Written by / 6/26/2016 / No comments / , , , , , , , , ,

STAYING AWAKE FOR THE JOHN LANDIS NOIR INTO THE NIGHT

Clu Gulager's take on things
Ed Okin, our hero/pawn in the John Landis Neo Noir INTO THE NIGHT, works as an Aeronautical Engineer, which, by the looks of his workplace, with certain pictures around the white walled interior, might have to do with the space shuttle: And a tragic, coincidental irony is that Challenger exploded the year after this movie hit theaters with a box office thud, and famously, or infamously, in Landis's previous venture, a segment of the highly anticipated TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed in a helicopter accident...

Going behind the scenes... of this website... in meeting John Landis at a horror genre convention (his AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON is an all-time classic), the first thing he said as he prepared to sign the B.B. King-laden album soundtrack (pictured to the right and below), was: "You know, this was my first financial failure," and then he offered a cookie. "Wanna cookie?" he asked, holding one up with a sly Felix the Cat grin. And while hanging with classic veteran actor Clu Gulager in a parking lot of the same venue, the Burbank Marriott Hotel, but on a different date, he stated that John Landis probably needed a lot of established people on board (this movie) since it was, basically, after the Vic Morrow tragedy, his way of sneaking back into Hollywood by, in this reviewer's opinion, going in the back door... using a slow, atmospheric story with a handful of cameos that only rabid movie fans (and not even them) would recognize, and that's not including superstar musician David Bowie as a hit man and even Landis himself as one of four bumbling yet lethal Iranian killers trying to find the McGuiffin: diamonds stolen from the Shah of Iran that Michelle Pfeiffer's Diane has, and, once she meets poor Ed, inside the LAX parking structure, about to possibly catch a flight to Las Vegas for something workmate Dan Aykroyd advised, he gets catapulted... that's right... INTO THE NIGHT.

Signed by John Landis, Monsterpolooza
While it sounds exciting, and can be on occasion, this is no action-packed urban adventure. The Film Noir template involves a lot of red herrings, last names and seemingly pointless traipsing from location to location where death is involved, but not always loudly or suspenseful or dramatic: at least not for the viewer. The best (most effective) scene has Goldblum's Ed walking through a million dollar hotel suite while ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN plays on various television sets from the kitchen to, where it all winds up, a large, plush living room... and during a scene (within the movie within the movie) involving a noisy sizzling laboratory, the camera pans slowly across, showing dead bodies by the television light followed by a cut to David Bowie's grinning killer holding a knife to Diane's neck, both obscured behind drapes... Then a man-to-man fight pitting modern music with the oldies: Bowie verses Elvis's chief songwriter Carl Perkins as a thug who wasn't, even with a knife in his chest, entirely dead. He's one of the few cameos, not including the aforementioned Galager as a crooked FBI agent with director Jonathan Demme and scriptwriter Carl Gottlieb as his banal underlings, who provide a bit more than wallpaper to the mellow proceeding: In fact, it takes an awful lot of viewings to really, truly get into the thread that INTO THE NIGHT offers compared to other Neo Noir excursions like Martin Scorsese's hilarious, thoroughly entertaining AFTER HOURS, or the brilliant laugh-a-minute Landis favorites such as NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE or TRADING PLACES. This, a bit more in tune with the "labor of love" vibe of THE BLUES BROTHERS but not as epic or upfront-amazing, takes backseat to the characters and the actors are more subtle than they usually are, or what the audience, in 1985, may have expected from them...

Similar to WEREWOLF Poster
Goldblum, just starting out as a leading man after providing great side-character roles, wields his usual askew anti-charm but a lot lighter, and purposefully duller than usual...

ITN Poster In Reverse
Suffering from insomnia, in which, instead of sleeping, you can't think much or do anything but wait (and wait) till an unwelcome blue curtain of pre-dawn strikes like a vengeful stake in the heart, he's like a cardboard cutout existing to the desperate whim of Pfeiffer as the ultimate trophy girl beauty, cut off from an unseen "sugar daddy" for mysterious reasons while trying to seek answers, and survive. Pfeiffer's solid performance is both assertive and vulnerable, giving Goldblum a chance to be, basically, Gary Grant on downers, and that's a compliment. But the true subtle brilliance goes to the script, written by the lightweight yet effective, mainstream yet contained and intriguing LIFEGUARD and FIRSTBORN scribe Ron Koslow and with direction that flows along with meticulous editing, including an important scene that makes marital cheating seem like a trip to the market (or a starlet's tragic murder by drowning, minutes after an annoying parrot is hilariously shot) and other moments mostly allowing us to learn what Ed knows, and Ed knows almost nothing and can't do much of anything but go along for a slow, spontaneous ride: one that audiences just didn't get...

