8 Mar

The Walking Dead Season 1 on DVD and Blu-ray. The final word.

Posted by Bryan White | Tuesday March 8, 2011 | Reviews

The Walking Dead Blu-ray and DVDI did a lot of yelling about The Walking Dead leading up to its premier. It was an occasion to celebrate, wasn’t it? AMC didn’t skimp on the hype reels and we got to see a lot of what was to come on the adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic. As much as it pains me to say this, because I’m so sick and tired of motherfucking zombies, zombies are still a hot commodity. Everyone got wise to the nerdy wit of Shaun of the Dead and suddenly everybody you’ve ever known is a frothy-mouthed zombie fan buying up and reading/watching anything having to do with walking cannibal corpses. It was only a matter of time before zombies hit television. There have been pilots produced with the monster involved but nothing had hit the airwaves until this and with all those juicy screenshots, teasers and behind the scenes clips hitting the web, showing us stuff intended for prime-time cable that had only ever appeared in nasty unrated horror movies on the high shelves of any given video store, could you blame the horror community for finally feeling as though we’re being taken seriously? The uniformity of our optimism was delicious! A gory adaptation of a fan-favorite comic that promised to embrace and elaborate on our precious source material brought everyone together in a way that horror fans weren’t really used to and we all got together on our various social networks, holding hands and singing campfire songs while in anticipation of this show’s release. Honestly, not even the troglodyte comic nerd mafia were pissing and moaning about the various public facts about the show.

And then the show premiered.

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27 Feb

The slow, inevitable decline. Ong Bak 3.

Posted by Bryan White | Sunday February 27, 2011 | Reviews

Ong Bak 3 ReviewI’ve been spending a lot of time in an MMA gym lately training for this insane, macho mid-life crisis athletic event. The guy training me is this old school martial artist from the area who has traveled around the world to learn this martial art and that and he has put a ton of emphasis on Muay Thai – Thai boxing. He spent a long time living in Thailand, training at a fighting camp and brought back these brutal training techniques to whip fat-ass web developers like me into fighting shape. The results have been pleasing. Though I’m not learning Muay Thai, previous experiences with martial arts left me with a serious lower back injury and a stern reminder that I’m not a kid any more, my time spent in the gym has given me a lot of insight into what it is that gives Thai boxing such a powerful reputation as a crushing, lethal martial art. Most Americanized systems of fighting teach the physical aspect alone, omitting the equally if not far more important role of mental and spiritual preparedness when training and fighting. We sometimes train with this heavy wooden club that looks like a really fat baseball bat. Our instructor explains that in India and Thailand where this club originates, fighters will swing this thing for hours in different ways and while they’re using it to tone and condition their body to move mountains with their hands, in their minds every swing smashes away evil. Seriously! This revelation counted as the coolest thing I’d hear that week. He went on to explain that every time one of these guys steps into the ring, their bodies are ready to fight, for sure, but in their minds and in their hearts, they weren’t about to face off against some other fighter, they were about to fight evil and they were prepared, mind, body and spirit to defeat evil. That, he explained, is what makes these guys so deadly.

Fuck yes.

Even though the evolution of the Ong Bak series has left me with a bad taste in my mouth, I can comfortably say this about them: No martial arts movie in the past has ever communicated the mental and spiritual aspect of fighting better than Tony Jaa’s Ong Bak movies. In a way, these bloody martial arts movies have become the flagship franchise of Eastern philosophy but at the expense of what made Tony Jaa so awesome in the first place.

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17 Feb

Suo Tempore. Tick Tock. Cronos.

Posted by Tony Nunes | Thursday February 17, 2011 | Reviews

Tick, tick, tick. The forward quivering second hand on a watch constantly nudging, nudging, nudging at time, at fate, at life.  Certainty becomes a false concept as the seconds pass in Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos, a fairytale centered on the force that nudges the clockwork along, both literally and figuratively.  Written and directed by del Toro in 1993, Cronos has just been restored by Criterion, and re-released in the form of a new directors cut.   This is where del Toro’s career began, and having not seen it prior to its re-release, I came to it anticipating the uniquely del Toro-esque blending of folklore and horror that I’ve come to expect from his films.  I was not off-track with my expectations.  Cronos plays like a fanciful parable worked to its most twisted dimensions.  Time is the films antagonist; an evil force that pits mans faith against his wanton desire for immortality.

