The original “Die Hard” was a near-perfect action film, putting a reluctant hero in a confined skyscraper setting, facing him off against memorable villains and treating the whole enterprise with wit, style and imagination. It made Bruce Willis a movie star, established Alan Rickman as a classic villain and made a fortune at the box office back in 1988. So, naturally, there were imitations, all following the formula of a lone hero stuck battling badguys in a distinct location. There was Die Hard on a Bus (“Speed”), Die Hard on a Boat (“Speed 2”), Die Hard on a Plane (“Passenger 57”), Die Hard on a Mountain (“Cliffhanger”) and even Die Hard at the Stanley Cup (“Sudden Death”). Unfortunately, there was also the official sequel, Die Hard at an Airport, better known as “Die Hard 2.”
What if the great private eye thrillers of the past — movies like “The Maltese Falcon” or “Murder, My Sweet,” hadn’t been made under the restrictive eye of Hollywood’s production code? What if all the sex, sleaze and violence lurking just under the surface had been allowed onscreen? What if all that adult content had actually been made for adult audiences? You’d get a movie like “Chinatown.”
The 1980s were the Golden Age action movies. And “Die Hard” was the very, very best. During that long-ago decade, action movies starred actors who seemed to be more than mere human beings. Guys like Stallone, Gibson, Van Damme, Seagal and, striding like a colossus above the rest, Schwarzenegger, the Teutonic god with the unpronounceable last name who was the biggest star of them all.
James Bond is back in theaters with Spectre, so we’re bringing you an Out of Theaters two-fer with a 007 from yesteryear and a recent year. Today’s episode simultaneously discusses and compares Live and Let Die (1973) and Casino Royale (2006).
We are a mere two months away from the creation of the first NEXUS-6 replicant and only four years away from the events documented in Blade Runner. As you know, we’ve all been living peacefully with NEXUS models 1-5. But it is January 2016 when Tyrell Corp. will secretly introduce NEXUS-6 replicant models to off-Earth colonies. The extremely advanced NEXUS-6 model has a four-year lifespan because its creators fear the android may develop emotions and be resistant, even dangerous to mankind.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the movie that proves dinner with the family can be an actual nightmare, is as scary today as it was 41 years ago. Released this month in 1974, Texas Chainsaw follows a group of young friends who meeting their grim and untimely deaths at the hands of a family of cannibals. The film’s somewhat grainy, low-budget look — it was made for less than $300,000 — helps create an eerie feeling even before the grotesque killings begin.
Eden Rohatensky of the Jimmy and Eden podcast visits the show to talk about War Games (1983). Eden, a musician and web developer, lends her computer expertise to help dissect the 32-year-old film about mistakenly hacking into United States military supercomputer.
If the sounds of three glass bottles clinking together has ever beckoned you to come out and playeeaaa, then you can thank “The Warriors.” Walter Hill’s highly-stylized movie follows a Coney Island street gang’s violent expedition back home after being framed for killing a charismatic leader who urges gang members to count. “Can you count suckas?” Cyrus asks 900 people (nine delegates from 100 gangs) at the start of the film. “I say the future is ours, if you can count.”
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho stands the test of time as the quintessential psychological thriller for any generation. Considered by many as one of the greatest films of all time, Psycho is set in motion when Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) embezzles $40,000 ($322,483.78 in today’s dollars) so she can start a new life with her boyfriend (John Gavin). Crane is driving through the night to meet her beau, but an onslaught of rain forces her to pull over and spend the night at the Bates Motel. It’s there where she encounters Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), the sometimes kind and sometimes creepy SPOILER ALERT villain in the film.
A brilliant cast and exquisite cinematography bring Max Allan Collins’ graphic novel Road to Perdition to life in the 2002 movie by the same name. Tom Hanks plays Michael Sullivan, a mob enforcer with conscience working for an Irish crime family in 1931. His surrogate father John Rooney (Paul Newman in his final live-action role) is the boss. Tyler Hoechlin plays 12-year-old Michael Jr., whose curiosity about his father’s career leads him to witness a hit executed by John’s son Connor (Daniel Craig), pitting Sullivan against his former crime family and setting the plot in motion.