So once again we have survived.

Trespass (2011)

tn_trespassThis is gonna be pretty short. It’s easy to think of Nic Cage movies in binary terms, like he does good movies and he does terrible ones. And you just hope whichever one it is he’s uncaged enough to make it interesting or funny. But just like there is grey area and overlap between evil Castor Troy and heroic Sean Archer there are various shades of good and bad Cage. For example I thought he was great in KICK ASS but the rest of the movie wasn’t necessarily on the same level. I thought NEXT was a funny-bad classic despite his restrained performance. I thought him being normal in DRIVE ANGRY seriously held the movie back. Even THE WICKER MAN, one of his all time top 5 mega-acting performances, has some pretty boring stretches between classroom rants and bee attacks. (I love it though.)

TRESPASS is another one in the middle column, which is the worst column to be in. He’s not boring – he plays it as a nerd with ugly glasses, he does a stutter, he gets into it. But he doesn’t do anything crazy enough that I remember to tell you about it. The movie itself is not genuinely good, but not memorably trashy or weird. Directed by Joel Schumacher (BATMAN AND ROBIN), Cage (8MM) plays some family-neglecting asshole, driving around talking on his cell phone trying to broker a diamond sale, acting like he’s King Shit, the King of Shitropia. He comes home to his lonely wife, played by Nicole Kidman (BATMAN FOREVER), shortly before their angsty teen daughter (Liana Liberato – born 2 months after BATMAN FOREVER came out) sneaks out to go to a party and before a group of masked home invaders storm their house and try to get him to open his safe.

Yeah, basically it’s PANIC ROOM, and it’s kinda funny to compare Schumacher’s idea of PANIC ROOM to David Fincher’s. In Fincher’s the daughter could look like a boy and ride a scooter, in Schumacher’s she’s a sassy party girl interchangeable with six thousand other characters in modern teen and horror movies. Both movies get respectable, somewhat under-the-radar actors under the ski masks: Fincher had Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakum, Schumacher has Ben Mendelsohn from ANIMAL KINGDOM and Dash Mihok from Felicity. Both movies have kind of a teen heartthrob type that played an antagonist in a fighting movie – Jared Leto (My So Called Life, FIGHT CLUB) for Fincher, Cam Gigandet (The O.C., NEVER BACK DOWN) for Schumacher. Surprisingly it’s Fincher’s not Shumacher’s, that has a white guy with corn rows.

mp_trespassIt’s mostly what you expect: home invaders pushing the couple around, roughing them up, the backstory and identity of the thieves slowly revealed through dialogue and flashbacks, the couple being shamed and tested by accusations and information that come out during the whole ordeal. Wait a minute, the wife knows Gigandet? And the husband might be lying about how much money he has? Deep dark secrets, all that shit.

Before everything went down the daughter implied that there was some trouble in their marriage, and they seemed in denial about it. Now, when they need each other most, they’re being pushed apart. etc.

Meanwhile Cage keeps refusing to open the safe and coming up with schemes (including offering to find a buyer for the diamonds they plan to steal from him) and the thieves come up with new ways to threaten him. And of course there’s the whole bit where one thief is really out of control and another thief is more sympathetic and trying to keep things under control, and there’s  a girl thief who has no restraint at all and starts putting on the wife’s dresses and then flips out and panics at the drop of a dime.

I thought the twist at the end was the best part of the movie, so I’ll go ahead and spoil it. SPOILER is what I’m saying. Instead of having some scandalous revelation the twist is that there isn’t anything scandalous. The implied affair between Kidman and Gigandet never happened – he had a thing for her, she rejected him, but the flashbacks were shown to us misleadingly out of context. Cage hiding from his wife that he’d blown all their money? Never happened either. He just convinced the thieves of that to hide the fact that he’d been squirreling away money for his family’s protection. And after all this the family find themselves together on the floor, hugging, even Little Miss I-hate-you-Mom-I’m-going-to-the-party. This nightmare has shown them that things aren’t actually that bad and that they really do love each other. It’s sure not deep, but it’s kinda sweet as far as these things go.

Not only that, but TRESPASS is not very faithful to the original. The whole situation is totally different. It takes out the racial and class tension and also switches it so that the protagonists are the people getting looted instead of the other way around. I guess Cage would be Ice Cube, Kidman would be Ice-T, Gigandet is Bill Paxton and Mihok must be William Sadler. But Cage and Kidman don’t do a song together over the credits so what the hell’s the point?

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 at 2:47 am and is filed under Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

92 Responses to “Trespass (2011)”

  1. you know what’s weird is I thought this was just about to come out in theaters, when I see instead it’s on dvd, did it go DTV? because I don’t remember hearing about it when it was in theaters at all

    and you know what else is weird? I kind of like Joel Schumacher, he’s nerd anathema due to his Batmens, but if you put that aside he’s actually directed some pretty entertaining flicks

    Falling Down is his best movie and aside from that you have The Lost Boys, Phone Booth, 8MM, Flatliners and heck, I even liked The Number 23 just for how crazy and bizarre it was (and that 23 business is legitimacy creepy)

    all of those are entertaining flicks done with some style

  2. I think I read somewhere that it had a very limited theatrical release, followed by VOD and DVD just a few days later, or some shit like that.