Jesus Gris (obvious allegory) is an antiques dealer and grandfather who bides his time tending to his shop and caring for his young granddaughter Aurora.  Jesus is no young man, yet he seems content with his quiet life.  When he uncovers a strange golden artifact within the base of a crumbling angel statue, Gris is immediately curious and taken by the object.  Curiosity of the unknown is one of mans greatest triumphs and downfalls, as history has shown that stroking the unknown can lead to mixed results.  In the case of Gris and the artifact that result falls more to the dark side of discovery.  The artifact is the Cronos device, a scarab looking medallion created by an alchemist in the 1500’s as a Holy Grail of sorts.  Inside the device is an intricate frame of clockwork cogs and gears, controlled at its center by a small and frightening beetle.  The device unlocks a long pointed stinger, which injects itself into the body of its finder, thus filling them with the power of immortality.  Gris is stalked by Angel de la Guardia (Ron Perlman), the nephew of a wealthy and dying businessman who desperately seeks the device for his own salvation.  Gris falls deep into a strange reliance on the device, and the conflict between him and Angel takes the expected turns.  But remember, time is the antagonist here, and Gris has plenty of it.

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14 Feb

Review for The Disco Exorcist is up at Twitch Film now!

Posted by Bryan White | Monday February 14, 2011 | Reviews

The Disco Exorcist ReviewI’ll keep this one quick. Cinema Suicide is a force to be reckoned with but some films exceed its mighty boundaries and need to be caged elsewhere. Richard Griffin’s latest, The Disco Exorcist is one such film. I rolled out down to Providence, Rhode Island Saturday night for the premier of the movie and left not sure what I was going to say about it. I have a habit of running at the mouth about how much I like Griffin’s movies and based on what I had just seen, I knew that I was left with no choice but to write an open love letter to Scorpio Film Releasing to be posted on the internet. The Disco Exorcist immediately became my favorite Griffin movie. It’s raunchy, it’s sleazy and it’s extremely fucking funny.

In this very space I started to write my review when it occurred to me that Cinema Suicide wasn’t going to do. I don’t often talk about my traffic here because you couldn’t give a fuck. Am I right? This time, however, my traffic wasn’t going to cut it. I do okay, don’t get me wrong. I have to claw for every hit I get here but as I wrote I realized that I really wanted a lot of people to know about this movie and if that was going to happen, I was going to have to ship the review out to another site. Todd Brown, over at Twitch Film, is a wicked nice guy who has both written about me in the past and run my reviews when I write up a film that I don’t feel really fits the profile of this site. Speaking in terms of site hits – impressions as we call them in the biz – what I get in two months, Todd gets in an afternoon. Thankfully, he was kind enough to feature my review and it’s running there right now.

To read my review of The Disco Exorcist, go here: The Disco Exorcist Review at Twitch Film

3 Feb

A Farewell to Arms. Santa Sangre.

Posted by Bryan White | Thursday February 3, 2011 | Reviews

Santa Sangre ReviewLet’s pretend that it’s January, 1998 again and that I’m sitting in my Media Business class next to this kid from Detroit. It’s only days after I’d given a business plan proposal to my class as a project demonstrating my understanding of the process and in order to distract from the glaring faults of my abilities as a public speaker, I put on a video compilation of scenes from various European and Japanese horror movies since the plan was for a theoretical company that sold gray market VHS releases of Byrne Act-protected movies. This tape did exactly what I needed it to do and everyone, instructors included, didn’t pay much attention to me mumbling my way through a dodgy plan to sell movies that I had no actual right to sell. So I become the horror movie guy in my class and everyone has to talk to me about horror movies, which I’m more than happy to entertain. This kid from Detroit, though; he knew what was going on and when he wasn’t enthusiastically going apeshit about his amazement that our school had numerous vending machines selling thirty five cent cans of Faygo or his insistence that I listen to a mixtape he made of Esham’s many recordings, he made sure that I heard everything he had to say on the topic of the movie Santa Sangre.

I was aware of director Alejandro Jodorowsky at the time but only as the guy who made El Topo, a tape I’d shelled out way too much for in order to buy the “Special Edition” that Revok Film Prodigies was selling at the time but beyond that I didn’t know anything else about him or the other movies that he’d made. You’d think, though, that this kid from Detroit only wanted me to see this movie because of a scene where a fanatical woman screams the words “HOLY BLOOD!” at a priest over and over. With some hesitation, I relented and took the tape home that he lent me as well as this weirdo early 90’s flick with Phyllis Diller, Boneyard. Consequences would never be the same.

