Author: DanTheMovieMan

Rolling Thunder (1977) The Best Movie You’ve Never Seen!

Rolling Thunder is a little-seen gem that is one of the best explorations of the act of revenge ever put to film. Not only a fascinating journey into man’s darkest angels, but a satisfying tale of frontier justice.  The Sicilians and Klingons have a saying; Revenge is a dish best served cold. That it is, and Rolling Thunder takes said proverb and runs with it. It’s a searing, methodical, tough piece of work that transcends its exploitation origins. Never has the act of revenge been presented so matter-of-factly and without agenda and just when you think writer Paul Schrader is going for the soapbox he pulls back and lets the film settle into its action movie confines.  Released in the summer of 1977, Rolling Thundermade its modest budget back on the drive-in circuit, but after earning decent coin and critical acclaim, it disappeared. Surfacing on video and Home Box Office (where I saw it) a few years later it earned a cult following that lasts today with Director Quentin Tarantino as one of its biggest fans going so far as to name his production company after it.  William Devane stars as Major Charles Rane, who along with fellow POW camp survivor, Johnny Vohden, (Tommy Lee Jones) is returning home to San Antonio, Texas after eight years of physical and mental torture in Vietnam. Greeted with a marching band and...

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Tom Selleck wept!)

Hollywood seems to be stuck in the revival mode as icons from the 70’s and 80’s are being dusted off for one more chance at box-off gold. 2006’s “Rocky Balboa” and 2008’s “Rambo” scored big coin as audiences were curious to see how Sly Stallone, far removed from his signature roles, would interpret them for the new century. Bruce Willis as John McClain returned for the fourth time die hard-ing as fast as he could in 2007’s “Live Free or Die Hard.” While those popular characters garnered impressive bank, it was a no-brainer to make room for the biggest movie icon of the 1980’s, Indiana Jones.  Indy was never not readied for a comeback; it just took the creative minds to finally agree on a script as the film’s frustrating production goes all the way to 1994.  1997 briefly saw some movement, but Lucas, Spielberg and Ford could not unanimously agree on a script-production halted. Famous screenwriters of all genres and talents popped up over the years to offer their contributions; Stephan Gagan (Traffic), M Night Shamalan (Sixth Sense, Signs), Chris Columbus (Adventures in Babysitting) and Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, The Mist) in which Indy’s brother made an appearance; all took a stab to no avail.  Going by their own rule, if the trio didn’t like the script, the movie would not be made. At different times, Spielberg, Lucas...

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 These anti Star Wars, crybaby losers are amusing as they seem to think their words have some sort of Kryptonite effect on George Lucas and if they say it loud enough and often, their self-serving wants and desires will be fulfilled. Jar Jar Binks, the Ewoks and whatever else sticks in the BB brains will somehow be wiped away from all our collective memories. Give me a Nell Carter-sized BREAK! I’m tired of the bitterness, the raped my childhood sentiments that speak more about the protestor than anything else. Criticism is all part of the creative process, but it has to be done honestly and with at least a modicum of knowledge and class, which appears to be sorely lacking. It’s a strange and pathetic society we live in today; emotion has taken the place of logic and reasoning, in the art world as well as politics. If something goes wrong or we don’t get what we want, by god, someone has to pay! I’m not saying all the of critical reactions are like this, just the ones that take this sickening righteous anger about Lucas and his talents. Get over it!  If you are one of those nattering naysayers of negativity, move along, please. Your opinions are worthless. Just as a great poet once said, “Opinions are just like assholes, everyone has one and it’s usually full of...

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The Dark Knight (2008)

 For the last time, let us forget anything and everything done to the Batman by the double-hack team up of Directors Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher In all four films- none of them were able to tell a compelling Batman story as both directors totally missed the point.. Special-effects and over-the-top villains took the lead while Batman’s motivations took a back seat to Jack Nicholson, Jim Carrey and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Studio greed stripped Batman of his soul, his relevance and crammed as many baddies as possible into a contrived screenplay that let the special-effects do the work. All gadgets, no drama, none of the moral dilemmas the comic is known for were ever fully exploited. His tragedy was diluted, his pathos practically ignored. The last two sequels especially mocked his mission by turning him gay with nipples on the bat suit and the bat cave decorated like a Euro trash disco-tech.  It’s hard to believe there is only an eight year difference between the dreadful “Batman & Robin” and the masterful “Batman Begins.” It’s an interesting experiment to observe as one film brought the Batman character to the forefront of pop culture, (1989’s Batman) two sequels continued a downslide (Batman Returns, Batman Forever) and the last film, (Batman & Robin) all but killed the franchise.   2005’s “Batman Begins” changed all that, giving us a blank slate to work with...

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