In a small town, a hurricane causes mayhem and destruction. A father and his two sons attempt to outrun it in the family’s tow truck. As they become stuck, the father puts his sons in a house for safety. Before he can unstuck his truck, the hurricane closes in, a skull shape comes out of it before the truck disappears and the house starts tumbling. Now if this doesn’t sell you on seeing the film, the rest of the story takes place in present day during a heist at a federal reserve happening under the cover of a massive hurricane stronger than the one in the opening. Good guys and bad guys face off under this epic hurricane.
Back in the nineties, there was this strange movement to take pulp and serial heroes and revive them for a modern audience. Everything from Flash Gordon to Doc Samson were revived. Some of them, like “Zorro,” were big hits, while a lot of them surprisingly missed with audiences. I’ve always loved the pulp and serial heroes, but a lot of the box office and ratings for movies and television decided that they were best left in their era. One of the bigger movements was to place serial heroes in to the future. So, The Phantom was placed in to a futuristic setting, and Sherlock Holmes was brought back a la “The Demolition Man.”
After “Batman and Harley Quinn,” the cinematic adaptation of “Gotham By Gaslight” feels like a breath of fresh air. It brought me back to the time when Batman animation was mature and accessible, and we got entertainment like “Mask of the Phantasm” and “Return of the Joker.” Warner follows up with the aforementioned horrendous DC team up movie with what is a charming, creepy, and wholly creative twist on the Jack the Ripper legend that ponders on what would have happened if he and Batman were foes during the time he wrought havoc in the 1880’s.
It’ll take more than a bad movie to bring the “Suicide Squad” down. Deep down there’s still a great movie to be made with this concept. “Assault on Arkham” showed it, and “Hell to Pay” proves it. You don’t have to make this group the center of the DC Universe fighting massive gods. They can just be super powered thugs doing the slimy stuff like stealing Lex Luthor’s chunk of Kryptonite, or breaking in to Batman’s fortress to steal incriminating evidence he has to bring down Amanda Waller. Something neat in the same vein happens in “Hell to Pay” when the group are assigned to track down a maguffin that is both silly and clever.
“Death Wish” was a silly movie in its time and it’s a ridiculous concept now. The mere fact that Eli Roth and Joe Carnahan are behind this only serves the film’s premise that it’s an immature, sophomoric male fantasy about solving all of life’s problems with a gun. Bruce Willis’s character Paul Kersey is able to breeze in and out of night clubs and crowded ghettos with only a black hood and shoots down people like it’s a hobby. “Death Wish” then tries to make it very sexual, as Paul begins as this somewhat impotent, pacifistic gentleman whose manhood slowly advances as he embraces the gun.
Top Knot Detective was a short-lived television series in Japan that has now achieved cult status around the world. This film examines why it became so while definitely not being all that great of a show. It also looks into the rise and fall of its star and costars.
Boyd Kirkland’s “SubZero” stands as not only one of the best animated Batman films of all time, but one of the best Batman films, period. In a time where Warner were handing us goofy films like “Batman Forever,” behind the scenes, Bruce Timm took the material seriously, delivering entertaining mature fare like “SubZero.” Something of a sequel to “Deep Freeze,” Kirkland’s film is also a stark contrast to last year’s “Batman and Harley Quinn,” choosing to expand on the hit episode, rather than repeat the same beats ad nauseum like the latter chose to.