    Anyway, I don’t like Schumacher and not just because of his Batmen. After all I learned to enjoy BATMAN & ROBIN as big budget remake of the Adam West show! But I can’t think of any good movie. LOST BOYS is maybe his best, but also so full of 80’s cheese and unintentional humor, like that one POV shot of the flying vampires, that was obviously played backwards because you can see the waves at the beach below run into the wrong direction.
    I also never got the love for FALLING DOWN, which is as toothless as a movie about a man running amok can be. 8MM is also more laughable than disturbing. I’m not sure how much I can blame him for his John Grisham movies, because so far I never saw a good Grisham movie and I think it’s plain and simple Grisham’s fault. (I never read one of his books, so I just suspect him to be a bad writer.)
    I might give FLATLINERS a 2nd try one day, because it’s been over 10 years or so since I saw it and maybe I like it better the 2nd time around.

  3. I’m not saying he’s one of the greats or anything but he makes movies that could potentially suck (like Flatliners or 8MM) surprisingly watchable and decently acted

  4. I guess I should probably mention though that 90’s movies are my weakness, I go easier on most movies from that era than most people probably do

  5. well maybe “weakness” is not quite the right word, I just really like the 90’s (especially the first half) cinematically, if you know what I mean

  6. Yeah, he is definitely not as awful as the nerds say he is, but if you ask me, he is so unbelievable mediocre most of the time. He bites more than he can chew. On a technical level I got no complaints about let’s say PHONE BOOTH, but he never manages to make the movie live up to its potential.
    He could be a very good TV director, if you ask me.

  7. well CJ, the way I would put it is he elevates mediocre material, you know what I mean?

  8. I would say he makes great material mediocre. Like FALLING DOWN, the shocking story of an average guy who snaps and lives the forbidden violent fantasies that we all have buried deep inside us…but no, he only defends himself against violent street gangs, neo nazis, even apologizes for scaring everybody at a fast food restaurant and oh, as it turns out, he already was violent before he finally snapped, so screw that.
    Or PHONE BOOTH, a Hitchcockian suspense piece about a man, trapped in a small place…which turns out to have no suspense at all.
    8MM, a disturbing story about underground sex fetishes and snuff movies, that constantly tells us that snuff movies don’t exsists (yeah, right) and despite the warning that “The devil will change you”, the only thing that really changes is how often Nic Cage wipes his hands during the movie.
    FLAWLESS, the tragicomic story of a homophobe cop, who has to get along with a transvestite, is despite DeNiro and Philip Seymour Hoffman just barely about the level of a Lifetime movie.

    He has some technical skills, is able to adapt and is willing to try new things (didn’t he made a hard R rated horror movie about Nazi zombies last year?), but he never made anything that I would consider as “seriously good”.

  9. I think Schumacher’s one of those guys that wants nothing more than to entertain his audience for a couple of hours, I can get behind that. A five course meal in a fancy restaurant is great and all but sometimes I just wanna eat McDonalds, if you know what I mean.

  10. Umm…Tigerland is legitimately great. And Flatliners, Falling Down, Veronica Guerin and St. Elmo’s Fire are all movies that I am glad to have seen.

    Of the 11 Schumacher films I have seen, I remember enjoying or respecting 7.5 of the (B&R is great fun if you view it as Dada, BF is a bit of a chore).

    Schumacher is not a great filmmaker by any means, but I respect him as a journeyman and think he’s done some cool stuff.

    Also, CJ,

    I don’t think you’re supposed to like D-Fens. The point is that he seems righteous when you see the story from his eyes and then you realize that he’s a crazy bastard bent of committing suicide by cop after murdering his estranged wife and child. D-Fens is not the hero at all.

    Also, snuff-porn doesn’t exist. You know how I know? Because that shit would be SUCH big news. So many people could make millions off of that shit! And I’m not talking about the snuff filmmakers. I’m talking about Nancy Grace. Hell, I think the only reason snuff-porn doesn’t exist is because Nancy Grace hasn’t found someone to film one for her to scream about, yet. Every single vile, Neo-Con group in America would *love* to find a snuff-porn so they could create a slippery slope argument founded upon hypothetical and correlation without causation about how gay’s in the military or women wearing pants or not burning Koran’s or MTV or whatever caused this film to exist. I bet Fox and Friends could find a way to blame Obama for it within two days. Those guys masturbate to the idea of finding a snuff-porn. It would be a wonderful gift for the 24 news cycle and groups looking for federal grant money to research (though not actually help) prostitutes, abused women, media’s effects of children, ect. And Congress would be unbelievably happy to spend 6 months chewing out Hollywood and investigating the connection between Saw and Hostel and the snuff film.

    Now, have there been serial rapists/murderers who filmed their crimes? Certainly. Is it possible that some of those tapes might have leaked somewhere? Certainly. But that’s not the same thing.

  11. Are you saying that we should blame Marcel Duchamp for that Bat Credit Card in BATMAN & ROBIN?

  12. Sorry man, but I don’t believe that during the last century, where people filmed literally EVERYTHING, often even completely horrifying stuff and sometimes even for sexual pleasure, nobody has ever filmed the torture and murder of another person for “pornographic” reasons.

    I mean, take child pornography. That shit is real! There are people PRODUCING IT and people BUYING it purposely! And you are going to tell me that THIS is the sickest of the sick shit people can produce? Sure, I can see how it is more complicated to get away with murder on film than with “just” rape, even if it includes a child, so I’m sure that the amount of people who produce it is considerably lower, but come on. Don’t tell me that purposely killing people on film for the sake of sexual pleasure is just a fairy tale, that nobody would ever do and hasn’t done yet.

  13. There have been a couple different FBI inquests on the topic, CJ. They found no evidence of snuff films anywhere in the United States. This is not to say that there haven’t been people who have filmed their murders for their own personal amusement. This is to say that there is no black market in snuff films. There’s no one out there killing people specifically so they can film it and sell it. And believe me, if the market was there, the FBI would have found it. No federal employee wants to admit that he just spent millions of dollars of taxpayer money investigating a nonexistent crime. They went out on a witch hunt and came back empty-handed, which ought to tell you something.

