Tag Archives: Nicolas Cage

The Wicker Man (2006) Review

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Drive Angry (2011) Review

Time: 105 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence, offensive language, drug use and sex scenes.
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Milton
Amber Heard as Piper
William Fichtner as The Accountant
Billy Burke as Jonah King
David Morse as Webster
Katy Mixon as Norma Jean
Director: Patrick Lussier

Thrown into hell for his crimes, brutal felon John Milton (Nicolas Cage) escapes from the fiery pit after cultists murder his daughter and take her baby. Intent on rescuing the child, Milton joins forces with a waitress, who gives him her ex-lover’s fire-red muscle car. In it, the two pursue the cult leader, who plans to sacrifice the infant and unleash hell on Earth. However, the hunters become the hunted when Satan sends his merciless henchman (William Fichtner) to drag Milton back).

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I wasn’t really expecting much from Drive Angry, apparently it wasn’t very good but it’s an over the top action movie and it had Nicolas Cage, so naturally I had to check it out for myself. Drive Angry as to be expected wasn’t very good but also unfortunately it really wasn’t as crazy as it should be. Nonetheless I still had a fun time with it.

The plot of Drive Angry is straightforward enough. Nicolas Cage comes back from hell to get revenge on a cult who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter. The movie doesn’t try to be more than it is thankfully. The dialogue really isn’t well written, which is to be expected. Drive Angry is a sort of grindhouse/exploitation movie with an overblown plot, extreme content and trashy writing. This movie does have some over the top things, I mean it includes Nicolas Cage having sex with clothes on with sunglasses while smoking a cigar while in a gunfight in slow, so by that point you’ll have an idea what kind of movie you’re in for. At the same time, in terms of the tone it feels like it wasn’t going crazy enough. The plot itself feels a little dull and really not as exciting as it should’ve been, at times feeling like a standard R rated action flick. It does have its moments but a lot of the time it does feel like it was a wasted opportunity.

The acting on the whole isn’t that great but it’s not one of the things I was really expecting. Nicolas Cage has built up a reputation of having some incredibly over the top performances, unfortunately he isn’t all crazy like he was in movies like Ghost Rider 2, Face/Off or Deadfall. It feels like a wasted opportunity unfortunately. Despite this, he is still entertaining enough and doesn’t end up being worst Nicolas Cage (which is dull Nicolas Cage). I haven’t seen Amber Heard in much, but if she has some acting talent it’s not on display here. She’s really not given anything to work with, so I don’t put it fully on her, but she isn’t really that good here. Billy Burke is the villain as the leader of the cult, who is quite silly and over the top but he works fine enough. By far the best thing about Drive Angry is William Fichtner. He plays a character named The Accountant, who’s pretty much Satan’s assistant and he is just having a total ball playing this character, stealing every single scene that he’s on screen. Just the scene involving him, a truck and the song “That’s the way I like it” is worth the price of viewing alone.

The direction Patrick Lussier makes the movie seem like a somewhat modern grindhouse movie. The CGI wasn’t the best. Whether it be the bullets, fire, blood, a lot of it looks quite fake. However, it is fake in a good sort of way, in a trashy movie sort of way. It is absolutely bloody, violent and obscene at times. Unfortunately, as overblown as it is, it’s not very creative, it’s like basic over the top, if such a thing exists. It’s not bad but it’s not very memorable.

As an actual movie, Drive Angry clearly isn’t good at all, but as a guilty pleasure action flick, it is actually somewhat okay. It is a crazy mindless film, oddly enough though, the main issue is that it’s not as crazy as it should be. However it is entertaining enough that it might be worth watching (for those who like over the top action grindhouse movie).

Left Behind (2014) Review

Time: 110 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Rayford Steele
Chad Michael Murray as Cameron “Buck” Williams
Cassi Thomson as Chloe Steele
Nicky Whelan as Hattie Durham
Jordin Sparks as Shasta Carvell
Lea Thompson as Irene Steele
Director: Vic Armstrong

The entire planet is thrown into mayhem when millions of people disappear without a trace — all that remains are their clothes and belongings. Unmanned vehicles crash and planes fall from the sky, overwhelming emergency forces and causing massive gridlock, riots and chaos. Airline pilot Ray Steele (Nicolas Cage) struggles to save the lives of the passengers who remain on his flight, while his daughter (Cassi Thomson) races to find her brother and mother (Lea Thompson), both of whom have disappeared.

