For the most part, my favorite style of action has been relegated to the direct-to-video market. I’m talking about that genre that was prevalent in the 1970s and 80s, where a solitary badass, sometimes with a sidekick, faces down incredible odds in order to get justice and revenge. This is the genre that gave rise to icons like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Seagal, and Van Damme. While films of this sort are still alive and well on VOD and DTV, you don’t often see them in theaters, unless they star Jason Statham. The ticket buying public wants spectacle and CGI and giant robots roaming the streets. The reigning king of this action underground is, without a doubt, Scott Adkins. Statham may be more of a draw, but as solid a lone wolf as he is, Adkins kicks so much more ass. (Statham is, admittedly, the better overall dramatic actor.)
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Gareth Evans’ The Raid: Redemption pummeled us all about the face and neck, delivering the best martial arts actioner since we all discovered Ong Bak. After blowing our minds, the movie left us asking what he was going to do next, and if it was possible to top the frenetic pace and incredible action. I don’t know if the sequel, The Raid 2: Berendal will exceed the first—that’s a tall order—but this new trailer makes it look like he’s going for it with insane gusto. For the follow up Evans reteamed with star Iko Uwais, and holy shit, Berendal looks gorgeous, epic, and, most importantly, crazy violent. And as intense as this footage is, Edwards assures us that all we see in this trailer is “Act 1 setup.” If this is only the beginning, what the hell are we in for? I can’t wait to find out.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is lonely. You’ve seen guys like him a thousand times on the bus, he never looks ups from his phone, never interacts with anyone else, and you wonder about the state of his life. Going through a messy divorce, Theodore writes intimate letters for other people; from lover to lover, husband to wife, mother to child. Every attempt to feel something, to connect with another human being, leaves him more and more isolated, until he’s alone in his apartment losing an argument with a foul-mouthed character in a videogame.
You learn right away what you've gotten yourself into with “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Among the first things director Martin Scorsese shows you are a group of rabid, feral stockbrokers, cranked out of their minds on cocaine, testosterone, and adrenaline, throwing dwarves at a target; and Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) doing blow out of a prostitute’s lady parts. And from there the movie gets crazy.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Since their inception, movies have loved to use holidays as a backdrop to the stories they tell. It makes sense. Celebrated by large swathes of the population, their inclusion lends an air of communality to the proceedings, a sense that the people on screen are not so different from you the viewer. Each holiday comes with its own set of easily recognizable tropes, which go a long way to setting the scene, and many bring with them their own set of complications and problems to add layers to a narrative. How many times have we watched a family gathering set on Thanksgiving, where people not usually in the same room with one another come to blows, real or metaphorical, when forced into close proximity?
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a special kind of asshole. He’ll borrow money from you to pay for your girlfriend’s abortion, your girlfriend that he knocked up. That’s assuming that you are in fact Justin Timberlake and you’re dating Carey Mulligan, but you get the idea. He’s also the protagonist of the Coen Brothers’ latest film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and the greatest feat the “True Grit” filmmakers accomplish is making you sympathize with this miserable, miserable prick as they delve deep into his psyche.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
When the “Lord of the Rings” movies dropped, people got crazy pumped for the release of the extended editions. A year from now, when the last of Peter Jackson’s three “Hobbit” movies has come and gone, I’m excited for someone to splice them together, hack out all the superfluous crap, and finally reveal the single good movie that I know is hidden in there somewhere. It should be about three hours long. What we’ve seen thus far, including the latest, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” has been nothing but a disappointment. Overlong, bloated, and tedious, Jackson even did something that I’d have thought impossible, he made a giant, fire-breathing dragon voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch boring as shit.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Actors directing movies is a dicey proposition, at best. For every Ben Affleck or Clint Eastwood, who turn in some of the best work of their career behind the camera, you get Nicolas Cage directing “Sonny,” or Madonna forcing “W.E.” upon the world. So when we heard that Ted “Theodore” Logan himself, Keanu Reeves was going to helm a martial arts actioner, the news left us puzzled. But you know what, his first directorial effort, “Man of Tai Chi,” which just hit Blu-ray and DVD, is a damn good time, and delivers everything you want out of this type of movie.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
More than a report card for AMC’s The WalkingDead, think of this as a one of those progress reports that they sent home in the middle of the term to let your parents know how you were coming along. They tracked your development, noted areas where you lagged, and generally told the world where you needed to pick up the slack. This gives us an open forum to talk about what the show is doing well thus far in season four, areas where there is room for improvement, and things we would like to see the underachieving series accomplish moving into the final eight episodes of the year.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
The last two weeks on AMC’s The WalkingDead have been spent catching up with that nefarious villain from season three, the Governor (David Morrissey). They’ve essentially been two weeks worth of him pretending to change while we build up toward this week’s mid-season finale, “Too Far Gone,” and the inevitable conflict between the Governor and the survivors at the prison. When we left him, the Governor was drawing a bead on Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Hershel (Scott Wilson). How does this situation evolve, where does that go, and who is going to die? Read on to find out the answers to all of these and more.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
In 2003, Park Chan-wook’s revenge thriller Oldboy made audiences squirm in their seats, and Spike Lee’s new remake, despite some issues, is going to elicit a similar reaction. While the grim plot and overriding themes are note for note the same, Lee, screenwriter Mark Protosevic (I Am Legend), and a fantastic cast, do enough to differentiate their film, and keep it from being a tired rehash.
