Posts Tagged ‘Action’

HerculesThe new film Hercules: Reborn is so shameless that it’s inspiring. If there are still those in Hollywood who will put aside any shred of conscience or ounce of respect for intellectual property rights in the pursuit of a quick buck, then we can be reassured that some things in cinema have not changed, the digital revolution be damned.

Hercules: Reborn is notable only for the sheer chutzpah of its existence. Following in the tradition of movie milestones like The Day The Earth Stopped and Transmorphers, Hercules: Reborn is an attempt to draft behind a better known, better financed project that will debut in movie theaters at approximately the same time. (more…)

road-to-paloma01Road to Paloma contains two shots of exquisite beauty. The framing and composition of these moments that last no more than a few seconds are perfect. One comes at the beginning of the film and shows the protagonist Robert Wolf (Jason Momoa) sitting under a tree, taking a break from repairing a barbed wire fence. The second occurs midway through and is simply an establishing shot of a gas station/cafe at night, but the contrast of the fluorescent lights against the desert darkness is as striking as an Edward Hopper painting. Those two shots, created by Momoa, who also directed the movie and had a hand in the screenplay, and the cinematographer, Brian Mendoza, are the best parts of Road to Paloma.


2fd06dc1755d9f958747442fa58cec57The poster art for Drones features a 21st-century soldier deep in The Suck, a M16 rifle with grenade launcher at the ready and a Batman utility belt strapped around his mid-section. A female soldier with a daintier weapon and a few packs less ammo follows him. The sky is filled with unmanned aerial vehicles and tracer fire. “THE WAR OF THE FUTURE IS UP IN THE AIR,” we’re told.


Anyone purchasing a cinema ticket, DVD, or on-demand rental based on that nonsensical graphic, which is nothing more than video game cover art, should be entitled to a full refund plus compensation. (more…)

THE-AMAZING-SPIDERMAN-SCREENCAPS-00If you are wondering whether The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is as good as the first one, you are asking the wrong question. You should be considering the possibility that the new movie, which opened in Europe this week in advance of its May 2 premiere in the United States, is as bad as Spider-Man 3, the movie that put the stake through the heart of the franchise the first time around. Actually, this latest tale blows past the badness of Spider-Man 3 and winds up in the company of Superman 3 and 4 and both Fantastic Four films as one of the worst major character comic book movies since the modern era began with the Christopher Reeves Superman in 1978. (Catwoman, Daredevil, Elektra, and Ghost Rider are second-tier titles at best and do not merit inclusion in the discussion.)


snowpiercer-15In 1979, NBC broadcast nine episodes of one of the worst and, at the time, most expensive television series ever aired: Supertrain. Boasting a disco, swimming pool and shopping mall, not to mention a weekly turnover of B-list celebrities, this was no ordinary train. This was Supertrain.

Thirty-five years later, director Joon-ho Bong brings Supertrain to the big screen, only it’s called Snowpiercer, and it’s not as awful.

But it’s not good.

In the near future, mankind attempts to reverse the effects of global warming by releasing a chemical into the upper atmosphere, and it basically works, with just one niggling problem. The earth is plunged into an ice age that freezes everything and everybody, except for a train that is filled with the remainder of humanity traveling the world in an endless loop.


timthumb.phpCap is back, and so is the franchise.

With two misfires in the first two superhero movies after the megahit The Avengers, quality control questions in the Paramount Galaxy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe surfaced. Iron Man 3 was little more than an empty shell in comparison to its predecessors, and Thor: The Dark World was execrable, playing like a Roger Corman-ripoff of the Hobbit movies. A lot was riding on the shoulders of Steve Rogers, but like with every fight he’s been in since World War II, the Super Soldier prevails. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the most crowd-pleasing comic book flick since the original Iron Man.


ImageWhen the lights went up after the premiere of Wu Ren Qu (No Man’s Land) at the 64th Berlinale Film Festival in February, the twists and shocks that came with the feature were not quite over. Director Ning Hao and three of the stars, Xu Zheng, Yu Nan und Huang Bo, took the stage to acknowledge the well deserved applause of an appreciative audience.

There they delivered the final surprise: Xu Zheng, who plays the bespectacled and shaggy-haired lawyer in the feature, had assumed the physical appearance of his adversary, Huang Bo, who portrays the film’s bald, stocky villain. Bo, meanwhile, now sported an almost Elvis-like pompadour. It was more than mere make-up, hairstyles, and costumes, the quartet explained. They looked different (the exception being Nan, familiar to Western audiences from her role as Maggie in The Expendables 2, who remains as lovely as ever) because of the amount of time that had passed since filming. The movie was completed four years earlier, but had been kept from release by Chinese censors who deemed it too nihilistic.

And the censors were half-right. Wu Ren Qu is nihilistic. But wonderfully so.


ImageThe two men in town are an ex-con and the sheriff. The two actors playing the two men are Forest Whitaker and Harvey Keitel. That alone is enough to pique interest in La voie de l’ennemi (Two Men in Town). Yet, director Rachid Bouchareb squanders the opportunity and good will that such a pairing and such a scenario engenders with an uninspired, meandering movie that drew scant attention at the 64th Berlinale Film Festival in February.

The problems begin with the screenplay, credited to Bouchareb and two others. What is needed is a narrative with taut, constant pressure reflecting the vise the ex-con finds himself in, with the screws being alternately turned by a vengeful sheriff and the local crime lord. Instead, the film is a tepid tale, a loose remake of the 1973 French film Deux hommes dans la ville, but without the outrage and passion that director and screenwriter José Giovanni, who was on death row in the French penal system at one time, brought to the previous version. (more…)

ImageAt the beginning of Kraftidioten, Swedish transplant Nils operates the snow plow that keeps his adopted Norwegian town running through the other worldly winters. For this effort, he is being acknowledged as the Citizen of the Year and, as one of the good townsfolk tells him, a role model for the integration of immigrants in Norway. If and when Kraftidioten is remade as an American movie with Bruce Willis playing the Canadian-born plow driver now operating in upstate Minnesota, you can see that gag working every bit as well. Sly Scandanavian humor is on full display in this subversive and sublime revenge story featuring a stoic Stellan Skarsgård as Nils going full Death Wish on those responsible for the death of his son.