Sunday, August 31, 2014

Info Dump: Missing Flick Picks

The missing flick picks below from last week's techno-hiccup. Again, apologies.
Just because I didn't blog about them on the day, don't think for a minute I didn't still pull them off the shelf and watch them again. Like the rest of the list, I think these are all keepers:

August 26
Austin Powers, International Man Of Mystery
(New Line, 1997)

Absolutely superb send-up of nearly every spy movie ever made, with Mike Meyers pulling off the Peter Sellers-esque task of successfully providing both the hero and the villain, and doing it with notable skill, wit, and style, with over-the-top characterizations in both cases that totally work. Like watching a guy juggling flaming chainsaws, it's easy to get so sucked into the spectacle that you overlook how much talent that took to pull off, and the fact that you don't notice it otherwise is testimony to a really rare level of craft.

August 25
The Enforcer
(Warner Bros., 1976)

Just when people figured there was nowhere for Inspector Calahan to go, he came back, and while gently mocking his female partner, ably portrayed by Tyne Daly, probably (and not inadvertently) did more for women's rights with this movie that a year's worth of PBS specials and policy papers could, while delivering Eastwood's trademark Calahan portrayal in the usual taken-from-the-headlines storyline, while handing his co-star the more popular role.

August 24
Magnum Force
(Warner Bros., 1973)

Doubling down on the original movie, this sequel opens on Harry Calahan's monologue about the Smith and Wesson Model 29. Which to date is the second most known and popular weapon in cinematic history, after only the Jedi lightsaber. Mission accomplished. The follow-up to the original not only helped Eastwood cement his legendary status, it pulled three of the four death squad cops into successful careers as well. (Kip Niven(?) being the only one to fall off the face of the earth afterwards.) But the driving force in this movie from beginning to credits, isn't the weapon, it's all Clint, all the time.

August 23
Dirty Harry
(Warner Bros., 1971)

Passed around amongst studios like an orphan in a basket, finally landing at Warner, and after getting turned down by half a dozen much bigger stars, this finally ended up where it was destined to belong.
Before this movie debuted, Clint Eastwood was a moderately successful mainly western star. Afterwards, he was a film icon. And 40 years later, the flick still holds up, and shows you exactly why.

August 22
Where Eagles Dare
(MGM., 1968)

The other Alistair MacLean truly great film, which debuted only two months after Ice Station Zebra, and shares not only the author, but unbelievably good filmmaking from that source. Prime Richard Burton, excellent early Clint Eastwood, and spectacular action, suspense, and cinematography made this flick every bit the equal of the its Cold War older brother, and a perfect reminder that a great story is always the thing that matters.

August 21
Running Scared
(MGM, 1986)

Great dramedy buddy flick, featuring the sadly once-in-a-lifetime pairing of Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines, who are individually good, and simply marvelous opposite each other. In a better world, they would have made five more movies together at least. Any five minutes of this movie should serve to remind people that Billy Crystal has always been better than you remember, and Greg Hines left us far too soon.

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