Archive for the Nicolas Cage Movies Category

GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (2012)

Posted in 2012, 3-D, Cinema Knife Fights, Comic Book Movies, Demonic Possession, Demons, Just Plain Fun, Nicolas Cage Movies, Satan with tags , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by knifefighter

CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT: GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE
By L.L. Soares

(THE SCENE: An abandoned garage in the heart of Eastern Europe. L.L. SOARES sits on an old office chair before an ancient tool rack. He is holding his head and shaking uncontrollably)

LS: The Rider is coming! The Rider is coming!

(Suddenly, he transforms into DAVID HASSELHOFF, and his beat up car is transformed into the computerized super-car Kitt from THE KNIGHT RIDER (1982 – 1986). He hops inside and starts to drive)

KITT: Wrong Rider.

LS: Your voice sounds awfully familiar.

(That is because the voice of Kitt now sounds like fellow Knife Fighter MICHAEL ARRUDA)

MA: That’s because it’s me—Michael. Since I wasn’t able to review this movie with you, I had to find some other way to get into the column this week.

LS: Ahh! That makes sense.

MA: Like I said, you’re the wrong Rider. You were supposed to turn into Ghost Rider, not Knight Rider.

LS: I know. But something went wrong. I’m not far from Germany right now, and you know how the Germans love David Hasselhoff. So maybe I can use this to my advantage.

MA: Always playing the angles. Well, since I couldn’t be there, how about telling me what the movie was about.

LS: Well, this is the sequel to the 2007 movie GHOST RIDER. Which was kind of awful, in an over-the-top, silly kind of way. The new one, GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE features the return of Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze, who transforms into the demon, The Ghost Rider.

MA: Nicolas Cage. Maybe I’m glad I missed this one.

LS: You’ve liked some movies he was in! And he is kind of the King of his own subgenre of movies. You go into a Nicolas Cage movie, you know you’re in for something, er, different. It won’t always be good. But it will always be Cage.

MA: Enough of your commercial for Nicolas Cage! Tell me more about this Johnny Blaze.

LS: Well, in the first movie he became The Ghost Rider after he sold his soul to the devil to save his dying father. The devil tricked him, but not before making it so Johnny turns into the Ghost Rider at night to do his evil bidding. The Ghost Rider is like the flaming skeleton of a biker dude, riding a fiery motorcycle. Only it’s not plain old everyday fire, it’s hellfire (which I guess burns up your very soul!). And he can blast people with hellfire, and he has a neat chain he uses to fight with, too. Oh yeah, when he’s human, Johnny is a stunt motorcycle driver, kind of like Evel Knievel. Remember him?

MA: Yawns.

LS: I’ve been a fan of the character since he was first introduced in Marvel Comics back in the 70s. But I can’t say I loved the first movie. It was just way too silly in parts. Reminded me of the first FANTASTIC FOUR (2004) movie in that regard. Probably the only cool thing about the first movie is that it had Sam Neill as Cage’s mentor. This time around, things are a little different. SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is a bit darker, and grittier, and the Rider is actually a little more menacing in this one.

MA: Is he still CGI?

LS: Of course he is! EVERYTHING is CGI these days. Although I still think a mix of CGI and top-shelf make-up is the way to go, like in the remake of THE WOLFMAN (2010).

MA: No cool make-up here, I’m guessing.

LS: Nope. But he doesn’t look too bad, as far as CGI creatures go. I saw some footage of Cage actually doing some of the stunts, and they had painted a white skull face on his face in anticipation of the CGI effects later, and it looked kind of funny.

MA: So what’s this sequel about?

LS: This time around, Blaze has fled America to go half-way around the world to Romania, because he can’t control his transformations into The Rider, and he wants to protect the people he cares about back home, I guess. So he’s by himself, struggling to control his inner demon (literally), when Idris Elba shows up.

MA: Hey, I like him. He was great in PROM NIGHT (2008).

LS: Yeah, I figured you’d like that. But Elba has been in a lot better stuff than that! He was Stringer Bell on the excellent HBO series THE WIRE (2002 – 2008) and is currently starring in the BBC series LUTHER. This guy can act!

Elba’s role here though isn’t much to write home about. He plays a wine-guzzling, gun-toting priest named Moreau. Not one of his finer characterizations, but he does what he can with it. The plot is basically that some kid is being held by a secret order of priests, because the devil wants him and he’s needed for some kind of prophecy to come true. When the priests turn out to be pretty useless in a fire fight, and the bad guys chase after the kid and his mother, Moreau is the one who tries to help them, and eventually goes to Johnny Blaze, because the prophecy says that The Rider is the one who will take the child to the safety of “The Sanctuary” or some such gobbly gook.

Blaze wants nothing to do with it. As he says,  the Ghost Rider doesn’t save people, he is a danger to people, but Moreau convinces him that if he can make the Rider do this task, Moreau will lift the curse and rid Johnny Blaze of the Ghost Rider forever.

Blaze is also interested in the deal since it gives him a chance to get revenge on Roarke, the human embodiment of Satan, who tricked him in the original deal for his soul.

Following so far?

MA: Yep. I guess so.

LS: The rest of the movie is the bad guys trying to get the kid, Danny (Fergus Riordan) for some kind of ritual. Their boss is the devil, called Roarke here (in the first movie it was Peter Fonda as Mephistopheles), who is weak in human form and gets weaker as he gets older and uses his powers (a human body is too weak a vessel for his powers). At one point, Roarke transforms the lead bad guy, Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth), into an albino demon named Blackout (although he’s never called that in the movie, he’s also from the comics). Blackout is actually kind of cool here. In the comics he was just some half-demon assassin, but in this movie his touch causes immediate decay, and when he fights people, he pulls them into a strange, lightless limbo outside of time and space, which is actually kind of cool. The only similarity between the two characters is that they look a lot alike. But their powers are completely different on the page and on the screen.

So everyone’s after the kid. Ghost Rider tries to protect him, and it all culminates in a ritual so that Satan can reclaim his power on earth.

MA: So how was the acting?

LS: Well, Cage is who he is. Although he does play it straight for the most part, there are times when he really hams it up, especially in the transformation scenes. Whenever he changes into Ghost Rider, he starts laughing uncontrollably in that gaspy laugh of his. And well, if you go see enough Nicolas Cage movies, you know what to expect from the guy, and he delivers the goods here. I enjoyed his performance.

