Reviews By Eric Renderking Fisk - Updated September 2009
To Hold You Over Introduction...
Years ago when I started this column on The Indy Experience,
it was with a goal. I often went to the video store looking for movies to
hold me over till Indy4. It's a tall order to fill, where else can you find
a movie as perfect as the Original "Raiders Of The Lost Ark?" Where can
you find adventure, political intrigue, the recovery of lost artifacts and
tongue and cheek humor laced with Romance? Why cant' someone review movies
from the perspective of a fan of that Tour-De-Force? Hence the title of
the article and the aim, reviewing movies that should hold you over till
starting The Fedora Chronicles, the goal has changed slightly and expanded
a bit: Where can you find movies that capture the spirit of adventure and
the style of a bi-gone era. Most movies I review have what I'm looking for,
others don't and I try to explain why.
The title of this column remains the same, regardless
of what movies come and go... because we're always looking for something
to hold you over... either to hold you over through the night or while waiting
for your next adventure to begin.
~Eric 'Renderking' Fisk
(1931)" review by Eric 'Renderking' Fisk: This is also a horrible film
in the sense that it perfectly illustrates man's cruelty to his own creation,
our own "children," and is the perfect metaphor for how modern science and
society quickly discard discoveries and inventions for the next big thing.
"The Day The Earth Stood Still." - This dialog still gives me goose
bumps whether or not it's read or spoken out-loud. The words are just as
powerful today as when they were first spoken on the set and the motion
picture was released. We are given a choice, "join us and live in peace,
or pursue your present course and face obliteration." The end of the motion
picture is both dire and hopeful at the same time. And at the time when
"The Day The Earth Stood Still," there was a very real possibility that
we would face our own destruction, not by aliens wishing to force their
own pacifism on us for their own good, but by an atomic holocaust by our
"Kiss Me Deadly" is the ultimate Film Noir film. Just as The Maltese
Falcon is obviously about a treasure from the past, The treasure everyone
seeks or is hiding in "Kiss Me Deadly" is about the new modern atomic
era or an object that's beyond the comprehension of those who have acquired.
The object in the suitcase could serve as a metaphor for the fears and danger
of the new atomic age and the entire film could serve as a metaphor for
what could (and will) happen if science surpasses society's wisdom."
Click to read the whole review...
"Laura." - The Fedora Chronicles Flicks To Hold You Over: "'Laura' fits
perfectly into the mold of "Film Noir," it's about murder, obsession, unrequited
love, class-envy and social status... with maybe just a hint of the potential
for necrophilia. - Usually, the word "Creepy" and "thoroughly Entertaining"
don't go together in a positive review for a movie. Unless it's film noir.
"Laura" is almost perfect and essential Film Noir, enjoyable while at the
same time making you question your humanity and what it means to be sane."
Click to read more...
The Side Walk Ends - If "The Maltese Falcon" and "Kiss Me Deadly" are
the bookends of the Film Noir Genre, "Where The Sidewalk Ends" helps to
better define it. When you think of this genre, this The Otto Preminger
film's images are what usually comes to mind.
"Atonement," Eric 'Renderking' Fisk a period
film that shouldn't work, but does. It lifts us up, breaks our hearts and
asks us to rethink what the truth really means. It also re-examines what
hardships The Greatest Generation endured and what they gave up...
"Changeling" - As much as I respect and admire Christine Collins and
her struggle to bring her son back home as well as those who helped her
fight to keep her dignity and regain her civil rights, all the while understanding
her pain and suffering and the cruelty she endured in her greatest moment
of need, I'm debating on whether or not this film really needed to be made...
"Come See The Paradise" - It's hard to look at this film and still feel
like an enthusiastic cheerleader for The Golden Era, hoping to revive the
style and the substance of those decades and hope that Big Band Swing and
fedora's come back into the main stream. At the same time, this motion picture
is both stark and beautiful in the way it demonstrates that in the dark
times good people can over come hardships and obstacles.
