Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmic Sin

Cosmic Sin movie posterBruce Willis is having an interesting stretch in this, the latter part of his career. It’s also a familiar one. Like many stars of the past, he is either unwilling, or unable, to take on parts in big budget Hollywood flicks or prestige films. Rather, he has spent the last half-decade or so in b-movie schlock. Sure, he turned up in Glass, and Eli Roth’s underrated remake of Death Wish, but this is overshadowed by his roles in films like Hard Kill, Breach, and today’s subject, Cosmic Sin.

The thing I find most amusing about this turn is that Willis always seems to play the same character in every film — a roguish antihero who joins the cause reluctantly. Watching the first act of these films, one can imagine that it mirrors the process that filmmakers had to go through to convince Willis to be in their movies.

For instance, in Cosmic Sin, Willis plays James Ford, a former army colonel who left the service in disgrace, but now he’s needed to save the day. There is the familiar scene early on where a supporting cast member has to make their pitch, and Willis, looking as if he would rather be anywhere else but in this movie, responds with a terse, “No.” This is the part of the process before any money has been mentioned. It goes on: Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cosmic Sin”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men

Assignment: Outer Space, the 1960 sci-fi flick from director Antonio Margheriti, is a textbook example of why cheap practical effects are better than bad CGI. I’m no Luddite. CGI will continue to improve and become more affordable right up to the point AI takes over film production and just thinks shit up on the spot. I’m thinking more of the bargain basement CGI of this still-young century versus what Margheriti’s crew was able to accomplish sixty years ago. Both are unconvincing, but cheap model work has a charm that bad CGI does not — almost an innocence. That’s illusory, of course. Cheap effects are all about saving cash, no matter which method is used. Yet, there’s something slimy about bad CGI, as if it’s more an enabler of poor filmmaking rather than a result of tight budgets. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Ice Twisters

Ice Twisters movie posterSyFy has been performing a valuable service for the shitty movie fan for decades, now. They have been willing to purchase and show the absolute worst dogs that the 21st century has to offer, making them the inheritors of the legacy of drive-in movie theaters. Since SyFy is commercial television, these flicks are light on gore and devoid of gratuitous nudity — staples of the drive-in — but they make up for that by featuring movies with outrageous premises, and the type of shoddy production values that are near and dear to we many denizens of the darker realms of cinema. There are true believers at work at that network.

From screenwriter Andrew C. Erin and director Steven R. Monroe comes Ice Twisters, which is exactly what is sounds like. It’s a movie that rips off the blockbuster disaster flick Twister, upping the stakes by making tornadoes icy cold, freezing everything they pass over or fling into the sky.

There are even character analogues to the earlier film. Whereas Twister had Bill Paxton, Ice Twisters has Mark Moses as Charlie Price, a former scientist turned popular science fiction author. Twister had Helen Hunt, while Ice Twisters has veteran Canadian television actress Camille Sullivan as Joanne Dyson, who is heading an experiment where drones are flung into the sky, not to study tornadoes, but to create and control weather systems. She even has a passel of assistants and minor characters to assist her, just like in Twister. Unlike in Twister, there are no future Oscar-winners amongst them. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Ice Twisters”