Movie Review: Cage is Uncaged and Unhinged for “Mom and Dad”

Mom1

You could cast other actors. ut if the role you’re filling calls for a coiled-spring of psychosis, generating dread as we know this guy is going to awaken one day, having dozed off watching porn on his work computer, and go on a killing spree, why would anybody look further than Nicolas Cage?

He’s the second most affordable Oscar winner these days (after Cuba Gooding Jr.). And if anybody’s screen persona screams twitchy, ranting, Trans-Am wrecking/Reciprocating Saw whacking spree slaughtering ill-mannered teens that they’ve raised, it’s an uncaged Cage.

Maybe there are actors who could have made this fusion of “The Purge” and “Living Dead” titled “Mom and Dad” funnier than Nicolas Cage. But Brian “Crank” Taylor knows a thing about gonzo, violent and hilarious. And so does that “Kick Ass” bug-eater, Mr Cage.

“Mom and Dad” is a jaw-dropping horror farce about American parents, waking up nationwide (It seems to have something to do with static, which is what your TV did pre-HD) and murdering their kids.

In quick, broad strokes basically focusing on one family headed by Selma Blair (as scary as those bangs suggest) and Cage, we’re reminded that today’s kids may have it coming. Indulged, rude, electronically independent and out of control on a cellular and cell-phone level, they’re labeled narcissistic little monsters because sometimes the label fits.

Carly (Anne Winters of TV’s “13 Reasons Why”) is a rude, profane and self-absorbed high school sophomore who keeps her school uniform skirt too short and her temper shorter. She steals from her parents, ignores them in favor of social media and is planning on something sexual with her forbidden beau, the upper-classman Damon (Robert T. Cunningham).

The stealing? It’s so her out-of-control pal Riley (Olivia Crocicchia) can score some Molly for them.

Younger brother Josh (Zackary Arthur) is Dad’s little man. The movie’s first big laugh is Cage charging in on the boy for an enrage…tickle fight.

Then, one school day, kids are called out of class, one by one. They’re greeted by a deranged mob of parents, screaming for them on the other side of the gate. A couple answer their parents’ summons. One is jabbed to death with car keys, another suffocated with a garbage bag, a third impaled by a yardage marker on the football field.

This “Purge” of those we’ve given birth to? It’s on.

Carly and Riley make their getaway, with Carly freaking out over what’s happening — turning on the TV to news crawls of “”Terror Attack or Mass Hysteria?”

Parents are warned, by radio, “Do NOT go near your children!”

Which they ignore. Carly, Josh and Damon try to survive the slaughter. Their parents seem to have no control over these deep impulses, though flashbacks do tell them (and us) how they’ve doted on these kids, no matter how big their respective childhood mistakes.

Cause and effect, we wonder? That, and maybe a certain bitterness about the lives that were lost when new life was brought into a family.

“I used to be Brent. You used to be Kendall. And now we’re just…Mom and Dad.”

Taylor treats us to a series of show-stopping scenes — a hospital childbirth  that climaxes with the new mother trying to murder her newborn babe, a grim glimpse of new fathers, staring through the window of the hospital nursery, longing to “get at” their children.

“Mom and Dad” (opening in limited release and VOD Jan 19) is peppered with tasty, nasty lines. The teacher in Kendall’s Zumba class is a player.

“He’s making his way through that class like stomach flu!”

TV quack Dr. Oz tries to explain away the crisis. And the third act of this brisk little nightmare? It features the dazzling arrival of Lance Henriksen.

The performances are somewhat uneven — young Josh (Arthur) is the only character to exhibit genuine terror. The climactic struggle is packed into the suburban family home, much like “The Purge.” a

It’s not ambitious and not particularly deep. It’s all about the one-liners, with Dad Brent and Mom Kendall (“That’s not even a REAL NAME!”) breaking out their trusty reciprocating saw, “It’s a SAW ALL. It saws ALL!”

But “Mom and Dad” is a reminder of how much gonzo fun a B-movie can be, how hilarious “Crank” was and what a hoot Nicolas Cage — who makes almost entirely B, C and D movies these days — is when he’s uncaged and unhinged.

2half-star6

MPAA Rating: R for disturbing horror violence, language throughout, some sexual content/nudity and teen drug use

Cast: Selma Blair, Nicolas Cage, Anne Winters, Lance Henriksen, Olivia Crocicchia

Credits:Written and directed by Brian Taylor. A Momentum/eOne release.

