REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS

Supposedly true and based on the Chinese underworld scene in NYC during the 1980s and early 90s, this could have been exciting, but it’s a snoozer. Ray Liotta appears for maybe 10 minutes (probably as a favor to producer Scorcese). Doomed by too small a budget, too many characters, too-small sets (it appears to have been shot in real tenement apartments), and a script that never comes to life.

FF=3

JUPITER ASCENDING

This is a tough one.  I expected to hate it, but because of the Wachowskis’ involvement, I gave it a go. It’s bad, old-fashioned space opera from the Planet Stories days, but not as awful as you’d expect from the reviews. The visuals are super, the story is preposterous, the actors do what they can with the roles (except for Eddie Redmayne who is consistently terrible).  I love astronomical eye candy, so I guess I’m a sucker for these visuals.  You def need to check your brain at the door, but if you’re throwing a party, you could put this on your big screen with the sound off and you’d have cool wallpaper.

FF=3

SEVENTH SON

Sure it’s got Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, but you know this by-the-numbers Joseph Campbell template by heart.  It’s been done and done a lot better.  (Hint: the boy is Luke, Bridges is Obi Wan, the black witch is Vader.) Not worth the 100 minutes.

FF=3

DELIVER US FROM EVIL

In a word…dark. Dark mood, dark lighting (sometimes I couldn’t see what was happening). Supposedly based on a true story. Bana is okay as the cop, but Edgar Ramirez is super as the ex-addict priest. The trouble with the film (for me) was its length and the sense of deja vu throughout. Okay, another word…”cliched.” I guess I’m done with demonic possession flicks. Once you’ve seen The Exorcist and experienced its resonance, where do you go from there?

FF=3

BLOODLINE

(spoilers ahead) A 13-episode Netflix original series. On the plus side it’s got good acting and the Keys as a setting. On the down side, the story seems mighty thin for 13 hours. The endlessly repeated flashbacks and flashforwards, adding a wee bit more each time – we’ve all seen that before. (I can almost hear the showrunner saying, “How can we stretch this scene?”) Ben Mendelsohn does an excellent job as Danny, the prodigal lowlife creep, but in the end I was left very disappointed. I like noir fiction — might even say I’m a fan — but noir works best in compact, concentrated doses. When you’re given a 13-hour canvas, you’ve got to do more with it than leave us with characters who do not evolve one iota over all those hours. True, in real life most people don’t evolve during adulthood, but this is fiction, which has the potential to be better than real life. With all the crap that goes down in this 13-hour film, nobody learns a damn thing. And the worst part, we’ve known the ending all along due to the flashforwards. Redemption was too much to hope for, I know, but this left me feeling in need of a shower.

FF=3

TUSK

One freakin weird movie. I saw it because Kevin Smith is a Jersey Shore guy and because the premise sounded so over the top. Well, it’s waaaay over the top. A crazy, gabby (hey, it’s a Kevin Smith film, so you expect lots of chatter), rather slow horror-comedy that’s totally ruined by the final scene. I kept thinking, “No, tear, no tear, please don’t show a tear.” And then came the tear. Bah!

FF=3

FEAST

One person told me to see it because it was surprisingly good, another said it sucked major doo-doo.  I’ll have to land somewhere between.  The comedy-horror thing didn’t work for me here as well as in Slither.  I did like its tendency to kill off the more heroic, take-charge characters you think will save the day, forcing someone else to step up, but I wasn’t all that engaged.

FF=3

HOLLYWOODLAND

For those who don’t know, the title here refers to the original (now iconic) Hollywood hills sign.  (The “LAND” fell over and was never resurrected.)  The story of George Reeves, the original TV Superman so beloved by the early waves of Boomers.  The guy became so identified with the character that he couldn’t get a job after the show folded.  He finally blew his head off.  The film involves a fictional PI hired by Reeves’s mother who thinks he was murdered.  It doesn’t work.  And 50’s LA is not captured anywhere near as well as in Black Dahlia.  But like that film, nothing seems to click.

FF=3