Posts Tagged ‘martial arts’

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City of Lights (and Glocks): “3 Days to Kill”

March 18, 2014

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This is a toughie. No, not because I’m conflicted about my feelings toward 3 Days to Kill—I pretty much hated it, and at one point was so bored I tried to file my income taxes on my iPhone during the middle third of the movie (word to wise: don’t ever try this…you fat-finger one key and the next thing you know the IRS wants actual proof of the elephant preserve you’re claiming as  a write-off). No, 3 Days to Kill is a toughie, because I can’t figure out what the hell anyone was doing with this movie? Like, what kind of movie were they making? What kind did they think they were making? Why did they make this? And why, when they saw the final result did they not just destroy it with fire and say that the final cut was destroyed by rampaging elephants who escaped from a preserve? That last one would actually be very helpful for me, if anyone wants to, you know, sign an affidavit to that effect. Anyway, let’s talk about this movie.
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Movie bad! “I, Frankenstein”

January 28, 2014

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Probably the best way to watch I, Frankenstein  is after huffing a zeppelin-worth of spray paint. It won’t make the movie any better, or the dialogue sound like it was written by professionals and not, say ADD-afflicted spider monkeys, but you’ll care about it less.
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Criminally Overlooked: “47 Ronin”

December 29, 2013

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Wait, what is this? An entry in the “Criminally Overlooked” category that’s not only still in theaters, but has only been released this week? What madness is this, you’d be forgiven for asking. Now, I want you to be calm and stay with me here. Doubtless, you’re probably feeling some anxiety and confusion, but before you go breaking open the emergency stockpile of assault rifles you started hoarding when it was clear Obama was going to win the election, be assured I have a good reason for this. By all accounts, 47 Ronin has not only lost the holiday weekend, but has left the field, gone home and is now drinking cheap beer and weeping. How bad is it? Well, a 175 million dollar movie has barely grossed 10 mil at the time of this writing. And that’s really too bad, since 47 Ronin is actually a nice little ($175,000,000) adventure movie. Hey, and Keanu Reeves isn’t even in it that much. Yay!
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Going off the rails: “Snowpiercer”

December 10, 2013

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If you dislike winter as much as I do—heralding as I do from a place that transforms into a frozen wasteland seven month out of the year where the wind howls like a soul in purgatory over a landscape of desolate snowdrifts—then the environmental cataclysm that forms the backdrop of the quirky new sci-fi parable Snowpiercer will likely strike a chord. If you’re one of those fortunate people who’ve never experienced sensation of feeling your hair freeze or don’t understand why you’d need to let your car run for a half an hour before driving it into the unforgiving elements…well, then Snowpiercer’s tale of social injustice will probably hook you. Because no matter what climate you were brought up in, no one wants a schoolmarmish Tilda Swinton lecturing you day in and day out.
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They came for Matt Damon’s brain! “Elysium”

September 14, 2013

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Elysium is the latest sci-fi adventure-cum-social commentary by Neill Blomkamp and his follow-up to the surprise hit District 9. Even more than that movie, Elysium is shot through with a healthy dose of indignation, and points an accusing finger not simply at a racist social system (now defunct), but at a world that tolerates gross inequality. You know, before we get to the “blowing shit up” parts. Now, with two major releases under his belt, it’s safe to say that Blomkamp has a keen imagination for world-building and creating sci-fi tales that move out naturally from our world. And then setting loose killer robots to blow it all up.
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The movie that predicted the ’90s: “I Come in Peace”

September 12, 2013

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Here is a little-seen gem of an action movie. 1990’s I Come in Peace (released internationally as Dark Angel) didn’t make much of a splash when it was released in theaters (it was actually released in theaters—the kind with seats and popcorn an everything—I shit you not), but it’s enjoyed a well-earned re-visiting in recent years. The Bad Movie Fiends podcasters rated it a “5 Jox” movie (that’s good), and after falling off the map after it’s VHS incarnation, has even gotten a Blu-Ray release (probably because of the BMFCasters full-throated endorsement—I mean, I can’t think of any other reason for it). While I Come in Peace may have been released at the cusp of the decade, but in many ways it foresaw the dominant trends in society and film that would dominate for a good part of the decade. Are you old enough to remember the ‘90s? No? Then trust me; everything I say is totally true.
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In the ’90s, John Woo came to Hollywood…and then had to work with Jean-Claude Van Damme: “Hard Target”

September 5, 2013

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Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo pretty much defined a genre and re-defined action movies on a global scale. He brought an almost heretical stylization to action sequences that went beyond Sam Peckinpah’s loving slow motion and straight into semi-deification of the human form in motion. He made films that were legitimately great and that transcended cultural and language barriers.  Naturally, the logical next move was to move to Hollywood, where surely the greatness of a non-white, non-American would be recognized and prized, and where directors held complete sway over a film, never challenged by producers or stars, and where his pure, undistilled vision could be put on screen…(cough). And then, as I like to imagine it, he had a meeting with a studio exec that went more or less like the climax of Crank 2: High Voltage, in which a head in a jar just galumphs “Dorp…dorp..dorp…” and then gives him Jean-Claude Van Damme’s phone number.
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