  14. Yeah, because we know that agencies like the FBI always immediately find what they are looking for.
    I won’t deny that it’s most likely just a small niche market with only a handful producers, because I doubt that many people are willing to kill people, video tape it and sell those tapes on a regular base (sorry if it sounds like I’m trying to make a joke, but I can imagine finding victims, disposing them afterwards and sell the tapes to a price that makes the whole thing even “worth it” if they catch you, is a huge pain in the ass.), but to say that snuff movies are as fake and fictional like King Kong and the island he lived on, just seems very far fetched to me.

  15. CJ can you point me at a particular case where the FBI failed to detect something like this? You seem awfully sure about this.

    BTW I’ve seen some underground films, it’s usually women getting treated pretty bad, sick misogynistic stuff, but I’d like to think that if anyone showed a snuff film they would get turned in immediately. It’s one thing to poop on someone’s head, it’s quite another to kill them.

    You think it’s pretty far-fetched that snuff films are an urban legend, but I think it’s pretty far-fetched that there would be this underground culture that wouldn’t ever introduce someone into it that wouldn’t feel bad, or have regrets, and turn them all in.

  16. I can’t name you a specific case of the FBI or the CIA or anybody else never finding what they are looking for, but mostly because they didn’t find it and are maybe still searching.(But let’s just think about how long it took to locate Bin Laden.)

    And here is the thing. I do not believe that there is something like an “underground culture”, with thousands of people meeting every week in dark abandoned warehouses to sell and buy snuff films, but just look at all the shit this world has! From organized child prostitution and pornography to the KKK (a whole organisation that only exists to come together once in a while and lynch people with the “wrong colour”, even though it’s not for sexual pleasure) to the whole shit that went down at Abu Ghraib. There is so much sick and disgusting evil in the world. People do horrible things because they can and sometimes they record it and sell it to others, who LOVE to see this kind of shit. For fucks sake, once a guy at work showed me the video of the beheading of an american soldier, because he thought it was cool. He was carrying this video around on his fucking cell phone and showed it to people, without even asking them! So there already IS a “market” for people, who love to see sick shit like people dying. (Just remember how popular FACES OF DEATH is and most people who watched it, wanted to see it, because they thought it’s real!)

    And do you really think, that all the fucking sick people out there signed a pact, that they if they should ever torture someone to death, they only film it for personal purposes and not give it away? Or that they say: “Yeah, y’know, child porn is one thing, but making a snuff movie really crosses a line?”

    I don’t think there are thousands of those movies outthere. At least not those, where people carefully planned to film and sell it. Because I think IF you do it, you will sell it for an awful lot of money, to someone who you know won’t hand you to the FBI. I can also imagine that those who own such a movie, don’t brag about it. Because we are talking about the evidence for murder here. But doing this is unfortunately no rocket science. Cameras are cheap, people are easy to kill.

    Believe me, I do hope that you are right and those films are really just an urban myth, but it’s just illogical to me. There are sick people outthere, many of them know how to use a camera and many others are willing to buy lots of money for the sickest shit that they can find.

    And I’m sure you can understand that I would love to end this discussion.

  17. I unfortunately watched an internet video of a Mexican cartel slitting a man’s throat and then hacking off his head with bowie knives.
    I wish that shit could be unseen, but I rationalize to myself that he was a vicious bastard too (he was from another cartel).
    The video is surprisingly hard to find, I think and I hope that means that people really don’t want to see that type of shit.
    I don’t know if that’s what is meant by snuff film, but there it was.

  18. Any news on Cages hair piece in this flick? Probably his most interesting feature.

  19. Thank you for changing the subject.

  20. Someone needs to make a montage of Cage hair pieces set to some clever diddy and put it on YouTube. An ambitious person would edit in clips from old Hair Club for Men and hair-in-a-can commercials.

    Oh, and this is a Cage thread, so here’s my obligatory plea for Vern to review Peggy Sue Got Married.

  21. There’s plenty of video of people getting killed for pleasure: religious, personal, tribal, gangster, etc. But it is odd there is no video of anyone getting killed for sexual pleasure.

    And sorry Cassidy for changing the subject back. It is a surprising topic I never thought about: something you are certain would exist, doesn’t exist.

    However, it is true that plenty of footage of killings have been destroyed before they ever made it to the Internet. There is a human conscience about these sort of things. You don’t have to be Werner Herzog listening to Timothy Treadwell and girlfriend being eaten alive by a bear to know that it is a simple act of respect for life and human dignity to make sure that shit doesn’t get heard or seen. So I wouldn’t be surprised if there was indeed two FBI G Men sitting in a room somewhere sometime in the past, reviewing the personal VHS tape collection of some mass murderer… who look at each other, nod, hit delete, and then shut up. And thus, no snuff film. And I thank those anonymous G Men for doing that.

    I mean scum like this guy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Ng

    He videotaped his exploits. The way that P.O.S. functioned, you know he wouldn’t miss out on making a snuff film. Tapes of the women he and his fellow scum killed came up at trial. But these tapes, at trial, just contained rape and torture. So some G Men with a conscience saw a snuff film, and promptly made sure no one else ever saw it, or know it even exists. And bless them for that, and I feel awful for the kind of images you know are seared into their brains.

  22. Cage’s hair is one thing, but what really puts me off these days are Kidman’s lips. Except for Dead Calm, The Peacemaker and that movie she made with Sandra Bullock, I haven’t really liked any of her work. But at least she looked good. Now she looks she’s received a Glasgow Kiss just before each take.

