6 Classic Trailers For May 31st, 2022


The Delta Force (1986, directed by Menahem Golan)

93 years ago, on this date, Menahem Golan was born in Israel.  After serving in the Israeli Air Force, Golan would attend the Old Vic Theater School in London before returning to Israel and launching his legendary career in film.  With his cousin, Yoram Globus, and using Roger Corman as both a mentor and a inspiration, Golan would go on to producer and direct some of the most successful films in Israeli history.  Eventually, Golan and Globus would purchase Cannon Films and would be responsible for some of the greatest (in a fashion) films of the 80s.

Though Golan was best-known as a producer, he never stopped directing.  Today, on what would have been his birthday, Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse Trailers presents 6 trailers for 6 Golan films!

  1. Lepke (1975)

After finding great success in Israel, Golan first attempted to break into the American market with this biopic about the head of the Mafia’s Murder, Inc., Louis “Lepke” Buchalter.  Though the budget was low, Golan managed to get a name — in this case, Tony Curtis — to play the lead role.  As you can tell, the trailer wanted to make sure that you knew that this film was about Lepke.

2. Enter the Ninja (1981)

This was, I think, the first film that Golan directed after buying Cannon Films.  How great is Enter the Ninja?  It stars Franco Nero as a ninja!  Seriously, you don’t get much greater than that.  Anyway, as I think I’ve stared on this site before, Enter the Ninja is a lot of fun and Franco Nero was the sexiest ninja of the 80s.

3. The Delta Force (1986)

Chuck Norris was a Cannon mainstay and it seems appropriate that he starred in The Delta Force, a film that was very important to Golan.  The Delta Force was essentially a remake of an 1977’s Operation Thunderbolt, an Israeli film that earned Golan his only Oscar nominations when it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.  The Delta Force did not receive any Oscar nominations but it has a legion of fans.  Our own Jedediah Leland has frequently described this film as being the greatest ever made.  I don’t know if I’d go that far but still, it is always satisfying to see Chuck blow up the bad guys at the end of the movie.

4. Mack the Knife (1989)

Menahem Golan directs a musical!  Unfortunately, this film has never received a proper DVD or Blu-ray release.  Though it was a Cannon production, Golan and Globus had a falling out (one that was, at least partially, caused by Golan spending money on films like Mack The Knife) and Golan ended up distributing this film himself.  I find the trailer to be intriguing.  The film itself is on YouTube so I’ll watch it someday …. maybe.

5. Hit The Dutchman (1992)

Much like Lepke, this film is about a real-life gangster.  In this case, the gangster was Dutch Schultz.  Interestingly enough, the trailer suggest that Al Capone was active in New York whereas everyone knows that, though Capone did get his start in New York, he didn’t become a prominent gangster until he relocated to Chicago.

6. Crime and Punishment (2002)

Finally, this adaptation of the great novel was a bit of passion project for Golan.  He filmed it in Russia in 1993 but, because of financial difficulties, it was not given a release until 2002.

10 Essential Chuck Norris Films


Chuck Norris is 81 years old today!  Below are ten essential Chuck Norris films.  These are the movies to watch if you want to understand how and why Chuck Norris, despite being an actor with an admittedly limited range, became not only an action hero but an enduring pop cultural icon.