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I’ll be honest, I went into Left Behind knowing full well it wasn’t going to be good. It’s a remake of an apparently already awful movie with Kirk Cameron of the same name, which is a religious apocalyptic movie surrounding The Rapture. And somehow this remake got Nicolas Cage attached to it. However I admit I had a bit of morbid curiosity going into it. It was even worse than I thought it would be, but not in a good way. While it’s not cringe inducingly horrendous, it is painfully dull and incompetently made.

Left Behind is a religious apocalypse movie, and though I don’t really know if there are any decent religious apocalypse based movies, but if they exist this certainly isn’t one of them. I’m not against religious movies or any movies that have religion as a big part of the story, it’s just that Left Behind flat out wasn’t good regardless. It has no subtlety in its themes, especially when it comes to religion. The early scenes of the movie has so much blatant foreshadowing, in the opening minutes it features two of the main characters talking about religion, and establishes their position on religion and all that. Despite all the supposedly horrific things that were happening with people disappearing and chaos happening, you never feel really anything, there’s not a single character or aspect that you grow attached to in any way. You don’t care about any of these characters, they are so two dimensional and boring. The dialogue is also really bad, flat, blatant and again when it comes to the ‘themes’, no subtlety whatsoever. I’m not exactly sure the filmmakers thought through everything about The Rapture, and how exactly it would work. I’ll admit I don’t know a ton about The Rapture, but the film’s interpretation of it is having some people disappear and go to heaven I guess, with their clothes are left and there are like clothes literally just falling everywhere, even falling from the sky as if people were continently falling from the sky before being ‘saved’. On top of that, immediately when people disappear, everything goes to chaos and that’s literally all the characters on land aside from a couple characters do, and people just end up doing things that are really hard to buy. There’s even an ending that tries to set up for a sequel that will never ever happen. I think the worst thing overall though is how boring and dull the movie feels. Like even if some of the themes are hamfisted, or some ideas were executed poorly, if it was something interesting or anything like that then it would’ve been at least something. Even a ham fisted message would’ve at least been something but you don’t really get anything out of it, nothing morally, nothing in entertainment factors, nothing interesting or memorable, I barely remember much from the movie.

This movie has a few known people but none of the cast were good at all. Nicolas Cage, aside from one scene in the third act doesn’t appear to be trying at all. We unfortunately don’t even get a crazy performance from him, it would’ve made the movie at least somewhat enjoyable. There is some sort of attempt at a romance between two characters played by Cassi Thomson and Chad Michael Murray and you just don’t buy it at all, they spend like at most 10 minutes long before CMM goes off on a plane with Nicolas Cage and the film treats it as if the two characters were like a couple. I’m not familiar with most of the actors aside from Nicolas Cage but even if they have talent, they don’t have anything to work with here, so they just end up giving terrible performances.

Left Behind is such a poorly directed film, it felt like a straight to DVD despite apparently being shown in multiple cinemas upon its release. From what I could find out about the director, Vic Armstrong, he was a stunt double for Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies. If he has any directorial talent, he doesn’t show it here. The CGI when it’s there is terrible, they couldn’t make a CGI plane look the slightest bit convincing. The music doesn’t go with the movie, especially with the more intense scenes. It’s either too light for intense scenes or its too intense set to events that aren’t all that intense.

