And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


2012 (2009)
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10,000 B.C. (2008)
April 13, 2009, 6:36 am
Filed under: Movies, Reviews | Tags: , ,

Three guesses which one's the hero.This was one of those movies, purposely not screened for the critics in advance of its release last year. The movie industry is a vain, attention-hungry animal, and it never shies from the media spotlight without good reason. Occasionally a movie comes along so hobbled, so hackneyed, screening it for criticism becomes an open solicitation for capital-T, Trouble.

10,000 B.C. so desperately wants to join the ranks of films like One Million Years B.C. and Prehistoric Women it forgets why such movies sucked, committing many of the same mistakes. Watching it is the cinematic equivalent of sitting trapped behind two-way glass as a retarded child stumbles through a room full of open bear traps. One may shout, “No!” all one wants, to no avail. One will just loose one’s voice. {More}



Universal Soldier (1992)

Duh...When the wretched idiocies and injustices of modern life pile upon you, don’t go on a killing spree: find a suitable target for your aggression. Something that can’t defend itself. Something that can’t fight back. Something that doesn’t break as easily as, say, puppies or children. Me, I review movies. The ultimate target. Nothing gets your ego big and hard like taking a shameless hack’s hatchet to something hundreds of other people poured their hearts and souls into.

Tonight’s example: Universal Soldier. You all remember this movie…don’t you…? Good. Neither did I. Universal Soldier is like the freeloading uncle no one talks about, since that time he tried to clean out the bank accounts. It may be the film most directly responsible for Roland Emmerich’s continued career. Yet no one shows this flick on cable anymore. The networks refuse to touch it. Crummy, straight-to-video sequels have failed to revive it and all of its stars have fallen…some harder than others.

To understand why, consider the prologue set in Vietnam. Private Luc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) takes time out from dodging mortars to encounter Sergeant Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), who’s gone all Heart of Darkness on us. Even made himself a necklace of human ears to bring that out psychopathic shine in his Dolph Lundgren-y eyes. Luc, upright, moral, all-American that he is, steps between Scott and the few surviving villagers. Scott and Luc kill each other in a true blue Good vs. Evil blood bath, and along comes The Military to cover it all up. Naturally. Another Tuesday in Vietnam in the seventies. {More}



Stargate (1994)

Pretty...If you have Showtime, you know the basics of Stargate. But just in case you don’t…After a brief prologue set in 8,000 B.c., we open in 1928. A team of archeologists working in Egypt uncover huge burial stones, ornately-carved with untranslatable hieroglyphs. And under the stones, they find something even more ornate and interesting…

Fast forwarding to the ’90s, we meet Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader), who holds a few…unpopular theories regarding the Great Pyramid of Giza, mostly concerning how the Pharaohs of the fourth dynasty did not and could not possibly have built it. This thesis is bold enough to win Dr. Jackson the ostracism of his peers. Want to meet a close-minded person? Talk to a scientist. Thankfully, before he’s tossed into the rainy, New York streets, Dr. Jackson gets a super-secret job offer from the Air Force: fly out to NORAD and translate a bunch of untranslatable hieroglyphs someone apparently carved into a gigantic, 10,000 year-old burial stone, discovered in Egypt back in the 20s. {More}



Independence Day (1996)
January 29, 1999, 12:29 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

"Maybe we shouldn't've crossed Newt that last time..."Roger Ebert called this “an inheritor of the 1950s flying saucer genre”…though, for the life of me, I can only think of two films that match Independence Day‘s sheer destructive gluttony. The mid-90s will go down in history as a period shamefully infested with big-budget disaster orgies, horror pornography for middle Americans too chicken at watch real horror films.

And if ID4 has a more proximate progenitor, it is the disaster movies of the 70s, which carved this genre niche after the collapse of the studio system led to a collapse of the Epic. All-star casts stopped playing mythological heroes from various Western holy texts and began acting out multiple plot-threads as…normal people. One (or two, or three, or a whole bunch) of us. We began to appear in epic tales of survival against long odds and various plot contrivances…for, like any genre, the disaster flick soon found itself hedged in by its own, flawed, internal logic. {More}



Independence Day (1996)

"Maybe we shouldn't've crossed Newt that last time..."Roger Ebert called this “an inheritor of the 1950s flying saucer genre”…though, for the life of me, I can only think of two films that match Independence Day‘s sheer destructive gluttony. The mid-90s will go down in history as a period shamefully infested with big-budget disaster orgies, horror pornography for middle Americans too chicken at watch real horror films.

And if ID4 has a more proximate progenitor, it is the disaster movies of the 70s, which carved this genre niche after the collapse of the studio system led to a collapse of the Epic. All-star casts stopped playing mythological heroes from various Western holy texts and began acting out multiple plot-threads as…normal people. One (or two, or three, or a whole bunch) of us. We began to appear in epic tales of survival against long odds and various plot contrivances…for, like any genre, the disaster flick soon found itself hedged in by its own, flawed, internal logic. {More}