The original “Death Race 2000” isn’t just a nearly perfect slice of drive-in junk food, it’s one of my favorite movies ever. Working off a recipe that balances black comedy, action and sleaze in precise proportions, director Paul Bartel and writers Robert Thom and Charles Griffith created one of the best and most entertaining products to ever come out of Roger Corman’s schlock market. It would take more than another movie to combine road racing with wholesale slaughter to clear the bar set by “Death Race 2000,” and “Death Race 2050” certainly tries. Continue reading
At the end of an especially long and acrimonious election season, it’s totally natural to want to just escape into some mindless entertainment. After more than a year of doom-saying and apocalyptic imagery pummeling you into submission, there’s nothing wrong with wanting some spectacle, some whiz-bang action and some light-hearted adventure to remind you that not everything is about hate and resentment. That’s what big blockbuster summer sequels are made for, after all. Well, most of them are. Unfortunately, there also exist movies like “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which leaves you feeling like you just watched a Super Bowl commercial for nihilism.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” has the distinction of being the second-most misanthropic movie I’ve ever seen, topped only by Sylvester Stallone’s “Cobra.” At least that movie had the excuse of being an R-rated cop movie made in the 1980s based on a trashy pulp novel. This movie is based on a line of toys and cartoons made for children but still somehow manages to be hateful, bleak, and practically irredeemable. This is a movie in which a villain character flippantly says “Just run them over!” during a car chase through a crowded street and it doesn’t land as a joke because it seems so thoroughly consistent with everything else we’ve seen up to that point. This is a movie where the hero solemnly says “Honor to the end” seconds after stabbing his enemy in the back and splitting his head open. This is a movie where not a single character is motivated by anything other than greed, mistrust, or hatred. It is a grueling experience, and ranks up there with “Happiness” as one of the most uncomfortable movies I’ve ever watched. I write this review as a form of therapy. Continue reading
The original “Ghostbusters” is a movie that could only happen once, which ironically means Hollywood has been trying to make it happen again for decades. “Ghostbusters” is one of the best movies of the 1980s – certainly one of the most financially successful – and that’s only because exactly everything about it happened exactly the way it did. As crass and capitalistic Hollywood can be, the studio machines still can’t follow the same blueprints and produce a successful movie every time.
That’s not to say that the new “Ghostbusters” is a bad movie, by any means. It just isn’t the original “Ghostbusters,” which is a criticism you also can level against 99.9999999999 percent of movies. Even though the new movie doesn’t share the same alchemic spark that made the original so beloved, however, it’s nowhere near the flaming disaster that certain segments of the Internet wanted it to be. Continue reading
Hello! This is the first official post on my new blog. You can read all about why this blog exists on the Welcome to Cyborg City 3000! page, but the digest version is I’m a writer and pop culture junkie, and this is just a place for me to write about whatever I want.
The first post on a blog should be pretty important, shouldn’t it? It has to sort of set the tone for everything that comes later and be compelling enough in its own right to make the readers want to come back. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to kick off this little shindig, and here we go:
That’s Richard Nixon meeting Robocop, which to me is much more culturally and historically significant than that similar photo of Nixon and Elvis. Or, if you’re more into John McTiernan than Paul Verhoeven, there’s this photo, which proves that world peace is possible in our lifetime:
So there you go, the first post is out of the way and you should all have a very good idea about what to expect from this blog as I go.
(I’ve made a huge mistake.)