Tag Archives: Nicolas Cage

Con Air (1997) Review

con-air-nicolas-cage

Con Air

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Cameron Poe
John Cusack as U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin
John Malkovich as Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom
Steve Buscemi as Garland “The Marietta Mangler” Greene
Ving Rhames as Nathan “Diamond Dog” Jones
Colm Meaney as Agent Duncan Malloy
Mykelti Williamson as Mike “Baby-O” O’Dell
Rachel Ticotin as Guard Sally Bishop
Director: Simon West

Cameron is a wrongly convicted prisoner who is going to be released when his plane is hijacked by other criminals. While they seize control of the plane, he attempts to wrest control and return home.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

When it comes to the 90s and especially for Nicolas Cage, Con Air is one of the quintessential action movies, even if I wouldn’t consider it one of the all time best. I rewatched it after many years after seeing it for the first time, and it was even more enjoyable than I remembered it being. It is absurd, yet thrilling, and constantly entertaining from beginning to end.

Con-Air1

One thing that everyone will say is that Con Air is very over the top and ridiculous, it is almost insane that this movie was made at all. It just runs with whatever ridiculous happens, no matter the absurdity, and it just keeps escalating and escalating. Its very noisy, and nothing about the movie is subtle. It is helped by a light tone and the simplicity of the plot, which is basically Die Hard on a plane. Nicolas Cage is a prisoner going home on a plane full of convicts, and the convicts take over the plane. This movie is always moving, with rarely a dull or boring moment. I also love how confident this movie is, there is an earnestness to the movie, even with the tongue in cheek and self-aware moments, which gives it a real personality. There are even certain choices that are played completely straight, but come across as unintentional comedic, and that adds to the movie if anything. Its really hard to criticise the writing of the movie because any negative you could find in it also serves as a positive (on an entertainment level at least). What I will say without spoilers is that once everything with the plane is done, there is a final action segment to conclude the movie. It is still enjoyable, but does feel a little tact on.

download

There is a stacked cast with plenty of recognisable names here, and everyone delivers in their parts. They know what kind of movie they are in and are committed to the film despite the goofiness. Nicolas Cage leads this movie with long hair and a wonky Southern accent. Even though its not one of his all time best action roles, its one of his most memorable. He’s likable, easy to follow, and has some memorable moments and delivers some fun one liners. John Cusack is also good as a US Marshal who helps Cage along the way. The standout is John Malkovich as a menacing and great villain, I really don’t think the character and movie would’ve worked as well without Malkovich. Supporting villains including Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo are solid, and Steve Buscemi is a scene stealer.

Con-air-1b

Something that also helps the movie is the direction by Simon West. Its so overblown yet well filmed, stylistically it is the epitome of 90s action cheese. The action is entertaining and intense, the camera movements are great, and everything from the fight scenes to the shootouts are crafted well. The score is wonderfully bombastic, and is operating at the right tone and feel for this movie.

2615

Con Air is the most Michael Bay movie that isn’t directed by Michael Bay. It has the right amount of absurdity, earnestness, and self-awareness, made even better by Simon West’s solid direction, and an ensemble of enjoyable performances led by Nicolas Cage. It is a lot of fun, and is a great candidate for the ultimate popcorn movie. If you like action movies especially those which are incredibly over the top, I think Con Air is worth checking out.

National Treasure (2004) Review

national-treasure-2.0

National Treasure

Time: 131 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] contains low level violence
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates
Sean Bean as Ian Howe
Diane Kruger as Dr. Abigail Chase
Justin Bartha as Riley Poole
Jon Voight as Patrick Henry Gates
Harvey Keitel as Agent Peter Sadusky
Christopher Plummer as John Adams Gates
Director: Jon Turteltaub

Modern treasure hunters, led by archaeologist Ben Gates, search for a chest of riches rumored to have been stashed away by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin during the Revolutionary War. The chest’s whereabouts may lie in secret clues embedded in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and Gates is in a race to find the gold before his enemies do.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I remember watching National Treasure for the first time, I was quite young at the time, and it was the first film I saw that had Nicolas Cage in it. I enjoyed it but wondered how it would be on rewatch, and whether it would still hold up over a decade and a half later. Thankfully, I think I can say that it does. While its not great, National Treasure is still a lot of fun to watch.

nationaltreasure

The story is a fairly interesting and fun adventure with a lot of excitement throughout, helped by the fast pace. You’re right there with the main characters as they make discoveries and solve puzzles in order to unravel the central mystery. As far as adventure movies go, it occasionally meets its aspirations, but could’ve been better. As it is, it’s a solid riff on much better action adventure movies. Its not just limited to the main characters exploring tombs, there’s also a conspiracy aspect, as well as a heist aspect. The history and science are definitely messy and aren’t realistic, but it is an absurd movie overall. One of the things most known about this movie is that a key part involves Nicolas Cage having to steal the Declaration of Independence, and that is gloriously silly as that sounds. Even some of the logic of the plot can be hilarious. Nicolas Cage and Sean Bean start off hunting treasure together, but they separate when Bean wants to steal the Declaration of Independence and Cage doesn’t want to. So when Bean decides to go get it himself, Cage decides to go and steal it first. Thankfully, National Treasure has the right tone, not taking itself too seriously, but not going too overboard and risking becoming a self parody.

National Treasure 1

The cast are quite enjoyable. Nicolas Cage made for a charismatic, likable and entertaining lead as Ben Gates. Its definitely not one of his craziest performances in some of his other movies like Face/Off, but he gave his character a lot of energy, and is fun to watch. Diane Kruger is also good, and Justin Bartha is solid as the comic relief with some great comedic timing. There are also other great actors who have parts to play in this, including Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel and Christopher Plummer. Sean Bean is the villain and while the writing for him is nothing special, he does deliver on his part as an antagonist.

National-Treasure

If there’s an aspect of National Treasure that I wished was better, it was the direction. Jon Turteltaub’s work is decent, but it needed something more. The action is relatively fun, there are some good environments sets and designs, and the score from Trevor Rabin is good (especially the catchy main theme). Its just that there’s nothing distinct about this movie on a directing or style level that separates it from other similar movies.

national-treasure--cf6aa9cb6f1141f78358a2297f0aa5a6

National Treasure is comparable to The Mummy movies starring Brendan Fraser, not the best action-adventure movies (i.e. not on the level of Indiana Jones), but nonetheless very entertaining for what it is. It’s a fun ride that doesn’t take itself too seriously, helped by the solid cast led by Nicolas Cage. If you haven’t seen it already, I think its worth checking out.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022) Review

AMC_Scene_PromoPost_Unbearable-Weight-of-Massive-Talent

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence, offensive language, drug use & sexual references
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Nick Cage/Little Nicky
Pedro Pascal as Javi Gutierrez
Sharon Horgan as Olivia Henson
Tiffany Haddish as Vivian Etten
Ike Barinholtz as Martin Etten
Alessandra Mastronardi as Gabriela
Jacob Scipio as Carlos
Neil Patrick Harris as Richard Fink
Lily Sheen as Addy Cage
Director: Tom Gormican

Unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, actor Nick Cage accepts a $1 million offer to attend a wealthy fan’s birthday party. Things take a wildly unexpected turn when a CIA operative recruits Cage for an unusual mission. Taking on the role of a lifetime, he soon finds himself channeling his most iconic and beloved characters to save himself and his loved ones.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I was looking forward to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent ever since it was announced. The prospect of Nicolas Cage playing himself was always going to have my attention, no matter how it turned out. I will admit that I was a little worried, despite the exciting premise, it sounded like it could easily fall into easy meta humour and Nick Cage throwbacks and nothing else. However, I was satisfied with the movie and really enjoyed it.

bmDByS164001_4532290

With Nicolas Cage’s reputation and following, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent could’ve easily been a mockery of him but its actually a love letter and genuinely respects him. There are plenty of references to him and his movies, even his more obscure films. It could’ve been a mess, but it was the right amount of meta.  Thankfully, it does try for more beyond its outlandish premise. While the plot is definitely very familiar and nothing special, it is surprisingly heartfelt, whether it is Cage and his family or Cage and Pedro Pascal. It does feel like a lot of love was put into it, and it has a charm to it. The character moments in the first two acts really work, and as a buddy comedy, I found it consistently entertaining and funny. With that said, it is very typical and by the end becomes a cliché filled action movie. It is self-aware and makes jokes about cliches in Hollywood movies but falls into many of those cliches at the same time. The third act is particularly conventional, even if it still entertains. You could say that the movie is slightly unhinged, but not as unhinged as you’d imagine it to be given its subject. It does play things fairly safe, beyond the meta nature of the movie and Cage imagining a younger version of himself, it’s not that wild.