Idris Elba is good as Moreau, but he doesn’t do all that much except talk about how much he likes wine in a goofy French accent. Fergus Riordan, as the kid, is also pretty good. He isn’t too cutesy, and is an okay actor, although I have to admit, I’m getting sick of storylines where kids are some kind of magical key and have to be protected from bad guys. It’s been done to death.

The great Ciaran Hinds plays Roarke, the devil on earth (I guess he’s just a fragment of the devil, because a human body couldn’t contain the energy of the whole thing). While he’s not Peter Fonda, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I like Hinds a lot, and he’s just fine in the role.

MA: He’s been in a lot of movies lately! He’s was in THE RITE, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 and TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (all last year) and this year’s THE WOMAN IN BLACK. He certainly is keeping busy.

LS: I’ll always remember him as Julius Caesar in the HBO series, ROME (2005 – 2007). He was great in that. And yeah, he has been working a lot lately. I guess he’s in demand as a character actor, which is good news for us.

Johnny Whitworth is pretty good as Ray Carrigan. When he’s human, he’s just another annoying bad guy, but once he is transformed later in the movie into Blackout, he’s actually a lot of fun. You can tell he loves his new powers and he’s like a kid in a candy shop every time he gets to use them.

I was also a bit taken by Italian actress Violante Placido as Danny’s mother Nadya (at one point in the movie they mention she’s supposed to be a gypsy). She was beautiful (those eyes!) and I really want to see more of her. She also looked good shooting a gun! Nic Cage has been having some really hot female co-stars lately. I remember being similarly mesmerized by Amber Heard in DRIVE ANGRY (2011).

MA: So the cast is pretty good? What about the directing and the script?

LS: Well, this one was actually directed by two people, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (they go by just their last names in the credits). These guys made the CRANK movies (CRANK, 2006, and CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE, 2009) with Jason Statham and are good at giving audiences wham-bang action. SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is much more of an action movie than the first GHOST RIDER, and it actually works pretty well. There are a lot of fun scenes where “things blow up real good,” as the guys on SCTV used to say..

The script is by three writers, Scott M. Gimple (he’s also a writer for the TV series, THE WALKING DEAD), Seth Hoffman (who has been a writer for shows like PRISON BREAK and HOUSE M.D.),  and David S. Goyer, who is also credited with the story. Probably the biggest name of the three is David Goyer, who has probably written more comic book movies than anyone else, from the BLADE movies to BATMAN BEGINS (2005) to the upcoming MAN OF STEEL (2013).  That said, despite the talents of the above-mentioned writers, this isn’t exactly a masterpiece of a script. It’s okay, and it gets the job done. But it’s nothing extraordinary.

MA: So you had a good time with it? How was the 3D?

I had a good enough time. At least it had more of an edge to it than the first GHOST RIDER. And it’s fun to see Nicolas Cage in action as a demonic superhero. There are even some goofy jokes in it, like a silly one about a flamethrower. And look for the laugh-out-loud moment featuring Blackout and a Twinkie.

As for the 3D, it was another complete waste of time. As the movie went on, I completely forgot I was watching a 3D movie and there wasn’t much to remind me. I thought the 3D in Cage’s last movie, DRIVE ANGRY, was a lot better. I’m really getting sick of paying extra for bad 3D.

MA: So what kind of rating do you give it?

LS: I’d give it two and a half knives. Unless you’re a big Nicolas Cage fan, then I might bump it up to three knives. Not his best work, but a good time. It’s definitely a big improvement over the first GHOST RIDER flick, which actually had some scenes that were wince-inducing.

MA: For some reason I’m not too sad I missed it.

LS: To each their own. Hey, it’s been fun having you do the voice of my GPS.

MA: I’m not a GPS. I’m supposed to be the computerized car, Kitt. That’s a lot more fancy than any GPS.

LS: But just as annoying. Hey, I gotta go. I just pulled up in Berlin, and the chicks are going crazy. I might even sing a tune.

MA: Right. I forgot you were still Hasselhoff. Well, don’t do anything I….

(LS shuts off the engine and steps out to meet his – er, Hasselhoff’s – adoring crowd)

-END-

© Copyright 2012 by L.L. Soares

L.L. Soares gives GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE~ two and a half knives!

For fans of Nicolas Cage, there is a separate rating of three knives.

Quick Cuts: NICOLAS CAGE VS. LIAM NEESON

Posted in "So Bad They're Good" Movies, 2012, Action Movies, Campy Movies, Just Plain Fun, Liam Neeson Movies, Nicolas Cage Movies, Quick Cuts, Suspense, Thrillers with tags , , , , , , on February 17, 2012 by knifefighter

QUICK CUTS:   NICHOLAS CAGE OR LIAM NEESON?
Featuring a Panel of Cinema Knife Fighters

#  #

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Today on QUICK CUTS we ask our panel of Cinema Knife Fighters, “If you had to choose between Nicholas Cage or Liam Neeson, which one would you rather see in a movie?”

We pose this question because both these guys have carved out niches for themselves of late, starring in a string of successful action movies. And because they both make a ton of movies, they each have had their share of misfires.

 

CHALLENGER # 1 – NICOLAS CAGE

 

So, Cage or Neeson?  Does anyone have an opinion on this?

GARRETT COOK:  Hell yes, I have an opinion on this!

L.L. SOARES:  I should hope so!  You’re on the flippin panel!

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  We might as well start this one off with a bang.

L.L. SOARES:  So, what’s your opinion?

GARRETT COOK:  With the exception of his roles in DRIVE ANGRY (2011) and KICK-ASS (2010) Nicholas Cage makes me want to bite him until he dies every time he plagues my screen with this vomity acting, slow talking, and stupid, stupid face.

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Wow, I guess you do have an opinion! Is “vomity” even a word?

GARRETT COOK:  You know what I mean.

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  I certainly do. And I can’t say I disagree with you.

L.L. SOARES:  Well, I disagree, but I’ll wait a bit before I prove you wrong.

MARK OSNPAUGH:  Ouch!

GARRETT COOK:  Liam Neeson is a street-smart man-god, who kills white slavers and was the best character in GANGS OF NEW YORK (2002). I forgive him for his involvement in STAR WARS EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999).

Neeson over Cage.

L.L. SOARES: Actually, Daniel-Day Lewis was the best thing in GANGS OF NEW YORK. In fact, I thought he was the only thing memorable about that movie.

MARK ONSPAUGH:  My turn.

