As James “Jimmy Bobo” Bonomo (Sylvester Stallone) says in Walter Hill’s “Bullet to the Head”, “Guns don’t kill people.” Jimmy Bobo, however, most certainly does. With guns, knives, cars, bombs, his hands, walls, even an apple, he kills many, many people. Often at the drop of a hat. This wanton disregard for human life is pretty much the point of the whole movie, and when Hill lets his protagonist out to play, is when “Bullet to the Head” is at its best. The rest of the time, when they try to insert story or character—or to paraphrase one viewer, any time there are words—you run into problems.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
If you can make it through the first part of “Warm Bodies”, and get around the fact that they’re obviously trying to do for zombies what “Twilight” did for vampires—make them sexy, clean, and appealing to crowds of teenage girls in a non-threatening, non-sexual way—then you might enjoy the remainder of the film. You won’t be blown away, but there’s earnestness and certain charm that’s difficult to deny. Before you get to that point, however, the movie is a tedious wreck. And I’ll try to contain my rant on zombies until later in our program. I make no promises, but I will certainly do my best.
Friday, January 25, 2013
I’m currently embargoed from writing, or at least publishing, a review for “Stoker,” the English-language debut from acclaimed Korean auteur Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy,” “Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance,” “Thirst”). Still, I have a few quick things thoughts on the matter.
Here are the things I learned from “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”. Good witches are pretty, nice, and will have sex with you in a magical pond. Bad witches look like they’re into black metal, dress poorly, and give you diabetes. So, if nothing else, you’ll walk away with a couple of important life lessons under your belt. Those are the most important things to know about “Hansel & Gretel”, and as you’ve probably gathered, it’s utterly ridiculous. It’s also way more fun than an oft-delayed pseudo-horror film buried in the end of January has any right to be.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
On the surface “Mama”, the new ghost story produced by Guillermo del Toro, has a number of things going for it. Two strong leads—including a gothed-out Academy Award nominee in Jessica Chastain, and “Game of Thrones” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau—a spooky, unsettling atmosphere, and kids, which we all know are inherently creepy in a horror film. Unfortunately, this never amounts to anything. Watching the movie, you look at the characters and mutter, “don’t do that, don’t do that, don’t do that. Oh look, you definitely went and did that.” You spend most of the movie questioning why people do what they do, and being frustrated on their behalf. Because why wouldn’t you check yourself out of the hospital after waking up from a coma, drive deep into the woods, and visit a creepy, ghost-infested cabin, all with no flashlight?
Thursday, January 10, 2013
“Gangster Squad” is a film a lot of people may take the wrong way. Most of us thought we were in store for a gritty, violent gangster pic, and while there is plenty of brutality—one of the first things you see is a pair of cars rip a guy in half, and coyotes feasting on his innards—that’s not exactly what you get. What director Ruben Fleisher (“Zombieland”) delivers is more of a period melodrama that just happens to tell a gangster story. Full of action, it’s also a damn lot of cartoonish fun for a while, like a blood soaked “Dick Tracy”. “Gangster Squad” plays out like a light movie serial, but at the end of the day, however, you want there to be something more.
Now that we’ve got that pesky 2012 out of the way, we can turn our attention to the year ahead of us. 2013 still seems sparkly and new, there are no dings or scratches, and the possibilities are positively intoxicating. From all appearances, the next 12 months should be a pretty good time to be a fan of science fiction movies. We’ve got high-profile sequels on the way, a couple of long-awaited follow-ups to phenomenal debuts, and a whole mess of exciting films to see in the theaters. Some will be kick ass actioners, while others bring big ideas, themes, and thinkin’ to the genre.
With all of that in mind, here are the ten movies I’m most looking forward to.