Tag Archives: Review

The Seduction (1982)

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DVD: “The Seduction”

Reviewed by Amanda Reyes
3 stars
The Bottom Line

Morgan Fairchild is the ever professional Jamie Douglas, an anchorwoman who’s got everything – a great job, a loyal boyfriend, a beautiful house… and a stalker. He’s Derek (Andrew Stevens), a deranged photographer who only views life through the skewed vision of his lens. When he sets Jamie in his sights, nothing will stop him.

Pros

  • Andrew Stevens is great in a fairly subtle performance
  • Cinematography is glitzy and glamorous
  • As the media insists on bringing us closer to celebrities, this film feels a bit relevant in these intrusive times.

Cons

  • Michael Sarrazin is the weak link in the cast
  • If 80s glamour isn’t you style, stand back! Hair doesn’t get much bigger than this!
  • I prefer to call it methodic pacing, but the tempo may be too slow for some

Description:

  • DVD Extras: Yes, including commentary and a nice reunion featurette.
  • Directed by: David Schmoeller
  • Starring: Morgan Fairchild, Andrew Stevens, Michael Sarrazin, Vince Edwards, Colleen Camp
  • Original Release Date: January 29th, 1982
  • DVD Release Date: November 7th, 2006
  • Distributor: Anchor Bay

Guest Guide Review – DVD “The Seduction”

Although, no one would consider this early 80s thriller a classic, it does have some interesting, if glossy, qualities to it. Andrew Stevens’ character is fairly well drawn for a popcorn thriller and eerily close to the kind of obsessive fan media folks have had to accustom themselves to. In fact, The Seduction’s voyeuristic theme still holds a candle about the warped ability to turn one’s fantasies into a dangerous reality when it comes to our media darlings.

Without a doubt, The Seduction is still an exploitation film, although it’s quite mild by today’s standards. After such notorious Hollywood thrillers as Basic Instinct made smaller films seem almost quaint by comparison, it’s kind of nice to see such innocence in Fairchild’s brief nude scenes. She’s good here, and looks lovely too but she’s a far cry away from her earlier, bitchier performances in such excellent TV fare as The Initiation of Sarah and Flamingo Road. But once she grabs that shotgun, Fairchild really kicks into gear. Fans of blondes with guns blazing and lovers of all things 80s will not be disappointed in The Seduction. And dig the totally awesome Dionne Warwick theme song!

This review originally appeared on About.com.

She’s The Man (2006)

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She’s the Man showcases a silly but intriguing premise that needs to rely heavily on the strength of the actors to displace some of the disbelief of Amanda Bynes clumsily going incognito in the newest Teen-Movie-Does-Shakespeare.

Bynes plays Viola, a soccer-loving teenager whose team is disbanded due to lack of numbers.  Viola thinks it only natural to join the male soccer team but after her boyfriend (soon to be ex) pulls out some ham-fisted chauvinism, and after her twin brother, Sebastian (James Kirk) asks her to cover for him at the rival school (and his new school) while he heads to London with his band for two weeks, Viola decides to take Sebastian’s place at school, wow the soccer team, go toe-to-toe with her sexist ex in the big game and prove that girls are just are good as guys. Of course, she manages to fall in love with her new roommate, the hunky Duke (Channing Tatum) who is also on the team.

For those of us who were of any age in the late 80s or even the early 90s when Just One of the Guys ran endlessly on Comedy Central, it’s almost impossible not to compare the two films.  However, Dreamworks isn’t marketing this film to a generation now in their mid-30s.  It’s just as well, since although there are some scenes in She’s the Man that practically duplicate its predecessor, this is an entertaining, if hollow, comedy. It doesn’t capture any of the teenage nuances that Amy Heckerling’s Clueless did, but She’s the Man seems happiest when it’s at its silliest. Granted, Bynes mugs it a bit too much when she first makes the gender bending transition but she grows more comfortable as Viola’s life grows more chaotic.

There are several laugh-out-loud moments courtesy of some purely over the top humor lacking any subtlety, yet She’s the Man is a pleasant surprise. Glossy Hollywood films looking for an older audience could do worse than to follow in She’s the Man steps.  Keep it simple-stupid; make us laugh and the audience will come.

This review originally appeared in Entertainment Today.

Slither (2006)

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The Bottom Line

A great little throwback to the monster filled 80s fright flicks, Nathan Fillion is the sheriff of a small town suddenly besieged by alien space slugs.

Pros
• Director James Gunn really has an affinity for creating strong, human characters
• The cast is wonderful, especially Fillion and Michael Rooker
• A rollercoaster ride of laughs, scares and gore

Cons
• Less scary than humorous, fans of straight up horror will be disappointed with the amount of comedy featured
Description
• Directed By: James Gunn
• Starring: Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker, Tania Saulnier
• Theatrical Release Date: March 31st, 2006
• DVD Release: October 24th, 2006
• Rated: R
• DVD Extras: Man, are there! A great package with a bit of everything
• Studio: Universal Studios

Guide Review – SLiTHER (DVD) – Review

For whatever reason, SLiTHER was a miss during its theatrical release. That’s a total bummer too, because it’s one of the best genre films of the year. Maybe that’s because James Gunn, who started out working for Troma, understands the phrase ‘popcorn entertainment.’ A thrill ride with lots of laughs and some wonderfully human characters, SLiTHER definitely came from Gunn’s heart. The characters he builds are strong and real and they are the kind of people you expect to find in a small town. Rooker is a standout too, with his hateful and pitiful portrayal of Grant Grant (!) you just end up feeling sorry for the poor sucker’s plight.

Fans of 80s horror will also catch some nice tributes to the films we love. I noticed there was a place called Henenlotter’s! Cool. And like those little golden nugget films we hold so close, SLiTHER will, uh, SLiTHER its way right into your heart too.

Another inspiration from Gunn’s days at Troma was this action-packed DVD filled with a ton of extras, including how to make blood at home and a video diary with Lloyd Kaufman, the man behind Troma who has a cameo in the film. My favorite was the Who is Bill Pardy segment. I never realized he said his name so much! One thing all of the extras share is that everyone from the stars to the makeup girl seemed to love working on the film. Each person is in good spirits and the featurettes all share the spirit of having fun while making a great film. It also proves that Gunn is a mad genius and I really want to work with him on movie now!

This review originally appeared on About.com.

Sudden Death (1985)

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Although the tagline for Sudden Death reads, “Don’t mess with this Dirty Harriet,” I practically had to be hit over the head with a user comment on IMDb before I could make the connection. Valerie (Denise Coward), the protagonist of this movie is actually not a hard-nosed city cop like Mr. Eastwood’s most famous counterpart, rather she’s far more akin to his revenge seeking nemesis played by Sondra Locke in Sudden Impact (again, how lame is it that I didn’t make this connection? The word Sudden should have been my first clue). And in some respects she’s an awesome female companion to Robert Forster’s angst ridden vigilante in, you guessed it, Vigilante.

 After Valerie is brutally raped and told her case isn’t all that high on the priority list, this hot mamma grabs a gun and decides to hunt her assailants while cleaning up the streets of New York along the way. The problem is Valerie isn’t all that good at the vengeance thing. I mean, she becomes a notorious multi-murderer (nicknamed the Dum-Dum Killer based on the bullets she uses), but she always let the culprit get just a tad too close. This girl is on death’s door (or more aptly, rape’s door) almost every time she encourages a situation. So, she gets points for effort but loses some in execution. Ha! Get it? Execution…? Well, it seemed funny at the time…