While I love the goofball eccentricity Cage brings to his roles, I find myself thanking God every day he was not Superman…

(The panel rises in unison and cheers, except for L.L. SOARES, who boos)

L.L. SOARES: Cage would have made an excellent Superman!

MARK ONSPAUGH: I’ll pretend you didn’t say that. Also, if the there was a chance to see either one in a kick-ass movie, then I would go with Neeson—his voice is awesome (witness the voice-overs for Star Wars: The Old Republic commercials) and he brings a certain gravitas to his serious roles… Was he not a major bad-ass in TAKEN (2008)? And let’s not forget he was DARKMAN (1990), Gawain in EXCALIBUR (1981), Kegan in KRULL (1983), ROB ROY (1995), Zeus in CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)… AND freaking Ras Al-Ghul in the Nolan Batman trilogy…

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  While I liked him as DARKMAN, I can’t say I was ever too excited by those other roles.

MARK ONSPAUGH:  Plus, he’s proved he can have fun in popcorn fare like THE A-TEAM (2010). I don’t know if it’s his training or his tragedy (probably both), but I “buy” Neeson much more than Cage… Did I mention he’s Aslan in NARNIA?

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Nope, and I wish you hadn’t!

CHALLENGER # 2 - LIAM NEESON

MARK ONSPAUGH:  Now, the real question—how about the two together as in-laws?

L.L. SOARES:  Well, for the record, I have to admit, I love them both.

MARK ONSPAUGH:  Hmm, maybe we should be considering Cage, Neeson, and Soares as in-laws?

L.L. SOARES:  Huh?  Wait, how many in-laws can a person have?

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  All three of you could be brothers-in-law.

L.L. SOARES:  Too confusing.  Let me just make my points.

When Cage brings his over-the-top lunacy to a movie, it can turn a mediocre film into a campy treat. But there was a time when he was a serious actor. Back when he won the Oscar for LEAVING LAS VEGAS (1995), and had roles in WILD AT HEART (1990) and KISS OF DEATH (1995).

But by the time he started appearing in action fare like THE ROCK (1996) and CON-AIR (1997), he had already become a parody of himself. Then something weird happened. He took that parody version of himself and pushed it all the way through to the other side.

Now in stuff like BAD LIETUENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS (2009), and DRIVE ANGRY (2011), he’s turned his eccentricities into an art form.

GARRETT COOK:  Yeah, bad art!

L.L. SOARES:  Even though I look forward to most movies Cage is in, I won’t see everything. I still haven’t seen his NATIONAL TREASURE movies, nor do I plan to.

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Smart move. You’re not missing much.

L.L. SOARES:  I can also live without seeing FAMILY MAN (2000) and THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (2010). I just have no desire to see Cage in any kind of “family” film.

Neeson is the more serious of the two, but even he has had his low points. As Garrett mentioned, he was Qui-Gon Jinn in STAR WARS EPISODE 1 – THE PHANTOM MENACE, a character who just did nothing for me. And he was a ho-hum Zeus in the awful CLASH OF THE TITANS remake. But even in bad movies and less than stellar roles, he seems to rise above the crap and maintain his dignity. There is an air of authority and gravitas that Neeson brings to every role, so he’s always watchable, at least. His more recent action fare with TAKEN, UNKNOWN (2011) and THE GREY (2012) have been a lot more entertaining than they have any right to be, and I can’t wait to see more of this “new” Liam Neeson.

Neeson's latest film is THE GREY.

But at this point, I look forward to any new movie either of them puts out. Even if they’re in bad movies, they’re still more entertaining than 90% of the rest of the actors out there.

COLLEEN WANGLUND:  I’ve liked Nic Cage in a handful of movies—.

MICHAEL ARRUDANic Cage?

MARK ONSPAUGH:  I’m adding Colleen to the in-law list with Cage, Neeson, and Soares.

L.L. SOARES:  Huh?

MICHAEL ARRUDA (laughing):  Yeah, she’s the sister in-law.

COLLEEN WANGLUND:  As I was saying, I’ve liked Nic Cage in a handful of movies, like LEAVING LAS VEGAS (1995), WILD AT HEART (1990), RAISING ARIZONA (1987), and MOONSTRUCK (1987)—but for the most part I think Cage “phones it in”.

L.L. SOARES:  I don’t think so. I think he hams it up in a fun way, and sometimes people miss that in his performances.

COLLEEN WANGLUND:  Well, in my opinion, Liam Neeson is just a better actor, regardless of the movie role.

L.L. SOARES:  I agree Neeson is the better actor, but Cage won an Oscar! That said, they’re both doing their best work in movies that many people might consider beneath them. Well, beneath Neeson at least…

GARRETT COOK:  We’re talking too much about Cage. Someone hand me a barf bag!

COLLEEN WANGLUND:  Well, that’s my answer.

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Liam Neeson or Nicholas Cage?

L.L. SOARES:  Yeah, that’s the question, you dolt. Are you going to answer it or repeat it again?

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  For you, I might just repeat it, but since we have an entire panel here tonight, I’ll let it go. But now it’s my turn.

Up until a few years ago, I wasn’t a fan of either one of these actors.

Way back when, I did like Neeson in his early roles, in films like SUSPECT  (1987) and THE MISSION (1986), and of course, he was outstanding in SCHINDLER’S LIST (1992). But surprisingly he failed to impress me in LES MISERABLE (1998), and then came a string of roles that just didn’t wow me, starting with STAR WARS EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE and including such movies as BATMAN BEGINS (2005), the NARNIA movies, and CLASH OF THE TITANS. Of course, I didn’t see everything Neeson made during these years, but what I was seeing wasn’t doing much for me. I mean, he was fine in these films, but he wasn’t outstanding.

However, I’ve really enjoyed Neeson lately in films like CHLOE (2009), UNKNOWN and THE GREY. He’s been excellent in these movies.

L.L. SOARES: I liked CHLOE a lot, too.

MICHAEL ARRUDA: Cage always seems to grate on my nerves.

GARRETT COOK:  Would you like a barf bag?

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  No thanks. He never made me want to throw up, but he does get under my skin.

Like with Neeson, I did enjoy some of his early movies, like RAISING ARIZONA (1987) and MOONSTRUCK (1987)

L.L. SOARES: MOONSTRUCK? That’s what you consider to be a good Nicolas Cage movie? Gimme LEAVING LAS VEGAS and WILD AT HEART over those any day.

