Last week Missile Test heaped praise upon William Shatner, for his lifetime contribution to shitty cinema. This week features a different flavor of shitty movie actor — one whose star shined brightly in Hollywood, but whose latter career has been spent in direct-to-video schlock. Who could it be? Bruce Willis? Mel Gibson? Samuel L. Jackson? Morgan Freeman? Denzel Washington? All of those men, some with Academy hardware, have seen their careers drift away from the type of blockbusters that made them famous, but they are not the star of today’s reviewed film. Today’s film stars John Travolta, the one and only 21st century shitty movie actor who can give Nicolas Cage a run for his money. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Speed Kills”
Two men, gladiators in an arena, fighting to the death. It’s a story as old as empire. Which also means it has been put to film more times than can be counted. Killing Season was billed as the first on-screen pairing of Robert De Niro and John Travolta, a pair of Hollywood legends. Whether they’re on equal footing is not worth debate. But, if these two heavyweights were going to be in a film together, it would have been nice if it was a film that was not instantly forgettable. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Killing Season”
How times have changed. Within two minutes of Brian De Palma’s Carrie, an adaptation of Stephen King’s first novel, there’s a scene in a girls’ high school locker room after gym class with no less than half a dozen full frontal nude shots. High school girls (all played by adults) are bouncing around and giggling after showering, showing off their gloriously naked bodies. I can’t imagine there would ever be a film made today that featured nude teenagers so prominently, much less with such sappy eloquence and, yes, sexuality. It’s not long before the camera pans and settles on the film’s main character, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), as she showers and caresses her body, culminating in a horrific display of bullying after the onset of her first menstrual cycle. That’s how viewers are introduced to the confused, introverted, oppressed, overgrown adolescent of the title: as she is brutalized by her peers. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Carrie”
Taylor Kitsch just had a bad year. He starred in three major release films. How can that possibly be bad? The three films were Battleship, John Carter, and Oliver Stone’s latest ham-fisted effort, Savages. Three films, three disappointments, and Mr. Kitsch has suddenly moved into Ryan Reynolds territory as the latest bankable star that turned out to be not so bankable. It isn’t all his fault, though. John Carter was doomed from the start, and Battleship was so awful, a cavalcade of thespians from the Royal Shakespeare Company couldn’t have saved it.
Which leads us to Savages.
Occasionally Oliver Stone gets an itch to make an over-the-top movie full of extreme violence and outrageous criminality. When that has happened in the past, he gave us Natural Born Killers and the screenplay to Scarface. This year it was Savages, adapted from the novel by Don Winslow, which tells the tale of a California airhead and the two drug dealers who love her. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Savages”