Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cat Chaser (1989)

Directed by Abel Ferrara. Starring Peter Weller, Kelly McGillis, Charles Durning, Frederic Forrest, and Tomas Milian.

Peter Weller plays George Moran, a former Marine who was involved in a U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in the '60s. Nowadays (well, in the late '80s when the story took place) he runs a beachfront motel in Miami called the Coconut Palms Resort Apartments something or another. When asked by a potential guest at the check-in desk "Why don't I see any palm trees?", Moran replies "Some bugs ate 'em". The potential guest turns out to be a former Paratrooper named Nolen (Frederic Forrest), whom Moran quickly befriends and trades war stories with. Next thing you know, Nolen's cleaning the pool and appears to be a permanent resident, but, like many other things in the film, there's really no explanation as to why.

Long (and messy) story short, a bunch of characters are introduced who are involved in a plot to rob a former Dominican general, Andres DeBoyan (Tomas Milian), of millions of dollars. There's an obnoxious ex-cop named Jiggs (Charles Durning) who's obviously not to be trusted. There's DeBoyan's wife, Mary (Kelly McGillis), who's long been unhappy in her relationship with the corrupt ex-general and wants to muster up the courage to divorce him and take the two-million she'll be entitled to on account of a prenup she signed. Theoretically, Mary should get what she wants if everything goes according to plan, but come on... we all know nothing ever goes according to plan in these movies.

Speaking of Mary, early in the film, Moran decides to take a trip to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to track down a woman who saved his life (and gave him the nickname "Cat Chaserrrr!") when he was there in the '60s with the military. He's been having recurring dreams about her and wants to put some closure on that aspect of his life. Instead of finding her, however, he crosses paths with Mary and the two engage in a steamy love affair, to use a cliche term. The affair carries over back to Miami (not very discreetly, mind you), and Moran gets sucked into the whole conspiracy to rob DeBoyan because of his involvement with Mary. Still with me?

So, I'm hoping I'm not alone in thinking that certain parts of this movie didn't make sense. I mean, I got the gist of it: Peter Weller's character is stuck in the middle of a plot to rob the film's villain of a few million bucks, and then he gets romantically involved with the villain's wife and it becomes personal and yada yada yada. It's just that, when watching the film, you're left in the dark about a few things, and there's so much information to process in the first place that you can easily get lost if you're not paying attention. For example, Charles Durning's character, Jiggs. He just occasionally pops up at the most inconvenient times and is pretty vague when presenting himself to Moran. Sometimes you think he's working for Tomas Milian's character and sometimes you think he's working against him, but the entire time you're not really sure who he is in the first place. It wasn't until the movie was over and I did some research that I learned Jiggs was an ex-cop. Throughout the film, I thought he was just some random knee-capper. Even when it came to Milian's character, I wasn't sure what his deal was either, except that he was rich and wasn't exactly on the best of terms with his wife.

When you take a look at the film's poster, it's advertised as an erotic thriller, which it is to a certain extent. It has the conventions of an erotic thriller, but it's mostly just a straight-forward thriller/crime movie. I found CAT CHASER to be shambles in the story department and thought the pacing of the film left a lot to be desired. However, despite its flaws, I still found a lot to like about the film. Well, not a lot, but I didn't completely dislike it. The film's Florida setting, the sound of the wind lightly blowing in the background during certain scenes, and composer Chick Corea's occasionally unorthodox synth score resulted in some pretty outstanding atmosphere throughout the film. Of course it wouldn't be an erotic thriller circa late '80s/early '90s without some saxophone and trumpet thrown into the mix, and CAT CHASER most certainly fits that criteria.

The cast was decent enough and Peter Weller seemed like the perfect person for the character he played. I especially enjoyed Juan Fernandez, who played a small-time pimp, Rafi. One of his prostitutes was played by Kelly Jo Minter, who I mostly know as the sister from PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. The casting of Tomas Milian will no doubt earn the film some street cred amongst exploitation fans who are familiar with the Cuban-born actor through his many Italian Crime films and Spaghetti Westerns that he made in the '70s. However, fans of Milian, be warned: there's a good chance you may never think of him the same way after seeing this, and I'll just leave it at that. Finally, as far as the cast, Kelly McGillis (TOP GUN) is easy on the eyes and has a couple of nude scenes in the film, one of which is full frontal. Apparently she had such a bad experience during the production of this film that she contemplated quitting acting because of it.