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  I think he’s pretty darn good in MOONSTRUCK, but as his career went on he appeared in movies I either didn’t like or wasn’t interested in seeing. His appearance in THE ROCK (1996) began a stretch of action movies I wasn’t crazy about.

Also like Neeson, I’ve enjoyed some recent performances by Cage, in such movies as SEASON OF THE WITCH (2011) and DRIVE ANGRY 3D (2011). However, the big difference between the two is Neeson’s recent roles have left me wanting to see whatever he’s doing next. I can’t say the same for Cage.

Nicolas Cage's new movie GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE comes out this weekend!

So, Liam Neeson or Nicholas Cage?

L.L. SOARES:  Are you repeating the question again?

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  That’s my gift to you.

Anyway, I’m going with Neeson.

NICK CATO:  Here’s my two cents.

L.L. SOARES:  Hey, Nick!  You’re here!

NICK CATO:  Yep, I’m here.

L.L. SOARES:  You’ve been so quiet, I hadn’t noticed you!

DANIEL KEOHANE:  I’m here too. Waiting patiently, while you guys continue to dominate the conversation.

L.L. SOARES:  Quit whining!  We’ll get to you!

DANIEL KEOHANE:  I’d like to think you’re saving the best for last.

L.L. SOARES:  You can think that all you want, but it’s not true!  (laughs).

MARK ONSPAUGH:  I could add you to the “in-laws” list if that would make you feel any better.

GARRETT COOK:  How about a barf bag?

DANIEL KEOHANE:  No, no. I’m good. (Feigns a pouty face.)

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  How about your two cents, Nick?

NICK CATO:  I’ve been a big Nicolas Cage fan since seeing him in RAISING ARIZONA (1987).

While there’s no denying Liam Neeson is a great (and better) actor —I especially liked him in KINSEY (2004) —a lot of roles he chooses simply don’t interest me. Cage is always over the top, comical, and while a lot of people don’t care for it, I love his constant neo-Elvis persona (his role as Sailor Ripley in David Lynch’s WILD AT HEART (1990) was priceless). Regardless of who is directing him (be it Lynch, Werner Herzog, or the Coen Brothers), Cage always makes these unique roles his own.

L.L. SOARES:  I think a lot of people don’t get Nicholas Cage.

GARRETT COOK:  I get him. He just makes me sick!

DANIEL KEOHANE:  Is it finally my turn?

L.L. SOARES:  Yes, it’s finally your turn!

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Go for it.

DANIEL KEOHANE:  The way they each approach their roles is completely different. Cage takes on more “Everyman” characters caught in larger-than-life situations. Neeson, though also in predicament-type movies, seems more bent on suspense films vs. Cage’s science fiction/fantasy/action roles.

And Neeson carries a more—if this makes any sense—literary air about himself.

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Yeah, I know what you mean. There’s an intellectual presence in his roles. He almost carries himself like he’s a college professor

L.L. SOARES:  Yeah, a college professor who kicks some serious ass!

DANIEL KEOHANE:  Cage does more of a comic book kind of thing.

Or here’s an even worse metaphor: Neeson is multi-grain to Cage’s Wonder Bread. I like them both, depending on my appetite.

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  I don’t see Cage as Wonder Bread. He’s more like Beer Bread.

L.L. SOARES:  What the hell is beer bread?

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Bread made with beer. It’s good. But if you eat too much of it, you won’t be feeling too good. Kinda like watching Nicholas Cage.

Well, thanks everyone for taking part in tonight’s QUICK CUTS column. For what it’s worth, the voting tonight went LIAM NEESON – 6, NICHOLAS CAGE – 3, so this panel clearly favored Neeson.

On behalf of Garrett Cook, Mark Onspaugh, Colleen Wanglund, Nick Cato, Dan Keohane, L.L. Soares and myself, Michael Arruda, thank you all for joining us, and we’ll see you next time!

—END—

Cinema Knife Fight: COMING ATTRACTIONS FEBRUARY 2012

Posted in 2012, 3-D, Action Movies, Cinema Knife Fights, Comic Book Movies, Coming Attractions, Nicolas Cage Movies, Psycho killer, Sequels, Serial Killer flicks, Telekinesis, Thrillers with tags , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by knifefighter

CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT: COMING ATTRACTIONS
FEBRUARY 2012
By Michael Arruda & L.L Soares

(The Scene: A toy store. A little girl screams when a Teddy Bear floats off the shelf and starts to chase her. MICHAEL ARRUDA & L.L. SOARES enter scene.)

MA: That’s a new low for you. Picking on little kids.

LS: Don’t look at me. I didn’t do that. Who do you think I am, Yoda? Besides, if I could do that sort of thing, I wouldn’t waste it on kids. I’d pick on adults. Like this.

(LS waves his arms and a stack of game boxes falls off a shelf and crashes on top of a man’s head. The man screams and his girlfriend rushes to his aid.)

MA (dressed as Darth Vader): Impressive. Very impressive.

LS: Thanks.

MA: So, how exactly did you do that, Yoda?

LS: Don’t call me Yoda. If I’m any character from STAR WARS it’d better be Darth Vader….or Chewy!

MA: You could be the Emperor.

LS: That shriveled up old dude? No way— what’s with all this STAR WARS talk anyway?

MA: Well, two reasons. The main reason is the first movie we’re reviewing this month, CHRONICLE, is about a group of young men with some super powers that look strangely familiar. They can move objects without touching them, and my thirteen year-old son commented that it looks like they’re using The Force.

LS (groans): Actually, it’s called telekinesis, and it’s been around in literature and movies a lot longer than The Force.

MA:  I’m not so sure about that.  After all, when talking about The Force, we’re talking about events that happened “a long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away.”

LS:  Hey, I was actually looking forward to CHRONICLE. Why did you have to go and bring up STARS WARS for?

MA: Well, the other reason is THE PHANTOM MENACE is being re-released in 3D in February.

LS (grins): The one with Jar Jar! Hey – you didn’t say the full title. It’s really STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999). Don’t tell me we’re reviewing that one, too?

MA: Nope. We’ve seen THE PHANTOM MENACE. No reason to see it in 3D.

LS: Whew!

(Samuel Jackson strolls by wearing a Jedi robe.)

JACKSON: Take a seat, you two! And put on a pair of 3D glasses!

MA: Uh, not this time. Go seek out some fans who don’t care that they’re seeing the same movie YET AGAIN! It’d be nice if George Lucas would come up with something original.

