I’m not going to over-simplify and proclaim that making a good ninja movie is the easiest thing in the world. But I never would have guessed that doing so is as difficult as James McTeigue‘s Ninja Assassin makes it appear. This is a big-budget movie with a top-flight crew and a star blessed with undeniable magnetism, not to mention the R-rated freedom to provide the copious blood and gore that so many genre fans crave. Yet it plays no better than a cheap direct to DVD feature. Ninja Assassin is a forgettable throwaway, a waste of creative talent and the audience’s time. Read More »
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released a trailer for the upcoming Jean-Claude Van Damme / Dolph Lundgren movie Universal Soldier: Regeneration.
With stolen top-secret technology, terrorists have created a next-generation Universal Soldier – an elite fighter genetically altered into a programmable killing machine. With this “UniSol” (Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski) leading the way, they seize the crippled Chernobyl nuclear reactor, threatening to unleash a lethal radioactive cloud. The only one who can stop them is Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a UniSol who’s been decommissioned for years. Reactivated and retrained, Deveraux must make a full-out assault on the heavily armed fortress. But inside, he’ll discover not one but two of these virtually indestructible warriors. Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), Deveraux’s vicious UniSol enemy from the original Universal Soldier, has been secretly reanimated and upgraded. Now, these elite fighters are locked, loaded and programmed to kill; and the fate of millions hinges on this high-action showdown.
Directed by John Hyams (NYPD Blue), filmed for $15 million and going direct-to-dvd. The movie premiered at Fantastic Fest 2009, and was met mostly with positive reviews from the genre crowd. Watch the trailer after the jump, and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans New Moon, that offer proof. Weekend Weirdness takes a look at such films, whether it’s via a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini-review, or news of an excavated cult classic. The works discussed herein tend to make cinema a little more interesting, and in the best cases do the same for life or at least a blown weekend.
The year, 2009, delivered a number of knockout documentaries that were better made and more meditative than their premises let on. For over a year, The Rock-afire Explosion has popped-and-fizzled on my radar, until a screener finally arrived in the mail last week underneath a hate letter from my ex, Sallie Mae. Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson—a cool guest on the /Filmcast—also received one, a screener that is, and she promptly called Rock-afire the best film of the year for a documentary or otherwise. I wouldn’t go that far, but Rock-afire Explosion makes for true-life entertainment every bit as tasty as a slice and a cold beer to a divorced, thankless, balding dad tolerating a Showbiz Pizza in the late ’80s. In other words, this isn’t some Chuck E. Cheese shit.
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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are all thankful for movies, new and old, that offer proof. After the jump, we’ll examine trailers stuffed with images and ideas so nuts they could make a turkey turn crimson. For example, one for the new independent film, Black Devil Doll, about a murderous black power enthusiast who is deep-fried in prison, only to return by way of Quija Board in the shape of an anthropomorphic, horny dummy. I’ve seen the film. It exists and belongs behind bars. Also discussed are Gone With the Pope (horribly awesome trailer of oh nine?), the new in-flight, creature feature Altitude, and Hausu, the wacky Japanese cat-horror classic being blessed by Janus Film/Criterion.
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Before Liz Lemon and Peggy Olson struggled with single life in the big city, two strong, unrelated, independent women named Wanda Wayne and Sheneneh Jenkins ruled the cable airwaves (and the crack game). And I’m not sure what zillionth worm hole Richard Kelly opened up last weekend with The Box, but apparently these characters are making a fast-tracked comeback, and in movie theaters nationwide no less.
In case you missed a recent BET Awards, Martin Lawrence and Jamie Foxx reprised Sheneneh and Wanda—’90s characters that originally appeared on Martin and In Living Color, respectively—to create a trailer for a mock action comedy called Skank Robbers. Response was so positive and loud that Screen Gems and the actors are now making it a reality. The title stays! “Oh no youuu dinnnnit!” The Tyler Perry-skewering trailer and clips and info await.
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For years, Japan has had an amazing scene where low-budget genre films can flourish. Lately it seems to be exploding, as films like Tokyo Gore Police, Machine Girl and the upcoming RoboGeisha push the form into pure absurd balls-out bliss. These go way beyond the level of craziness in films like Wild Zero and Versus, and those films were already pretty nuts to begin with. The current wave of movies don’t make any particular sense, and they’re often not even good in the traditional meaning of the word, but they’re mind-bogglingly amazing at the same time.
Now, straight from the American Film Market comes news of a film that I’d think was six or seven years too late, if it wasn’t sprung from the same mold. From Seiji Chiba and action director Yuji Shimomura, who previously collaborated on Death Trance, comes Aliens Versus Ninjas. Read More »
UPDATE: According to a publicist who represents the producers and emailed me regarding the rumor.: “No - we have a slow 35 city roll out.” So, it appears many people beyond NY/LA will have a chance to dance in the moonlight with a cracked out Nicolas Cage.
It’s hard both to deny and describe the crazy cinematic potion that has flowed off the marketing materials and clips for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans thus far. I cannot align these entertaining yet toxic vibes with another recent film, and many critics who see it—and like it—seem to share the task. It’s as if the voodoo weirdness that floats throughout pockets of the troubled region seeped into the dailies and into the gainfully employed skin of star Nicolas Cage. Much of this can be chalked off to the film’s publicized equation of iguana hallucinations, wild-man director Werner Herzog, and crack rocks, the math of which has stirred up semi-ironic anticipation for the film within movie culture. Unfortunately, it may be that a wide theatrical release for this anomaly is no longer happening; First Look Pictures, the film’s U.S. distributor looks to rush the film to DVD/Blu-ray for a February 2010 release.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
A video has popped up documenting the recent Monroeville Zombie Walk, an annual event celebrating the Pittsburgh town’s ties to George Romero‘s Dawn of the Dead, the director’s classic cinematic ode equating mall culture to the undead. This year also saw a Monroeville citizen, one with a very personal connection to Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead, opening a zombie museum inside that very mall. Rather awesomely, it includes “a coffin, rigged with speakers and hydraulics, to experience a ride to a cemetery and burial” that can be experienced for a decaying three bucks U.S. Progress. The video contains a chat with the museum’s curator, as well as lots of decaying mall goers, and is posted below…
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