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StreetDance 2

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

“I’m just thinking. What if people don’t get it? I mean our Street-Latin fusion. Dancing with just us is one thing, but, a street dance battle, I just don’t…”

Recently I reviewed STREETDANCE 3D (2010), an enjoyable street-dancers-team-up-with-a-ballet-class movie that I saw as the U.K.’s answer to STEP UP. It didn’t go on to have as many sequels as STEP UP, but it did have one, in 2012, so it was my duty to check it out.

The sequel also reminds me of the STEP UP movies, and that’s a compliment. It sort of follows the first one in the way that STEP UP 3(D) follows STEP UP 2 THE STREETS: it introduces new male and female leads, but also elevates a younger, charmingly geeky supporting character to a more central role. Or if you prefer action movie comparisons, it’s kinda like NEVER BACK DOWN 2, which promoted Evan Peters’ character Max from nerdy underground fight fan to hotshot promoter. (read the rest of this shit…)

Becky

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

BECKY (2020) is a pretty quick and simple thriller with a promising hook: neo-Nazi escaped convicts invade a vacation home looking for a valuable item, and it’s up to a 13-year old girl to improvise enough weapons to seriously fuck them up. Gritty HOME ALONE, I guess. It somewhat delivers on the premise, mostly in the area of (as the rating says) “grisly images and strong bloody violence.”

Becky (Lulu Wilson, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL) is an extremely pouty youngster who is not on good speaking terms with her dad (Joel McHale, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, MORTAL KOMBAT LEGENDS: SCORPION’S REVENGE) as they drive to the lakeside cabin together. We learn that she’s having trouble dealing with the death of her mother a year ago; conveniently the “nostalgically watching old home movies to mourn a deceased family member” storytelling device can now be done with handheld electronics. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Last Boy Scout (revisited)

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

I reviewed THE LAST BOY SCOUT (1991) once already, 15 years ago. Though I think I described some things about it pretty well, I was at somewhat of a snooty wiseass stage in my critic’s journey, and I was more dismissive of it than I should’ve been. Despite that I remembered it being a pretty good movie, and I’d been wanting to rewatch it for a while, so this last November, when BWolfe asked in the comments, “Can you re-review this? I feel like you’d give it a much better shake now,” I knew he was right.

(Bruce)

This Joel Silver production is a collaboration/clash between director Tony Scott (coming off of DAYS OF THUNDER) and screenwriter Shane Black (after being replaced on LETHAL WEAPON 2). Those guys making a Bruce Willis movie is about as all-star action as it got in 1991, and had Bruce and Silver known how the release of HUDSON HAWK was gonna go earlier in that year they would’ve been even more eager to sow they could still blow people through the back walls of theaters. (read the rest of this shit…)

Lost Bullet

Monday, January 11th, 2021

LOST BULLET (original title: BALLE PERDUE) is an outstanding 2020 French action movie that’s available on Netflix, and it turns out it’s one of my favorites of last year. It’s a car chase movie and a one-man-on-the-run-trying-to-prove-his-innocence thriller and there’s a little bit of fighting and both the action direction and the storytelling are beautifully clean. It feels raw and grounded, but in a good way, not in that joy-sucking sort of way where realism is more important than entertainment. Man, I loved this one.

It opens with Lino (Alban Lenoir, an actor/writer/action coordinator/second unit director on a show called Hero Corp), a mechanic, preparing a souped up engine on a small car and nervously strapping himself in, steeling himself for a crash. He picks up his Eddie-Furlong-looking little brother Quentin (Rod Paradot, STANDING TALL) and hands him a helmet, and we realize he’s planning to ram through the side of a jewelry store. Quentin tries to talk him out of it, thinking there’s no way they’ll make it through that wall in this little thing. But Quentin has a huge debt of some kind and Lino thinks this is the only way to save his ass. (read the rest of this shit…)

Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal

Friday, January 8th, 2021

I kinda liked TURBULENCE, but TURBULENCE 3: HEAVY METAL is definitely the gem of the trilogy. That’s not to say that it’s well made exactly, but it’s just such an exuberant mix of different types of ridiculous bullshit that you gotta respect it. That starts (but does not end) with the setup: controversial rock star Slade Craven (who seems to be a mix of King Diamond, Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper, but doing more of an industrial rock type of thing) has invited a small group of fans to see his farewell concert, which will take place on a “specially designed, absolutely radical” airplane while it’s in flight.