  23. ANoniMouse –

    i thought that was MY job (the “obligatory plea for Vern to review Peggy Sue Got Married”).

  24. Anyone got an all time favourite Cage hair piece? I like the Face/Off mini do personally.

  25. Trespass was watchable enough, but isn’t the Cage fix we want, or need, right now. We’ll have to wait and see how the next one, Justice, turns out. (I swear to God I read that Cage was filming a prrison film with John Carpenter on directing duty, but I can’t find a scrap of information on it now. Damn).

    Is there an Amos and Andrew review in the works? It’s pretty crappy, but does contain a couple of Cagisms of note.

  26. Yeah, that prison movie was called SCARED STRAIGHT and was about a group of kids, participating in a scared straight program*, when suddenly a riot breaks out. And Cage was apparently one of the nicer inmates, who try to get the kids out alive, while all hell breaks lose. I was really looking forward to that, because while it sounds like a CON AIR sequel, it does also sound like a cool concept, but unfortunately it disappeared like that New York serial killer movie, that Carpenter was supposed to do years ago.

    *Where young troublemakers get sent to jail for one day and get yelled at by real prisoners, to scare them away from wasting their life.

  27. Apparently it’s still on Carpenter’s map, but now it’s re-titled RIOT and unfortunately it’s one of those IMDB titles, that you can only read with a Pro account, which I don’t have.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475379/

  28. Ah, nice one CJ. I was actually starting to think I’d dreamt it up myself.

  29. The worst Cage hair piece is in National Treasure 2, I think. He looks like he’s borrowed it from Edmund Blackadder (the first series). The best is the one in The Sorcerers Apprentice. It actually makes him look cool.

  30. No Cage hairpiece is ever going to top the maximullet he was rocking in CON AIR. He was one pair of shiny blue pants away from looking like a Mexican tagteam wrestler.

  31. Good as they are, none of the above pieces come close to the Deadfall toupee that’s so mega it should be a threepee. And as a bonus it turns out to be acknowledged as a wig in the actual film.

  32. In RAISING ARIZONA his hair did part of the acting for him. That has to count for something.

  33. I really hope they give him one day the opportunity to wear dreadlocks!

  34. I remember reading an interview where Cage claimed that he didn’t wear a hair piece. But maybe he was just “acting” when he said that.

  35. Nothing mega to mention, Vern? How about when he first stands up to the robbers with his blubbering crying? I heard a hint of Peter Loew in that voice.

  36. wait a minute, this may make me sound like an idiot, but is Cage really bald?

    and I forgot about that John Carpenter prison flick, I’d be really surprised if Carpenter directs another movie though

  37. Cage isn’t bald like Mr Clean. He’s more like Mr Winchell bald. There is hair there still holding on.

    And Gary, I didn’t mean to overstep. I just really want him to really review it. Carry on!

  38. Films of people dying = real
    a porno film that ends with the murder of the girl = fake.

    Sure, serial killers make a home movie. But it’s like all these 9/11 conspiracies. You’re telling me that you’re got

    1: a guy to ‘star’ in the movie.
    2: a guy to do sound for the movie (I assume the death rattle would be the same as a money shot here).
    3: A guy to run camera.
    4: A fence to distribute the film?

    And then you’re gonna tell me that these 4 guys, who are all fucked up enough to want to participate in this, are also going to trust each other and participate in the commercial distribution of the resulting film? Doesn’t make sense.

    Granted, you could make a ‘gonzo’ style snuff film, but I doubt it. You’d need a clear shot of the moment of death, and if you’re holding the camera with one hand and killing with the other, that ain’t gonna happen. Neither is decent sound quality. It would be all but impossible to create a *quality* snuff film, so they don’t exist.

    And again, there are people like Nancy Grace in this world. A snuff film would be her equivalent of Kim Kardashian’s marriage. There is too much money to be made my too many pseudo-watch dog groups for them to not dig this material up if it existed. In fact, I kinda wanna write a short story about a ‘wag the dog’ moment where a political campaign makes and releases a snuff film to distract from a real event.

  39. LiveLeak.com has lots of gruesome kills on video. My old AOs are often featured there. Lots of great helicopter attack footage, too.

    It’s also a good source of unfiltered news, especially from war zones.

  40. “Someone needs to make a montage of Cage hair pieces set to some clever diddy and put it on YouTube.”
    http://youtu.be/uNz0POlwQP0

  41. I think if snuff films don’t exist already its only a matter of time before they do, it almost seems like a logical progression of the kind of thing that’s going on at the moment. We’re living in a world where people like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are idolized by tween girls because they were able to build an empire around the release of a sex tape. A world where even crazed lunatics like Seung-Hui Cho are media-savvy enough to send ABC news a press pack before going on a killing spree. Plus we have an entire generation of kids growing up with free access to all the fucked up shit the internet has to offer (which as it turns out is a lot of fucked up shit).

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we’re on the brink of a societal meltdown or anything – I think the vast majority of people are well balanced enough to see through the bullshit that’s thrown at them, or at least grow out of it. But I dunno man, it’s that 0.001% you’ve gotta watch out for.

  42. Also I have a theory that anything imagined by humans becomes inevitable given a long enough span of time.

  43. No one seems to remember the plot of 8MM, which was about a single snuff film commissioned for a single viewer. That’s not a “market” that the FBI could find, but it could happen. On the other hand, the film showed that SE7EN-promsing writer Andrew Kevin Walker was a one hit wonder, which for our cine-studies purposes is probably more important. What happened to that guy?

