Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Not to be Confused With - Day 7

... wherein you WILL! wonder if fighting Joaquin Phoenix is better or worse than fighting Brian Dennehy; you WILL! bear witness to the brutality that earned Chuck Norris his infamy; you WILL! look at a titty threatening the Super Bowl, decades before Janet Jackson did it; and you WILL! marvel at the power of Walken ... “G’dnight, moon. G’NIGHT ... moon.”

Gladiator (1992/2000)

Gladiator (1992)
Dir: Rowdy Harrington
Synopsis: “One fought to win. The other fought to survive. Two friends are pitted against each other by a corrupt boxing promoter in a brutal battle that threatens to destroy their friendship and lives.

“Cuba Gooding, Jr. (As Good As It Gets, Boyz N The Hood, Jerry Maguire) and James Marshall (Twin Peaks) star as the talent amateurs who are exploited by the ruthless promoter Horn (Brian Dennehy, F/X, F/X2) and his scout (Robert Loggia, Jagged Edge) in the fight of their lives

Gladiator (2000)
Dir: Ridley Scott
Synopsis: “A man robbed of his name and his dignity strives to win them back, and gain the freedom of his people, in this epic historical drama from director Ridley Scott. In the year 180, the death of emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) throws the Roman Empire into chaos. Maximus (Russell Crowe) is one of the Roman army's most capable and trusted generals and a key advisor to the emperor. As Marcus' devious son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) ascends to the throne, Maximus is set to be executed. He escapes, but is captured by slave traders. Renamed Spaniard and forced to become a gladiator, Maximus must battle to the death with other men for the amusement of paying audiences. His battle skills serve him well, and he becomes one of the most famous and admired men to fight in the Coliseum. Determined to avenge himself against the man who took away his freedom and laid waste to his family, Maximus believes that he can use his fame and skill in the ring to avenge the loss of his family and former glory. As the gladiator begins to challenge his rule, Commodus decides to put his own fighting mettle to the test by squaring off with Maximus in a battle to the death.” (Courtesy of All Movie.)

Advantage: DRAW

Both succeed on their own merits, the former a gritty street drama, the latter a period piece that features enough historical drama mixed in with visceral bloodshed. Both are quite fun for an evening’s viewing. Then there's the bonus of the 3rd Bass title track for the 1992 version, that if remixed into a trailer-like sequence of "greatest hits" from the 2000 film, would make me quite gleeful. Quick! To YouTube!

Eye For An Eye (1981/1996)

Eye For An Eye (1981)
Dir: Steve Carver
Synopsis: "Police detective Sean Kane (Chuck Norris) is any criminal's worst nightmare: a cop who's just as lethal with his lightning-quick martial arts moves as he is a with his service revolver. But when his partner is brutally murdered, Kane quits the force and goes beyond the law to seek vengeance against the ruthless Morgan Canfield (Christopher Lee), a powerful and well-connected drug lord who destroys any man who stands in his way. But Kane has never been more ready for a fight. He's bold, ferocious and has an ace up his sleeve: his mentor, Chan (Mako), a martial arts wizard who will join him in a thrilling no-holds-barred final assault against Canfield and his criminal empire."

Eye For An Eye (1996)
Dir: John Schlesinger
Synopsis: "Karen McCann's (Sally Field) orderly life is shattered when a stranger breaks into her home and murders her 17-year-old daughter. But shock and grief turn into rage and disbelief when the killer (Keifer Sutherland) is released on a legal technicality. When he commits another murder - and is set free once again - Karen is determined to make him pay for his crimes."

Advantage: Eye For An Eye (1981)

The 1996 film is one I would only recommend to people who are seriously masochistic, because I have only been able to make it through the first fifteen minutes, and that was only one time. The movie, in case anyone is curious, begins with Sally Field witnessing (via telephone) the brutal, BRUTAL rape & murder of her teen daughter. The rest of the film, as I understand it, is a constant drain on the audience’s emotions and ability to suspend disbelief. How Sutherland sleeps knowing that there's films like this out there, I can't imagine. On the other hand, the 1981 film has Chuck Norris vs. Christopher Lee ... win.

Black Sunday (1960/1976)

Black Sunday (1960)
Dir: Mario Bava
Synopsis: "Mario Bava's 1960 directorial debut stands alone as one of the most influential and startling chillers of all time. British actress Barbara Steele became an international icon in this uber-gothic fever dream pulsing with stunning cinematography and landmark special effects - both by Bava himself - in which the conventional trappings of the horror genre were indelibly impaled upon perverse sexuality and graphic sadism. It remains a masterpiece of the macabre that changed the face of cinema forever."

Black Sunday (1976)
Dir: John Frankenheimer
Synopsis: "Black Sunday is the powerful story of a Black September terrorist group attempting to blow up a Goodyear blimp hovering over the Super Bowl stadium with 80,000 people and the President of the United States in attendance.

"Robert Shaw plays an Israeli commando who discovers the plot, masterminded by Marthe Keller with the help of deranged Vietnam veteran Bruce Dern. Director John Frankenheimer creates a chilling portrait of people obsessed with a cause for which they will die.

"In an incredible finale, Dern and Keller navigate the lethal airship into the terror-stricken stadium, pursued by Shaw in a helicopter, climaxing one of the most exciting and unusual chases in movie histo

Advantage: Black Sunday (1960)

Look at the cover for the 1976 film ... don’t that look like a big ol’ titty looming over the stadium, just ready to start spurting milk all over the crowd? Yeah, now try to get rid of that image, why don’tcha? What I find hard to believe is that Thomas Harris, he of "The Silence of the Lambs" and the shriveled titty that he's milked into a swimming pool of hundred dollar bills, wrote the book that the 1976 film was based on. Brrrr. The 1960 film is on fire with all kinds of witchery and brimstone, and Barbara Steele ushers in the madness with grand aplomb. It’s a must for any horror film fan.

Prophecy (1979/1995)

Prophecy (1979)
Dir: John Frankenheimer
Synopsis: "Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire (Rocky, The Godfather) star as a doctor and his wife, who, at the request of a concerned friend, travel to Maine to research the impact of the lumber industry on the local environment. They begin to investigate a succession of mysterious and terrifying events: ecological freaks of nature (including fish that grow many times their normal size), and a series of bizarre and grisly human deaths. Veteran suspense director John Frankenheimer manages to present Prophecy as a 'monster movie' as well as a suspenseful tale about the deadly forces which result from the pollution of the environment."

Prophecy (1995)
Dir: Greg Widen
Synopsis: "At the scene of a bizarre murder, L.A. homicide detective Thomas Dagget (Elias Koteas - Exotica) discovers a lethal heavenly prophecy now being fulfilled on earth! Yet in his fight to stop the forces of evil - led by the powerful angel Gabriel (Walken) - Dagget finds an unlikely ally in an elementary school teacher (Virginia Madsen - Candyman). Together they race against time and terror to save the world as we know it! Also starring Eric Stoltz (Pulp Fiction) - critics everywhere praised The Prophecy for its high-powered thrills and knockout performances - don't miss it!"

Advantage: Prophecy (1995)

Look no further than Christopher Walken spouting choice lines like “I kill firstborns while their mamas watch. I turn cities into salt. I even, when I feel like it, rip the souls from little girls, and from now till kingdom come, the only thing you can count on in your existence is never understanding why” to understand why I give it the nod. Of course, this film was then subsequently cursed by the DTV sequel plague, and it became the “sinister whispering in the ears” series, but before all that junk, there was this, and it was good.

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