Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Tall Buildings


I grew up in New York City, so I've seen and been in plenty of tall buildings. In the years since I left the Big Apple, I've lived in and around several other cities. Whenever I see their versions of skyscrapers, I get a bit nostalgic for home. It doesn't help that there is no greater, or more recognizable skyline than that of The City That Never Sleeps. Needless to say, the topic chosen this week by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, our host for Thursday Movie Picks has made a little homesick. So, just so I can make through this post in one piece, I've decided that none of the movies I pick for this topic will take place in New York. My apologies to King Kong, but I just couldn't do it. Let's what I could do.

Game of Death
(1972)
Some bad guys had something taken from them that is being kept on the top floor of a five-story building. My New York bias tells me five stories isn't really a "tall building," but I'm picking so I'll let it slide. Anyhoo, no guns are allowed on the premises of this building so the bad guys need someone who can kick ass to go in there and get whatever it is back. They strong-arm martial arts champion Hai Tien into giving it a try by kidnapping the man's family. This movie literally has the best and worst things in cinematic history trapped within its 85 minutes. For the best, well, the guy playing Hai Tien is the one and only Bruce Lee. Better even than that, he's involved in one of his most memorable fight scenes of all time as all 5'6" of him takes on 7'2" Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As for the worst, there's lots of it. For starters, Bruce passed away before finishing the film. If that weren't bad enough, the powers that be decided to finish the film using a string guys in Lee's place who don't really look like him. And that's just the beginning of the hijinks and shenanigans the filmmakers tried to pull. This one is a perfect fit for the term so bad it's awesome!


Skyscraper
(1996)
A woman who gives helicopter rides to rich people lands on top of a skyscraper that's been taken over by terrorists. It so happens, she's married to a detective. While she's trying to save the day, we get flashbacks to earlier (sexier) times in her marriage. I know, I know. It sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it? Let me put it this way: the entire movie is 1000% Die Hard with boobs. These aren't just any boobs, though. We're talking Anna Nicole Smith in her Playboy heyday boobs. Yipee ki yay, mother...

The Raid: Redemption
(2011)
Imagine, there's an apartment building where 95% of the residents are armed and dangerous fugitives from the law. That's not a place where I want to be. However, if I were a member of a SWAT team I wouldn't have much choice if we got the call to go in there and bring out the head bad guy. That's the position Rama finds himself in as he and 19 other officers are summonsed to do just that. If you're paying attention you know that's 20 good guys. Unfortunately, there are over 200 bad guys with itchy trigger fingers. A fair few of them are also damn good at martial arts, too. All sorts of fast-paced, gory mayhem ensues. By the way, I'm totally changing the direction of this post, here. Let's face it. The two picks before this one are bad movies that happen to fit my peculiar tastes. I don't expect you to like them. This one does not fit that bill. For my money, this 101 minute shot of adrenaline is arguably the best action movie of the 21st century.

26 comments:

  1. I haven't seen Game of Death but I do have The Raid: Redemption in my list. I have seen Skyscraper. I used to have a thing for Anna Nicole Smith until she married that old guy and turned out to be gold digger and became the prototype for the bad TV we have today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to see our match. As for Anna Nicole Smith, this movie is thankfully before all that mess.

      Delete
  2. The Raid: Redemption is so good that it was remade as Dredd and it was good and no one even cared that it was a remake.

    The brilliance of The Raid can be summed up in two words: hallway fight. Or, if you prefer, 5 minutes set up, 15 minutes guns, 80 minutes solid ass kicking.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I look at that pic of Bruce Lee and Kareem I keep thinking Lee's nose just about meets Kareem's ...um....nunchucks. I haven't seen any of these but the Raid sounds quite good

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kareem's nunchucks? Nice. The Raid is excellent...just know that it's chock full of very graphic violence.

      Delete
  4. Well Dell I can only speak to the ones that I've seen and that would be the first two. YIKES!!

    Game of Death shows every bit of backstage turmoil, it's messy and sloppily patched together...and ghoulish to boot. Not only did Bruce Lee died during filming this was costar Gig Young's final film before his murder/suicide pact with his last wife-whom he meet on this movie where she was a script supervisor.

    Skyscraper is exactly what you would expect when you see the words "Starring Anna Nicole Smith"! Oy!

    The Raid was mentioned elsewhere, I haven't seen it but now I'm curious.

    Being a disaster movie junkie my first choice is a HUGE favorite of mine, along with The Poseidon Adventure & Airport they make up the best of the genre if you ask me. I had to ponder a bit to come up with my other two but that one popped into my head instantly as soon as I saw the theme.

    The Towering Inferno (1974)-It’s the grand dedication ceremony for the world’s tallest building, The Glass Tower a 138 story skyscraper in San Francisco and the party is being held on the top floor loaded with movie stars, politicians and the building team in attendance. But trouble’s abrewing when architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) arrives back in town to find that corners have cut and the wiring for the building is substandard. He’s right to be worried since when a small fire breaks out on the 81st floor it spreads quickly trapping the guests while the fire department works feverishly to save them. One of the big three Irwin Allen disaster films of the 70’s, along with Airport and The Poseidon Adventure, this was an enormous hit on release with an amazing cast of some of the biggest stars of the time-Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Robert Wagner, Robert Vaughn and Jennifer Jones (in her final film) plus dozens of recognizable performers in smaller roles.

    Plaza Suite (1971)-Three act Neil Simon comedy based on his stage success all takes place in Suite 719 of New York’s Plaza Hotel. Each vignette stars Walter Matthau in different roles with three different leading ladies, Maureen Stapleton, Barbara Harris and Lee Grant in tales of a marriage in crisis, an assignation and a long married couple whose daughter has locked herself in the bathroom moments before her wedding downstairs. None are bad but the first and third are the strongest.

    Fourteen Hours (1951)-Robert Cosick (Richard Basehart) is at the end of his rope and has decided to commit suicide by jumping from the ledge of the 15th floor of the Roosevelt Hotel high above the city. As police officer Charlie Dunnigan (Paul Douglas) tries to reason with him calling in both his girlfriend (Barbara Bel Geddes) and his mother (Agnes Moorehead) the event turns into a sideshow lasting 14 hours. Quite similar to the recent Man on a Ledge but a better film this was Grace Kelly’s screen debut in a small role.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YIKES, is right. Those two aren't really for discerning viewers. I had no idea about the whole Gig Young deal. YIKES, again.

      My only warning on The Raid is that it is very graphic, definitely not for the squeamish. Otherwise, have at it. It's spectacular.

      Funny thing about The Towering Inferno: I've never seen it even though it's in my DVD collection. Sad, I know. I'll throw it on next year's Blind Spot List if I can't get to it sooner.

      Haven't heard of the other two, surprising since Neil Simon did one of them. Can't say I'm too keen on the premise of Fourteen Hours, though, especially after you mention it's similarities to Man on a Ledge which I didn't care for.

      On a sidenote, I'm not sure you had a chance to see either of these posts:

      The 2015 Dellies - http://dellonmovies.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-2015-dellies.html

      My Top 25 Movies of 2015 - http://dellonmovies.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-25-best-movies-of-2015.html

      I would love your opinion on those.

      Delete
    2. I'll take a look at those when I have a chance, it's crazy time here, but I'm woefully behind on my more current film viewing. I've been working on completing the filmographies of a list of classic stars I've complied and so when I have a free moment...and can track down the more obscure titles!...I tend to watch them. But hopefully those posts will help me narrow down on what I've missed.

      Delete
    3. Oh and I didn't care for Man on a Ledge either but liked Fourteen Hours. I think it's a question of focus, 14 Hours concerned itself strictly with Basehart's story and the people involved in that, Man on a Ledge was all over the place running parallel stories without properly concentrating on either so it ended up making neither interesting nor compelling.

      Delete
    4. Sounds like a great project. Good luck on it.

      Delete
  5. I haven't seen any of these but I've always heard good things about The Raid films. I'll see those eventually.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I really need to see those The Raid movies, seems like something I may dig

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're right, the NYC skyline is incomparable. I like that you gave yourself the extra challenge of selecting outside it. You definitely came up with some unique picks - I almost wrote boobs, for some reason ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My, whatever would give you the idea to write boobs? :-)

      Delete
  8. Skyscraper FTW!!! I have so many late-night HBO memories of that film. I was 12, desperately seeking boobs and violence. I got both!! Your write-up is fantastic! I have to see The Raid movies!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes!!! You get it!!!

      And yes, you have to see The Raid movies. Have to.

      Delete
  9. Those so bad it's awesome films really deserve their own category haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They most certainly do. I just couldn't find a third film to go with them.

      Delete
  10. Oh dear lord, Skyscraper sounds like the best/worst bottom-of-the-barrel direct-to-video/cable nonsense. Poor Anna Nicole. Beautiful gal, NOT an actress.

    It feels wrong that I haven't seen the Raid films, given that everyone says that they're such great action flicks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's EXACTLY what it is. And please both of The Raid films.

      Delete
  11. Skyscrapper?? Sounds like a movie for the ridiculous list and probably something I should watch with my friends - we like to watch bad movies :)

    I really need to watch the Raid 2!!

    ReplyDelete