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30 Jan

Try not to suck any dicks on the way through the picket line! Red State.

Posted by Bryan White | Sunday January 30, 2011 | Reviews

Red State reviewEditor’s note: Wes Bridle and I go way, way back. Like, to high school way back. In some ways, the inception of his own website, American Nonfiction, was a parallel inspiration for Cinema Suicide. Sure, he doesn’t do movie reviews but he writes an awful lot over there and he’s made a bit of a name for himself doing so. When I was unexpectedly picked to sit in at a screening of Red State by Kevin Smith, himself, I couldn’t fucking believe it. The original venue was supposed to be his own home in Los Angeles, which I was all set to fly out and attend but when bloggers who didn’t get picked started pissing and moaning about impartiality at a screening at Smith’s home, Kevin switched the venue to a screening room and then went quiet until a few days before the scheduled screening. With no time to book a flight I had to come up with something quick and emailed a couple of writing friends out in Los Angeles with the stipulation that I needed a reply quickly. Wes decided several years back that New Hampshire could no longer contain his awesomeness and picked up stakes and landed his ass in Los Angeles which is really convenient for me and it was even better that he got back to me about the screening first. So here we are. Check out Wes’ review of Kevin Smith’s horror flick below.

Five years have passed since Kevin Smith first announced his intention to make Red State, a horrific tale loosely based on Pastor Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church taken to the absolute extreme. Fans of Smith have since anticipated and debated over what that result would look like. At this year’s Sundance, the wait was finally over. After the screening, Smith shocked the blog­o­sphere by announcing his intentions to distribute the film through his SModcast Pictures label, release it on October 19th, and all but stated that Red State would be his last film. (His last film will actually be Hit Somebody -Bryan)

October 19th is a special day for Smith as it marks the anniversary of the release of his legendary Clerks. 17 years have passed from the day Smith first put his comical eye behind the camera lens and took it into a convenience store. If we are to believe that Red State is his grand finale, then his first jaunt into tales of terror becomes the culmination of a career that has seen Dogma highs and Cop Out lows. The standards are high and maybe slightly unfair to a film that holds 5 years of anticipated fandom and cost slightly under $4million to make. Though, a shoe string budget is nothing new to the filmmaker who brought us Clerks for $27,575 and Chasing Amy for $250,000, two movies that more than hold up against the common big budget Hollywood blockbusters. Yet, it remains to be seen if Red State can live up to that hype.

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30 Jan

Like a G6. Enthiran (The Robot)

Posted by Bryan White | | Reviews

Enthiran The Robot ReviewBack in the mid-90’s, our cable provider started carrying either Telemundo or Univision. I can’t remember which and, quite frankly, it’s  not important to this story. On Thursday nights, this Spanish language channel shared time with a Hindi broadcaster who only ran Indian music videos. For the span of a month, it became a habit of mine to smoke a bowl and watch this insane block of television because in a three hour session, I’d see no less than half a dozen unique Hindi interpretations of The Macarena, never once repeating the same artist. That’s between twenty four and thirty two individual takes on a song that had already drifted out of the American pop-culture hivemind! This is why I don’t do Bollywood. It’s not the only reason. There’s the matter of Bollwood movies commonly clocking in at three hours long and the vast majority of them being romantic comedy knock-offs of the Cinderella story but hokey song and dance numbers drive me out, for the most part. I tried to give it a chance a few times because there are action and horror movies out there that combine the conventions of their respective genres with the patent madness of the common Bollywood trait of insane musical numbers but it just never works for me.

I figured I’d cut Bollwood a break this time around because Enthiran had been making the rounds on the niche movie blogs and websites and a recent pair of clips circulating thanks to io9 started making the rounds among a lot of people I know and I couldn’t resist. Firstly, a review would draw a lot of hits to the site and I am kind of a whore that way. Secondly, have you seen those fucking clips? I dream up movies like this when I’m really tired and I’ve been drinking! Columns of evil robots turn into a giant cobra. A dude wields dozens of machine guns simultaneously and hoses down dozens of cops. It was off the fucking wall! How do you not watch something like that?

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10 Jan

Neither here nor there. The Taint.