Make or Break scene: Not to sound like a pig, but what made the movie for me was any time Kelly McGillis was naked on screen. Sorry, but without the occasional obligatory nudity included at just the right spots, the film would have completely lost me before it was over. As I mentioned earlier, I thought the atmosphere was great and I found some of the characters to be amusing, but the story just wasn't interesting enough to make me want to see how it would play out. I needed some sort of "erotic thriller" pay-off, so thankfully the film at least delivered in that respect.

MVT: For me, the most valuable thing in the film is the music. I genuinely enjoyed some of the synth numbers (I'm a sucker for synth scores in '80s movies), but, most importantly, it really added to the overall mood of the film and, in my opinion, enhanced it.

Score: 5.75/10

I haven't read the source material (Elmore Leonard's novel of the same name), but based on some research I've done, people who have read Leonard's novel refer to the film as a loyal and worthwhile adaptation. There's not enough going on in CAT CHASER for me to warrant a recommendation of any sort (unless you're an Abel Ferrara completist) and it's not a movie that I can see myself re-watching any time soon, if ever, but I did somewhat enjoy the experience of watching it, even though I didn't necessarily take anything away from said experience. CAT CHASER definitely fits into the Gentlemen's Guide wheelhouse, though, just based on the presence of Tomas Milian alone... and the abundance of tucked-in unbuttoned shirts.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Episode #129: Sylvia's Arena

Something different, yet the same?

That's the best way to describe this episode of the GGtMC folks!!! On this episode we bring in special guests and mix it up a little because Large William and I couldn't get our schedules to sync like your iPod. In the first review, Large William and his wife, Teresa, review Sylvia (1977) directed by Peter Savage and starring Joanna Bell and Sonny Landham....yes folks, it's an adult film. Then in the second review Miles from ShowShow and his lovely girlfriend Caitlin help Sammy review Arena (1989) directed by Peter Manoogian who also directed a film called Seedpeople, which sounds like porn.

We skipped feedback until next week due to time constraints and other matters, but we still have it and will go over it more in depth next week.

Direct download: Sylvias_ArenaRM.mp3

Emails to

Voicemails to 206-666-5207


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DVD/Blu-Ray Picks Of The Week - 4/26/11

Large William's Pick: Henri-Georges Clouzot's INFERNO (Region 1 Blu-Ray; Flicker Alley)
Although this isn't Sammy and my favorite Italian Maestro, Dario Argento's film of the same name, Inferno should be fascinating viewing for any cinephile. Henri-Georges Clouzot's unfinished masterpiece is examined in true detail here by the two filmmakers who took on the project. It weaves in stunningly beautiful footage from the film, with more conventional documentary footage detailing and discussing the life of one of the great French Auteurs of his time. This one is a sumptuous can't miss!


Amazon Blu-Ray
DVD Talk Review
Flicker Alley

Sammy's Pick: BLOW OUT (Region 1 Blu-Ray and DVD; Critertion)
There are way too many great Blu releases this week, you can see Large William's above, but this is a stand out for me. You may ask why and all I can tell you is that I think this is my favorite or very close to favorite Brian De Palma film....he is firing on all cylinders in this film and for me this is his peak with the form he developed. De Palma made many great films in the 70s, arguably the best director of thrillers since Hitchcock himself, who De Palma wasted no time in riffing on in his career. Outside of a few fun films after this, most I'm a fan of, this was the last GREAT Brian De Palma movie and this release is a must own. This is also proof yet again that John Travolta can be a very solid actor if he works with the right directors....this may be his best performance. Everyone else is great in this movie as well, with Lithgow giving us a great cinematic bad guy. Do yourself a favor....BUY IT!!!

Amazon DVD
Amazon Blu-Ray
Diabolik DVD and Blu-Ray Review and Specs

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bonus #30: Interview with Moisés Chiullan

This week our West Coast Correspondent Rupert Pupkin got to chat with Moisés Chiullan, a columnist and critic for Badass Digest, and director of Brand Development for The Alamo Drafthouse. He is also one of the esteemed co-hosts of the excellent Criterion Cast. It's well worth looking into his work in the written or audio format. And don't forget to check out the HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN Game App, which Moisés was a producer on. A very neat little 8-bit retro type grindhouse game experience. Lastly, his fantastic retrospective series of posts on Ozu(as we discuss in the interview) can be found here:

Direct download: INTMCrm.mp3

Emails to

Voicemails to 206-666-5207


Friday, April 22, 2011


This looks like one heck of an enjoyable GGTMC-type film. It's the directorial debut of Addison Randall, the director of THE KILLING ZONE, so you know it's gonna be good. Look for coverage on the show soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Episode #128: Black Oak Wildcats

In this weeks episode, the Gents bring along good friend of the show The Lightning Bug for coverage of two films from the 70s that are arguable very overlooked.

