Among fans of superhero movies, few films garner as much adoration as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. Even in a decade where theaters and box-offices alike have been dominated by a rejuvenated interest in superhero stories, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t hold the original Spider-Man movies in the highest esteem, often regarded as second only to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008). With Coral Gables Art Cinema holding a one night only after-hours screening of Spider-Man (2002) later this month, I had to ask: how does Sam Raimi’s foray through the world of superheroes hold up nearly twenty years later?
Bring on more of the gigantic monster-fighting robots! Pacific Rim: Uprising is the anticipated sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 Pacific Rim. Part of the reason the first film gained popularity when it was released was the vibrant inventiveness with which it hit audiences. Del Toro directed the first film and created with it a journey into the conflicted world which pits humanity against the monstrous Kaiju using the giant robots called Jaegers. It was a fun and action-packed adventure film which broke up the continuous flow of overdone narratives in action films at the time. Pacific Rim: Uprising unfortunately falls into the category of movie sequels which destroy the possibilities for a great franchise.
Are you an Outlaw or a Regulator? Christian Gudegast’s Den of Thieves (2018) pushes the viewers to choose. The movie premiered at Regal Cinemas of South Beach with noteworthy appearances from stars O’Shea Jackson Jr., Pablo Schreiber, Curtis “50 cent” Jackson, and Gerard Butler. Before the picture began, Butler, who also produced the film, discussed the feature’s six-year filmmaking process. Comedically, 50 cent continued with explaining their two weeks of military and police tactical training. As the laughter and applause slowly diminished simultaneously with the lights, the widescreen lit with the viewer promptly thrown right into the action.
As contradictory as it sounds, it’s difficult to make a film bad on purpose for the sake of parody. On top of needing to be cheesy and ironically bad, such a film needs to be genuinely well-made and well-written to boot. Films such as Airplane! (1981), This is Spinal Tap (1984), and Hot Fuzz (2007) are prime examples of a movie that’s made hokey and awkward on purpose. Similar to these films, Scott Sanders’ Black Dynamite (2009) is a parody of both action movies and the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s, which is not only completely self-aware in its ridiculousness, but has the quality to back it up.
For a disaster movie that shows very few disasters, Dean Devlin’s Geostorm (2017) might be bad, but not a total nightmare of a movie. Gerard Butler plays Jake, the leading man and creator of “Dutch Boy”, a set of satellites designed to control earth’s climate. After a series of technical malfunctions, his brother Max, who now has been given control over the satellite operation, quickly discovers that the errors in the system are not a complete accident. With Jake sent to the space station that runs “Dutch Boy”, the two brothers work together in attempt to prevent a massive Geostorm. Continue reading Geostorm, naturally a disaster
There are times you see a trailer for a film like Martin Cambell’s The Foreigner (2017), and feel you’ve seen it once before. However, seeing such a film being produced feels like a return to normalcy in a cinematic market that attempts to pump out more blockbusters than low-budget films. Some of us here at the Film Studies Program, myself included, were lucky enough to watch The Foreigner a day in advance, and with the film’s star Jackie Chan making an appearance to discuss the film. After confirming Rush Hour 4, Jackie Chan discussed how he produced the film after watching the Taken series with Liam Neeson, wishing he could’ve been in those movies. Jackie Chan also discussed his hope that the role he plays in this film would show that he’s more than just a great martial artist and stuntman, but also a good actor.