Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Booze, Zombies, and Cannonballers...

The Untouchables:
A classily made drama about prohibition and the take down of Al Capone from Brian DePalma, what's not to like? While the script can suddenly leap forward in time a bit too readily on occasion, it doesn't stop the film exuding a clear sense of quality. For example, one sequence at a train station is a masterclass in tension building, and it even references the famous sequence from Battleship Potemkin involving a baby in a pram during the slow motion climax of the scene. Plus it's got Billy Drago in it, and what's not to like about that?


Nightmare City:
Umberto Lenzi's action-horror features zombies, or are they infected people, or are they vampires? Whichever way, the movie cannot decide, and freely does whatever it damn well pleases. Long before horrifically convincing infection flicks like 28 Days (and Weeks) Later - both of which are NOT zombie films, FYI - the Italians were running around with gay abandon, just like their infected-vampire-zombie-things. A mysterious plane lands, a bunch of infected loons wreak havoc, and the infection spreads from one disjointed plot point to another ... but then many of those working in Italian exploitation didn't care much for well crafted scripts (one scene in a military bunker features the most atrociously overcooked, underwritten, ill-considered dialogue this side of Ed Wood).

On the plus side, despite the complete and utter lack of cohesion, there's a good helping of action and bloodletting, doled out by these infected freaks who seem to have a distinct distaste for women's blouses. A final point of interest is that the lead protagonist is played by Hugo Stiglitz - whose name was used for an infamously deadly Nazi killer in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (which also referenced Antonio Margheriti, director of Cannibal Apocalypse - another Euro-Exploitation flick which did a more convincing job of illustrating a city-wide blood-thirsty epidemic).


The Cannonball Run:
Being a fan of the likes of the Gumball Rally, and the Bullrun, it was cool to finally see the movie which inspired them both. A bunch of oddballs (played by various big names and character actors of the day) all go tearing across America in a race to cover 3000 miles in 72 hours. It's silly, it's a little bit cheesy, but it's also an old school early-80s slice of good fun ... and further on the plus side, Adrienne Barbeau makes a memorable appearance as a Lamborghini Countach racing beauty.

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