I liked Zack Snyder’s 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake. I thought it was a fine modern entry in the zombie subgenre of horror, helping make the creatures scary again. The heavy lifting may have been done by 28 Days Later a few years earlier, but it can’t be denied that Snyder’s film is one of the reasons zombie films and television shows remain popular today. Dawn of the Dead was also the last Zack Snyder film I’ve enjoyed. Every subsequent film he’s made since then, from 300 to this year’s Army of the Dead, has been a joyless slog — the knock from critics, and even fans, being that Snyder makes visually interesting, even gorgeous, films, but they suffer from too much length. The consensus is that Snyder’s lack of storytelling discipline is an issue, but not one that is fatal to his vision. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Army of the Dead”
Sylvester Stallone has been dipping into the China market, of late. This isn’t anything new, really. For years now, Hollywood has been tweaking their films to satisfy the demands of the Chinese government and gain access to their huge market, with mixed results. There’s no tweaking in the latest Escape Plan flick, however. This film looks made for the Chinese market, and if anything comes of it in other markets, that’s just gravy for this film’s 48 credited producers. Seriously, 48! I counted nine production company logos at the start, eating up 1:45 of this flick’s 96-minute running time. Major League Baseball has shorter commercial breaks between innings. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Escape Plan: The Extractors”
Die Hard in a soccer stadium. That thought went through my head before the end of the first act of Final Score, the 2018 action flick from director Scott Mann. That’s how the collective voice of the internet described the movie, as well, when doing my post-watch research. From conception to execution, there might not be a better example of a project staying true to its vision. It was pitched as Die Hard in a soccer stadium and that’s what audiences got. What they didn’t get was John McTiernan or Bruce Willis. But, that’s okay, because this flick is shitty. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Final Score”
I think I may have seen too many movies. That’s the only reason I can think of to explain why I did not like Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios’ 2014 money machine. It hit all the right notes when it comes to action, pacing, and story. It kept things simple, avoiding all pretension, and at no point did it strive to be something greater than it was. But...
I think the movie showed a profound disrespect for its audience. Big action movies aren’t just simple anymore. Rather, they have been simplified, stripped of any sort of nuance or individuality in the pursuit of massive box office receipts. There is nothing inherently wrong in trying to maximize profit. But what it does mean is that, in seeing a movie like this, no viewer can expect anything beyond superficial uniqueness. There are new stories out there. But new stories require an entrepreneurial spirit that Hollywood is currently anathema to. It’s hard to explain how much the studio system has changed in a generation, so I’ll just give this example: Taxi Driver was a Hollywood studio film. That’s right. Taxi Driver. A film featuring a violent psychopath, who develops a crush on an underage hooker, as a protagonist. These days, the talents of that film’s young director, Martin Scorcese, would be steered into projects that are designed from the very beginning to be sanitized versions of past successes. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Guardians of the Galaxy”
I was really hoping this movie would have been appropriate for the October Horrorshow. Alas, it was not. Sure, there is some exotic, overly aggressive wildlife to be found, and they do devour a good amount of the cast, but this movie is more a straight action flick than anything else. Too bad. I was looking forward to featuring this review right after Pitch Black. Well, at least it’s shitty!
Riddick, of course, is the second sequel to Pitch Black, featuring the eponymous character played by Vin Diesel. In this flick, Riddick has abandoned the burdens of galactic leadership and returned to his animal nature, a sly acknowledgment by writer/director David Twohy that the second movie in the series, The Chronicles of Riddick, was a stupidly overwrought idea that never should have been put to film. Riddick isn’t a fucking politician. He’s a badass. No one wants to see him speechifying or fending off the knives of palace assassins. The world, this world, needs Riddick to get in gunfights with mercenaries and fight creatures with big pointy teeth. Message received. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Riddick”