Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Star 80, 1983 (****)
a thoroughly absorbing dramatisation of the events leading up to the murder of Playboy centrefold extraordinaire Dorothy Stratten, and is even creepier than it first appears: Bob Fosse's attention to detail is disturbing, for example even the murder scene is shot in exactly the same room the crime took place, and this for a film made only shortly after her death; while Mariel Hemingway is intelligent and thoughtful in the main role, Eric Roberts, as Paul Snider the lowlife who discovered Stratten in Vancouver, hammily camps it up way too hard - in reality, Snider was clearly just another Stratten-obsessed straight loser (as is the thoroughly unpleasant Peter Bogdanovich, represented in the film under another name)

Red State, 2011 (*)
Kevin Smith breaks from his comfort zone to attempt horror, dark comedy, and social commentary all in the same film, and it sucks on each count: the horror is sub-Rob Zombie verging on plagiarism, comedy doesn't work when it's not funny, and the social commentary is embarrassingly dumbed-down (a clumsy merging of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church and events at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco)

Breakin', 1984 (****)
now lovingly restored on DVD and it's a treat; amazing original breakdancing scenes from Los Angeles, riotously colourful wardrobes, an incredibly high quality 80s electro/freestyle soundtrack, and all played out with such beautiful innocence and sincerity

Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, 1984 (*****)
this sequel, released a mere six months after the original Breakin', is even better than the first! added to the successful cocktail is a really touching narrative that effortlessly and uniquely manages to subvert all kinds of established stereotypes; the finale is ridiculously uplifting

Beat Street, 1984 (****)
if not for the weak narrative and porn-quality acting, Beat Street is unmissable for the phenomenal real-life B-boy battle scenes at the  Roxy nightclub between the Rock Steady Crew and NYC Breakers

Wild Style, 1983 (****)
as with Beat Street, Wild Style is an extraordinary document of its times, when rap hadn't really been fully co-opted and (to an extent) neutered by the music industry and capitalism in general; the performances here of a very young Rock Steady Crew, Double Trouble, and Grandmaster Flash are electrifying; as if all that wasn't enough, the film features a 19-year-0ld Sandra Fabara (legendary graffiti artist Lady Pink) as Lee Quinones' love interest



speedkermit said...

I've been bad

Noir said...

I've always loved 80's electro, especially the kind that constituted early west coast hip hop. Egyptian Lover, World Class Wreckin' Cru etc. Such an innovative time.

Kate MacDonald said...

Funny, I actually just saw Beat Street a couple of weeks ago. Rather, I happened upon it and, yes, it was entertaining enough that I stuck with it.