Rockie’s Vulcan Video Staff Picks #10
Rockie has been working at one of the last video stores standing, Vulcan Video in Austin, TX, for nearly a decade. The best part about working there is being able to share a recommendation with a customer. Sure, some of his recommendations have been shot down in flames, but the ones that hit always make it well worthwhile. For his Staff Picks, he has a few selections mined from the mighty Vulcan Video.
Wonder Woman (2009)
Mad about the DC films? Well, this is me telling you not to sleep on the DC animated stuff. Mask of the Phantasm is always going to be the king to topple, but there are other classics to behold in the DTV run. Look no further than Wonder Woman. This animated feature is about to get a re-release and I can't stress to you how important it is for you buy this. Her lore is perfectly intact and the script is loaded with symbolism for strong women everywhere. Wonder Woman is a perfect film that needs to be held in high regard. While the casting is solid all around, Alfred Molina as a devilish Ares is a wonderful treat. See Princess Diana done right as soon as possible.
A rarely talked about Hitchcock film, Topaz is creative thriller with a potent mix of The Cuban Missile Crisis and Russian Spies. Worthy of note for its use of cinematic language, Hitchcock hits us with two very creative tricks that inspire today. One is showing two actors carry on a conversation we can not hear only to show us in an action sequence what the exchange was. The other trick is a beautiful red dress that represents a large puddle of blood. Full of intrigue that only a master can pull off, Topaz deserves a re-evaluation.
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)
Ernest R. Dickerson, cinematographer on several Spike Lee classics, brings Tales from the Crypt to the big screen, but rather than shoot for the the classic horror anthology vibe he gives us a badass single story that is pure joy. Hilarious and very self-aware, everyone involved is clearly having a great time in this ultimate battle between good and evil. A case can be made for Demon Knight being an inspirational seminal horror comedy that will never die.
Sam Raimi wanted to make The Shadow but could never land those pesky rights. So the movie "blueprint" went to Darkman and the world became a better place for it. Teeming with creativity, Darkman is one of the most original characters created in cinema history. Becoming something more after a horrific accident, a very Swamp Thing to do by the way, our hero has the ability to make perfect lifelike masks to cover his disfigured face, taking it to the bad guys in kind. All the gags are clever and The Three Stooges-inspired Raimi mixes equal doses of action and comedy like a pro. Keep a sharp eye for the clever Bruce Campbell and John Landis cameos too.
The greatest remake ever made? Quite possibly so. This riff on Wages of Fear bombed and was poorly received upon it's initial release but like I always say, time will tell on all films. A group of desperate men at the end of their ropes take on a high risk, high reward job of transporting highly explosive cargo for some hope of redemption or salvation. Crazy from the beginning, this film will make you bite your fingers off from its masterful use of suspense. Tangerine Dream on the score makes this an unforgettable journey into the world of men trying to save their souls.