Steven Seagal has made some of my favorite movies of all time, like “Out for Justice”, “Hard to Kill”, “Above the Law”, “Under Siege”. He’s also made some unwatchable garbage, but that’s beside the point. His fight with Dan Inosanto in “Out for Justice” is on my short list of best fights ever.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
You can tell “The Horseman” is going to be grim from the very first frame, when you see a teenage girl crying in an alley. Images like that don’t generally indicate that happy fun times lie ahead. What is coming is a rugged, badass tale of revenge.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Vince Rizzo (Andy Garcia) is a corrections officer with secrets. The first one is that his lifelong dream is to become an actor. This ambition embarrasses him so much so that he lies to Joyce (Juliana Margulies), his wife, about taking an acting class in the evenings. On these nights he says he has a poker game. In Vince’s world gambling is more appropriate than acting. He has a normal life. He still lives in the house he grew up in on City Island, a small island off of the Bronx, with Joyce and their son, Vince Jr. (Ezra Miller), and has a daughter, Vivian (Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Garcia’s real-life daughter), in college in the city. Frivolous dreams, like acting, have no place in his life.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
After watching Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s newest film, “Micmacs”, I started to wonder what has become of Marc Caro. It was an easy question to answer; I simply hadn’t taken the time to ask it before. In 2008, he made his debut as a solo director with the science fiction film, “Dante 01”. To call it just a sci-fi movie does “Dante 01” a disservice. Not only does it inhabit the sci-fi realm, but it crosses neatly over into psychological horror, and rounds itself out as a prison movie, complete with a brutal shanking.
Orbiting high above the molten planet Dante, is the prison space station Dante 01. More than a simple prison, it is a psychiatric hospital for a handful the most violent offenders deep space has to offer. These prisoners are volunteers, they all would have been executed otherwise, and they participate in a range of psychiatric experiments, testing new procedures and protocols.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
For years now I’ve been staying that what basketball really needs is more spin kicks and flying knees (there are already plenty of elbows involved). Finally, in “Fireball”, I have found a kindred spirit, someone who agrees with me. “Fireball” the film prominently features Fireball the game, which is an underground, hybrid sport controlled by the heads of organized crime in Thailand. Fireball is all the fun of basketball, cage fighting, and Thunderdome, together at last. You can do whatever you can to stop the other team from scoring, things like kicking people in mid air, and tackling the guy with the ball, which is surprisingly similar to the way I played defense in my sportier days.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The reissue of “House” (“Hausu”) hurt my brain a little bit. The best description I can come up with for Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 psychedelic mind-fuck, is this, imagine if Sid and Marty Krofft made and “Evil Dead” movie. Obayashi based his feature length debut on an idea from his seven-year-old daughter. Sometimes I love kids, not often, but sometimes.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
At first glance “Pandorum” looks like it is going to be a straight up sci-fi action movie, which it certainly is. But in addition to that the film also crosses into monster movie, horror, and psychological thriller territory.
Like in any good futuristic movie, the world has gone to shit. There are now 26 billion people on Earth, resources are scarce enough to cause wars (not that we don’t have wars over things like that now), and things are getting ugly. Humanity needs space to spread out and get away from the neighbors. Luckily for our future counterparts another habitable planet, Tanis, has been found, and the spaceship Elysium is dispatched in order to colonize this new world so we can fuck it up too.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Hollywood is cyclical. This is common knowledge, so you knew ninja movies were going to come around again, it was only a matter of waiting, biding your time. The highest profile film of this new wave is James McTeigue’s energetic “Ninja Assassin”, produced by the Wachowski siblings.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s films haven’t had the same feel since he went solo, breaking away from former collaborator Marc Caro. “Micmacs”, Jeunet’s latest project, hovers somewhere between the light fluffiness of “Amelie” and the surreal darkness of “Delicatessen” and “City of Lost Children”. Personally, I hope this is a sign of things to come. I miss the nightmarish dreamscapes of those earlier films, and would relish a return to the shadows.
French comedian Dany Boone plays Bazil. As a child his father was killed in a mishap with a discarded landmine, his mother sent to an institution, and Bazil wound up an orphanage where the overseeing nuns treated the children like tiny convicts. Grown up and clerking in a video store, a stray bullet from a drive-by catches Bazil in the dome. Removing the bullet could leave him a vegetable, so the doctor flips a coin and leaves the slug where it is. As a result Bazil could drop dead at any moment.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
“I Come With the Rain”, director Tran Anh Hung’s latest film, is a violent, atmospheric neo-noir detective yarn that bounces from Los Angeles to the Philippines, but ultimately settles and finds itself amidst the neon and glass skyscrapers of Hong Kong. It boasts an all-star international cast, a twisted story, and slick production.
“Blood on the Highway” is retarded, and I mean that in the most complimentary, endearing sense of the word. It is a blood-soaked vampire movie that soars way beyond campy and settles down firmly in the realm of total absurdity. Directors Barak Epstein and Blair Rowan (who co-wrote the script with Chris Gardener, who also plays a large part in the movie) aren’t afraid to say things like, “Poor people don’t have any friends,” and refer to a woman’s vagina as a “meat curtain.” There is an overabundance of stabbing, biting, gushing blood, and vulgar humor. It is relentless, like a 15-year-old horror nerd’s stoned subconscious wet dream come to life, which is exactly as much fun as it sounds.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
“After.Life” has pretentions towards being a psychological ghost story as well as a mysterious thriller. On some counts director/writer Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo’s film succeeds, and on other it fails.
Anna (Christina Ricci) is a schoolteacher who is dissatisfied with her life and disconnected from everyone around her. She lives with her mother and simply goes through the motions with her earnest boyfriend Paul (Justin Long). Still, she longs for something more, but abandons the small attempts she makes to break out into something new if met with the slightest resistance. When she dyes her hair red in sharp contrast to her mousy demeanor, Paul’s offhand comment that it “isn’t really you” pushes her right back to where she started. Anna moves through life like an automaton, sleep walking more than living, a fact duly noted by funeral director Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson).
Anna’s anticipation of defeat and disappointment at every turn is so pervasive that she jumps to a hasty conclusion and misconstrues Paul’s marriage proposal as him leaving her. She runs away from a romantic dinner into the rain soaked night where she gets in a horrific car accident. Later she wakes up on the slab at Deacon’s funeral home where he informs her that she was killed in the collision. He even has the signed death certificate to prove it. Naturally she doesn’t believe him, but time after time Deacon provides proof.