If anything, “Gotti” will go down as one of the most infamous movies of 2018. It’s a movie was in development hell for years, snuck up on audiences, and garnered a ton of bad reviews. And it responded by insulting critics and talking down to its audience. Make no mistake though, “Gotti” is bad. It’s very bad. It’s pure Oscar bait, with a director who realty wants his film to be “Goodfellas,” and a leading star who is so completely out of his lane it’s kind of sad to watch. Here John Travolta doesn’t seem to be acting, so much as competing for an Oscar nod, and it’s an endurance test from beginning to end.
America never did John Woo any favors, did it? The man who gave us “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled” now offers us a movie where American stars John Travolta and Nicolas Cage seem to be competing to see who is a worse actor. I guess when you’re working alongside Cage, though, you either have to be as awful as he is, or else risk causing some kind of black hole. Either way, for a man who has such a skill for delivering breakneck action films, “Face/Off” is that movie so moronic, you can’t even excuse it as science fiction. It’s kind of that movie you just accepted in 1997 mainly because Cage and Travolta joining forces was a little better than when Travolta met Christian Slater in “Broken Arrow.”
In a year where Hollywood is trying very hard to resurrect the star studded Western once more, Ti West comes along and casts Ethan Hawke in one of the most simplistic love letters to the sub-genre ever filmed. “In a Valley of Violence” doesn’t so much have a narrative as it has a string of events that coincide with one another, leading in to a chain of revenge, violence, and death. Ethan Hawke’s character isn’t a hero, and John Travolta’s character isn’t entirely villainous, they’re both pushed in to unfortunate corners. It then becomes a bunch of scoundrels striking one another down thanks to the actions of one individual who sets up a huge string of events that slam in to one another in bloody chaos. Ethan Hawke stars as enigmatic Paul, a lone drifter who has only his side arms, his horse, and his loyal dog Abbey by his side.
With the opening of “Carrie,” we see a brutal horror unfold with main character the titular Carrie White taking a shower during gym class and discovering the horror of her first period. She’s a girl who’s never really been given an explanation on anatomy or biology thanks to her religiously fanatical mother, and is terrified. Sadly the predators in her class that revel in bullying Carrie torment her by throwing tampons and towels at her as she screams. While the scene itself is jarring and the epitome of the cruelty Carrie inexplicably receives, it’s also the implication that ultimate evil has been realized. Though it’s mostly hinted at by Carrie’s mother, Carrie, despite being a good person at heart, is also pure evil personified.
If you’re in the market for some summer time comedy filled with raunch, eighties madness, gratuitous nudity, and a bunch of aspiring movie stars or future movie stars like Johnny Depp, and Jamie Lee Curtis, Mill Creek has the four movie line up for your pleasure. Now on Blu-Ray, these are four of the most terrible and yet entertaining movies of the eighties for economic movie collectors.
We fucking love Quentin Tarantino. And odds are if you’re thinking about buying “Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino’s Masterpiece” from Voyageur Press, you fucking love him, too. At two hundred pages in length,. the giant tome written by Jason Bailey (with essays from movie historians and critics) doesn’t just fill you in on “Pulp Fiction,” but on everything Tarantino. This is the big Kahuna of Tarantino knowledge, and it’s a hell of a fun book to sift through.
In its own way director John Badham’s 1977 masterpiece “Saturday Night Fever” is dated in every imaginable way, but it’s because of that, that it’s a classic, and is very appreciated. And it’s also the swan song of a music fad that couldn’t have lasted. John Travolta really was a dynamo back in the days of his early career, with a trifecta of frenetic films like “Grease” which would come only a year later, and “Urban Cowboy” which made a real impact as a one of a kind film. What “Saturday Night Fever” is about, in its truest sense, is growing up. Get past the dated styles, and hair, and lingo and look deep down in to its narrative and you’ll find a truly excellent story about growing up and moving on leaving your childish things behind and starting a new life.
Upon first glance, you’d think Brian DePalma directing a Stephen King Adaptation would be something disastrous. DePalma has spent most of his early career emulating Hitchcock, and delivering cerebral gems like “Sisters.” It’s a treat though that he ends up becoming one of the most crucial elements of “Carrie” and its adaptation. Because what the director can’t convey through special effects, he conveys through some amazing camera work and editing that still wows me to this day. “Carrie” is easily one of the best horror films, and revenge films ever made. It’s a brilliantly cast and deeply tragic story of a girl whose powers became the judgment day for many cruel individuals who preyed on the innocent.