This week we cover Pray for the Wildcats (1974) with Andy Griffith and Bill Shatner and Black Oak Conspiracy (1977) with Jesse Vint and Seymour Cassell. We also cover feedback and the power of Andy Griffith in leather pants!!!

Direct download: Black_Oak_WildcatsRM.mp3

Emails to

Voicemails to 206-666-5207

Also make sure to check out The Lightning Bug's blog at


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DVD/Blu-Ray Picks Of The Week - 3/19/11

Sammy's Pick: KES (Region 1 Blu-Ray; Criterion)
This film is an overlooked masterpiece in my opinion and director Ken Loaches best film overall for me. I saw this film about 10 years ago and have never forgotten the subtle and beautiful storytelling that is taking place, how near pitch perfect this film is in every way. The performances are amazing as Loach is using nonprofessional actors and the locations in Northern England are palpable. Be warned, this film is slow paced and heartbreaking but damn if it hasn't stuck with me since the first time I saw it a decade ago.

Amazon Blu-Ray
High-Def Digest

Large William's Pick: FUBAR: BALLS TO THE WALL (DVD and Blu-Ray; Screen Media)
Okay gang, I haven't seen this one yet, and although I've heard mixed things, I'm picking it as my release of the week as I LOVE the original Fubar, which not enough Americano's and non-Canucks have seen, and secondly, I'm trying to do my part to promote Canadian film. Fubar was an early faux documentary done to great success, and the sequel follows up with our 2 lovable Metalheads, Dean and Terry, who ALWAYS have time to GIVE'ER!

yours in air guitaring,
William the Large

Amazon DVD
Amazon Blu-Ray
High-Def Digest (Blu-Ray)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vishnu's Cinematic Alphabet!

Gentle readers, below please find a lovely cinematic alphabet done by Mr. Vishnu Singh, GGTMC listener and cinephile extraordinaire!!

A- The American President

B- Budo: The Art of Killing

C- Conan the Barbarian

D- Dust Devil

E- Enter the Void

F- Flash Gordon

G- Guns of the Navarone

H- Hardware

I- Inside (¿ l'intÈrieur)

J- Jaws

K- Krull

L- Last Life in the Universe

M- Monster Squad

N- the Nest

O- One,Two,Three

P- Pathfinder

Q- Queen Margot

R- Re-Animator

S- Shaun of the Dead

T- Them!(1954)

U- Uncle Buck

V- Vinyan

W- Wicker Man

X- Xian Si Jue (aka Duel to the Death)
Y- Y Tu Mama Tambien

Z- Zombi 2

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Episode #127: Mishima: A Life in Four Shades of Black

Welcome to another episode of the GGtMC!!!

This week Sammy had other duties to attend to so Uncool Cat Chris stepped in to help Large William review a couple flicks for your listening pleasure. The guys covered Black (2009) directed by Pierre Laffargue and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) directed by Paul Schrader.

We didn't cover any feedback this week but will be back next week to go over some more feedback with Sammy and Will!!!

Emails to

Voicemails to 206-666-5207


DVD/Blu-Ray Picks Of The Week - 4/12/11

Large William's Pick: LE CERCLE ROUGE (Region 1 Blu-Ray; Criterion)
How do you say slam dunk en francais? My pick this week is a film we've covered on the show, and one that both Sammy and I love a great deal. It's Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Cercle Rouge. I may not be very good at math, but Melville+GGtMC gods Alain Delon and Gian Maria Volante=PLATINUM. If you've never seen a Melvlille, this would be a good place to start. I saw it about 5 or 6 years ago and really was taken back by it. Melville's crime film's influences can be seen in everyone from Kim Ji-Woon To Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch to John Woo. Also, it's got a 25-ish minute diamond heist that barely has a word, but will have you on the edge of your seat. Besides, Monochrome never looked soo cool.. This one is a definite buy!

Le Grande William

Amazon Blu-Ray
High-Def Digest Specs and Review

[Ed. Note - Sammy's original pick BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS on Blu-Ray has been changed due to the release date being pushed back]
Sammy's Pick: THE INCREDIBLES (Region 1 Blu-Ray; Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
I feel this is the perfect Pixar film, no song and dance just good old fashioned storytelling and like all Pixar releases I'm sure it will look astonishing!!

