Category Archives: dark city

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance ~ I’m in the minority. I’m one of the few people on Earth, other than Nicholas Cage, who liked the first Ghost Rider movie. There are folks who hate Cage, folks who disliked the mixing and matching of different Riders in it, and the campiness of it. I thought it worked. There was an earnestness that I liked, and honestly I’m not that well versed in GR continuity to argue those points. But I liked it.

When I heard Cage was making another one, I was pleased and couldn’t wait to see it. I mean, really, how bad could it be? Now months later I finally get to see it on DVD. Wow. I was wrong.

There are moments of animation throughout that have promise, but they are only moments and soon replaced by the plodding terrible acting of Cage and the rest of the cast. He can be good, but here he’s just phoning it in, long distance from a bad cell. Wow. Even terrific actors like Idris Elba and okay actors like Christopher Lambert are pulled down into this vortex of stink.

Even the special effect of a skull on fire is done badly here. Visually at least, this should have been as stunning as the first. The script is by David S. Goyer, so this is another craptacular for him to notch on his belt. When he’s good, he’s good, but when Goyer is bad… man oh man, is he bad. Avoid this flick.

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Quickies 7-15-2010

Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes ~ This campy comedic superhero film is badly acted and directed, in an almost unintended Rocky Horror or Lost Skeleton of Cadavra way, but its script and heart are in the right place. If you rent it, stay with it. The most intriguing part of the flick is its gay-centric cast and community, a trick that really works well, and doesn’t overpower the rest of the movie. Look for fun cameos by Noel Neill, Lou Ferrigno and Nichelle Nichols as well as Marv Wolfman and Len Wein. Tom Tangen is hilarious as multiple characters, writer Vincent J. Roth is charming in the title role, and do not miss the costume party. This is a lot more fun than it at first seems, check it out.

Empire Records ~ This cult favorite pseudo-remake of FM, only at a record store instead of a radio station, is a pleasant surprise. While painfully predictable, it’s also a lot of fun and has a killer soundtrack. Great Gwar cameo and bonus, Renee Zellweger not only sings, but her eyes are open for most of the movie.

Pirate Radio ~ Great sixties soundtrack, but wow, not a great movie at all. It also has a terrific cast, most of which is wasted here. I think this is the first Richard Curtis flick that I haven’t liked. I guess everyone misses sometimes.

Franklyn ~ Really? Darkman meets Dark City with just a touch of Repo! The Genetic Opera thrown in for good measure – really? This is what you were shooting for? This is pretty, this is stunning, but it is very much style over substance. There were whole sequences that were so boring that I fell asleep. It’s a steampunk Tim Burton wannabe visual overdose without much story to support it. Eye candy, but that’s all.

Killers ~ This one was quite a surprise for me. I was fully expecting a mindless romantic comedy here. I don’t like Ashton Kutcher and as I don’t watch “Grey’s Anatomy,” I have no point of reference for Katherine Heigl. She was painfully adequate for 27 Dresses but that called for that type of performance. But Killers, other than being a bit more predictable than I would have liked plotwise, is a lot of fun. I really enjoyed this romantic dark comedy with a twist. And director Robert Luketic should definitely be plugged in to work on the Bond films because he has the eye needed. Recommended.

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Dark City and Other Quickies

Dark City ~ This is a flick that I have up until recently only seen once, on the night it came out, and have hated ever since. Despite it being written by a writer I like – David Goyer, and it having actors I like – Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connolly and Richard O’Brien, and it being pseudo-goth-cyberpunk… I still hated it.

A recent episode of a podcast I quite like, Better in the Dark, praised this flick, so because I respect the folks involved, I decided to give this movie another shot. And unfortunately, even though I respect the opinions of Derrick and Tom, it didn’t do much to change my first impression.

Yeah, it looks cool, no denial there, but that’s just not enough. Kiefer’s weird halting speech pattern made me nuts. I wanted to reach into the screen and slap him every time he showed his face. Richard O’Brien is chilling and makes me wonder why he doesn’t work more often. Perhaps the shadow of Rocky Horror has truly scarred the man, and that’s a shame. And speaking of shames, Jennifer C. is plainly wasted here. Other than some interesting effects and O’Brien, it still doesn’t impress me. Sorry, guys.

Portrait of an Assassin ~ More shameless plugs here. I was turned on to Maria Montez by my friend Dan’s cool Cobrawoman Yahoo Group and when I saw this was available on Netflix I snapped it up. This French subtitled flick reminded me quite a bit of the old twist ending Tod Browning silents which charmed me right away. I liked this one quite a bit and can’t wait for more Maria Montez flicks to be available. What’s the hold up?

Mask of the Avenger ~ John Derek stars in this Italian retelling and relocating of Zorro, and it’s actually not bad once you get over the borrowing aspect. And Anthony Quinn puts his usual brilliant performance despite the lack of originality in the rest of the movie.

Up, Up and Away ~ This may have been the precursor/pilot to Disney’s more successful theatrical release Sky High. It’s the same subject matter and the same story roughly and was originally made for the Disney Channel. Set squarely in a superhero world, taken seriously with just the right amount of wink-wink going on for us geeks. Also look for a young E from “Entourage” as the bad guy. If you get a chance to see this, check it out. If only all superhero flicks were this good.