1984 / Director. Albert Magnoli.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I love PURPLE RAIN. It's so bad and yet it's sooo good. It's a film of vanity, ego and a hugely misguided messiah complex. It is, of course, a pop/rock musical vehicle for PRINCE and it is supposedly semi-biographical. It tells the story of "The Kid", the flamboyant frontman for a popular club band, The Revolution. For years he's held the stage at a Minneapolis nightclub and has been revered as a sort of pop demigod... but his popularity begins to wane and the club's owner wants to replace his act. With his band starting to turn against him and his homelife an ugly scene of domestic violence (he lives with his parents) The Kid gets distracted by a new girl, whom he treats like shit. There's a lot of serious themes running throughout PURPLE RAIN and I guess we're supposed to be looking into Prince's soul or something like that... haha. yeah he's really deep. From the opening scenes through to the final frame Prince prances around the stage in his frilled velvet suit and tears up the town on his big purple motorcycle. The whole thing is a big fat "hey look at me" and it's hilarious. Prince clearly loves himself and wants us to know how sensitive he is. With his trademark perm, high heel shoes and ability to shed single tears, he wants us to see into his soul. Unfortunately for him, what we see isn't exactly nobel. He ridicules his new girlfriend, treats her like a sex toy and smacks her around. Of course he does it within the context of an unstable home life (like father, like son) which is supposed to make it alright. The problem is, and perhaps it is an example of the era, that he doesn't seek redemption for his misogynistic and violent behavior. The fact alone that he can write heartfelt music and gyrate on stage seems to be enough. It is so damn easy to ridicule Prince. Just look at him. He truly believes himself to be God's gift to women and yet when things get steamy and women get naked, the guy couldn't kiss his way out of a lip factory. Seriously, he really can't kiss. Its cringeworthy. He looks like a permed pufferfish with botox and rather than locking lips he prefers to press his face against a woman and let her do all of the work. Ahhh so much joy to be had with this film. His girlfriend even performs as a Frank-N-Furter impersonator!! LOL Despite all of its hokiness and unintentional hilarity, it's ultimately the music that holds it together. The guy sure can write some great songs and he's a natural born performer. PURPLE RAIN is a cult classic and it's so much fun to watch over and over... but one question remains; what the fuck IS purple rain? Are they his metaphorical tears? Is it his control over women? I dunno but it's a cool song that provides the film with it's best moment. Prince would later direct a sequel called GRAFFITI BRIDGE in 1990 and although I have seen it, I don't remember much about it. I'll be revisiting it very soon so stay tuned for that one... oh and one final question... What DOES it sound like when doves cry? He never really tell us. LOL
2014 / Director. David Ayer.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I read somewhere that SABOTAGE was adapted from an Agatha Christie story... um... well, I think that it's safer to assume that if there is any Agatha Christie connection that it's structural rather than textual (LOL). Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent return to the screen has been more impressive than most of us would have expected. With bad-ass movies like THE LAST STAND, EXPENDABLES 2 and ESCAPE PLAN he has wisely chosen violence-driven vehicles that prove that he's still kicking ass and should never be underestimated. His latest film is SABOTAGE, which bypassed cinemas in most countries. With an impressive cast, which includes Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard & Olivia Williams, this is a take-no-prisoners action thriller that strips away the gloss of Hollywood. Arnie leads a special ops team of hardened DEA agents who take on the world's most dangerous drug cartels. They're the people who storm compounds, capture & kill gun-wielding bad guys and seize copious amounts of drugs & money. When the team hatch a plan to bag some of the loot for themselves (ten million dollars worth) they find themselves in the shit when their money goes missing. It then becomes a paranoid scenario of "who?" as each of them is bumped off one by one. Are they being played by a cartel they've fucked over or are the hits coming from within their own group? There is no messing around with SABOTAGE. It is an ultra violent and unrelenting film that pushes the audience all the way to the end. Director David Ayer is no stranger to this type of thing with gritty urban thrillers like STREET KINGS and HARSH TIMES under his belt. The story does become slightly convoluted and confusing in the middle but it all comes back into line for the final act, making SABOTAGE an unexpected and captivating 105 minutes of viewing. The violence in the film actually shocked me. It's very graphic and realistic and while the nature of it did not bother me the Australian classification kind of did. SABOTAGE was released with an MA15+ rating but is far more worthy of an R18+. It really is ghastly stuff and once again it makes me questions the whole classification system in Australia and how the ratings board actually operates. It seems farcical to me.