Posted by Bryan White | Monday January 10, 2011 | Reviews

The Taint ReviewI love being a horror blogger but it’s times like these that I really love being a horror blogger. I get solicitations for screeners all the time and if you’re reading this and I’ve blown you off, please don’t take it personally. I just can’t watch them all and if I passed on giving your movie press I’m either way too busy with an already staggering review load or your pitch just wasn’t very tantalizing to penetrate the mountain of screeners that I have lined up for review. If you did, it’s because something about your movie made me take notice. I’d say that three out of every five solicitations I get is for some no-budget zombie-stomp shot on a dime in an Atlanta vacant lot by high schoolers and to you I say this: Give up. All the good zombie movies have already been made. I’m captivated by originality. I’ve been at this literally for years so to get my attention you have to be coming from a really novel place. It doesn’t have to be high brow, cerebral entertainment, either. Say your names are Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson and you wanted to make a movie about exploding dicks in an apocalyptic world where all men want to kill all women. Well, it’s not exactly classy but you have my attention.

Your movie doesn’t even have to be good is what I’m getting at, I guess. As long as you make the sale with a strong pitch, I’m in and I’ll make time for your movie. I can’t guarantee a good review but also know this: If you send me your flick and I think it’ll receive a bad review, rest assured that I’m not going to write about it. If you’re some indie out there trying to get your movie seen, the last thing you need is some asshole with a blog telling people that they shouldn’t bother. You probably spent a lot of your own money on that project and put a ton of energy into it. At the end of the day, making movies is fun. Trust me, I’ve done it. I had a blast. But you want people to watch it and if it looks like I’m going to shit all over it, I’ll save you the trouble of pissing on your project that you invested so much of your life into. I don’t know if this is a good position take as a writer but I feel much better about myself giving bad low-budget flicks no press instead of bad press. Since we’re sitting here reading about The Taint, though, I guess it’s safe to assume that it’s pretty good, right?

Right.

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30 Dec

All he wanted was his penis back. Reign of Assassins.

Posted by Bryan White | Thursday December 30, 2010 | Reviews

Reign of Assassins reviewI have a really low opinion of Hong Kong these days. I discovered the graceful mayhem of John Woo and Tsui Hark back in the early 90’s on bootleg video tapes with dodgy Engrish subtitles and instantly fell in love.  I’d been watching Jackie Chan and Shaw Brothers kung fu ballads of brotherhood on Black Belt Theater in the early 80’s and what this all adds up to is that my fandom of Hong Kong Action was right there at ground zero, seeing so much of it come out as soon as it was subtitled for English audiences. Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao were the gold standard of thrilling action vehicles. They’re the sort of export that spoils young Americans early so that the oiled American killing machines that dominated the US box office at the time had limited appeal. It wasn’t until Lethal Weapon and Die Hard that I felt like Hollywood was finally catching up to the high octane thrills of Hong Kong. That golden period of Hong Kong action, the late 80’s and early 90’s, though, that was where it was at. It was such a strong period of film that American studios started paying attention and snatched them all up. All my favorites, right down to Ronny Yu came over and made something. Most of it sucked but the point is that the American machine absorbed Hong Kong’s mightiest names and watered them down. John Woo floundered here and Jackie Chan got old, playing second fiddle to Luke Wilson and Chris Tucker.

The Hong Kong candle faded, leaving room for Japan to up it’s standings in the horror and science fiction genres while Thailand picked up the martial arts torch and ran with it to places Hong Kong never thought to go. Meanwhile, Hong Kong floundered. Pop stars filled the vacuum left by genuinely talented martial artists and actors. A few gems emerged. Pretty much anything starring Donnie Yen and a wave of elaborate costume dramas incorporated complicated martial arts sequences into their poetic tapestries but it was never quite enough to get the machine running at full steam again.  I’ve mourned this loss, though, and I think I’m over it. Every now and then something comes out of the Hong Kong system that is astonishing. It’s also nice to see that John Woo has gone home. I didn’t see Red Cliff and he didn’t exactly direct Reign of Assassins, but I’ll tell you something: His style is all over this god damn movie and it’s fucking awesome!

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20 Dec

2010: Bryan’s picks for best movies of the year

Posted by Bryan White | Monday December 20, 2010 | Reviews

Around this time last year I hit the site with a most anticipated in 2010 list. I looked back on what I was most looking for and it turned out that I couldn’t have been anticipating many of them very much because I only wound up seeing half of them and of that half, one of my top picks wound up on the official Cinema Suicide most-bland movies of 2010 list. That movie being Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Scott sounded great on paper and the source material was fantastic but for me the movie failed to live up to the hype. One of the flicks I was looking forward to didn’t even come out and from the looks of things probably never will. I’m talking about Boogie Town, which is probably as ridiculous as it sounds: Boogie Police. Outlaw dance competitions. Super powers and an oppressive near-future setting. Whatev. Here’s what was good.

