Wait Until Dark

Director: Terence Young
Writer: Frederick Knott (play), Robert Carrington, Jane-Howard Hammerstein (screenplay)
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna
Rating: ★★★★
Buy/Rent: BUY

Three conmen get burned by their own game by a blind woman played by Audrey Hepburn (which garnered her an Oscar nomination for her staggering performance). One of the goons is played by Alan Arkin, who looks like he just stepped out of THE MATRIX RELOADED (compliment). This is a side of Arkin I've never seen: chilling and ruthless. 

One of the most compelling aspects of the movie is that it takes place almost entirely in a crowded small apartment, giving a feeling of claustrophobia, especially since we're watching Susy Hendrix (Hepburn) navigate herself around when she's new to being blind, and hasn't really learned to use her other senses and memory to get around.

I loved this movie -- it's a riot watching it unfold as the clueless Susy winds up beating out the hoods with instinct and wit. Also, as we've learned in movies, you can't ever go into business with other goons -- it never ends well for them.  

Wait Until Dark (1967) [Blu-ray]
Starring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Jr. Efrem Zimbalist

Showdown in Little Tokyo

Director: Mark L. Lester
Writers: Stephen Glantz, Caliope Brattlestreet
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Brandon Lee
Film Rating: ★★★★

Brandon Lee -- Bruce Lee's talented son -- died way too damn young and only left us with three films: the cult hit THE CROW (where he was accidentally killed during production), RAPID FIRE, and SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO. A shame, a real damn shame, but we're lucky to have a few films to remember him by and what could have been. (Which can be the same about Bruce.)

I digress. 

SHOWDOWN is accurate for its release: lots of nudity, drugs, violence, and the hero showing his perfectly sculpted butt.

It's been a long time since I've seen this and is much different than how I remember. Like Bruce showcased in THE WAY OF THE DRAGON, Brandon shows off his comedy chops as the wise-cracking police officer, Johnny Murata. He gives this character a fun presence while kicking people to sleep left and right, and molds the camaraderie with Dolph's Sgt. Chris Kenner, like they've been good ole pals for a good while. Their chemistry works, and it's fun, as well as charming watching their characters try to one-up each other in their martial arts talents while giving Little Tokyo a beat down. (Brandon's got the kicks, Dolph has the get-out-of-my-way sonic boom punches.) 

Costarring is Tia Carrera, Shredder's right-hand man from the old, good NINJA TURTLES movies, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who's played a villain more times than anyone in cinema. (Note: This has not been verified, but I'm going with my gut, which is always right.)

SHOWDOWN has everything a movie-loving karate fan wants: Dolph Lundgren karate kicking over a car, Dolph Lundgren beating up bad guys with a cup of coffee in his hand, Brandon fucking Lee.

Showdown in Little Tokyo [Blu-ray]
Starring Dolph Lundgren, Brandon Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Tia Carrere, Vernée Watson-Johnson

Under the Rainbow

Director: Steve Rash
Writers: Fred Bauer, Pat Bradley (story); Pat McCormick, Harry Hurwitz, Martin Smith, Pat Bradley, Fred Bauer (screenplay)
Cast: Carrie Fisher, Chevy Chase
Rating: ★★★
Buy/Rent: BUY

UNDER THE RAINBOW is fucking bonkers. I got this after reading the first memoir from the late, irreplaceable, super awesome Carrie Fisher. She hated this movie with a passion and said Chevy Chase was less than pleasing to work with. As a woman who holds absolutely nothing back, I just had to see this, naturally. 

I'm going to try to explain UNDER THE RAINBOW. It's in the midst of filming THE WIZARD OF OZ, all 150 dwarfs, script supervisor (Fisher), a CIA agent (Chevy Chase), and a bunch of wackos are staying in the hotel called Hotel Rainbow (and anyone who enters it is now under it, you see). There's a shitload of subplots: a Nazi spy trying to steal a map, a Japanese spy trying to steal a map, and an assassin trying to kill someone but keeps botching it Mr. Bean slapstick style.

There's also a running joke where Chase keeps replacing Toto because the (current) Toto he has in his possession keeps accidentally dying.

This irreverent screwball comedy cranks the subgenre up to eleven. The finale involves the set of GONE WITH THE WIND, a western I couldn't pinpoint, and half the dwarfs in Oompa Loompa uniform chasing the Nazi dwarf. By the end of the movie, they are literally no longer in Kansas, anymore. UNDER THE RAINBOW is so ridiculous; you have to see it to believe it.  

Fisher looks great in the film, shiny and beautiful as always, and I bet she got super drunk and high along with the rest of the actors to make this film. This is one of the most batshit crazy movies of all the batshit crazy movies I've ever seen. And I mean that as a compliment. 

Under The Rainbow (1981)
Starring Chevy Chase, Carrie Fisher, Eve Arden, Joseph Maher, Robert Donner