One of the best World War 2 stories not yet told on screen was that of the
German “Enigma” code machine –until now. This is the ultimate spy story,
the stuff that James Bond movies are made of… secret code machine, teams
of eccentric geniuses (few who are on the brink of insanity) feverishly
searching for the master codes for the encryption machines, cloak and dagger,
double agents and double crosses, and other intrigue. What also makes this
the ultimate spy story is that it really happened – while civilization and
millions of lives was at stake.
isn’t a bad film, nor is it unfunny… there are some great laugh out loud
moments at the expense of some of the characters such as the Austrian actor
turned woodsman, the diabolical rabbit (a nod to "Monty Python And The Holy
Grail?") and many of the blundering animal police men. But just as I’ve
said before, "Hoodwinked" feels tired and already played out. There are
a few salutes, tributes and just plain satires of classic and vintage movies
scattered through out… but when the movie ended and there was a door open
for there to be sequels or even a whole "Hoodwinked" franchise… I can’t
say that I was excited...
"Hope And Glory" - As the barriers and morals of life fall away between
the sexes, the quiet evenings are pierced with air-raid sirens and falling
bombs that are shattering buildings and landmarks, we're allowed in to the
lives of these very real people. We, as the audience, experience their hardships
and see them brought closer together by the chaos and impending doom. At
times it seems that the best thing that ever happened to these people and
their relationships is the war due to the way they're forced to rethink
what's really important in life.
"The Journey Of Natty Gann" this past holiday season craving a classic.
I wanted a movie that had a plot that had depth, some witty dialog, and
maybe a high body count on the Nazi’s side. Going through the movie isle
at the nearest mega-shopping plaza, I grabbed Natty Gann on a whim- I admit
openly and freely that I was seduced by another pretty fedora on the front
and back cover.
Resistance Published February 18, 2009 - "The costumes, set design
and cinematography all make this movie feel some how "real," like any good
period film we feel transported back into that era. It's not a romanticized
version of World War II with-in the civilian resistance who wear perfect
hero costumes and over-the-top sets. [This is best described as the 'Jello'
of World War II intrigue movies.
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. "Well, here it is...
the movie many of us have waited a long time for... the third and maybe
last sequel of "Raiders Of The Lost Ark." The actual movie that the title
of this column here and on The Indy Experience has referred to: "The Flicks
To Hold You Over..." all the others reviews were for movies to "hold you
over" until this was finally made and released. It's a surreal feeling,
I'm actually writing the review to this film that makes me feel as if this
part of our journey together is at an end."
Read The Rest Of The Review...
Last Man Standing is supposed to be a remake of Akira Kurosawa's samurai
classic “Yojimbo”, which I can only assume is correct be cause I’ve
never seen it... But what I can say is that there are times when I’ve watched
this I’ve thought that maybe the makers of this film had more “Raiders Of
The Lost Ark” (but with out any treasure) in mind. That's either
ironic, coincdence or , since George Lucas has said on countless occasions
on how Kurosawa inspired him in the past (If anything, Star Wars- Episode
IV: A New Hope is a remake of Kurosawa’s “Hidden Fortress”.)
"The Pianist" - There are strong and powerful scenes and exchanges between
Szpilman and the German officer that Illustrate the good a man can do when
powered by guilt and shame and perhaps in a search for redemption..."
Power, Passion & Murder.” It’s a frustrating, chaotic mess. The best
way to describe it would be to imagine a second or third rate film crew
following behind a top-notch movie company as they were filming a beautiful
period film, and picture a second-rate writing team hammering out the script
to correspond with what sets were available with no regard towards the greater
Gold - Just read the book before a studio buys the rights and "dumbs"
to Perdition clearly illustrates what all good fathers know, that
doing what ever they must do to help their children becomes second nature
the day they are born. Children add an extra dimension to the lives of fathers,
making their offspring’s well being far more important then their own. Tom
Hanks does a brilliant job to portray this concept as his character moves
from villainous hit man with heart to the near perfect father struggling
for the right words to convey how he loved both son equally but differently.
