Happy 80th Birthday, Chuck Norris!

Chuck Norris doesn’t wear a watch.  He decides what time it is. Whether it’s Father Time’s decision or not, March 10 is Chuck Norris’ birthday!  Believe it or not, this U.S. Air Force Air Policeman, martial artist and television/movie star is 80 years old.  Happy Birthday, Mr. Norris! Now, Chuck burst onto the scene in director/writer/star Bruce Lee’s Hong Kong production “The Way of the Dragon” (1972), as he took on the aforementioned legend in a memorable 6-minute fight to the death. Soon after, Hollywood came calling and placed Norris…

Celebrate ‘I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore Day’ with ‘Falling Down’

Have you ever been slighted at work?  Did you have a year go by without a raise?  Worse yet, have you ever been laid off? Well, if you are frustrated with work, today’s politics or feeling paralyzed with the raging infernos in Australia, January 7 is your day.   It’s ‘I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore Day’!  To help celebrate, here’s a clip from 1993’s “Falling Down”. “Falling Down” (1993) – Let go from his defense contract job and stuck on a Los Angeles roadway, William (Michael Douglas) leaves his…

Political Thriller Week: ‘Three Days of the Condor’

“Three Days of the Condor” – Joe Turner (Robert Redford) is a researcher at the American Literary Historical Society, which sounds like the most harmless job on the planet, next to elementary school librarian and feather duster.  Well, on an ordinary day, he leaves for lunch, and when he returns, everyone in the said place of work is dead.  He rightly assumes that he could be next. Oh, Turner, by the way, works for the CIA, and the historical society is simply a cover. Director Sydney Pollack keeps us guessing…

Political Thriller Week: ‘The Lives of Others’

“The Lives of Others” –  Despite popular belief, the U.S.A. does not corner the market on all political thrillers, and a perfect example is Germany’s absorbing and twisty “The Lives of Others”, which won the 2007 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The year is 1984, before the Berlin Wall came down, and not only do East Germans feel generally oppressed, but it’s not safe for them to converse freely in the comfort of their homes either.  The government could be listening. This is exactly what playwright Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch)…

Political Thriller Week: ‘In the Line of Fire’

AHFW’s Political Thriller Week is firing on all cylinders on Day 2 with director Wolfgang Petersen’s “In the Line of Fire” (1993).  Secret Service Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) is still rattled with guilt after President Kennedy’ assassination in 1963, and it’s 30 years later, and a new threat grabs his attention and thoughts of the past.  Eastwood plays an even mix of machismo and vulnerability that lies in the center of the film’s emotional core, and while he is perfectly cast as the troubled protagonist, John Malkovich’s creepy, loner turn…

Political Thriller Week: ‘No Way Out’

Washington D.C. is up in arms with an ongoing scandal, and AHFW is not taking a side, but it is a very topical theme at the moment.  So, we’d thought we’d look back at four of our favorite political thrillers! Kevin Costner burst on the scene with two movies in 1985:  “Fandango” and “Silverado”.   Apparently, films ending in “o” were big that year.  Didn’t Hollywood release “Jello”, “Figaro” and “Oreo” in 1985 as well?  Mmm….perhaps not. Anyway, in “No Way Out” (1987), Costner plays U.S. Navy Lieutenant Tom Farrell, and…

10 Classic ’80s Sci-fi Moments: ‘The Empire Strikes Back’

#1 – “The Empire Strikes Back” – Darth Vader’s reveal – June 20, 1980 is a day that shook the world.  On this day, the much anticipated sequel to “Star Wars” (1977) hit the big screen, and in the film’s third act, Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) reveals that he is Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) father. What?? Absolutely no one saw this coming, and this seminal moment forever-altered fans perception of the series and its characters, and it became the fulcrum for every “Star Wars” film afterwards, except for…

10 Classic ’80s Sci-fi Moments: ‘The Terminator’

#3 – “The Terminator” (1984) – “I’ll be back.” – If one is compiling any type of Top 10 List involving science fiction films from the 1980s, James Cameron’s seminal picture “The Terminator” has, has, has to be included on the list.  Have no fear, we are following the “rules”, and it just so happens that this is Cameron’s second feature on our Top 10, back-to-back actually. Well, time travel, cybernetic beings, gunplay, violence, and hair-raising chase scenes are all thrown together into a bastion of action-packed thrills, concepts and…

10 Classic ’80s Sci-fi Moments: ‘The Abyss’

#4 – “The Abyss” (1989) – Bud desperately attempts to revive Lindsey – Ed Harris seems to always bring an intensity to every role, whether he’s a mobster in “State of Grace” (1990) and “A History of Violence” (2005), an astronaut in “Apollo 13” (1995) or a legendary painter in “Pollock” (2000).  Intensity might as well be Bud Brigman’s middle name in James Cameron’s dramatic sci-fi masterwork “The Abyss”. In a scene that will trigger tears in the most hardened of hearts, Bud desperately tries to revive his wife Lindsey…

10 Classic ’80s Sci-fi Moments: ‘Blade Runner’

#5 – “Blade Runner” (1982) – Roy Batty’s “Tears in the Rain” speech – To some (including us), Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” felt five hours long, even though its runtime is less than two.  One hour and 57 minutes, actually.  It’s true! Still, there is absolutely no denying the movie’s impact on science fiction cinema that still can be felt 36 years later. Speaking of feeling, our #5 ’80s sci-fi moment comes from a replicant, an artificial being named Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer).  He knows that his “life” is ending…