Author Archives: Luis D Ramos

Anime Spotlight: Fist of The North Star

In the late 80’s there were two feature length anime that were theatrically released here in the states.  The 1st, most popular and critically acclaimed was Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira.  The 2nd was The Fist of the North Star.  This movie was based on the manga(or comic, for those of you not hip to the term manga) in Japan known as Hokuto No Ken written by Buronson and illustrated byTetsuo Hara.  The manga dropped in the land of the rising sun in the early 80’s and spanned 27 volumes that collected 245 chapters of the series.  So popular was the series that it spawned a 2 weekly TV anime series in the early to mid  80’s, Hokuto No Ken and Hokuto No Ken 2.  Both series combined are over 250 episodes.  Naturally the TV series was a smash that a 2 hour  feature length anime film was made in Japan in 1986.  The creators developed a very long and deep mythology w/ Hokuto No Ken.  Or as deep as you can get w/an ultra-violent, post-apocalyptic, martial art story about saving the world. Read the rest of this entry

Random Rewind: JCVD

JCVD (2008) is a crime drama film starring action star Jean-Claude Van Damme.  This is no normal Van Damme, it’s actually Jean-Claude Van Damme flexing his acting chops instead of his muscles.  The film takes bits of Van Damme’s real personal life into a fictional setting to deliver a something that you might not expect from Van Damme but something that must be seen. Read the rest of this entry

Random Rewind: Bronson

Bronson is a 2009 film starring English actor Tom Hardy, directed by Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn and has nothing to do with the actorCharles Bronson.  Bronson is a film based on the life of Michael Peterson who is known as being one of England’s most violent and infamous prisoners.  He is still in prison to this day.  A good portion of that time in prison if not most of it has been spent in solitary confinement. Read the rest of this entry

Random Rewind: Ip Man

Ip Man (2008) is a Hong Kong film starring Donnie Yen,  directed by Wilson Yip with fight/martial arts choreography by Sammo Hung.   It’s a very semi-biographical film, very loosely based on the life of martial arts master Yip Man, who was a practitioner of the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu and was a onetime teacher of a young Bruce Lee. Read the rest of this entry

Random Rewind: Lone Wolf and Cub Saga

Lone Wolf and Cub is a period samurai manga (Japanese comic) that was written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Goseki Kojima in 1970. Six films were made in Japan from 1972-1974 based on the manga.  In 1980 a movie using edited parts from the first two Lone Wolf and Cub films was released as Shogun Assassin for western audiences.  In this week’s column I’m going to talk about, give information and compare the originals with what initially got released here in the west. Read the rest of this entry

Random Rewind: After Hours

Martin Scorsese might be one of my favorite directors.   He has a way of telling a story in a film with incredible style yet makes it feel very believable.  I also love his use of music in his films to accent a scene and makes it feel complete and memorable.  Yup, I really like Martin Scorsese films.  To be honest with you, as much as I like him I can’t say I’ve seen everything he has ever done.  So looking through his films there are quite a few that I still have yet to see and out of those one caught my eye. Read the rest of this entry

Random Rewind: The Hunger

The Hunger is a vampire film, released in 1983,  directed by Tony Scott (True RomanceCrimson Tide, Top Gun) starring Susan Sarandon, David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve.  The Hunger is a different vampire film and worth checking out for the opened minded. Read the rest of this entry

Random Rewind: Angel Heart

Angel Heart is movie directed by Alan Parker(Midnight Express, Pink Floyd:The Wall) staring Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet and Robert De Niro. Released in 1987 the movie is most well known by the controversy that went on around it, more so than the movie itself. The lead is played by, at the time, one of Hollywood’s biggest bad boy leading men Mickey Rourke, but the controversy comes in the name Lisa Bonet, 19 years old at the time of filming. Lisa Bonet was known for playing one of Bill Cosby’s daughters in the very popular 80’s sit-com The Cosby Show. In Angel Heart she appears topless and has a sex scene with Mickey Rourke. This caused a mass media freak out before the films release because of her scenes in the film contrasted with her clean teen image on a prime time sit-com. The notorious sex scene also had to be edited a bit to get an “R” rating. Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: Big Trouble in Little China (Bonus Review)

John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (1985) is the 4th film that he used Kurt Russell as a lead and the last in the 3 films that two made together in the 1980’s as director and lead.  The film also stars Kim Cattral, Denis Dun, James Hong, and Victor Wong.  This is Carpenter’s take on the martial arts genre. Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: Escape From New York (Bonus Review)

John Carpenter’s Escape from New York (1981), starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Ernest Borgnine and Harry Dean Stanton, is a film that takes place in the future, 1997(well… the future if you were around in 1981), where Manhattan island is the maximum security prison for the United States.  The movie starts with a narration that explains the world we are dealing with.  Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the film:

Narrator: A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline across the Harlem river, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline.  It completely surrounds Manhattan Island . All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison, only prisoners and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple.  Once you go in, you don’t come out. Read the rest of this entry