Since this was released in 2001 it sort of goes without saying that it’s one of those “live internet broadcast” movies, a format that is almost always terrible, but generally provides at least a few chuckles. I get a kick out of how they always have a big board that tells them how many people are watching and somehow it has an immediate, instantaneous relation to what’s happening live. Like, if something exciting happens (usually somebody getting killed), suddenly more viewers are watching. (Yes, they have a reader board on the plane to update them on how many.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

I reviewed the ruckus-on-an-airplane thriller TURBULENCE a little before Christmas, and I knew it had two non-holiday-specific DTV sequels, so obviously I wasn’t going to let them go unexamined. TURBULENCE 2: FEAR OF FLYING is from 1999, two years after the first one, made by different people and without any connected characters. But faced with the question “What makes a TURBULENCE movie a TURBULENCE movie?” director David Mackay (ICE SCULPTURE CHRISTMAS) and writers Rob Kerchner (BLOODFIST IV-VII, CARNOSAUR 3: PRIMAL SPECIES, CASPER: A SPIRITED BEGINNING, WARGAMES: THE DEAD CODE) & Brendan Broderick (THE DEATH ARTIST) & Kevin Bernhardt (3000 MILES TO GRACELAND, PEACEFUL WARRIOR, ELEPHANT WHITE) decided “there’s a hijack attempt during a flight and they have to fight it off and somebody who’s not the pilot has to land the plane with direction from somebody on the ground.” Logical enough. Let’s go with it.

The new spin they came up with, as indicated in the subtitle, is that most of the people on this flight, including our intrepid heroes, have a phobia of flying. They’re part of a class trying to overcome said fear first in a simulator and then on an actual flight from Seattle to L.A. And they’re not very relaxed about it since one of the flight attendants accidentally left the intercom on while talking about a storm that will make the flight “Hell.” (read the rest of this shit…)

StreetDance 3D

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

It doesn’t seem like many people read my reviews of these 21st century competitive street dancing movies, but I have a fascination with them, so here we are. STREETDANCE 3D is a UK entry in the subgenre and it’s from 2010 – six years after YOU GOT SERVED, four years after STEP UP, two years after STEP UP 2 THE STREETS and a few months before my favorite of all of them, STEP UP 3D. I don’t think it made an impression over here (I definitely never heard of it at the time) but it was the highest grossing UK production of that year, it got a sequel and even a 2019 French remake. For the record, I had to watch it in 2D (a 3D version was included on the rental, but it’s a DVD, so it’s the crappy red and blue Freddyvision). But it didn’t have that same “Man, I have to see this in 3D” energy that STEP UP 3D has. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Gauntlet

Monday, January 4th, 2021

“I just do what I’m told.”
“Yeah, well, so does an imbecile.”

THE GAUNTLET (1977) is some creep’s idea of a triumph-of-the-underdog buddy action comedy romance – the story of a grouchy alcoholic loser cop who finally does a good job at something when he has to transport a prostitute from Las Vegas to Phoenix while every single cop and mobster in multiple states is trying to bump her off. Along the way they insult and assault each other and fall in love. It’s all very scummy and I didn’t used to like it very much, but these days it rings truer than it used to. (read the rest of this shit…)

Happy New Year, friends

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

So much for that bullshit. Now for the next one. Hopefully we can start digging our way out of the wreckage from this one.

Thank you everybody for reading and posting this year. I’m so grateful to be able to talk movies and everything else with you all, to hear your insights and your jokes and your feedback. I appreciate the community you all create here and all the other ways you’ve supported me and helped make it possible for me to spend most of my time writing.

So consider this a toast to all of you, to great movies, to terrible movies, to kung fu and samurais and funk music, to excellence, to weirdos, to kindness and generosity and sticking it to The Man. Love you all.

RIP MF DOOM

Tenet

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

I like Christopher Nolan’s movies. So, had things gone reasonably in the world, Christopher Nolan’s TENET by Christopher Nolan is a movie that I for sure would’ve seen right away in a theater. But… you know. So I didn’t.

Now, after having played some theaters in some parts of the world where some people think it’s safe to go to theaters, with months having passed since the professionals moved on to other topics, many seemingly unimpressed, TENET is on blu-ray, so I have seen it. And I will just say up front that I am very pro TENET. I really enjoyed it. People around these parts call me Bad Lou TENET, Port of Call This Movie Is Great.

First, let me start by pointing out that this entire review has been written as a palindrome. I’m just kidding. I could do it for sure, I know how, but I don’t want to show off. Christopher Nolan, however, has zero qualms about showing off, and I love him for it.

(read the rest of this shit…)