Re-Watch: Momo (1986)

Momo
Director: Johannes Schaaf
Writer: Johannes Schaaf, Rosemarie Fendel, Michael Ende, Marcello Coscia
Based on: Michael Ende‘s novel
Cast: Radost Bokel, Mario Adorf, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sylvester Groth, Leopoldo Trieste, Ninetto Davoli, Concetta Russino, Bruno Stori, Francesco De Rosa, Elide Melli, Pietro Tordi, Hartmut Kollakowsky, John Huston
Seen on: 24.2.2018
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Plot:
Momo (Radost Bokel) lives on her own in a ruin in the center of the village. She knows everybody in town. In fact, everbody knows each other and takes care of each other, not minding that all the social niceties do take time. But the town’s slow pace is disrupted when mysterious gray men show up and make it clear to everybody how much time they are wasting. There’s only Momo who can try and get rid of them.

Momo is one of my childhood favorites, so when they announced a special screening at the cinema, I knew I wanted to catch it on the big screen. And it was a great opportunity to see a film that still holds up wonderfully.

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She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

She’s Gotta Have It
Director: Spike Lee
Writer: Spike Lee
Cast: Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell, Spike Lee, Raye Dowell, Joie Lee, S. Epatha Merkerson, Bill Lee
Seen on: 17.2.2018
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Plot:
Nola (Tracy Camilla Johns) is looking for love and sex. But she’s not really ready to settle down with just one guy, so she dates three of them: Jamie (Tommy Redmond Hicks) is protective and caring, but also a little controlling. Greer (John Canada Terrell) is a wealthy model who is also pretty arrogant. And Mars (Spike Lee) is sweet and funny, but also a little immature. Nola would be content to stay dating all three of them, but the guys all want to be exclusive, putting some pressure on her.

She’s Gotta Have It is a little strange at times, mostly in the good way. It doesn’t work on all counts, but it does work and I liked it a lot.

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Müllers Büro (1986)

Müllers Büro [literally Müller’s Office]
Director: Niki List, Hans Selikovsky
Writer: Niki List
Cast: Christian Schmidt, Andreas Vitásek, Barbara Rudnik, Sue Tauber, Maxi Sukopp, Gaby Hift, Jochen Brockmann, I. Stangl
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 26.10.2016

Plot:
Max Müller (Christian Schmidt) is a private detective, usually only barely skating by and always on the lookout for money. His best friend and partner Larry (Andreas Vitásek) works with him, and they are supported by Miss Schickel (Sue Tauber) a pretty, but not all that smart secretary. One day, a gorgeous woman finds her way into Müller’s office, introducing herself as Bettina Kant (Barbara Rudnik) and hiring Max to find her missing boyfriend. As Max starts to dig into the case, he soon realizes that nothing is as it seems.

I swear it was coincidence that I saw two idiosyncratic musicals in as many days, but Müllers Büro definitely falls into that category (as did Romance & Cigarettes). In any case, it might just be the finest Austrian musical parody of noir crime stories. I enjoyed it for the most part, although it is unbelievably sexist (again, like Romance & Cigarettes).

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Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Big Trouble in Little China
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Gary Goldman, David Z. Weinstein, W.D. Richter
Cast: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor WongSuzee Pai
Seen on: 21.5.2016

Plot:
Jack (Kurt Russell) and Wang (Dennis Dun) might be different, but they’re friends. And when Wang’s fiancée Miao Yin (Suzee Pai) is supposed to finally arrive in the USA, they go to the airport together to collect her. But while they wait for her, they witness an attempted abduction of another Chinese woman who is there to be collected by Gracie (Kim Cattrall). Jack intervenes and saves the woman, only to have Miao Yin be abducted instead, landing all of them in the middle of an ancient Chinese war.

Big Trouble in Little China is not always unproblematic, but it is a whole lot of fun. It’s silly and stupid and there are even attempts at trope subversion (mildly successful). I enjoyed myself.

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Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet 
Director: David Lynch
Writer: David Lynch
Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean StockwellGeorge DickersonJack Nance
Seen on: 10.5.2016

Plot:
Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed human ear in his neighborhood. He brings it to the police but then finds himself too intrigued by the mystery to leave the investigation up to them. Hoping to find out more, he visits Detective Williams (George Dickerson) at home, but – unsurprisingly – Williams is unwilling to share. His daughter Sandy (Laura Dern), though, points Jeffrey to a mysterious night club singer, Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) who is mixed up with the wrong kind of people, led by Frank (Dennis Hopper). And soon Jeffrey finds himself in over his head as well.

