One of these days, the film community is going to recognize Walter Hill’s movie The Warriors as the classic that it is.
I think it gets short shrift because of the controversy it generated when it came out in the late-1970s owing to its depiction of New York City gangs and associated violence. But the truth is, it’s an exceptionally well-made film, with brilliant direction, strong performances, sharp editing and terrific cinematography … including some great slow-motion camerawork during the myriad fight scenes.
Surprisingly, it also has a sensitive script that calls attention to class discrepancies, most notably in a sequence set on a subway car. Not your average action flick, methinks.
So this is more than a guilty pleasure. It’s a quality picture, one that I can watch over and over again. I don’t really get tired of it. Maybe it’s because I was born and raised in The Big Apple, and I have an affinity for the film’s depiction of my city. Or maybe it’s just because I like good movies.
Of course, it could be both. Still, one thing’s for certain: It should be in better cinematic standing. And that’s something I’ll advocate with all my heart.
Movies that start promisingly yet end up mundane are a pet peeve of mine.
Super, director James Gunn’s pre-Guardians of the Galaxy flick about an ordinary man who dons a homemade superhero outfit in a quest to win back his wife from drug dealers, falls into this category. Featuring a host of satiric elements (including some pointed attacks on organized religion), the film collapses into dull, hyperviolent shoot-’em-up mode toward the end, which negates its previous appeal. The enthusiastic presence of Ellen Page as a sidekick wannabe gives the picture a boost, but even she can’t save it.
That’s too bad. Gunn has a distinct style and carefree sensibility that can be infectious, as proven by the success of GotG. Super, however, ultimately offers little to differentiate it from the average bloody man-with-a-mission actioner. This is strange considering the peculiarity of its protagonist, a withdrawn fellow (played by Rainn Wilson) who has religious visions and may be mistaking them for his heroic calling. The movie should be more interesting or at least comic, right? – especially since the only skill this character seems to have is the ability to cook eggs well. Perhaps something along the lines of The Greatest American Hero, no?
No. I expect better things to come from Gunn and have high hopes. Super was a misfire, but every director has those. I’m assuming Gunn has learned from his mistakes, as all heroes do.
Sometimes being away from a movie for a long time inspires nostalgia. Sometimes it makes you like the movie more.
I kinda felt that way about Commando, the ridiculous, absurdly high-body-count 1985 “action” film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as human tank John Matrix. This is a junky picture, with all-too-quick editing, poor cinematography and a script that can euphemistically be said to need work. Plus, it’s bloody as all hell, with a ludicrous amount of violence as Matrix kills baddies while searching for his daughter.
Yet for some reason, despite all of these faults, I dig the movie. It’s a guilty pleasure. You can watch it while using your smartphone or doing the dishes. You can go to the bathroom without stopping it and not feel like you’ve missed anything. It’s the perfect thing to put on when you’re just casually viewing.
Which I was doing last night. I didn’t feel like seeing a quality picture. I wanted something crummy. And I hadn’t seen Commando in a long time, so yesterday was a good day to watch it. I know: This is coming from someone who loves Kurosawa and all kinds of high-falutin’ pictures, so what gives? All I can say is that sometimes I have to slum a little. I don’t do it all the time. It’s reserved for special occasions.
This was one of them. So Commando, thanks for the evening. And as John Matrix might say: “Grunt.”
I don’t. I can safely say that after seeing it yesterday.
It had little of the wit and charm of the original Iron Man. Lots of confused, slam-bang “action,” though. Not as much heart.
There were some reliably good turns in Iron Man 3: Robert Downey Jr. as the titular superhero, Gwyneth Paltrow as girlfriend Pepper Potts, Ben Kingsley (who nearly steals the show) as an evil terrorist who’s not what he seems. But it all felt like stuff I’ve seen before, and there wasn’t as much of a focus on Downey’s character’s own demons … his alcoholism, for example. So there’s no real growth or arc. He doesn’t really change.
OK, I’m not expecting a kind of Shakespearean transformation here. It is a superhero movie, after all. Still, the strength and smarts of the first Iron Man made me expect something a bit larger-scale, from a psychological perspective, than what Iron Man 3 turned out to be – which was merely modest entertainment. A good superhero flick can transcend its genre. This one didn’t.
I’m assuming this franchise will continue to churn out additional installments. So be it. Do we need them, though? I say: Only if they approach the quality of the original. And I’m not sanguine about the prospects of that.
I admit: I was convinced to watch this movie by my wife, who emphasized how good it is.
But I was skeptical. Trudi and I have different tastes in film, though we do share some opinions. (For instance: We both agree that Manos: The Hands of Fate is awful, though that’s like agreeing that the sun is hot.)
The Long Kiss Goodnight, however, didn’t seem like a movie she’d like. It has fight scenes, which is a no-go in her book. It’s an action film: double-yuck.
Needless to say, I was puzzled. I sat down to watch it with trepidation. Then I enjoyed it … with no trepidation. Fun escapist nonsense. Doesn’t take itself seriously. Not a bad script, with some sharp lines. Slick direction by Renny Harlin.
OK, it’s far from a masterpiece. It’s action without profundity, the antithesis of, say, The Wages of Fear. Yet it was something of a lark, and I succumbed to it. Do I have bad taste? It’s kinda out of my jurisdiction.
Nah. I have a bit of Trudi’s taste in me after all. And that’s good, because it balances me out.
I repeat after myself: I. Like. A. Trudi. Movie.