    On wigs: Willis dares to go bald. Do you think we should want other obvious bald men (Mel Gibson, Steven Seagal, Nic Cage) to do the same? Certainly I think Sly Stallone should wear less rouge, and in general don’t like action men to be doing obvious “maekup,” but there is an argument to be made that keeping on the fake hair keeps them nominally more likeable.

    What say y’all? Would a bald Cage, Gibson, or Seagal be as acceptable?

  44. It probably has to be considered on a case-by-case basis. When Bruce Willis shaved his head, he exchanged a somewhat unremarkable head of hair for a more badass bald look. The only people doing that at the time were guys with cancer. He also did it early enough to successfully supplant Scruffy Bruce with Bald Bruce. That wouldn’t be the case with Cage or Gibson, neither of whom would look better bald. It’s also way to late for either to employ baldness pre-emptively like Willis did, or, I assume, like The Rock or Vin Diesel.

    Seagal, on the other hand, might benefit from shaving his head now. He’d look more like the Buddha, whose wisdom he pays lip service to, if not actually believes in. If Seagal went the pre-emptve route 20 years ago, people would have confused him with Bull from NIGHT COURT.

  45. Jason Statham, usually bald, sports a very weird hairdo in REVOLVER. I mean, weird for him.

  46. Sam Jackson doesn’t get enough recognition for his varied hairstyles in movies. Bald, crew cut, jheri curl, white, dreadlocks, cornrow, ponytail, whatever the fuck that do in UNBREAKABLE was and more…
    http://www.nerve.com/entertainment/ranked/ranked-samuel-l-jacksons-hairdos-from-least-to-most-majestic

  47. I’d just like to thank Vern for finding the Roy Scheider-est image of Nic Cage ever to go up top. Outstanding work.

  48. There’s one case out there where you can actually claim that bad hair pieces ruined the person’s whole career; I’m thinking of Burt Reynolds, of course. The day he turned down Nicholson’s role in Terms of Endearment to do Cannonball instead, I’m sure it was the tupe that answered the phone. And you see, hair pieces are lazy. They don’t like hard work. They just want to be in the spotlight and have fun on the set with people they can pretend to be friends with.

  49. Haven’t seen Trespass, but it’s funny how all these home invasion things seem to follow the exact same formula. Couple of kidnappers, including at least one true professional, one crazy sadist and one inexperienced dude who thinks it’s all going too far and tries to help the victims.

    I mentioned this in another thread, but a much better example of this type of film (even though it does include all the same clichés) is the recent Spanish thriller Secuestrados (English title Kidnapped). The impressive thing about it is the way it’s shot. The whole movie consists of 12 long takes, with some very cool split-screen shots that can go on for 10 minutes at a time. It gets really tense in the end, and afterwards I felt like someone punched me in the gut. Which is the exact feeling I want from a film like this. Worth seeking out.

  50. Just saw an inadvertent Netflix Instant double feature of this and “The Road Killers” aka “Roadflower” on Netflix Instant. And yes, they both follow the same home-invasion cliches (though Road Killers is more of a desert vacation invasion, ala The Hills Have Eyes) – the crazy guy, the childlike guy, the guy who says “i didn’t think anyone was going to get hurt!”, the trashy/drugged/crazy girl villain.

    Trespass does sorta turn the formula on its head though, by making the crazy guy, the childlike guy, and the “i didn’t think anyone was going to get hurt!” guy the same person, and also has the “big muscle” guy be the one who’s really the boss of the mastermind. That’s about all there is to recommend though besides a few fleeting moments of mega-acting. It really does get tedious and repetitive with the escapes/thwarted escapes/recaptures etc, and the sudden ending just felt weird. Oh and the teenage daughter looks so much like Sasha Grey it’s distracting.

    Road Killers on the other hand, has an amazing cast – Christopher Fucking Lambert as the father called to action who you do not want to fuck with, Joseph Gordon Levitt(!) as the kid he’s trying to protect, Craig Sheffer as the criminal mastermind, Josh Brolin (Diane Lane’s ex-husband and current husband in the same movie?) as “I didn’t think anyone was gonna get hurt!” guy, David Arquette as childlike guy, Adrienne Shelly (RIP) as crazy girl villain. The first half is tense and effective, but then like Trespass it gets too convoluted with the villain’s backstories and the final fight is kind of incomprehensible.

    There’s also another sudden ending, but in this case it’s a classic. The final 10 seconds of The Road Killers is a must-see for Lambert fans.

  51. For reasons unknown to me I’ve been pondering Schumachers FALLING DOWN for the last day or so. Seen it a few times since it came out in 93, and as recent as about a year ago. Not gonna call it a classic or anything hyperbolic but I could easily say it’s a very good movie that works as a TODAY-IS-THE-DAY-YOU-WILL-SEE-ME-LOSE-MY-SHIT-BECAUSE-LIFE-IS-NOT-FAIR-AND-SOCIETY-DOES-NOT-HELP type of story. I’m just glad they called it FALLING DOWN instead of TODAY-IS-THE-DAY-YOU-WILL-SEE-ME-LOSE-MY-SHIT-BECAUSE-LIFE-IS-NOT-FAIR-AND-SOCIETY-DOES-NOT-HELP, cause there isn’t that much room on the dvd cover.

    The obvious comparison thematic wise would be TAXI DRIVER I guess. Travis Bickle didn’t have the family issues like D-Fens does in this. So I can relate to Douglas’ being a family man as opposed to Bickle being an ex-vietnam vet loner. Cause I never went to Nam. I tried to get in but the Australian Army Reserve had a policy against recruiting four year olds. Arseholes. Their loss. But you read a lot of tragic stories in the news about broken families and the husband/father gets estranged then takes the life of his kids and/or spouse and then usually kills himself. That’s a really fucked-up tragedy all around if you ask me.