If this were 1987, “Homefront” would be the baddest feature film to hit your local Cineplex this holiday season. Written by Sylvester Stallone, from a novel by Chuck Logan, this is a movie that Sly, Schwarzenegger, or one of their ilk, could easily have headlined in their 80s action prime, and I mean that in every conceivable way. There are cell phones and modern automobiles—a few late model pick up trucks at least—but this could be almost any time in the last 30 years. There’s a timeless, anachronistic quality, and that is how “Homefront” is best enjoyed, as a fun trip into nostalgia.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Over the previous five years, movie audiences have been inundated with the legend of Wing Chun master Ip Man, who, before becoming the focus of numerous motion pictures himself, was most known as master to Bruce Lee. This year alone has already seen Wong Kar-wai’s version of Master Ip’s life, The Grandmaster, and with Ip Man: The Final Fight, director Herman Yau delivers his second take on the grandmaster’s story, and ostensibly the third, and final installment in this particular cinematic Ip Man saga.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Live Bait,” saw the return of the most notorious villain in the franchise, David Morrissey’s the Governor. After his season three meltdown, he’s been out, wandering the zombie-infested wastes, trying to find himself, and you think, after he falls in with a family, that maybe, just maybe he’s finally changed. At the end of the episode, the Governor and his brood encounters Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo), his old buddy from Woodbury, and the question is left hanging, is he really any different? It’s like the dilemma that faces every recovering addict, when old faces and old triggers surround you, can you stay strong in your convictions? Read on to find out how he reacts in tonight’s episode, “Dead Weight.”
Monday, November 18, 2013
The Hunger Games is a good enough movie. The world building in early portion is well done and engaging, but by the time get to the actual games of the title, things fall apart. At that point you have a lone girl running around the woods, trying not to die, not talking to anyone, that’s only so interesting. Suzanne Collins’ novel gets away with this, the first-person point-of-view makes you privy to the innermost thoughts of heroine Katniss Everdeen, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence. In the film she spends a fair amount of time gazing into the distance. If you’ve read the book, you know she’s thinking about Gale (Liam Hemsworth) or Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) or her sister Prim (Willow Shields), but if not, you have no idea.
Fox’s futuristic buddy cop drama AlmostHuman hit the air tonight, and I know this was only the pilot—and the first night of a two-night premiere—but I’m on board this train. Right out of the gate, the show has a ton going for it. Not only is the cast, headlined by Star Trek’s Karl Urban, top notch, but the creative team includes Fringe showrunner J.H. Wyman and J.J. Abrams, who created shows like Lost and is directing Star Wars: Episode VII.
Last week’s episode of AMC’s The WalkingDead, “Internment,” left a lot for fans to ponder. First up, Daryl (Norman Reedus) is about to find out that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) banished Carol (Melissa McBride). Daryl’s a good guy, and the best character on the show, but he’s also a crazy redneck powder keg, so you never know how he’ll react, especially to news like that. Then the final shot of episode dropped an even bigger nugget into your lap. The Governor (David Morrissey), the primary antagonist for season three, who had been noticeably absent thus far in season four, shows up out of the blue, watching the prison like a creepy peeping tom. How does all of this shake out? Read on to find out, but beware, there are some serious SPOILERS if you haven’t watched this weeks Walking Dead, “Live Bait.”
