In the hope of actually giving a much more thorough trek through my recent viewings, I write mini-reviews/thoughts/etc. of those movies I just don't have the time to devote to writing up as a longer piece. Ladies and gentlement, once again, I give you an installment of "Blurbs":
PUNISHER: WAR ZONE
High Cinema this is not, but there's something endearing about Lexi Alexander's little vigilante action flick that really hearkens back to why The Punisher is such a kickass comic book character. He's a one-man killing machine, with little moral baggage, and who operates on one instinct: kill the bad guys. This may be the closest realization to the comic books that Frank Castle has and will ever be on screen, snatching a fair amount of inspiration from the amazing Garth Ennis run with the character that went on for around nine years. Ray Stevenson is an amazing Castle, and even though he's basically just doing Al Pacino in DICK TRACY, Dominic West has a lot of fun as signature Punisher villain Jigsaw in a performance that I thought was awful at first, but which has really grown on me.
This was one of the funniest movies I saw last year. A spot-on parody/love letter to Blaxploitation cinema, Michael Jai White played the best amalgamation of classic characters I could imagine, and delivered a thoroughly hilarious and enjoyable show for fans of the 70s 'street' films like SHAFT, COFFY, and SWEET SWEETBACK'S BADASS SONG. Apart from being hilarious, the film is also a perfect imitation of the Blaxploitation style, down to its camera work and up through its outlandish character portrayals. It's over-the-top goodness that I can't wait to watch again.
Alex Proyas' film isn't as terrible as one would have you believe if you paid any attention at all to the reviews it got upon release. In fact, if there's a weakness, it's the totally unsatisfying ending, and not Nicolas Cage's acting or the distinct visual similarities to DARK CITY (creepy men in long coats, anybody?) It's debatable how much of this movie could have been saved if the last ten minutes were ultimately much different, and there's really no way of knowing (no pun intended), but I suspect that there was probably some energy expended elsewhere that could have benefited the climax - at least the film feels like that. The cinematography is great as well, and was shot on the RED camera, which looks amazing. There are a couple of sequences that will have you on the edge of your seat, but there are also some more cerebral moments that will keep you guessing a little bit. I didn't buy all of it, but I found it fascinating nonetheless.
This isn't the best rock doc I've ever seen, but it's interesting because of its subject matter - murdered vocalist Mia Zapata - and what may have been had she lived and the band continued thriving in the early-90s Seattle scene. What I liked most about this was that here was a band torn apart not by drugs or in-fighting, but by real human tragedy, which they could never recover from and a decade later are still hurt by. The surviving members of The Gits miss their friend, and really don't seem to care about the fame they missed out on. Also of note are the snippets of their performances, as raw and energetic as could be asked for, and a real breath of fresh air (especially given the prominent music that exploded from Seattle at around the same time) to anyone who is unfamiliar with the band and its music.
A fun, relatively gory zombie romp that doesn't quite hold up to the classic first film. I get off on this sort of thing, so I liked it quite a bit. It's silly and sometimes inspired, and it's never as bad as the next two films in the series are, but I can't really recommend it to non-fans except for one reason: early cinematography by Robert Elswit (SYRIANA, BOOGIE NIGHTS, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS). It looks fantastic for a genre flick, with some of the best open sky panoramas I've ever seen in a zombie apocalypse movie.