Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '97 - Michele Eggen ""

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Underrated '97 - Michele Eggen

Michele is a Horror movie watcher, blogger, contributing writer for @WickedHorrorTv. Her writing can also be found here:
Follow her on Twitter @micheleneggen.

The Ugly (Scott Reynolds)
New Zealand is always a great place to explore for different and interesting horror films, and The Ugly is no exception. I only just recently saw it for the first time and was blown away not only by its dark grittiness, but also by the innovative way it chooses to look inside the mind of a serial killer. Simon is a murderer currently in an asylum who seeks the help of psychiatrist Dr. Shumaker to re-evaluate him. Simon has a voice in his head, an alter ego he calls "the ugly," that he can only make stop talking by killing. What I really love is the editing and film making style of The Ugly. Like I said, it is very dark, as dark as the black they use for the blood, and the flashbacks and visions that Simon has in the interview room put the audience in just as much a confused state as Simon himself.
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Rainy Dog (Takashi Miike)
As someone used to Takashi Miike's more horror-like fare, Rainy Dog was a totally welcome surprise for me. It is the second film in his Black Society trilogy which also includes Shinjuku Triad Society and Ley Lines (all now available on Blu-Ray from Arrow Video). The main character is kind of a loner hitman, soon on the run after a family member of his latest mark seeks revenge. On the run with him is his young mute son who is unceremoniously dropped off at his house by an ex-lover at the beginning of the film, and a sex worker named Lily whom he befriends along the way. Though there is some harsh yakuza violence, what will really get you about this story is the unconventional family that these three people form. There is also an obvious western vibe to the movie that I really loved, which is punctuated even more in the climax through the music and the resolution of the story.
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Donnie Brasco (Mike Newell)
While Donnie Brasco is certainly not a lesser known film by any means, it seems like it often gets left out of the conversation of great Mafia movies. For the most part, sure, it is not as exciting or sexy as The Godfather or GoodFellas. But what is wonderful about it is that it's a beautiful character study and an exploration of morality, with just as many compelling dramatic beats as acts of gruesome violence. More than anything really, I love that Donnie Brasco gives us such a different look at Al Pacino. His character here is not the powerhouse that we are used to seeing him as. He is a relatively low man on the totem pole, but this is the only life he knows, and you can tell throughout the whole movie how he just can't bear the thought of losing it.
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Murder at 1600 (Dwight Little)
One critic called Murder at 1600 a "by-the-numbers, formulaic government conspiracy thriller," and you know what? That's exactly why I love it. A glut of similar films came out around this time, and this is one I always enjoyed for its murder-mystery plot and political intrigue, not to mention the characters and cast. Like, can we just talk for a minute about how awesome it is to see Diane Lane as an action star, showing up Wesley Snipes with her sharp-shooting skills? She also ends up being the real hero of the movie, and it is amazing to see that kind of thing done with a female role. That's not to say that Snipes doesn't also play his part well - he's great as the headstrong and cocky detective with a comedic side. Murder at 1600 is fun popcorn fare, and that is never a bad thing to me.
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That Darn Cat (Bob Spiers)
I remember this movie having quite the run on the Disney channel for a while, and every time I caught it, I had to sit down and watch it. As a remake of the 1965 film with Hayley Mills, That Darn Cat is for the slightly older Disney crowd (Christina Ricci's character was around my age so of course I wanted to BE her) with its cheeky but still completely charming attitude. The cast is full of seasoned and well-known actors who all give their characters just the right kind of quirk to make this movie way more enjoyable than one would expect given the plotline. Who doesn't love an apathetic older couple who kidnap someone just because they are bored? Or a pair of rival mechanics constantly arguing across the street? For a Disney film, this is one of my favorites, and one I think I could enjoy at any age.
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