Running time: 1:24

Advertisements
Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father” on Netflix

first

It takes little away from “First They Killed My Father,” a remembrance of the Cambodian civil war and the Khmer Rouge genocide that followed, to say it’s too polished.

The grim narrative, a child’s-eye-view of war that could just as easily been set in Iraq, Syria, Bosnia during the ’90s or Nigeria today, and its moving finale stand on their own, powerful statements by themselves.

It’s just that movie-star turned director Angelina Jolie is a bit too enamored of vast panorama shots created with drones and keeping her mostly under-age cast clean, well-fed and front-and-center in the story.

We meet no villains, develop no appreciation of the swirling forces and circumstances that led to the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge. We just experience the confusion and shock of those too young to be as terrified as we are for the.

So the film, now on Netflix, that summons up memories of “The Killing Fields” and the child-soldier drama “Beasts of No Nation” suffers by comparison to those films. The grit, the gruesome horrors of being trapped in a country cut off from the civilized world, enslaved and just waiting for the moment when their captors discovered the family’s father was a captain in the old Cambodian army, are doled out in small doses. It robs the story of some of its power in the process.

“First They Killed My Father” is the memoirs of Loung Ung, a family friend of Jolie’s. Loung was just six when the U.S., which had been secretly bombing Cambodia, occupying parts of it to stem to flow of North Vietnamese troops into South Vietnam, suddenly pulled out.

Her family — seven siblings and their parents (played by Phoeung KompheakSveng Socheata) — had to abandon middle class comforts when the Khmer Rouge (Red “Khmer” or Cambodian people, who wore red scarves as their uniform) took over. They were instant refugees, forced to flee the city on the new regime’s orders. It was all part of a plan to strip the country of Western influences and force it back into a more primitive, plebian state.

This genocidal leadership was most memorably described as “Cambodian rednecks,” uncultured but Communist armed rural folk resentful of the educated and professional classes, hellbent on making Cambodia Great Again by murdering those they resented and making the country an agricultural collective.

Loung, played by  Sareum Srey Moch, is mostly a passive witness to all this, the repeated robberies of what few possessions her brave-faced parents as they drive, then march, then ride in a relative’s ox-cart into rural exile.

And that’s just the beginning of the nightmare. More marches, re-education camps and eventually child-soldier training awaits her, as she and her family are threatened, harangued and starved in the middle of a brainwashing that demands that they “renounce all personal property,” “Angkor” (the new regime) “is your family now. We are all equal.”

But as we learned in “Animal Farm,” some pigs are more equal than others. If you dare to eat more than the bare sustenance your overseers provide, stealing the rice and vegetables you’re laboring to grow, beatings, humiliation and even death await.

Loung clings to her family, and keeps her fear in check (her dreams and nightmares are about food), except for those moments when she overhears despairing, whispered conversations between the adults. As bad as things are, eating bugs and all, they’re sure to get worse.

first2

If you remember “The Killing Fields,” you know the arc of history that these children rely on to survive. Yes, they’re indoctrinated into the makeshift army, and yes, salvation could only come from defeat. The Vietnamese invade and the Khmer Rouge learn why one shouldn’t take a country back in time when your neighbors are armed with the latest hardware from the current century.

The adults are the real actors here, the children only required to act blank-faced with shock, and occasionally shed tears. The cast rarely has the stressed, emaciated look of genuine survivors (“The Killing Fields” managed that), partly because Jolie rarely lets the camera roll on dirty faces, even when they’re digging ditches and planting rice paddies.

There’s too much aerial footage capturing the scale of the tragedy, a sea of refugees fleeing Phnom Penh, armies of the newly-enslaved working the fields.

But Jolie deserves praise for getting this EveryWar reminder onto Netflix, highlighting the horrific human cost of land mines in war zones once the war is over. And if the first casualty of war, as a World War I era senator famously said, is truth, the second surely must be childhood.

2half-star6

MPAA Rating: TV-MA, violent, gore

Cast:Sareum Srey MochPhoeung KompheakSveng Socheata

Credits:Directed by Angelina Jolie, script by Loung Ung and Angelina Jolie, based on Ung’s memoir. A Netflix release.

