The Sixth Annual Empty Balcony Awards for Movies I Saw from Last Year

It’s that time of the year again, when stars and dignitaries from the film industry gather in Hollywood to celebrate another year of being famous. The Academy Awards. It really is an exercise in stroking the egos of people who don’t need any further encouragement, but more importantly it gives us rankings. And if there’s anything we like in this country, it’s knowing who the winners and losers are. It’s not enough to just let a film be; to let it speak for itself. Nope. It must be judged. I’m on board with that. Welcome to the Empty Balcony Awards! Continue reading “The Sixth Annual Empty Balcony Awards for Movies I Saw from Last Year”

Empty Balcony: The 10th Victim

The swinging ’60s have come to Missile Test, in the form of Italian/French production The 10th Victim. An absurdist bit of film whimsy from Italian director Elio Petri, The 10th Victim is notable for providing much of the inspiration for Mike Myers’s character Austin Powers. Indeed, one of the great gags in the first Austin Powers film, a bikini top that shoots bullets, was lifted from this film. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: The 10th Victim”

Insane and Stupid

Here we are again. More children and teachers have been slaughtered in an American school. The death toll was horrific enough this time to get the gun control debate raging once more. At first blush, that sounds cynical, but remember that the shooting last week in Parkland, Florida, which claimed 17 lives, came less than a month after a 15-year-old student in Marshall County, Kentucky shot 16 people in the lobby of his high school, but only two of them died. That story was barely a blip in the news. Continue reading “Insane and Stupid”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmos: War of the Planets, or, Shit Trek

Should one not wish to be burdened by a sensible, interconnected plot, or by special effects that pass a minimum standard of acceptability, then has Missile Test got the movie for you. Cosmos: War of the Planets, also known by many other names, is one of the shittiest films to grace this site in a litany of shitty films. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmos: War of the Planets, or, Shit Trek”

Trumpster Fire Day 392: The Best People

The scandals surrounding the Turdpol Kakistocracy continue to mount every single day. In fact, there hasn’t been a moment in this scoundrel’s presidency when there haven’t been questions about its conduct swirling around. This week it’s a scandal over when the White House knew that one of its high-level employees was a wife beater who was vulnerable to blackmail, and an old (by that, I mean mere weeks) scandal resurfaced about hush money paid to a porn actress. Continue reading “Trumpster Fire Day 392: The Best People”

Empty Balcony: Wind River, or, Longmire: The Movie

Every year Hollywood releases a handful of thrillers that are well-made, good entertainment, but are fairly anonymous. They fill a market for solid mysteries. They can’t scratch the primal itch that makes big time action flicks so reliable at the box office, but they have the benefit of treating their audience like adults, which is nice. Wind River is one of those films. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Wind River, or, Longmire: The Movie”

Trumpster Fire Day 385: Are We Sure the Election Wasn’t Rigged?

In reporting yesterday from NBC News, head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, Jeanette Manfra, said, “We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were successfully penetrated.” This comes five months after Homeland Security notified those 21 states that Russian government hackers had been targeting them, and a full 17 months after NBC News reported attempted hacking. So far, only Illinois has confirmed that the hackers had been able to gain access to its systems. Continue reading “Trumpster Fire Day 385: Are We Sure the Election Wasn’t Rigged?”

Empty Balcony: War for the Planet of the Apes

This film is excruciatingly inane, and at the same time an achievement. It is a story of stark moral black and whites, the contrast so palpable that it could blind were one to stare at it for too long. It is an epic that will take up 140 minutes of a viewer’s time, but it is also a flat desert plain stretching to the horizon, the only hint of depth merely a mirage. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: War for the Planet of the Apes”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Strike Commando

Who wants to watch some bottom-feeding trash? I do! And we all should. Films like Strike Commando, the 1987 shitfest from Italian filmmaker Bruno Mattei, make serious film and art house fodder all the better. How would we be able to gauge excellence were it not for films like Strike Commando giving us a baseline of inferiority? Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Strike Commando”