Scenes I Love: Star Wars – A New Hope (Part 1)


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Today marks 30 more days before the release of the next chapter in the Star Wars saga. It’s been almost a dozen years since the prequels finally ended and the fandom was split between those who railed against it and those of the younger generation whose first entry into the Star Wars universe were the prequels instead of the original trilogy.

For those who grew up watching the original trilogy over and over throughout the years, the prospect of the franchise returning to it’s adventure roots instead of delving into the soap operatic backstory that made up the prequels was enough to create the massive swell of hype and anticipation for a film unheard of even in these current era of superhero tentpole blockbusters and massive sequels.

Star Wars: A New Hope was my gateway to the fandom and no scene helped usher me into becoming a devoted fan than the very first few minutes of the film as we see the message crawl to start then the massive bulk of the Imperial Star Destroyer chasing down a fleeing ship of much smaller size. Yet, the scene doesn’t end there. No, it continues inside where we finally get our first introduction to one of film’s most iconic villains to ever grace the silver screen.

The Imperial Star Destroyer opening was the hook and Darth Vader pulled one in.

Adventures in Cleaning Out The DVR: Night of the Wild (dir by Eric Red)


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After I finished up my review of Buried Secrets, it was time to watch Night of the Wild.  Night of the Wild, which was produced by the wonderful people at The Asylum, originally aired on the SyFy network on October 3rd.  Much like Ominous, The Hollow, and They Found Hell, it was aired as a part of their 31 Days of Halloween.  I was on vacation when Night of the Wild was originally aired, so I missed it.

Night of the Wild is exactly the type of film that appears to have been made to give me nightmares.  It’s a film about killer dogs and I’ve always been a bit scared of dogs.  Recently, as a result of meeting some very well-behaved and sweet-natured members of the species, I’ve become a little bit more accepting of them but, for the most part, dogs still make me very nervous.  I just can’t deal with all the barking and the growling and the jumping.  Add to that, it freaks me out that dogs are apparently attuned to human emotions because I tend to be pretty moody.  Get a dog around me and chances are my emotional nature will cause them to have a nervous breakdown.

Night of the Wild opens with a green meteorite crashing down to Earth.  It lands near a small farming community.  Soon, glowing chunks of the meteorite are appearing everywhere and the town’s dogs start to turn against their owners.  (It’s debatable whether or not it’s just dogs that go crazy.  One of my favorite shots of the movie is of a hundred cats safely perched up in a tree, as if they’re aware that the dogs are having issues and don’t want anything to do with them.  There’s another shot the features several cows mooing in a slightly ominous fashion, as if they also can’t wait to take out a few farmers.)  It’s pretty much a typical SyFy/Asylum scenario — the dogs go on a rampage through town, a lot of people die, and the members of a family (made up of Rob Morrow, Kelly Rutherford, Tristin Mays, and Carmen Tonry) try to get to safety.

And yet, there are a few things that set Night of the Wild apart from other SyFy films.

First off, there’s the look of the film.  According to the imdb’s trivia section, director Eric Red and cinematographer Spencer Hutchins were inspired by the look of Dario Argento’s classic Suspiria.  And you can certainly tell while watching the film.  The colors are vibrant.  The green glow of the meteorite is often seen in the background.  When the dogs lay siege to a farmhouse, the reddish lighting will remind you of Suspiria‘s scenes of Jessica Harper investigating the hidden passageways of that haunted dance academy.

The other thing that sets apart Night of the Wild is just how violent and gruesome the film eventually becomes.  Unlike Sharknado 3, this is not a comedy.  This is not a film that invites you to laugh over all the mayhem.  Night of the Wild is a grim and dark movie, one in which you’re never quite sure who is going to survive and who is going to fall victim to the dogs.

Night of the Wild is a film that will make you want to hug your favorite cat.

Almost a Vigilante: Charles Bronson in GANG WAR (20th Century Fox 1958)


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Here’s a chance to see Charles Bronson in an early starring role, playing a man who’s wife is killed by thugs. But this ain’t DEATH WISH, it’s GANG WAR, and though the title may promise plenty of action, it doesn’t deliver. It’s a low-budget potboiler about schoolteacher Alan Avery (Bronson) witnessing a gangland rubout, and the mobsters who’re out to get him. Presumably by talking him to death!!

