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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Retro Review 1981: The Funhouse

The Funhouse (Original Release Date: 13 March 1981)

The Funhouse isn't the movie I wanted it to be. I mean that as no offense to the movie. It's just that for much of my life, I've been trying to find a specific movie I saw as a child. Every few years or so, I will think I've found it, only to watch my find and be disappointed when it turns out not to be the one I hoped it would be. The Funhouse was one of the two most recent candidates for this lost movie from my childhood. The other, Hell Night, is also a 1981 release. (I've peeked ahead and determined both that I've seen Hell Night before and that it isn't the one I'm looking for, either.)

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Retro Review 1981: The Devil and Max Devlin

The Devil and Max Devlin (Original Release Date: 6 March 1981)

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Retro Review 1981: Harry's War

Harry’s War (Original Release Date: 1 March 1981)

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Retro Review 1981: Full Moon High

Full Moon High (Original Release Date: 27 February 1981?)

I had some difficulty figuring out exactly when this one came out.  The date above was one of the ones I found.  Wikipedia says 7 October, and some other places give other dates.  After a little digging, it looks like 27 February may have been the day the film was printed.  A New York Times article from 30 August mentions it will be coming out soon, so the 7 October release date looks more and more like the right one.  I decided to go ahead and review it early, since I was eager to see it, and since the other movie I wanted to review this Thursday didn’t get to me on time.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Retro Review 1981: Eyewitness

Eyewitness (Original Release Date: 13 February 1981)

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Retro Review 1981: Fort Apache, The Bronx

Fort Apache, The Bronx (Original Release Date: 6 February 1981)

Insult and intrigue swap slaps to the viewer's face for much of Fort Apache, The Bronx.  It has strong performances and a stronger cast, along with enough real-feeling moments to make the ones that feel less real stand out.  I suppose it resonated enough with its original audience for it to be one of the few movies from 1981 you won’t have to go out of your way to find.  I found my copy in a four-dollar bargain bin at Walgreens (no hyphen, the Internet tells me).

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Confessions of a Movie Website Owner: Rich Content Man, Poor Site Owner

It’s been six months since my first Confessions of a Movie Website Owner editorial and I’ve been feeling the need to do another one. Yesterday’s announcement that The Huffington Post got bought up by AOL for $315 million dollars has got me thinking about what that might mean to the movie/geek corner of the online universe.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Retro Review 1981: Pacific Banana

Pacific Banana (Original Release Date: 5 February 1981)

This week marks the first instance of me reviewing a movie discovered as a direct result of writing this column.  I anticipate future cases where I will find newly discovered movies so disagreeable I will be made to wish I had never lighted on the idea of reviewing these suckers, but this isn’t one of those cases.  Pacific Banana is a treat.  It flies thick through a fog of continuity errors, the casts’ collective stab at acting is lamentable, the plot contrivances begin stacking tall from the outset, and the plot is threadbare, but its charm and good-naturedness make it hard not to developsome affection for it.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Retro Review 1981: The Incredible Shrinking Woman

The Incredible Shrinking Woman (Original Release Date: 30 January 1981)

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Launch of Retro Review 1981: The Column

Editor's note:

The mission: review at least one movie a week that came out in 1981. The reason: because he can.

The man to do the mission: Thurston McQ.

Prepare yourself for a trip back through three decades in time, to an era when VHS was king, video stores were popping up everywhere and movies could be rented by young, impressionable minds. What were movies like back then? And 30 years on, do the movies that were released in 1981 hold up to our storytelling standards today or fall down hard?

Welcome to a year-long column that will revisit those cinematic classics and not-so-classics from an era where CG and PG-13 didn't mean a thing to anyone yet. Welcome to Retro Review 1981 - The Weekly Column. Thurston, you have the floor. -- Patrick

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

30 years on, Flash Gordon is still awesome

On December 5, 1980, a motion picture arrived in theaters that redefined nothing.

Its makers had been hoping that the movie would be a titanic success, in the same leagues as Star Wars. It was not.

Its cast, having signed on to star in two more sequels, were hoping that this picture would place their names on the A-list of Hollywood actors. It did not.

But in the years that followed, there is one thing that Flash Gordon became: a cult movie, one that I deeply enjoy even though I shouldn't. I can't help myself: Flash Gordon is great. It's a movie that shouldn't have been made the way that it was, and probably the kind of film that couldn't get made today even if it were planned out.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

What If: Zack Snyder's Superman screenplay notes

Now that we know 300 and Watchmen director Zack Snyder has landed the job directing Warner Bros. new Superman movie, and that the villain in the film will be General Zod, what will Snyder's version of the Man of Steel look like when it reaches theaters in a couple of years?

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Exclusive: Terra Nova pilot script reviewed

It must be getting harder to make new genre shows for television. Think about it for a moment and see if my point makes sense to you: suppose you're a TV creator and you've thought up an idea for a new sci-fi series set on a spaceship. Now you're going to be compared to Star Trek. What about a scientist that travels into the past? Quantum Leap fans are going to curse you out. Investigators of the paranormal? The X-Files did that a decade ago (though don't tell the Fringe guys – although they're doing OK by replacing the alien meme with parallel Earths.)

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Confessions of a movie website owner

Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to what it's like being a movie website owner in 2010 and I've come to one or two conclusions. One of them is that I love what it is that I get to do with Coming Attractions. The other thought is that sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me to even try and run a movie website these days.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Exclusive: Rise of the Apes set photos

Five minutes away from where I live, 20th Century Fox has set up a massive outdoors greenscreen set for Rise of the Apes.

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