Running time: 2:16

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Box Office: “Jedi” Headed for $208, “Ferdinand” bombs

box1

A $97 million Friday followed a $45 million Thursday means that “The Last Jedi” seems headed towards a $208-212 million opening weekend, right smack on the lower end of pre-release projections.

Fox, once again releasing a pricey cartoon opposite a “Star Wars” film (They used to release those, remember?), is paying a steep price. “Ferdinand,” which has its charms and generally good reviews, is opening at a deathly $12 million. That’s a disaster. 

In limited release, “I, Tonya” is winning the per-screen average, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is going to need awards season help to get back into the top ten (“The Disaster Artist” is seventh, “Lady Bird” is still tenth), and “Call Me By My Name” is doing quite well in a handful of cities.

Meanwhile, “Wonder,” a feel-good sleeper with Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson on the bill, will clear the $108 million mark.

And the best movie to taking the older relatives to over the holidays? “Murder on the Orient Express” will clear $100 million before next weekend.

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Netflix Preview: The Winter of Jack Black’s Comeback continues with “The Polka King”

It’s got financial chicanery, Vanessa Bayer and Jason Schwartzman and polka music — lots of oom-pah-pah.

And Jack Black, whose quote may go up if “Jumanji” hits it big next week.

Jan 12., you will worship “The Polka King.”

 

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: Woody Waddles off into the Sunset with “Wonder Wheel”

Wheel1

So here’s where we are with regards to Woody Allen.

You’ve got the black screen, the white credits in what looks like Clarendon font.

There’s the scratchy record playing classic jazz, The Mills Brothers, in this case.

A “Who’s Who” blend of the hot and the offbeat make up the cast.

The words coming out of their mouths don’t sound like human conversation. Theatrical. A little Tennessee Williams, a lot Eugene O’Neill.

“I’ve become CONSUMED with jealousy!”

Long before the Allen surrogate fesses up to an O’Neill obsession, we’ve guessed that’s where he’s going with his latest, “Wonder Wheel.” Sure, there’s a disturbed, freckled redheaded kid who lives in the middle of the Coney Island amusement park, a favorite bit of fake Allen autobiography. But the kid is a tweenage pyromaniac, his mother’s pushing 40, an unhappy actress “playing the part” of a waitress at a clam restaurant.

Her second husband is a two-fisted drunk whose mob moll daughter is on the run, and comes to stay with them.

And there’s a narrator, that pretentious Would-be Woody, playing the Lothario (a lifeguard, in this case), leading on the mother in an affair not rendered less tawdry by their banter about “Hamlet,” Chekhov and “The Ice Man Cometh, toying with the step daughter and pontificating and self-justifying in some Woody-written-variation of his infamous “the heart wants what the heart wants” press conference confession of some decades back.

“The heart has its own hieroglyphics.”

Like too many Woody movies that preceded it.

Yes, he’s Big Game hunting with “Wonder Wheel,” a love triangle melodrama set in a stunningly-recreated Coney Island of 1953. He’s aiming for O’Neill in what can only be called Weak Woody/Cut-rate Eugene kitchen sink theatrics.

Justin Timberlake is Mickey, the narrator/hunk who tumbles with Ginny (Kate Winslet) and falls for stepdaughter Carolina (Juno Temple).

And if these ladies can afford it, they should both keep cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and his lighting crew on retainer for the rest of their careers. The honeyed glow of backlit sunsets frames them in most every scene. Winslet is getting Oscar buzz for this well-acted, over-written but perfectly photographed performance, and one suspects all that buzz is mostly from the look. The movie borders on abhorrent.

Jim Belushi has the Andrew Dice Clay role, a classic O’Neill drunk, a doting father and broken man almost-redeemed by a woman who will probably break him anew.

 

wheel2

Timberlake, having the Cusack/Eisenberg/Jason Biggs role — Mickey — is given to letting a flirtatious Carolina off the hook for not having anything in common with him but good looks — “Ignorance is no sin. It just means your experience hasn’t brought you into contact with certain things.”

Winslet gets the big emotions, the big speeches describing broken dreams, broken promises and broken spirits. Yeah, she cheated on her creepy, indulged kid’s father, “a drummer whose rhythm pulsated with life.”

Unlike this stiff of a movie, whose every scene — even on the beach, under the boardwalk or on Staten Island’s Scholar’s (Chinese) Garden — feels as dusty and stagebound as that little speech.