  1. The Delta Force (1986, directed by Menahem Golan) — The Delta Force, a.k.a. The Greatest Movie Ever Made, is the obvious pick for the top spot on our list of Chuck Norris essentials.  Not only does it feature, along with Chuck, Lee Marvin, Robert Vaughn, George Kennedy, Bo Svenson, and Robert Forster chewing up all the scenery but this is the film where Chuck rides a missile-equipped motorcycle.  Not only does this film feature Chuck Norris at his stoic-but-determined best but it also features one the greatest lines in film history when a recently released hostage is handed a Budweiser and responds by shouting, “Beer!  America!”
  2. Code of Silence (1985, directed by Andrew Davis) — For a film that features Chuck Norris and a crime-fighting robot called THE PROWLER, Code of Silence is actually a tough, gritty, and realistic Chicago-based crime drama.  Giving the best performance of his career, Chuck plays an honest cop who finds himself in the middle of a drug war.  Henry Silva plays the main bad guy.  Director Andrew Davis later went on to direct The Fugitive.
  3. Way of the Dragon (1972, directed by Bruce Lee) — Chuck plays a rare bad guy here.  He’s a mercenary named Colt and the film climaxes with a brutal fight between him and Bruce Lee.  The fight is a classic, with a good deal of emphasis put on the shared respect between not only the characters played by Norris and Lee but also between Lee and Norris themselves, two masters at the top of their game.
  4. Silent Rage (1982, directed by Michael Miller) — In this slasher/kung fu hybrid, Chuck is a sheriff who must stop a madman who, as the result of a poorly conceived medical experiment, is basically immortal.  For once, Chuck faces an opponent who is just as strong and relentless as he is.
  5. Invasion U.S.A. (1985, directed by Joseph Zito) — Chuck vs. Richard Lynch!  This is one of Chuck’s best Cannon films.  Chuck is as good a hero as ever but what makes the film work is the diabolically evil performance of Richard Lynch.  They are ideal opponents, with Norris stepping up to not only defeat the bad guys but also to save America itself!
  6. Lone Wolf McQuade (1983, directed by Steve Carver) — This is the first film to feature Chuck Norris as a Texas Ranger and, as we all know, it turned out to be the perfect role for him.  This was the first of Chuck’s neo-westerns.  Cast as the bad guy, David Carradine proved to be one of Chuck’s best opponents.
  7. A Force of One (1979, directed by Paul Aaron) — A serial killer is targeting cops.  Chuck essentially plays himself, a karate instructor who is brought in to teach the detective self-defense.  This serial killer plot is actually interesting and the film features some of Chuck’s best fight scenes.
  8. Missing In Action (1984, directed by Joseph Zito) — Chuck plays a vet and a former POW who returns to Vietnam in the 80s to rescue the men who were left behind.  This is hardly my favorite Norris film and it owes too much to Rambo: First Blood II to truly be successful but this is also one of Chuck Norris’s biggest hits and it’s an essential film is you want to understand the man’s film career.  It’s a cheap production but Chuck’s sincerity and his convincing skills as an action hero almost save the day.  It’s also hard to overlook that, as far as I know, this is the only Chuck Norris film that features Chuck watching an episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
  9. An Eye From An Eye (1981, directed by Steve Carver) — Chuck Norris plays an undercover cop who quits the force and tries to bring Christopher Lee to justice.  This one is worth seeing just because it brings together two pop culture icons, Chuck Norris and Christopher Lee.
  10. Breaker!  Breaker! (1977, directed by Don Hulette) — This was Chuck Norris’s first starring role.  He’s actually miscast as a trucker but this film is still worth seeing just for the final scene, in which Chuck and his friends use their trucks to destroy an entire town.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Chuck Norris 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 is the 80th birthday of the greatest living American, Chuck Norris!  For those who doubt that power of Chuck, consider this: Chuck Norris is a year older than Bernie Sanders and he could still beat him in a fight.

In honor of Chuck’s birthday, here are 4 shots from 4 of his best.

4 Shots From 4 Films

An Eye For An Eye (1981, directed by Steve Carver)

Silent Rage (1982, directed by Michael Miller)

Code of Silence (1985, directed by Andrew Davis)

The Delta Force (1986, directed by Menahem Golan)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Lee Marvin Edition


Prime Cut (1972, directed by Michael Ritchie)

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!

96 years ago, Lee Marvin was born in New York City.  After getting kicked out of several prestigious prep schools for “bad behavior,” 18 year-old Lee Marvin enlisted in the Marin Corps, was briefly a corporal before getting demoted back to private (again, because of “bad behavior”), and was wounded in action during the Battle of Saipan.  (Marvin was one of the few members of his unit to survive the battle.)  After he was discharged from the Marines, he worked as a plumber’s assistant at a local community theater and, after being asked to temporarily replace an actor who had fallen ill, Marvin decided to pursue a career as an actor.

Marvin became one of Hollywood’s premier tough guys.  He played his share of gangsters, cops, and cowboys but, because of his background, he was a natural for playing military men.  Whether it was The Dirty Dozen, The Big Red One, or The Delta Force, Lee Marvin was a natural leader and brought authenticity to every military role the played.  His final film was The Delta Force, which just happens to be the greatest film ever made.

In honor of Lee Marvin’s birthday, here are:

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962, directed by John Ford)

Point Blank (1967, directed by John Boorman)’

The Big Red One (1980, directed by Sam Fuller)

The Delta Force (1986, directed by Menahem Golan)

A Movie A Day #356: The Delta Force (1986, directed by Menahem Golan)


Last year, at this time, I set a goal for myself.

I decided that, in 2017, I would review a movie a day and I nearly succeeded. I didn’t review a movie on the day Chris Cornell died.  I missed a few days in March due to a sinus infection.  Including the review that I’m posting below, I reviewed 356 movies in 2017.  According to the year-end stats, my most popular reviews were for Heavy Metal Parking Lot, Slaughter, Body Chemistry 3, Body Chemistry 4, and Beatlemania.

Since tomorrow will be the start of a new year, this is going to be the end of my A Movie A Day experiment.  In 2018, I’ll still be watching movies and posting reviews on this site but this is my final daily review.  For my final Movie A Day, I picked the greatest movie of all time, The Delta Force!

Produced by Cannon Films, The Delta Force starts in 1980, with a helicopter exploding in the desert.  America’s elite special missions force has been sent to Iran to rescue the men and women being held hostage in the embassy.  The mission is a disaster with the members of Delta Force barely escaping with their lives.  Captain Chuck Norris tells his commanding officer, Col. Lee Marvin, that he’s finished with letting cowardly politicians control their missions.  Chuck heads to Montana while Lee spends the next few years hitting on the bartender at his local watering hole.

