And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Predators (2010)

Robert Rodriquez earned the deserved love of millions by sacrificing his own precious bodily fluids to make his first film, back in ’92 (when we were still trapped in a room without a view). Ever since, he’s become a one-man production studio, which is apparently all you need to do to win the label of “outlaw” in modern, mainstream Hollywood circles. Rodriquez is now the Quentin Tarantino of Spanish-flavored gangster films: rich and powerful enough to do more-or-less whatever he wants to do, so long as “whatever he wants” involves flogging the corpse of El mariachi. Or From Dusk Till Dawn. Or Spy Kids.

But that’ll be Machette. In tonight’s case, Rodriquez has flogged the corpse of a film he so obviously loves…almost as much as I…though I suspect for completely different reasons. He’s better at it than the army of inarticulate hacks who took a pair of sheers and some gaffer’s tape to the Aliens vs. Predator films. Whatever else you can say about the man, Rodriquez has the Tarantino Eye for Unflappable Talent. Things could’ve (and have) been much worse…but that feels like the faint praise it used to be before I realized how fucked and shitty things really are. (The films of Michael Bay will certainly do that to you.) {More}



King Kong (2005)

"Humph...don't floss much, do ya?"I have issues with King Kong. A lot of issues.

Forget for a moment that the original Kong was a blatantly racist polemic masquerading as a pulp fantasy-adventure yarn. Forget that no one is willing to even countenance this contention, much less discuss it in a calm, rational manner (perhaps during a double feature: Kong and 1916’s Birth of a Nation). Forget that no one, anywhere, appears willing to question this movie’s informed superiority. Why criticize when you can parrot over seventy years of generalized praise? Hell, its a classic, right? Must be: it came out before 1970.

“The classic film will always be the classic film,” said director Peter Jackson in a recent magazine interview (citation lost thanks to sleep deprivation). He might’ve added, “After all, it’s a classic!” just to drive the stake right through the heart of his point. The slavish worship Kong inspires in its fans honestly sickens me sometimes. (I’m sure this is how Star Wars and Trek partisans feel about each other.) Because what is Kong, really? It’s story, constructed of reliable pulp staples, is hardly revolutionary. Hell, it’s the kind of tale chain smoking writers of the age turned out in their sleep…or their alcohol induced comas. The down-on-her-luck damsel gets a one-in-a-life-time chance to go to an uncharted island and become a monkey’s plaything…or a dinosaur’s bite-sized snack. The damsel, once distressed, needs the quick thinking of a square jawed man to save her bloomer-wearing ass. He does, the movie ends. {More}