Left Behind is horrendous, the writing is poor, the direction is amateurish, and the acting is very mediocre. However I think the most disappointing and worst part is that this movie isn’t even entertaining or hilarious, it’s just boring. If we had an over the top Nicolas Cage performance or even a well intended message implemented, that might’ve made the movie somewhat enjoyable but that’s not the case. Aside from some bad decisions and scenes which can be laughable, there isn’t really anything enjoyable about Left Behind, even on an ironic or unintentional level. At the same time, I don’t really hate it, it’s just that there’s really nothing that good about it.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Review

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Shameik Moore as Miles Morales/Spider-Man
Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man
Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman
Mahershala Ali as Aaron Davis
Brian Tyree Henry as Jefferson Davis
Lily Tomlin as May Parker
Luna Lauren Velez as Rio Morales
Zoë Kravitz as Mary Jane Watson
John Mulaney as Peter Porker/Spider-Ham
Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker/SP//dr
Nicolas Cage as Peter Parker/Spider-Man Noir
Kathryn Hahn as Olivia “Liv” Octavius/Doctor Octopus
Liev Schreiber as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin
Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Mile Morales (Shameik Moore) suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), he soon realizes that there are many others who shar his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin (Live Schrieber), a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world.

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There had been an incredible amount of hype for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I personally didn’t know what to expect, all I knew that it was an animated Spider-Man written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller and was being regarded as the best Spider-Man movie ever made. I wasn’t hugely hyped for the movie but hearing all the overwhelming acclaim from critics and fans alike made me really interested and seeing it, I can say that it absolutely delivered on every aspect.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s script was fantastic, the whole movie is entertaining from start to finish. The movie is hilarious, with great comedy throughout. At the same time, the movie also really works on an emotional level, its very heartfelt. If you’re a Spider-Man fan you are going to have a euphoric experience with this, there are so many references and Easter eggs here that you’ll recognise and love. That’s not to say that you need to be a big Spider-Man fan to love the movie, it still works reasonably well for a general movie goer, you just might love it a little more if you’re familiar with the comic books. Although the concepts of different worlds of Spider-Man colliding might sound ridiculous and convoluted on paper, it really isn’t. There are two credits scenes, both of them are worth sitting through the credits to see.

I’m not that familiar with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as a character, this was my real introduction to him and I think they did a great job at essentially giving him an origin story for him here. He’s also much lacking in experience compared to the other Spider-people and this movie is very much an origin story for him. The whole movie is about him coming into his own as Spider-Man, in a world where Spider-Man once existed and Spider-people in other universes exist. Jake Johnson was also a great Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man from a different universe compared to the one in Miles’s universe. Along with Miles Morales Spider-Man and Peter B. Parker Spider-Man, we also have Spiderwoman/Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Man Noire (Nicolas Cage), all of them are great. We get to know about their general backstories but don’t get to spend as much times as we do with Miles, aside from him, Peter B. Parker is the one we get to know most. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, with a movie with so many characters, there’s only so much that you could delve into these characters (not to mention we’ll probably get to see them in future Spider-Man animated movies, given that they are all Spider-people). Other supporting characters like Miles’s father (Brian Tyree Henry) and his uncle (Mahershala Ali) were also handled quite well in the story. I guess the weakest link in terms of major characters is Kingpin/Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber), who wasn’t bad by any means. On top of being powerful and menacing, he does have clear motivations but just didn’t feel as strong as a character compared to the others, although it doesn’t detract from the rest of the movie.

Into the Spider-Verse is not like any other animated movie I’ve seen before, even just for the animation style. This is just a stunning looking movie, and the action scenes and really everything that happens on screen is just so fluid and smooth. Another thing they did is that they do play with the fact that this is a comic book movie, whether it be split screens or speech bubbles, sometimes its for style, sometimes is for comedy. For this type of style of comic book movie, live action is not able to achieve what an animated movie can, and they definitely take advantage of the fact that this is an animated movie. I will admit that after watching the movie I had a bit of headache, though I can’t tell whether it was because of how I was feeling at the time or whether this type of animation caused it. I do think it is worth mentioning that for some, it will take some time to get used to the animation style.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was an incredibly surprising movie, with a fantastic story and script, great characters and is just entertaining all round. It’s one of the best movies of 2018, the best comic book movie of 2018, one of the best comic book movies ever, and might actually be the best Spider-Man movie yet. Apparently there are more animated Spider-Man movies in the works and I am incredibly hyped for them. Even if you’re not super interested in this movie, check it out. If you’re a Spider-Man fan in the slightest, this is essential viewing.