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Fox’s futuristic police procedural Almost Human premieres this Sunday and Monday, November 17 and 18 respectively, and not only does it look like a badass new sci-fi joint, the show boasts a ton of big time creative power as well. Behind the scenes you’ll recognize names like J.J. Abrams, who is directing a little movie we like to call Star Wars: Episode VII, and J.H. Wyman, the showrunner behind Fringe. On screen, there’s Bones McCoy himself, the new incarnation of him anyway, Karl Urban, Lily Taylor from The Conjuring, and Friday Night Lights’ Minka Kelly, among others.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Last week on AMC’s The Walking Dead dropped a bit of a bombshell on viewers, and it didn’t even involve any key players dying. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) actually made a decision, and that decision was to banish Carol (Melissa McBride), an OG member of his crew. What do they have in store this week as a follow up? Read on to find out.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
There's not much to say about this trailer for Gareth Evans' action sequel The Raid 2: Berandal. My reaction primarily consists of giggling and clapping. Watch it for yourself, know that it's getting a legitimate theatrical release, and prepare to get punched in the face again.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
More than most films in the Marvel cinematic universe, Thor straddles the line between science fiction and fantasy. With movies like Iron Man and Captain America, and characters like the Hulk, science has always kept the films tethered to the real world. Thor, and especially the latest installment, Thor: The Dark World, allows for a certain broadening of horizons, bringing in magic and mythology, while still keeping a distinct sci-fi edge.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Call it destiny, call it fate, call it whatever you want, the question of whether or not we as humans should know what our future has in store for us has been a hotly debated topic since there have been topics to be hotly debated. This subject is at the center of Joe McLane’s new micro-budget Life Tracker.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Based on Orson Scott Card’s much loved, much debated, sci-fi novel, many fans of Ender’s Game worried that Gavin Hood’s adaptation would take liberties with the source material and turn the story into a big, empty action spectacle. Those fears have mostly been assuaged, as Hood, who also handled the scripting duties, turns in a film that dwarfs his last movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in both scale and quality. There are times when you feel like you’re watching a real classy Starship Troopers.
While we usually aim our coverage at a more grown up audience (age wise anyway, there’s no taking into account the maturity levels of our dutiful readers), we’re fully aware that there is a younger generation of burgeoning sci-fi fans. A few of us are even spawned and are raising them ourselves. That said, kid centric movies can often be a difficult task to sit through (Mars Needs Moms anyone?), even for the most hardened B-movie fans among us. So when you get a kid’s sci-fi movie that you can enjoy right along side those miniature versions of yourselves, and not want to gouge our eyes out, you have to jump on that opportunity.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
When we last left the jaunty band of zombie-apocalypse survivors in AMC’s The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was getting sucked back into his role as the-guy-who-has-to-make-horrible-decisions, and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) discovered two burned bodies in the prison yard. Overall, things weren’t looking particularly rosy between this, a plague tearing through their ranks, and walkers about to crash through the fences. Will this week’s installment, “Isolation,” find them in less dire straights? Read on to find out.
Beware, spoilers ahead.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
“The Counselor” is a movie I’ve been pumped up for since we first heard that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy delivered a screenplay instead of the new novel that his agents and publishers expected. Add director Ridley Scott (“Alien”) to the equation, and an insane cast of top tier, A-list celebrities, and you start to understand the excitement. Weirdly, there’s been almost no buzz leading up to the release. It didn’t play at any of the recent big name festivals, press screenings were all late so enough that no one has been talking about it, and why the hell does Cameron Diaz have a cheetah in all the trailers? Unfortunately, the movie falls way, way short of expectations. Roughly one-third is the precise movie I hoped for, while the rest is a complete and total disappointment.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives” took a critical drubbing when the film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival last May. People seriously hated on this movie. During the wide release the stance softened a few degrees, and the film garnered some much-deserved praise. Perhaps “Only GodForgives” isn’t the masterpiece “Drive” is, but it’s still a damn fine motion picture, full of stoic outlaws, sudden eruptions of violence, and gorgeous cinematography. Now out on Blu-ray and DVD, if you’re a fan of Refn’s previous work, you should definitely pick this one up and give the disc a couple plays.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Just when Rick thinks he’s out, they pull him back in. That seems to be the overwhelming them of “Infected,” tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead on AMC. The former sheriff, played by Andrew Lincoln, is trying to step back from being the leader, from being the one who has to make—or more often than not in the last three seasons, not make—the tough decisions. He almost lost his own humanity, and sanity, and that of his mop-haired son, Carl (Chandler Riggs), so nowadays he’s just a simple farmer man, digging in the dirt, hanging out with pigs, not even carrying his signature revolver. Does this tranquility last long? No. We’ll get that out of the way up front—you didn’t really expect it to, did you—but we can dig into the specifics after the jump.
