Geostorm So Bad Its Good

Sometimes I am in the mood for another ridiculous disaster film. “Geostorm” certainly qualifies. This is a disaster of a disaster film. It managed to get shelved by the studio for three years after production, probably because they correctly assumed it would bomb. And yes, it has bombed domestically. Having received the rare zero star review from Rex Reed, only time will tell if the film’s international cast and left wing ideological perspective will generate a better reception abroad.

Directed by the writer-producer of “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow,” it is about a future where weather satellites have become necessary due to man-made bad weather. Unfortunately, the satellites begin to malfunction, resulting in parts of the Middle East freeing, tsunamis in Brazil, China burning, etc.. Only Gerard Butler and his less charismatic brother Jim Sturgess can prevent a “geostorm,” the mother of all storms. This film is basically like Independence Day but without the aliens, crossed with the classic disaster film like Airport or Earthquake. The directing has a great style because it is so obviously hokey and tongue in cheek that it plays like a 1950’s sci-fi B movie.

The timing of this film’s release is interesting when you consider all of the natural disasters which hit the US this year. The (idea in the movie) that global warming is causing this is hokey and irritating, but once you get past that you realize the film implicates the deep state in harmful weather modification.

The movie begins as left-wing propaganda about global warming, complete with little girl leftist voiceover. A bunch of BS about how the global community has to get together to save the world occurs. Then it  turns into hidden propaganda about the deep state trying to destroy the world through weather modification in order for financial gain. Andy Garcia (who saves the world of course) is the President, and Ed Harris (deep state) is Secretary of state. Both act well. In the 90s there were films with great casts like this, but we don’t get to see an ensemble like this as often anymore.

By the end of the film, we have seen every kind of disaster one could think of, and it all makes about as much sense as “Highland er 2: The Quickening.” There are annoying parts such as the obligatory promise the daughter you will return from outer space BS. Yet the film redeems itself with its stellar cast, awesome special effects, hokey national security “we need to warn the president” type fun, and funny sense of humor. There is also the stereotypical multinational and multiethnic space crew thing, including a female character named Fassbender, who we can only imagine is a Hollywood inside joke.

 

Though this movie actually may have been better had aliens saved the earth, I still enjoyed the film as a guilty pleasure and absurd escapism. It’s not good, but I’ve seen a lot worse. If you want to see a silly but fun disaster movie, I recommend “Geostorm.”

Friend Request OK Despite Cliche’

Sometimes you learn valuable lessons from schlock horror films. In the case of “Friend Request,” it’s this: don’t friend people on Facebook who you don’t know. The film is a German production in English and similar to 2014’s “Unfriended.” The film combines real internet fears with spooky “Omen” style death scenes. The pacing is fierce and the body count high as the ghost of an unpopular internet girl kills off our unlucky protagonist’s friends one by one, making them look like suicides. The film gives us the opportunity to reflect that maybe we should concentrate on real-world friends as opposed to internet ones. If you’re looking for a scary time and have already seen “It,” you could do worse.

Kidnap : Soccer Mom Fury

Usually when I go to see a Halle Berry starring role film, I am just hoping to see some tits. Usually I don’t get to see any tits, and going into this – yes I had a hunch this movie might stink. So I went next door to the pub and had a 9 percent Imperial Stout first and told the ticket seller I was hoping to make it through the whole film but was had my doubts it would be possible. I was surprised though. Kidnap is better than you would think. Here’s the short version of plot, its not that complicated, so see if you can follow. You will see why its not going to be Oscar nominated, though it may win some razzies:

a) man steals kid b) mom chases man to get kid back c) mom kills perps. one by one and takes kid back.

Not to be redundant but for more insight, here is the long version of the plot:

Someone messes with her kid, trying to kidnap him. Halle Berry goes vigilante style on the white trash couple perps in her red mini-van. The whole movie is basically one big long high-way cat-and-mouse car chase. It compares to a badass black momma version of Taken. Get drunk and go see it!

 

D.C. Cab is a Riot

Unlike today’s comedies which tend to be juvenile and mean-spirited, Joel Schumacher’s 1984 comedy “D.C. Cab” is genuinely funny and a quick-witted affair.  Although unheralded at the time, this flick about a struggling cab company has matured into comic gold.  Starring Mr. T, Gary Busey, Paul Rodriguez. and Adam Baldwin, this film has very little plot but nonstop madcap antics.  Although well-deserving of its R rating, the film is never sexist or disgusting.

Additionally, all the stars deserved better than they got; the film is much funnier than the current Will Ferrell comedy “The House,” for example.  In this film and the classic “Car Wash,” which he also wrote but did not direct, Schumacher displays a real skill for ethnic humor.  He knows that plot is unimportant but a quick pace and constant jokes are key.  Based on this film, it is borderline tragic that Mr. T. didn’t get better roles.  He is great here.  This film seems to lack the cult following it deserves, so we here at GROIN are putting it in our hall-of-fame as one of the greatest comedies of the 1980’s. We recommend renting it or buying the DVD today!

All Eyez on…

Rather bored with what is on Netflix, I decided to go to the local cinema and check out two films with interesting subject matter. The first film, “Beatriz at Dinner,” stars Salma Hayek and John Lithgow and is a dark satire about how two strangers from wildly different ethnic and economic backgrounds end up meeting and clashing at a fancy, uncomfortable dinner at a mansion. Hayek plays a hard-working Mexican lady having a very bad day, and Lithgow plays a Donald Trump-like real estate mogul. Both actors bring shadings to their characters so that they are more complex than you might expect. Hayek subtly suggests that her character may be TOO good for this world, and Lithgow’s character, though clueless and boorish, makes a real attempt to connect with and understand her. This is a strange film and at first I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but after about half an hour of reflection I figured out that I really liked it. It’s short, unpredictable, and has real sting. I’ll not soon forget it.

