When I was a kid, I went to my local small-town movie theater every weekend. Back when a little-known movie could blow into town without having already been reviewed by Siskel and Ebert on Sneak Previews. Before the Internet made marketing and promotion more egalitarian. Before you could watch trailers for upcoming movies online months in advance. Before every movie had its own official website and buzz from Harry Knowles at Ain’t it Cool News. I saw some clunkers this way, sci-fi knockoffs of Star Wars and Buck Rogers. Crappy retreads of Halloween and Friday the 13th.
Drive Angry 3D. I admit I had seen a trailer on YouTube a couple months ago, and was intrigued by the cheese factor of Nicholas Cage dragging the ‘70s grindhouse/exploitation genre into the neo 3D era.
Gumball Rally, Vanishing Point, Death Race 2000) and the use of RVs as a means of transportation (Race with the Devil, The Hills Have Eyes, Damnation Alley). Then drizzle across the whole mess that most classic cinematic money-making, attention grabbing trope in the book, 3D (the fact that you still have to don glasses to experience 3D still makes me smile). Voilà! You’ve got all the makings of a classic grindhouse movie. Or a dozen.
Meanwhile the devil’s accountant (Death, by any other name) is on Milton’s trail to bring him back to hell. William Fichtner plays Death like a patient, natty warden super-powered by Beelzebub. It’s fun watching Death run up against, for example, stoner kids and telling them the next time they can expect to see him. “See you in three months,” he tells one kid. “You won’t see me ‘till you’re 73,” he tells the other.
These are fun, giddy, insane sequences moving quickly to wrap up the movie. While it looked as though the movie’s runtime was going to clock in a little short, I was reminded that the best exploitation flicks of the ‘70s, like all those Roger Corman movies with mobsters and guns and dames, were often sleek cinematic machines with running times under 90 minutes and often under 80.
stupid Nicholas Cage movie with an absurd plot and added special effects that sucked all the fun and life out of what could have been a lean, mean exploitation flick.
Theater location: Lowell Showcase, Sunday, February 27th, 11:45 matinee. Price $12.75. Viewed solo. Snacks--Licorice Log, Diet Pepsi.
A Better Life. An man living illegally in the states tries to build a better life for his son and keep him out of a street gang.
Limitless. A decent idea that goes way too far. A schlubby, slacker of a writer (Bradley Cooper) is prescribed a variation of a smart drug, and he begins using 100% of his brain power, able to complete difficult math expressions, writing a great novel in a few days (ha, this really is a Hollywood movie). Of course, he's being used as a pawn for some corporation, and falls under the thumb of at first daddy-seeming, then evil-seeming Robert DeNiro. Looks like it could be entertaining.
Red Riding Hood. Okay, I gotta say, this movie is definitely sexy. I know what you're saying, Huh? Red riding hood. You mean, the little girl with the red cape and the wolf. Well, she ain't no girl anymore. And the wolf, well he could be any of the hot young studs in this woodsy hamlet. It's Twilight all over again, with the same director, Catherine Hardwicke, starring Amanda Seyfried as Miss Hood, all grow'd up.
Thor. Now in 3-D! Marvel Comics' Thor gets the big-budget treatment. With Chris Hemsworth as the titular hero, along with Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, and Anthony Hopkins.
Source Code. Jake Gyllenhaal has to relive the same eight minutes on a train to figure out who blew it up (hey, I didn't write it). Each time he goes back in, he falls a little more for a young woman, played by Michelle Monaghan, until he's determined to save her from dying in the inevitable train explosion.