Mom and Dad (2018) Review

Time: 83 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Brent Ryan
Selma Blair as Kendall Ryan
Anne Winters as Carly Ryan
Zackary Arthur as Josh Ryan
Robert T. Cunningham as Damon
Olivia Crocicchia as Riley
Brionne Davis as Tanner
Samantha Lemole as Jenna
Lance Henriksen as Mel Ryan
Director: Brian Taylor

Definitely something terrible is happening on in the peaceful suburban community as, one day to another, former loving and caring parents mysteriously turn into ravenous carriers of an unfathomable pandemic that targets their offspring. Suddenly, every son and daughter (not only in the neighborhood but also in the entire nation) must to run for their lives, as the rage-filled murderous intent is simply as unstoppable as it is inexplicable. Of course, Brent (Nicolas Cage) and Kendall’s (Selma Blair) teenage children are no exception, and before long, the simmering but usual familial tensions will take a completely different meaning. Kids, stop hiding. Mum and Dad love you so much.

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I was interested in Mom and Dad, mainly because its Nicolas Cage going absolutely crazy in a movie where he tries to kill his children, directed by one of the directors of Crank. It sounded absolutely nuts and I was on board with it. I wasn’t really sure what the actual movie would be like, I just knew Cage would be nuts and I heard that the movie is actually pretty good for the movie that it is, and that’s pretty much the case. Mom and Dad is an weird, insane darkly comic horror movie, which is quite entertaining and surprisingly works. Its two lead performances however are what makes it really work.

The first 20 minutes of the movie are setting up things before the whole “everyone tries to kill their children” epidemic happens. While the writing and dialogue can feel a little iffy, most of this is to establish the similarities between this situation and the troubled relationships between parents and kids. After that 20 minute mark though, that’s when the children murdering epidemic starts, and it doesn’t let up after that. There isn’t any clear explanation for why parents are killing their children, theories are thrown around and that’s it. That really worked for me personally, doesn’t overcomplicate the plot. The movie keeps things reasonably straightforward, the plot isn’t convoluted and the characters are really simple. The writing itself is basic enough but it works. The Crank movies at times can have some bad writing but for the most part you don’t see that in Mom and Dad (with the exception of one supporting character which was pretty much written to be a stereotype). Now it is worth noting that this is a dark comedy, because so much of what happens is so violent and over the top that it does much more than just border on hilarity, the humour is a big part of the movie. It’s not a straight up scary horror movie. It doesn’t take things too seriously but there is some subtext with the parents’ frustrations even before the epidemic starts, especially with flashbacks with Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair. While most movies (especially bigger movies) would have the parents be loving and all that before their rampage, they already establish them as being very unstable and not having the best of relationships with the children, which I think works well and makes it more effective. Mom and Dad is less than an hour and 30 minutes long and that really worked, there’s enough time to set up the characters and everything up before the epidemic starts, and after that point it’s entertaining right till the end. I will say though that a disappointing aspect was the ending. While I understand why they wanted to end on the note that they do, its rather abrupt and I wanted something a little more.

Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair are a big part of why this movie works. Sure the story concept sounds entertaining enough but it requires really convincingly unhinged performances to make it work, and they really brought it. They play both very convincing frustrated parents before the epidemic, as well as completely psychopathic parents who want to kill their children during the epidemic. Of course Nicolas Cage particularly stand out (as he would being Nicolas Cage), from the very beginning he’s crazy and has the movie goes on he just gets more and more crazy, and sometimes it can lead to some hilarious moments. I’m not going to reveal most of his big moments, but one of his stand out moments is when he screams the hokey pokey song while destroying a pool table with a sledgehammer. 2018 seems to be a comeback for Cage, with both this and Mandy. With that said, Selma Blair’s performance shouldn’t be overlooked either because she’s great as well. While Cage has a mix of being scary and funny, Blair comes across as being convincingly scary and unhinged. The kids of Cage and Blair played by Anne Winters and Zackary Arthur are okay, they serve their purposes well enough.