1649982363995

First and foremost is Nicolas Cage playing one of his hardest roles yet… Nicolas Cage (known as Nick Cage in the movie). It was quite something seeing Cage portray a fictional version of himself, yet one that still draws from his real life and persona. It is interesting watching Cage reflect on his career and the choices he made. He delivers on the comedy greatly and as you would expect has some satisfying over the top moments that you’d expect and hope from him. But he was also good at delivering on the drama at heartfelt moments, especially with his strained relationship with his daughter. There’s also Pedro Pascal playing the role of the mega fan of Nicolas Cage who offers him $1 million to appear at his party. Pascal is quite fun to watch and plays his part perfectly. Cage and Pascal have fantastic chemistry, they are delightful together and have wonderful comedic timing. Amongst all the great parts of the movie, their dynamic was the highlight for me. Additionally, other actors like Sharon Horgan, Lily Mo Sheen, Tiffany Haddish, and Ike Barinholtz are also good and play their parts well.

the_unbearable_weight_of_massive_talent_UWMT_D43_20142_R_rgb.0

The movie is directed by Tom Gormican and his work isn’t that special, but it functions for this movie. The visuals are good, and it takes advantage of its locations well. The action isn’t spectacular but is decent enough. There is some CGI de-aging with Nicolas Cage’s alter ego Little Nicky who he imagines (based off a younger Cage specifically from his infamous Terry Wogan interview appearance). While the visual effects on him look very off especially when he’s on screen right next to present day Cage, the uncanny valley nature of it actually works for the movie.

Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was thoroughly enjoyable. While it is unfortunately quite conventional considering that it is a movie about Nicolas Cage playing himself, it is entertaining and funny, and a good tribute to him. If you are a big fan of Cage, then I highly recommend checking it out. Even if you aren’t a mega fan, I think there’s a lot of fun that you could have with it.

Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021) Review

Prisoners-of-the-Ghostland-1-1

Prisoners of the Ghostland

Time: 103 Minutes
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Hero
Sofia Boutella as Bernice
Bill Moseley as The Governor
Director: Sion Sono

In the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town, a ruthless bank robber gets sprung from jail by a wealthy warlord whose adopted granddaughter has gone missing. He offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct in five days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman — and his own path to redemption.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I was actually quite excited for Prisoners of the Ghostland. One of the biggest selling points (which was used to market the movie) is that lead actor Nicolas Cage said that it might be the wildest movie he’s ever made, which is saying a lot considering his reputation for being in wild movies and/or being wild in some of his movies. So that combined the simple yet over the top premise, I was looking forward to it. The actual film didn’t quite deliver as I hoped it would.

FE65OuVXEAABFEI

The premise is straightforward, a bank robber played by Nicolas Cage has bombs attached to him and he’s given a certain amount of time to rescue a woman before the bombs go off. I liked how the film started, and it showed some promise. It is a mash up of genres, with it being a western, samurai and post apocalyptic film, and it’s certainly impressive for that. However I had a sinking feeling as it approached the end of the first act, as its many issues reared their heads. The script is poorly written, and not always in the campy B-movie way. Despite the premise and the over the top nature, Prisoners of the Ghostland is surprisingly dull. It meanders a bit too much in the first half and I had mostly tuned out at the halfway point. Not much actually happens in the movie, and in the scenes where nothing was happening, I struggled to find out what the point of them were. It seemed like it was trying to build lore in these scenes, but even from that perspective the execution was lackluster.  On that comment from Cage, its definitely not one of the wildest movies he’s made but it is on the Weider side. However, it feels somewhat low effort and more like its weird for the sake of being weird, and it comes across rather hollow. It only picks up again when it enters into the climactic final battle in the third act. If the movie was just the climax it would’ve been a highly enjoyable throwback to over the top B-movies. However it is stretched to an entire movie length, and even at 100 minutes long it is tedious to watch.

E_dLqCsWQAIEXh2

Nicolas Cage is in this movie and as expected this movie is definitely trying to play to his skills of being over the top. However to put it bluntly, if I was to make a list of the top 10 over the top Nicolas Cage movies/performances, Prisoners of the Ghostland wouldn’t come close to making it. He’s certainly over the top and lets loose in some moments. Otherwise he seems strangely restrained, probably because there’s not much of a character for him to play here, it’s just like he’s a parody of action leads. He makes the movie easier to sit through, but he somehow feels out of place with the rest of the movie. Sofia Boutella is the only actor in the movie who isn’t over the top, she’s playing the woman who Cage is trying to rescue. She’s decent in her part but she was very underused and not given much to do here. Every other actor is over the top and ‘weird’ but there’s not much of a character for them to play.

image

Part of the hype for Prisoners of the Ghostland was the director Sion Sono, I haven’t seen any of his movies but I heard that he’s quite unique and ‘crazy’ as a filmmaker. With this film there’s certainly a lot of flare to his direction. The cinematography is fantastic, the practical sets are impressive, and the action isn’t anything special but is nicely stylised and fun to watch.

