Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jason is Faster Than You at getting to Midnites for Maniacs

But I'm not faster at blogging. I'm falling desperately behind.

Anway, a few weeks ago, right after SFIFF ended, instead of getting a good night's sleep I was back at the Castro for a double bill. First up, SPEED (1994.) Keanu Reeves and Sadra Bullock in the classic (it's a classic now, right?) about a mad bomber  (Dennis Hopper) who rigs a bus so that once it goes above 50 it has to stay above 50 or else it will blow up. When I say that out loud, that premise still sounds ridiculous.  But dammit it still works. In large part because of the daring of Keanu Reeves doing his own stunts (kind of unheard of in today's CGI-heavy cinematic worlds.) And the chemistry between him and an (at the time) under-appreciated Sandra Bullock. And especially (and I didn't know about this until just recently) the uncredited script doctoring by a young...Joss Whedon. Quite a treat to see this again on the big screen.

And then the second half of the double bill, GONE IN 60 SECONDS (1974.) Not the Nicolas Cage/Angelina Jolie remake. This is the original H.B. Halicki super-independent version. Halicki stars (and injured himself doing his own stunt driving) as an insurance investigator who runs a stolen car racket (using the serial numbers of the crashed cars on his stolen cars. A drug lord contracts him to steal 48 cars, and 47 are easy. That last one--a 1973 Ford Mustang code-named "Eleanor" (all the cars are code-named with women's names) is a little problematic, though. Thanks to a tip-off from a peeved business associate, the cops are onto him and we get the showcase of the film--the longest car chase ever all over the extended metropolitan region of Los Angeles. And it's pretty freakin' awesome!

Total Running Time: 221 minutes
My Total Minutes: 362,982

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