William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” is the most terrifying horror movie ever made. Other opinions on this topic are valid, but wrong, and though there are any number of truly horrifying films out there, none of them can even hold “The Exorcist’s” jock. The first time I watched “Psycho,” alone in the dark, is as close as any other movie has ever come, but that still pales in comparison. And because it’s October, and because what better time of year to revisit all of your favorite spooky films, Warner Bros. has just released a badass 40th anniversary Blu-ray of “The Exorcist,” and it has all the bells and whistles you anticipate from a release like this.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Almost exactly a year ago (okay, it’s been a little bit longer, this was meant to be done way, way earlier), Pete Travis’ ultraviolent comic book adaptation Dredd fell on its face harder than Rob Schneider in that video you just watched. Dropped into the notorious dead zone that is late September—it’s netherworld between summer blockbuster season and fall/winter awards fishing season—this is a movie that did practically no business at the box office. Even with a relatively modest budget of $50 million—which is practically nothing when it comes to a comic book movie anymore—the film only grossed $13 million in the US, for a total of $35 million worldwide.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
It feels like the season four premiere of AMC’s TheWalking Dead, “30 Days Without an Accident,” has been coming since the very second season three wrapped up. Well tonight, finally, we don’t have to slog through any more ominous videos, short clips, or wait any longer at all.
Despite the fact that I have a rocky relationship with the hit zombie drama, especially last season—which featured some of the best episodes in the franchise, as well as some of the absolute worst—the producers have done a solid job building up to the new episodes. New showrunner Scott Gimple, and the rest of the production crew, have been saying all of the right things, promising to address many of the ongoing issues the series has battled. Going back to the first trailer that appeared at San Diego Comic-Con back in July, all of the promotion has created an ominous sense of intrigue, piquing your interest without giving away too much.
Now we have the opportunity to see if season four of The Walking Dead was worth the wait.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
“Machete Kills” is a lot like watching a spoof movie, and not a good one like “Airplane!” or “The Naked Gun.” We’re talking “Epic Movie” or “Meet the Spartans” here. I won't lie, there are some chuckles, but what the sequel to Robert Rodriguez’s 2010 “Machete” does is take all of the things that make the original a ton of fun, and blows them up into an oversized cartoon. Instead of an homage to gritty, sleazy exploitation films of yesteryear, “Machete Kills” takes on the madman taking over the world sub genre favored by middle-era James Bond films, mixes that with an excess of “Star Wars” jokes, and concocts a bland caricature.
