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The Rocketeer (1991)

The Rocketeer (1991)Back in the day, audiences were treated to episodes of movie serials before the main feature when going to the picture shows. This pairing celebrates those old serials, the ones that inspired George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg. This week, it's the film based on the serial-turned-comic book "The Rocketeer" from 1991! Originally called "The Rocket Man" as a serial, this film tells the story of racing pilot Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell)and his chief mechanic Peevy Peabody (Alan Arkin) who find a strange rocket-pack stowed in their hanger. When an old friend tries to fly Cliff's "clown act" and gets in trouble, Cliff dons the rocket back and blasts into the sky to save him, the first sighting of "The Rocketeer!" But add in the FBI, the mafia, and the Nazis, and the story just gets stranger from there! Co-starring the lovely Jennifer Connelly, Timothy Daltin, Paul Sorvino, Terry O'Quinn, Eddie Jones, William Sanderson, and Margo Martindale, this is a fantastic love-letter to the cinematic episodes of the 1930s! Plus, it's James Horner's first film score, and the movie that got Joe Johnston the job directing the first Captain America film for the MCU!

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Starship Troopers (1997)

Starship Troopers (1997)The second film in our Paul Verhoeven pairing is one that fully displays the satirical nature of this director's work, much more so than the first film we reviewed. Moving ahead a decade, we find ourselves a couple hundred years in the future, and the world now lives under a single government. Unfortunately, it is a fascist government, one that lies to its citizens and seduces its young people into throwing their lives away in Military Service, all so they can become "Citizens" and earn the right to vote. This story follows high school graduates Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien), Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards), Isabel "Dizzy" Flores (Dina Meyer) and Carl Jenkins (Neil Patrick Harris) as they all decide to join the Federation Military and enlist in the war against the "Bugs," an alien species intent on protecting their territory after a group of Mormons decide to settle on one of their planets unasked. The true genius of Verhoeven's vision is on clear display in this film, and its depiction of the inherent violence and selfishness of humanity hits uncomfortably close to home! Plus, the trio reveal which "Movie Serials-turned-Films" they're focusing on for the next pairing!

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Robocop (1987)

Robocop (1987)We're focusing on Dutch director Paul Verhoeven for the next two films, starting with his first U.S. blockbuster, 1987's "Robocop." Verhoeven, and writers Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, took what was basically a rip-off of the movie "Terminator" and turned it into a satire of corporate America. Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is a cop in future Detroit. He's just been transferred to a precinct deep in the crime-ridden "Old Detroit," and assigned as partner to Officer Lewis (Nancy Allen). On their first day out, Murphy is essentially killed, only to re-awaken in a laboratory of sorts. It turns out that OCP, the company who has privatized the police force, has plans for what's left of Murphy. Through a lengthy transformation, they replace much of his body with robotic and computer components and turn him into the one-man police force equivalent known as Robocop. But is Murphy really gone, or is he still in there somewhere? And can be bring down both the criminals who did this to him and the evil corporation that turned him into his metallic self?

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Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)The second film in our pairing focusing on the work of Willem Dafoe resulted in one of his two Academy Award nominations. The year is 1922, and acclaimed director F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich) is shooting what he hopes will be the ultimate Vampire film! Unfortunately, he was unable to get the right to "Dracula" from Bram Stoker's widow, so the names are changed, including calling the vampire "Count Orlok" and retitling the film "Nosferatu." His leading man, Gustav von Wangenheim (Eddie Izzard) and lady, Greta Schroder, have already started filming, and Murnau has his producer Albin Grau (the great Udo Kier) and the writer of the screenplay Henrik Galeen (Aden Gillett) at his side when they move the shoot to Czechoslovakia. There, the production meets up with Murnau's secret weapon: A German method actor named Max Schreck, who is protraying Count Orlok. But as the shoot continues, strange events begin to unfold, and one by one, the crew begin to suspect that, perhaps, Schreck isn't just playing a vampire... he IS a vampire! Dafoe demonstrates exactly how a great actor can truly disappear into a role, so much so that you forget it's him portraying that character! A true chameleon performance and one that netted him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, from an Academy that doesn't like or respect horror films! Plus, the trio reveal which director they're focusing on for the next pairing!

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The Boondock Saints (1999)

The Boondock Saints (1999)This pairing is dedicated to one of the most prolific and talented character actors working: Willem Dafoe. The trio chose two films that they believe demonstrate the versatility that makes this gentlemen one of the great character actors of our time! First up: It's writer/director Troy Duffy's brainchild that almost didn't end up seeing the light of day, but ultimately created a film that is beloved of many around the world. Two Irish-Catholic brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) MacManus believe themselves to be the hand of God, and that He has chosen them to rid Boston of evil men. Their first task is to save their neighborhood pub from Russian mobsters. This, however, draws the attention of FBI Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) who begins to hunt the brothers as they continue to try to clean up their Boston neighborhood. This is a tour de force for Dafoe as perhaps one of the most entertaining FBI agents ever put on film!

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copyrighted, Two Geeks And a G.I.T., BY-NC-ND, 2016