1982 / Director. Tobe *cough* Spielberg *cough* Hooper.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Rumour has it that POLTERGEIST was made from a failed attempt of Steven Spielberg to make a sequel to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. He has also referred to this movie as a sister film to ET. Due to a contractual clause, Spielberg was not allowed to direct the film and so he hired Tobe Hooper for the job, citing the amazing work on THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE as his reason. Most of you are filmies and probably know that there is strong conjecture and debate over who actually directed the film. From some first hand accounts I have heard and from the entire aesthetic and tone of POLTERGEIST, I would put my money on Spielberg... but regardless of that speculation, the film remains a classic and one of the few horror films that Spielberg has ever made. It tells the story of a family whose home is taken over by a malevolent supernatural presence. Objects move themselves, whispers emanate from their television set and their 6 year old daughter is abducted by the unknown entity. With the help of parapsychologists they investigate the occurrences in a desperate attempt to save their little girl. This is a brilliant film that paved the way for others to come. It begins with a very family-friendly PG atmosphere with lots of quirky gimmicks and whimsical dialogue but it quickly shifts gears into an intense and graphic horror film with imagery that still holds its power. It had been several years since I had watched POLTERGEIST and I had forgotten just how horrific much of the story is. Watching it recently I was blown away by the awesomeness of the horror... how could I have forgotten about the incredible and ghastly face-melting scene? Then there's the murderous clown doll... And then the most terrifying scene of them all in the mud-pool with rotting corpses swarming on JoBeth Williams. It is the stuff of nightmares and production notes suggest that actual human skeletons were used in the film because they were cheaper than fake ones. How repulsive! These disturbing moments are powerful and help to conceal some of the film's less effective special fx (notably the giant closet monster). POLTERGEIST is an effective horror film that still packs a punch. Without this classic we wouldn't have films like INSIDIOUS, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and THE SIXTH SENSE. Of course it spawned two sequels and has a remake in the works (why?) which is being produced by Sam Raimi and directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House, City of Ember). JAWS is the only "horror" film that Spielberg has officially directed and with his producer's hat on he has made others like POLTERGEIST, ARACHNOPHOBIA, GREMLINS and SUPER 8... and all throughout his career he has showcased his talent for the grotesque with films like TEMPLE OF DOOM, JURASSIC PARK, MINORITY REPORT and WAR OF THE WORLDS -- therefore I think that it's high time that he make another horror movie... what I wouldn't give to see that!!
1990 / Director. Jack Bender.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I am a sucker for OZ and I return to L Frank Baum's classic stories more than any other books in my collection. There's something about the world he created that transcends me more than any other... more than Narnia. More than Fantasia. More than Middle Earth... OZ is beautiful. This made-for-tv movie from 1990 tells the story of Baum's life and how he came to write his timeless classic. He lived a hard life with his wife and children, always moving for work and constantly struggling to make ends meet. He was ever the dreamer and would tell his children and their friends stories about magical lands and strange characters. Inspired by whatever was around him, he would incorporate new elements on a whim and charm whoever cared to listen. With encouragement from his wife he put his pen to paper and the rest is history, although not without hardships and countless obstacles along the way. This is a wonderful film that begins at the premiere of MGM's 1939 film starring Judy Garland. A reporter finds Mrs Baum and invites her to share memories of her husband and his life. It is definitely a little hokey and very sappy but at it's core is a charming story about a man with a heart as big as a house and a boundless imagination. John Ritter plays Baum and he is perfect in the role. His voice and mannerisms fit the bill perfectly and he embodies the essence of a child. Annette O'Toole is also lovely as his adoring wife and some other nice additions to the cast include Rue McClanahan and John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig & The Angry Inch, Shortbus). The film does wash over his life and tells his story in very romantic terms but the events depicted are all taken from personal accounts and biographies. A strange gun-slinging showdown was recreated according to a long-held anecdote that Baum had written about. What draws me to this great little film is how the story is told. We are taken to OZ whenever Baum conjures new stories. We see Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion. We see the munchkins, the witches and the great and powerful Oz. The fantasy is wonderful and the recreations of Oz cleverly represent his original books and yet they also resemble the characters that were etched in cinematic history in the 1939 MGM film. This is lovely stuff and worth a look if you're a fan of Oz or perhaps you're just a big softie. It is a rare film to find as a stand-alone item (although not impossible) but it was recently included on the supplementary disc of the 70th Anniversary release of the MGM film. Check it out.
