Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '87 - Brandon Smith ""

Monday, May 1, 2017

Underrated '87 - Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has been a film junkie since the yesteryears of VHS and Laserdisc, also a hardcore advocate of physical media. @bsmith8168 is dedicated to seeking out any under seen and underrated film from around the globe. In his spare time he helps out the good people at AGFA to help in the preservation and distribution of many of oft talked of titles that many thought lost in the malaise of the grindhouse era.
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The Red Spectacles (1987; Mamoru Ishii)
The Red Spectacles is more or less an anime film shot in live action by a predominately anime director Mamoru Ishii, the director of the anime classic Ghost in the Shell. The film is about a near future task force that seems quite similar to a group of Judge Dredd types that have been recently discontinued and the remaining ones that still have their gear are being hunted down by some shadowy government group. The film has a little too much going on and in the beginning it gets to be a bit much to deal with, but with most things patience pays off in the end. Spectacles has all the trademarks of typical '80s sci-fi actions films and anime films alike, sort of a mashup of Blade Runner and not surprisingly Ghost in the Shell. Now with the upcoming Americanized Ghost in the Shell coming soon this film is worth a run through or a rewatch to see where certain items were born.
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Hard Ticket To Hawaii (1987; Andy Sidaris)
Pure '80s action cheese that could only come from the crazed mind of Andy Sidaris. Everything about this film is bonkers gun toting blonde bombshells, ridiculous British villain that thinks he's Asian, giant snake that is on the loose that highly poisonous because it was bitten by cancer ridden rats, dudes with man buns, and blowup dolls being shot by bazookas. Need more? There is when you take the Hard Ticket to Hawaii!!!
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Hollywood Shuffle (1987; Robert Townsend)
Robert Townsend's honest look at the world of filmmaking seen through the eyes of a young African American actor in the late '80s is moving, funny, and a cause for concern. Loaded with cameos by some of the biggest up and coming black talent throughout the entire film is great and the never ending spoof skits of everything stereotypical of black cinema up until fairly recently is pretty spot on. Townsend's own portrayal is what ties everything together so nicely, because you can tell that he is speaking about himself which gives the film a nice personal touch.
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Border Radio (1987; Allison Anders)
Border Radio is like one of the last currents of the no wave music scene and yet one of the first ripples of the great '90s indie film scene. It has all the trademarks of other films from that era being shot in B&W and featuring performances by non-actors mainly musicians. The film's plot is a kind of punk noir film that has a sort of quasi documentary feel to it even though the entire project is fictitious. The soundtrack is pretty solid and shockingly this was released by Criterion and is basically unknown.
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Initiation (1987; Michael Pearce)
Possibly the best father/son bonding film ever made if you are a dope smuggling family that is forced to survive the Australian Outback. Somehow this film is majorly under the radar and features a lot to like. One of the best post boom Ozploitation films to come out of Australia, but has no shortage of tension and imaginative imagery. The countryside of Australia is the showcase of this film and it looks great.
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Psychos In Love (1987; Gorman Bechard)
A mash up of exploitation films from the '60s and '70s, at the same time a homage to '80s horror films, and yet still a meta comedy of itself. Sounds like a lot for such a low budget SOV horror film, but through the dedication of the director the film works great. Lots of gore, the opening is just a series of kills before the two killers finally find each other and are in love. Then there are multiple songs throughout the film on the soundtrack sung by the actor's themselves. I love this film.
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Family Viewing (1987; Atom Egoyan)
Early piece from Atom Egoyan is typical from this period of his where everyday life is sad and unsettling. The story is focused on a family that is composed of a father, a son, stepmother, and bedridden assisted living grandmother. The son wants to get the grandmother out of the nursing home against his father's wishes, meanwhile the father likes to videotape sex over the old family's home movies. Strange and thought provoking at the same time it is oddly sentimental. This could only be made in Canada.
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Virgins from Hell (1987; Ackyl Anwari)
Typical madness from the South Seas that is a combination of sub genres like Pinky Violent films and mainly WIP films. The plot is about an all girl motorcycle gang that is secretly extracting information as prostitutes in a casino that is run by an evil drug lord that killed the parents of the leader of the motorcycle gang. More than most one dimensional revenge films, Virgins from Hell delivers on all fronts of the exploitation universe with insane violence and crazy stunts. There is not a virgin in this film so the title sort of baffles me.
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Funland (1987; Michael A. Simpson)
Whoosh! Who can resist a synopsis involving a clown that wants revenge on the mafia that has killed off his boss and mentor and then gets revisited by his ghost and a Humphrey Bogart wax museum statue on tips of taking the mafia down by force. No it's not a fever dream it's a plot and it is too good to be true, the first half is so sluggish I almost called it quits. Then about at a little past the halfway mark I was a fan and the film delivers with an ending that is oddly eerie considering how slapstick the rest was. Maybe not that overrated, but worth a watch and if you like the stranger side of cinema you'll be rewarded.
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1 comment:

beamish13 said...

Finally, someone mentioned Egoyan's stunning FAMILY VIEWING! Ranks alongside THE ADJUSTER as his finest work. Just unbelievably funny and droll. I love how he subverted cultural diaspora in Canada, the aftereffects of the Armenian genocide and homemade pornography into a comedy.