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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Underrated '87 - Bernardo Villela

Bernardo Villela’s movie reviews, analysis & insights on a wide range of topics can be found on www.themovierat.com/. There are new or updated posts daily. Information on his other writings can be found at www.themovierat.com/about/

Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987; Dir. Mike Newell)
I have written extensively and repeatedly (at least three times) of my fascination with this film. It’s something I included in a paper on the ‘80s (https://themovierat.com/2013/04/12/once-upon-a-time-in-the-80s-amazing-grace-and-chuck-part-15-of-17/), is one of the standouts of 1987 (https://themovierat.com/2012/04/26/my-year-in-film-1987/), and a film I recently highlighted in a different way for a blogathon (https://themovierat.com/2016/06/04/athletes-in-film-blogathon-amazing-grace-and-chuck-1987/).
I think there are few films that are as resoundingly a product of their times than this is. I discovered it much later and love it.
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Flowers in the Attic (1987; Dir. Jeffrey Bloom)
Recently, in Lifetime’s attempt to reinvent itself as more self-aware, they took on V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic series (https://themovierat.com/2015/01/09/2014-bam-awards-special-jury-awards/). If you found yourself addicted to this new rendition, you really should look into the original theatrical film that has a very raw, indie feel to it.
You either love it or loathe it but perhaps what’s most notable for me is that after having seen it I considered reading V.C. Andrews but when I discovered the author’s name had become and overly-exploited brand name posthumously, I shied away. Perhaps, with an even better interwebs than ever before, I’ll look into her again and see what she actually wrote and what is just attributed to the name.
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In a Glass Cage (1987; Agustí Villaronga)
If you feel the need of some disturbing suspense, the kind that only world cinema can really deliver, consider In a Glass Cage.
If there was ever a director to which the term no-holds-barred applied without question it’s Augustí Villaronga. There are likely synopses that give away only what is necessary to discuss the film, I’d rather spoil nothing about this film except to say this film is not for the faint of heart or the queasy. Even if you’ve seen many films, few are this dark and disturbing. It relishes in making you uncomfortable. It’s likely not a film you’d want to see more than once but perhaps what’s most effective is that it pushes your buttons regardless of what’s happening.
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Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987; Vladimir Grammatikov)
If you need some family-friendly enjoyable ‘80s cheese, a very particular kind, look out for this film:


A lot of funny things and parallels come to mind when there’s mention of this film. First, this seems to be my obligatory Christopher Lee title. Second, here’s Christian Bale’s second appearance on this list, in his neophyte, pre-bad press phase. It’s also strange in that it’s an all English-speaking cast enacting a foreign fairytale, similar to the The Neverending Story with much less press in the US. This one also only was released in the US in 1988. I really do like this film for the narrative, the lead performances, and because it’s good cheese. I can’t argue there’s none here.
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The Curse (1987; Dir. David Keith)
If you were to read my post on this film at my site (https://themovierat.com/2011/09/06/61-days-of-halloween-the-curse/), you’d see that this film falls into the underrated category in part because of how it overcomes its shortcomings. I treat those indiscreetly in the post, but the reason it makes the cut is its strengths:
The movie is just freaky. It scared me quite a bit and I don’t scare easily. It’s not too proud to be grotesque. Had Claude Akins and Wil Wheaton not been in the cast it might have been just another hackneyed contrived 80s slasher film but their performances coupled with a unique and affecting score make it work.

It’s currently available in an affordable two-pack with the sequel, which I’ve yet to see and is worth looking out for.
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1 comment:

beamish13 said...

Amazing Grace and Chuck has lingered with me since I saw it just once in my fourth grade class. Pretty surreal to see Gregory Peck basically playing Ronnie Reagan!