2014 / Director. Noam Murro.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I wasn't a huge fan of the first 300 film but I admired a lot about it. It was an effective adaptation of a graphic novel and its story was simple. The violence in that film was brutal but it was also controlled and never too gratuitous. The same cannot be said for RISE OF AN EMPIRE. This is a turd of a movie that plays out like a little sibling with a complex that's trying to outdo its older brother. Like the first film this one was shot entire in front of a green screen but nowhere near was well. The actors are so poorly lit in some scenes that the distance between them and the soundstage is painfully obvious. The story overlaps the first film by taking place before, during and after those events. While Gerard Butler's King Leonida is waging war against Persia with his 300 Spartans, this new story tells of General Themistocles of Athens and his battle for Greece. Again, like the first film the story itself is based on historical context but it is done so sloppily that it's a difficult exaggeration to accept. The movie is mostly battle sequences and they all take place at sea. Thousands of ships thrash around violent seas and all the while the humans manage to stay upright and engage in skillful combat. The acting is atrocious but that's kind of expected... what bothered me the most was the violence. I'm a sucker for gratuitous gore but this stuff was just so fucking gimmicky. Every drop of blood that was spilled and every limb that was severed was done for the benefit of 3D. Lashings of gore fly at the screen in slow motion and it all becomes such a laborious affair. There were also a stack of contradictions with the first film... for example, David Wenham seems to be in two places at the same time. The previous film had him leading charge of the Greek alliance at the end, whereas he is now little more than a sheep at sea... ah whatever, I can't be bothered with this one anymore. Needless to say I hated 300 RISE OF AN EMPIRE.
1994/ Director: Jeff Burr
Review by Justine Ryan.
Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings aka Pumpkinhead 2: The Demon Returns (as known on the Australian video release) begins in 1958, in the back woods of a small town called Ferren Woods, where an innocent deformed boy named Tommy is strung up and murdered by the local teenagers, who think Tommy is a freak of nature.
Cut to present day, 35 years later, Jenny Braddock (Ami Dolenz – SHE’S OUT OF CONTROL, WITCHBOARD 2: THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY, TICKS) has moved to Ferren Woods with her father, Sheriff Sean Braddock (Andrew Robinson – DIRTY HARRY, HELLRAISER, CHILD’S PLAY 3) and her mother Beth Braddock (Caren Kaye – MY TUTOR) from New York City to begin afresh, after Jenny had caused some trouble in her hometown getting involved with a bad crowd.
Soon Jenny befriends the towns local badasses, Danny (J. Trevor Edmond – RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3, LORD OF ILLUSIONS, MEATBALLS 4), Marcie (Soleil Moon Frye – PUNKY BREWSTER, ROBOT CHICKEN), Peter (Hill Harper – CSI: NY) and Paulie (Alexander Polinksy –CHARLES IN CHARGE).
One night driving around and getting into no good, Jenny’s new friends tell her about the legend of Pumpkinhead and the local town witch, Miss Osie, who was Tommy’s guardian and also has some mysterious link to Pumpkinhead that we, as the audience aren’t entirely sure about at first. Soon enough the teens accidently run her over and then cause a fire to her shack, almost burning her in it, but not before she curses them to the vengeance of Pumpkinhead.
Anyone that has seen the first film knows that no good will come out of conjuring up Pumpkinhead. For those that haven’t seen Stan Winston’s classic film, or Jeff Burr’s fun follow up, should check them out!
For me growing up in the 80s and 90s, these so called B movies have forever imprinted themselves on my heart. I spent every weekend trolling the aisles of my local video store as a kid, falling in love with all the VHS covers before my eyes. It was a big piece of my life and I am so thankful that I got to be a part of that time. This is where my love for Jeff Burr films grew. There is something comforting when one watches a Jeff Burr movie, you know you are in for a treat (many of his movies have had interference from studios during the making of his films and caused major headaches for him because of it. I think despite all that, he seems to always add his own flavour to each film that I find it hard to dislike any of them). I find all of his films are just plain entertaining - THE OFFSPRING AKA FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM, STEPFATHER 2, PUPPETMASTER 4 and 5, LEATHERFACE: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III, NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, EDDIE PRESLEY, STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS.
Pumpkinhead 2 was released on DVD in the USA in September 2005 in a full screen format and will be available on blu-ray (widescreen) by Shout Factory on 21 October 2014.
