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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:40 am 
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John Cope wrote:
I'm most intrigued by the prospect of Kilmer reunited with Whalley for the first time, I think, since Kill Me Again, John Dahl's excellent debut and one of the very finest of the neo-noirs. Still, for sheer spectacle value this screen reunion likely won't match the dissipated allure of seeing Mickey Rourke and Carre Otis back together in Exit in Red, six years and a million miles from that initial ecstatic immersion in Wild Orchid's frothy surf.

You changed your avatar and I was reading that and going, "Wow, this sounds like a John Cope post"-- thought in a complimentary fashion, I hasten to add. Your posts always make me wish we had something like a Cinemax/HBO Staples of the 90s thread to discuss little-seen gems that are hard to find an "in" for otherwise


Last edited by domino harvey on Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:34 am 
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We definitely should. Sounds like the perfect cue to me. I'm not sure quite how that could be best established either but I have no doubt there would be sufficient interest in such a thread, especially since it could cover a lot of ground (I just rewatched James Bridges' Perfect the other day so I'm all set to go).


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:38 am 
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Maybe a general thread along the lines of "Premium Cable Staples Worth Revisiting"?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:02 pm 
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Here you go, fellas. I'm thinking of stuff like Dahl's The Last Seduction and Red Rock West, Carl Franklin's One False Move and Devil in a Blue Dress, Hopper's The Hot Spot, Parker's Angel Heart, James Foley's After Dark My Sweet, and stuff like that. On the right track? I guess they don't all have to be sweaty boob-laden neo-noirs, but it doesn't hurt.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:18 pm 
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Joe versus the Volcano!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:42 pm 
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Those are all great ideas. Next a neo-noir list project?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:20 pm 
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Jeff wrote:
On the right track?

Surely! As someone who was raised by TV, I have a special affinity for these strange b-films from the 90s (or close enough) that I vaguely remember watching on HBO or Cinemax or Showtime and have been looking for an excuse to revisit some of these barely-remembered oddities to see how they hold up to memory. I mean, something like Mean Guns or Made Men probably don't hold up to my fond recollections, but it'd be fun to confirm/deny that and other titles for myself in the present


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:38 pm 
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I have no idea whether the following is a 'Premium Cable Staple' but can I add the delirious Romeo Is Bleeding to the list of amazing early 90s neo-noirs?

I also have a strange affection for the Catholic chuch-mob film Last Rites, I think the only feature film that Donald P. Bellisario (producer of TV series such as Quantum Leap, Airwolf, Magnum P.I., NCIS etc) has directed - it features almost every Italian-American in New York cliche in the book (even the Angels With Dirty Faces one of one protagonist being a gangster and the other being a priest!), even featuring a 'comedy confessional' sequence in which Berenger tries not to laugh at the strange antics of his parishoners! Then the film with the entrance of Daphne Zuniga playing the girl Berenger's friend was bonking at the time his mobster wife murdered him and who comes to Berenger to confess without knowledge of this connection, takes a left turn into a paranoid chase film with the hero being more a bit more conflicted between love (or lust), duty and blood ties than usual. It shows Berenger had form in this sex thriller genre before taking on a role in (John Cope's avatar) Sliver.

And since I've been on a Theresa Russell kick after watching her in Nic Roeg's films again, I really want to recommend two of her early 90s films: the straight to camera confessions of a prostitute in Ken Russell's Whore (which veers tonally from knockabout comedy to, well, just knockabout in the scenes with the pimp) and the strangely complimentary role in one of the handful of films directed by Sondra Locke, Impulse, as a vice cop going undercover as a prostitute, but finding her sympathies between the two worlds shifting (it also features a supporting turn by George Dzundza in a 'slimy, very un-PC cop' role a couple of years before playing a similar kind of role as Michael Douglas's partner in Basic Instinct).


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:29 pm 
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Romeo is Bleeding is awesome, thrilling, Oldman at his peak of hysteria period. For me this whole era was marked by my inclination at the time to rewatch certain things over and over, dozens of times, until I knew them by heart, every cut, every inflected line reading (I used to recite long sections of both sex, lies and Exotica to those who doubted this). It was very much a quality inherent to my late teen years, early twenties. Now, it's funny to go back to some of these pictures, not just when they don't hold up but also when they do.

There is indeed a unique experience to be had in revisiting something after years which you still know cut for cut like body memory. It is admittedly especially disorienting when it's something that plays fairly flat now like, say, Ridley Scott's Black Rain. For whatever reason, I saw this dozens of times in the late eighties, early nineties, and cherished my widescreen laserdisc (the one with the black cover). I have no idea what was so compelling about it. I watched it a few years back when it came out on special edition DVD and found it pretty utterly unremarkable, save for certain cultural points I could find in it now which I was probably ignorant of or indifferent toward at the time. Still, not a bad movie (and nowhere near Ridley's worst) but ultimately rather generic despite all its exotic trappings.

