"The purpose of all war is peace."
VIDEOS RENTED AND TV VIEWED
by Richard Karsmakers
During the months after the release of the previous ST NEWS
issue I've seen quite a few films. The ones that were viewed
within the confines of my (or someone else's) room are written
about within the confines of this article, in alphabetical order.
Should you be interested in full "silver" screen stuff, I
suggest you look elsewhere.
Ace Ventura, Pet Detective
Before I would allow myself to go and rent "The Mask" I told
myself I simply had to to "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective", the film
prior to "The Mask" that also starred Jim Carrey.
They say Jim Carrey is the discovery of the year or something,
but I tend to agree only in part. Sure, he has some witty lines
("if I am not back within five minutes...wait a little longer")
but the larger part of his wittidom is based around his physique,
i.e. his face. He can pull some amazingly funny faces, but
unfortunately his reportoire is somewhat limited.
Carrey is funny, very funny. But he's not the next generation of
humorous actors. With waves the film is really brilliant -
especially the football super slowmo scene - but otherwise it
seems like the script was written just to allow Carrey to say
silly things, do silly things, and pull funny faces.
If you want about 90 minutes with some raucous laughter but not
much of a story - which is exactly what I liked when I watched it
- this is a good choice. And you might like the guest appearance
of Cannibal Corpse in the film (even though they're credited as
"the Cannibal Corpses").
It's one of those films that'll have you want to pull faces at
people the next day. But please, people, let's ditch the hype a
bit, shan't we?
Born on the Fourth of July
I got to see this film on TV in Britain while I was staying at
Karin's place for almost two weeks. Remarkably, despite her
presence, I did actually get to see the whole film.
It was quite different from what I had expected and, I think,
actually quite good. Tom Cruise can act, and although the film
has its amount of platitudes it's a surprisingly good one.
Compared with previous Vietnam-related Oliver Stone directings,
it has a whole lot less swearing, too, so your parents might like
I first heard of this film during the LateST NEWS Quest of 1989,
when several of the software industry people Stefan and me
interviewed quoted this as their favourite film. After that I've
seen it approximately one and a half time. One time I fell in it
about half way and I really couldn't be bothered because A) I
didn't know it was "Brazil" and B) It was too much of a tireing
surrealistic film to bother with on that ordinary night. Second
time I started off pretty OK but somewhere along the line got
sufficiently drunk not to get anything of the last hour or so.
Not like me at all, not like me at all. But so be it.
Not so this time, when the BBC broadcast this film in January. I
barred the booze and sat down with a deliberate aim to try to
grasp as much of its surreality as I possibly could. I probably
didn't get half of it, but that's alright because I've got it on
video now, for eternal reference.
The subject of the film is quite serious, I should say: A
totalitarian state with hyper-active bureaucracy. And the way if
screws up, of course. However, Terry Gilliam gives it an insanely
unique touch of irony and humour, which had me laughing the
loudest laughs I've ever uttered when on my solitary own. I think
Terry is a bloody genius, albeit perhaps a slightly insane one,
for I think the similarity in imagery of "The Fisher King" and
"Brazil" can be explained only by the fact that they must be in
his subsconsciousness somewhere.
I always like the "1984" kind of edge. Throughout the years I've
written several stories with that kind of approach myself
("Chocolate Mouse Peckers" in 1989, "Llamatron" in 1991 and
"Revenge of the Mutant Camels" in 1992) and there's probably a
deep Freudian reason why, somehow, I can relate to it a lot.
There's probably also a reason why I could easily fall in love
with Orwell's Julia or, in this particular case, Gilliam's Jill
I don't know what it is about me, but I just loved this film.
And it's cult, too. If you want to amaze people by a good taste,
quote films like "Blade Runner" and "Brazil" as your favourites.
I know they are mine (I hope you will forgive me for my arrogance
in assuming I have a good taste).
Put Billy Crystal in a film and I'll be watching. "City
Slickers" is a good example of such a film, where Billy Crystal
is one of several "city folk" out to regain a sense of life by
spending a few weeks in the west transporting cattle across from
one state to another. Loads of witty dialogues that have the
Billy Crystal fingerprint all over them, very much like the way
"When Harry met Sally" was done.
If you're in for an unpretentious evening of light laughter,
this is definitely advisable. And it's got a few moments of
Somewhere during the first evening of the time I spent in the
Frisian town of Drachten to witness the pre-production of "DBA
Magazine" Issue 12, somewhere in April, I saw a few video films.
One of them was "The Crow" with Brandon Lee.
It's the right cross between gothic horror, cult kinda stuff
and, of course, there's a love angle (and you all know I just
lurve those). It's the story of a guy who avenges the brutal
murder on him and his girlfriend, perpetrated one year prior to
the start of the film. In a series of flashbacks we get
acquainted with the vile hoodlums who did this dastardly deed and
the various nice ways in which Brandon Lee - assisted by The Crow
- kills them off one by one.