2013 / Director. Tim Story.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I was in the mood for a "no-brainer" and when I watched RIDE ALONG that's exactly what I got. Ha. There's nothing new here. As the poster suggests this is just another carbon-copy, run or the mill buddy-cop flick. All of the typical genre conventions are in the usual place (the grumpy chef, the disobedient cop and the comical rookie). Movies like this are a dime a dozen and they're more often than not easily forgotten. RIDE ALONG ticked most of the right boxes for me. I was worried at first... Ice Cube was being Ice Cube and Kevin Hart was being a whiney little bitch... but the thing is that they both grew on me. Ice Cube's character hates his sister's fiance (who wants to be a cop) and takes him on a ride-along to scare the shit out of him and hopefully send him packing. The day becomes a series of blunders and eventually turns into a deadly undercover bust. The dynamics between these guys is good and by the time the film finished I was actually caught up in its charm. It's hard to fault Kevin Hart's character when he represents goodness in such an innocent and well intended way. He is surprisingly sweet... the action is okay but nothing special and the writing and direction is adequate. Adding a touch of class to the whole thing are players like John Lequizamo, Laurence Fishburne and Bruce McGill... and it's great to see Bryan Callen on screen. I love that guy. RIDE ALONG ain't no LETHAL WEAPON but it's a huge cut above COP OUT. Nothing new but not at all tedious.... and a sequel is on its way.....
1996 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie # 25.
Review by Glenn Cochrane
ADRENALIN is yet another movie which was taken away from Albert Pyun and recut. The version that Miramax released was different to the film, which Albert had intended to make. The entire story took on a new emphasis and the setting was changed from Romania to Boston. I can only imagine how frustrated Albert must have been throughout his career with so many films being pulled from under him... all leading to unfair criticisms of his abilities. He has a new director's cut of ADRENALIN (alongside a heap of other titles) on the way and I cannot wait to see it... but because the Miramax cut is the only version I've seen then my thoughts need to reflect it. Fortunately it's a good looking film and still showcases Albert's eye for action and aesthetic. Set in an alternative future, the government has collapsed and a deadly virus is sweeping across the world. When one infected criminal escapes and hides in the catacombs beneath an old prison a group of cops follow him and find themselves trapped at every corner, against a bloodthirsty monster. Albert made three films at the same time while he was in Romania and they all share the same tone. With rubble-lined streets and buildings in ruin he was able to utilize some natural environments to give his stories a surreal and furitistic beauty. The other two films were OMEGA DOOM and NEMESIS 4 and I consider them amongst Albert's most visually arresting. In it's NQ-PYUN Miramax form ADRENALIN is a workable sci-fi horror film with some competent performances. Flawed in many ways and slightly incoherent with its silly Boston setting... but a very easy watch and fun. I can't wait to see the director's cut and I will come back and let y'all know what it's like.
2013 / Director. J.C. Chandor.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
It's a tall order to make a film that is set entirely in one location, let alone featuring ZERO dialogue (aside from a few opening lines of narration and one almighty F-bomb). ALL IS LOST took the challenge and delivered in spades. This is a stunning film and one I would tout as a triumph (I hate that word). Robert Redford stars as a lone man sailing his yacht across the Indian Ocean. He finds himself in a spot of bother when he wakes to find his boat wedged to a stricken shipping container. The yacht's hull has been breached and water gushes in. Most people would break down in panic but Redford's character doesn't. He keeps his composure and assesses the situation. Throughout the film things go from worse to worse and all the while he maintains a quiet sense of determination. The film is quite incredible on all kinds of levels. Redford's performance is brilliant and physically taxing (he's in his late 70s) and easily amongst his best... but it's the filmmaking that scores most of the points. Director JC Chandor has managed to capture this entire story of will in a claustrophobic and confined space, using all manners of techniques. Some of it was filmed on the high sea and some of it was filmed in a tank. The camera is constantly invading Redford's personal space and water seeps into every single frame. It was also shot without audio, allowing Chandor to verbally direct freely, without restraint... and when you consider that you then need to consider how incredible the folly and soundtrack work is. Amazing. With no dialogue, no back story and no traditional character development ALL IS LOST is situation film... it's a predicament... and like all good films it leaves plenty of room for discussion. It impressed the shit out of me.