Screen-Shot-2021-01-26-at-10.05.29-PM

I was rather disappointed in Prisoners of the Ghostland. Despite the premise, its just rather dull to sit through, especially the middle hour of the film. It does have some strengths, Nicolas Cage was enjoyable to watch despite being underutilised, I liked the mash up of different genres, and a lot of the technical aspects are impressive. At the very least, it has me interested to check out Sion Sono’s other work, but by itself, Prisoners of the Ghostland is just fine at best.

Pig (2021) Review

PIG_NicolasCage_01_courtesyNEON

Pig

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Robin “Rob” Feld
Alex Wolff as Amir
Adam Arkin as Darius
Director: Michael Sarnoski

Living alone in the Oregon wilderness, a truffle hunter (Nicolas Cage) returns to Portland to find the person who stole his beloved pig.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I heard some very positive things about Pig before going into it, at first it looked like a revenge movie about Nicolas Cage trying to get back his, pig but apparently it was a genuinely great film given the responses. I went in fairly blind outside of knowing the premise, and I was surprised by how amazing this film turned out to be.

6c1b09e1da2270702a30225321908ba4

The plot is about Nicolas Cage as a truffle hunter living on his own except for his pig, his pig is then kidnapped, and this leads him on a journey into the city as he tries to find her. At first the plot doesn’t sound anything special. Despite that John Wick esque premise (with a pig instead of a dog), it is not really a revenge thriller. It basically subverts any expectations you might have from setups like this, and is an anti revenge movie. It’s an intriguing character study, and as the movie progresses it slowly reveals aspects about Cage’s character, and the history that is uncovered really is compelling. The choices made and the places the story and characters go to are interesting. Pig’s setup is certainly reminiscent of a revenge movie but evolves into an melancholic, existential reflection and meditation on emptiness and loss. Its about moving on and dealing with your past. There’s a lot to connect with here, and the take on grief is very human and handled with a lot of empathy. The dialogue is fantastic, with very riveting conversations. The moment I realised that this was a special movie was a conversation between Cage and a chief inside a restaurant, definitely one of the most memorable scenes in the whole film. At the same time, Pig can still say a lot without using a whole lot of dialogue. The movie is short at 90 minutes but it is also very slowly paced, and you’ll be sorely disappointed if you were expecting a revenge thriller. I do appreciate the steady progression of the storytelling however.

x1080

The acting is also amazing. First of all is Nicolas Cage who delivers one of his all-time best performances and that’s saying a lot. Despite his reputation for being eccentric and over the top, Cage is comparatively restrained as he embodies the stoic and quiet character of Robin Feld. His acting is subdued and subtle, yet very powerful, and feels incredibly natural and believable here. Alex Wolff is also great here in possibly his best performance yet. His character is a business partner of Robin who decides to help him find his pig. Both Cage and Wolff share great chemistry, and the movie allows plenty of time for these two characters to open up to each other. The rest of the acting from the likes of Adam Arkin and more are also strong and memorable despite appearing in no more than 2 scenes.

5760

Michael Sarnoski directs Pig in his debut film, and his work here is great. The directing is definitely on the more subtle side, but nonetheless incredibly effective on a technical level. The cinematography is gorgeous from beginning to end, particularly with the scenes filmed in the forest earlier on. The music and sound are also strong, with a haunting and tonally rich score from Alexis Grapsas and Philip Klein adding a lot to the film.

image5

Pig was one of the biggest surprises of the year. Its beautifully and carefully crafted, the story and journey are compelling and unexpected, and it has some excellent performances from Nicolas Cage and Alex Wolff. It is one of the best films of 2021, and one well worth seeking out.

The Wicker Man (2006) Review

wb-23419-Full-Image_GalleryBackground-en-US-1551329328882._RI_[1]

The Wicker Man (2006)

Time: 102 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Edward Malus
Ellen Burstyn as Sister Summersisle
Kate Beahan as Sister Willow Woodward
Leelee Sobieski as Sister Honey
Frances Conroy as Dr. T.H. Moss
Molly Parker as Sister Rose/Sister Thorn
Diane Delano as Sister Beech
Director: Neil LaBute

Police officer Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) reaches a private island to help his ex-fiancee (Kate Beahan) find her missing girl. The community she lives in follows an odd cult and he must locate the girl before she is killed in the name of sacrifice.

full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I’ve been meaning to watch The Wicker Man remake for some time. The original starring Christopher Lee was actually quite good, and worth watching for those who like horror movies. The remake however is generally regarded as hilariously bad, even by horror remake standards, and is particularly known for Nicolas Cage going crazy (and that’s saying a lot). For the record I went in expecting the worst, and the remake certainly lived up to all the talk. It is astoundingly bad, yet as that made for an entertaining movie to watch, at least for me.