This movie is directed by Brian Taylor, who was involved with directing the Crank movies as well as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance alongside Mark Neveldine, and if you have seen these movies, you’ll definitely pick that up watching Mom and Dad. Now there aren’t crazy stunts being done or anything, but he does bring the style from his previous movies here, with the editing, cinematography and all that. Some of the crazy and wild camera movements might be a little too much for some people (here it’s a little incomprehensible at times), but for those who have seen the Crank movies, it’s much more tame in comparison. This movie does not hold back at all, especially with the violence. It is brutal, and really ballsy considering much of the movie’s violence shown is against children. With that said it’s not nearly as bloody as you’d think it would be, I can’t tell whether it should’ve been more bloody or if the less is more approach was better. The music used can get a little repetitive and annoying, especially during the intense and violent scenes.

Mom and Dad is a completely nuts, darkly comedic horror movie, that’s simple but effective. The unhinged performances by Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair really make the movie work as well as it does. If you’re a big fan of Nicolas Cage, this is a must see movie. If you’re up for a darkly comic and over the top made by one of the directors of Crank, this might be right up your alley. Just know that if you are going to watch Mom and Dad, don’t take it too seriously.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011) Review

The Ghost Rider in Columbia Pictures' GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE.

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider
Johnny Whitworth as Ray Carrigan/Blackout
Fergus Riordan as Danny
Ciarán Hinds as Roarke/Mephistopheles
Violante Placido as Nadya
Idris Elba as Moreau
Director Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), a man who made a deal with the Devil who called himself Roarke (Ciaran Hinds), is on the run trying to make sure no-one is harmed by his alter ego, The Ghost Rider. He is approached by a Monk named Moreau (Idris Elba) who tells him that he can help be him free of the Rider, but first he needs Johnny’s help to protect a boy, whom Roarke has plans for, to help him take human form.

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I always thought that the best way to create a Ghost Rider film is to not take it too seriously and seeing as the filmmakers of this film made Crank, it should be better than the original, which was too serious. In many ways this film is better and worse than the first film. On one hand it doesn’t take itself as seriously and Nicolas Cage actually seems to be crazier but on the other, there’s painful editing and the story has plenty of plot holes. In either case, Ghost Rider 2 is still a pretty bad movie.

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This movie’s script does have even more problems than the original film. First of all there’s absolutely no character depth or development for any of the characters, not even Johnny Blaze seems that different by the end. There are a lot of plot holes, for example there’s a moment when the devil gives a henchman the power of decay (however it only decays certain things if it’s convenient). The devil then sends the henchman to get the boy back even though it would be near impossible to do without toughing and therefore decaying and killing him. Also the way the Ghost Rider acts in the first film made a little more sense than here. In his first scene, he would just stand around before he goes up to a henchman and just stares at him, doing nothing for like a minute. There’s even a strange moment when Ghost Rider urinates fire, this goes in the complete opposite direction of being boring and becomes downright stupid and borderline bizarre instead.

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Nicolas Cage is more animated than in the previous movie, which I have to say is a big improvement over the original. In the previous film he seemed to be quite bored, which was the wrong performance in this sort of film. In this film there are plenty of over the top moments that he has. There is one scene in particular where he’s interrogating someone and he’s trying to keep the ghost rider spirit from coming out and it’s definitely one of his best freak out moments. Idris Elba is trying his best to give a good performance, despite being in a pretty bad movie. Ciaran Hinds gives a decent performance as the devil, being more of the manipulator sort but it would’ve work much better in another movie. In this movie he doesn’t do anything cool or threatening, which would be the more preferable type of devil in this sort of movie. The climax of the film is him driving a car. I didn’t think I’d say this but Blackheart in the previous film put up a better fight than him, that’s a bad sign.

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I don’t remember if I liked the editing of the Crank films but Ghost Rider 2’s editing is just awful. A lot of the action is filmed being quite shaky and incomprehensible. I will give credit that Ghost Rider does look cooler and some of the action scenes are quite creative, like Ghost Rider turning a crane into a giant flaming chainsaw but it ultimately most of it is hard to get into.

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Is Ghost Rider 2 worse than the previous film? When all things are considered, yes, it’s editing and cinematography can be quite annoying and the characters aren’t interesting at all. Despite this we have Nicolas Cage being his enjoyable insane self and some of the action is quite enjoyable. If you’re going to see this film, just know exactly what you are going in, it can be fun as a guilty pleasure.