2013 / Director. Sarah Spillane.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
AROUND THE BLOCK suffers from a terrible title and to compound matters it also has an awful poster. Christina Ricci is a valuable asset to the film but her face could have been used more effectively to promote it. But of course those are material criticisms and AROUND THE BLOCK is an otherwise solid and unexpected drama that plays upon an age-old formula. Think of BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, TO SIR WITH LOVE, STAND & DELIVER and any of the other countless "teacher inspires" films and place it in a real-life, volatile & indigenous Australian suburb... the result is strangely powerful. I do enjoy the formula but I also become bored with these types of films easily and they need to work harder than most to hook me. This one worked for me. The film is set in the indigenous suburb of Redfern, in Sydney and it takes place around the time of the Redfern Riots. Christina Ricci plays an American drama teacher who embraces her class of kids and inspires them with a production of Hamlet. Unlike other films in this genre, she is not faced with resistance from the students and it is the social environment around them, which provides the struggle. With tensions between the community and the police at a boiling point, this teacher also fights with her own sexuality and realisations that the people she associates with are comfortably racist. The film never attempts to dig too deep into the issues it depicts, which is a shame, but it does provide an entry point to people who aren't familiar with the Redfern story and could provide valuable conversation on a school curriculum. The performances are solid and Christina Ricci holds it together well. Making her character American was smart and writer/director Sarah Spillane is able to offer an outsider's perspective while being able to pitch the film to a wider audience. She has also used Shakespeare's Hamlet really effectively to parallel a lot of the urban issues surrounding the community. The kids in the film are able to connect the poetry of Shakespeare's words and apply them to their own lives. It's nicely done. Here's hoping that teenagers audiences gravitate towards AROUND THE BLOCK. It might just educate them. I think it's wonderful.
1965 / Director. Noriaki Yuasa.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
People criticise The Asylum for cashing in on bigger Hollywood blockbuster films with cheap, tacky knock-off movies. Yawn... ah whatever. Cash-in flicks have been around for eons and GAMERA is a prime example. Obviously riding the success of GODZILLA, this cheesy no-frills exploit blazes the same trail and recreates a similar atmosphere with a giant turtle (ah huh) terrorising the people of Japan. It's god-awful stuff and I cannot get enough of it. Not only does Gamera walk on hind legs, breath fire and CONSUME fire... it also sprouts jet-rockets from it's shell and zooms across the planet like a flying saucer. The tackiness is glorious and were it not for too many boring stretches of human's theorising it would be a blatantly brilliant B-grade knock-off that deserves it's place on the mantel beside GODZILLA. There's not much else to say really. You see the poster... that's what you get. Chew. Chomp. Stamp. Smash.
2011 / Director. Ivan Malekin.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
One does not simply watch DACE DECLAN: PRIVATE EYE... one experiences it. No matter how many times you slap yourself in the face, it's still there... attacking your senses. This is a micro-budget indie film packed to the brim with dick jokes, Jesus jokes, sex jokes and incest jokes. It's a movie that says to it's viewer "if you're offended, fuck off". As the poster suggests it is a cheap and nasty flick and shonky is exactly what you're going to get... but before you run for the Farrelly Brothers stop and give it some persistence. DACE DECLAN: PRIVATE EYE is hilarious! It tells the story of a private eye who is hired to fly to the country of Rambosia to find a lost professor, all the while being hunted by a local drug cartel. The story is irrelevant and what you need to know is that this movie will try to offend you into pissing your pants with laughter. If I had to find comparison titles I would say that it shares the same pedigree as NED and TONGAN NINJA (two movies you must see if you haven't already) and the overwhelming and joyous sense of WTF is exactly how I reacted to CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL for the first time. Most of the jokes hit the mark and while the movie suffers from a few lagging moments, its negatives are insignificant considering its budget and jovial intentions. I would love this to become a cult thing. It deserves to be seen with a room full of drunken people. It's the type of movie that needs midnight screenings and picketing protests. DACE DECKLAN: PRIVATE EYE is obviously the work of the Devil and he's stroking it hard in our faces. Love this.