Amazon Blu-Ray
High-Def Digest Specs and Review

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bonus #29: Interview with Bryan Connolly

This week our West Coast Correspondent Rupert Pupkin caught up with Mr. Bryan Connolly, the co-author and co-editor of the amazing film reference book Destroy All Movies: The Complete Guide To Punks on Film. We've spoke with Zack Carlson about the book previously. Bryan also programs an 80s film series called ZZANG!!! '80s Insanity UNLEASHED "" with Zack at the Alamo Drafthouse. Additionally, Bryan has started an event called VHS Day and he asked if we would mention it. It is every year on October 1st. Please celebrate by having some friends over and watching some movies that are only on VHS and reminisce about old video stores you used to love. Viva VHS!

Direct download: Bryan_Connolly_GGTMCRM.mp3

Emails to

Voicemails to 206-666-5207


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Episode #126: So Sweet, Black Tavern

In this week's episode, the Gents cover So Sweet, So Dead (1972) starring Farley Granger and Black Tavern (1972) from the Shaw Brothers Studio.

Please remember that we are still doing the program for Japan initiative, donations of $50 get you the opportunity to program an episode of the GGtMC.

We also go over a big chunk of feedback and we discuss grooming techniques of Italian women in the 70's....go figure.

Direct download: So_Sweet_Black_TavernRM.mp3

Emails to

Voicemails to 206-666-5207


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Father Of My Children (Le père de mes enfants) (2009): Review

Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve. Starring Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, Chiara Caselli, Manelle Driss, Alice Gautier, and Alice de Lencquesaing.

People have their own ways of dealing with suicide (or any form of premature unnatural death) and the loss of a loved one. Some people cry for days while others become emotionally and mentally numb to the situation; sometimes both. Sadness, anger, confusion, denial, disappointment. However, the one thought that ties everyone who mourns the loss of a suicide victim together is "Why?" The synopsis for FATHER OF MY CHILDREN suggests that the suicide of father/husband Gregoire (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) comes from out of nowhere and that his surviving family are left asking that very one-word question. But, when he does take his own life in the film, it's quite apparent to the viewer as to why he does it.

Aside from being a father and husband to three beautiful daughters and a loving wife (Chiara Caselli), respectively, Gregoire is a film producer and the head of a production company on the verge of bankruptcy. His financial problems become overwhelming, and thus he takes the easy way out, seeing suicide as the only option. Following his death, his wife - with the help of Gregoire's close friend Serge (Eric Elmosnino) - is left to pick up the pieces and make a decision as to what to do with the production company - will her choice be selfish, or will she continue the fight that utterly defeated her late husband? Meanwhile, the eldest daughter (Alice de Lencquesaing) makes a shocking discovery in regards to her father in the midst of doing some soul-searching of her own.

In an unexpected move, FATHER OF MY CHILDREN plays with viewer expectations by teasing the suicide of Gregoire on two occasions in the film for seemingly no reason. It's an unnecessary but nice touch that adds brief moments of tension to an otherwise slow-moving and mostly uneventful film. And trust me when I say that it's slow. It took me four times over a period of two days to complete the nearly two-hour film because there was nothing about it, initially, that grasped my attention and kept me interested in the character of the doomed father. It wasn't until the obvious turning point in the film that FATHER OF MY CHILDREN was able to affect me on at least an emotional level, and this was mostly due to the strong performances of the cast and how their characters responded to the tragedy. The seemingly complete lack of any artificial lighting, while logical in creating a "direct cinema" look, doesn't exactly help in adding some life to such a gloomy film.

In all fairness, this is not a film that is meant to entertain audiences, but to tell a story and hopefully move the audience in the process. In that respect, it succeeds. There are films that blatantly pull at the heartstrings of vulnerable audiences and exploit their emotions, and there are films that are genuinely heartbreaking. FATHER OF MY CHILDREN falls into the latter category. One could easily argue that it falls into the former category since it basically introduces you to a family and then turns their world upside down as you're forced to watch it, but, in my opinion, what saves it from being a cheap tearjerker is that it's not so much about the burden of loss as it is about the necessity of acceptance and moving on.

Make or Break scene: The family's initial mourning of/reaction to Gregoire's death is easily the stand-out scene in the film for me. I think the less said about it the better.

MVT: The most valuable thing is the cast, all across the board. Solid acting from everyone involved, and without a good enough cast to really convey the emotions necessary in getting the point across, the film would have amounted to very little.

Score: 6.25/10

The score may seem low, but hear a brother out: As much as FATHER OF MY CHILDREN succeeds at what it tries to do, and aside from the solid acting and the believability/likability of the characters/cast, there's not a whole lot in the film for me to really justify giving it an obscenely high score. It's a somewhat challenging film to watch (not so much because of its content, but its lack of content) and there's very little re-watchability to it, if any. However, I do recommend the film to anyone who seeks out tragic cinema, or anyone who has the patience for such. It is challenging, but the experience is touching and ultimately rewarding.