The question that goes throughout Oldboy, the latest Spike Lee joint, is “Why?” Why has somebody taken the trouble to kidnap Joe Doucett, an alcoholic advertising executive, and lock him up in a fake hotel room for 20 years? Why has Joe been framed for a murder and then, after making a mental journey to madness and back, set free?
The very same question could be asked why Lee remade a movie that, not even a decade old, is easily regarded as an international movie classic. Why?
I mean, if you’re gonna do something someone’s already done, at least do it better, right? Okay, maybe not if you’re Spike. Continue reading
If you’ve never actually seen a Terry Gilliam film, you’re truly missing out. Even when the movie itself isn’t all that great, you simply can’t take your eyes from the screen. As a kid, that’s slightly how I was about Time Bandits.
When it comes to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, I’m definitely in the latter camp. It helps that the former never hits the film at all. Continue reading
Despite the sin against God and mankind that was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, for the most part, I enjoy the live-action Transformers movie series. Though it wasn’t a smash hit, the last movie in the series, 2011′s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, made me think that we might actually be making upward progress. There’s potential here, folks! We can do it! We’ve got a black president in charge now! Anything is possible!
Let’s just say that Transformers: Age of Extinction is not hope and change. Continue reading
Anyone who sets out to make a documentary film about the history of zombie cinema is in a no-win situation: if you stick with the obvious stuff, then the hardcore horror fans will get bored, impatient, and very annoyed. But if you focus mainly on the oddest and most obscure information regarding cinematic zombiedom, then you’re leaving out all the newbies — or the geeks who only pretend to know White Zombie from Rob Zombie.
Fortunately the movie-obsessed documentarian Alex Philippe, the man behind Doc of the Dead (and also The People vs. George Lucas), knows how to cover a lot of bases in a short amount of time, and the result is a light and amusing film about some of the grossest movies you’ll ever see. Continue reading
Leviathan, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s enthralling documentary about a New Bedford-based fish trawler in the North Atlantic opens with a quote from the book of Job. “Upon earth there is not his like,” it reads in part, referring to the dreaded deep sea creature Leviathan, “who is made without fear.”
It, like the film, isn’t meant to be informative in any conventional sense: There are no voiceovers, interviews, or even onscreen titles, beyond the aforementioned citation from Job at the start of the film. Instead, Castaing-Taylor and Paravel have mounted cameras around a ship, and on the helmets of some of the crew, all to show the process of catching, sorting, and gutting fish as a noisy, roiling chore, involving speed, muck, and hard physical labor.
Immersive is a fantastic way to describe the movie in a nutshell. Coincidentally, fantastic is another way. Continue reading
Trying to be the movie that lives to be both art-house and drive-in without quite delivering the goods required for either, The Last Days on Mars mixes semi-stylish art direction and a better than it should be cast with a very plot. It really isn’t even a bad movie, or a bad movie of its sort. It’s just not good enough to really distinguish itself. Continue reading
It’s summertime, and the movies are, generally, quite predictable. During this high-volume season of ticket sales, the major studios seem preoccupied with loading the schedule with masters of disaster. If it’s not a remake, reboot, retread, or sequel, then it’s not on their radar. Every so often, that’s not a bad thing, such as 2012s epic The Avengers, or this year’s second Captain America tale. But more often than not, the studios either sidestep or totally ignore what the vision should be for any given summertime movie.
2014′s Godzilla is a bit of a mixture of the two. Continue reading
Hey all: I apologize, but you’re gonna have to tune into a repeat this week. Between waking up and feeling all day like a truck had run over me on Sunday (the day I was supposed to catch a movie with a friend no less) to being overrun with work to being busy Friday night and almost all day Saturday, I’ve had no time at all to see a movie. And I’m sorry. Next week will be different. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy a movie review for a film that deserves more love. If you have Netflix, it’s still available for streaming.
Alien invasions can be thwarted by the simplest of things: infect them with the common cold (War of the Worlds); freeze them (The Blob); incinerate them with flame throwers (the universal cure as practised in Them!); splash them with water (Signs); In Grabbers, it’s alcohol that proves to be their undoing. The titular ‘grabbers’ are aquatic monsters that feed on blood, and are horribly allergic to booze. So when they crash land in the Irish sea and start preying on the inhabitants of Erin Island, there’s only one logical thing for the locals to do: organize a lock-in at the local bar and get drunk.
And that is why Grabbers is better than you. Continue reading
Life never stops being like high school. Never. 21 Jump Street is an action comedy that holds that truth to be self-evident. It stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as cops who go undercover in high school to bust a drug ring and wind up futilely trying to correct everything they screwed up in their teens. “How old are you – 40?” asks a fellow student as Tatum (in a revelatory, bust-out comic performance) tries to squeeze into a dainty classroom seat.
Hey, wait. Wasn’t there a Fox TV series with Johnny Depp that did the same shtick back in the 1980s? Yeah. But 21 Jump Street is no cheeseball reboot. That’s because it’s actually good, as opposed to the television show. Continue reading
The movie is called The Amazing Spider-Man 2, sequel to 2012′s The Amazing Spider-Man. It’d really be great if a movie could live up to its name.
Somehow director Marc Webb and the writers shoehorn in a breathless back-story about Peter Parker’s parents; some melancholy star-crossed business between Peter (Andrew Garfield) and his beloved Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone); the woebegone family life of tormented rich boy Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, palely loitering); and a story about a lonely techie (Jamie Foxx) who falls into a vat of eels and becomes the blue-skinned, translucent, overstimulated supervillain Electro.
Eel-lectro, ladies and gents. Even I can’t write that and I love Nextwave. Continue reading