(JACKSON ignites a light saber. LS waves his arms, and JACKSON disappears.)

LS: Take that! You foolish Jedi! (to MA) I never was all that impressed with Sam Jackson as a Jedi. He’s actually a lot scarier in PULP FICTION (1994).

MA: Neat trick. How did you—?

LS: A magician never reveals his secrets.

MA: Tell that to Penn and Teller. Anyway, getting back to the movies we’re reviewing….

CHRONICLE actually looks pretty cool. It has an interesting trailer, and it looks like it has potential. On the other hand, it also has the potential to be pretty stupid. We’ll have to see.

LS: This is another new movie to use the popular “fake documentary” style. It looks like someone is videotaping it while it happens. We just saw this applied to exorcism movies in THE DEVIL INSIDE, and it should be cool to see it used in a story about three guys with telekinetic powers. I’m looking forward to this one.

MA: On February 10, we’ll be reviewing SAFE HOUSE starring Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington. I’m looking forward to this one. I always enjoy Washington, as he’s one of my favorite actors working today.

On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of Reynolds. I didn’t enjoy him all that much in GREEN LANTERN (2011).

LS: I’m with you. I like Washington, but I’m still on the fence about Reynolds. I’ve liked him in some things, but GREEN LANTERN wasn’t one of them.

MA: The story itself, about a CIA agent, played by Reynolds, taking on a fugitive, played by Washington, looks OK, but certainly doesn’t wow me. This one could go either way, but I do like Washington a lot, so I’m guessing I’ll like this one.

LS:  I’m willing to give it a chance, but I’m not really too psyched to see this one. Maybe it will surprise me.

On February 17, we’ll be reviewing GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (2012), the sequel to GHOSE RIDER (2007), a movie that I had mixed feelings about. I still say that Nicholas Cage is a lot of fun as an action star, but I’m also a big fan of the comic book character, Ghost Rider is pretty cool, and the first movie had a lot of scenes that made me wince. That said, this one looks like it could be potentially better than the first one. I sure hope so. Even if it’s bad, I’m sure there will be some great Nick Cage moments to keep it from being totally awful.

MA: It’s hard for me to get excited about GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE. I’m not a big Nicholas Cage fan, and this is a sequel, and so my expectations aren’t high. Although it does have Idris Elba in it, and I usually enjoy his work.

LS: I like Idris Elba, too. As for Cage, his last two movies, SEASON OF THE WITCH and DRIVE ANGRY (both 2011), were both a lot of fun. So, we’ll see what happens. It could go either way.

MA: We finish the month with GONE (2012), a thriller starring Amanda Seyfried. I like Seyfried a lot, as every movie I’ve seen her in I’ve found her completely captivating to watch. So, I’m looking forward to GONE.

LS: I like Seyfried, too, but I’m not always happy with her movie choices. While I thought she was the best thing in JENNIFER’S BODY (2009) acting-wise, it wasn’t that great a movie.  But I did think she was great in CHLOE (also 2009). And you liked her a lot in RED RIDING HOOD (2011). But then I think that she was also in MAMA MIA (2008) and the DEAR JOHN (2010)…..Ugh.

I never know when a new movie starring Seyfried is going to be good or dismal.

MA: I didn’t see JENNIFER’S BODY, and although MAMA MIA was goofy, Seyfried was great.

The trailer for GONE makes it sound like a pretty ordinary tale. Seyfried plays someone who believes her sister was abducted, but the police think otherwise. The question will be, is Seyfried’s character telling the truth or is she crazy?

LS: I find it hard to care. The trailer for this one looks pretty bland.

MA: I’ll be interested to see how this one plays out. It’s written by Allison Burnett, one of the screewriters for UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING (2012), which is NOT a good sign. However, keeping an open mind, maybe her work here will be better.

LS: Yep, always gotta keep an open mind. I always want her to be in a good movie. This one looks like your standard woman-in-jeopardy thriller, like the Ashley Judd movie KISS THE GIRLS (1997). Similar kind of vibe. For some reason, I’m not really all that excited about it.

MA: Well, that’s it for this month’s Coming Attractions column. So, now that we’re finished, are you going to tell me how you moved those boxes?

LS: That’s easy. I did it like this. (Waves his arms again, and this time stacks of toys fall from the shelves and crash onto MA’s head) See?

MA (seeing stars circling his head): That’s not exactly what I meant—.

—END—

Garrett Cook’s SIX BEST MOVIES OF 2011

Posted in 2011, Best Of Lists, Garrett Cook Articles, Nicolas Cage Movies, Superheroes with tags , , , , , on January 7, 2012 by knifefighter

My Top 6  Movies of 2011
By Garrett Cook

6. Drive Angry

As much as I can’t stand excessive CGI or Nicholas Cage, this movie was everything Hobo With a Shotgun claimed to be but fell short of. A pure adrenaline rush.

5. Chillerama

Transgressive fun. Giant sperm. An AIP beach movie gone horribly wrong and Hitler plagued by an insubordinate golem. What’s not to like?

4. Super 8

A little bit Stephen King, a little bit Stephen Spielberg. A surprisingly sincere and sweet movie.

3. Rubber

A movie that makes you root for a psychotic and psychokinetic tire and reexamine how you think of storytelling. An impressive Bizarro feat.

2. The Last Circus

An amazing piece of work. A union of Guillermo del Toro and Todd Browning’s aesthetics, with a dose of Jodorowsky. An eyepopping and moving struggle for love between two clowns in Fascist Spain. It’s streaming on Netflix and you should watch it.

1. Captain America

Finally, a comic movie that is not ashamed of being a comic book. Full of Marvel history and a balance of action and emotional content, which is a difficult one to pull off. Dieselpunk genius. My favorite Marvel movie hands down. Maybe my favorite superhero movie.

© Copyright 2011 by Garrett Cook

“MY BOTTOM FIVE” BEST OF 2011 By L.L. Soares

Posted in 2011, Best Of Lists, Dark Comedies, Fantasy, Fast Cars, LL Soares Reviews, Nicolas Cage Movies, Sharks with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2012 by knifefighter

As I have done in previous years, I wrote up a Top 10 List of the Best Movies of the Year, but we only touched on the first five in our big end of the year CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT BEST OF THE YEAR column. So Here are the rest of the movies that filled out my Top 10.