Perhaps that’s where the future lies for the prolific and increasingly tone-deaf Allen — the New York stage. This might work better there, and would certainly confine his hit-or–miss-miss-miss-miss-miss scripts to the audience that hasn’t stopped adoring him, doddering director that he’s become, pedophilia accusations be damned.

1half-star

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for thematic content including some sexuality, language and smoking

Cast: Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple, Jim Belushi

Credits:Written and directed by Woody Allen. An Amazon Studios release.

Running time: 1:41

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Box Office: “Jedi” has huge Thursday, 20% BELOW “Force Awakens,” though

jedi1No, the years of pent-up demand for another “Star Wars” film aren’t there. “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” have opened in the past two years.

And this December weekend promises to be perhaps the second biggest opening weekend for a holiday release — ever. Projections are still in the $210-220 range. 

Thursday night is how these pictures kick-start their big weekends, and “The Last Jedi” appears to have edged past the biggest Harry Potter opening ($43.5, for “Deathly Hallows Part 2”) for second best all time.

Saturday is when parents and families will flock to theaters, and those numbers could be epic. But “Force Awakens” blew up with a $57 million opening night (Thursday evening showings). “The Last Jedi” appears to have hit $45.  That’s 22% below “Force.”

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: “Humor Me”

humo

In “Humor Me,” star Jemaine Clement plays a once-successful playwright whose inability to finish his latest play costs him his marriage and conceivably, his career.

Nate is getting the “Don’t let yourself become irrelevant” lecture. Because he’s about to.

Art consultant Nirit (Maria Dizzia) has just taken their son and run off with a French billionaire. She’s not paying his rent any more. Fours years of never-finding-an-ending for a play he’s actually taken to rehearsals is enough for her. And for his producer (Bebe Neuwirth).

There’s nothing for it but to move in with Dad. In a retirement community. In New Jersey.

The good news? Dad is played by Elliott Gould, given his best role in decades. Bob is a shtick-slinging joke teller with an endless supply of “Zimmerman” jokes.

“So Zimmerman, just an ordinary guy, is in a car wreck.” The stories, presented in black and white flashbacks (Joey Slotnick is the hapless Zimmerman), crack up Bob’s pals at the senior center. Nate? He just cringes.

Bob wastes little time being defensive — “SOME people think I’m funny.” Look, he says, “Life’s going to happen, son, whether you smile or not.”

And that’s all writer-director Sam Hoffman’s little comedy is about. It’s a character study in shades of mopy, with the often-hilarious Clement dialing down his goofiness and making himself the foil for the old farts around him. Because those farts are funny.

Gould’s Bob power-walks, has a near live-in girlfriend and a lot of too-basic ideas for getting Nate out of his funk. Be productive, he says. He makes a list of household repairs and chores, sets him up in a custodial job. Ivy League drama degree or not, Nate’s going to snap out of his funk.

Of course there’s one “job” that’s perfect, and that’s taking over as director of a senior ladies production of “The Mikado.” Actually, there are just three ladies. Actually, all they want to do is a funny version of the “Three Little Maids” song. Actually, one of them is on a walker and simply refuses to sing.

But Dee (Annie Potts, adorable as ever) is game. Helen (Le Clanché du Rand) is a grand old lady of the arts convinced she has a shot with Nate. And Dee’s daughter (singer/writer Ingrid Michaelson), the piano accompanist, is cute and sassy and we think we know where that’s going.

Clement suffers amusingly, Gould remains a comic force of nature and Potts tickles as Dee and, in character, as Yum-Yum — Or was it Peep-Bo or Pitti Sing? Gilbert and Sullivan is hard to keep straight. Or keep a straight face through.

“Humor Me” is never much more than a comfort food comedy — funny people, given mildly funny situations and just enough funny things to say, find a few laughs and a lot of grins. And Clement, his years of daft character turns carried in his every action, is funny in his bones — even when he’s playing the straight man.

2half-star6

MPAA Rating: unrated, adult themes

Cast: Jemaine Clement, Elliott Gould, Ingrid Michaelson, Annie Potts, Bebe Neuwirth, Joey Slotnick

Credits: Written and directed by Sam Hoffman. A Shout! Factory release.

