Weekly Update: This week got weird with some TV movies, some Clint Eastwood, and some David Cronenberg movies.
Curious what else I’ve seen this year? -Click here to read the full list of movies viewed year to date-
138. The Sacketts (1979)
This made for TV adaptation of the Louis L’Amour stories follows three brothers as their lives intersect in the Wild West. Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, & Jeff Osterhage are the Sackett brothers, each with their own code of ethics that is tested as they experience choices along the way. Movie fans will immediately recognize the numerous character actors that populate this solid film including Glenn Ford, Ben Johnson, John Vernon, Jack Elam, Slim Pickens, and others.
139. Videodrome (1983)
David Cronenberg’s technology horror thriller follows a TV producer (James Woods) as he discovers Videodrome; a rogue signal that presents brutal S&M and murder as a Television program. As the producer digs deeper into Videodrome, he begins to experience increasingly violent hallucinations, and becomes suspicious of a larger conspiracy.
140. The Beguiled (1971)
Soon to be remade by Sofia Coppola, this Clint Eastwood-led film concerns a Union Army Corporal who stumbles wounded into the hands of the women of an all-girls boarding school. The headmistress takes him in, nursing him back to health while hiding him from capture. Soon the repressed sexuality of the young women and girls in the school comes alive, and the girls begin to fight over his company. And for his part, the soldier encourages them, at least at first…
141. Coogan’s Bluff (1968)
Ostensibly this film’s concept is about a cowboy cop from New Mexico who becomes a fish out of water on the streets of New York in pursuit of a criminal. After a promising start, the movie bogs down, particularly when the criminal he is chasing proves to be a comical parody of a hippie. Let this one be.
142. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
A solid Marvel sequel, concentrating even more heavily on humor than the first Guardians film. Director James Gunn manages to expand on character and tell a different kind of story while still following the Marvel mantle to the T. My only major issue was that the action sequences are a bit overblown this time around, most particularly when it comes to physics. It seriously hampers the feeling that there are any serious threats when nothing seems to legitimately endanger the main characters. Still, this is exactly the level of quality Marvel has come to stand for.
143. Maps to the Stars (2014)
This dark film follows a handful of vapid celebrities as they go about their vapid lives being vapid. Through Cronenberg’s sharply satiric eye, and some strong screenwriting, the film manages to be a brilliant satire on how Hollywood’s excesses color our culture with empty aspirations. The film works mostly through the strength of its ink-black humor, which keeps the film’s themes feeling fresh without being too preachy.
144. Scanners (1981)
One of David Cronenberg’s most lauded sci-fi horror films is about a group of psychics who have the power to control people, and even kill with their minds. The fantastic concept is undercut by glacial pacing and a lead actor whose performance and line delivery is a notch or two more compelling than a block of cement.
145. Shivers (1975)
This sexploitation-horror film was David Cronenberg’s directorial debut. When a scientist’s experiment goes awry, slug-parasites attack an isolated luxury apartment complex, and everyone the slug-creatures attack becomes a rapist who infects their targets with more parasites. Soon the entire complex is bursting at the seams with a parasite-led orgy of sex and violence.
146. Blow (2001)
Johnny Depp plays George Jung, a real-live pioneer of the illegal cocaine trade. Almost single-handedly responsible for the spread of cocaine across the United States, Jung was the middle-man who brokered the trade between US-based dealers and the Colombian cartels. Director Ted Demme gives the film a presentation reminiscent of Goodfellas, though not quite as stylish. Fans of stories of the rise and fall of a criminal empire will no doubt enjoy this film.