Thursday, September 22, 2016

5 things to love about Doctor Mordrid (1992)

What’s it about:
Jeffrey Combs plays Doctor Mordrid (a thinly veiled version of Marvel’s Doctor Strange) a powerful sorcerer who protects Earth from supernatural threats under the guise of being a criminal psychologist. An evil villain called Kabal wants to find the Philopsher’s Stone and unleash monsters from the fourth dimension on to Earth. Only Mordrid and his neighbour Samantha can stop him.

5 things to love:
1. The cast is top notch. Jeffrey Combs is clearly relishing the opportunity to play a rare heroic role. Brian Thompson as the bad guy is suitably intimidating and Yvette Nipar (who co-starred in the 90s Robocop TV series) is at peak hotness.

2. The production design of Mordrid’s apartment is awesome and clearly where most of the budget went to.

3. The climatic fight between Mordrid and Kabal takes place in a museum where they both take control of dinosaur skeletons who proceed to battle it out. It’s a short sequence but lovingly composed by Dave Allen who also did the effects on other Charles Band produced films like Robot Jox and Prehysteria.

4. Spotting where writer C Courtney Joyner has ‘borrowed’ from the Marvel comic Doctor Strange. Apparently the script was originally supposed to be Doctor Strange but the rights elapsed so they just tweaked the story.

5. The scale of the story. Comparing this to most blockbusters nowadays it’s kind of awesome how small and intimate it is compared to X-Men Apocalypse and Batman v Superman.

1 thing it did need:
More for Brian Thompson to do. He doesn’t really have a lot of screen time and at 74 minutes the running time could have been padded out a little more.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

5 things to love about Shopping (1994)

What’s it about:
Jude Law plays a criminal who is released from prison and quickly returns to a life of crime stealing cars and ram-raiding with his girlfriend. However he incurs the wrath of local crime boss Sean Pertwee who feels he is encroaching on his territory.

5 things to love:
1. The cinematography is really good for such an obviously low budget film. This was Paul W S Anderson’s debut film* and although it never quite comes together there are some fantastically creative shots throughout the film.

2. Although not “top tier” the soundtrack for the film is pretty great. My favourites were Utah Saints – ‘I Have Something to Say’ (which sadly removes the Highlander dialogue sample), Orbital – ‘Halcyon+On+On’ and The Sabres of Paradise – ‘Theme’.

3. The cast is like a who’s who of British actors. Jude Law, Sean Pertwee, Jason Isaacs, Sean Bean, Jonathan Pryce. I can’t say they are great performances, the script is too stilted and stylised, but it’s fun to see a lot of them in early roles.

4. I liked what the film was trying to be. A sort of A Clockwork Orange for the 90s. It doesn’t succeed but I appreciate the effort. The way Anderson sets the film in ruined buildings, tower blocks and empty streets had a powerful vibe.

5. Lastly, you’ve got to love the terrible 90s clothing that everyone wears. If you didn’t live through the 90s you won’t understand.

1 it didn’t need:
There’s a lots about this film that doesn’t work – Jude Law is very, very hard to take as a working class thief – but the thing that brings the film to a grinding halt every time is Sadie Frost awful performance as Law’s girlfriend Jo.

* Full disclosure: I don’t think Paul Anderson’s a terrible director and enjoy almost all his films (bar AVP) on a turn your brain off and have fun-level