To recap, here are my Top 5 films as mentioned in the regular column:

L.L. Soares’s BEST OF 2011

  1. THE WOMAN (directed by Lucky McKee)
  2. HUMAN CENTIPEDE II (FULL SEQUENCE) (directed by Tom Six)
  3. THE SKIN I LIVE IN (directed by Pedro Almodovar)
  4. MELONCHOLIA (directed by Lars von Trier) and DRIVE (directed by Nicolas Winding Refn) (TIE)
  5. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (directed by David Fincher)

And now on to the Bottom Five of my Top 10 List:

My Number 6 choice for best movie of 2011 is TROLL HUNTER, a little horror/fantasy flick from Norway about a guy who goes around killing giant trolls for a living. Light hurts them and can turn them to stone, but the guy starts to question just why he’s doing this, and he considers retiring from the job when he’s harassed a little too much by superiors. Filmed in a fake documentary style, it features reporters traveling around with the troll hunter, as he reveals his secrets to a nation that had no idea that trolls were real, and that someone was keeping them in check. (Directed by Andre Ovredal)

My Number 7 choice is a  tie between two superhero blockbuster films. First off, in a summer full of supherheroes on the big screen, THOR stood out from the pack. Not only is THOR a great character to begin with, but the story takes us from Asgard, the world of the Norse gods, to Earth, as a banished Thor has to earn his way back to Viking Heaven. With Chris Hemsworth in a star-making performance as the god of thunder.  (Directed by Kenneth Branagh)

Close on its heels, was X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, where it’s explained how rival mutant leaders Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) first met, first assembled their mutant teams, and how all this ties in with the Cuban Missile Crisis. I wasn’t expecting much with this one, especially since the last X-Men movie, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, was a big disappointment for me, but I was pleasantly surprised by FIRST CLASS. It was an above-average superhero origin story and easily as good, in its own way, as THOR. (Directed by Matthew Vaughn).

My Number 8 choice is Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT, a movie that I didn’t review for this site. It was reviewed here not too long ago by staff member Kelly Laymon, who didn’t mince words about how much she hated it. While I liked Kelly’s review, I had the complete opposite reaction to this one. Not only is it the best script Diablo Cody has written so far (she’s best know for writing JUNO, in 2007), but I think it took  real balls for her and director Jason Reitman to make a movie where the lead character is such an unlikable, delusional, destructive personality as is Charlize Theron’s Mavis Gary. But, this being Theron, she barrels through the movie like a guided missile, and it’s just fascinating to see her attempt to destroy the lives of everyone around her. In the end,  I thought it was a brave performance, and a satisfying one. Patton Oswalt also turns in a terrific performance as the disabled guy who’s had a crush on her since high school, and who finally gets to hang out with the most popular girl in school (even if she is now completely bonkers!). (Directed by Jason Reitman)

My Number 9 choice is RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, which was another surprise. After Tim Burton pretty much single-handedly killed off the APES franchise with his 2001 remake of PLANET OF THE APES, I figured the series was not going to continue, but luckily I was wrong. Pretending as if the Burton remake never happened, RISE goes back to the origins of the talking, thinking apes who would later become the dominant species on Earth. The origin story is clever, revolving around an anti-Alzheimer’s drug gone wrong, and while the movie goes really heavy on the CGI effects (there are tons of CGI apes and chimps in this one), and I normally hate CGI, this time it actually worked for me. Not only was RISE an unexpected treat, but it hopefully resuscitated the entire series. This isn’t the best APES movie ever – it has its flaws, too – but it’s definitely a big step in the right direction. (Directed by Rupert Wyatt).

And my Number 10 choice is another tie. SEASON OF THE WITCH and DRIVE ANGRY 3DTwo really fun movies starring Nicolas Cage. I enjoyed both of them for different reasons, but the one common factor is that Cage, even when he is in less than Oscar-worthy films, is just very entertaining to watch. In WITCH, he plays a knight who agrees to accompany a suspected witch to her trial in Medieval times (along with his war-hardened buddy, Ron Perlman). In DRIVE ANGRY, Cage is an escapee from Hell driving a fast car and trying to save his baby grandson from devil-worshippers. Both movies are entertaining as hell and deserve a look see. (SEASON OF THE WITCH was directed by Dominic Sena/DRIVE ANGRY was directed by Patrick Lussier).

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

While the Korean film, I SAW THE DEVIL, technically came out in 2010, most people here didn’t see it until 2011, so I’ll include it here. It easily could have made my top 5, though. An amazing movie about a violent killer of women (Min-sik Choi, probably best known as the star of 2003’s OLDBOY) who murders the pregnant wife of a police detective (Byung-hun Lee). The detective then makes it his mission to track the killer down and administer a vicious and prolonged vengeance.  By doing this, the man of law becomes as insane and sadistic as his quarry. Not for the squeamish. A terrific, satisfying movie by director Jee-woon Kim, who also gave us 2003’s A TALE OF TWO SISTERS and 2008’s THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD. I can’t praise this one enough. (Directed by Jee-woon Kim)

13 ASSASSINS – Takashi Miike is one of the most fascinating directors around today, mostly because he’s so unpredictable. He makes a lot of movies, but they’re all so different. He’s done everything from horror, to surrealism, to children’s movies, to yakuza (gangster) films. His 2011 offering was an amazing samurai flick that started out a bit slow, but by mid-way evolved into a breath-taking bloodbath. The sword-fighting lasts a long time, but it rarely gets boring.  And some parts are downright beautiful. (Directed by Takashi Miike)

LIMITLESS – Bradley Cooper showed us that does indeed have a future as a leading man apart from the HANGOVER films, in this story about a man down on his luck, who takes the ultimate smart drug, and becomes a genius. His life changes completely, and he even draws the attention of a business giant played by Robert DeNiro, and everything is great, until the pills start to run out. A solid little film that could have been a throwaway, but stays with you.

TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL – a wickedly funny indie gem, where two rednecks are mistaken forhomicidal hillbillies by a group of traveling college kids. In reality, Tucker and Dale are the good guys, and the kids are the ones doing all the violence, with often slapstick-funny results. (Directed by Eli Craig)

SHARK NIGHT 3D – Another movie where I went into it with zero expectations. A PG-13, CGI-heavy killer shark movie in 3D? I wasn’t expecting the second coming of JAWS here. However, as it unfolded, I found myself being very entertained by the various characters and their revelations. Not a great movie by any stretch, but a lot of fun. (Directed by David R. Ellis)

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 – The latest installment in the franchise that won’t die (now that Lions Gate has retired the SAW movies) is just as good as the first two, and continues with the fake survelliance video footage storyline – a formula that continues to work for some reason. Sure, some of it is just cheap scares, but it works, and I enjoyed how the ending of this one played out. (Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman)

KABOOM – I’ve been a fan of director Greg Araki since I first saw THE LIVING END back in 1992. He has a style all his own, and I can see how a lot of people would hate his movies, but I personally love them and look forward to each new release. Involving dopplegangers, menacing men in animal masks and the end of the world, KABOOM is a wild and often funny ride through Araki’s demented brain. (Directed by Greg Araki)

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – Woody Allen’s latest film, a breezy light comedy starring Owen Wilson as a modern-day writer in Paris, magically transported each night at midnight to Paris in the 1920s, where he gets to hang out withe luminaries like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, is not exactly the kind of movie we normally review here at Cinema Knife Fight, but I enjoyed it so much, I really wanted to mention it here. It is a fantasy film, after all. And possibly Woody’s best movie in a decade or two. (Directed by Woody Allen).

HUGO – Martin Scorcese’s new film is a visual smorgasbord of imagery, and the first movie since AVATAR to do justice to 3D effects, HUGO would have scored higher for me if not for Sasha Baron Cohen’s complete caricature of a Station Inspector in a big Parisian train station (everyone else in the movie is so well developed, he seems out of step here), but, even more so, because this movie, despite being a beautiful love letter to the pioneers of silent cinema, just failed to really connect with me fully on an emotional level. It was great to look at, and any movie where early filmmaker Georges Melies is a main character is bound to capture my imagination. But I never really felt that it grabbed me on a most basic level. I really wished I liked this movie more, but it was still a technical achievement, and one of my favorite Scorcese movies in a long time. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen. (Directed by Martin Scorcese)

I guess this all means that 2011 was a pretty good year for going to the movies. Here’s hoping that 2012 is even better!

© Copyright 2011 by L.L. Soares


Cinema Book Review: IMPOSSIBLY FUNKY

Posted in 2011, Blaxploitation, Book Review, Books About Movies, Nick Cato Reviews, Nicolas Cage Movies with tags , , , , on October 1, 2011 by knifefighter

IMPOSSIBLY FUNKY: A CASHIERS DU CINEMART COLLECTION by Mike White
(2010 Bear Manor Media / 377 pages / trade paperback)

Book Review by Nick Cato


From 1994-2008, CASHIERS DU CINEMART was a fanzine featuring wildly opinionated movie reviews and retrospects, as well as interviews, with everyone from Crispin Glover to cast members of seldom-seen 70s blaxploitation films.  IMPOSSIBLY FUNKY collects some of the fanzine’s finest moments, and features introductions from exploitation film guru Herschell Gordon Lewis to the founder of Film Threat, Chris Gore.

Author Mike White is perhaps best known for calling Quentin Tarantino out for certain “similarities” between the 1989 Hong Kong movie, CITY ON FIRE, and his own film, RESERVOIR DOGS.  White even made a short feature titled WHO DO YOU THINK YOU’RE FOOLING?, which shows (side-by-side) shots from both films, calling Tarantino’s motives into question.  The opening chapters of the book deal with this whole saga, and while I had seen White’s film online, there’s plenty more here for those interested in this on-going celluloid grapple.

Among my favorite sections were Mike Thompson’s look at the original script for the Nicolas Cage film 8MM,  Mike White’s section on ALIEN 3, White’s interview with Canadian cult film director Guy Maddin, and of course, the huge section dedicated to the 1975 blaxploitation classic BLACK SHAMPOO, which features an overview of the cast, interviews with the director and a few stars, and an interesting story on how Mike and his friends became addicted to it (and still hold annual viewings).

While I haven’t mentioned even half of what’s on display here (STAR WARS fans will get a kick out of the small section dedicated to it), IMPOSSIBLY FUNKY looks at films through the eyes of super-geek film fans, and while (at times) things get a bit obsessive (I mean, what film geek DOESN’T get obsessive when talking films?), film fans will not be bored, even if a topic being discussed isn’t of particular interest.

A fun. informative, and smart book to garnish any film freaks’ book shelf.

© Copyright 2011 by Nick Cato

For more about Mike White, check out his website at: http://impossiblefunky.blogspot.com/

DRIVE ANGRY 3D!

Posted in 2011, 3-D, Action Movies, Campy Movies, Cinema Knife Fights, Demons, Fast Cars, Nicolas Cage Movies, Satanists, VIOLENCE! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by knifefighter

Cinema Knife Fight: DRIVE ANGRY 3D
By L.L. Soares (and Michael Arruda)

FADE IN

(The scene: A long stretch of highway. LL SOARES is driving a Dodge Charger as fast as it can go, miles of desert on either side of him. Motorhead’s song “Ace of Spades” plays loud over the car stereo)

LS (shouting): Oh there you are. I’m here driving solo, reviewing the new movie DRIVE ANGRY that just came out in theaters. My sidekick is bowing out on this one…

(The music stops and MICHAEL ARRUDA’s voice comes on the radio)

MA: Hello? You there?

LS: Hey! I was enjoying that song!

MA: Yeah, well, I just want to set the record straight. I didn’t bow out on this one on purpose. I’m stuck at my house buried under several feet of snow; snow, it seems, that has been falling since January!  I mean, the snow banks around here have gotten so big they’re going to start lending money.

LS (turns off radio):  Like anybody cares. I was enjoying that song. Hopefully, he’s gone now. (Turns on radio. “Ace of Spades” is playing again.)  That’s more like it. So, where was I?  Yeah, DRIVE ANGRY.

(MA’s voice returns on the radio.)

MA:  What do you mean?  Nobody cares?  I have readers who would care if I’m stuck in the snow someplace.

(Flash to a little old lady seated in front of a computer, tapping impatiently at the screen rather than the keyboard.)

LITTLE OLD LADY:  Where’s that Michael Arruda?  I haven’t seen his reviews in a while. He writes such sweet things about these movies.

(Scene returns to LS driving in car.)

LS:  Hey, how did you know what I said if I shut the radio off first?

MA:  Actually, you dissed me as you were turning the radio off.

LS (grimaces at camera):  Yeah, I’ll buy that. Sure.

MA: So what did you think of DRIVE ANGRY?