Falling On Cedars (Revised July 2007) This movie isn’t for the faint
of heart, nor is it a blockbuster. But Cedars is so perfectly filmed, perfectly
catching the life and atmosphere of living up north, capturing the essence
of a wintry twilight between afternoon or evening when the snow is knee
deep and the roads are impassable. It’s also another “Slice of Life” movie
that illustrates what happened in America around the time of World War II
and is essential for every Vintage Aficionado and history enthusiast for
"With a title like
"Summer Of '42," I would hope that this would at least some attempt
at recapturing the feel or the flavor of the era. What was it like to fall
in love during the first summer of America's involvement in World War II,
what where the living conditions on this vacationer's island, how did these
people who were "summering" from other parts of the North-East region cope
with food rations and the threat of Nazi subs raiding the island? After
"Summer Of '42," you still won't know.
Untouchables: "... The Untouchables is a fictionalized account of how
Elliot Ness and his group of Untouchables were able to bring Chicago’s biggest
bootlegger to justice Elliot Ness was assigned to the Chicago area to break
the back of the mob and bootleggers during the prohibition era. Once he
discovers the greed and corruption within his team, he enlists the help
of Malone played with sheer brilliance by Sean Connery. The two recruit
George Stone portrayed with utter coolness by Andy Garcia and Charles Martin
Smith as Oscar Wallace, the accounting genius who finds the secondary means
of getting at the crime boss Al Capone."
Flicks To Hold You Over: "The World's Fastest Indian," reviewed by Eric
'Renderking' Fisk. "Anthony Hopkins plays the eccentric motorcycle enthusiast
and tinkerer Burt Monroe - a man who in real life broke a few records in
the late 1960's with a 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle that he modified on
his own in a small garage in a small town in New Zealand. While his modified
bike is an extraordinary machine capable of going over 200 miles per hour,
the real exceptional part of this story is Mr. Monroe's boldness and inability
Contemporary Movies that became cultural phenomenon's during their original
release or provide an opportunity for Fedora Chronicles to comment on the
social issues explored in these movies...
Artificial Intelligence” Review By Eric 'Renderking' Fisk for The Indy
Experience June 18th, 2003 - Updated for The Fedora Chronicles June
9th, 2009, "A.I. is a modern take on the Pinocchio fable,
about as dark and as mature (maybe ADULT would be a better word) as you
would expect from a movie that was developed by Stanley Kubrick for 12 years
and based on the Brian Aldiss short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long,
then finally directed by Steven Spielberg after Mr. Kubrick’s death.
The Big Chill: I make no apologies or try to hide the fact that when
I first saw this movie about my parents' generation, I hated it. I loved
to loath it and scoff at it. Everything that's wrong about the baby-boomers,
Children of The Greatest Generation and the "Age Of Aquarius" is jammed
packed into an hour and a half of celluloid.
Omen... enough said.
David Lynch's DUNE: ... I have fond memories of just reading the book,
seeing the movie and being asked what was it about. My friends and acquaintances
were debating about what the book themes and if they were metaphors for
our time, then admitting to the fact that finally the cinematic version
was just eye candy for fans of the book. Since then it's become a cult-classic
and Eighties Nostalgia.
“Bridge to Terabithia,” review by Eric "Renderking" Fisk
- "Bridge To Terabithia" takes you to a place in all of our imaginations,
and then further into the depths of your very soul just before it rips your
heart out with it's bitter-sweet ending. This is a wonderful movie that
handles heavy concepts in a not too heavy handed way. Mostly, "Terabithia"
is about those awkward early teen years when you're almost old enough to
understand love and mutual attraction, not quite old enough to stop playing
make-believe. It's also about making quantum jumps into adulthood while
facing the bitter realities of life before you're actually ready.
