Schwarzenegger Month: Conan the Barbarian

John Milius must have a violence jones. That’s the only explanation for the films in which he’s played a pivotal part. He wrote Apocalypse Now, which turned war into hallucinatory spectacle, wrote and directed Red Dawn, considered by some at the time to be the most violent film ever made (no, it was not), and wrote and directed Conan the Barbarian, which really was the most violent film ever made at the time. I remember my first encounter with Conan the Barbarian. It was late one night when I was very young. I was supposed to be in bed, but from downstairs, I heard the television. Great clashes of bombastic music and the sounds of screaming warriors made their way up the steps, and I had to see what craziness the old man was watching. I should have known better. Continue readingSchwarzenegger Month: Conan the Barbarian”

The Empty Balcony: Savages

SavagesTaylor 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 readingThe Empty Balcony: Savages”