THE WICKER MAN, 2006, © Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

From the very beginning you can tell that something is off about this movie. It starts with a brief scene with Nicolas Cage as a cop seeing a truck crash into a car and failing to get the people inside out before it explodes. That opening moment of the truck crash is referenced quite a bit however in both dreams and even random jumpscares. I get that Cage’s character is supposed to be haunted by that moment but there is no resolution for it, and doesn’t connect to the main story in any way outside of both that and his current investigation somewhat involving fire. There is no reason for it to be here. It doesn’t get any better from there. The writing is quite bad. The most significant change over the original is that instead of it being about Paganism vs Catholicism, it’s men vs women here, which isn’t particularly scary or disturbing. If director Neil LaBute really wanted to stick with this concept, then it would have to be a satire or actually say something about gender politics (mishandled or not). However nothing is really said, it’s just an island of all women who perform rituals, men only exist on the island as workers and are used for reproduction, and that’s the extent of it all. I have no idea what Neil LaBute was trying to do with this, because once again this concept isn’t scary in the slightest. It becomes more funny more than anything, which would be fine if it was intentional. Speaking of horror, the attempts at being scary are laughable. Scare scenes aside, it fails to build a creepy or tense atmosphere. The dialogue is quite unnatural, and none of the characters feel normal or real here, and this is even before we get onto the island of the pagan people.

the-wicker-man-2006[1]

There are plenty of inconsistencies in the plot that you can pick at endlessly. For one, this movie primarily takes place on a secluded island with no technology or phone reception whatsoever, yet somehow they have a website that Cage looks up early on, that’s just one thing that’s out of place. However most important of all, once you know what’s going on and everything is revealed, it’s just doesn’t make sense. Without spoiling anything, if certain characters were smart enough, this plot would’ve been only 30 minutes long. There’s an endless amount of funny moments throughout the movie, all involving Nicolas Cage. Cage forcing someone off a bike at gunpoint, he dresses up as a bear and punching someone in the face, him screaming wanting to know how a doll got burnt, Cage getting angry in general, the list goes on. Then of course comes a certain infamous moment involving Cage and bees towards the end of the movie, which is actually a deleted scene only seen on the special edition. While I expected those moments, I was also entertained by how weird and questionable many of the writing and directing choices were.

MV5BMjAzNDMxNTg2MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjI2MTE3MjI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1500,1000_AL_[1]

Nicolas Cage really is the star of the show, and as weird as much of the movie is, it wouldn’t have been even nearly as entertaining without him. His character isn’t really strange or crazy, it’s a rather typical and generic horror movie protagonist if anything, but the writing and dialogue mixed with Cage’s acting style just made it come across as bizarrely hilarious to watch. His highlight moments is when his character is just frustrated in the third act of the movie, he goes absolutely nuts and it is absolutely glorious. The rest of the cast are there but aren’t all that good. Somehow they managed to get Ellen Burstyn to play the pagan leader, and really they could’ve cast anyone in that role.

3018898-wicker-man-burnt[1]

Neil LaBute is the director of this movie, and his work in this movie isn’t that good. Apparently LaBute has made some decent movies, but you wouldn’t know this from watching his take on the Wicker Man. It’s not scary in the slightest, from the attempts at being unsettling, to the jumpscares. There are three jumpscares through the use of trucks alone. I know that bees are meant to be like a big thing for this island of cultists and is meant to be creepy, but it’s not scary in the slightest. In terms of positive things, I guess the production design is alright.

The-Wicker-Man-Nic-Cage-Bees[1]

2006’s The Wicker Man is really bad on pretty much all fronts, although if you’ve even heard of this movie you already know that from its reputation alone. If you are looking for a legitimately good horror movie about a cult and was hoping for that in this movie, skip it and go with the 70s original. If you like so-bad-it’s-good movies and/or you like seeing Nicolas Cage act over the top, this is definitely for you and you should definitely check it out.

Kick-Ass (2010) Review

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] contains graphic violence, drug use and offensive language
Cast:
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass
Mark Strong as Frank D’Amico
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico/Red Mist
Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl
Nicolas Cage as Damon Macready/Big Daddy
Director: Matthew Vaughn

Using his love for comics as inspiration, teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) decides to reinvent himself as a superhero — despite a complete lack of special powers. Dave dons a costume, dubs himself “Kick-Ass,” and gets to work fighting crime. He joins forces with the father/daughter vigilante team of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace-Moretz), then befriends another fledgling crime-fighter called Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), but a scheming mobster (mark Strong) soon puts their alliance to the test.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I remembered watching Kick-Ass years ago, from what I remember it really was a fun watch. Since it’s been a while, I decided to rewatch it and see how I thought about it now. It was even more entertaining than I remembered, everything from the cast, writing and the direction just worked really well. For what it was, it was great.

Kick-Ass is based off the comic of the same name by Mark Millar (not the first time that Matthew Vaughn would make movies based on Millar’s material). The script by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn sort of takes the piss out of superhero movies, but not to the point of obnoxious parody like how it seemed on paper. As someone who likes a lot of comic book movies, it was really funny and entertaining to watch. It is for sure dark and twisted, I mean this is the movie where a little girl stabs and slices people up in very violent ways. It is very darkly comedic, and as someone who likes a lot of dark comedy, it was really a movie that worked for me. You really can’t take this movie too seriously, with that said it does have some really serious and dark moments so that it’s not a full on cartoonish parody of a movie. The pacing was really good, at under 2 hours long it doesn’t give you a chance to be bored. I guess the movie isn’t quite perfect. The whole romantic subplot between Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Dave and Lyndsy Fonseca’s Katie, with Katie believing Dave to be gay and all that, it was kind of dumb. For the most part though, I had endless fun with the movie.

The cast all do a good job in their roles. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is perfect as Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass. He was really good and convincing as a nerd trying to be a superhero but really out of his depth. The scene stealers of the movie were Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy and Chloe Grace-Moretz as Hit Girl. Nicolas Cage back in 2010 gave one of his best performances in a while with this movie. And of course, Chloe Grace-Moretz is great in her breakout role as Hit Girl, a profane and violent vigilante which generated controversy given that the role was performed by a 12 year old. She was really great and was the standout of the cast of characters in this movie (even though she wasn’t the main focus). It may be a bit too late now, but she could carry her own standalone movie. Mark Strong plays the main villain of Kick Ass as a mobster. Strong has played a lot of villains (even up to 2010) but here it seemed to be a much more comedic take on a villain, he really has fun here. Christopher Mintz-Plasse also works pretty well as the son of Mark Strong.

Matthew Vaughn’s direction is all around really great and works with this material. Vaughn seems very familiar with the Kick-Ass comics (and comic book movies in general), it’s very stylish and the editing was perfect. The action scenes are genuinely filmed really well, it’s very violent, bloody and gratifying. This movie really isn’t for the squeamish or easily offended. The soundtrack was all really good, from the music choices, to the score from Henry Jackman and John Murphy, making the action scenes even better. The uses of CGI can be a little iffy at times but it can be overlooked easily.

Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass is darkly comedic, entertaining, the cast was really good, directed well, and as an almost parody of superhero movies, it’s really good. If you’re a big fan of comic book and superhero movies, this is definitely a movie that you need to check out, because it’s probably right up your alley. As for Kick-Ass 2, I remember liking it much more than most people, however it doesn’t even come close to what Vaughn did with the original movie.

Color Out of Space (2020) Review

COLOR-OUT-OF-SPACE-Official-Trailer-1-43-screenshot[1]

Color Out of Space

Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language & horror
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Nathan Gardner
Joely Richardson as Theresa Gardner
Madeleine Arthur as Lavinia Gardner
Brendan Meyer as Benny Gardner
Julian Hilliard as Jack Gardner
Elliot Knight as Ward Phillips
Q’orianka Kilcher as Mayor Tooma
Tommy Chong as Ezra
Director: Richard Stanley

After a meteorite lands in the front yard of their farm, Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) and his family find themselves battling a mutant extra-terrestrial organism that infects their minds and bodies, transforming their quiet rural life into a technicolour nightmare.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Color Out of Space was a movie I was aware of for a little while. All I knew about it was that it’s a science fiction horror starring Nicolas Cage, that was an adaptation of a short story written by H.P. Lovecraft. I’m not familiar with Lovecraft’s work, but I’m aware of his influence on art, entertainment, and so much more, so I was curious to see how this movie would turn out. Color Out of Space is a trippy, weird, and visually stunning ride that I was glad to be on, even with all its issues.

c807e7e7-a1a7-40a0-abe6-bf1f3bd4355d-VPC_COLOR_OUT_OF_SPACE_TRAILER_DESK_THUMB.00_01_40_13.Still001[1]