Running time: 1:33

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

So how much will “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” earn on opening weekend?

jedi2.png

Will “The Last Jedi” open over $200 million this weekend? It’s the last blockbuster of the year, but will it bust the block? Box Office Guru figures $212 million, maybe $700 million during its entire US run.

Box  Office Mojo opines that $220 is within reach.

Reviews has been absurdly generous, a form of cheerleading for a movie audience that hasn’t made the year a banner one for ticket sales. Check out Metacritic.  Then go to Rotten Tomatoes.

Then ask yourself, “Did ‘It,’ ‘Logan,’ ‘Thor,’ ‘Alien Covenant,’ or ‘Wonder Woman’ make many — or any — Top Ten Lists?” They weren’t all that, and “Last Jedi” isn’t all that. And their reviews were just as over-the-top, swooning, you name it.

I’d call “Jedi” another case of “rating” inflation. The editor of  Variety thinks too many critics are scared to pan a Big Studio picture the public is dying to adore. I don’t disagree with that, either.

gaydos

But not mine. The general public starts seeing it right now. What’s everybody think? Am I just an outlier, or is this another Disney/Lucasfilm letdown?

Fox’s “Ferdinand” also opens this weekend. As the “Star Wars” movies have been trending younger (in the “Force Awakens” continuum, anyway), it’s not like the animated adaptation of the story of “Ferdinand the Bull” will be all alone as a new “kids” or “family” film this weekend. But it should do well. Everybody’s seen “Coco,” after all. And it’s not bad. Lost me for the middle acts (sloooow). But still…

Guru figures it’ll only manage $15 million (disastrous). Box Office Mojo is figuring $17 million. Also terrible news. The reviews for this one are pretty good, too. Surely it’ll clear $23-25.

 

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Zeitgeisty “Oceans 8” poster predicts 2018 as the REAL “Year of the Woman”

Oscar winners Bullock, Blanchett and Hathaway, with Rihanna, Mindy Kaling. Sarah Paulson, “Awkwafina” and…Helena Bonham Carter in the Elliott Gould role?

As the cast list includes Olivia Munn, Jatie Holmes, Dakota Fanning, Hailey Baldwin, Kylie Jenner, James Corden and Kim Kardashian…well, this could go either way. A few of those names only Tyler Perry would dare cast.

oceans

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

The Worst Films of 2017

The conversation among movie lovers and fellow critics (Sometimes those do overlap, ahem.) at this time of year turns towards “best lists” and “Who or what will be nominated for an Oscar?”

And from there, the talk descends to that one overarching question, “What kind of movie year was it?”

The box office was in free fall for much of 2017, and just judging from online chatter,  debate and website traffic, there weren’t a lot of movies people were worked up over for more than a week or three — two weeks before release, then a week after.

It was the Year of the Over-Rated, with hyped hooey from “Alien Covenant” to “It” to “The Last Jedi” earning rapturous reviews, or at least high Tomatometer marks (if far more measured Metacritic scores). Shocking how many of those breathlessly endorsed “must see” and “event of the spring/summer/fall” pictures are simply forgotten now, out of the conversation for “year’s best.” Grade inflation at its worst, but more on that in another post.

And it was a year of abominations. 

But memory is fickle, and it’s only through browsing the hundreds of reviews I’ve filed this year that one gets a sense of the debacle unleashed on cinemas, Netflix, Youtube and Direct Cinema. What a shower of rhymes-with-fit.

So what follows is a compendium of the worst of 2017 at the movies. You have my pity if you wasted ticket money on more than a couple of those.

And full disclosure, here. I have not seen “Fathers Figures.” Yet.

emo2

Cartoon Crap

Every studio wants a piece of that weekend parents-with-kids business. And while the cynical practice of converting every “toon” to 3D so as to gouge parents over ticket prices has faded, a lot of forgettable junk is still being shoved out in the name of “family entertainment.”

I attribute the sinking quality to a serious shortage of animation gag writers. Nobody knows how to do it anymore. Even “Coco,” the best kids’ cartoon of the year, is a little thin on the sight gags.

“The Emoji Movie” — A Roe vs. Wade cartoon, an absolute abortion, from conception to laugh-free execution.

“Cars 3” — When Disney/Pixar announced John Lasseter was being sent to the woodshed, I was sure it was over his obscene insistence on sequeling this bad idea for a movie, great pitch for selling toys. Oh. It was just for sexual harassment.

