Paul Winfield

Paul Winfield

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White Dog Review


Excellent
In the granite-headed world of Sam Fuller, hysteria reigns supreme and sentimentality is an emotion as rare as uranium. As Fuller famously posited, "Film is a battleground" with characters banging their heads into one another like enraged rams, with the "victor" succeeding into oblivion or madness.

Racism has always been a red-hot button obsession of Fuller's ever-present like a festering ooze in his films from Run of the Arrow to The Crimson Kimono to China Gate to the rabid Shock Corridor. But in no other Fuller film has racism been depicted in a such a raw-boned and festering way as in Fuller's final Hollywood film, White Dog, barely released by Paramount in 1982 amid false charges of racism against Fuller by the NAACP.

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The Terminator Review


Essential
I'll never forget the first time I saw James Cameron's The Terminator. I must have watched that movie at least 100 times during my youth. But during the 101st viewing, the VHS copy I stole from my uncle Dave's video collection was eaten by my crappy old-school, top-loading VHS player. Damn, that sucked.

The Terminator stands as a personal favorite. Schwarzenegger was in his prime in the 1980s -- in guilty pleasures like Commando, Raw Deal, Predator, Conan The Barbarian, and The Running Man. But he gave many kids my age something to hang on to during the Reagan years. Schwarzenegger was our generation's John Wayne, a muscle-bound bodyguard extracting his own kind of vengeance from a cold and dangerous world. He was always the good guy, but it's almost ironic that his first indelible impression on our minds was that of a killer robot from the future sent back in time to murder a hot coffee shop waitress.

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Relax... It's Just Sex Review


Grim
If you're only going to see one West Hollywood gay ensemble dramedy in your life, it probably shouldn't be Relax... It's Just Sex. Of all the movies in this suprisingly crowded indie subgenre, the best pick is probably 2000's The Broken Hearts Club, which had a budget, some star power, and a few great laughs to help it along.

Relax... It's Just Sex, on the other hand, is a more humble affair that presents seven or eight obvious gay stereotypes--lipstick lesbians, drama queens, muscle boys--and then tries to subvert them one by one with a whole lot of turbulent plotting and endless talk, some of it bitchily amusing but most of it, well, just talk.

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Catfish In Black Bean Sauce Review


OK
Now here's an unconventional family for the new decade: two Vietnamese siblings are brought up in California by a black couple; sister Mai marries an Asian, and brother Dwayne's getting engaged to an African-American woman (Love and Basketball's Sanaa Lathan). While this is juicy enough, first time writer/director/actor Chi Moui Lo throws some real spice into his comedy-drama mix: Mai (The Joy Luck Club's Lauren Tom) has found her Vietnamese birth mother, and is bringing her to the States.

Lo, who plays Dwayne, uses these circumstances to attempt an original look at families and their identities, but his basic concepts are better than their execution. The effort is certainly worth noticing -- his script is an impressive debut, trying to flesh out nine closely-knit characters -- but some stale and predictable presentation drags down a strong idea.

Continue reading: Catfish In Black Bean Sauce Review

The Terminator Review


Essential
I'll never forget the first time I saw James Cameron's The Terminator. I must have watched that movie at least 100 times during my youth. But during the 101st viewing, the VHS copy I stole from my uncle Dave's video collection was eaten by my crappy old-school, top-loading VHS player. Damn, that sucked.

The Terminator stands as a personal favorite. Schwarzenegger was in his prime in the 1980s -- in guilty pleasures like Commando, Raw Deal, Predator, Conan The Barbarian, and The Running Man. But he gave many kids my age something to hang on to during the Reagan years. Schwarzenegger was our generation's John Wayne, a muscle-bound bodyguard extracting his own kind of vengeance from a cold and dangerous world. He was always the good guy, but it's almost ironic that his first indelible impression on our minds was that of a killer robot from the future sent back in time to murder a hot coffee shop waitress.

Continue reading: The Terminator Review

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Review


Extraordinary
It is nearly gospel now among Trekkies that the second Star Trek sequel, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, is the undisputed best of the series, and will likely never meet its equal.

Inspired by classic literature like Moby Dick, Paradise Lost, and King Lear -- along with classic navy films -- Nicholas Meyer's major directorial debut is indeed the best of the series and it's a classic sci-fi flick on its own, outside the Trek mythology altogether.

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Relax...it's Just Sex Review


Weak

After a deliriously funny title sequence that mocks thedorky and dated educational film style of the 1950s, "Relax...It'sJust Sex" threatens for the next 30 minutes to become another cloneof "Jeffrey," seemingly the touchstone for cross-over gay cinema.

The titles begin with a black-and white-sequence explaining,tongue-in-cheek, certain terms that might not be familiar to any heterosexualsin the audience:

"This is a lipstick lesbian," a monotoned narratordeclares, then proceeds to explain the term while two women kiss. "See?that wasn't so bad," the narrator deadpans. Then it's, "Thisis a gym queen," as two oily, smooth and sculpted guys on the screen...

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Paul Winfield

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