Now that the gloves are off, FOX has managed to embrace the comic book universe tropes of “Gotham” and no longer have molded “Gotham” as an abysmal crime thriller. It’s now working as a somewhat new and radical take on the origin of Batman and Bruce Wayne’s molding in to the dark knight. The writers have taken even more liberties with the universe, centering so much more on Commissioner Gordon now and slowly sliding Bruce Wayne in to focus. The third seasons is a much lauded improvement over the former seasons for fans, as “Gotham” goes all out weird and eccentric, re-thinking the Batman universe and his origin in a new and often bold method.
What do you do when you want a Batman series but can’t actually feature the character? Sometimes the networks get creative and give us “Arrow.” Other times, they belly flop disastrously and hand us “Gotham.” Essentially “Gotham” is a crime drama set in Gotham City that’s basically either an Elseworlds tale, or a prequel. The series never can decide. It’s a lot like “Smallville” in that it features a world before the superhero came to fight for justice. And much like “Smallville,” the series pretty much stinks from the word “go.” Granted, “Gotham” is a good idea for a series. Who wouldn’t want to see what Gotham was like before the Batman came along? The problem is “Gotham” is so concerned with lip service to Batman rogues, and paying tribute to the fans that it never actually comes together to form an entertaining series.
Director Lowell Dean’s indie horror actioner “Wolfcop” is probably one of my favorite superhero movies of the year. While it’s a loving tribute to horror schlock, it’s also an unabashed superhero movie filled with mythos, a bonafide origin, and even a customized vehicle that our titular wolf cop travels around to maul bad guys in. You’d think wolf puns and a Dirty Harry-esque vigilante with claws would be a complete and utter misfire, but director Dean embraces his premise and offers up a great horror action comedy.
I said goddamn. If action movie buffs were concerned that the action genre was dying on its bed, then director Gareth Evans just stabbed it in the heart with adrenaline and revived it for a new audience. “The Raid Redemption” courtesy of Indonesia is one of the most frantic and ballistic action films I’ve ever seen, and director Gareth Evans delivers an action movie buffet of kicks, punches, and gashes that will leave audiences pumping their fists anxiously from beginning to end.
Matt Cordell is back and it was only a matter of time before he continued to seek pure vengeance on those who wronged him in his past life. Going back to the events of the first film, “Maniac Cop 2” traces its steps from the original film to continue off where Cordell started his journey for revenge against the people who framed and jailed him, leaving him to die at the hands of inmates he’d busted years before. “Maniac Cop 2” is a film intent on not only continuing the narrative but finishing off the loose ends of the original film. Continue reading
William Lustig is no stranger to films that dabble in the anarchic and try to play with our conceptions of paranoia and fear. The director is responsible for one of the most infamous slashers to ever come out in theaters “Maniac,” so delving in to the opposite spectrum of the premise is not surprising. “Maniac Cop” is almost an unofficial spin off of “Maniac” in where the former title was about a maniacal psycho on the loose in the city, the latter is about a maniacal authority figure on the loose in the city. Lustig doesn’t detract from the same tone and atmosphere that “Maniac” succeeded in and injects much of the same chaos and paranoia in this slasher film.
I wish I could have loved “Dark Blue,” I really do, but as I’ve learned over the many many years of television addiction, finding an entertaining show about police officers working against the conventions of the law is often about as fun as watching paint dry. “Dark Blue” truly tries for grit and edge but is often much too polished to buy such a pitch. TNT has pretty much banked on creating television series that are just branches off of more successful franchises and “Dark Blue” is a mix of “The Shield” with some “CSI” for good measure. While it does make its money on being a procedural, it also manages to have an actual arc to it.
In spite of hating almost everything Kevin Smith has ever done, I’ve always given him the benefit of the doubt because he seems like a cool guy. But at the end of the day being a cool guy doesn’t mean you’re going to make a good movie, and “Cop Out” is proof of that. Being just a goon for hire this time, Smith has released quite possibly his worst movie to date, and the very fact that he’s continued to defend it just astounds me. I mean I’ve heard of directors defending their work, but a lemon is a lemon. “Cop Out” is a movie that had the chips stacked against it from the get go. This is not an original Smith production, and it has some of the worst casting of all time.