 Released in 1985, Sudden Death is pure exploitation, and somewhat enjoyable. Writer/Director Sig Shore goes out of his way to capture New York as a city living in fear. Empty, rain-slicked streets become the stomping ground for the human animals. Every male is potentially a rapist, or at the very least, a really gross dude (check out the drug addict cab driver for proof). The women aren’t exactly portrayed as pure victims, but in an interesting scene featuring Valerie and her friend window shopping, they pass a confederate flag and a gun shop. This is not just a man’s world; it’s a universe devoid of anything not completely masculine (beside the feminine targets) and these guys apparently haven’t set foot outside the civil war (why a confederate flag is being displayed in New York is beyond me). With the exception of Detective Marty Lowery (Frank Runyeon), there are no likable men to be found. Even Valerie’s (soon to be ex) fiancé doesn’t understand why she can’t just go back to normal and screw him. It’s important to note that this film came out just a few years after the courts quit blaming the victim as much as the rapist himself. That’s probably why this revenge fantasy works. Although slow and somewhat flawed, the filmmakers put in an earnest effort to showcase Valerie as a woman lost in the scuffle of new system, which might not be able to implicate the woman in the court room, but can certainly incriminate her in the eyes of a still ignorant public. Anything that gives people an excuse not to care, right?

Australian born Coward gives the film a rocky start, but becomes more likable as the film progresses and she’s allowed to not just be wide-eyed and sweet. It is suggested that she treasures the battle wounds she retains from each murder, and these counter attacks allow her to move forward with her life. Of course I’m not saying assault victims should grab their favorite gun and right the wrongs of the world, but it certainly feels good to watch a pretty lady exact revenge. What can I say, I’m a softie!  

This review originally appeared on Pretty Scary.

Vendetta (1986)

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There have been plenty of rape/revenge movies since the 70s blew the topic open for discussion in the deeply disturbing Last House on the Left.  What’s come out of that sleazy sub-genre ranges from the amazing (Death Weekend) to the abysmal (I Spit on Your Grave) to the what-the-hell-were-they-thinking (Slashed Dreams)!  In the wake of such a wide variety, a few titles still remain undiscovered gems.  Vendetta is just such a film.

As Bonnie Cusack is raped in Joe-Bob’s truck, she shoots him square in the head, killing him.  A trial leaves her with an unreasonable guilty verdict, whereupon she enters one of the roughest female prisons this side of Corcoran.  Bonnie meets Kay, the most feared prisoner and the one with all of the connections outside and in. When Bonnie rejects Kay’s advances, she’s promptly thrown off the second floor of the block – and it’s her first day!  Bonnie’s sister, bad-ass stuntwoman Laurie Collins, decides to get herself thrown in the same prison (she steals the judge’s car and then runs it through a jewelry store!) and hunts down Kay’s gang one by one.

A roundabout type of rape/revenge film, Laurie’s quest goes far more than justifying her sister’s demise. Laurie is looking for answers where she’ll never find them. Random violence prevails and executing those you think are to blame might not be the only answer.  Laurie is left with a changed soul and more questions then ever. This film takes an odd Last House on the Left turn with Laurie’s epiphany, teaching that equating violence with violence does not equal inner peace.

 But back to Kay, actress Sandy Martin is by far the most realistic badass female prisoner I’ve ever laid my eyes on.  She’s a grotesque species in wife-beaters with a mouth like a sailor and the kind of humor only Ted Bundy would find amusing.  She’s a hedonistic bitch and she rocks!  Because not only is Vendetta an interesting allegory about revenge, it’s also a knock-down-drag-out action flick with real-life stunt woman Karen Chase putting foot to ass!  There’s plenty to eye here – heroin addicts, interracial relations (“Black and brown don’t mess around.”), cat fighting and a shower scene for good measure (keep your eye out for Bonnie’s body double!). In fact, what’s interesting about Vendetta is how it manages to keep hold of its feminist standpoints while delving into sleaze. And it’s got a female Prince impersonator!  What more could one ask for?

 

This review originally appeared on the blog Genre Girls.