THE MAN ON THE ROOF (1976): Bo Widerberg's cool, gritty, realistic police thriller based on Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's Martin Beck novel of the same title. An old cop is brutally murdered in a hospital room in a genuinely creepy opening sequence that feels like it was straight out of an Argento movie of the same era. As detective Martin Beck investigates the case, it becomes clear that this was one bad cop and that a lot of people may have had it in for him, even worse, one of those people could be a police officer. Gritty and stark, Widerberg plays out the scenario with an almost documentary style (aside from the opening scene), with minimal music, allowing the silence to heighten the sense of realism. The last half of the film where a sniper pins down an entire police force is an absolute classic of the genre. Not just a gripping police thriller, the story takes some great unexpected twists that would undoubtedly be completely reworked if it were made today. It's pretty obvious that the source material has been cut down to fit in a 110 minute movie, which will cause some Sjöwall and Wahlöö diehards (like my father) to grumble, but taken for what it is, it's a great movie. One of these days, I should get around to reading those books. One of these days.
SKY PIRATES (1986): When I watched this back in the day I was bored stiff by it. I guess it just didn't push the boundaries of a PG rating like RAIDERS did. I watch it now and I am stunned by how much I enjoy it. Arguably one of the best Indiana Jones rip-offs simply because it creates its own little world that exploits all of the things people loved about RAIDERS, but goes about it's business in an entirely original way. Legendary air force pilot Dakota Harris (John Hargreaves) is commissioned with flying a mysterious crate off to Bora Bora along with a priest (Simon Chilvers), and his former WWII rival and now superior officer (Max Phipps). After crashing into the sea due to a bizarre electrical storm, Harris must escape from the stockade to search for the missing priest and the mysterious crate of ancient power. Yeah, well, if you watch it, you’ll get the INDIANA connection (or just look at the German DVD cover). Great Aussie cast with Hargreaves playing it cool as a cucumber in that huge fleece-lined flightjacket and Phipps setting a fashion-statement for the next decade of Asian films with a tall, peroxided flattop. Meredith Phillips is also thrown in as the priest's hot daughter with whom Hargreaves (again) has zero chemistry. Director Colin Eggleston does an about face from his disturbing-as-hell LONG WEEKEND and who knew John Lamond could produce such a fun, sleaze-free film?
THE RATS (1982): Aka DEADLY EYES. Bob Clouse. The best deaf director in Hollywood. I see you snickering. Yes, it's got Terriers dressed up as rats, yes it has a teenage girl trying to seduce an older man (happens every day, right?), no it doesn't have Peter Weller. Suck it up, punk. Sure it’s probably one of Clouse’s lesser works, but it’s still pretty damned entertaining and you have Scatman Corruthers playing a character, who one assumes, has a history of naval service due to his sodium-rich dialogue.
|Ooooooh, snaps! Holmes is down!|
HARD KNUCKLE (1987): The CITIZEN KANE of dystopian pool movies. Seriously, one of the best movies I've seen this year. Check out the full review here.
|Serena Grandi playing Intellivision in her jammies? Haaaaaaawwwt!|