Archives for posts with tag: Tracey Walter

The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY NINE

Swelter

Saddle up for another hipster riff on the western … Out-of-place big names Jean-Claude Van Damme and Alfred Molina pick up shameless paychecks for supporting roles in this sub-Tarantinoid dose of direct-to-streaming dreck. The actual leading man viewers get stuck with is a tedious congoid, Lennie James, who plays Bishop, the sheriff of a sleazy backwater outside Las Vegas that finds itself invaded by a gang of prison escapees searching for a cache of hidden loot. Van Damme, his accent thicker than ever, plays the implausibly named “Stillman”, one of the gang of psychotic outlaws, which also includes Cole (Grant Bowler), who discovers he has a score to settle with Bishop when he finds him shacked up with ex-girlfriend Carmen (Catalina Sandino Moreno). Annoyingly slapdash, with no sympathetic characters, Swelter is as uninviting, drab, and exhausting as its title advertises, with Van Damme’s charisma criminally underutilized. The great character actor Tracey Walter does add some much-needed color to a few scenes, however, in his role as “Old Man Henry Johnson”.

2.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Swelter is:

4. Anti-police. Van Damme’s gang gets the hip Reservoir Dogs slow motion stroll treatment as they shoot down the officers manning a roadblock.

3. Anti-gun. Bishop’s deputy Ronnie (Alan Simpson) is a klutz. Bishop himself refuses to carry a gun until circumstances force his hand. Asked why he performs his duties without a sidearm, he replies, “I’m afraid I might shoot somebody.”

2. Anti-white and pro-miscegenation. White men are vicious, sadistic poison to women. “It’s your DNA,” says Carmen in rejecting Cole’s renewed advances. She prefers the dusky embrace of Bishop. Van Damme also kisses a mutt.

1. Obamist. Swelter unfolds against the backdrop of the upcoming election of a new sheriff. After electing Bishop, a man with a mysterious past, just to rid themselves of the previous power, the townsfolk have grown impatient with what they perceive as Sheriff Bishop’s moralistic stifling of free enterprise and are itching to vote for his lame white deputy as a replacement; but Bishop, the righteous black man of destiny, rides in, rises to the occasion, and manages to protect the townspeople from a descent into white barbarity. (cf. American Hustle)

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Out of the Dark

Out of the Dark (1988) *****  Generic title notwithstanding, Out of the Dark is a genuine gem from the heyday of the late night cable erotic thriller.  Bobo, a serial killer in a clown mask, is stalking and murdering beautiful phone sex workers, and a handsome photographer (Cameron Dye) finds himself the number one suspect after a sultry photo shoot with one of Bobo’s victims.  His phone sex cutie girlfriend (Lynn Danielson) stands by his side, but a hardboiled and cynical L.A. detective (Tracey Walter) is determined to nail him as the culprit.  Distinguishing Out of the Dark from some of its peers is its wicked sense of humor and ultrastylish sensibility.  This movie even makes Tracey Walter look like the world’s coolest dude as he’s getting out of his car in slow motion.  Greatly enhancing Out of the Dark, too, is the fine cast of character actors, with Bud Cort, Karen Black, Divine, Starr Andreeff, and Paul Bartel all in fine form in smaller roles.  Recommended to those who wish Basic Instinct had been funnier, but not quite as dumb as its parody Fatal Instinct.

Clownhouse

Clownhouse (1989) ****1/2  The story of what transpired behind the scenes during the filming of Victor Salva’s Clownhouse is widely known and has resulted in its forever being tainted and relegated to out-of-print movie ignominy.  Politically incorrect as it is to concede, however, this film, which was effectively creepy when first unleashed on adolescents more than two decades ago, is actually amplified in its power to unsettle them as adults and is arguably – albeit unintentionally – a stronger chiller in retrospect for its unsavory intermingling of art and reality.  A horror film within a horror film, Clownhouse frequently gives indications of being an exercise in perversion for Salva, whose story luridly focuses on the psychological torture of a boy (Nathan Forrest Winters) who is terrified – and with good reason, as it turns out – by clowns because, as he puts it with tears in his eyes, “You never know who they really are.”  Indeed.

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