“We Are What We Are” just may be the artiest backwoods cannibal movie you’re likely to find. Don’t worry, though, because as much as director Jim Mickle (“Stake Land”) does to pretty things up in his remake of the 2010 Mexican horror joint of the same name, there is still more than enough gore, brutality, and creepiness to sate your bloodthirsty little soul. Moody, tense, and delicately layered, when you boil it down to the bare essentials, this is still the story of an isolated, woodsy family eating folk.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
We could sit here all day and argue about our own personal definitions of science fiction, especially in regards to Alfonso Cuarón’s latest offering, Gravity. While the film does lack some of the traditional speculative hallmarks of the genre, like a futuristic setting, technology run amok, and pushing the present bounds of science, the action does go down in space. For all the flashing lights, fancy NASA equipment, and mind boggling cinematography, this is a story very much rooted in the current age, in the here and now. But doesn’t matter what the hell label you settle on, because regardless of what you call it, Gravity is an incredible movie, and the best reason this year to drag your ass to the theater and drop the extra cash on an IMAX ticket.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
It must be a huge ego stroke to see an extreme close up of your own face blasted five stories high across an IMAX screen. Then again, no one ever accused Metallica of being the most modest group of guys in the entire world, and you won’t think anything different walking out of their new movie, “Metallica: Through the Never.” Billed as a hybrid concert film slash narrative action extravaganza, don’t go in expecting an actual movie. This is essentially a live performance with may ten or fifteen minutes worth of music video-esque story cut in. If you’re a fan of the venerable heavy metal outfit, then you’ll be totally stoked on “Through the Never,” but if not, this holds little interest for you. That much should be self-evident.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Can I get a hell yeah? Can I get an amen? More importantly, can it already be October 18 so I can watch the hell out of Big Ass Spider? Since I haven’t been able to crack that whole time travel thing, it looks like we’re all going to have to wait, but until then we have this ridiculous new trailer to tide us over. The best part about this is that, not matter how absurd this creature feature may be, the giant titular arachnid actually looks pretty damn awesome.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Originally slated to come out before star Wesley Snipes went to prison for tax evasion, director Andrew Goth’s GallowWalkers has finally found its way to your DVD players courtesy of Lionsgate. If Django Unchained was a distant ancestor of Shaft then it’s easy to think of this vampire horror western as a half-assed predecessor to Blade, if Blade was terrible.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
The first shot of director Denis Villeneuve’s (“Incendies”) new thriller, “Prisoners,” shows a sparse winter forest in Western Pennsylvania. A wide spectrum of grays, this is a harsh, desolate place, but, as a deer creeps into the frame, you see there is life. You also bear witness to an inherent brutality as a young hunter, Ralph Dover (Dylan Minnette), kills the doe at the urging of his father, Keller (Hugh Jackman). Not only does this initiate you into the world of the film—we’re talking about a where every choice is morally ambiguous, gray if you will, though some are so dark as to be damn near black—but it also sets up a tense, quiet atmosphere punctuated by stunning violence. “Prisoners” is a mystery that is as physically and emotionally pulverizing to you the viewer as it is to the characters.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
There’s an impulse with a lot of recent horror to reinvent the wheel. The logic goes that audiences have seen everything before, are hyper aware of the tools and tropes of the genre, and thus you have to do something new and shocking every time out in order to up the ante. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for innovation and progression, unless the price tag is making a movie that sucks. With all of this new, new, new crammed down our throats, it’s easy to forget that the standards become standard for a reason, when used well, they can be used to create a movie that scares the hell out of you.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
The Starz Channel’s “Spartacus” may only have lasted for three seasons and a prequel miniseries, but they sure did manage to cram the show with enough blood, boobs, butts, and slow motion to last you at least one lifetime, maybe more. Now the final season, “Spartacus: War of the Damned,” is out on Blu-ray so that you can relive every last gore soaked frame and exposed nipple. Fans will already know what to expect, there is a certain formula the series follows, one that works very well for their purposes, and they don’t deviate from that here. That isn’t meant to sound derogatory in anyway, the show has always been a gleeful amount of fun, and that definitely continues through until the end.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
There is a tendency among hardcore horror hounds to equate obscurity with quality, and to use what you've seen as a measuring stick of your own devotion and fandom. Sometimes, when you spend months, or even longer, hunting down a particularly hard to find movie you've been dying to see your efforts pays off, other times not so much. Thus is the case with “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane,” and after years, it is finally available for widespread public consumption so you can see what you’ve been missing.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Just the fact that it’s 2013 and we’re talking about Riddick at all is a minor miracle. The third in the so-called “Furyan Chronicles,” after the second film tanked in 2004, it’s taken star Vin Diesel and director David Twohy nearly a decade, countless starts and stops, and lots of their own money (Diesel put up his own house as collateral) to get to this point. While there is a fan base out there, there was hardly a massive cry for more, and this definitely qualifies as a passion project for the two primary players. As a movie, Riddick is half giddy, pulpy sci-fi that is a total blast; and half a clumsy, overlong mess, full of plot holes and inconsistencies.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Maybe I’m wrong, but I get the distinct impression that I’m the only person in the free world who is actually going to give “Getaway” a positive review. We’re not talking about a great work of cinema here, and in many ways this is a terrible, terrible movie. I completely recognize this fact, but that doesn’t mean that this is a film without certain charms, and, taken on its own terms, this is a successful endeavor. Produced on the cheap by After Dark Films, most known for their low-to-no budget “films to die for,” “Getaway” is essentially the action equivalent of their horror fare. The only reason this didn’t go straight to video is because the only three real cast members are Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, and John Voight.