There are many that do hold up, however, like Miracle Mile, Communion and Exposure, Dead Calm and, yes, even Noyce's Sliver, regardless of whatever flaws they may have. The Zalman King stuff operates on another level altogether (more erotic melodrama with mythic aspirations). Then there are the little films I've been pushing for years, such as David Marconi's The Harvest, Mark Manos' Liquid Dreams, Barry Shils' Motorama and Wayne Wang's Slamdance, all exceptional neo-noirs.

In respect to Ridley Scott, I would passionately re-direct people to his 1987 masterpiece Someone to Watch Over Me, a rich and elegant piece which brings out in a complicated way Scott's often prevalent subtextual concerns with notions of virtue and male/female gender role dynamics; it remains aggressively, almost willfully overlooked. As far as I'm concerned, it's the last of his great films before the reins start to slip, interestingly enough, with 89's Black Rain.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:29 pm 
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Oh yes, and Someone To Watch Over Me features yet another great Tom Berenger performance!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:39 pm 
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I was pretty enamored with My New Gun. Anyone remember it? This thread has provided me with the push to find out whatever happened to Stacy Cochran, who showed some promise with this debut.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:29 pm 
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I remember being a kid and watching Framed with Jeff Goldblum over and over on HBO. It's every bit as good as this commercial of the time makes it out to be. Glad I got to see it a few times on TV. Would have hated to have to pay $89.99 for the cassette.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:23 pm 
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The Starz subsidiary Indieplex regularly shows these 90s b-sides, actually it's about all they show, albeit in pan-and-scan mostly. Got my DVR set for Cimino's Desperate Hours in a few days.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:25 pm 
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As one of the few fans of the original, I'd be curious to hear what you think of the remake


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:38 pm 
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I like the original, though it's been a while since I last saw it, if anything it should be fun to see Rourke in Bogart's role.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:06 am 

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domino harvey wrote:
these strange b-films from the 90s (or close enough)

Well, under the heading of "strange B-films", I remember a movie that kept showing up late at night that was called something like The Blood of Heroes starring Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen. It was a post-apocalyptic wasteland sports movie; the goal of the sport was to get a dog's skull on the spike defended by the other team and some of the players carried chain flails or blunt pole arms.

Going back further, to when I was an undergrad in the first half of the 1980s, I remember an Aussie WWII guerrilla warfare movie called The Zed Men. I also remember a Playboy Channel staple that was a musical skin flick version of Cinderella; as a college student I remember the musical numbers being hilarious, but even as a college kid I found the sex scenes to be pretty uninspiring.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:51 am 

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Lots of goodness in this thread. I heartily endorse the recommendations for Miracle Mile, The Hot Spot, and Motorama (seriously, Joseph Minion was the best American screenwriter of the 1980s bar none; where did he go?) and feel compelled to add Beth B.'s name to the conversation. Vortex is a bit before the era originally specified here, but it's a moody and visually inventive proto-cyberpunk neo-noir with an in-her-prime Lydia Lunch and James Russo doing his usual broody moping (speaking of which, Ferrara's Dangerous Game and The Addiction definitely deserve a mention). Beth's Two Small Bodies is also well worth seeking out if you can find it, a psychosexual gabfest featuring Fred Ward's lovely singing voice and a great performance from the underrated Suzy Amis. What about Michael Almereyda? Pretty sure Nadja got some premium late-nite exposure and I can't name a 90s film with a soundtrack closer to my heart (Portishead, My Bloody Valentine, Spacehog).

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention my appreciation for Wings Hauser, whose career was founded in cable sleaze. Two films stand out in particular (in addition to Vice Squad, of course), Pale Blood and The Art of Dying, the former a no-budget horror with West Side Story's George Chakiris as an immortal vampire, and the latter a seriously deranged and depraved serial killer pic co-directed by Hauser that features by far the most bizarre homage to Psycho I've ever seen.

PillowRock wrote:
domino harvey wrote:
these strange b-films from the 90s (or close enough)

Well, under the heading of "strange B-films", I remember a movie that kept showing up late at night that was called something like The Blood of Heroes starring Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen. It was a post-apocalyptic wasteland sports movie; the goal of the sport was to get a dog's skull on the spike defended by the other team and some of the players carried chain flails or blunt pole arms.

I know this by the infinitely superior title Salute of the Jugger; Hauer is great, but D'Onofrio owns that like nobody's bidness. I love that man.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:04 pm 
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John Cope wrote:
Romeo is Bleeding is awesome, thrilling, Oldman at his peak of hysteria period. For me this whole era was marked by my inclination at the time to rewatch certain things over and over, dozens of times, until I knew them by heart, every cut, every inflected line reading (I used to recite long sections of both sex, lies and Exotica to those who doubted this). It was very much a quality inherent to my late teen years, early twenties. Now, it's funny to go back to some of these pictures, not just when they don't hold up but also when they do.

I can genuinely relate to this.

Romeo is Bleeding is one of my all time faves of the period, and at the time, largely due to that scene between the spectacular Lena Olin (and, at the risk of sounding like a lout, her thighs) and Oldman in the car. Decades later I can still storyboard that scene in my head. The whole film is overripe to a point of gleeful delirium.