I never read Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space, but from what I’ve heard from some, it seemed to have been adapted well to the big screen (or at least as best as possible). The script is not very strong (especially when it comes to the dialogue), but it works okay enough for this story. It’s generally played seriously, but there’s a bit of a B-movie feel to it at the same time. The movie starts off a little slow but that was the right pacing for this movie instead of just jumping straight in with the weirdness. You begin to see little changes over time that the characters and the general location experience. The second half is where it goes nuts and is definitely the highlight section of the movie. I won’t go into too much depth about what happens in the story, it’s definitely one that’s better experienced for yourself.

image-asset[1]

The cast for the most part aren’t great but they play their roles as best as they could. Let’s start with the obvious with Nicolas Cage, who seemed to be a perfect fit for the role. He starts off as some geeky and soft spoken and amateur alpaca farmer, and over time just becomes unhinged and crazier. Of course he shines in some very entertaining moments, in some of the loudest and angriest scenes his delivery of his lines is like a mix of his character from Vampire’s Kiss and Donald Trump. It’s fun to watch, and for those looking for crazy Nic Cage, there’s plenty of moments that you’ll definitely love. The rest of the main cast making up the main family with Joely Richardson, Madeline Arthur and Brendan Meyer are fine, but are held back by some lacklustre writing. One thing that the movie does is that it can get away with dumb decisions made by the characters in the context of the movie, given that the meteor seems to make people do illogical and random things.

Color-Space-3[1]

I’ve not seen any movies from director Richard Stanley, but he generally handled this movie well. The editing early on was a little messy, but it got better as it progressed. One thing that was a little weird was that the titular colour in the actual movie (and book) was described as a colour that couldn’t be described. Now in a book you can get away with that, but given that film is a visual medium, they had to show that, and they settled on pink. Now for me that worked fine enough but it’s worth pointing out. While CGI very well could’ve ruined a lot of the movie, it actually sort of works here. The movie can be visually stunning and a feast for the eyes, especially for the second half when things get very weird. The practical effects are even more impressive when they are present. The score by Colin Stetson is also pretty effective.

merlin_167288271_8b8fd73f-cf88-466c-b9ee-17e165dc12c5-superJumbo[1]

Color Out of Space won’t work for everyone, it’s a little messy and the script could’ve been a little stronger. However I liked it on the whole, it’s directed well, visually stunning, features a completely insane second half, as well as another gloriously crazy Nicolas Cage performance. If the movie looks like something you may be interested in, check it out for sure.

Bringing Out the Dead (1999) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Frank Pierce
Patricia Arquette as Mary Burke
John Goodman as Larry
Ving Rhames as Marcus
Tom Sizemore as Tom Wolls
Marc Anthony as Noel
Cliff Curtis as Cy Coates
Director: Martin Scorsese

Frank (Nicolas Cage), a mentally strained and overworked paramedic from Manhattan, tries to maintain his sanity as he tends to various emergencies and hallucinates about all the people whose lives he could not save.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

I watched Bringing Out the Dead some years ago for the first time. I remembered it involving paramedics, Nicolas Cage and it was directed by Martin Scorsese, and I recall liking it. Of course, with The Irishman coming out, it was only appropriate that I check it out again, I wanted to be sure of what I thought about it. Watching it again, I not only consider this to be one of his most underrated movies, it could be among his best films as well.

Paul Schrader wrote Bringing Out the Dead, with this being the last collaboration between him and Scorsese. With that fact, there are comparisons with this movie to Taxi Driver, and indeed this movie is a bit of a companion piece, following a troubled protagonist who narrates the story. It really conveys the strain that someone has in the line of work as an EMT. It also doesn’t have much of structure and mostly focuses on the main character as a character study, I can get that a bunch of people would find it to stretch on for too long with not much happening. However I was both riveted and entertained throughout. One of the biggest surprises on this repeat viewing was the dark comedy, I don’t remember this movie being as funny as it was, and it’s definitely intentional and works with the very off kilter and strange tone throughout. Nonetheless it is effectively off putting and exhausting at times, just as the main character feels over the course of the plot. Whenever something really horrific and graphic happens, you really feel it. Despite it possibly being one of Scorsese’s darkest movies, it’s also strangely one of his most empathetic.

