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Film & TV on DVD - John Doe Film News & Reviews

Greetings Film Fiends and welcome to John Doe's Film Blog. 30 years of dedicated celluloid obsession has meant that I have seen a few films. Drawing attention to some of the lesser discussed gems that I love. Cult classics, obscure curios and quality genre pictures. This blogs purpose is to translate some of my passion for these films and with luck, inspire you the reader to go check em out.

Strange Days (1995) - Trailer Included

Strange Days

Strange Days
DVD Cover
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: James Cameron

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D Onofrio, William Fitchner, Angela Bassett

“Paranoia is just reality on a finer scale.” - Philo

Volatile, visceral and visionary Strange Days, like all quality sci-fi thrillers is full of imagination and social commentary.

Picking up where David Cronenburg’s Videodrome and Douglas Trumbull’s Brainstorm left off, strap the latest tech gadget called a S.Q.U.I.D to your dial and become someone else, by living their memories.

Los Angeles December 1999: It is the end of the millennium and ex cop Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) is a street hustler dealing in the illegal trade of S.Q.U.I.D units. A clever, portable device that when placed on top of your head, allows you to see the memories of another which are stored on a mini-disc.
“This is not like "TV-only-better"... this is life.” Lenny

Obviously this technology is being exploited and just like the internet is used mainly for pornographic sex and violence.

Ripping you into this alternate reality, the film opens with Lenny wearing a S.Q.U.I.D and through a dizzying, uninterrupted POV shot the viewer and Lenny experience first hand a brutal armed robbery that result in a snuff film style fall to the death.

“This is your life, right here, right now! It's real-time, you hear me, real time! Time to get real, not playback. You understand me?” Mace

Obsessed with finding the hard to get rare and just plain sick and twisted, Lenny does try to draw the line at Blackjacks (read: snuff).

Wheeling and dealing, behind the fast talking amoral exterior he is actually pining for past love that came in the form of an ex girlfriend named Faith (Juliette Lewis)
“See... I can get you what you want, I can. I can get you anything, you just have to talk to me, you have to trust me. You can trust me, 'cause I'm your priest, I'm your shrink... I am you main connection to the switchboard of he soul. I'm the magic man... Santa Claus of the subconscious. You say it, you think it, you can have it.” - Lenny

Brutal and moving at a frantic pace, soon he ends up in possession of a deadly disc that holds the key to a conspiracy within the L.A.P.D. Unhappy with the way his life turned out, but determined to stay alive and bring the guilty to justice.

Putting the puzzle together in an attempt to solve the mystery, Menace, murder and mayhem send him barrelling head long towards a monumental New Years Eve with horrific repercussions.
“You know one of the ways movies are still better than playback? The music comes up, there's credits, and you always know when it's over.” - Faith

Strange Days Juliette Lewis
All dressed up on New years and no where to go, I miss Mickey Knox

John Doe Says:
Tech noir, Intelligent and visually stunning, all the elements of cinema combine to give the viewer a breakneck, high tech thrill ride that will leave you exhausted but satisfied.

Setting itself firmly in the world we live now, writer/producer/editor James Cameron(Terminator, the Abyss) puts his stamp all over the screenplay and production. Penned just after the Rodney King case, the film contains all the element that have made him a behemoth. Striking set design, FX, and a dark moody atmosphere powered by thoughtful and inventive storytelling that spirals with twists.

An exception to the rule, successful female Director Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, Point Break) stages out of control high energy action better than most with testosterone coursing through them. She has an eye and ear for fine details and this is her most accomplished film in scale and execution.

Carefully shot with hued lighting and rich in scorching imagery, the film has an erotic feel that is fuelled by fashion conscious costumes.

Edited so you feel a hairs breath behind and become fully engaged with the onscreen drama, the sound design glues it all together. As if all that wasn’t enough to keep it moving it’s all mixed with a thumping soundtrack to guide and push you around.

Another fine Ralph Fiennes (The Constant Gardener, Spider, Quiz Show) performance, he plays slimy with a cool ease and emotional tenderness making what could have been an onscreen stereotype, fascinating and worthwhile.

The always crazed Tom Sizemore (Natural Born Killers, Black Hawk Down, Bringing Out The Dead, Heat, Devil In a Blue Dress, true Romance) is so much fun to let loose and here he plays up to the image, anytime he is onscreen he makes me grin.

Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers, Way of the Gun) is her usual twisted self and actually performs some PJ Harvey tunes on camera with buckets of energy.

Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got To Do with It, The Score) plays a powerful, strong willed female to be envied, one of the unsung positive role models to sit beside Sarah Connor thanks to acrobatic fighting and pin point gun slinging.

Michael Wincott plays evil with pleasure and I must admit to being seduced by his charms, wether its in Alien 4, The Crow or Dead Man his deep, throaty drawl and snake like movements make me love to hate him.

Challenging cinema that is violent and realistic, rewarding with a complex story that addresses real world issues in a dazzling and original way.

The DVD:
Transfer: Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9/ Dolby Digital 5.1
Extras: making of featurette and 50 minute Directors Commentary that is taken from a college lecture series so it is not scene specific.

Click below to see the teaser trailer for the film with Lenny Nero doing a monologue.

