Empty Balcony: The Meg

I, and a whole lot of other viewers, went into this film expecting a shitty movie. The only question in my mind was whether it would be a good shitty movie, like Anaconda, or something devoid of all taste and soul, like Baywatch. I was a little disappointed, then, when The Meg turned out to be silly and stupid, but not shitty. It’s not great, it won’t be competing for any major awards, and that’s fine. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: The Meg”

Schwarzenegger Month: Collateral Damage

This is one dark film. Which may explain why it failed at the box office. In Collateral Damage, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Gordy Brewer, a Los Angeles firefighter who loses his wife and son in a terrorist attack. Firefighter, terrorism, innocent victims. Considering this movie was released in February of 2002, only weeks after ground zero in Manhattan stopped smoking, there is a strong possibility the film’s subject matter kept people away. Not only was terrorism a touchy subject back then, the 9/11 attacks were not completely over yet. Not as long as they were still clearing debris. That’s some bad timing. But it could have been worse. The original release date for this film was less than a month after the attacks. I wish I could say I was sympathetic to the plight of the filmmakers and everyone else involved in this project, but tough shit. A film flailing at the box office was the least of the country’s concerns back then. Continue readingSchwarzenegger Month: Collateral Damage”

The Empty Balcony: Sunshine

Good science fiction films set in space are hard to come by. So many examples embrace the fiction part at the expense of the science that they lose a good deal of intelligence, and stupidity is death to sci-fi. Additionally, it’s a challenge to make space an interesting setting without working around so many of the realities that make space not only the most challenging environment there is for human existence, but also the most boring. There’s a reason, after all, that space shuttle launches are broadcast on C-SPAN. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Sunshine”

October Horrorshow, Retroactive: Deep Rising

Yikes. Sometimes a shitty movie crosses my path and I don’t know whether to lose myself in the fun of it all, or to hate it. Deep Rising, written and directed by Stephen Sommers, whipsawed me back and forth between deep belly laughs and outright revulsion so quickly that by the end I was praying for something, anything, to appear just for a moment, a fleeting second, and justify the mystifying amount of time I spent with this dog. Didn’t happen, so now, instead of letting the experience fade away into the deep recesses of my memory, I’m going to write about it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow, Retroactive: Deep Rising”

The Empty Balcony: Three Kings

There haven’t been that many films made about the Persian Gulf War. A quick search in the tubes only turned up a handful. A quick, forgetful war (from the American perspective, anyway), there would have been no real lasting impact on American society wrought by the conflict had it not been for our recent misadventures in the desert. We tore a bloody swath through Kuwait and Iraq for one hundred hours in 1991, and came home intact and victorious. We seemed to dictate everything that happened on the ground and in the air. The war was fought on our terms completely. Mistakes were few, casualties were few, while damage inflicted on the enemy was severe. We decided when it began, and we decided when it was over. For us, it was the perfect war. Our only problem was we failed to recognize that the enemies of the future could learn lessons from it. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Three Kings”