The film starts out like gangbusters, with lots of violent action scenes before the credits roll. Unfortunately it’s stock footage, and that’s about as good as it gets for action. After that, it’s Avery seeing Maxie Meadows’ two thugs murder a stoolie, calling the cops anonymously. But Avery leaves his pregnant wife’s medicine in the phone booth, and they trace him to his home. He identifies the goons, so Maxie sends his booze-soaked lawyer Barker to pay him off. Avery’s too principled…

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Adventures in Cleaning Out The DVR: Buried Secrets (dir by Monika Mitchell)


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So,  as you know if you’re one of our regular readers, I am currently in the process of cleaning out my DVR.  That means that I’ve spent this week watching and reviewing a countless number of Lifetime and SyFy films.  It’s been fun and I do love watching Lifetime films but I also have to admit that I’m glad to see that I only have 8 films left to go.

Earlier today, I continued to make progress by watching Buried Secrets.  Buried Secrets originally aired on October 25th, on the Lifetime Movie Network.  I didn’t get to see it when it originally aired because I was busy dancing in my underwear at a Halloween party.  Fortunately, that’s why we have DVRs!

So, how to describe the plot of Buried Secrets?  Seriously, it’s not easy as you might assume.  There is a lot of stuff going on in Buried Secrets.  In fact, it’s probably one of the most convoluted Lifetime films that I’ve ever seen.  But let’s give it a shot:

Sarah Winters (Sarah Clarke) was a police detective who was involved in investigating the mysterious murder of police informant, Derrick Saunders (Fulvio Cecere).  However, before Sarah could solve the crime, she was accused of corruption and kicked off the force.  Sarah, of course, was totally innocent and she feels that she was set up by one of her fellow detectives, Joan Mueller (Veena Sood).  Mueller is now chief-of-police, largely because of the attention she gained by accusing Sarah of being corrupt.

Sarah also has a teenage daughter (Angela de Lieva) and a mother (Gabrielle Rose), who she doesn’t get along with.  This is largely because Sarah was adopted and she is upset because her adoptive mother refuses to give her any information about her biological parents.

Since Sarah is no longer on the force, she writes a novel that becomes a best seller.  The novel is based on the murder of Derrick Saunders and features an incompetent, untrustworthy detective named Meckler.  When Mueller demands to know if Meckler is based on her, Sarah says that she is.  In the real world, this would lead to Sarah being sued for libel and probably being driven to bankruptcy.

However, this is Lifetime world!  Mueller is concerned about much more than the real identity of Detective Meckler.  Mueller thinks that the book contains details of the crime, which prove that Sarah was the murderer.

Meanwhile, Sarah’s boyfriend, Barry (Dan Payne), is working on the security detail of Mayor Harding (Sarah-Jane Redmond).  Harding is running for reelection but it looks like she might be on the verge of losing her office.  So, Harding starts to sleep with Barry to get information about Sarah.  Mayor Harding has decided that if she campaigns on a platform that calls for banning Sarah’s book, she’ll win reelection.

And yes, that makes absolutely no sense but just go with it.

Meanwhile, there’s a mysterious homeless-looking guy (Teach Grant) and he keeps popping up at the strangest times.  He shows up at a book singing.  He follows Sarah’s daughter in the park.  And, of course, he spends a lot of time at the local DNA lab…

Okay, so you might think, after reading all of this, that Buried Secrets doesn’t make much sense.  And it doesn’t!  But that, to be honest, is the film’s main appeal.  Since Buried Secrets refuses to be tied down by logic, that means that literally anything can happen!  At it’s best, Buried Secrets creates its own hyper realized world, where everything is just a bit over-the-top and strange.  It’s a world where a major municipal election hinges on banning a novel, where book signings are fraught with drama and peril, and where one teenager can change an entire city’s mind just by grabbing a microphone and giving an impassioned speech.  It’s all so strange that there’s no way not to enjoy it.

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