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Sunday, July 11, 2004

Yesterday I managed to watch some of the notorious Gigli. No, its not the worst film I've seen, but it wasn't very good either. It just seemed rather limp. Some of it had a "stage play" feel to it, ie it seemed like was originally written as part of a stage play where you obviously are going to have lots of time with the actors sitting around talking in a single space. Gigli is probably a good example of the dangers to a relationship if a couple work together. The poor showing of the film and the rampant criticism of Jen Lopez and Benny Afleck for their part in the flick couldn't have helped their relationship.

Today I watched a film on cable that i've always been aware of but never actually got around to seeing, Streets of Fire. Definitely an odd little piece, blending as it does a '50s look and feel with an '80s look and feel. Its seems quite dated much of the time given the music involved, and things like a dancer in a leather thong dancing in a very Flashdance-esque way to a performance by the Blasters. Rick Moranis plays a character that easily could have fit in with the roles he played on SCTV. Willem Dafoe is the villian of the piece, and in a number of scenes wears vinyl overalls that look like they were stolen from a member of Men At Work or some minor league British New Wave band. Michael Pare, who would go on to do Eddie and the Cruisers, is the hero, and its not hard to guess that his career has been hampered by the fact he sounds and looks a lot like a second league Sylvester Stallone. Ry Cooder does much of the music for the film, and I smiled when Dafoe shows up for his final confrontation with Pare to the strains of a Cooder version of Link Wray's "Rumble." The film was a big flop at the time, which reportedly forestalled plans by director Walter Hill to make further films based around Pare's Cody character. I can only imagine what he planned to do in them. One thing you can say about Hill is that he's always had some interesting ideas lurking around in his head, even if they don't always work, as opposed to many film makers who make the same lame cliche crap as everyone else.

And to make one more film comment its interesting to watch the ads for the new Will Smith film I, Robot, which seems to share little more than a name with the Isaac Asimov material its based on. The ads remind me of Runaway, a 1984 (geez, I hadn't realised it was that old!) film starring Tom Selleck as a cop trying to figure out why domestic robots have begun to kill people. Yeah, Selleck was fighting mechanical props that looked vaguely insectish instead of the CGI'ed humanoids Smith will be contending with, but the plot seems damn similar. Runaway's villain was none other than Gene Simmons, this being the start of an attempt by Simmons to build a movie career. It didn't really work, although it lead to the amusing spectacle of Simmons, a Jew born in Israel, playing an Arab terrorist in the Rutger Hauer vehicle Wanted: Dead Or Alive. Ah, two mysteries of the universe, why Selleck never managed to pull off a career doing "straight" action adventure films(even Quigley Down Under has a streak of humour running thru it), and why Rutger Hauer hasn't been as successful as Arnie S. when he's a better actor than the Austrian muscleman and made the effort to lose his accent.

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