If you were seduced by Lenny, then check out the full length trailer her to reveal more

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16 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]
1. January 11th 2007 @ 23:48. Bryn Says:
I was actually disappointed with this film. It started so promisingly ... but got sillier and siller, and I didn't like or was convinced by the street millennium scenes at the end ...
Juliette Lewis looks hot in that pic btw!
I love Michael Wincott! He's always good.
What did SQUID stand for again?
2. January 12th 2007 @ 00:18. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Bryn,
I really enjoyed where thsi film took the idea, steering clear of treading on Videodrome/Brainstorm toes....

The last quater does get frantic but I found it worked in the context of the onscreen action. The party at the end was truly overwhelming on the bigscreen but does lose something on TV.

Im not saying it is a perfect film, because it does have it faults, but overall I found it superior to most sci fi thrillers in recent years that consists mainly of crap like The Island, I Robot and Minority Report.

Would have been surprised if you weren't a Wincott fan.

Mental blank on what SQUID stood for...sorry dude
3. January 12th 2007 @ 01:56. Bryn Says:
Superconducting Quantum Interference Device ... (I googled it)
4. January 12th 2007 @ 02:01. JohnDoe Says:
Good one buddy, I was to lazy to search for it, thanks for doing the leg work.
5. January 12th 2007 @ 02:08. Ginger Snap Says:
This film works on all levels for me - a definte favourite.
6. January 12th 2007 @ 02:23. JohnDoe Says:
Thanks for dropping by Ginger, knew you were a big fan, hope you dug the review.
7. January 12th 2007 @ 02:32. Bryn Says:
I've been meaning to do a review of Ginger Snaps ... (lycanthropes being a fave of mine ...)
8. January 12th 2007 @ 02:39. JohnDoe Says:
Yeah, Ginger Snaps is a great little horror comedy with smarts...shame about the sequels
9. January 12th 2007 @ 02:59. Bryn Says:
"shame about the sequels" ... isn't that a rule of thumb?
there are probably only a handful of initial sequels that i rate ... aliens, texas chainsaw massacre part 2, damien: omen II, dawn of the dead, the empire strikes back ... that's all i can think of off the top of my head ... i don't count the bond flicks ... can you think of any others?
10. January 12th 2007 @ 03:16. JohnDoe Says:
Agreed sequels usually blow but some dont insult the original and may even improve on it........(Fine choices on your side although Aliens is my least favourite in the series, still a good action film though)

here are a few off the top of my head I rank-

As good as original-
Godfather 2, A Few Dollars More and The Good the Bad and The Ugly, A Better Tomorrow 2, Once Upon A Time In China 2, Lone Wolf and Cub 2, Curse Of the Cat People

Just below the standard of the first but still worthy - Superman II, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Robocop 2, French Connection 2, Excorcist 2, The Colour Of Money

An improvement on the original-
Predator 2 (I know Im the only one), Hannibal (If SOTL is the original) and Tim Burtons Batman Returns, Harry Potter 3, The Two Towers, Tarzan and His mate,

There are more I just cant be bothered straining my brain, but I do agree that the rule of thumb is that sequels blow chunks.....
11. January 12th 2007 @ 03:24. Bryn Says:
Hmmm, right ... well, of course, Godfather Part 2 (possibly even better than the first one) ... Is The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly actually a sequel? Completely different characters I thought ... Curse of the Cat People is good, yes, but I love the original ... was gonna do a double whammy review of those soon ...
You like Exorcist 2?? I don't like the Indiana Jones sequels ... RoboCop 2 has nothing on the original, whaddayatalkinbout?!
Hannibal is a superior flick indeed ... and yes, so is Batman Returns ... Not sure which of the Rings flicks I like the most ... possibly the third actually ...
12. January 12th 2007 @ 03:54. JohnDoe Says:
Good, The Bad isn't technically a sequel but For a Few Dollars More is which i also enjoy as much as the first.

Exorcist 2, I enjoy John Boorman's style and as i said above, not as good as the original but still worthwhile..

Robocop 2 again, not as good as the original but retains enough pitch black social satire to amuse me.

Im not big on Temple of Doom but thought Last Crusade was still worth the effort. (River Phoenix alone ranks it for me)

Just remembered another sequel I think is as good as the original, Back To the Future II.

Oh and i think Kill Bill 2 is superior to the first.

Im glad we chose to discuss the OK sequels because a list of bad ones would be infinite
13. January 14th 2007 @ 23:09. Cibbuano Says:
Did anyone mention The Empire Strikes Back?

I loved Dawn of the Dead, and Barbershop 2 was better than the original.

Also, what about the Blue, Red and White? Do those count as sequels?

14. January 14th 2007 @ 23:16. JohnDoe Says:
Good one with Red, Whit and Blue Cib.

Empire Strikes back and Godfather 2 are always the first quality sequel to spring to mind for me.....

Not that its a sequel but have you seen Strange Days?
15. January 14th 2007 @ 23:37. Luke Says:
I used to love this movie, haven't seen it since it first came out though.

I thought it was cool how it kind of subverted the usual stereotype of the macho action hero and his diminutive female offsider by having Fiennes play the more feminine role and Bassett do the hero thing.
16. January 15th 2007 @ 00:32. JohnDoe Says:
Totally with you Luke, it is an entertaining role reversal and Fiennes and Bassett work well together.

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