John Carpenter has always been about transcending what ever form of storytelling he pursued. Even when paying homage toWesterns or remaking something like “Village of the Damned,” Carpenter never approaches it conventionally. With “In the Mouth of Madness,” he had every chance to repeat the same meta-beats as “They Live,” but he ends up delivering a genius, beautifully loony, often brilliant piece of cinema that’s both a tribute to literature, a meditation on the power of the imagination, and our own state of being and reality.
At the very least, video games seem to be evolving to where they’re no longer abysmal and are gradually edging toward entertaining. “Tomb Raider” was a blast, and “Rampage” is a fun ninety minute diversion. Based on the pretty plotless classic video game of the same name, Brad Peyton’s movie injects science fiction, action, giant monster movie madness, and yes, even features the game’s iconic monsters rampaging through civilization, bringing down buildings left and right. It’s bits and pieces of “Mighty Joe Young,” “King Kong,” and “Jurassic Park” that tries to deliver on many levels.
Kermit arm flailing time, it’s time to get excited and get deciding on what to see. OMG So. Many. Movies. I mean I want to see it all! But this year I cannot go for all the fest, but only a few days, so I will have to make choices, but not just yet, as right now is time to dream. Dream of what I want to see, not just what I can see. Here is, in a totally not scientific way, but a nerdtastic way, the films that have me muppeting all over the place.
The Wasp is one of the oldest, most important Marvel characters of all time (she was one of the original five Avengers), and she’s also someone who has been waiting in the wings for far too long. In “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” the heroine finally gets her due in a movie that’s about her legacy as much as it is about the Avengers, and Ant-Man, overall. After the two heavy meals that were “Black Panther” and “Infinity War,” Peyton Reed’s return to “Ant Man and the Wasp” is like a nice light after dinner sorbet. It’s a palate cleanser, it’s simple, and it’s quite good.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about Lowell Dean’s follow up to 2014’s “WolfCop,” and while I did love the original movie for its balls and unique premise, I can’t say I loved “Another…” Is it a poor follow up to the original? Absolutely not, but with the bigger budget and massive acclaim, it feels more like Dean forced a lot of the cult aspects, and has a tough time progressing the narrative of his hero Lou Garou. That said, “Another WolfCop” is still a fun cult movie romp that gets a nice blu-ray treatment for fans.
Albert Pyun’s “Cyborg” is a lot more famous for its back story and production woes than it is for the actual movie. There’s even the famous tale of how much of the sets and outfits for the characters were re-used from the cancelled “Spider-Man” movie, and sequel to “He-Man” that Golan Globus failed to finish. It’s a shame, because in the eighties when a whole sub-genre sprang from the success of “Mad Max,” we got a whole library of post apocalyptic action films with gritty warriors charged with saving mankind or something like a child or village. In a massive sub-genre of B grade copycats, “Cyborg” is one of the best.
It’s a shame that we’ve reached this milestone, but it warrants noting that “Jurassic World” is the first “Jurassic Park” movie to ever put me to sleep. I’m not saying “Fallen Kingdom” is an awful movie, it’s just that it’s not a very good one. If “Jurassic World” became a Saturday morning cartoon to entertain kids between bowls of cereal and bathroom breaks, “Fallen Kingdom” would be the pilot episode. It’s thin on narrative, but crowded with a ton of half baked, under developed characters, all of whom are so paper thin we barely get to know them, or engage ourselves with them all over again.
I’m usually very rough on video game inspired movies because—well—pretty much all of them suck. Save for “Mortal Kombat,” which is kind of fun if you’re in the right mood. After two goofy attempts to adapt the iconic adventure video game series “Tomb Raider” to the big screen, Warner reboots the movie series by—adapting the reboot of the video game from 2013. While I’d be hard pressed to call Roar Uthaug’s cinematic take on Lara Croft a masterpiece, I had a really good time with “Tomb Raider,” and that’s all I wanted in the end.