“All Eyez on Me” is the new Tupac biopic, and it’s interesting though uneven. It covers, though it rarely reflects on, the tragic life of Tupac Kapur, mentioning his family connections to the Black Panthers, his success as Hamlet in school, his struggling but sincere mother, his trouble with the law, his friendship with Jada Pinkett Smith, his tumultuous tenure at Death Row Records, and his tragic and mysterious death. This is way too much for a 140-minute film to cover,, and as a result parts of it come off better than others. I did appreciate, however, the demystification of the gangster lifestyle. The last third of the movie is a trip through Hell, and the filmmakers deserve credit for depicting it frankly. Overall, however, this film is not good enough to recommend. Although a good attempt has been made, the film just doesn’t work. Very few characters are portrayed in-depth, and as a result the film becomes confusing. The actor playing Tupac is OK but not great. Still, if the subject matter interests you, you might want to check it out.

In conclusion, although I only liked one of these two indie films, they are both a nice break from summer Hollywood fluff. I hope interesting indie films continue to get wide releases because they can be worthwhile. “The Beguiled” is an another example that I will review soon.

Cult Classic : Barbarians

If you enjoy bad but fun sword and sorcery B-films, then Cannon Films’ 1987 romp “Barbarians” is for you. In it, two twin barbarians (played by the Razzie-nominated David and Peter Paul) who have been manipulated to kill each other instead face off against the great Richard Lynch. This film, which is from the director of “Cannibal Holocaust,” features good production values and music by Pino Donaggio. More importantly, it appears to have inspired the “Golden Axe” video game series, with many scenes resembling the games and the twin brothers frequently wielding axes. The “Barbarian Brothers” can’t act but are really something,This movie can be found on a double bill DVD with Lee Majors and Cornel Wilde in “The Norseman.” Good times!

Alien : Covenant (8 out of 10)

OK, first thing out of the way: I liked “Prometheus.” It wasn’t scary enough, but it had great acting and asked interesting questions. Some of those questions get answered in “Alien: Covenant,” a sequel to “Prometheus” and a prequel to “Alien.” I think it’s best to see this new film knowing as little as possible, but I will tell you that Michael Fassbender is awesome playing two different androids, David and Walter. This new film has much more space action, quality kills, and real scares than any entry since the underrated “Alien 3.” It’s also a lot of fun. The music, cinematography, and special effects are spectacular. All of the acting is good. The movie makes you want to re-watch the old films. It’s a terrific date movie and a great entertainment. Can’t wait until the next one!

Alien 3 : Underrated

“Alien: Covenant” inspired me to re-watch the third and fourth “Alien” films. “Alien Resurrection,” the fourth one, did nothing for me but I really love “Alien 3.” As a stand-alone film, it is one of the most frightening and despairing films I have ever seen. The first film by the great director David Fincher (“Seven,” “Fight Club”), it finds Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) crashed into a prison planet, with her friends Newt and Hicks (from “Aliens”) dead. There was an egg on her ship, and now the Alien is haunting the prison planet. Can she stop the alien and save humanity? Is this the bleakest film ever made? I’d vote for the most underrated.

The script’s decision to make vile prisoners protagonists caused much audience derision, but it makes for a fascinating film. Also interesting is the film’s cinematography and production design, which create images that will singe their way into your brain. The music by Elliot Goldenthal is highly memorable and marked his big break as a composer of blockbusters. Finally, Groin Hall of Famer Charles Dance gives a great performance as Clemons, as does Charles S. Dutton as the most complex of the convicts. Whether you’re watching the Theatrical Cut or the extended, more coherent 2003 Assembly Cut, “Alien 3” is a powerful, ambitious film that is far better than it is given credit for. David Fincher, take another look at your film: it’s great! (He disowned it.) Much better than “Gone Girl”!

Re: Autopsy of Jane Doe

If you’re disheartened by the overly commercial movies being put out by Hollywood and you like horror, I’ve got a movie for you. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe,” starring Emile Hirsch and Brian (Hannibal Lector in “Manhunter”) Cox, is a small-scale but very frightening experience. It is about a farther (Cox) and son (Hirsch) who work at a mortuary, and their new patron, “Jane Doe,” has died a very unusual death, and they can’t figure out what killed her. Is she even dead

This film has two things going for it: great acting and an incredible sense of mystery, atmosphere, and dread. Brian Cox delivers his best performance in years as the father, a decent man with dark secrets. The director, who made “Trollhunter,” has a field day with the possibly haunted mortuary. Not only do we get jump scares galore, but also some truly disgusting and disturbing scenes. It all builds to a satisfying, dark conclusion.

In short, “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is a good sleeper horror film. Rent or stream it and turn off all the lights. You will definitely be scared!

Guardians is a Hoot

I assumed I would never like a movie with a talking raccoon, but “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a blast. The secret, I think, is in the casting. I am not a big fan of Chris Pratt, but he is perfect as Starlord in both films. Zoe Saldana is also good, but the show is continually stolen by Bradley Cooper as a foul-mouthed talking raccoon. Throw in Dave Bautista and Vin Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot and you have a cast of outcast heroes worth cheering.

I liked this film better than the first because of the cast being so much fun to watch. Not only do we get Sylvester Stallone and (in a memorable role) Kurt Russell, but Michael Rooker gets to be the hero. The 3-D, surprisingly, is very good, and the film never seems stuck in Marvel Movie Formula. In short, the film is a hoot and will probably make a gazillion dollars. And, yes, Stan Lee and Howard T. Duck make brief appearances.