Burning Hearts and Iron Curtains: Rocky IV and Cold War Propaganda

The appeal of Rocky Balboa is his status as a flawed everyman.

Back in 1976, director John G. Avildsen gave us the perfect underdog story. Backed up by an Oscar-winning screenplay by Stallone, Rocky was about community and togetherness, shining a sympathetic light on the poor and downtrodden and reminding us that, given the right attitude and determination, anything is possible. It also spoke of family values and the importance of perspective. Stallone was a revelation as the movie’s titular hero, a reluctant thug-for-high whose friendship with an insular store clerk set him on the path to self-discovery […]

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This Month In . . . 1991 (May)

The month of May was packed full of high-grossing box office hits, but the opening week was most notable for a stylish low-key comedy with a big heart. Based on a crime novel by Chester Himes, Bill Duke’s Rage In Harlem is a touching tale about an ingenuous churchgoer named Jackson (Forest Whitaker), who wins the heart of a salacious female grifter (Robin Givens) after becoming a key component in her latest con […]

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This Month in . . . 1983 (February)

The month of February would get off with a bang for horror fans. Released on the same day, The Entity would go head-to head with David Cronenberg’s body horror classic Videodrome. Directed by Palm D’or nominated director Sidney J. Furie (The Ipcress File), The Entity was based on the real life Doris Bither case and tells the story of a malevolent poltergeist who purportedly raped and tormented her for years […]

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The Good, the Bad, and the So Bad it’s Good

If the grind-house laid their claim back in the 70s, Cannon Films had theirs in the mid-80s with the VHS era.

Not so much a film company at that point, but rather a genre unto themselves. Aerobic-instructor ninjas, Vietnamese prison camps, inner-city gangs, vigilantes, breakdance battles, arm wrestling, excessive rape, Chuck Norris, 357 Magnums,and Superman questing for peace, these are just a few of the things that come to mind when the name Cannon Films pops up. They spit out classics faster than the bullets from a Charles Bronson hand cannon […]

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Saving the World, One Hunk at a Time.

Recently, I have noticed that some cable television outlets have taken to showing disaster movies.

I don’t know whether to be alarmed or amused by their schedule, but it started the old gears turning in my head. Why is it that when an impending cataclysm is looming Hollywood feels the need to turn to a beefcake-o-rama? Look, I am not going on a feminist rant or anything, but just think about it […]

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