It’s official – I’m upset.

First, this week in remakes brought the initial casting notes on the remake of Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 classic Straw Dogs, which will see James “Cyclops” Marsden take over the Dustin Hoffman role. Also notable is that in the remake, helmed by Rod Lurie, the part of the English Countryside will be played by the Deep South. Peckinpah’s brilliant and disturbing thriller about a young couple attempting to defend themselves against a night of increasingly brutal home invasion hardly needs to be remade at this point, for two reasons.

First off, it’s simply an incredible film, vying with The Wild Bunch  for the storied directors finest work, featuring such unflinching violence that it remained banned in some parts of England until just a few years ago.

And second, pretty much every film in the latest wave of home invasion thrillers, from suckscapade that was The Strangers, to the critically heralded Them, to Michael Haneke’s unnecessary but assuredly lucrative Hollywood remake of his own Funny Games, is more or less a pale remake Peckinpahs classic, owing  their very premise, and often the strongest parts of their execution, to Straw Dogs.

But apparently, that’s not enough. This week also brought news from Variety that a remake of Alan Parker’s 1987 noir-horror cult classic Angel Heart is apparently in the works. An occult detective story featuring absolutely sinister cinematography, nerve wracking pacing and the freakiest sex scene of all time, between Lisa Bonet, Mickey Rourke and several gallons of blood, Angel Heart didn’t catch at the box office but has become a deserving cult classic in it’s second life on home video.

If you haven’t checked out either Straw Dogs or Angel Heart, and too many people haven’t, nows the time to take advantage of the one good thing either of these remakes promise to bring – a little more attention to the deserving originals gathering dust on movie store shelves.

Advertisements

Reheated Popcorn is the little corner of Glaring Health Code Violations that I usually reserve for expressing my dismay at unnecessary remakes like the upcoming Red Dawn, or baffling sequels like Tron 2.0. But I’m not going to complain this week, at least not any more than I already have.

Instead of complaining about the future, I’m going to look to the past and urge everyone to take a look at some of the work Academy Award-winning British cinematographer and director Jack Cardiff who died earlier this week at 94. Over a career spanning seven decades, Cardiff guided the camerawork on a number of films by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, most notably in excellent dramas like  The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and the heartbreaking The Brave One. His finest work may have come in The African Queen or, arguably the Kirk Douglas epic The Vikings, but contemporary audiences will probably be more familiar with his later, action dominated work, like Conan The Destroyer, The Dogs of War and Rambo: First Blood Part II

So, in the interest of lighting a candle, rather than cursing the stupid, stupid darkness, head down to the video store and grab a classic crafted by an artist with a camera. Even if it is a classic starring the Governator.