Daily Archives: January 16, 1996

From Dusk Till Dawn

Robert Rodriguez directs a script by Quentin Tarantino, who also costars. About halfway through, this 1996 crime thriller turns into a gory vampire bloodbath a la The Evil Dead; the result is better than Rodriguez’s Desperado, but there’s a similar feeling of disassociation among the various elements. Harvey Keitel plays a former minister who’s recently lost his faith; he and his two kids (Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu) are taken hostage by brother robbers (George Clooney and Tarantino) fleeing for the Mexican border. On a mindless exploitation level this is pretty good, but on other levels it seems to make promises that it fails to deliver on; none of the deaths carries any moral weight, and the climactic special-effects free-for-all tends to drown out all other interests. (What are we to make of all the curious third-world references, ranging from the fact that one of Keitel’s kids is Chinese to Fred Williamson’s memoriesin a Mexican vampire bar, no lessof wasting a lot of Vietnamese? And Tarantino’s character, a somewhat deranged sex offender, also throws out various hints that go unexplored.) But if your critical horizons are low and you’re feeling in a nasty mood, you probably won’t be bored. With Cheech Marin (in three separate roles), Salma Hayek, Tom Savini, and John Saxon.… Read more »

Screamers

A Canadian SF action thriller with nice art direction, loads of echoes of Dune and the three Aliens, and a director (Christian Duguay) who doesn’t seem to have much idea of how to handle action sequences. Set on a remote mining planet almost a century from now during a decade-long war, the story is derived from Philip K. Dick’s Second Variety and has some of his trademark paranoia (also found in Blade Runner and Total Recall) about who’s a friend and who’s a killer machine; but even though Peter Weller and Jennifer Rubin make interesting leads, the results are oddly unaffecting. With Roy Dupuis, Andy Lauer, and Michael Caloz; written by Dan O’Bannon and Miguel Tejada-Flores. (JR)… Read more »