Outside of a few violent charms, Olympus Has Fallen isn’t very good. London Has Fallen, however, captures that mid-80s Cannon Films action template, warts and all—it’s ugly, mean, jingoistic, and reprehensible, and I adore the head-stabby carnage of it all. So Angel Has Fallen, the third film in Gerard Butler’s Mike Banning trilogy, has a lot to live up to IMO. While it’s hits a few action high points, it’s ultimately a mixed bag and a shrug.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
During the intro of U.S. premiere of The El Duce Tapes at the North Bend Film Festival, the host, at a loss for words, asked, “Who here is familiar with The Mentors?” To which a few of us raised our hands and one audience member replied, “Unfortunately.” “Well, you know what you’re in for,” he said, pointing our way. “The rest of you…” and he trailed off with nervous laughter. That sums it up pretty well. If you know, you know; if not, hold the hell on and get ready for some conflicted feelings.
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Like clockwork. Every August, after the big-budget studio tentpoles wrap their summer run, a movie shows up. Maybe it came out of nowhere. Maybe it looked kind of stupid. Maybe both. But it arrives on the scene, is a total blast, and breathes a bit of new life into the late summer. Happens damn near every year. This year, that honor goes to Ready or Not. And its energy is especially welcome at the end of a summer full of flaccid, bland, mediocre franchise installments no one wanted, asked for, or saw in the theater.
Monday, August 19, 2019
From the first moments of Edgar Nito’s The Gasoline Thieves, tragedy seems inevitable. The film opens with a dark, tense scene where to rival crews attempting to siphon off gas in the Mexican desert violently clash. This creates an ominous, inescapable cloud that lingers over everything to come. That isn’t to say the film is without moments of heart or levity, but it’s impossible to shake the feeling that bad things are in store.
Friday, August 16, 2019
Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins) has a special talent, she can communicate with the spirit world. But after a tragic accident took her similarly gifted, paranormal-investigator father from her as a child, she shuns her abilities. Instead, she subsists as a driving instructor in a small Irish town, deflecting constant supernatural requests from locals. All that changes, however, when washed up one-hit-wonder Christian Winter (Will Forte) attempts to call forth evil forces to resurrect his career and, in the process, possess a young girl to serve as a virgin sacrifice. With nowhere to turn, the girl’s frantic father, Martin Martin (Barry Ward), himself tormented by the bitter ghost of his dead wife, turns to Rose, who, nurturing a serious crush, decides to pitch in and help.
This is an updated version of an earlier review.
We’ve seen the Groundhog-Day-as-horror conceit before, most recently with the Happy Death Day movies. But in Swedish oddity Koko-di Koko-da, writer/director Johannes Nyholm takes the concept to straight-up psychological nightmare territory. (This is also one of two films at the North Bend Film Festival to use this approach.)Twisted and terrifying, it offers a time-loop of grief, death, and adorable animated shadow puppet bunnies and birds, which he also manages to turn scary and unnerving as all hell.
The living-one-day-over-and-over again conceit has been played for comedy (Groundhog Day), sci-fi (Edge of Tomorrow), and horror (Happy Death Day). But regardless of the genre set up, or task the characters must accomplish, they inevitably use this rinse-dry-repeat recipe as a tool of introspection, to learn about themselves as much as they learn about the external world, and as a method of change. In that regard, Spanish writer-director Jon Mikel Caballero’s The Incredible Shrinking Wknd follows suit, though it puts its own unique spin on the formula.