Friday, January 31, 2014

CLIFFHANGER (1993)

Hotshot mountain climber/rescue ranger Gabriel "Gabe" Walker (Sylvester Stallone) is having a bad day.  First, in the morning, he watched ROCKY V on cable (this might not have actually happened in the movie) and then later while on a rescue call he drops his best friend's girlfriend off a 4,000 foot tall cliff.  She dies.  Gabe is riddled with guilt even though it wasn't his fault.  He gives up the mountain climbing rescue biz and splits town.  Eight months later he returns to see if his girlfriend wants to join him.  Meanwhile, while Sly is talking to his girl, an exciting mid-air robbery happens onboard a government airplane.  Long story short, three suitcases containing $100 million is cash are dropped at various locations around the mountain range.  The bad guys (John Lithgow and company) make a fake rescue call and then kidnap Sly and his co-worker in order to force them to climb and get the suitcases.  Things don't go as planned.

For a 20+ year old movie CLIFFHANGER is looks surprisingly good, plus it's pretty exciting.  Beautiful scenery, fast pace, a bunny rabbit, endearingly cheesy 90's special effects, awesome stunts and a impressive supporting cast including John Litgow who does a good job as the bad guy...all the way up until the end when he punches Stallone and Stallone's all like "EERRRRGGGHHH!!!"

Recommended for action fans.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT (1945)

Third string trumpeter, Jack Benny, falls asleep one evening during a live broadcast for Paradise Coffee "The Coffee that Makes You Sleep".  He dreams that he's an angel in Heaven.  There's millions of planet and since the people of Earth are being naughty Jack has been selected to blow the judgement call on a magic trumpet that will destroy the Earth. He's sent down to Earth on a magic elevator with the instructions to blow the horn at exactly midnight.

Naturally if he did that this wouldn't be much of a movie. All kinds of things stand in his way including two fallen angels looking to steal his trumpet, two beautiful women, his discovery of food and swing music. Oh yea, he also get's fired out of a cannon and then later falls off a skyscraper into a cup of coffee.

Overall I thought it was pretty funny. I giggled a few times and enjoyed myself the entire way through. Benny had a few snappy lines and the story had a few clever moments like the lack of angel power in Heaven, the endless bureaucracy in Heaven and the elevator from Heaven to Earth lands in a hotel, much to the irritation of the guests. My favorite thing though was all the great faces: Jack Benny, Alexis Smith, John Alexander, Guy Kibbee, Allyn Joslyn, Dolores Moran, Mike Mazurki and Franklin Pangborn, plus others! And we can't forget the direction by Raoul Walsh.