Nicolas Cage gives one of his best and underrated performances as lead character Frank Pierce. This movie surrounds this character, and he absolutely delivers and convinces in his role. So much of it is in the eyes, every time you look at him, he just looks tired, burnt out and exhausted, on the edge of sanity. Frank is haunted by the people that he’s failed to save, and partway into the movie he realises that his job is less about saving lives, and more about bearing witness to their deaths. He occasionally slips into some crazy moments that Cage is known for, but it actually really worked for the character. Having seen him here, I can’t see anyone else in this role. He’s definitely the star of the show but the supporting performances shouldn’t be overlooked, especially considering the number of memorable characters that Pierce encounters. Frank’s partners are played by John Goodman, Ving Rhames and Tom Sizemore, and they share great chemistry with Cage. Rhames is particularly a scene stealer and is hilarious. Other performers like Patricia Arquette and Cliff Curtis also do solid work in their roles. Scorsese himself also provides his voice for the dispatcher and he really fitted the role.

Martin Scorsese directs this and it’s no surprise that he does some great work here. Like with Taxi Driver it’s set in a very dark and grimy city, however here it feels even more unsettling and haunting. He does a good job at getting you in the head of Cage’s character. Robert Richardson’s cinematography is stunning, there’s a desaturated dull look to it that works oddly perfectly for the movie, the use of colour was quite effective. The soundtrack was great, with a solid lineup of songs that accompany the film perfectly.

Bringing Out the Dead is haunting, disturbing, darkly comedic, and all around fantastic, one of Martin Scorsese’s most underrated movies. Scorsese directs this with just the right amount of style, the character’s journey was a journey I liked being on, and the acting is great from everyone, especially from Nicolas Cage who does some outstanding work here. Definitely not one to miss.

Rage (2014) Review

Time: 98 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Paul Maguire
Rachel Nichols as Vanessa
Peter Stormare as Frances “Frank” O’Connell
Danny Glover as Detective Peter St. John
Director: Paco Cabezas

Following the kidnapping and murder of his daughter (Aubrey Peeples), a reformed criminal (Nicolas Cage) returns to his old ways to exact vengeance.

full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I saw Rage (also titled Tokarev) a long time ago, mostly out of curiosity because Nicolas Cage was in it, even though I heard that the movie wasn’t really that good. However, it definitely fits into the category of straight to DVD Nicolas Cage movies and doesn’t really have much to offer, whether it be the story, direction or performances. And no, not even Cage can make this movie entertaining in the slightest.

Out of Nicolas Cage’s bad movies, this fits into the ‘boring bad’ category along with other movies like Left Behind (though Rage still isn’t quite as terrible in comparison). The movie is about 90 minutes long but it takes a while for things to actually happen. The story is boring and convoluted, it’s the typical revenge plot but just done really blandly and poorly. The characters and the plot aren’t interesting enough to care about, there’s just no energy and there’s nothing intriguing going on. The ending is also really abrupt and unsatisfying, there’s not satisfying payoff in the third act. I wasn’t picking out issues with the actual plot throughout the runtime, I just was generally bored watching it.

The acting isn’t all that great. Nicolas Cage is fine enough as the lead character, but this is definitely one of his paycheck roles. Cage does get like one freak out moment however and it is truly glorious, easily the best (or at least most entertaining) moment of the movie. Outside of that, his acting ranges from being okay to sleepwalking through a lot of the movie, which seemed to be his acting style recently (hopefully after Mandy and Mom and Dad that has now changed). In terms of other noteworthy actors, Danny Glover is pretty good in the little screentime that he has, however his detective character is terrible at his job and that bit was a little distracting (one of the only parts about the characters/plot that I really had some issues with). The rest of the cast (featuring the likes of Peter Stomare) are sort of fine, not particularly bad but they don’t really leave any impact, or at least weren’t memorable enough to mention.

Rage was not directed all that well by Paco Cabezas, and he’s apparently done other movies in the past. Maybe Cabezas made better movies before but you wouldn’t know that just based on this movie. A lot of the action contains shaky cam, made worse by the editing which cuts a lot, there is particularly a car chase scene which is absolutely incomprehensible with so many cuts and you can’t follow anything that’s going on. Outside of the action scenes, the direction is just sort of average, not awful but nothing good either.

It’s really sad that a movie titled Rage and starring Nicolas Cage is incredibly dull. It is yet another bad Nic Cage movie, but really the worst part is that there isn’t anything entertaining about it, intentional or not. We get a couple stand out but brief Cage freak outs but that’s it. Even if you’re a big Nicolas Cage fan, you’re not really missing much by not watching Rage outside of those scenes, and even those can be seen online. You’ve probably not even heard of the movie but if you have even the slightest interest in watching it (even for an ironic viewing experience), it’s not really worth it. It’s not one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen by any means, but it’s really dull and generic, and really doesn’t have much to offer.