The Glass Shield (1994)

Starring Michael Boatman, Lori Petty, Richard Anderson, Michael Ironside, M. Emmet Walsh, Ice Cube, Elliott Gould, Bernie Casey, Don Harvey, Sy Richardson, Natalia Nogulich, Wanda De Jesus, Victoria Dillard

Directed by Charles Burnett

Expectations: Moderate. Corrupt cops usually makes for a good movie.


I tried to research these movies a bit beforehand to avoid this, but apparently, unlike the characters in this film, I didn’t dig deep enough. The Glass Shield may showcase Ice Cube at the forefront of every poster, DVD cover and promo material I came across during my evidence gathering phase for Ice Fest, but he’s literally only in it for a few minutes and has just as many lines. Argh. It’s not just frustrating because of Ice Fest, it’s also frustrating because Ice Cube plays a man on trial but we don’t know anything about him. Pretty much all we know is that he’s innocent and wrongly accused by some corrupt cops, so that’s probably why the movie revolves around his trial and not around his character.

Deputy Johnson (Michael Boatman) is fresh out of the Police Academy (No, not that Police Academy) and is assigned to a station full of mustachioed white men who immediately treat him as an outsider. He finds a friend in Fields (Lori Petty), the previous outsider of the force and the only women assigned to that station. One night, Johnson assists another officer when he arrests Ice Cube at a gas station while he ain’t doing a got-damn thing but filling up his VW Bug with gasoline. Ice admits to having a gun under the front seat for protection and is immediately arrested by the officer. This starts the tangled web of corruption and murder trial proceedings to follow, and while I’d love to say that it’s a joy to unravel it, it’s more of a chore.

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Blade Runner (1982)

Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy, James Hong

Directed by Ridley Scott

Expectations: High. This is my third time through, so I expect to like it more.


Blade Runner is not a film that I get overjoyed with while watching. I don’t even think it’s all that good. But it is unique, and it is well made, and I do like it quite a bit. I don’t expect that to make sense to anyone but me, but that’s just the way it is. I have tons of issues with this film, but regardless I continue to come back to it. If I say nothing more, that alone should tell you that Blade Runner is an interesting piece of cinema. For the record, I watched the 2007 Final Cut this time. I first saw the film about fifteen years ago when I watched a VHS of the International Cut. Roughly seven or eight years later, I watched the 1992 Director’s Cut on DVD.

After three viewings over the last fifteen years and reading the book around the second time I watched it, I still have a hard time following this movie. That could be interpreted as the movie and I just not connecting, or you could take it as the movie being poorly paced and just not telling its story very well. I’m willing to admit my fault when it’s due, but I have to be honest: I think it’s the movie’s fault this time. No amount of tinkering or re-editing can change it, Blade Runner is just a damn slow movie. I like it immensely more now than I did upon first seeing it, but I still think it’s wildly overrated.

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Critters (1986)

Starring Scott Grimes, Dee Wallace-Stone, M. Emmet Walsh, Don Keith Opper, Billy Green Bush, Terrence Mann, Ethan Phillips, Billy Zane

Directed by Stephen Herek

Expectations: Fairly high. I’d wanted to see this since I was a little kid.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
twohalfstar


I’ve seen parts of this over the years but had never seen it all the way through. I gave it a go, but this is definitely one that would be better with a bunch of friends. It’s a horror comedy and my sights were set a bit more towards gore-fest. The key flaw to my logic though is that I never bothered to notice that this was PG-13. That would have tempered my expectations quite a bit, instead of building them up over the last couple of decades.

Basically, the Critters (or Crites, if you want to get technical) make a daring escape from a prison asteroid, stealing a spaceship. A couple of shapeshifting bounty hunters head off in pursuit. The Crites land on Earth, rural Kansas to be exact. It’s been a long flight and their little Critter bellies are rumbling. From here it devolves into a slight clone of Hitchcock’s The Birds, if the birds were prison-breaking, meat-chomping little furballs from space. I loved the opening of the movie, even if it does focus on the family a little too much. As the film dragged on, my bloodlust raged. “When will the Crites start chomping the innocents?” I thought.

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