MOVIE SCORE: ****1/2
And as yours truly told Landis at that autograph show following his My first financial failure line: "A Neo Noir with subtle timing," swiping a hand over the head. "People probably didn't catch on, or even know how to, John, but they have since," is what was said. A weak attempt to smooch the man's ass, at best.

And whether it has or hasn't, INTO THE NIGHT never did seem like the kind of vehicle created to make tons of money... in a fast period of time. It goes completely underneath other movies in the Landis canon (up until 1988... after that it didn't matter). Every director has those projects unappreciated by the masses, at first; seeming more catered to the director's personal thirst than their audience's basic desire to drink from their cinematic master's cup. Quentin Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN. Alfred Hitchcock's FRENZY. Francis Ford Coppola's THE CONVERSATION. Stanley Kubrick's BARRY LYNON. Sam Peckinpah's BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA. Robert Altman's CALIFORNIA SPLIT. Orson Welles' TOUCH OF EVIL. Scorsese's KING OF COMEDY. And so on and so forth and who knows, maybe this NIGHT doesn't live up to the one's just mentioned, but it's brilliant viewing for those who really "get it," and even for them it's only when, and if, they let it.
David Bowie points a few things out to Jeff Goldblum in INTO THE NIGHT
Share This Post :
Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Featured Post

GENE TIERNEY & DANA ANDREWS IN OTTO PREMINGER'S 'LAURA'

Nothing like a spoiler built into a poster for LAURA Year: 1944 Dana Andrews as Det. Lt. Mark McPherson has fallen in love with a ghost...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Most Popular Last Year

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

FOR TELEVISION REVIEWS

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "Been to L.A. and I've been to Mexico. And I've been laid." Charles Bronson to Al Lettieri, Mr. Majestyk

Blog Archive

ETERNAL ART OF FILM NOIR

ETERNAL ART OF FILM NOIR
"I certainly admire people who do things."

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

MOVIES 1)THE FEARMAKERS 2)JAWS 3)THE CROWDED SKY 4)HOT CARS 5)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 6)VIOLENT SATURDAY 7)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 8)CANYON PASSAGE 9)ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD 10)SHARKS' TREASURE 11)AIR PATROL 12)CURSE OF THE DEMON 13)HARDCORE 14)EASY LIVING 15)WICHITA 16)SWEENEY TWO 17)ANATOMY OF A MURDER 18)WHITE HEAT 19)FALLEN ANGEL 20)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 21)SMOKESCREEN 22)AL CAPONE 23)THE SERGEANT 24)THE DEFECTOR 25)CANYON RIVER 26)THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN 27)THE BEST OF EVERYTHING 28)THE HEARSE 29)MADISON AVENUE 30)WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS

ACTORS 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)MARLON BRANDO 4)ORSON WELLES 5)JACK NICHOLSON 6)PETER O'TOOLE 7)TOM COURTENAY 8)CHARLES BRONSON 9)GENE HACKMAN 10)STEVE COCHRAN DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)MAURY DEXTER 7)JOHN GUILLERMIN 8)JOHN LANDIS 9)MICHAEL WINNER 10)SAM PECKINPAH ACTRESSES 1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)FAYE DUNAWAY 3)SUE LYON 4)GENE TIERNEY 5)MERRY ANDERS GREATEST FILMS 1)THE GODFATHER PART II 2)LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 3)THE GODFATHER 4)CHINATOWN 5)GOODFELLAS

SCIENCE-FICTION STUFF

Popular This Month

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE
Open the door to DANA ANDREWS Cinema

DANA ANDREWS FACEBOOK

BLOGS OF INTEREST

RARITIES & EXPLOITATION

SOARING TO THE EIGHTIES

STARING INTO THE SIXTIES

STARING INTO THE SIXTIES
Wisdom. Inspiration. Wrestling Instruction.

All Time Popular

TARGETING THE SEVENTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

TALES AND REFLECTIONS
"Really cool and a lot of class." Yaphet Kotto

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE