Blue Steel (1990, directed by Kathryn Bigelow)

On her first night on the job, rookie cop Megan Turner (Jamie Lee Curtis) blows away a robber (Tom Sizemore) who was holding up a convenience store.  The robber was holding a gun when he was shot but, right after his body hits the ground, the gun is stolen by a stockbroker named Eugene Hunt (Ron Silver).  Somehow, no one notices Eugene grabbing the gun from the floor and he improbably gets away from the crime scene without any of the investigating officers noticing that he’s concealing a gun in his suit.

Because Eugene stole the gun, Megan is accused of shooting an unarmed man and she is suspended from the force.  Meanwhile, Eugene becomes obsessed with the gun, hears voices, and starts to shoot random people.  He even carves Megan’s name on one of the bullets.  When the bullet is found in the body of one of Eugene’s targets, Megan becomes the number one suspect even though it wouldn’t make any sense for a murderer to carve their name on the evidence.  This isn’t The Wire.  None of the dead are going to be found with a note in their hand that says, “Tater Killed Me.”  It should be obvious to everyone that Megan is being set up but instead, everyone just assumes Megan is a stupid murderer who doesn’t know how to cover her tracks.  Eugene also starts to date Megan but when Megan rejects him after he confesses to being the murderer, Eugene starts to stalk her and her friends.  Not even Megan’s new boyfriend (Clancy Brown) can keep her safe from a stockbroker with a grudge.

Blue Steel benefits from Kathryn Bigelow’s stylish direction and Jamie Lee Curtis’s dedicated performance but it suffers because Eugene is so obviously crazy from the get go that it never makes sense that he would be able to get away with his crimes for as long as he does.  Even after Megan realizes that Eugene is crazy, she can’t get anyone to believe her even though everything about Eugene suggests that he’s the murderer.  Not even confessing to the crime is enough to keep Eugene in prison.  Somehow, Eugene is able to commit multiple murders and attempted murders right in front of Megan and then escape before Megan or anyone else can even react.  Megan’s been trained at the Police Academy while Eugene has no criminal training whatsoever but he’s still always able to outthink and outrun her.  It makes it seem as if Megan just isn’t a very good cop.  Luckily, Bigelow, Curtis, Silver, and Clancy Brown would all be involved with better movies in the future.

10 Shots From 10 Horror Films: 1987 — 1989

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at 1987, 1988, and 1989!

10 Shots From Horror History: 1987–1989

Hellraiser (1987, dir by Clive Barker, DP: Robin Vidgeon)

Stage Fright (1987, dir by Michele Soavi, DP: Renato Tafuri)

Near Dark (1987, dir by Kathryn Bigelow, DP: Adam Greenberg)

Prince of Darkness (1987, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Gary B. Kibbe)

They Live (1988, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Gary B. Kibbe)

Night of the Demons (1988, dir by Kevin S. Tenney, DP: David Lewis)

The Lair of the White Worm (1988, dir by Ken Russell, DP: Dick Bush)

The Church (1989, dir by Michele Soavi, DP: Renato Tafuri)

Twin Peaks: The Pilot (1989, dir by David Lynch, DP: Ron Garcia)

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989, dir by Rob Hedden, DP: Bryan England)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Bill Paxton Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Bill Paxton would have been 65 years old today.  One of the greatest of the modern character actors, Bill Paxton passed away three years ago and the loss is still felt.  Paxton was one of those actors who was often taken for granted but who was capable of bring almost any character to life.  He was an exciting actor to watch, not to mention being one of the best actor to ever come out of Ft. Worth, Texas.  He is definitely missed.

Today, we pay tribute to the great Bill Paxton with….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Near Dark (1987, dir by Kathryn Bigelow)

Pass the Ammo (1988, dir by David Beaird)

A Simple Plan (1998, dir by Sam Raimi)

Frailty (2001, dir by Bill Paxton)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Lance Henriksen Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, Lance Henriksen is 80 years old!  In honor of this day, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Dog Day Afternoon (1975, dir by Sidney Lumet)

Near Dark (1987, dir by Kathryn Bigelow)

Dead Man (1995, dir by Jim Jarmusch)

Mom and Dad (2017, dir by Brian Taylor)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Evil Dead II, Near Dark, Stage Fright, The Stepfather

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 1987 Horror Films

Evil Dead II (1987, dir by Sam Raimi)

Near Dark (1987, dir by Kathryn Bigelow)

Stage Fright (1987, dir by Michele Soavi)

The Stepfather (1987, dir by Joseph Ruben)

Music Video of the Day: Touched By The Hand of God by New Order (1987, directed by Kathryn Bigelow)

23 years before she made history as the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow directed this video for New Order.

The video features the members of New Order as you’ve never seen them before.  With the band’s long hair and the codpieces and the explosions going off in the background, you might think that an aging glam metal band is trying to rip off the British new wave sound.  Instead, it’s the members of New Order, wearing wigs and poking deserved fun at the bands like Poison, Cinderella, and Great White.

While New Order performs, Bill Paxton runs through traffic and makes out with Femi Gardiner.  Bill Paxton was everywhere in 1987.

Horror Film Review: Near Dark (dir by Kathryn Bigelow)

The 1987 film Near Dark is the story of two American families.

The Coltons are a family of ranchers living Oklahoma.  Loy Colton (Tim Thomerson) is the patriarch, keeping a watchful eye on his children, Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) and Sarah (Marcie Leeds).  Caleb is a cowboy and a nice guy, even if he does seem to be a little bit too naive for his own good.  After Caleb disappears one night, Loy and Sarah start their own search, traveling across the back roads of the Southwest.

The other family may not share any biological relation to one another but they definitely share blood.  They’re a group of outcasts who have found each other and now spend their nights searching for people who can satisfy their hunger.  They’re vampires, even though that’s not a word that they tend to use.  (In fact, for all the blood-sucking that goes on throughout the film, the term “vampire” is never actually heard.)  At night, they’re all-powerful but during the day, even the slightly exposure to the sun can set them on fire.

The patriarch of this family is Jesse Hooker (Lance Henriksen), a scarred war veteran.  Jesse will do anything to protect the members of his family but he expects each of them to pull their weight.  At one point, when Jesse is asked how old he is, he says that he fought for the South and that the South lost.

Jesse’s girlfriend is Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein), who is just as ruthless as Jesse.  Filling the role of oldest son is Severen (Bill Paxton), a cocky gunslinger with a quick smile and cruel sense of humor.  Homer (Joshua Miller) appears to be a 12 year-old boy but he’s actually one of the older and more violent members of the family.  And then there’s Mae (Jenny Wright), the rebellious daughter.

Mae is the one who first met and bit Caleb.  She’s the one who turned Caleb into one of them, though it takes Caleb a while to not only discover but also understand what he’s become.  When Caleb tries to escape from Mae and his new family, he becomes violently ill.  He can no longer eat human food but, at the same time, he can’t bring himself to hunt.  Instead, he’s forced to drink whatever blood Mae can provide for him.  Even when Jesse’s group attacks a redneck bar, one cowboy manages to escape, specifically because Caleb cannot bring himself to kill him.

What is Caleb to do?  He can’t return to his old family, as much as he may want to.  (It doesn’t help that Homer has developed an obsession with Caleb’s sister, Sarah.)  At the same time, his new family says that they’re going to kill him unless he starts hunting for blood.  They only thing keeping Caleb alive is the fact that Mae likes him and even she’s telling him that he’s going to have to hunt.

Meanwhile, Loy continues his own hunt, the hunt for his son….

Long before she became the first female director to win an Oscar for The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow directed this stylish vampire film.  Visually, Bigelow emphasizes the emptiness of the Southwestern plains.  Looking at the desolate landscape, it’s easy to believe that Jesse and his family could use them to successfully hide from the rest of the world.  It’s also just as easy to believe that a well-meaning but not particularly bright young man like Caleb could get lost and not be able to find his way home.  Bigelow turns the vampire family into a group of modern-day outlaws, crossing the land in their sun-proofed vehicles and trying to stay one step ahead of modern-day posses made up by concerned families and law enforcement officers who don’t know what they’re getting into.

Even if not for Bigelow’s stylish direction, the film would be a classic for just the cast alone.  Henriksen, Paxton, and Goldstein all previously appeared in James Cameron’s Aliens and they have a camaraderie that feels real.  In fact, the vampires work so well together that it’s impossible not to kind of admire them.  They’ve got it together and, even when faced with an army of police officers determined to make them step out into the sunlight, they don’t lose their sardonic sense of humor.  The much missed Bill Paxton’s performance is a hyperactive marvel, both menacing and sexy at the same time.  Meanwhile, Jenny Wright and Adrian Pasdar have a likable chemistry as Mae and Caleb while Tim Thomerson makes Loy’s love and concern for his son feel so real that adds an unexpected emotional depth to the overall movie.  The script, written by Eric Red and Bigelow, is full of quotable dialogue and the cast takes full advantage of it.

Near Dark is vampire classic and definitely one to watch this Halloween season.

Here Are The Nominees From The Women Film Critics Circle!

The Women Film Critics Circle has announced their nominations for the best of 2017!  The winners will be named next week!



