Archive for the ‘Guilty Pleasures’ Category

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Guilty Pleasures: “Terminal Velocity”

February 13, 2014

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Friends, Romans, Cinephiles, lend me your ears (figuratively, of course; this is a blog). I watched Terminal Velocity with naught but the intention to roundly eviscerate it and score some cheap laughs at Charlie Sheen’s expense. This is, after all, an all-but-forgotten 1994 thriller that was all-but-forgotten by…well, a month later in 1994. It would be easy to say that this movie went splat like one of the hapless skydivers that the plot centers around, but that would imply the movie had some weight. In fact, this movie more blew away in the wind like one of those skydivers—if they were full of helium (shit, that started so good). Alas, gentle reader, I come here today not to bury Terminal Velocity, but to praise it, for this movie is utterly brainless, totally improbable, and a lot of fun.
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Guilty Pleasures: “Action Jackson”

September 28, 2012

Poor Action Jackson. It’s like the dinosaur that just keeps on scampering through the jungle, blithely ignoring the funnel of ash kicked up by the meteorite that hit yesterday. In other words, it was dead but just didn’t know it yet. By its premiere in February of 1988, we’d already had Lethal Weapon and Above the Law, and the summer would bring us Die Hard—all of which heralded the arrival of lean, wily action heroes who got by more on wit and cleverness than bulk. The era of the muscle-bound, solo action hero was over, and Carl Weathers arrived at the party too late to build his own franchise. Of course, now we can look back and appreciate it for the dumb fun that it was. What’s cool about Action Jackson? Well…
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Guilty Pleasures: “Predator 2”

September 13, 2012

I don’t understand why Predator 2 doesn’t get more respect. Okay, well, no, I do. Still, when you look at further Predator forays onto the big screen, you can’t tell me this isn’t second only to the original. Sure, you can argue that Predators is better, but I’ve already taken that movie down, besides, that movie was just a Schwarzenegger-less rehash of the original. Predator 2 is, if nothing else, an imaginative rehash of the original, transplanting the titular monster into a near-future urban hellscape and letting it wreck havoc there. Plus, there is a lot more to like. Such as:
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Guilty Pleasures: “Judge Dredd”

July 20, 2012

[For my review of the 2012 version starring Karl Urban click here]

God help me, but I love this movie.

I can’t really explain it. There’s just something comforting about this mid-‘90s slab of cheese. It’s like Taco Bell: you’re fully aware that by any objective measure it’s utterly terrible, and yet it seems to put so little effort into being good that you just think, “Eh. It’s not like it failed…” From a cinematic standpoint, it’s a nice time capsule of a curious period, when action movies were struggling to redefine themselves. The era of ‘roided-up monstrosities had pretty much ended with Terminator 2, and now both Stallone and Schwarzenegger found their stars on the wane as audiences embraced everyman heroes like Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s response would be to punch an alligator, play the Terminator again, and then go into politics. Stallone’s response was to make increasingly rococo pictures starting with Demolition Man and continuing with Judge Dredd.

Still, there’s a lot I find irresistible about this very, very bad movie. Such as…
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Guilty Pleasures: “Black Moon Rising”

April 8, 2012

For decades, two questions in particular have vexed moviegoers: 1) Has Tommy Lee Jones always been that craggy? And 2) Has he always been awesome? With Black Moon Rising, a largely-overlooked 1986 throwaway, we get the answers, and they are a resounding yes and yes. Oh sure, there have been missteps, but not here, that’s for damn sure. With Black Moon Rising we get TLJ doing what he does best—being laconic and getting into fights. But we also get car chases, a goofy heist plot, and Robert Vaughn being sinister. This movie is more dumb fun than it has any right to be. When the credits rolled, I replayed it and watched it again.
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Guilty Pleasures: “Blue Thunder”

February 6, 2012

Oh yes! Blue Thunder! Now, this is a proper movie. Sure, the plot doesn’t make any sense, but what the hell. Neither does the notion of a police helicopter that can muffle the sound of its rotors, use thermal-imaging to look through walls, employ directional mikes mounted right beneath the rotors, sport armor plating, and carry a 20mm Vulcan cannon—but we buy it. Why? Because it looks cool as hell and it blows a lot of stuff up. For a 14 year-old kid whose bedroom’s airspace was crowded with model aircraft engaged an all manner of aerial duels, this movie was like a straight shot of serotonin.  And you know what? It’s still cool as hell. Wanna know why? Oh yes you do…
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Peter Weller’s hair will keep you safe: “Leviathan”

April 20, 2011

I’d almost forgotten how much I liked Leviathan when it came out. Opening weekend in 1989, I saw this movie twice on consecutive nights—it’s just that cool (the fact that I had no life when I was 17 kind of factored into the equation, too, but I’m going to continue to forget about that now). Leviathan was part of a spate of underwater monster movies that culminated with that summer’s heavy-hitter, The Abyss—otherwise known as the moment James Cameron stopped blowing up aliens and started a love-fest with them (no one has any interspecies bam-chika-wow-wow in The Abyss, but, you know, that might have actually made it better). Unlike that movie, though, Leviathan has no lofty aspirations of ending the, um, Cold War (which was pretty close to being done, anyway). Instead it’s just content to mash up Alien and The Thing and let that be that. Sometimes a movie is wise to limit its aspirations, and if your movie centers on a mutated fish-monster, you really don’t want to be reaching for much past competence. So why do I have such a soft spot for this 22 year-old piece of junk? Let’s run them down, shall we?
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