A gangster film with big names (Sean Penn anyone?), beautiful detail, and genre-solid writing that is a bit like the popcorn you should have ready when you plop down to watch it: it’s good enough, goes down easy, and when it’s over you probably won’t remember having consumed it. This is pure pulp and all the better for it. How was this a total flop?
Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear
If you could somehow edit out all the cheesy exposition and lovey dovey flashbacks and whittle this film down to the action sequences, you’d have something like last year’s The Raid. As it stands, what you have is a cringe worthy (and somewhat racist) love story periodically ruining a fantastic action film full of technical and mind-blowingly athletic fight sequences.
A B-movie, post-apocalyptic shoot-em-up that plays directly to the crowd that likes those sorts of things, Bounty Hunter has over the top action, an ass kicking vixen in a mustang, ridiculous humor, and blood everywhere.
FDR American Badass!
This movie manages to pull a lot of legitimate laughs from a pretty stupid premise: FDR is in the wheelchair owing to a werewolf attack, and now he’s out for revenge taking on the werewolf mafia and, of course, the Third Reich (also werewolves). It’s full of great gags, and really rises above the so bad it’s good genre that I assumed it would fall into.
Trance – Danny Boyle / Passion – Brian DePalma
Two psychological thrillers that are better than they initially appear to be, but fall short of being anywhere near top-tier: DePalma’s Passion has terrible performances, but a unique ballet/murder split screen juxtaposition is one of the director’s most adventurous editing explorations, and Trance walks sloppily along hypnotism and bank heist cliches, but is a fun little movie from a director I usually despise, Danny Boyle of Slumdog fame.
The Europa Report
Some people really loved this film. I wanted to. How cool would it be if there was this perfect hard-boiled sci-fi disaster flick the same year as Gravity won all the awards? Unfortunately, for me, The Europa Report falls short of something to write home about, but is nonetheless a very successful, low budget experiment that has some great moments of tension and a seriousness that makes it feel plausible. The ending loses some momentum, but if you like sci-fi, this is one to give a chance.
The Last Stand / Riddick
Oh boy, these are bad…. Holy god. But, you know, bad in that good way that movies with ridiculously buff meatheads in the starring role can be. The Last Stand with Arnold is like one of those movies you’d watch on TNT on Saturday afternoons in the late 90’s, with a rare Johnny Knoxville performance to appeal to the, I don’t know. Riddick, starring the ever-awful Vin Diesel, is a sci-fi CGI cluster-fuck with overly serious line delivery but a bit of weird magnetism and an economical pace that makes it hard to turn off. I definitely don’t recommend these, but for being terrible, they’re kinda ok.