The Horseman ReviewThe Horseman (Review)
This flick was released in Australia last year but it didn’t make it to American shores until this year thanks to Netflix so I feel like it qualifies for 2010. I loves me some gritty revenge movies and I’ve been getting wise to Australia lately. The plot, a father is mailed a porno tape of his runaway daughter in the middle of a particularly rough gang-bang following the news of her overdose. His initial search for her killers turns into a bloodbath as he tracks down the men responsible. It’s not terribly original and I’ve seen this story before in the form of Paul Schrader’s Hardcore but hot damn is this flick gritty! Peter Marshall in the lead is absolutely brutal and the confrontations are savage and exceptionally tense. It explores notions of redemption and what happens when you’re on the warpath. It’s a pretty sophisticated exploration of violence and the costs associated with it and bears a lot in common with some of my gold standards for comparing the high quality of revenge pictures. These days you can take the low road and produce a consequence-free exploitation picture about killing killers or you can craft a sophisticated, nuanced picture about what happens when an ordinary but flawed man descends into the chaotic underworld for revenge. This movie did the latter and pulled it off admirably.

Atomic Brain Invasion ReviewAtomic Brain Invasion (Review)
More madness from Richard Griffin and the Scorpio Film Releasing crew. Atomic Brain Invasion follows the trend of Griffin’s movies making my top X lists. Atomic Brain Invasion is straight up silly and features a ton of goofy references to the sort of trash that made Mystery Science Theater 3000 such a cultural phenomenon. It featured all my favorite Scorpio components, too. Stars Michael Reed and David Lavallee clearly enjoy every second of screen time and Brandon Aponte’s run as Elvis, musical number included, is hysterical. It ducks the period spoof conventions of like-minded pictures such as The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra by shooting in color and adding CGI special effects but budgetary and stylistic shortcomings aside, it’s the kind of care-free delirium that Griffin specializes in and it’s an awful lot of fun. Griffin is still showing Atomic Brain Invasion around New England. You can catch a show here and there if you’re local or keep an eye on the website for when the DVD goes on sale.

CropseyCropsey
I’m already a documentary nerd but when you shoot a documentary that feels like it exists in the wake of a slasher movie you have me hook, line and sinker. Cropsey tells the story of five missing children in Staten Island, New York between the 70’s and 80’s and their relationship to the local boogeyman, a terrifying figure in the woods that the local kids would call Cropsey during campfire tales. Of course, there is no real Cropsey but there is a man named Andre Rand who went up the river for two of the murders and depending on how you look at the case, he’s guilty as hell or an innocent, if creepy man, who went away for crimes he didn’t commit. The film does its best to sort out the details and dig through the layers of public paranoia of the time (satanic panic and stranger danger) to get the real story of Andre Rand but for every piece of evidence that seems to exonerate the man, there’s something to condemn him. It’s an absolutely mortifying documentary about the underside of any given suburban community and the tendency for sensation to drive criminal prosecutions. By the time it’s too late to prove Rand innocent or guilty you have the police and members of the community talking about how its more likely that Rand hadn’t killed the girls, he just delivered them to The Process Church of the Final Judgement to be ritually abused and murdered. The way that fact and speculation roll together in the final act is chilling. It’s outrageous and rolls out with the measured pace and obsession for details of any given episode of This American Life. The film’s narrator, Joshua Zeman, could easily pass for Ira Glass any day.

Exit Through The Gift ShopExit Through The Gift Shop
Yes. I’m sorry. It’s another documentary but stay with me. While it’s doesn’t go way out into the same farcical territory of This Is Spinal Tap, Exit Through The Gift Shop  may, in fact, turn out to be the art world’s equivalent. World-famous street artist, Banksy, delivers this doc that begins as a series of videos capturing some of street art’s most important personalities at work in the middle of the night but then evolves into another sort of monster as we follow Thierry Guetta, a video camera obsessed French dude in LA who discovers that his cousin is one such artist named Invader. This begins a trail through the night time world that puts him into contact with the powerful Banksy, who occupies Thierry with the notion of making his own art while he turns Thierry’s footage into a watchable movie. Overnight, Thierry, whose art is fucking terrible, becomes a sensation and an LA hype machine for the whom the public can’t spew enough hyperbole. His art, clearly ripped off of Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Andy Warhol sells for astronomical prices and in the end proves that art collectors, critics and fans don’t know shit about art and maybe the artists don’t, either. The importance of the medium may have bought into its own hype long ago and Banksy’s film illustrates this perfectly in hilarious form. It’s thoroughly entertaining and the lengths Banks goes to pull off this prank are staggering. Once the sheer scope of the prank sets in, the repercussions of Banksy’s joke will knock your socks off. This is just one more reason why I love Banksy.

