Matthew Hoemke

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1987

Broadcast News - This is a sharp-cutting, witty and striking examination into the industry of television journalism.  While diving deep into the process of reporting, this film also dissects the news gatherers themselves and examines them which adds an extra layer of entertainment.  The dialogue is top notch and the performances all land with proper weight and humanity.  For those with an interest in the medium of televised news reporting, this is a must see.

Ghoulies 2 - This film is a pure guilty pleasure.  I remember renting this film at the video store when it was still on the New Release wall and have revisited it nearly every Halloween season ever since.  The movie is a sequel in name only to the 1984 film Ghoulies.  The only carry over are the little demons who now are wreaking havoc at a small traveling circus.  After one of the circus performers disappears, Larry begins to investigate.  His Uncle Ned is a boozed out magician who claims to have seen little demons in their traveling amusement park.  No one believes him, but as more weird things begin to pile up and the Fun House becomes the biggest draw because guests claimed to have seen little devils inside, Larry is forced to agree with his Uncle.  But how do you stop the demons?  Why, magic of course.  This film is B-Movie fun and has some surprisingly good performances amidst the dopey dialogue and low budget mayhem.  This film has a reputation for being awful, but I say it is a fun late night slow burn of a monster movie with a pretty great climax.

Lethal Weapon - Screenwriter Shane Black and director Richard Donner knocked it out of the park with this buddy cop movie that partners tragic, suicidal Riggs with retiring Det. Murtaugh.  The film follows these two detectives who are trying to solve the murder of a young woman that may have ties to the LADP.  The mystery is strong and in the vein of a modern Noir, but it is the character relationship between Riggs and Murtaugh that sell the picture.  Danny Glover is iconic in the film and Mel Gibson gives a career high performance.  He realistically finds the balance of internal turmoil and the emotional upheaval of someone who has mood swings thrusting ever closer to taking his own life.  The director's cut to this film adds an extra layer to the insanity of Riggs.  While the sequels are fun and engaging, none of them hit near the highs of this film.  It finds the perfect balance of action, drama, comedy and mystery.

Predator - What at first seems like a testosterone fueled thrill ride in the same vein as a Rambo film or Commando, evolves into so much more in this subversive sci-fi thriller.  A team of commandos descends on a small gang hideout in the Mexican jungles, only to discover that they are being hunted by a whole new apex predator.  The team must then strip away their technology and weaponry to take on this hunter in the ultimate test of survival.  The action is top notch and Arnold Schwarzenegger is in top form for this pseudo-reworking of Alien, but it really excels when it places its focus on the characters.  Everybody in it is memorable, fun and when the characters start being picked off, you feel for them.  Shane Black, writer of Lethal Weapon, stars as one of the commandos and offered an uncredited rewriting of the script to punch up dialogue.

Raising Arizona - The Coen Brothers had found success with their first outing Blood Simple, but it was Raising Arizona that really showcased their full potential.  This is a wicked funny, smartly scripted early work of theirs that really put them on the map of up and coming talent.  Nick Cage gives a splendid performance and Holly Hunter is fantastic.  There is a knockdown drag out fight in the center of this film that is pure gold.  This film is an absolute must see.

Best Picture : The Last Emperor - This film chronicles the last emperor of China.  I have not seen it, but have heard it is a masterpiece.


Biggest Box Office : Three Men and a Baby - A comedy about three men who navigate fathering a baby.  Directed by Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, the film is wildly charming and pulls strong performances from its three leads.