In 1985, terrorists led by Robert Forster hijack an airplane and divert it to Beirut.  Among those being held hostage: Martin Balsam, Shelley Winters, Lainie Kazan, Susan Strasberg, Kim Delaney, and Bo Svenson.  The great George Kennedy plays a priest named O’Malley who, when the Jewish passengers are moved to a separate location, declares himself to be Jewish and demands to be taken too.  Jerry Lazarus is a hostage who spends the movie holding a Cabbage Patch doll that his daughter gave him for luck.  Former rat packer Joey Bishop plays a passenger who says, “Beirut was beautiful then.  Beautiful.”  Fassbinder favorite Hanna Schygulla is the stewardess who refuses to help the terrorists because, “I am German!”

In America, General Robert Vaughn activates The Delta Force to rescue the hostages and take out the terrorists.  As Lee Marvin prepares everyone (including Cannon favorite, Steve James and, in a nonspeaking role, Liam Neeson) to leave, the big question is whether Chuck Norris will come out of retirement for the mission.  Of course, he does.  Even better, he brings his motorcycle with him.

Anyone who has ever seen The Delta Force remembers Chuck’s motorcycle.  Not only did it look incredibly cool but it was also mounted with machine guns and it could fire missiles at cowardly terrorists.  It didn’t matter whether you agreed with the film’s politics were or whether you even liked the movie, everyone who watched The Delta Force wanted Chuck’s motorcycle.  As the old saying goes, “You may be cool but you’ll never be Chuck Norris firing a missile from a motorcycle cool.”

The Delta Force is really three different films.  One film, shot in the style of a disaster film, is about the hostages on the plane and their evil captors.  The second film is Lee Marvin (in his final movie role) preparing his men to storm the airplane.  The third movie is Chuck Norris chasing Robert Forster on his motorcycle.  Put those three movies together and you have the ultimate Cannon movie.  The Delta Force was even directed by Cannon’s head honcho, Menahem Golan.  (Years earlier, Golan also directed Operation Thunderbolt, an Israeli film about the raid on Entebbe, which features more than a few similarities to The Delta Force.  Golan received his first and only Oscar nomination when Operation Thunderbolt was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.)

The Delta Force is also the ultimate 80s movie.  It opens with the Carter administration fucking everything up and it ends with the Reagan administration giving Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris the greenlight to blow up some terrorists.  There is not much nuance to be found in The Delta Force but it still feels good to watch Chuck beat the bad guys.  Top that off with a shameless score from Alan Silvestri and you have one of the greatest action movies of all time.

At the end of The Delta Force, as cans of Budweiser are being passed out to rescued hostages, an extra is clearly heard to shout, “Beer!  America!”  Then everyone sings America The Beautiful.

That says it all.

6 Patriotic Trailers


PCAS

Hi everyone!

Happy Independence Day and welcome to a special edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers!  

In honor of this day, here are 6 trailers that are so patriotic, they’ll make our American readers reconsider their earlier decision to move to Canada!

1) Red Dawn (1984)

2) Invasion USA (1952)

3) Invasion USA (1985)

4) The Delta Force (1986)

5) American Anthem (1986)

6) The Green Berets (1968)

So, what does everyone think after watching these six trailers…

oh-canada-drake

Oh, stop it.

(Just kidding — love you, Canada!  Love you too, America!)

 

Let’s Second Guess The Academy: Best Picture 1986


Dean Stockwell in Blue Velvet

Dean Stockwell in Blue Velvet

Last week, we considered whether or not Out of Africa deserved the title of best picture of 1985.  As of this writing, the votes would seem to indicate that most of you feel that it did not.

For this week, let’s jump ahead one year to 1986.  According to the Academy, the five best films of the year were:

1) Children of a Lesser God, an adaptation of play about an angry deaf girl and the teacher who falls in love with her,

2) Hannah and Her Sisters, a Woody Allen film about three sisters and the neurotic people they know,

3) The Mission, a film about Jesuit missionaries in South America that also won the Palme d’Or at Cannes,

4) Room With A View, James Ivory’s super romantic adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel,

and finally, the winner,

5) Platoon, Oliver Stone’s autobiographical film about the Viet Nam war.

Unlike Out of Africa, Platoon has remained a fairly respected winner.  Still, was Platoon actually the best film of 1986?  If I had been a member of the Academy back in 1986, I would have been torn between A Room With A View and Hannah and Her Sisters with my final vote going to Room With A View.  How about you?

Now, here comes the fun part.  Let’s say that Platoon turned out to be a disaster.  Let’s say that Room With A View never made it over to American theaters and maybe Woody Allen decided to retire early.  Let’s say that none of the best picture nominees had been eligible to be nominated.  Which five films would have nominated in their place?

You can vote for up to five films and yes, write-ins are accepted!

(I voted for Blue Velvet, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty In Pink, Betty Blue, and Something Wild.)