Godzilla, a chap named Shinichi Sckizawa proposed the idea of Batman and Robin, with the help of Batgirl, facing the giant lizard in a truly epic battle. In an attempt to emulate the success of the crossover of the gorilla and lizard, Sckizawa’s idea never got that far and not even a script was written.

Should it have happened?

With films out there like The Love Guru and Disaster Movie, why on earth was this film not made? Batman and Godzilla is a combination to die for and this film would have been an instant cult classic.


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Cult Cinema

Guilty Treasures: 1969’s Easy Rider

Easy-Rider
Road movies are certainly the most simplistic of movies. Generally appealing to a certain type of film lover, movies with long stretches of road with fast racing vehicles have never been overly complex. Many just enjoy the view, the sentiment and those obsessed with anything with an engine can appreciate the love of cruising around countries.

Easy Rider, despite its box office success and influence, will always be considered a cult classic because it took this effortless plot, threw in copious amounts of drugs and set it loose on a journey of freedom and ideals.

Directed by and starring Dennis Hopper, alongside Peter Fonda, Easy Rider was filmed back in 1969. It follows the adventures of Billy and “Captain America” as they chug from Los Angeles across the back roads of the U.S.A. Along the way, they ingest copious amounts of alcohol and illegal drugs, meet a whole host of friendly characters, encounter hostile ones and ultimately enjoy their freedom. Supported with a great soundtrack from Steppenwolf (because Born to the Wild is one of the most iconic songs here) to Bob Dylan and a wavering hippy ideology, Easy Rider has become a send up of everything the late sixties embodied.

Easy Rider boasts some terrific performances and directing. Despite the fact that director and star Hopper was out of his mind for most of the shoot, he still elicits some seriously provoking moments. One particular moment, in a church in St. Louis is a head trip. High on whatever drugs they can find, Billy and Captain find prostitutes and run amok on the sacred ground. If you have seen any movie with drugs, you’ll know that what follows is essentially a series of crazy but haunting images in a graveyard. But this is cut with an on-point Fonda as high Captain speaking to a statue as if it were his mother. It is one of the many improvised moments that Hopper induced, making Fonda speak to his real-life mother who had committed suicide. Hopper, as temperamental and drugged as he may have been, still managed to craft an impacting movie that sent up and tore down the ideals of a free America.

easy-rider-shotMany will remember Easy Rider for launching star Jack Nicholson into his career. Sure, you follow a loose story about drinking, friendship, campfire chats and awesome bikes. But when they meet Nicholson’s George Hanson, the film begins to ooze with charisma. Nicholson’s engaging personality as the alcoholic Hanson pushes a movie that could easily have become tiresome and boring. And, despite his short screen time, Nicholson is the one that audiences remember the most.

Easy Rider is ironic in the fact that as much as it is about the freedom of the Sixties “hippy culture,” it set about the downfall or certainly, the discouragement of that era. Hopper’s piece is formulated well though and although he was tyrant to his crew and harboured designs for a three hour long epic, those who survived managed to salvage the movie into the status it is now. It transitions through the drug-addled scenes with cutting and choppy realism whilst panning on the driving scenes; using cinematography to capture realism. It stretches, winds, stalls and speeds.

Easy Rider remains the classic and iconic road movie.

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