Years Later: How Come There Hasn’t Been A Movie As Good As The Empire Strikes
Back Yet?" Eric Renderking Fisk - May 23rd, 2010" Thirty years ago I
was 10 going on 11 and the world was abuzz with the follow-up to George
Lucas’ original Star Wars. As a fan of the genre in general and the first
motion picture specifically, I was in heaven with reminders everywhere from
magazines, posters and television commercials. Even the local paper had
a story about the significance of the sequel to what was then the highest
grossing film of all time. In the months of May, June, July and most of
August, this film owned the hearts and minds of children and adults. George
Lucas had captured the imagination of an entire nation, if not the world.
- Science Fiction is at its best when it takes normal people like you and
I and puts them in extraordinary circumstances and teaches something about
ourselves. To the movie studios I ask - Give us space adventures, but also
allow them the opportunity to make us think. Give us more "Moon."
The Phantom Menace - The Tenth Anniversary: The question remains: was
this movie worth all of the hype? Or was the fans criticism too much and
over the top?
of all the movies made to cash in on the Indiana Jones phenomenon
after "Raiders of the Lost Ark," there’s really only one that wasn’t
awful. In fact it was quite memorable and remarkable in its own
right. ...It’s kind of funny, seeing how “Romancing The Stone” was
homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark, while Raiders was homage to Republic
serials and other films such as David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia”
and John Huston’s “Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” The original source
material was good, but somehow these movies just make it better.
Night Fever: A commentator might be able to look at this movie, point
to it and say that this was a major step in society's down-fall. It's hard
to fight that argument when too many under-aged children saw the film and
started acting out what they saw in school and at summer camp... But I digress.
Saturn3: At the end of my review of "Frankenstein,"
I mentioned a short list of movies or books that are essentially nothing
more then recycling of Mary Shelly's original work. "Jurassic Park," "Blade
Runner," the recently re-imaged "Battlestar Galactica" (humans created the
first Cylons), Edward Scissorhands, Fritz Lang's "Metropolis," Frank Herbert's
"DUNE," and even the now obscure "Saturn 3" starting Kirk Douglas, Farah
Fawcett and Harvey Keitel. Are all, in retrospect, variations on the same
theme if not out-right remakes.
"Star Trek" (2009) The name says it all. Thank Paramount this is a good
"Superman Returns..." - "Even if you can fly faster then a speeding
bullet and infinitely more powerful then a locomotive, what's the point
when it seems at times the world either says it doesn't want or need you
any more if it isn't outright against you? There are times when I felt that
I was watching the kind of movie they only dared to make in the 1940's and
early 1950's, one of the best ways to describe "Superman Returns" is to
place "Casablanca" or "Key Largo" into the comic book universe. In essence,
that's exactly what this is..."
M. Night Shyamalan picks up the mantle of making pure Pop Corn movies, a
mantle that seems to have been handed down to him by Steven Spielberg, who
- as we all know by now - has moved on to make
more serious movies such as Saving Private Ryan and
Schindler's List. In the event that there is a script co-written
by M. Night Shyamalan still floating around for the next Indiana Jones movie…
I hope it gets made before it’s too late. Signs proves he
has the talent to get it done.
Of Khan" - Both
Wrath of Khan and Raiders of the Lost Ark
represent a better time for Paramount, a brief hey-day that would later
prove to be one of the most successful periods of the Studio’s history.
The Worlds: With "War Of The Worlds," Mr. Spielberg was going back to
his home turf and getting his "A-Game" back on while making an updated yet
loyal adaptation of H.G. Wells’ book! Its a rabid Fan-boy’s dream come true,
isn’t it? The results were both fantastic and disappointing… it’s a road
movie, it’s a family drama, and it’s a disaster flick. It's not his best..."
Space Odyssey is of course a story about a journey, but not of one man’s
trip such as Odysseus’s. 2001 is about the progression of the human
race and three progressive stages of development, each portrayal demonstrates
the various beginnings of each phase: Cavemen discovering the use of tools,
Man's exploration and exploitation of Space, One man's journey through "The
Star Gate" and finally as a new born "infant" as a symbol of the very beginning
of the next phase of evolution.