I haven’t seen much of Lynch’s work (yet), but Blue Velvet was my favorite so far, the first one I really fell in love with. It’s a thing of weirdness, beauty and intricacy with mesmerizing performances. How could I not?

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Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

Poltergeist II: The Other Side
Director: Brian Gibson
Writer: Michael Grais, Mark Victor
Sequel to: Poltergeist
Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Oliver Robins, Heather O’Rourke, Zelda Rubinstein, Will Sampson, Julian Beck, Geraldine Fitzgerald

Plot:
After the recent events surrounding the Freelings, they have left their house and moved in with Diane’s (JoBeth Williams) mother Jess (Geraldine Fitzgerald). In a new location they hope to find a little more peace and to rebuild their life. But Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein), the medium who helped the last time, has a dream that everything might not be quite as over and dealt with as they had hoped. She sends her friend Taylor (Will Sampson) to help the Freelings who find themselves yet again followed by evil forces.

Poltergeist II unfortunately couldn’t keep up the quality of the first film, even if the Freelings continue to be a wonderful family.

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Tras el cristal [In a Glass Cage] (1986)

Tras el cristal
Director: Agustí Villaronga
Writer: Agustí Villaronga
Cast: David Sust, Günter Meisner, Gisèle Echevarría, Marisa Paredes

Plot:
After a suicide attempt Nazi doctor in hiding Klaus (Günter Meisner) is paralyzed and dependent upon an iron lung. His wife Griselda (Marisa Paredes) wants to hire a nurse when teenager Angelo (David Sust) shows up and offers his services. After blackmailing Klaus into into insisting on hiring him, Angelo completely takes over the household and uses Klaus’ dependence for his own purposes.

Tras el cristal is a fucked up film with fucked up people in it – and that’s exactly the film’s point. One that it conveys effectively and in a tense atmosphere. I was enthralled the entire time.

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The Fly (1986)

The Fly
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg, Charles Edward Pogue
Based on: George Langelaan‘s short story
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz

Plot:
Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is a scientist working on a super-secret project with which he would like to impress journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis). At first she is skeptical but when he actually beams her stocking across the room, she believes him and they start working together – she is documenting his progress and process, he is fueled by her attention. But then Seth takes on a little too much and transports himself. That experiment goes very wrong since a fly got into the pod with him and now their DNA is mixed up and Seth starts to transform.

The Fly was awesome, its classic status fully justified. The cast is excellent, the make-up and effects are pretty great and the story is cool. I was transfixed from beginning to end.

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[SPOILERS]

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Class of Nuke ‘Em High (1986)

Class of Nuke ‘Em High
Director: Richard W. Haines, Lloyd Kaufman
Writer: Richard W. Haines, Lloyd Kaufman, Mark Rudnitsky, Stuart Strutin
Cast: Gil Brenton, Janelle Brady, Robert Prichard, Pat Ryan, James Nugent Vernon, Brad Dunker
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Chrissy (Janelle Brady) and Warren (Gil Brenton) are the nice power couple at their school. So they mostly steer clear of the drugs that circulate school. But recently the drugs seem to have had a strange effect on the pupils around them. Maybe that has something to do with the nuclear power plant that is right next door?

Class of Nuke ‘Em High wasn’t really my cup of tea. I had the impression that the Troma movies were more like Japanese crackpot movies. While there are certainly some similarities, it just didn’t reach that amount of craziness for me.

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Aliens (1986)

Aliens
Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Sequel to: Alien
Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Bill Paxton, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein

Plot:
Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is back on earth, only to find out that she’s been in hypersleep for quite a while and in the meantime, the planet where they found the aliens in the first place, has been colonized by people from the Wayland Corporation. Ripley tries to warn the company and its representative Burke (Paul Reiser), but they don’t really believe her. That is, until contact with the colony is lost. That is when the Company enlists Ripley (and a group of marines) to head back there to figure out what’s happening.

Aliens is a good sequel but it doesn’t quite achieve the greatness of Alien. Nevertheless, Ripley is still kick-ass and the film generally really enjoyable.

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