The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Predator (1987)

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Carl Weathers
  • Bill Duke
A team of special force ops, led by a tough but fair soldier, Major "Dutch" Schaefer, are ordered in to assist CIA man, George Dillon, on a rescue mission for potential survivors of a Helicopter downed over remote South American jungle. Not long after they land, Dutch and his team discover that they have been sent in under false pretenses. This deception turns out to be the least of their worries though, when they find themselves being methodically hunted by something not of this world.

McTiernan's Predator released in 1987 and has stood the test of time as a Sci-Fi classic. A fitting and elaborate cast (Arnold, Carl Weathers, etc.) help viewers come to grips with the environment of the movie. Silvestri's soundtrack kicks in with excellent timing as do the sound effects which remain crisp and heart-stopping. The cinematography is good and the action scenes are smooth, realistic and fun to watch.

The characters are commandos targeting renegade forces in Central America to rescue a diplomatic hostage. Watching them transcend from macho-man confidence to panicky prey-like paranoia creates a perfect atmosphere for the film, which plays off your imagination until the climax where Dutch, played by Arnold, relies on wit and instinctual strengths to combat the terror at any cost. The effects are impressive and are excitingly original, especially with the creation of such a sophisticated beast as the Predator.

Perhaps what makes the film have a such a raw, earthly quality is its relation to settings of man vs. nature in the modern world. Facing something infinitely more powerful than man is what the story comes down to; perhaps even man can conquer the unknown if he remains true to his natural powers than his ammunition.

Survival suspense of the purest kind. Predator deserves higher ratings. 10/10.

The Predator was played by a black male -Kevin Peter Hall. That makes him a supervillain!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kiss of Death (1997)

  • Vanity
  • Cristi Harris
  • Daniel McVicar

So somebody finally bothered to add this film to the IMDb. That's good cause maybe I can find somebody else to discuss this with.

Bizarrely this movie only seems to be available in Germany. So I got the (cheap) DVD and watched. Hmm, a cheap movie. Now maybe somebody can help explain what exactly is going on.

The set up was crazy. The Al Capone foundation? I think we could have had a little elaboration with that could have been an intriguing development of the plot (like Peggy and Aldo slowly discover there's some devilish price to pay for their house). But no...

I understand the main story. But what I suppose were meant to be subplots were a complete mystery to me. And the ending? Well, rarely has any movie had such a depressing, empty finish.

But the strangest part was (and if you've seen it I'm guessing you know what I'm about to say) is the moment when Peggy starts to undo her top in that guy's office...AND THE FLIPPING MOVIE PAUSES! YES PAUSES RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOT! Then it cuts back to the guy. What the hell was the idea of that? There's plenty of T&A elsewhere in the film so why clumsily edit what would have otherwise been a decent scene?

And the photo shown on the DVD case doesn't appear in the movie.

The only way I can explain all this is maybe the filmmakers couldn't have actually finished shooting the movie.

Having said all that, this film is a brilliant purchase if you like Christi Harris.

Anybody want to comment? Then get onto the message board and let's thrash this one out.

Major Payne (1995)

"Major Payne" (1995) is a comedy film directed by Nick Castle and stars Damon Wayans as the title character. Wayans was also an executive producer (the third film he produced then) and co-wrote the screenplay. Additional actors include Karyn Parsons, Orlando Brown, Steven Martini, and Albert Hall. Universal Pictures distributed the film, which grossed over $30 million. Wayans was a year removed from making "Blankman," so many of his target audience rolled into "Major Payne," which has a more considerable crossover appeal. 

Director: Nick Castle
Writers: Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher, William Roberts, Richard Alan Simmons, Dean Lorey, Damon Wayans, Gary Rosen

Starring Damon Wayans, Karyn Parsons, Orlando Brown, Steven Martini, Albert Hall, Michael Ironside, Damien Dante Wayans, R. Stephen Wiles, Chris Owen, Mark W. Madison, Andrew Leeds, Stephen Coleman, Peyton Chesson-Fohl, Joseph Blaire, Bam Bam Bigelow

Maj. Benson Payne (Damon Wayans) lives, breathes, and sleeps war. But after being honorably discharged from the Marines due to a lack of wars, Payne, the natural-born killer, has absolutely no idea how to cope with everyday civilian life. Fortunately, before he completely breaks down, Payne finds his way back into a military capacity at Madison Preparatory School, leading a group of misfit JROTC students who don't want to be led. Whipping these kids into shape might be his most brutal battle yet.