Friday, January 28, 2011

Japanese Herald Gallery: The Mechanic

For some reason it just seemed appropriate to post images from this particular movie program today:

Chirashi Files: Private School

Surely not Pretty Poison director Noel Black's finest moment. Though let's give credit where it's due...if made today, you can bet that the infamous shower scene would have been filmed from the shoulders up and Betsy Russell would have rode that horse with a bra on...

Perhaps Orange Road creator Izumi Matsumoto saw this flyer when he conceived his popular '80s anime series, which used Cates as a visual inspiration.

Chirashi Files: 48 Hrs.

The "men with guns" series continues...

Chirashi Files: The Dogs of War

Legendary d.p. Jack Cardiff, who earlier directed the superb '60s mercenaries-in-Africa film Dark of the Sun (aka The Mercenaries), returned to shoot this not quite as good John Irvin-directed early '80s mercenaries-in-Africa film, based on a novel by Frederick Forsyth...

Chirashi Files: ...All the Marbles

Exhibited here under its international title The California Dolls...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"I fire-bombed a bowling alley."

Did you see the cover for Lionsgate's upcoming Bad Boys Blu-ray? They've recycled and photo-shopped the familiar key art image of star Sean Penn from the original U.S. theatrical campaign. Fine. They've added a new title design, an image of Esai Morales and his gang, and black and white head shots of some of the major cast...Reni Santoni, Ally Sheedy, Esai Morales, Clancy Brown, Robert Lee Rush (Tweety), and Dean Fortunato (Perretti). Robert and Dean who? Shouldn't Jim Moody (Mr. Gene Daniels) and Eric Gurry (Barry Horowitz), who both play much bigger and pivotal roles than Rush and Fortunato, be on the cover before those two?

The Blu-ray will be arriving the first of February and is slated to hold the same extra features as previous DVD editions from Anchor Bay and Lionsgate--trailer and commentary from director Rick Rosenthal. I'm guessing we won't have the nifty mini-poster insert of the Style B campaign that came with the original Anchor Bay DVD:

Bad Boys
cellmate Gurry, as he appeared with Brent Spiner in the original Broadway run of Table Settings:

Penn on set with someone who might be producer Robert H. Solo. It's not director Rosenthal. Penn, Solo, and screenwriter Richard Di Lello would later collaborate on Colors. That film would be relocated from Chicago to L.A. and re-written by Michael Schiffer:

Penn in a scene with Ally Sheedy that does not appear in the final film:

Penn in a still I had not seen before from the courtroom scene:

Penn and Morales reunited years later at an event in San Francisco:

"Yes, Mr. Daniels."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Who Is That Guy?!": Kenneth McMillan

One of my all-time favorite character actors, Kenneth McMillan's is a face any fan of the cinema of the '70s and '80s will remember. Even though liver disease took him way too early, at age 56 (January 8th marked the 22nd anniversary of his passing), and his film career spanned less than 20 years, his film resume is chock full of fine projects: Serpico, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Girlfriends, Carny, Bloodbrothers, Runaway Train, Chilly Scenes of Winter, Ragtime, Eyewitness, The Pope of Greenwich Village, True Confessions, Amadeus, and Reckless. TV roles included spots on Rhoda, Dark Shadows, Starsky & Hutch, The Rockford Files, Kojak, Magnum, P.I. and myriad telefilms and mini-series. This was a working actor. And, that's not even including his roles in the original Broadway runs of David Rabe, Joe Papp, and Mike Nichols' Streamers and David Mamet and Ulu Grobard's American Buffalo, alongside Robert Duvall and John Savage.

My earliest childhood memory of McMillan onscreen is of watching him countless times in the memorable "The Ledge" episode in Lewis Teague's Cat's Eye. This guy is just so damned pleased with himself after he captures his wife's lover (Robert Hays) and makes the pretty boy walk around the ledge of his Atlantic City high-rise. Who can forget McMillan cackling and howling while jumping up and down on his bed in a satin robe? I sure as hell can't!

As a kid, I'm pretty sure I had this action figure of his character from Dune:

So, obviously, as evidenced by Dune, Cat's Eye, Ragtime, and other roles, it was easy for filmmakers to use his physique and facial features for villainous parts or as cops, but my favorites remain those that utilized his working class, New York Irish persona: Bloodbrothers, as a paralyzed bar owner who shares a heartbreaking scene with co-star Paul Sorvino, Reckless, as Aidan Quinn's hard-boozing old man, Eyewitness, as Bill Hurt's paralyzed pop, and, most especially, Chilly Scenes of Winter, in which he plays Gloria Grahame's loving husband and stepfather to John Heard. Heard is hard on the guy, but eventually McMillan's old softie is able to crack Heard's exterior as symbolized by the young man's acceptance of his gift of Turtle Wax. I've missed McMillan's high-pitched, New York-accented voice on screen for the last couple decades, but I'm thankful the actor was so busy during his two decades of performing, leaving behind plenty that I still have not seen.

McMillan almost has as much screen time in this trailer for Blue Skies Again as star Robyn Barto and Obscure One-Sheet sure is thrilled about that:

After all of the Stephen King cinematic references, watch McMillan chew scenery at the expense of Robert Hays and the titular cat:

10 Favorite Rep Films Seen for the First Time in 2010

My good buddy Rupe over at Rupert Pupkin Speaks has been kind enough to post my "10 Favorite Rep Films Seen for the First Time in 2010" list. Have a look...