    Someone in this thread said that Douglas’ character had mental health issues before his rampage, which was the reason he was probably estranged from his family in the first place. From memory the film alludes to that through conversations with his ex wife Barbara Hershey. So I agree with that. There is also another mental health issue running through the story and that’s on the cops’ side with Robert Duvall’s wife played by Tuesday Weld. There are scenes where Duvall is talking to his clearly emotionally unstable wife on the phone, who’s kinda justified in freaking out cause it’s his last day on the job(you know the cliché), but the way he handles her and talks to her is sweet. And when his fellow cops give him shit about it he gets really protective of her. He fuckin loves her despite her issues. He’s a real man in my opinion.

    Long and short of it is, if you need help, fuckin reach out man. And if you’re Robert Duvall, keep doin what you’re doin.

  52. I love how people enjoy willfully misreading this movie as a republican fantasy where the angry white man gets revenge on all the uppity minorities usurping his rightful place in society. Did they miss the part where he was the bad guy? (Not sure how they could, since he literally says “I’m the bad guy” in the climax) or that the only person he actually kills is a racist nazi asshole? It tempts you with that race baiting shit just to subvert it when he starts fucking up rich country clubbers and them finally turns on his own family. It’s an interesting movie.

  53. By “this movie,” I mean FALLING DOWN, not TRESPASS.

  54. And the fact that Douglas was dressed like a Mormon with a crew cut for half the movie would have only fuelled the republican fantasy.

  55. I hated 8MM mostly for associating certain alternative sexualities with murder and serial killers, something which it alone isn’t guilty of.

  56. I never liked FALLING DOWN. To me, it was always a movie that tried so hard to be shocking and provocative, but always went the most obvious path and often felt like a string of cheesy stand-up comedian punch lines (“Why do burgers never look like they do in commercials? What’s up with that? Kids these days, huh? Don’t go to school, but now how to arm a bazooka.”)

  57. I’ve always liked FALLING DOWN, especially as both a time capsule of the early 90’s and a sobering reminder that some things sucked about life even back then

  58. also, am I the only person on Earth that liked THE NUMBER 23? while granted it’s been 7 years since I’ve seen it so it’s not exactly fresh on my mind, but as someone who suffers from OCD it’s a movie that seems to “get” that kind of paranoid mindset, of an obsession forcing it;s way into your mind and you being unable to let it go no matter what you do, that shit is a hell of a lot scarier to me than any “boo! haunted house!” cliche of present day horror

  59. Mr Majestyk, that’s excactly what’s so good about FALLING DOWN, the fact that it portrays the “angry, white male” so perfect that they don’t get it themselves.

  60. I saw THE NUMBER 23 a couple years ago Griff and remember thinking it was ‘good for a Schumacher film’. Yeah, I was an elitist film arsehole back then. Anything post batman & robin Schumacher I approached through the filter of a victim who’d been eyeball-raped then left in the gutter to die like a dog. So I was a bit harsh on him.

    But I’ve softened now to the point where I even own NUMBER 23 and BLOOD CREEK and 8MM on dvd, but that’s probly more because I have fucking OCD also! Especially when it comes to collecting movies and being a completist of certain actors and directors and tv series and books and cd’s and on and on. It’s fucking exhausting.

    The positive side for me is that as I’ve gotten older the OCD has lost a lot of it’s hold and I’m a bit more balanced. I think.(*****leaves chair to check window locks for the 12th time tonight*****).

    So anyway I think it might be time to revisit NUMBER 23. My curiosity is piqued.

  61. Did anyone say BATMAN & ROBIN?

  62. Shoot, take those fucking cap locks off, for gods sake man! Its batman & robin. Don’t tempt the devil with your bold enthusiasm. He will see it as an invitation to SKULL-FUCK you!

  63. DARREN, that’s how we DO IT here…

  64. Knox Harrington

    April 28th, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Pisses me off that people consider Schumacher a bad filmmaker.

    Lost Boys, Flatliners, Falling Down, A Time to Kill, Flawless, Tigerland, Phone Booth, Veronica Guerin. Those are not bad movies. In fact, most of them are pretty damn good. I even have a soft spot for Batman Forever and Phantom of the Opera.

    Has anyone seen Twelve? I’m curious about it, because I read the book years ago after hearing that it was written by a 17 year old. I remember Hunter S. Thompson giving the book a quote or something. No idea if the movie’s any good, though.

  65. Darren – If I knew how to use bold font letters on this site, you´d see the true boldness of my enthusiasm.

  66. “(whispers)the horror…..the horror.”(dies)

  67. I liked THE NUMBER 23 as some hilarious overcooked vanity project vaguely giallo-esque bullshit, a genre I tend to enjoy. I have it on my shelf next to I KNOW WHO KILLED ME, for example. It never occurred to me that it could be relatable to people, perhaps because I’m like the opposite of that kind of OCD. Sure, I like my movies arranged JUST SO (do not move one or I will know) but I don’t have that obsessive quality that makes me stick with stuff. I have to force myself to finish things, not to give them up. I’ll have to watch it again soon to look at it through that lens.

    I also think Schumacher gets a bad rap. I think he’s got more tools at his disposal than people give him credit for. I’ve enjoyed more of his movies than I haven’t. A gay former costume designer lets his freak flag fly a couple times and you’d think he blew up an orphanage.

