With the anniversary of “Jaws,” Stephen Scarlata’s documentary comes at the right time, as sharksploitation has managed to experience something of a resurgence. Along with “The Meg 2” coming to theaters, we’ve also had fodder like “The Black Demon,” “The Devil’s Mouth,” “Deep Water,” and “Cocaine Shark.” So “Sharksploitation” is something of an overdue account of the creation of sharksploitation movies, and how one movie named “Jaws” created what would become a fascinating, often infamous sub-genre of action and horror movies that’s spanned decades.
“The Dial of Destiny” is significant not only in that it’s a movie primarily about time, but about wanting to go back in time and fix mistakes. The Indiana Jones we see here is not the Indiana Jones we saw in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or even “The Last Crusade.” He’s older, he’s war torn, and he’s grappling with so much regret that he’s lost his passion for adventuring. When we see Indiana Jones he’s a man who has lived two full lives and he’s thrust back in to what is arguably his final adventure and it’s bittersweet.
It’s been almost thirty five years since we saw any semblance of “Gremlins” entertainment rear its scaley head. Now in the midst of reviving old IP’s HBO and Warner take a shot on reviving Joe Dante’s classic film series. “Secrets of the Mogwai” is thankfully built very much in the vein of the classic 1984 film, and less like “The New Batch.” It’s a dark fantasy (with charming animation obviously influenced by LAIKA Studios) with a lot of harrowing action and terror, but also revels in the inherent awe and wonder of Gizmo and the concept of the Gremlins, twisted as they may be.
If you’re at all familiar with Steven Spielberg’s life story and how he related to his family, then “The Fabelmans” has been a long time coming. As someone who read his biography, it’s interesting to explore Spielberg’s home life and how his relationship with his father and mother ultimately crafted who he’d become not just as a man but as a filmmaker. While “The Fabelmans” suffers from being a tad schmaltzy here and there, it’s a worthwhile and engaging drama about family, and how film as a medium can help us view life as we’ve never seen it before.
With Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” he manages to offer up a brilliant, dazzling, and engrossing epic retelling of the original musical. It’s stunning how much Spielberg is able to suck us in using the elements of dance as important and crucial moments of exposition in lieu of endless dialogue. To say that “West Side Story” is a surprise, is an understatement. While Spielberg is a wonderful director, there’s never been any indication he could deliver on a musical. But with his version of “West Side Story” is gives us the classic tale of star crossed lovers, and a race war amidst the back drop of New York. Except what Spielberg does is beautifully recontextualizes the entire tale of the Jets and the Sharks for Modern audiences.
It’s hard to believe it’s been twenty five years since 1997; while many people often cite it as a year of bad music (False), and bad movies (Falser), and bad Television (Falserer). I’s a year I am quite fond of (warts and all). It was my coming of age year. It was a year of massive change. 1997 is one of the first years I began my passion for movies, and one of the first times I’d ever really experienced the internet. Pretty much overnight, it went from an odd novelty for computer geeks to something literally everyone was taking notice of. I also discovered “Monstervision,” “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” Troma, and so much more that would influence my foray in to teendom.
That said, here are the five best films I saw in 1997. There were more than five that I planned to feature, but in the end these stood out most for me and had the most significance.
Thirty years later and “Tremors” has become one of the longest lasting horror comedy franchises out there. From its cult classic original to endless sequels, short lived series, and notable attempt to reboot it with original star Kevin Bacon, “Tremors” promises to keep powering through for a long time. This year Arrow Video unleashed a special edition of the 1990 monster movie classic on Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD, and it compelled me to list five of my favorite monster movies of the 1990’s.
Feel free to let us know what some of your favorites are below!
Even though I was born in the eighties, I don’t have a particular connection with “The Goonies” as while it’s mostly considered a masterpiece, I’ve only ever considered it just pretty good. Director Richard Donner’s adventure film is the Hardy Boys Meets Indiana Jones and for the most part it’s an entertaining call back to fodder like “The East Side Kids,” which keeps in line with Spielberg’s ode to his childhood cinema.