It’s hard to believe but it’s been twenty five years since Brandon Lee was accidentally killed while filming “The Crow.” Lee was such a rising talent who wanted to prove himself as an actor more than become the next big action star, and he was well on his way. Lee, like his dad, had to earn a lot of his clout. First: by starring in films in Asia, and then coming to America to try his hand. But unlike his dad, Brandon had the humongous shadow of his father looming over him and he would have had to work extra hard to come out from under it and make Brandon Lee a very different name from Bruce Lee.
“Game Night” feels like an older concept brought to life in a modern comedy and while it’s not a masterpiece, it does allow for a competent good time and some consistent laughs here and there. The key word is competence as just about everyone here does a competent job. Even Rachel McAdams is very good, and never tries to out do Jason Bateman, but instead meets him at his level. This amounts to some great chemistry and some genuinely fun scenes where you buy that they’re a couple.
If you’re going to watch “Species” for any reason, you have to see it for Natasha Henstridge. Surely, the cast is dynamic with the likes of Michael Madsen, Forrest Whitaker, and Ben Kingsley respectively, but Henstridge is a pretty great scene stealer rivaled only by Marg Helgenberger. I vividly recall “Species” grabbing a ton of attention back in 1995 mainly for the fact that “Species” was such a unique and erotic bit of horror and science fiction, and for the most part, it’s an okay movie. But what saves it is Henstridge and the great effects.
I was never actually a fan of movies where we have to follow an animal or group of animals as we follow along on their adventures. It never dawned on me that animals have such exciting lives and I was never interested In that sub-genre. Save for the “Homeward Bound” movies, but that’s a whole other discussion. “Benji” is considered a classic by many that also begat a ton of copycat films, and “For the Love of Benji” is the follow up that, I assume is intended for kids. It’s kind of dark, all things considered.
After the shocking success of “Deadpool,” it didn’t seem very likely that Ryan Reynolds and FOX would be able to follow up the first act in Wade Wilson’s arc. Lo and behold years later, “Deadpool 2” not only serves as a great second act of the Merc with a Mouth’s misadventures, but it’s just as good as the original. What I liked most about it though is that “Deadpool 2” further bridges the gap between Wade’s universe and his X-Men origins, proving that ironically these films understand the “X-Men” mythology so much more than any of the actual X-Men films combined.
Jim Wynorski’s “The Return of Swamp Thing” is one of my bonafide childhood favorites, and a favorite of the rental places. “The Return of Swamp Thing” was my introduction to the character when I was a child and it’s a definite favorite that’s become more about sentimental value than quality. I admit that viewing “The Return of Swamp Thing” through nostalgic glasses helps improve the campy direction Jim Wynorski takes for this second outing.
Corealie Fargeat’s “Revenge” is kind a new chapter in the rape revenge sub-genre of thrillers and horror films. It deconstructs an often very controversial and polarizing sub-genre to make it less about the exploitation of women and more about the empowerment of a woman who even views herself as a sex object when we meet her. “Revenge” is a grueling film to endure, but one that is also quite fantastic in its imagery and depiction of men as less cunning sexual predators and more slimy snakes that prey on a woman who proves she is a pure force of vengeance to be reckoned with.
Written by Josh Collins and Steven G. Michael with Collins directing, Fags in the Fast Lane is a low-brow, tongue-in-cheek comedy that goes for a style and universe that would make John Waters proud. The humor and the story are in your face, over the top with just about everything and the glittery kitchen sink thrown at the viewer. The story is one that includes something to shock or offend everyone. The trashploitation sub-genre is well represented here and viewers who won’t have been stopped by the film’s title should find something to have fun with here.