  • “Detroit”
  • “First They Killed My Father”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “Mudbound”

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]

  • Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
  • Maggie Greenwald, “Sophie And The Rising Sun”
  • Dee Rees, “Mudbound”
  • Angela Workman, “The Zookeeper’s Wife”


  • Sally Hawkins, “Maudie”
  • Sally Hawkins, “The Shape Of Water”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Cynthia Nixon, “A Quiet Passion”


  • Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
  • Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
  • Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”


  • Seo-Hyun Ahn, “Okja”
  • Mckenna Grace, “Gifted”
  • Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
  • Millicent Simmonds, “Wonderstruck”


  • Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”
  • Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
  • Margo Robbie, “I, Tonya”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”


  • “A Fantastic Woman”
  • “First They Killed My Father”
  • “In The Fade”
  • “Thelma”

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women:

  • “Maudie”
  • “The Light Of The Moon”
  • “The Rape Of Recy Taylor”
  • “Wind River”

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America

  • “Girls Trip”
  • “Mudbound”
  • “Step”
  • “The Rape Of Recy Taylor”

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity

  • “Battle Of The Sexes”
  • “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
  • Mudbound
  • “The Post”

COURAGE IN ACTING [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]

  • Sally Hawkins, “Maudie”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Michelle Rodriguez, “The Assignment”
  • Charlize Theron, “Atomic Blonde”


  • Amma Asante, “A United Kingdom”
  • Kathryn Bigelow, “Detroit”
  • Angelina Jolie, “First The Killed My Father”
  • Dee Rees, “Mudbound

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD [Supporting performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]


  • “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story”
  • “Faces Places”
  • “Jane”
  • “Step”



  • “Atomic Blonde”
  • “In The Fade”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • Wonder Woman


  • “Atomic Blonde”
  • “Battle Of The Sexes”
  • “Professor Marston And The Wonder Women”
  • Wonder Woman



  • “Coco”
  • “Loving Vincent”
  • “The Breadwinner”
  • “Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming”


Here Are The Nominations of the Los Angeles Online Film Critics!

On December 4th, because there weren’t already enough critics group to keep track of, the Los Angeles Online Film Critics (founded 2016) announced the nominees for their inagural awards!  The winners will be named on January 3rd, 2018.

Here are the nominees.  There’s a lot of them.


“The Big Sick”
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Get Out”
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”
“Molly’s Game”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”


Dee Rees, “Mudbound
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Detroit”
Patty Jenkins, “Wonder Woman
Sofia Coppola, “The Beguiled”


Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me By Your Name”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”


Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes
Doug Jones, “The Shape of Water”
Dan Stevens, “Beauty and the Beast


Baby Driver
“I, Tonya”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”


Blade Runner 2049
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”
War for the Planet of the Apes


“Atomic Blonde”
Baby Driver
“John Wick: Chapter 2”
Wonder Woman


Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
Dafne Keen, “Logan
Jacob Tremblay, “Wonder”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”


Blade Runner 2049
“Get Out”
It Comes at Night
“The Shape of Water”


Baby Driver
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman


“The Big Sick”
“The Disaster Artist”
“Girls Trip”
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”


Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Kogonada, “Columbus”
Jeremy Gasper, “Patti Cake$”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”


“The Big Sick”
A Ghost Story
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”


Beauty and the Beast”
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman”


Bruno Delbonnel, “Darkest Hour”
Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”
Hoyte van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”
Rachel Morrison, “Mudbound
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”


“Blade Runner 2049”
“The Shape of Water”
“War for the Planet of the Apes”
“Wonder Woman”


“An Inconvenient Sequel”
“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond”
“Whose Streets?”


“BPM,” France
“First They Killed My Father,” Cambodia
“In the Fade,” Germany
“The Square,” Sweden
“Thelma,” Norway


“The Breadwinner”
“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”
The LEGO Batman Movie”
“Loving Vincent”


Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, “The Big Sick”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, “The Shape of Water”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”


Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”
Luca Guadagnino, James Ivory, & Walter Fasano, “Call Me by Your Name”
Michael H. Weber & Scott Neustadter, “The Disaster Artist”
Scott Frank, James Mangold, & Michael Green, “Logan
Virgil Williams & Dee Rees, “Mudbound


Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”


Idris Elba, “Molly’s Game”
Michael Stuhlbarg, “Call Me By Your Name”
Patrick Stewart, “Logan
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Williem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”


Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”


Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”

Lisa’s Early Oscar Predictions For September

To see how my thinking has progressed, be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, JuneJuly, and August!


Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour


The Disaster Artist


The Florida Project


Goodbye Christopher Robin


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missiouri



Best Director

Sean Baker for The Florida Project

Kathryn Bigelow for Detroit

Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Joe Wright for Darkest Hour


Best Actor

Chadwick Boseman in Marshall

Willem DaFoe in The Florida Project

Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

Donald Sutherland in The Leisure Seeker


Best Actress

Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul

Kirsten Dunst in Woodshock

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri

Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes

Meryl Streep in The Papers


Best Supporting Actor

Steve Carell in Battle of the Sexes

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name

Will Poulter in Detroit

Patrick Stewart in Logan


Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz in Murder on the Orient Express

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Melissa Leo in The Novitiate

Julianne Moore in Wonderstuck

Margot Robbie in Goodbye Christopher Robin