Monday, August 26, 2013
So the last few days have been heavy on hype for Summit Entertainment’s upcoming adaptation of Veronica Roth’s best-selling young adult novel Divergent. There was a brief synopsis laying out the core plot details, an infographic that shed a little more light on the five factions of the story, and, of course, 13 seconds worth of footage from the film. All of this was a build up towards the money shot, which happened yesterday at MTV’s Video Music Awards, when the studio debuted the first teaser trailer for the film. Everything else was really just a teaser for the teaser.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Everyone has that friend that’s not always easy to get along with, that you don’t see for extended periods, and when you do, you spend most of your time questioning why you still put up with this person. In Edgar Wright’s new film, The World’s End—the close of the so-called Cornetto Trilogy that began with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz—that role is filled by Gary King (Wright’s frequent co-conspirator Simon Pegg). He’s loud and crass, he’s ingested every drug you can name, along with a few you can’t, but most of all he’s stuck in the past, fixated on one glorious night in 1990.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
It’s all too rare in these days of continual, 24/7 movie hype to come across one that actually lives up to the hyperbolic surge. Adam Wingard’s (“V/H/S”) newly released home invasion film, “You’re Next,” not only meets, but exceeds expectations, which is impressive, because there has been a ton of steam behind this movie. The indie horror offering originally made the festival rounds back in 2011, where it gathered glowing reviews from every genre-centric writer—and most others as well. The rest of us finally have the chance to see the movie, and it was totally worth the wait. We’re talking twisted, gory, scary, tense, and shockingly funny. I mean that in both the sense that, from the way the movie has been promoted, you wouldn’t expect many laughs; and also in what the film makes you laugh at. “You’re Next” isn’t genre bending, it’s genre done very, very well, and one of the most entertaining movies of the year.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Like many people, I woke up this morning to the news that legendary crime and mystery writer Elmore Leonard has passed away at the age of 87. I started reading books like Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch in junior high. While in the intervening years I moved away from his fiction for periods of time time, I always admired his prose. Along the way, I realized he also wrote films that were just as badass as his books. Movies like 3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd, and Mr. Majestyk (who else beside Elmore Leonard and Charles Bronson could make melon farming kick so much ass?) are important works of the stern-faced, stoic, gritty genre that I hold very near and dear to my heart. Justified, a show not only based on Leonard’s work, but produced by him as well, is currently the reigning champion of gravelly crime dramas on TV.
There isn’t much that I can say about Leonard that hasn’t already been said with more eloquence elsewhere, so I think it’s best to let the man speak for himself. What follows are Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules forwriting. Not only to do they offer valuable advice to anyone looking to hone their craft, they provide a quick insight into the way his mind worked. Read them, learn them, love them. Enjoy.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Rapture-Palooza is a prime example of a movie that has great concept, but that struggles to stretch said concept into a feature-length motion picture. The idea is so absurd that you’re immediately drawn in, but the execution leaves much to be desired. In the end, the finished product, now out on Blu-ray and DVD, is little more than a footnote in a summer that includes superior apocalyptic films like This is theEnd, The World’s End, and It’s a Disaster, which is a shame, because it has a fantastic cast.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
It’s weird, as I walked out of the theater, I was aware that there are big problems with “Kick-Ass 2,” but on the whole, I had been reasonably entertained over the previous 103 minutes. With some movies, distance smooths over the rough patches, and the more you think about them, the more you examine them, the more you enjoy them. “Kick-Ass 2,” however, is not one of those movies. There was a long bus ride home after the screening, and the more I thought about it, the more I broke the film down in my mind, the more glaring, and troubling, the flaws became.
Monday, August 12, 2013
The Master of the Flying Guillotine (AKA One-Armed Boxer 2 and One-Armed Boxer Vs. The Flying Guillotine, which is how many of us first saw the film) is one of the most memorable movies in the Shaw Brothers cannon, which is saying something big, because they’re responsible for countless martial arts gems. Legendary Hong Kong director Andy Lau (Internal Affairs) recently took a whack at reworking the concept, as The Guillotines-now available on Blu-ray from Well Go USA-with mixed results.