Rocky III (#4 at the box office)
dir/scr: Sylvester Stallone
Oscar Nominee: Best Original Song ("Eye of the Tiger")
Sequel to: Rocky, Rocky II
Rocky's newfound success makes him an easy target for hungry up-and-comer Clubber Lang. Light on character, big on montages! Manages to raise the stakes and numb you to them. Carl Weathers walks off with the movie.
Sequels to Halloween, Star Trek, Grease, and more, after the jump...
dir: Patricia Birch
scr: Ken Finkleman, based on characters and concept created by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
Sequel to: Grease
Michelle Pfeiffer's an unstoppable force of charisma. Barely-sketched story, characterizations, motivated musical numbers. Song-wise, pendulum for quality sings violently back and forth. Nonetheless, a guilty pleasure.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
dir/scr: Tommy Lee Wallace
Sequel to: Halloween, Halloween II
A doctor suspects a novelty mask manufacturer of deviousness. An original storyline makes for a weird entry in the series - but that's not a bad thing, as the movie takes on Halloween traditions and legends for a superbly spooky flick. Violence, dead kids, moody score - it's a perfect Halloween movie, even without Michael Myers.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (#6 at the box office)
dir: Nicholas Meyer
scr: Jack B. Sowards, story by Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards, based on the television series created by Gene Roddenberry
Sequel to: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
An older Kirk takes command of the Enterprise as an old nemesis reemerges. Juggles a little more than it needs to, but as an overall meditation on aging and reconciling with the past, much less within the context of a Star Trek flick, you could do worse.
dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
scr: Pea Fröhlich, Peter Märthesheimer, Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Sequel to: This is cheating; it's part of Fassbinder's BRD Trilogy, films about women in post-War Germany, connected thematically rather than narratively; Lola follows The Marriage of Maria Braun
A conservative building commissioner falls in love with a prostitute. Candy-colored capitalist critique boasts delicious production values, layered performances, wicked sense of humor.
Evil under the Sun
dir: Guy Hamilton
scr: Anthony Shaffer, based on the novel by Agatha Christie
Sequel to: Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile
Hercule Poirot solves a showbiz-centric murder at a resort. Campy fun, complete with bitchy one-liners, over-the-top characters, and gaudy costumes. Maggie Smith gets the best lines, but Roddy McDowell's nipping at her heels - and the scenery, for that matter.
dir: Ted Kotcheff
scr: Michael Kozoll & William Sackheim and Sylvester Stallone, based on the novel by David Morrell
Sequel to: Nothing; this is the first Rambo flick, baby!
Vietnam vet and small-town cops have a disagreement. Treatment of war veterans becomes clear in opening and closing scenes, the latter of which enables Stallone to really give it his all - a much better use of his gifts than Rocky III. But oh my, what a weird little movie.