Tag Archive: Sharon Stone


You have good villains and bad ones.  In the category of most vile villains, the ones you don’t actually love to hate but just hate, it’s hard to top Louise Fletcher’s icky, nasty, and… hateful Nurse Ratched from the 1975 Academy Award-winning movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  If you’re the type of person that can’t get terrifying imagery out of your head, you’re going to want to skip the trailer for the new prequel series Ratched.  From the people behind American Horror Story, the series Ratched is the next spin-off of a classic horror film character–think Vera Farmiga’s Norma Bates in A&E’s Bates Motel–the spin-off prequel of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

As dramas about the current problems in the world are concerned, it doesn’t get much better than The Laundromat, one of the many direct-to-Netflix dramas premiering this year.  It’s full of genre favorite actors and the subject is that “ripped from the headlines” variety.  The film begins with a couple celebrating their 40th anniversary with a trip to Niagara Falls.  Unfortunately they do like many do on any vacation, they take local transportation.  Here that is a small commuter boat.  When a minor wave hits the side, the boat rocks and sinks.  The man, played by James Cromwell, dies, and his wife, played by Meryl Streep, lives.  We then meet the crooks of the story, two law partners in Panama played by Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, breaking the fourth wall to explain the rules of modern finance, and ultimately a step-by-step guide to international money laundering via the U.S. tax code.  The duo is perfect, dressed to the nines to reflect their wealth, courtesy of costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (Starship Troopers, The Chronicles of Riddick).  Like every villain in any story, these villains see themselves as the victims.  Director Steven Soderburgh then spins a story requiring some bizarre worldbuilding–in our own world–that recounts only a few of the many strange aspects of the real-life Panama Papers scandal, which ultimately took down all sorts of politicians and multi-millionaires.

Unlike any other good film about an actual historical event that follows the basic sequential framework, like, as an example, The Post, which also starred Meryl Streep, the value of this film is in its style and design and the way it tells the story.  It’s also an educational tool that explains the realities of “wealth management,” but it doesn’t do it in a bland way, incorporating the law partners like the stage manager in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, but because of the actors’ charm, it’s handled much better than previous similar efforts, like, say, The Wolf of Wall Street or Goodfellas.  As good as Soderburgh’s The Informant!, the style of his Ocean’s 11 series, and the gravity of his Erin Brockovich, this should be counted as a big film for 2019.  It’s funny when it needs to be, but its scope is real and grave, highlighting the fragility of life with not only the story it tells, but the precariousness of every player as they go to and fro in the film, all one slip from becoming Streep or Cromwell’s character at any point.

The Laundromat has an all-star cast of genre favorites, featuring great work from the likes of Jeffrey Wright, Robert Patrick, Nonso Anozie, Will Forte, Chris Parnell, Rosalind Cho, David Schwimmer, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Sharon Stone.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Some call them guilty pleasures–those films that are more bad than good, but have some quality you can’t quite identify that cements them in your own memory.  You might not admit how much you like those films, but you do, and you’d also willingly admit the quality of the film is still bad, bad, bad.  As you watch writer/director Mark Hartley’s new film about two cousins that created one of the most well-known independent B-movie film studios, I will wager you will see at least four movies from the 1980s that you’ll admit only to yourself “hey, I loved that movie.”

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films chronicles two Israeli cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, successful filmmakers in their home country who took America by storm, taking over Cannon Group in 1980 and churning out more movies than any other studio, eventually releasing about a movie a week before it ran out of money.  The documentary highlights one of the studio’s defining, over-the-top and embarrassingly bad movies: Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.  Cannon helped the careers of names like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren and helped propel the second phase of the careers of actors like Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson, and Sylvester Stallone.  The list of surprising names showing up in their films included Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Marina Sirtis and Patrick Stewart, and Sharon Stone, but even once big names like Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing could be found in a Cannon movie.

electricboogaloo

Delta Force, Missing in Action and Missing in Action 2, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lifeforce, Hercules (with Lou Ferrigno), King Solomon’s Mines, Runaway Train, Invaders from Mars, American Ninja, Bloodsport, Cyborg, Death Warrant, Masters of the Universe, Powaqqatsi, and Superman IV, for good or bad, emerged from Golan and Globus’s years at Cannon.

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One of the reasons tens of thousands of fans flock to San Diego each year is for an advance look at the best of what’s to come in the next year.  Sometimes Hollywood fulfills our expectations and sometimes it lets us down, but the advance peeks always leave you eager to see even more.  Across the street from the San Diego Convention Center this year during Comic-Con weekend, Columbia Pictures revealed a futuristic police car and future police officer from the new  remake of the movie Total Recall, to hit theaters in 2012. 

  

I think the general consensus is that it seems a little early for a Total Recall remake or re-imagining.  The original movie starring Arnold Schwartzenegger as Doug Quaid is a sci-fi classic, with standout supporting performances by Ronny Cox as Cohaagen, Michael Ironsides as Richter, and Sharon Stone as Doug’s wife Lori.  The special effects were first rate when the original premiered in 1990, including Arnold wearing a fake woman’s head as a disguise that splits apart, X-ray body scanners at the future airport–years before they would become commonplace, and that scene you can’t forget were Arnold has to pull a tracking device out through his nose.  The original is also cited by anti-violence types as having one of the highest body counts of innocent bystanders in any film.  It was–and still is–the ultimate sci-fi, action adventure.  So why remake it?  For one, the original had a box office take of $261 million.   Special effects technologies are constantly changing, so the best answer is probably “why not?”  Here is the only movie still released so far:

The new look from the San Diego display last weekend immediately resembles another Philip K. Dick story turned major motion picture: Minority Report.  And like Minority Report, the new Total Recall will feature Colin Farrell (Phone Booth, Daredevil), this time in the lead role, as Doug Quaid.  The remake also stars Kate Beckinsale (Underworld series, Much Ado About Nothing) as Doug’s wife Lori, Jessica Biel (Stealth, Blade: Trinity, Next, The A-Team) as Melina, Bill Nighy (Doctor Who, Underworld:  Rise of the Lycans, Pirates of the Caribbean series, Harry Potter series) as Kuato, John Cho (Star Trek 2009, Harold and Kumar series), Ethan Hawke (Gattaca, Assault on Precinct 13, Alive), and this time out Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Batman: Year One) plays the tough Cohaagen, the leader of Euromerica who, under the cover of protecting his people, is secretly readying an invasion of New Shanghai.  That’s right, this story doesn’t take place on the surface of Mars as the original and so there will be no reference this time out to sustaining oxygen for the planet’s residents.

Philip K. Dick’s original short story “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale” is a brief story as short stories go so there is definitely room to expand the story in any number of directions.  But the producers promise this version will come closer than the 1990 film to the original short story.  Total Recall is currently in production at Pinewood Toronto Studios with filming expected to wrap in September 2011.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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