  68. I know it’s difficult to hate Schumacher these days, because everybody just thinks you’ll jump on a nerd meme that happened after B&R, but I really didn’t come across a movie of his that I really enjoyed. Even LOST BOYS, his most watchable one, has way too many unintentional comedy (And I’m not talking about time capsule moments like hairdo or music) to make it good enough for a steady rewatch for me.

  69. When I was a young lad I thought FALLING DOWN was awesome, but years later, after watching your MAN BITES DOGs and TAXI DRIVERs and so forth, it’s easier to see where the sharp edges were filed off. In fact, the various ways it pussies out on his character actually makes it more offensive to me. Like, in order to soften his racism they introduce a cartoon neo-Nazi as if to say “forget D-Fens’ ranting about Korean grocers, look over here, this guy is the REAL racist”

  70. I think that’s a misread. The neo-nazi isn’t there to let D-FENS off the hook, he’s there to show D-FENS a mirror image of himself. He thinks he’s a hero, but then he meets this guy and struggles with the realization that they’re not that different, as much as he tries to deny it. When he kills him, it’s one step closer to killing himself.

  71. Mr Majestyk’s right. Guys like D-FENS are actually more dangerous than the fully blown nazis, because they think they’re the good guys. Seeing FALLING DOWN today I’m amazed at how good it is, and how it deals with subjects that didn’t become talking points until much later. The parallells to the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik here in Norway are shocking.

  72. That´s the problem, isn´t it. Looking at the world through a dichotomy like that. You can justify your own actions if you villify others.

  73. And sadly the situation is quite similar in the world of politics. Influental politicians point to the far right and far left screaming “boogeyman” – while they themselves are willing to kill millions in the name of democracy.

  74. Did a re-watch of FALLING DOWN last night and it holds up exceptionally well. I wont go on about it again, but I need to comment on Schumachers filmatism which is fucking top-notch in this if you ask me. Seeing it again I was aware of the use of a lot of overhead crane shots, like we the viewer were getting a Gods Eye View of the proceedings. Also a lot of shots filmed from beneath, looking up at the characters, especially Douglas, framing him like a madman, as though Satan were considering him from below.

    And the heatwave atmosphere, the stillness in the air in nearly every scene, and the orange glow from the LA sun were all perfect.

    CJ, I disagree that the movie went the obvious route. It might have been broad in the characters D-Fens encountered, and sure, unlikely that he would meet so many in one day, but I like to think it was more a case of THEM encountering D-Fens, who had lost the plot by the beginning of the film. Also, the obvious route wouldn’t have ended with Douglas***SPOILER just in case***dying. He would have just been arrested.

    And Majestyk, the part in the climax where Douglas says “Im the bad guy”, is said as an incredulous question. He still hadn’t comprehended he was the bad guy up to that point and I don’t think he ever did get it. But he knew he’d fucked up and couldn’t go back, which is why he baited Duvall into drawing guns. His lack of self-awareness does support your theory about why he killed the neo-Nazi though.

    OK. I’m moving on to THE NUMBER 23 now, in my Schumacher re-appraisal.

  75. Yeah, I don’t think he fully got that he was the bad guy until after he said that line, but the movie wanted to make damn sure that you knew. You certainly weren’t expected to be on D-FENS’s side at that point unless you were a raging sociopath.

  76. Yeah, I don’t think he fully got that he was the bad guy until after he said that line, but the movie wanted to make damn sure that you knew. You certainly weren’t expected to be on D-FENS’s side at that point unless you were a raging sociopath.

  77. I really need to re-watch FALLING DOWN too, I haven’t seen it since the dvd days, it’s on blu ray now isn’t it?

  78. Or you can re-watch the DVD. It´s still the same movie.

  79. Obsessive-Compulsive-DVD-Disorder(OCDVDD) drove me to re-watch the OCD/guilt themed THE NUMBER 23 for the number 2 time. As part of my Schumacher re-appraisal. And its kinda meh. Like Mehjestyk(sorry Mr M couldn’t resist the pun) said it belongs in the potboiler giallo genre, where what happens to the characters in the story is meant to be so disorienting for them that we can’t tell dreams from reality and reality from Jim Carreys straight face acting. No mugging in this one. This is earnest See-I-Can-Really-Act Jim. Sorry Ace, Robin Williams got the memo first.

    Not much to report here. I found myself zoning out whenever it went to a fantasy sequence. Like the one where Carreys all slicked out like a tough 1940’s character with cigarette and trenchcoat. Then the Femme Fatale slinks down the street through a cloud of steam and they dance around each other trying to be real sexy, and all of a sudden……wait, what was I saying? Sorry I was thinking about laundry.

    Schumacher does a good enough job of making a muddled story coherent. I guess it’s similar to his 8MM in that it’s ultimately a morality tale. But its a bit ham-fisted at the end when after the last scene of Jimmy-In-Jail we get the full screen scripture quote “Your Sin Will Find You Out” Numbers 32:23. Get it? Just in case you were thinking about laundry.

  80. I actually didn’t think it was meh. It’s too garish and illogical for that. But I tend to like that in a movie. I’ll definitely give it another watch soon. Thanks for reminding me of it, guys.

    But seriously, if you haven’t seen I KNOW WHO KILLED ME, you need to remedy that shit immediately. We are talking color-coded serial killers. We are talking psychosomatic amputation. We are talking robot-handed strippers. We are talking the title spoken aloud in dialogue even though it makes absolutely no sense in context.

    Even leaving behind all the Lindsay Lohan schadenfreude, it’s a glorious piece of shit. I highly recommend it.

  81. I KNOW WHO KILLED ME is enjoyable ridiculous in the best way possible. So much so I am kind of stunned it even exists.

