The Weekend Watch is an open thread where you can share what you’ve recently watched, offer suggestions on movies and TV shows we should check out (or warnings about stuff to avoid) and discover queue-filling goodies from other FSR readers.
The comments section awaits. I’ll get the ball rolling with the movies/TV my eyeballs took in this weekend.
Try, for a second, to imagine a world where the director of The Fugitive (Andrew Davis) made a film that starred Rachel Ward, Daryl Hannah, Joe Pantoliano *and* Adrian Zmed. I know. It sounds like pure fantasy. But I’m here to tell you it’s real. The Final Terror is an early ’80s “killer in the woods” flick that used to be played regularly on HBO, but I hadn’t seen it in decades. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray gave me the opportunity to revisit it, and while I remembered it being a fun thriller my most recent watch reveals that I had very low standards for fun when I was younger. It’s interesting in its execution — the cast, the low kill ratio, the third act action — but it never manages anything resembling scares or suspense.
The White Storm is the new Benny Chan action/drama, and as I point out in my full review it’s actually one of his best. Granted, he’s not known for much in the way of greatness, but this is some top tier action featuring some fantastic gunplay and large-scale action sequences. There’s some cheesiness to contend with, but the three leads make it bearable through strong work and a commitment to their characters’ lives and dilemmas.
I feel like I’m eternally playing catch-up with “classics” from yester-year, and while they don’t always live up to their promise I’m always ecstatic to find something old to love anew. Operation Petticoat is the most recent title crossed off my list of shame (the ’50s edition), and I probably couldn’t have done better than to watch it on Olive Films’ new Blu-ray. I’m a Cary Grant fan so I’m not sure why this one has eluded me for so long, but damn it is an absolute delight. Grant is in top form along with the rest of the cast, the score is playful and director Blake Edwards keeps things hopping with fantastic comic timing throughout. Not even the subtle (and not so subtle) sexism can ruin it.
I’ve been of the opinion since 2001 that Donald Rumsfeld is a fascinating guy. Sure, he’s as evil as Dick Cheney, but the guy has charisma, charm and an undeniable intelligence. Errol Morris’ The Unknown Known offers a bit of an insight into the man’s head, but I’m surprised by how slight it actually is. Too frequently Morris declines to press Rumsfeld on something that clearly doesn’t add up. He shows the audience stats, memo text or footage to refute Rumsfeld, but he never appears to show it to the man himself and ask for an explanation or follow-up. The doc feels incomplete for that reason.
I re-watched another ’80s horror thriller that I recalled liking, and unlike The Final Terror this one holds up a bit better. Pin is about a doctor (Terry O’Quinn) who uses a life-sized dummy to help educate kids — by throwing his voice and making the kids think the dummy is talking — but his own son grows up believing that “Pin” is actually alive. The boy grows into an unsurprisingly unstable young man and bad things happen. It’s a bit slow at times and definitely awkward, but there’s a genuine creepiness that remains making it worthwhile for fans of odd, slow-burn horror.
I’ve had the Criterion Blu-ray of Blow Out for months now but only just got around to sitting down for a first-time watch… and I’m sad to say I’m not a fan. The first thirty minutes are actually quite good, but the script grows dumber and dumber and Nancy Allen refuses to stop yapping. (I’m normally a Nancy Allen fan.) I’m not surprised by this really as Brian De Palma misses far more often than he hits — although for the record I think his top five are Obsession, Carrie, Body Double, The Untouchables and Casualties of War — and this one just goes off the rails early. His visual stylings remain interesting, but they’re not enough to salvage the story, script and acting.
What did you watch this weekend?