And, of course, there was a bit of a slaughterama kind of thing
The thing I really liked was the atmosphere and the way the
whole thing was filmed, especially the crow flights and stuff
like that. It's the kind of film that could teach you to love The
Cure, Sisters of Mercy and The Mission. Although it didn't
particularly succeed in converting me to that kind of music, the
film did succeed in its other presumed goal: Entertaining me (and
three guys of the "DBA" team) for a good 90 minutes or so.
Peculiarly, that love angle could only bring one thought to mind
throughout the film.
I'm glad when it's June and Karin's back again.
Some further info about "The Crow" (to dispell rumours and not-
entirely-correct stories that go around about it), taken from a
Internet Movies group:
Brandon Lee died during a mishap on the set. A scene required a
gun to be loaded, cocked, and then pointed at the camera. Because
of the close-range of the shot, the bullets loaded had real brass
caps, but no powder. After the cut, the propsmaster (not the
armsmaster - he had left the set for the day) dry-fired the gun
to get the cock off, knocking an empty cartridge into the barrel
of the gun. The next scene to be filmed involving that gun was
the rape of Shelly. The gun was loaded with blanks (which usually
contain double or triple the powder of a normal bullet to make a
loud noise). Lee entered the set carrying a bag of groceries
containing an explosive blood pack. The script called for Funboy
(Michael Masden) to shoot Eric Draven (Lee) as he entered the
room, triggering the blood pack. The cartridge that was stuck in
the barrel was blasted at Lee through the bag he was carrying,
killing him. The footage of his death was destroyed without being
developed. Lee is the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, who
died in mysterious circumstances while making "Game of Death"
- The following scenes were completed after Lee's death:
Draven first enters the apartment after digging himself out of
his grave: Footage of Lee walking through an alley in the rain
was digitally composited into the scene where he walks through
the doorway. Computer technology added drops of water to the
door frame to make the water on his back not seem out of place.
The shot of Draven falling from the window was made by
digitally compositing Lee's face (complete with simulated
blood) onto a body double.
The scene where Draven puts on his make-up was filmed using a
double. The face in the smashed mirror may have been computer-
generated, but was more likely a double. The image of Draven
walking towards the window with the crow on his shoulder was
cut from another scene, with a computer-generated crow added.
When Sarah visits the apartment, we never see Draven's face as
it is a double.
Be prepared for a lot of zaniness and hard-core laughter if you
get this film starring Mario van Peebles and Christopher Lambert.
They're a bunch of stunningly moronic morons searching for 400
million worth of loot (and I guess it ain't lires).
On the way you get a lot of rather hard-core scenes of murder
and all, making this film into a rather full-of-contrast
experience that is best viewed when at least somewhat inebriated.
Although it's not too bad to see if someone else rents it, I
would suggest you not to part with your hard-earned cash yourself
if there is at all a way to avoid this. Suggestion: Let Sietse
"Slimer" Postma rent it.
On June 13th, Karin came back to the Netherlands for good. On
June 9th, my dad went to England and I decided to go with him to
meet Karin a few days earlier (and leaving for home myself back
on the 14th).
I had an very enjoyable extended weekend in which Karin and me
celebrated that we'd never have to be apart for long again.
So far the human interest. Now for the remarks on "Hellraiser",
which I saw in an "Our Price" store in Taunton during that
weekend, and which had a price tag so enluring (£4.99) that I
couldn't resist buying it.
"Hellraiser" is the first of three films by Clive Barker, quite
gory and full of horror. Even Stephen King raves about Barker,
and quite rightly so. I've yet to see my first Clive Barker film
that I don't like. The special effects are nice and splattery,
and some of the monsters (especially the one with the jaws way
down that follows the female protagonist through this tunnel kind
of thing) is brilliant utterly. Acting isn't too bad and the
story is quite thrilling. Definitely a film you have to see. It's
rated 18, and rightly so. No sex as such, but plenty of real
I can't wait until I find "Hellbound" and "Hellraiser III - Hell
on Earth" for a similar price!
In the Name of the Father
Never knew the English could be like they are portrayed in the
film "In the Name of the Father". Although I can understand the
way they went about searching a scapegoat to soothe an ever more
restless nation at war (yes, at war), the film gets across a
profoundly anti-British viewpoint originating from an occasion
that I am sure any true English person will strive to forget.
I hate the IRA. It cannot be condoned what they've done and what
they'd still be doing if not somehow they had gotten their way.
Violence is that very last of means to resort to, especially if
simple religious matters are at stake. The worst thing, of
course, being the fact that the proud people of Northern Ireland
were the ones that suffered, too. I am not much of a politically
inclined person so I'll leave it at that. I don't like Paisley
one bit, either. All church people who meddle in politics should
be shot, or at least have their tongues cut out.
This review has already turned too much into an anti-religious
ranting piece, so let's get the rating here...
