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.

thefly

[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.

classofnukemhigh

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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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Caravaggio (1986)

Caravaggio is a movie by Derek Jarman starring Nigel Terry, Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean.

Plot:
Caravaggio is a fictionalised biography of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (Nigel Terry), a baroque painter. There it focusses on the love triangle between Caravaggio, Lena (Tilda Swinton) and Ranuccio (Sean Bean).

Before you go into the movie, I recommend reading up on Caravaggio and getting acquainted with his paintings. I didn’t and I was utterly bewildered by most of the things until I did.
That’s also the kind of movie it is: One I can appreciate intellectually, but which doesn’t have a lot of entertainment value. You’d have to rewatch it again, probably, to get all the layers, but I’m afraid that I’m not interested enough to do that. [Bad, cultural kalafudra. BAD!] Although, of course, worse things could happen than watching (almost) naked Sean Bean and Nigel Terry getting it on.

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Re-Watch: Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta [Laputa: Castle in the Sky] (1986)

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is Hayao Miyazaki‘s third feature film.

Plot:
Pazu is an orphan who works in a coal mine. One day, a girl – Sheeta, who escaped from some mysterious men in dark glasses – comes floating down from the sky and into Pazu’s arms. She is protected by a mysterious pendant. But the mysterious men – and some sky pirates – keep on chasing them, since Sheeta and Pazu are both connected to the flying island Laputa.

I have to admit that with Laputa, it was quite the opposite than with Nausicaä: On rewatching, I didn’t like it that much anymore, which as usual, is a completely relative thing and means that it still ranks among my favourite animated movies.

castleinthesky

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