Shitty Movie Sundays: Shanghai Fortress

How do I know China is a superpower? Besides the massive economy, the massive military, the massive population, and China’s massive effect on world politics? It’s because the Chinese are now making alien invasion movies where they save the day. That is when a nation truly arrives at the forefront — when they can make jingoistic popcorn cinema of the world-saving variety. And, like most American forays into such material, it stinks.

Shanghai Fortress is an adaptation of the sci-fi novel by Jiang Nan, wherein, in the near future, a new energy source called Xianteng has been brought back to Earth by astronauts. It’s a self-replicating energy source, and clean. A new day has dawned for humanity. Except, some aliens get wind of us having Xianteng, and a gigantic spaceship arrives, Independence Day-style, to rain hell on the earth. After five years of conflict, only one major city remains: Shanghai. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Shanghai Fortress”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Primal (2019)

Nicolas Cage returns to Shitty Movie Sundays with a flick that was released just this past month, although one would be hard-pressed to find a theater that’s shown it.

Primal comes to us from screenwriter Richard Leder and director Nick Powell. Cage stars as Frank Walsh, a selfish, world-weary wiseass who hunts and captures wild animals to sell to zoos.

Like in every shitty movie he’s been in, Cage overacts. He can’t seem to help himself, and that’s fine with this shitty movie fan. Often, especially in revenge flicks, Cage plays melancholy so deep its laughable. Not in this flick, though. His Frank Walsh character is just as damaged as any of the other characters he has played, but there’s no hint of a dead wife, or girlfriend, or kid — no hint he’s carrying a dark secret. In this flick, Cage is just an asshole. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Primal (2019)”

October Horrorshow: Eli

Back in 2012, Ciarán Foy made a disturbing indie horror flick called Citadel. With that film, he showed that he could make horror with a polished sense of dread and an uneasy aesthetic. It wasn’t a great horror film, but it’s getting him some regular work in the genre.

His latest is Eli, which was released this month on Netflix. From a screenplay by David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg, and Richard Naing, Eli tells the story of the unfortunate title character, played by Charlie Shotwell. Eli is unfortunate because he’s basically allergic to everything. He lives in a sterile environment, but should he leave his bubble in anything less than a hermetically sealed hazmat suit, he goes into anaphylactic shock. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Eli”

October Horrorshow: Crawl, or Go Gators!

Before today, I never once considered what it would be like to be trapped in a basement crawlspace with ravenous alligators during a category 5 hurricane. Now, I know. It’s pretty scary.

That’s the setting for Crawl, the creature feature from earlier this year from screenwriters Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, and director Alexandre Aja.

The film follows Kaya Scoladerio as Haley, a swimmer at the University of Florida. A hurricane is bearing down on the area, but neither she, nor her sister up in Boston, have been able to get ahold of their father, Dave (Barry Pepper). There’s some family drama and token sappiness involving Haley and her father, but regardless, Haley decides to head down to the family homestead to check on the old man and make sure he’s still alive. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Crawl, or Go Gators!”

Empty Balcony: Triple Frontier

Netflix is in a battle with the Hollywood establishment. Hollywood patting itself on the back, in the form of endless awards shows in the winter, is more than just a glad-handing circle jerk. There is a lot of money at stake. Hollywood is a business, and the rules the establishment sets aren’t meant to maintain artistic integrity or anything else so noble. They are meant to protect the interests of the established players. The arcane rules of Hollywood state that a movie isn’t eligible for an award if it premiered in any other place than a movie theater. Should a movie premiere on something as ephemeral as the internet, it’s not a movie, apparently. That’s silly and stupid, and it’s only a matter of time before the powers that be are forced to reverse that decision. But the legitimacy of the movie theater is why Netflix, distributors of Triple Frontier, gave it a limited release in theaters before throwing it into their online catalogue. It doesn’t matter, though. If this flick gets nominated for any awards I’ll be shocked. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Triple Frontier”