Classics Update

Some classic films our members are reviewing this week:

Steve Biodrowski reviews Akira and Troll 2 at Cinefantastique

Marilyn Ferdinand reviews City That Never Sleeps at Ferdy on Films

Rob Gonsalves reviews Friday the 13th at eFilmCritic

Michael E. Grost reviews The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw, Two Years Later, Woman in the Moon, and Yolanda and the Thief at mikegrost.com

Phil Hall reviews Little Red Riding Hood at Film Threat and The Room at FilmSnobbery.com

Roderick Heath reviews Die Hard at Ferdy on Films

Dan Jardine reviews Sabrina at Cinemania and Satantango at The House Next Door

James Kendrick reviews Bull Durham, Crumb, James and the Giant Peach, and Louie Bluie at The QNetwork

Paul Mavis reviews Yellowstone Kelly at DVDTalk

John J. Puccio reviews Hamlet, Kangaroo: The Australian Story, and What’s Up, Doc? at DVDTOWN

Dennis Schwartz reviews Dragonwyck, Glory Alley, Kaleidoscope, The Lost Moment, Onionhead, That Wonderful Urge, and Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory at Ozus’ World Movie Reviews

Cole Smithey reviews Peeping Tom at ColeSmithey.com

Matthew Sorrento reviews Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness at Film Threat

International Update

Some films our members outside the U.S. are reviewing this week:

Anton Bitel reviews Kamui: The Lone Ninja at EyeforFilm and The Secret In Their Eyes and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for Film4.com

Enrique Buchichio reviews Capitalism: A Love Story, Carancho, Crazy Heart, Dos hermanos (Two Brothers), Inception, and The White Ribbon at Cartelera.com.uy

Rich Cline reviews Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky and Undertow at Shadows on the Wall

Yaroslav Vishtalyuk reviews Grown Ups at VJ.net.ua

TV Update

Some TV shows our members are reviewing this week:

Phil Hall reviews In Search Of… at Film Threat

Yaroslav Vishtalyuk reviews Gossip Girl at VJ.net.ua

Outside the Mainstream Update

Some “outside the mainstream” films our members are reviewing this week:

Phil Hall reviews On the Lam at Film Threat

Donald L. Levit reviews Summer Pasture at ReelTalk Reviews

Adam Lippe reviews The Oxford Murders at A Regrettable Moment of Sincerity

Dan Lybarger reviews The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Restrepo, and Triage at KCActive

Mike McGranaghan reviews Exam at The Aisle Seat

Classics Update

Some classic films our members are reviewing this week:

Steve Biodrowski reviews The Little Shop of Horrors at Cinefantastique

Mark Dujsik reviews The Pope of Greenwich Village at The Parallax Review

Rob Gonsalves reviews The Killing at eFilmCritic

Michael E. Grost reviews Bells Are Ringing, Desperate Journey, Du côté de la côte, and Scarlet Street at mikegrost.com

Phil Hall reviews The Drivetime at FilmSnobbery.com

Roderick Heath reviews Moby Dick at Ferdy on Films and The Ghost of Frankenstein at This Island Rod

Dan Jardine reviews City Lights at Cinemania

Dan Lybarger reviews James and the Giant Peach at KCActive

John J. Puccio reviews Elvis: 75th Anniversary DVD Collection (Jailhouse Rock, It Happened at the World’s Fair, Kissin’ Cousins, Viva Las Vegas, Girl Happy, Tickle Me, Harem Scarum, Spinout, Double Trouble, Stay Away, Joe, Speedway, Live a Little, Love a Little, Charro!, The Trouble with Girls, Elvis: That’s the Way It Is, Elvis on Tour, and This is Elvis) and Vacation at DVDTOWN

Robert Roten reviews The 300 Spartans at Laramie Movie Scope

Dennis Schwartz reviews Black Hand, Blackout (aka Murder by Proxy), Deception, One Potato, Two Potato, Shanks, Slightly French, and Stolen Face at Ozus’ World Movie Reviews

Nathan Shumate reviews A Vacation in Hell at Cold Fusion Video Reviews

Cole Smithey reviews Medium Cool at ColeSmithey.com

Essay Question: Our Remake Wishes

OFCS members answer the question:

If you had the chance to remake any film, which one would you remake?

Answers after the jump.


David Cornelius:

Flash Gordon. With all respect to the 1980 Mike Hodges feature (which I love), the character deserves a camp-free revival, and the crummy 2007-08 TV series (not to mention the 1996 cartoon) just didn’t do the job. Let’s get back to the comic strip/matinee serial roots with some whirlwind retro adventure – like The Rocketeer, but with Hawkmen! (Brian Blessed, of course, is invited to play every role.)


Rob Gonsalves:

The Island of Dr. Moreau. Because the basic H.G. Wells story is always relevant, and the last word on it shouldn’t be the interesting but compromised 1996 version. There have been, by my count, three major Hollywood passes at the material (the Charles Laughton Island of Lost Souls being the best by far) and three cheapjack productions that got made because the novel is in the public domain.

I would go to Warner, where they seem to respect oddity and artistry, get a healthy budget for great manimal-making (supervised by Rick Baker), get Guillermo Del Toro to produce and Vincenzo Natali to direct, and write the script myself incorporating all the best stuff from Wells and the better films. For Moreau I’d cast David Cronenberg; you really don’t want to get into a hambone contest with Laughton, Burt Lancaster and Brando, so I’d want to go the other way and make Moreau cool and clinical and, well, Cronenbergian. Although Dieter Laser from “The Human Centipede” would also be a good choice (if a bit on-the-nose). Peter Gabriel would compose the creepy jungle score. Lady Gaga would be the half-woman half-cat. Nathan Fillion would be protagonist Edward Prendick.

