February 2011

Children of the Night: Ami Dolenz Says Her Own Lines

Directed by the same masterful Tony Randel who gave the world gems like Amityville 1992: It's About Time and Oscar coulda-beens like Playboy: Inside Out, both volumes, one and two, his Children of the Night was destined to be championed as classic.

Well, it wasn’t actually. Mostly because it stunk, which in part, wasn’t due to the director’s ineptitude, but the acting skills of his cast being equal to that of a group of middle schoolers. Bummer, huh?

Race with the Devil: More Fun with Peter Fonda and Vehicles

Well, this is what happens when Satanists get in the way of a couple’s weekend.

Taking time off from racing – some cheese-ball constant in a huge number of Peter Fonda’s films from this era – Roger and his buddy Peter buy a swank RV and are set on hitting the slopes with their wives. Sounds like a good time, slowly driving across the country, through Texas and into the mountains camping along the way.

The Wolfman: Rick Baker / Dave Elsey Academy Nominations

I really did not think there would be much to say about the 2010 remake of The Wolfman when it first came out - there just isn't a lot there you know? It's a remake of a film that, I feel, came out just awful and I am actually kind of surprised this film was nominated for anything.

The fact that this horror flick used make up artists instead of CG graphics has mild excitement to it, but I don't really think all the effort and time spent on the makeup changed how bad (and boring, did I forget boring?) the film was overall.

I guess I will tip my hat to Rick Baker and Dave Elsey anyway, though, because it must have taken a lot of skill to doll up this bad remake - perhaps they even made it better? Best of luck at the Academy Awards, guys - you will absolutely need it!

Affleck was Dope in Phantoms...Yo?

Having heard Jay tell audiences so many times that Ben Affleck did a proper job in Phantoms, it felt as if I’d already watched the film, an adaptation of the Dean Koontz book. But I hadn’t.

Affleck, while tagged with meaningless media nonsense on a pretty frequent basis. But prior to the actor’s transformation into tabloid headline, he was picking up work in a wealth of interesting films during the late nineties. It was 1997 and 1998, though, that ostensibly rocketed Affleck into the nation’s general consciousness. With a few Kevin Smith features – Chasing Amy and the impending Dogma, not to mention previously issued Mallrats – Affleck was able to snag a few high profile roles as well, most notably in Armageddon. It’s alright if you’ve not seen that last effort, it doesn’t matter apart from making the guy a few dollars. But the same year that film was released, Phantoms came out as well.

Beginning in terms most easily understood as a horror film – empty town, dead bodies, etc – Phantoms quickly turns into a weird biological tale of history and extinction. Along with Affleck, and a pretty silent Rose McGowan, Liev Schreiber finds himself playing a cop, but only until his body’s taken over by whatever’s living underground and wiping out the population of a small, resort town.

Directed by Joe Chappelle, who would eventually helm a few episodes of the Wire, Phantoms, as released by Miramax had everything it needed to be a hit – apart from engaging editing. Just check out the opening sequences, it’s atrocious. But as the film settles in and Peter O’Toole crops up as a wacky scientist, there’s nothing at all to complain about. It is surprising, though, that there isn’t too much of a love story developed between Affleck and Joanna Going, who plays McGowan’s older sister. It may have come off as hackneyed or forced. Either way, just a surprise.