2013 / Directors. Hélène Giraud & Thomas Szabo.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS is a feature film based on a popular TV-shorts program called MINUSCULE. The show's concept features animated insect creatures in a live-action environment. The episodes are short and are usually programmed in between other shows. This new feature length adaptation carries on the concept and follows a lost ladybug as it attempts to find its way back to its family. Along the way it joins the journey of some black ants as they carry a lunch pail of sugar back to their nest. This is a stunning film to look at. The landscapes are gorgeous and so much attention to detail has been given to the environment surrounding these little characters. There isn't a single word spoken throughout the movie and contrary to the trailer there is no narration either. And so the story is told through action and personality. Each of the creatures is given their own nuances and traits and carry the story with charm. Expanding a short concept into a feature length film was a bold thing to tempt and there are moments when the filmmakers struggle to keep up their momentum. The entire film is more or less walking, marching and flying. With no voices to convey interaction the cute little characters do become laborious. There are definitely too many repetitive jokes and the camera holds for far too long on some of the supposed punchlines. Nevertheless this is a kids film and it delivers. Since watching it it has been playing on my mind and the more I think about it the more I like it. I am keen to watch it again soon to see whether or not there's more charm to be found. I suspect there is. Blu-ray (3D if possible) is the ultimate way to experience this delightful little film and anyone with a childlike sense of adventure should relish it. Kids with short attention-spans, however, would be better off watching the TV series instead.
1984 / Director. Brian De Palma.
Review by Justine Ryan.
Struggling L.A actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) is asked to house sit by fellow actor Sam Bouchard (Greg Henry) while he is away. Upon his first night’s stay Jake is introduced to his sensuous neighbour, Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton), whom he watches perform sexy stripteases through a telescope each night. He soon becomes infatuated with her, following her around Rodeo Drive (in a stunning sequence), and soon meeting her only to discover that she is also being followed by a mysterious Indian before her death occurs.
BODY DOUBLE is finely tuned murder mystery, part erotic thriller and part slasher with many humorous moments peppered in there. Director Brian De Palma got a lot of flack when the film was released. Critics always seemed to accuse him of being misogynistic, which I personally disagree with. The way De Palma captures women in some of his films shows the range of their abilities from strength to vulnerability, which he does sensitively.
Melanie Griffith gives a charming and memorable performance as porno actress Holly Body, who helps Jake solve the murder and identity of the killer. This is easily my favourite role of hers. BODY DOUBLE is layered with plot twists and suspense, keeping the viewer on their toes. The best cinema is like a good seduction and De Palma knows (especially in his earlier films) how to invite us in and keep us there until the climax, making us voyeurs like Jake in a sense.
Another element that perfectly complements the film and one of the most memorable at least for me about the film, is the score by Pino Donaggio and conducted by Natale Massara (CARRIE, PIRANHA, DRESSED TO KILL, THE HOWLING, THE FAN, BLOW OUT, MERIDIAN, PASSION and more recently PATRICK). I have a huge unabashed love for Pino and in my opinion he is brilliant at conveying so many emotions in his various pieces of music.
The film was misunderstood by critics in its initial release but has since gained a cult following. A bare bones region 4 DVD was released a few years ago the film has since had a limited region 1 Blu Ray release in 2013, which is expensive in it’s price but fans don’t have to fear as last week Umbrella Entertainment released it on Blu Ray with the delicious featureless from the region 1 DVD from 2006 carried over.
1991 / Director. Bryan Gordon.
Review by Glenn Cochrane
When it comes to the John Hughes teen comedies CAREER OPPORTUNITIES is one of the lesser know, or at least is one of the more poorly received. Made in 1991 I believe that it was the last of his teen orientated films, having given way to his more slapstick brand of family movies, which he focused on throughout the 90s. It stars Frank Whaley as a 21 year old dreamer who can't hold down a job. He's known as the town liar because of his annoying persistence in fabricating stories about himself. His father secures him a new job at Target as a night cleaner and the entire film takes place inside the department store where he cures his boredom with stupid antics. A few hours into his first shift he discovers a girl (Jennifer Connelly) locked inside with him. Together they rollerskate, eat junk food and pretty much trash the store. The entire film's premise is more or less two brats confined and then bonding. In many ways it plays out like THE BREAKFAST CLUB with personal information being traded and home-truths being revealed. I like the movie a lot and think that it's been unfairly judged over the years. It's a welcome addition to Hughes's catalogue and would probably fare better if it wasn't standing in the shadows of bigger films like BREAKFAST CLUB and FERRIS BEULLER'S DAY OFF. The film does get a little stupid with the introduction of two bumbling robbers but at the core is a sweet and understated story with good performances and amusing (occasionally hilarious) antics. There are some great cameos also from people like John Candy, William Forsythe & Dermott Mulroney. I recently revisited the movie and found myself enjoying it more than I did the previous time. That makes it a grower in my books and proves it to be an endearing final entry into a renowned period of filmmaking for a comedy legend.