Who am I kidding, though? I fully expect this to be announced as yet another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp vehicle…


Phil Hall:

The 1974 film version of Jerry Herman’s delightful Broadway musical Mame was a travesty because of Gene Saks’ clumsy direction and the tragic miscasting of frog-voiced Lucille Ball in the title role. Someday, hopefully, a proper Mame film will be made.


Mark H. Harris:

Avatar, because I think the original flew under the radar. 🙂


Wesley Lovell:

Sweeney Todd. I had ideas in my head for how this should be adapted well before Burton blasphemed the entire production. So much would change and I would rebuild on the original stage production and not dismantle it as was done on the big screen.


John J. Puccio:

I think it’s time somebody remade Gus Van Sant’s Psycho. They could change the main character to a woman, Norma Bates, and get Angelina Jolie to play her, with Jon Voight as her mummified father.


Jonathan Richards:

Of course it makes the most sense to remake the bad ones, because the pressure is off. Showgirls might be fun. Or something like Reefer Madness, Howard the Duck, Battlefield Earth, or Plan 9 from Outer Space (somebody’s already going the Ed Wood route: Grave Robbers from Outer Space, based on a “concept” by Ed Wood, is currently listed as “In Production”.)

Or something really easy. Has anyone thought about doing a remake of Andy Warhol’s Empire?

Or something fun but forgotten, like Rhubarb, the 1951 charmer about a cat that inherits the Brooklyn Dodgers. Of course there are no more Brooklyn Dodgers, and I don’t think a movie about a cat inheriting the Los Angeles Dodgers would have the same appeal.

What you want to stay away from are the movies that worked so well the first time. Alan Arkin once told me that the best notices he’d had in years came in the reviews of the Douglas/Brooks remake of The In-Laws.

The movies I remake in my head always have me starring in them. Me as Captain Blood, me as Rick Blaine, me as Lawrence of Arabia, me as Atticus Finch, me as The Man With No Name. These would all be excellent choices, and if there’s someone out there with a bankroll and a sense of adventure, let’s talk.


Robert Roten:

I would remake Starship Troopers.

It is a film with a lot of potential that could be realized with modern computer graphics not available when the film was originally made. It could be a decent film by sticking closer to the original story by Robert Heinlein, but it also desperately needs a lot better writing, a much better cast and a director who is not trying to force the story into a snide Robocop satirical mold.

In director Paul Verhoeven’s defense, I think he was forced into a lot of compromises and improvisation during the making of this film due to budgetary constraints. It turned out that most of the money went into special effects and very little on acting talent and writing, a common problem in science fiction films.

I would go more for a tone similar to that of the TV series Space, Above and Beyond, which was much more in the spirit of Heinlein’s book than the Starship Troopers movie was. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was the first time I saw Starship Troopers. It would be great to wash away that disappointment.


Felix Vasquez:

I would remake Dawn of the Dead, and do it in a vastly unusual format. Instead of just throwing a bunch of people at us and tossing them in to a mall with sprinting zombies like the remake did, I’d stage it very much like Go, in which we follow only four or five characters, set up their own segments where they discover, and flee from the zombie apocalypse, and circumstances in which they all inevitably cross paths. I’d add much more of the social commentary from the Romero movie but not too much and actually provide a reason for wanting to be in the mall beyond just randomly coming across it in the middle of the chaos and adding some sense to it. I’d add a clear logical reason for leaving the mall in the end and slow down the zombies to where they’re more fast walkers and not marathon runners posing as deus ex machinas. Less characters, richer character development, much more conflict and we’d actually have a remake rivaling Romero’s original.


Rob Vaux:

The Running Man. Stephen King’s original novella was prescient in its depiction of reality TV and the lengths modern society will go to for titillation and thrills. The Schwarzenegger film abandoned those notions for silly costumes, bad puns and a simplistic “good vs. evil” look at the future. In the right hands, a gritty modern update could become a truly great piece of sci-fi dystopia (though we’ll let them keep Richard Dawson).


Yaroslav Vishtalyuk:

Max Payne (2008) – excellent game but abominable movie.


International Update

Some films our members outside the U.S. are reviewing this week:

Anton Bitel reviews Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky at Film4.com, Down Terrace at Little White Lies, and The Perfect Sleep at EyeforFilm

Rich Cline reviews Beautiful Kate, Down Terrace, Gainsbourg, and Separado! at Shadows on the Wall

Yaroslav Vishtalyuk reviews Inception and Salt at VJ.net.ua

Grab Bag Update

Some other items of interest from our members this week:

Erik Childress examines the reviews of Cats and Dogs and Salt at eFilmCritic and takes a closer look at the trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s Devil at Cinematical

Nell Minow interviews Ben Sherwood of Charlie St. Cloud at Movie Mom

TV Update

Some TV shows our members are reviewing this week:

Sean Axmaker reviews Henson’s Place, Heroes: Season Four, Mercy: The Complete Series, and Stargate Universe SGU 1.5 at seanax.com

Brian Holcomb reviews Rubicon: Season One at Slant Magazine

MaryAnn Johanson reviews Avatar: The Last Airbender: Book 1, Doctor Who: The Ark in Space, Doctor Who: The Sontaran Experiment, Eureka, Life on Mars: Episode 1, Life on Mars: Episode 2, and Mad Men: Public Relations at FlickFilosopher.com

Paul Mavis reviews Jesse Stone: No Remorse, Lytton’s Diaries: The Complete Series, and Playing For Time at DVDTalk.com

Outside the Mainstream Update

Some “outside the mainstream” films our members are reviewing this week:

Dan Lybarger reviews The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Kids Are All Right at KCActive

Nathan Shumate reviews Ghosts of Goldfield at Cold Fusion Video Reviews

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