LS: Actually, the full title is DRIVE ANGRY 3D, I guess. Although I’m sure some theaters somewhere were showing it in 2D.

DRIVE ANGRY gives us Nicolas Cage as John Milton (get it?)—.

MA:  —That would be a reference to that classic of literature, PARADISE LOST by John Milton.

LS:  Thank you, Professor. But this John Milton is a long-haired, intense guy who just escaped from hell in a souped-up car.

Turns out Hell is just a giant prison, and he’s a breakout artist. The reason he’s come back is to save his baby granddaughter, who has been abducted by Satanists. The baby’s mother – John’s daughter – was part of a cult, but got second thoughts, so the leader, the charismatic Jonah King (Billy Burke), killed her and took her baby, and is planning to use the infant to make a blood sacrifice to Satan. The plan being to open a portal and bring Hell to earth.

Meanwhile, a demonic lawman, called only The Accountant (William Fichtner) is hot on Milton’s trail, intent to bringing him back to the land of fire and brimstone. (Most people probably know Fichtner as the crooked federal agent from the TV series PRISON BREAK.)

Along the way, Milton picks up feisty blonde firecracker Piper (Amber Heard), at first for her car, and then later the two bond and she agrees to help him get his granddaughter back.

So Jonah King and his men are out to kill Milton. So is The Accountant. And Milton is intent on avoiding The Accountant and killing King and his minions, and saving the baby. Got it so far?

MA: Yep.

(We go back to the LITTLE OLD LADY, who is now getting into a souped-up 1957 Chevy and is gunning the engine)

LITTLE OLD LADY: I’ll teach them to give me a Cinema Knife Fight review without sweet little Michael Arruda! GOSH DARN IT!

(She peels out in a screech of tires)

(Back to LS)

LS: This movie creates its mood right from the get go, letting us know this is going to be an all-out, over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall, live-action loony tune from the very first scene. Nick Cage does his usual hammy overacting (he gives an enjoyable performance here, but it’s getting harder and harder to believe this guy once won an Oscar) as Milton, and Fichtner is damn near perfect as the demonic Accountant (who looks exactly like the FBI man he keeps telling everyone he is – his suit doesn’t get rumpled even once). Hell, the acting is good all around here, including Burke (the dad from the TWILIGHT movies – I knew he looked familiar) as the very charismatic Jonah King (you can believe this guy leads a cult) and the hot, tough, and fun-to-watch Heard as Piper. Other good supporting players include David Morse as Milton’s long-time friend, Webster, and Tom Atkins as the chief of police trying to chase everyone else down.

From the trailers, I thought this was just going to be a straight story of a normal guy chasing down the cultists who stole his daughter (is Nick Cage really old enough to play grandfathers now? I guess he is). I didn’t find out about the supernatural elements until a few days before the movie opened, and I didn’t know what to expect from that. All this talk of Hell and demons and vengeance smacks a lot of a previous Cage outing, GHOST RIDER (2007), which was flawed at best. But for some reason, it all works better here. John Milton is a man on a mission and Cage gives us enough intensity and his just plain patented goofiness throughout to keep the fans wanting more.

(Cherry red ’57 Chevy roars up behind him and drives up beside him)

LITTLE OLD LADY: Where is Michael Arruda this week, you mean man!

LS: Huh? What are you talking about? I’m trying to do a movie review here, lady.

LITTLE OLD LADY: Damn, smartass kids!

(She pulls out a shotgun and aims it at LS)

LITTLE OLD LADY: I represent “Old Timers For Arruda” and we are not going to tolerate reviews that leave him out.

LS: Lady, he’s stuck in the snow. It’s not my fault.

LITTLE OLD LADY: Not good enough, sonny!

(Before she can shoot, LS rams her car with his, and she goes over the railing, spinning down the hills, bursting into a giant ball of flame)

LS: So long, sucker! (cackles in glee)

Where was I?

MA (voice on the radio): You were wrapping up your review, I think. I have to admit, I’m sad you killed that old lady. She sounded very smart.

LS: Yeah, it is kind of sad to think I might have killed off your only fan.

MA: Get to the review!

LS: The dialogue gets a little absurd at times, but the silliest lines are the ones coming out of Cage’s mouth, and he says them as if they were diamonds. No one makes bad dialogue sound good and funny like Nicolas Cage.

For the most part, the script is pretty good, the acting top-notch, and the direction by Patrick Lussier – whose remake of MY BLOODY VALENTINE (also in 3D) in 2009 was one of the better horror flicks since the new 3D renaissance – keeps things moving at a nice speed throughout. Sure, there are plenty of goofy aspects to the proceedings, but they’re all part of the ride—speaking of which, there are also some very cool cars in this flick, too.

Is the 3D worth it? Well, there are stretches where you kind of don’t notice (as is the case with a lot of 3D movies), and then, suddenly, a bullet will come your way, or part of someone’s skull will hurtle towards you. This movie earns its R rating with plenty of blood and dismemberment, as well plenty of nude girls, so what’s not to love? That said, I’m still not a big fan of the whole 3D thing, and didn’t think it added that much to the movie. I still think the entire 3D craze is a sham created to raise ticket prices and sell new televisions. But when a movie is an entertaining as this one – and most 3D movies aren’t – I’m willing to let it slide. But I bet it would have been just as fun in regular 2D.

MA:  I’m with you on this point. The majority of the new 3D movies haven’t been worth the extra ticket prices.

LS:  So is this movie worth seeing? Hell yeah. After the showing I went to, there were surveys so I filled one out. One question asked “Why did you want to see this movie?” and I checked off “Nicolas Cage” with a giant X next to his name, and smaller x’s for William Fichtner and the fact that it was “Directed by the guy who made MY BLOODY VALENTINE.”

DRIVE ANGRY is a hoot and a holler and a drag race out of hell and back. I give it three and a half knives.

MA:  Sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m sorry I missed it.

(LITTLE OLD LADY’s voice come on the radio)

LITTLE OLD LADY: You better be part of the next review, Michael! I am boiling mad!

(LS turns off the radio. The vast desert on either side of him turns into walls of flame as he takes a right turn into Hell)

LS: Well, I’m home. So long folks! See you next time.

FADE OUT

© Copyright 2011 by L.L. Soares (with some input from Michael Arruda)

LL SOARES gives DRIVE ANGRY 3Dthree and a half knives

Meanwhile, MICHAEL ARRUDA is stuck in the snow