Little Man Tate
Don't know why I singled this particular film out to write
something about. Maybe just because it was hyped plenty when it
eventually got released on video a year or so ago.
It's the story of a high-IQ little guy and his mother, and the
problems they get. Jodie Foster plays the mother. I actually
don't recall that much anymore - I just wrote down the name and
the rating and left the actual writing of this bit "for later" -
but on a whole it left a good impression on me. A film worth to
stay at home for - or program the VCR, of course.
Finally I got to see Jim Carrey's much-hyped film, "The Mask".
The bits I had seen in the Dutch equivalent of "Film with Barry
Norman" (or whatever) had lead me to think this would be a very
funny film filled to its celluloid gills with special effects to
make any slightly computerbetic person drool.
And it did. And it even made me and a friend roll off couches
quite a few times. Yes, I think it's safe to assume that the film
is indeed safe and, indeed, filled to its celluloid gills with
the thing I mentioned before.
And, of course, there's Cameron Diaz!
"The Mask" starts off slowly and the morale is a bit
downtrodden, but the mask special effects are simply amazing and,
it has to be said, Cameron Diaz plays a beautiful lady in
distress... (I can't seem to keep from mentioning her - could
this be the start of something beautiful?!) And, of course, the
film is not as tireing as "Ace Ventura" (Cf.). And most of all I
liked the dog, especially when it...no, I shan't say, for that
would spoil the biggest unexpected surprise of the film. Go and
get this. You'll like it.
Pelican Brief, The
Leave it to wotsisname, John Grisham, to think up a really nice
- and, of course, commercially viable - plot for a film. Because
he seems only to be able to handle lawyer characters he throws in
a lawyer, a journalist, and a few baddies high up on the American
political ladder. Because the viewer wants something to slaver
at, throw in Julia Roberts (who, I maintain, has too big a
mouth). What you get is "The Pelican Brief" that was neatly
executed and properly marketed to guarentee maximum income.
Special effects are kept to a minimum, but they're not needed
(apart from one exploding car).
I am not sure whether I should like this film. It's good, but
it's difficult to like it because, well, John Grisham relieves
himself of plots and bestsellers by the toiletload and somehow I
feel that isn't right. An OK author should not, similar to
Michael Crichton, be elevated to instant scriptwriter stardom
just because the masses like one of his film. Although "The
Pelican Brief" is a capable written effort, I think I will want
to steer clear of similarly executed film versions of "The Firm",
"The Client" and "The Rainmaker" until that blasted hype has worn
off a bit.
Read it, enjoyed it, sfinxed it, guzzled it. And now, finally, I
also got to see the film. It's basically the same as any other
film based on a Stephen King film, i.e. another reason to always
read the book and only see the film as a kind of optional extra.
Sure, "The Shining" as a film is quite thrilling and Jack
Nicholson a most perfectly casted psycho dad, but the book is
just so much better. Entire scenes are skipped - including the
one with the moving hedges that really kept me in thral in the
book and that I'd loved to have seen on the screen - and, of
course, King's carefully manufactured background plots and
sidelines are conveniently ignored.
I wonder if I'll like "The Stand" as a film. I've heard only
good bits about it, and with its 6 hour length is should be worth
while. Still, I can't imagine such a production being possible
even if the entire American Defense budget (including the covert
stuff) was spent on it. No doubt you'll read more about that once
Karin has read the book (if she wants to, anyway) and we'll see
the film together, on video.
Soldaat van Oranje
Or, rather more internationally, "Soldier of Orange". One of
Paul "RoboCop/Total Recall" Verhoeven's early films when he
hadn't discovered Hollywood yet.
As the Netherlands have been rid of the Jerries exactly fifty
years ago on May 5th 1995, there were war movies aplenty on Dutch
television. The best of the genre, telling the story of a bunch
of friends before, during and after (insofar that they survived)
World War II. I think it really captures the imagination, it's
got friendship, it's got heroism and, indeed, it's got a bit of a
love angle (albeit a somewhat frivolous one so typical of Dutch
I really love this film. It makes the chauvinist Dutchman in me
rip loose, and it kindof makes sure I don't like Germans and
traitors for a day or two. I guess I am like that. Call it a
character flaw. The day after seeing a film like this I'll be
likely to say "first give me back my grandfather's bike" if a
German asks for directions.
Well...it's a good film. But make sure to get it subtitled if
you're not Dutch!
What About Bob?
Brilliant, brilliant, hilarious, excellent, full of class A
jokes, bound to cause you to fall with laughter off whatever
you're sitting on! The story is about madman Bill Murray who
works his way into the life of psychiatrist Richard Dreyfuss.
Bill is just the best there is (OK, one of the best) and the film
as a whole is just so funny!
This is definite stuff to stay home for, or at least program the
More to be seen in the next issue of ST NEWS, which I suppose
won't surprise any of you.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.