No one loves Kevin Smith more than Kevin Smith. He’s a fan of not just building this façade of an extended universe with his films, but the smug idea that he ultimately rejected Hollywood when all is said and done. After endless efforts to hit the mainstream vein, and re-invent himself as a horror director, Smith has come back to doing what he does best: Repeating himself, repeating the same old jokes, and giving his hardcore fans a ton of weed jokes, and near endless pop culture references about “Star Wars” and “Batman.”
So far we’re about ten alternate time lines deep in to the “Terminator” series, a movie franchise that continues to chug on thanks to the good word from James Cameron. Methinks without Cameron, “Terminator” would and should be put to sleep as a limp IP that loses more and more fans every single year. The convoluted timeline doesn’t even want to try to explain its own concept and logic (and lack thereof) anymore. It’s now basically rebooted itself (once again), and takes off limping to the finish line. From a confusing (bold?) retcon, to an over arching theme with heavy social commentary, “Terminator: Dark Fate” incidentally makes an argument against its existence.
2009’s action horror comedy “Zombieland” is something of a cult classic, and while not exactly a masterpiece, it’s been admired in its own right for a decade. After many, many years, Columbia brings us a sequel that’s probably way too late. After fans demanded a sequel shortly after the release of the 2009 film, “Zombieland: Double Tap” finally graces us with the characters we love—and it does absolutely nothing new with them. It also doesn’t take us in to any kind of new area of Zombieland that we haven’t seen before, which ends in disappointing returns in a follow up with occasional bright spots.
I don’t know what you can chalk it up to. Maybe it was the unfortunate illness of the late great Sid Haig that caused Rob Zombie to re-write a lot of “3 From Hell.” Or maybe he just didn’t know where to take his characters next. For a movie that takes great pains to explaining in detail how and why the Firefly Clan survived, it’s disappointing when “3 From Hell” does absolutely nothing new with them. Rob Zombie has a lot of windows to basically re-invent his characters and present some kind of social commentary, but in the end it’s just Zombie treading water with middling results.
The third installment in the Devil’s Reject trilogy (or the House of 1000 Corpses trilogy?), 3 From Hell picks up from where The Devil’s Rejects left off and makes sense of connecting that ending with making a third film. Here the Rejects escape jail and go on the run until bad people catch up with them. Who’s the worst bad guy and best killer? It’s up the audience to decide.
“To Wong Foo” was an especially curious film for me when I was twelve as I was admittedly not at all aware of what Drag Queens were. All I knew about “To Wong Foo” then is that it starred three of my favorite movie stars dressed as women. While the trailers completely advertised the film as men who dress as women for some kind of action oriented premise, I was surprised that it was a lot better than that. “To Wong Foo” isn’t a masterpiece, but through and through it’s a charming and funny drama comedy about acceptance, and enduring through pain.
In 1989, Nintendo was beginning to take over the world, and had done so right out of the wake of the video game crash of the eighties. With arcades fading, Nintendo was one of the strongest competitors for home gaming consoles, and in 1989 they were juggernauts of pop culture. Back in that era, just about everything was TMNT, The Simpsons, and Nintendo, and the latter had taken the minds and hearts of gamers and tech geeks everywhere that loved a good challenging platformer or run and gunner. In 1989, Nintendo finally branched out in to the wider arena of pop culture by basically helping to fuel a kids’ movie that would become a cult classic.
In 1993, Brad Pitt was one of the golden boys of Hollywood depicted as nothing more than a sex symbol. For years Pitt tried to reverse that image, and “Kalifornia” is one of his many efforts to break that sex symbol pigeon hole in favor of revealing his inherent acting ability. Paired with the right material, Pitt is a very good actor, but “Kalifornia” isn’t one of his best performances, no matter how hard he tries to channel his inner slime ball. That’s because “Kalifornia” is a bland and forgettable thriller with a great idea that it manages to piss away quite well.