Review: Captain America: Civil War (USA 2016)

Entertaining enough, for a lumbering behemoth that had to service over a dozen major characters and advance multiple plot threads. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Live and Let Die (UK 1973)

Is it damning to praise Live and Let Die for not being as racist as it could have been (even though it’s still pretty damn racist) because its racism seems to come from a place of profound ignorance rather than active hatefulness?  The film is a smash-up of the Bond and Blaxploitation genres, bringing in ringers like the always great Yaphet Kotto, Gloria Hendry (from Black Belt Jones and Black Caesar), and Julius Harris (so amazing as Big Papa in Hell Up in Harlem), and pitting them against Roger Moore as the lighter, sillier Bond. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Witching and Bitching (Spain 2013)

Man, I wanted to like this – I generally enjoy Alex de la Iglesia movies, and I like what he’s doing for genre – but this black comedy about a bunch of idiot criminals who wander into a town full of witches was an unpleasant chore. Rampantly misogynistic in a way that never gets tweaked, full of tedious and unpleasant characters and irredeemable ugliness. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Review:  Dragon Lord (Hong Kong 1982)

Within the two years after Dragon Lord’s release, Chan would enter into his golden age with the quadruple punch of Project A, Winners and Sinners, Wheels on Meals, and Police Story, catapulting him into superstardom and cementing his reputation as one of the greatest action stars of all time.  But Dragon Lord finds Chan in a transitional period, having established his comedic persona in counterpoint to the more serious Bruce Lee and Shaw Bros film of the previous decade but still trying to move beyond low budget period pieces. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review:  Creepy (Japan 2016)

Creepy marks something of a return to form for the one-time po-mo J-horror master Kiyoshi Kurosawa.  There was a point in the late 1990s and early 2000s when Kurosawa was one of the most exciting filmmakers working, and his every film was a cause for celebration.  Unfortunately, after an string of innovative work that included Kairo, Doppelganger, Charisma, Séance, Cure and Bright Future, Kurosawa began to languish, retreading old ground with mediocre films like Loft and Retribution, and temporarily trying on new identities with the well-received Tokyo Sonata or his oddity Beautiful New Bay Area Project. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Review: Missing in Action (USA 1984)

I like Joseph Zito, but this quickie Vietnam revenge actioner starring Chuck Norris that Cannon rushed out in time to beat Rambo: First Blood, Part II is a real stinker. The narrative is incredibly choppy, and the action scenes are largely sub-Delta Force, and the racial subtext (text) is even more offensive than that in Rambo. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Punk Vacation (USA 1990)

This movie is profoundly confused.  The filmmakers basically took all the tropes of the 60s biker film (think The Wild Angels or The Glory Stompers), and moved them into the 1980s while substituting new wave punks for the traditional leather-clad bikers – a move that creates some bizarre cognitive dissonance.

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Review: Shin Godzilla (Japan 2016)

As a Godzilla fan of the old school, I’ve always loathed the occasional American attempts at the Big G – whether the truly awful Matthew Broderick version or the decent-monster-movie-but-in-no-way-Godzilla attempt by Gareth Edwards from 2014 – but I think I’ve had the wrong idea. I should be welcoming them, because every time Hollywood farts out another pseudo-zilla, Toho responds by reinvigorating the dormant franchise and starts anew. And if Shin Godzilla, which opened late last year in limited release in New York and LA, is any example, we’re in for a very good cycle indeed. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Empire of Lust (South Korea 2015)

Trashy enough to live up to its title, Empire of Lust is a hilariously overwrought and deeply, deeply silly historical action/drama that takes itself deadly seriously. Full of preening villains, sexy femme fatales, and convoluted scheming, Empire of Lust wants to be a moving love story but is more like a Cinemax bodice ripper with a blockbuster’s budget and production values. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Hell Comes to Frogtown (USA 1988)

I watched this grotty little treat recently as a tribute to the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper. Actually, I did see about half of this on late night HBO as a misguided teen, but pretty much forgot everything. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment