Notes on a second viewing of MAN OF STEEL

tn_manofsteelb(spoilers, of course)

Last week I decided I wanted to see MAN OF STEEL a second time. (Don’t worry, I saw FURIOUS 6 twice too, so this is not a sign of disrespect toward its reign as Best Summer Movie 2013.) I already liked MAN OF STEEL but the second viewing raised my opinion of it. Going in already knowing what it was, all my minor quibbles faded away and I was able to focus on what I loved about it. It wasn’t one of those movies where looking at it again brings out all kinds of flaws you never noticed before. I mean, a few odd things came to mind:

* I wonder if they ever had a meeting specifically about the decision to have chest hair poking out of the neck of the supersuit. That looked a little odd but I can see how they were trying to remind us how manly he is. Not just super.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Side Effects

tn_sideeffectsSIDE EFFECTS is supposed to be Steven Soderbergh’s last theatrical release before handing in his camera and his DGA card, not counting BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, which went straight to cable in the U.S. I haven’t seen that one yet but thank Christ it came out already because I was real worried about him there, ’cause you know what tends to happen to guys right before retirement. Congratulations to him on making it out. I hope they gave him a gold watch.
(read the rest of this shit…)

White House Down

tn_whitehousedownYou know me, I can enjoy a good DIE HARD type movie. Or a bad one. I like SUDDEN DEATH. I love the UNDER SIEGES, of course. And 3 of the 4 official DIE HARD sequels. But this year is trying to knock me off the wagon. We’ve had three mediocre to bad DIE HARD type movies so far and while A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD was obviously the one that was soul-crushingly disappointing, this is the one that I found most boring. I mean, I’m not gonna pretend Roland Emmerich is known for movies that are worth your time to actually watch, because that would be a bold faced lie. But I figured with this good of a cast and a classic template to follow he could make an enjoyably stupid movie. He mostly just got the second part. (read the rest of this shit…)

R.I.P. Jim Kelly

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Well, Death Is a Motherfucker Part 2. The great Jim Kelly died today at only 67. I’m sure you all know him as the #2 badass in ENTER THE DRAGON. If you haven’t seen it I implore you to watch BLACK BELT JONES, his star vehicle also directed by Robert Clouse. It’s a much sillier movie but to me it’s the pinnacle of that peculiar intersection between martial arts and black culture. It has one of the funkiest theme songs ever, it has freeze frames on the opening credits, it has girls on trampolines, it has a fight in car wash bubbles. It’s awesome and hilarious and you will love it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Death is a motherfucker

tn_36thchamberI don’t always post about every great person that dies, but we lost a bunch of ‘em this week so I might as well do one post to reflect on three in particular.

First, of course, the unexpected death of the great James Gandolfini. A real bummer to movie fans since he was still great and very productive. Just last year he was in one of my favorites of the year, ZERO DARK THIRTY and was also the clear highlight of my most frustrating movie of the year, KILLING THEM SOFTLY. Even as a serial TV-misser who has somehow totally missed The Sopranos I was able to enjoy lots of brilliant work by Mr. Gandolfini. Favorite performances I would point you to would be as the voice of the neurotic monster Carol in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, the victim in the great underrated Coen bros picture THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE, and of course that epic hotel showdown in TRUE ROMANCE. (read the rest of this shit…)

Escape Plan trailer

Remember there was gonna be that movie THE TOMB starring both Stallone and Schwarzenegger? Now it’s called ESCAPE PLAN and IGN has the trailer:

What do you think? I think it looks promising. Not humorless but not a corny joke-a-thon like an EXPENDABLES, cool high concept premise, good supporting cast. And Stallone gets to work with 50 Cent after the internet shamed him out of casting him in THE EXPENDABLES, but before he follows Robert DeNiro into a series of gloomy interchangeable DTV thrillers.

ESCAPE PLAN is directed by Mikael Håfström, a Swede who previously did DERAILED (haven’t seen it) and 1408: AN EVIL FUCKIN’ ROOM (pretty good). One of the writers did ROAD HOUSE 2, the other MIRROR MIRROR.

thanks to Jim Newberry for telling me this was up

Kickboxer 3: The Art of War

tn_kickboxer3KICKBOXER 3 is one of the movies I watched for the Super-Kumite but had to turn it into an exhibition match due to its lack of tournament. This is a pretty enjoyable one though with a weird mix of sports movie and violent shootout movie. Also it deals with sex trafficking just like the last movie I reviewed. (Don’t worry – it’s against it.)

check out my review in this week’s OUTLAW VERN PRESENTS over on Daily Grindhouse.

Eden

btisltn_edenIf you trust me to say “Go watch this intense crime drama, I thought it was excellent” without needing me to tell you anything else about it, then go do that. I’m awarding EDEN my controversial The Best Thing I’ve Seen Lately medal to encourage you. It came out on the DVD last week under the title ABDUCTION OF EDEN, but the title on screen and when it was playing film festivals was just EDEN. (I hear they had to change the cover and name for Redbox – artistic decisions now determined by vending machines. Today’s cinematic art must have the same wide appeal as Doritos or Chips Ahoy.)

Because of the new title we know there’s an abduction of some kind, and the movie opens with a girl crying, tied up in the trunk of a car (as crappily photoshopped on the generic DTV-looking cover). If you insist on knowing more than that then read on. (read the rest of this shit…)

Snitch

tn_snitchIn SNITCH, Benjamin Bratt (CATWOMAN) plays El Topo, a notorious ex-military badass who leads a Mexican drug cartel. He’s elusive to the authorities, preferring to stay back in a car and watch his underlings from afar, but when the shit goes down he’s the first to pull out a huge gun that looks like it should be mounted to a jeep. He’s very dangerous, especially to the naive Americans who he convinces to drive his drugs across the border. What they don’t understand is they don’t need to be working on a playlist for the drive back.

The obvious question: is this supposed to be a loose remake of EL TOPO, or a sequel, or what? I gotta go with prequel. At the end of EL TOPO El Topo (originally played by Alejandro Jodorowsky) had achieved enlightenment, gone underground and become a Saint. It just doesn’t follow that he would then become a cartel leader. Instead, SNITCH shows how the El Topo we first met riding through the desert with his young son came from a troubled background. It gives him all the more darkness to be redeemed from, retroactively adding more depth to Jodorowsky’s film. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ninja III: The Domination Blu-Ray review

 

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NINJA III is one of the only movies to really explore how much ninjas like yogurt

 

One of our nation’s perennial VHS favorites, NINJA III: THE DOMINATION, has recently made the transition to digital and high definition disc type formats courtesy of the heroes at Shout Factory. Check out my review of the new blu-ray over on Daily Grindhouse. If you also want to read a review I wrote of the movie a couple years ago then you can click here.