Rome, Open City

Although one certainly cannot dismiss the impact of World War II on the United States, it’s an order of magnitude more shocking to witness the devastation  wrought across Europe. For all our suffering, we could come home to a country that remained largely untouched by large-scale conflict. Those in Europe, however, were already home.

Oh, What a Lovely War

Richard Attenborough directs this farcical yet horrifying send-up of the grueling First World War, based on an absurdist stage musical written by Joan Littlewood. On August 4, 1914, Germany declared war on and subsequently invaded Belgium, a declared neutral in the escalating conflict between France, Russia, and the allied countries of German and Austria-Hungary. Europe…

Cultural Gutter: The Forever War

I’m back on The Cultural Gutter for another Frolic Afield. Queue up the montages of civil unrest and warfare set to Buffalo Springfield and “All Along the Watchtower,” because Back to the World is a look at Joe Haldeman’s amazing 1974 “Vietnam War in space” novel, The Forever War.

Heroes Shed No Tears

Most folks cite the slick gangster film A Better Tomorrow as the breakout film for both director John Woo and actor Chow Yun-fat. And that is, in part, true. It was the film that made them both household names (Chow far more than Woo, at least at the time, when the name of a star…

300 Spartans

The film strives for historical accuracy almost to a fault. If you don’t have a passion for history and for Greek (or Persian) history in general, then this film could seem a little draggy in spots, I suppose. It adheres tot he historic accounts almost tot he point of becoming a docudrama. Boredom never occurred to me, though, and I found the whole thing a thoroughly rousing adventure.

Intrusion: Cambodia

If I tell you there’s a movie starring Richard Harrison, Anthony Alonzo, and Tetchie Agbayani, do you look at me quizzically and shrug, or do you start to shake with giddy anticipation?

Ultimax Force

In retrospect, I cant believe it didn’t happen more frequently. I mean, combining the obsession with ‘Nam movies with the obsession with ninja movies — that just seems like common sense

GI Joe: The Movie

GI Joe: The Movie feels like marketing was supposed to be first, but the screenwriter had so much booze and amphetamines that the whole thing veered off into the outer limits of madness. There’s just nothing in it that is well-done, and you know that from me, that’s an endorsement.

R-Point

If you can get over how great the film could have been, you can still enjoy how good it is. Not without noticeably flaws, many of which are large enough to make not liking the film perfectly understandable, R-Point still manages to be creepy as hell in many places and an interesting film to think about. It also seems to know when it’s doing something right, and when it’s doing something wrong.