  82. IKWKM is exactly how you do one of these freakazoid films. The beauty of it is that it knows its out there so it fuckin stays on Pluto and doesn’t come back for 6 seconds of sunshine.

  83. CrustaceanLove

    May 5th, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    If I KNOW WHO KILLED ME was in Italian it would be hailed as a giallo masterpiece.

  84. Shit. Schumachers’ FLATLINERS_____/^^^\_____/^^\____/^\______________________________________________ holds up pretty good. I repent of my dismissive ways. It’s been over 20 years since I first saw it. Five med students conduct secret procedures to clinically kill themselves, experience The After Life on a day pass, like they were going to Disney World or something, and when they’re revived back to life, some weird shit follows them from the Other Side. And it’s not Donald Duck.

    I like that it’s all treated seriously. It’s engaging without being cheesy. Stylish filmatism. JS loves his overhead crane shots and his swooping tracking shots over fields and bodies of water. Like Luc Bessons signature swoops at the beginning of most of his films. It’s got nice dark Gothic surroundings. Some neon overkill, but it was 1990 after all, the 80’s had barely finished. Neon-Noir, this is.

    Like THE LOST BOYS, Kiefer is the leader of the gang again. Kevin Bacon supports, but he got his chance to be the egomaniac doctor/scientist later in HOLLOW MAN. I like William Baldwins story in this, the cheating, womanizing boyfriend who’s guilt is the main theme of his after-life experiences, reminding me of THE NUMBER 23.

    Sorry Joel, sorry Schumacher advocates here at Outlaw Vern. I was flatlined for a time, but I am slowly being revived.

  85. Getting back to FALLING DOWN, I can see some twisted parallel to what happened in California last week. The thing we hear from filmmakers of how villains are the hero of their own story definitely applies. I haven’t bothered reading his manifesto, but even knowing that he wrote one is proof enough that this is how he felt. The motivations are vastly different but that seems to be a lot of how these fuckers think, that shooting up a neighborhood or elementary class will bring justice to their world.

  86. Also, if you took out the supernatural/spiritual aspects of this story, it’s an even closer companion piece to THE NUMBER 23. Nearly all the characters who take The After-Life Fun Ride come back with major guilt issues for things they did in the past. Mostly when they were kids though. The things that haunt them lose their power once they’re confronted. Like Bacon making amends with the now adult woman he ridiculed when she was a young girl. And Julia facing her trauma over losing her ex-soldier father who killed himself when she was a girl.

    There’s a lot to think about in this one. I like it a lot.

    Also, Kiefer and John Cusack must have been having a competition during the 80’s and 90’s to see who could wear the most trenchcoats.

  87. Schumacher fits into an awkward category for me; no where near as bad as his critics claim, but not really good enough to defend. He’s talented, most of his films are an entertaining way to pass the time (I even enjoyed this here TRESPASS), but he hasn’t made much I feel I ever want to revisit. FALLING DOWN I remember being really good, and I do want to revisit it sometime, so maybe that’s his classic. FLAWLESS is the kind of film that’s really easy to watch. THE LOST BOYS is a pop culture classic, but I personally didn’t find it stood up to a second viewing. (I haven’t seen TIDELAND) Furthermore, there have been a few films that he really wasn’t suited for, or which I at least suspect would have been better in the hands of another director; 8MM is the obvious one, but I also though his style overwhelmed FLATLINERS. I’d put Renny Harlin in a similar category, the difference is he has several (earlyish) films I _do_ like to revisit (DIE HARD 2, FORD FAIRLANE, CLIFFHANGER, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, DEEP BLUE SEA)

  88. Schumacher fits into an awkward category for me; no where near as bad as his critics claim, but not really good enough to defend. He’s talented, most of his films are an entertaining way to pass the time (I even enjoyed this here TRESPASS), but he hasn’t made much I feel I ever want to revisit. FALLING DOWN I remember being really good, so maybe that’s his one, and FLAWLESS is the kind of film that’s really easy to watch. THE LOST BOYS is a pop culture classic, but I personally didn’t find it stood up to a second viewing. (I haven’t seen TIDELAND) Furthermore, there’ve been a few films that he really wasn’t suited for, or which I at least suspect would have been better in the hands of another director; 8MM is the obvious one, but I also though his style overwhelmed FLATLINERS. I’d put Renny Harlin in a similar category, except he has several (earlyish) films I _do_ like to revisit (DIE HARD 2, FORD FAIRLANE, CLIFFHANGER, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, DEEP BLUE SEA)

  89. I can see the Renny Harlin comparison. Both are more than proficient directors who bring a lot of style to their (mostly mainstream) films. However, Harlin has sustained his career mostly on action films, whereas JS has tried a bit of everything, to mixed results and success.

    I’m gonna call FALLING DOWN my favorite JS film. THE NUMBER 23 my least. And I’ll go for a broad stroke and say there might be a loosely themed trilogy of JS films that touch on redemption and making things right – FLATLINERS, PHONE BOOTH and THE NUMBER 23. I haven’t seen PHONE BOOTH for 10 years so I’m gonna need to see it again to be sure, but I recall Colin Farrell’s character going through all that phone booth shit because someone from his past was pissed off at him. Probly cause he fucked their girlfriend or something.

  90. Shoot, pal, you’ll be thrilled to know I’m watching Schumachers’ bAtMaN & rObIn tonight(notice I met you halfway on the bold font – im trying here, im really trying).

    If no one hears from me within 3 days, send paramedics to my house. I’ll be in the basement, covered in shit and piss, babbling like a halfwit. If I don’t make it that far, tell my wife and kids I love them, and bless you all.

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>