My first true cable staples were DePalma's Dressed to Kill and Body Double. (My parents got HBO around 1980 or so, and Angie Dickenson's stand in at the beginning of Dressed to Kill was my first visual encounter with an ample, fully nude female. The later scenes with Nancy Allen were my first exposure to garter belts and stockings. Made quite the impression after little league practice, I can assure you, and Nancy Allen actually blushed when I told her that story last year at Chiller Theatre.) I still watch each every year or so.

Other films my friends and I knew by heart and quoted from repeatedly (we practically spoke in code in mixed company through movie lines) were: Mondo New York (esp. Dean and the Weenies' "Fuck You)," Angel Heart, Used Cars, After Hours, Escape From New York, Vampire's Kiss, The Pope of Greenwich Village, ("they took my thumb..."), Running Scared ("...Ipswich clams..."), Monty Python and the Holy Grail, etc. Blue Velvet rang our bells like nothing before, and I actually got to use it as a litmus test of sorts when the date I took to the theater despised the film. Believe it or not, HBO used to run Dead Ringers every so often.

The Addiction and Miracle Mile are also stellar shout-outs, with the latter featuring a solid, of the period soundtrack by Tangerine Dream.

All, with the exception of Mondo, were staples between HBO and Cinemax back in the day if my rather hazy high school recollections are to be trusted. Not exactly neo-noirs, but this thread is far too interesting not to post in.


Last edited by TomReagan on Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:02 pm 
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I would slightly disagree with John Cope about Romeo Is Bleeding being the peak of Gary Oldman's hysteria period (I think for me that peaked with his mewling, knife wielding child-man leaping naked from a closet onto Christopher Lloyd in Track 29!), especially since Lena Olin astonishingly out-lunatics him here, but this is certainly still one of his great 'driven to the edge' performances, a perfect central performance of increasingly sweaty anxiety as events spin out of control.

Thinking of other neo-noirs, I remember Delusion seemed to be a late night BBC staple back in the mid-90s - also would the surprisingly good White Sands count in our neo-noir list?

And I would particularly recommend Donald Cammell's White of the Eye - a film that follows kind of the same structure as Performance, beginning as a straight genre piece of a serial killer thriller, turning into a finely observed portrait of a disintegrating relationship for the extensive middle section before the film goes more and more off-kilter leading to an apocalyptic/transcendent moment of climax/merging (note: the linked video contains spoilers for a couple of the more major scenes).

All this early 90s talk reminds me of an eye-popping film from New Zealand that I think only turned up once on late night television in the UK but that was more than enough to sear it onto my memory - Desperate Remedies. Imagine a mash-up of 'strong minded' Gone With The Wind women, a Ken Russell opera film, Querelle, The Piano and a softcore erotic thriller and that comes close to describing the utterly deranged result. It's not exactly what I'd call a successful film, but it is certainly a strange product, to say the least!


Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:29 pm 
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This is a great thread. Miracle Mile, Pope Of Greenwich Village, Rumble Fish (shit, the entire Rourke filmography even), Red Rock West, Romeo Is Bleeding - all these movies shaped a large part of my psyche and life expectations. First saw some really interesting films through those premium cable channels. I will reserve special mention for Hot Spot and The Dark Backwards as, for me, 2 of the most exemplary films the that were shown. What great memories.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:01 am 
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Great thread. Films that always pop up in this type of conversation are Gymkata, City of Industry, China Moon and 2 Days in the Valley. Also there were the gangsta era New Jack City and Boyz N The Hood.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:51 am 
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Deep Cover is such a superior movie to those two, it's not funny. Not sure if I ever saw it on cable, but it certainly fits the bill.

For an entire generation of kids, this sound meant that some shit was about to go down. The anticipation and wonder of sneaking into the living room late at night and turning to those premiums channels is a sensation that I regret this generation will never experience; the blatant, wild vulgarity of internet porn is not the same. And when I'm up late channel-surfing, I sometimes feel genuinely sad that television is unable to invoke it from me again. In those days, my door was open to mystery...

And while one can't underemphasize the "education" provided by late night cable, let's not underrate those afterschool broadcasts: I'm young enough to hold both Stay Tuned and Mom and Dad Save the World with an awe they probably don't deserve.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:57 am 
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They don't still play Mom and Dad constantly? Well a huge part of my childhood's disappeared than.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:16 am 

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Cold Bishop wrote:
Deep Cover is such a superior movie to those two, it's not funny. Not sure if I ever saw it on cable, but it certainly fits the bill.

Agree with this. Has anyone seen James B. Harris's Boiling Point? I hold Fast-Walking, Cop, and Some Call It Loving in very high esteem and have always meant to seek it out.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:25 am 
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Even without nostalgia-tinged glasses, Deep Cover is one of my favorite films of the 90s. If we ever do have that "neo-noir" list, it'll be near the top.

I saw all the Wesley Snipes films up until around The Fan or so, but even I'm hard-pressed to remember anything about Boiling Point (or most of them for that matter). It seems like Harris had the movie taken from him, however.
Murdoch wrote:
Got my DVR set for Cimino's Desperate Hours in a few days.
Like any Cimino (especially his lesser ones) it's not worth seeing in anything other than OAR.


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