Saturday, August 30, 2014


I don't mind a remake or even a ripoff...if you can improve on the original or bring something new and fresh to the table.  Although it never gives onscreen credit, VIOLENT ROAD is a direct remake/ripoff of 1953's excellent THE WAGES OF FEAR.  TWOF is a beautifully photographed and masterfully acted thriller about a four broken men desperate enough to drive two explosive laden trucks across a rugged terrain for the promise of $2,000 each.  VIOLENT ROAD is about about a six broken men desperate enough to drive three explosive laden trucks across a rugged terrain for the promise of $5,000 each.  Whatever, as long as it's exciting.  It's not.

The film starts off well enough with Brian Keith being all macho and shit.  Then the set up is introduced and it's three trucks and all three trucks have to make it.  Well fuck, right there you can pretty much bet that all three trucks are gonna make it.  Next off, Brian picks five complete dorks for his team.  One of them is even a race car driver with a lead foot!  So finally they take off and these idiots are driving on the open road!  What the fuck?  There's normal cars all around and all these champions have is a warning sign and some flags.  Anyway, they eventually get off onto some desert roads and the hot shot driver is driving balls out!  You can see the trucks bouncing all over the joint, mud splashing, they're banging into shit and hauling ass.  Plus, they're always crowded up together just waiting to blow each other up.  And speaking of bad ideas, at one point a guy sees that an concentrated acid tank is leaking out of a loose cap.  So what does this genius do?  Does he put on some badass gloves/protective clothing and use a pair of pliers?  Ohhhh no, this brain surgeon just grabs the cap with his bare hand and of course burns his hand off.  Brilliant!   Multiple other totally preventable injuries happen, but it's all silly.  There's even a runaway bus full of children!  Oh brother.

I really wanted to like VIOLENT ROAD, but the story was garbage.  Absolutely zero tension and nearly all of their troubles were caused by their own negligence.  The acting was fine for what it was, but the budget was too low and the story was shit.  Skip it and rewatch THE WAGES OF FEAR again instead.
 Robert Williams.  He has 331 credits on IMDb over the course of 40 years.

Friday, August 29, 2014


After the boredom of ZELIG Woody Allen got right back on track with BROADWAY DANNY ROSE.

Danny Rose (Woody Allen) is a character.  He's is a talent agent that specializes in odd and/or washed up acts that nobody else wants.  He has a skating penguin that dresses up like a rabbi, piano playing birds, a woman who plays musical cups, balloon folders and so on.  Whenever one of his acts starts to get a little bit of fame, they leave him.  Only the losers stay with him.  Danny is a tragic figure, but despite this he works his ass off and dedicates himself completely to his clients.  One such client is has-been lounge singer Lou Canova (played by real life singer Nick Apollo Forte).  Recently, things have been looking up for Canova and Rose is spending all of his energy promoting him.  One lucky day Rose lands a potentially huge gig trying out for Milton Berle, but right before the big day Canova tells Rose that he's cheating on his wife.  Even worse, he wants Rose to bring his mistress to the show and act like she's his date.  Rose reluctantly agrees, but when he arrives to pick her up she's in the middle of a screaming match with Canova on the phone.  She refuses to go to the show and Rose has to somehow get her there come Hell or high water.

Quick pace, entertaining story, hilarious lines and body gestures by Allen, beautiful B&W photography by Gordon Willis (I especially loved the shot starting at 8:15 and the one starting at 1:07:22), NYC street scenes, great singing by Forte, strong performance by Mia Farrow.  Excellent 80's output by Allen.  Highly recommended.
 Despite the flashback taking place in 1969, there's a theater marquee advertising HALLOWEEN III.  Could that be a nod to Stacey Nelkin?

 Ricky Schroder.