Dead Again (1991) - 4/10 - A supposedly Hitchcockian fantasy thriller that is not all that interesting in my view and towards the end, it gets gratuitously stupid with its lame attempt to be more action-driven than it needs to be. I guess the acting was okay and the direction isn’t all that bad, but it’s not my thing I guess. It endeavors to be this kinda-sorta whodunit with a silent-era splendor thrown in there, but it just looks naive.
White Sands (1992) - 7/10 - More of a low-key neo noir, but at the same time, it’s got that early nineties vibe going on there and the white desert, where some of the action takes place, makes for a stunning location that significantly enhances the movie’s memorability. Dafoe is excellent in the role of a righteous, but also artful sheriff who tries to get out of a jam. Performances by Samuel L. Jackson as well as Mickey Rourke ain’t bad at all either. Lots of double-crossings and shenanigans. Overall a very decent flick.
Breakdown (1997) - 6/10 - Most of the time, it’s pretty goddamn excellent, but it unfortunately turns into this nonsensical actioner in the second half. Later down the road, it regrettably endeavors to tap into the common set of action bromides. The film should have stayed grim, minimal and menacing. I guess the action part potentially might’ve rendered the film more viable commercially, but at the end of the day, once the kabooms came into sight, it ceased to be this gripping study of terror, lost most of its credibility, which had made it interesting in the first place, and turned into this nonsensical porridge of a pop-culture thriller. A bit of a missed opportunity there IMO.
Unlawful Entry (1992) - 8/10 - A very nice one. The thing that distinguishes it from a legion of similar thrillers is its emphasis on the psychological motives of its characters. I really like the portrayal of the cop on the edge by Ray Liotta who really hits it out of the park with his performance here. The entire cast is very good, but let’s be honest, at the end of the day, it’s his movie. I guess you could say that the film is rather schlocky in its approach to the subject matter and pursues rather obvious thematical motifs most of this kind of shockers tend to aim for, but the way it’s all presented is pretty quality all around.
Bad Dreams (1988) - 2/10 - A total trainwreck of a movie. There are practically no redeeming qualities about this one. Everything ranging from the script, the acting, the narrative, the pacing… literally everything sucks. It feels overlong despite being only 80 minutes long and most of the turnabouts the film has to offer are so cliched it is mind-numbing. The comedic parts are unfunny, the scary parts are not scary. It’s just pure trash and a badly concocted A Nightmare on Elm Street rip-off.
The Man Who Sleeps (1974) - 9/10 - A re-watch.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) - 6/10 - The movie feels remarkably schizophrenic in the sense that it combines a lot of elements from both buddy and heist genres, never truly becoming one or the other. The chemistry between Eastwood and Bridges is uncannily good, but the remainder of the flick just feels bland and the execution of the robbery feels somewhat inert and outdated by today’s standards. It’s watchable mostly by virtue of Bridges’s and Eastwood’s performances.
Hardware (1990) - 3/10 - I don’t get this one to be honest. I mostly love style-over-substance flicks and can appreciate all-style-no-substance affairs, but this thing here just doesn’t get me excited all that much. I guess when it comes to a low-budgeted Sci-Fi of this sort, I’d rather watch Split Second rather than this thing here. Not that that movie had much more story to tell, it was totally bonkers to be perfectly honest, but all the gore, cheese n’ sleaze in Hardware is over-the-top and all over the place insofar as it becomes truly distracting and kind of annoying.
A Breed Apart (1984) - 6/10 - A nice little adventure flick. Nothing that unusual about it, but the locations and the acting made this sufficiently worthwhile for a viewing. I found Kathleen Turner to be incredibly annoying though.
Lady Beware (1987) - 6/10 - Another low-budgeted neo noir and it’s a neat one. You can obviously sense that the film crew didn’t have much money at their disposal, but they did fine I guess. The portrayal of stalking is the best thing about the venture and the actor playing the part of the stalker does a good job at being a creep. The movie could’ve been truncated at several points and it does feel somewhat protracted on a couple of occasions, but nothing too bad.
The Mean Season (1985) - 7/10 - An underrated little thriller. The story is about a reporter that is regularly contacted by a serial killer terrorizing the city of Miami and gets sucked into the spiral of lunacy. It gets really interesting because the reporter played by Russell becomes more participatory in the events than he is willing to admit and subsequently regrets having been involved in the whole matter altogether. The fantastic performance by Richard Jordan also make this one a gripping viewing and the persona of the killer himself is a very interesting and intriguing one. Highly recommended.
Third Degree Burn (1989) - 7/10 - A John Dahl-ish exercise in neo noir, not as good, but it definitely serves as a neat form of entertainment. I guess it works so well because of the nice direction by Spottiswoode and excellent performances by Williams and Madsen. It’s too bad Madsen never gained any considerable recognition because he’s hell of an actor IMO and had all the charisma in the world to take on some of the more badass roles. The resolution is rather foreseeable, but it is all kept together by the satisfactory execution.
Down Twisted (1987) - 3/10 - I mean, it’s another Cannon movie, it looks like one, it feels like one, therefore it is one? I was brought round by the high IMDb rating to give this one a shot and… well… it’s a Cannon film. There is nothing exceptional about and I found it to be a complete bore. Stuff happens, but it’s all put together in a distinctively shoddy way you’d expect from a film of this stature. I was hoping it would turn into something akin to The Warriors (1979) or Streets of Fire (1984), but well… it’s shit. I mean I don’t know. Perhaps the film is this diamond in the rough and I merely fail to see its grandeur because of my inability to decipher its latent meanings and shit. Perhaps. The IMDb rating is really skewed though, no idea how it got such a stellar rating from the community of people there. Don’t be fooled. It’s a regular fucking Cannon film, don’t make a mistake of wasting your time on this one.