“The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature” — Not a cute idea or a laugh in it.

“Rock Dog” — How do you say, “There’s a sucker born every minute” in Chinese? Because a lot of bad movies were produced by hustlers suckering Chinese investors into “a sure thing.” This is just the worst of them.

“Smurfs: The Lost Village” — At least nobody showed up for it.

“The My Little Pony Movie” — Yeah, “Bronies,” I’m coming for you.

The Horror, the Horror

“Aaron’s Blood” — We’re still doing the vampire thing?

“Friend Request” — Social media will kill you. Again.

“The Belko Experiment” — The most unpleasant “Ten Little Indians” (stick a crowd in a confined space, kill them off) variation in years. Ugh.

“Rings” — Ah, let it go already. Once you’ve seen one hairy girl crawl across the ceiling…

dark2

Big Budget, and Bad

“The Dark Tower” — This is what happens when you let fanboys convince you that this collection of Stephen King titles simply MUST be made into a movie. Years and different studios, different directors and a different cast, and this is what they got out of it. Stephen King’s “Moment,” when this movie came out, the remake of “It” followed it (a smash) and “Mr. Mercedes” hit TV, seems spent.

“The Great Wall” — Chinese agitprop, unleashed by Universal. At least Matt Damon and U got paid for this mess, a ludicrous period piece packed with “The Chinese Way”  propaganda. Again, nothing Hollywood likes better than gullible, new money coming to town. This time it’s Chinese cash.

“The Space Between Us” — Sappiest young love weeper of the year.

Make It Stop

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” — They took a bloody-minded, tone-deaf spy spoof and made it worse. Golden “Circle” was it? Golden “something” going down the drain.

“Transformers: The Last Night”“Transformers: The Last Night” — Mark Wahlberg is burning through his brand faster than you can say, “What’s Will Ferrell doing next month?”

“Fifty Shades Darker” — Fortunately, the acting is so bad and the sex so dull and sterile that none of the little old ladies who flock to these fiascoes are attempting the bondage, S & M games, etc. depicted here. Or are they?

No Seriously, Stop

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” — Action Lady Needs One More Easy Paycheck, but let’s move these bombs to January and forget them.

“Underworld:  Blood Wars” — Ditto.

peter

Indie Awfulness

“Mike Boy” –– If you think “The Room” was the worst, most delusional I-financed-this-myself movie ever, Netflix or Youtube this. I dare you. And yes, this is it, the WORST film of 2017.

“A Family Man” — If this hadn’t been terrible, it could have rescued Gerard Butler from a life of “Outhouse Down” and “Geostorm” sequels.

“Alina” — What was this one again? Oh, right. Russian immigrant drama, “trite” and “melodramatic” and “badly-acted” are putting it mildly.

“Song to Song” — You can blame recent years of crummy Terence Malick “art” mopes on critics, who endorsed that POS “Tree of Life” and let him think his POS didn’t stink. His head’s so far up his arse these days he might actually be smelling a clue.

“Birth of the Dragon” — If you don’t have the money for a vigorous re-write, a decent cast and a better director, leave Bruce Lee in his damned grave.

“Liza Liza, Skies are Grey” — Coming of age in the ’60s was never this dull.

“Battle Scars” — A lot of hucksters and con-artists play the “It’s for the VETERANS” card. Some get elected president. Others make bad movies about PTSD.

“Black Rose” — Absolutely awful “Red Heat” riff. Some of the worst acting of the year is in this one. You’d never know a Russian (Stanlisvsky) invented “The Method.”

“Diamond Cartel” — I’m relieved and forever grateful the Academy gave Peter O’Toole an honorary Oscar while he was still living. It’d be a shame if he was remembered for this, his last and worst film. If only they’d done it for, say, Peter Sellers, too.

“Pray For Rain” — A right wing oil tycoon financed this torpid drama, in which environmentalists are the cynical, nasty villains responsible for California’s drought and water shortage. And not big polluter oil tycoons. Skip the movie, boycott Lucas Oil.

Foreign Fiasco

“Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back”  — Bad enough to give you acid flashbacks if you duck into it say a half hour after the opening credits. As I did. And I never did acid. Sitting through it again didn’t make it any more sensible.

 

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | 3 Comments