InceptionInception
BWAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! Inception is toplining a lot of best of 2010 lists and for very good reason. People who know me personally recognize a certain prejudice toward big Hollywood summer movies and a lot of the spectaculars that are sold to the public as the most important movies of the year. I don’t give a fuck about Transformers or Harry Potter or Avatar. I hate major effects-driven megaplex pictures because once you take away the effects, you have nothing left. The stories don’t work at all. Inception changed my opinion of the summer blockbuster in a big way because Christopher Nolan, a director whose filmmaking philosophy I have some big problems with, turned in a major effects movie with a supremely cerebral plot. It’s not hard to keep track of what’s going on in Inception and it’s really not the puzzler that the rest of the movie press would have you believe that it is but it’s a thinking man’s action movie in a big way. The tumbling hotel fight just might be the most original action scene ever put on film and there isn’t a weak link in the cast. Nolan’s direction is baroque; gigantic, even. His confidence in making this piece of fantasy cyberpunk is the foundation for its success. I fucking loved this movie!

Enter the Void ReviewEnter The Void (Review)
With the exception of A Serbian Film, no movie bummed me out more in 2010 than Enter The Void. Watching the main character die and then go through the following weeks after his death floating over Tokyo as he watches everyone else deal with his death was a little much for my fragile emotional state these days but I am going to be hard-pressed to find a movie that was as visionary as Gaspar Noe’s meditation on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. There isn’t a movie out there like this and it’s the first instance of French Extremity that takes the genre and infuses it with real substance. Past experiments with subversive filmmaking in France have turned out exploitation that has a foot in the avant garde but they seem far more concerned with making you squirm than making you think and Noe remedies this by giving you something that lives way out on the fringe but feels like a real movie with interactions and real emotions. It also has the balls to spend the whole movie floating around in POV mode, something that would have been contracted out of the script by any other actor. Paz de la Huerta knocks it down a few notches for me as she doesn’t seem capable of much more than running around naked and pouting her lips but it’s a small bump in an otherwise excellent movie.

Machete ReviewMachete (Review)
And now for something completely different. Of all of the fake Grindhouse trailers, the one I was least interested in was Machete but it turned out to be a shitload of fun and paid homage to Escape From New York with a couple of scenes designed to look exactly like that movie. I’m still at a loss to explain how Robert Rodriguez gets away with the movies that he does since he seems to just do whatever he wants and the studios write a blank check. With an entire generation of filmmakers making a living out of emulating Tarantino to the extreme with movies reminiscent of the stuff they grew up on, there’s a massive wave of forced nostalgia coming out of independent genre film that I cannot stand. Machete also does this but it’s not over the top about it. It’s actually quite conservative in its homage factor and turns out looking like a lot of the direct to video b-movies that I watched so much of in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Machete is gleefully violent and extremely funny with tons of dismemberment and one of the year’s best casts. Don Johnson could launch a major comeback off of this picture and after seeing him in action, I hope he does.

Kick-AssKick-Ass (Review)
This year’s top honors go to Kick-Ass. I freely admit that most of this movie’s appeal rests on the small shoulders of Chloe Moretz and her character, Hit Girl. That is not to say that the rest of the movie is forgettable. Hardly. Kick-Ass went out of its way to be antagonistic to the sensitive sensibilities of modern America. Cultures around the world seem to fear their own children and right here was a movie that capitalized on that notion. Hit Girl’s attempt to rescue her dad, one of the movie’s starring set pieces, was shot to look like a first person video game on purpose and while Millar’s comic was a typically nihilistic take on super heroes gone real, the movie adaptation took the time to explore the family dynamics that the comic introduced accidentally. It elevated the quality of the end-product considerably and in the end wound up producing a picture that was more than it should have been. If you’re like me and you’re a little tired of high-gloss comics-to-movies, Kick-Ass was Matthew Vaughn’s boot in the sack to all of those blockbusters. It was decades before the comic book medium grew up with the people reading the comics. More pictures like Kick-Ass means that the movie versions will age quicker.

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