The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera (1996)

typewriterriflemoviecamera_1Starring Samuel Fuller, Tim Robbins, Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino

Directed by Adam Simon

Expectations: High.

threehalfstar


The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera tells the story of Sam Fuller through the three tools that defined his character. The typewriter represents his youth spent as a journalist, first as a copy boy and later as a 17-year-old homicide reporter. The rifle represents his time in the army, fighting in World War II from North Africa all the way to the liberation of a concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic. The movie camera is obvious, and references his time as a director. These experiences combined to deliver a kind of hard-hitting, no-bullshit cinema that no one before or since has quite captured.

This documentary is made all the more vibrant by the participation of three “current-gen” directors (Tim Robbins, Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino), one ’70s-era filmmaker (Martin Scorsese), and the man himself, Samuel Fuller. Scorsese offers the wise opinions of an older man who has been deeply affected by the works of Fuller since the age of six when his father took him to see Fuller’s debut film, I Shot Jesse James. Tarantino and Robbins hang out in The Shack, Fuller’s home office in Los Angeles where he kept all his scripts, mementos and artifacts from movies long past. Robbins also serves as interviewer, directly asking Fuller questions. Jarmusch serves a more traditional documentary role: the filmed interview. And Fuller, of course, relates stories from his incredible life and career with the vibrant flare that only he can. He seems visibly excited to be conversing with the youth of Hollywood, and I’m sure it was quite flattering for the aging director to be so well-respected by these young men towards the start of their careers.

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Uncle Jasper reviews: Carnosaur (1993)

Carnosaur (1993)
AKA Carnosaurus

Starring Diane Ladd, Raphael Sbarge, Jennifer Runyon, Harrison Page, Ned Bellamy, Clint Howard, Frank Novak

Directed By Adam Simon


Hi folks. Welcome to today’s installment of “Shit My Dad Used to Rent.” Today we have 1993’s ultra-schlocky Dino-ploitation classic, Carnosaur. Now let’s not bullshit ourselves here, there is only one reason this film ever saw the light of day. Cranked out and released less than a year after Steven Spielberg’s mega blockbuster Jurassic Park, Carnosaur sought to take a T-Rex-sized bite out of the dino-mania propagated by that smash hit. Surprisingly, it is based on an Australian novel written six years before Michael Crichton’s bestseller ever saw the light of day, even though the film itself reeks of a shameless cash-in attempt.

But for a kid going through dinosaur withdrawal after Spielberg’s hit disappeared from theaters, imagine the shit-eating grin I must have had on my face when my dad brought this one home. I was a little put off by the ghetto-looking rubber T-Rex on the VHS sleeve, but with a title like Carnosaur it seemed like a dream come true. This would be Jurassic Park with a darker edge. As much as I loved watching Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum run away from those carnivorous monsters, Jurassic Park had a severe shortage of what I think we all really wanted to see: dinosaurs eating people. I understand toning it down in order to secure that coveted PG-13 rating, but without blood and guts it amounted to a fun and suspenseful adventure, not the dino-horror film I think I was initially hoping for. But fuck it dudes, who needed Jurassic Park? I had Carnosaur now!

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