Quick Takes: The Lego Movie, Machete Kills, Only God Forgives

lego_movie_ver9The Lego Movie (2014)
twohalfstar

Starring Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Cobie Smulders, Jadon Sand
Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

So pretty much everyone loves this movie, but I just thought it was OK. I also found it ironic that the song Everything is Awesome became so popular among fans of the film, but yet it’s the butt of many jokes about the conformity of the mainstream Lego people in the movie. Whatever. The jokes largely fell flat for me, and while I enjoyed the premise and the imagination on display, it was all too loud and abrasive for my tastes. I did love the little Star Wars cameos and Batman’s hilarious song, though, and I wish the film had more of that kind of comedic brilliance.

machete-kills-new-poster-and-13-new-photos-1Machete Kills (2013)

Starring Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofía Vergara, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega, Marko Zaror, Tom Savini, William Sadler
Directed by Robert Rodriguez

This, on the other hand, was pure entertainment for me. Robert Rodriguez makes fun B-Movies, and I love him for it. Machete Kills feels like more of a James Bond spoof than a sequel to Machete, but as long as you like both Machete and Bond (like me), that isn’t an issue. Charlie Sheen is wonderful as the US President, and Mel Gibson definitely makes for a fun asshole villain. The film is somewhat spastic with its ultra-long list of characters, though, which doesn’t allow many of them to get much screen-time. I understand this allows for a long list of celebrities to fill the poster, but quality is usually better than quantity. But this is a B-exploitation flick, so more is better, right?

only_god_forgives_ver6Only God Forgives (2013)
onehalfstar

Starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Gordon Brown, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, Tom Burke, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Pitchawat Petchayahon, Charlie Ruedpokanon
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

There are times when I am a film masochist. Despite thinking Refn’s Drive was an overrated, boring mess of staring people, I felt compelled to watch Only God Forgives. I guess being set in Thailand was a big enough draw to pull me in, regardless of my misgivings. Anyway, this one probably has more staring than Drive. There’s even a whole scene where an entire room of people sit and stare, all while a man has his eyes cut out… Refn is clearly preoccupied with all things ocular. Even still, I think I liked this one a hair more than Drive because the exotic, urban Thai locations and the bold uses of color are pretty to look at. It’s also interesting to see what is basically a B-movie all dolled up in artsy clothes, but it’s not something that really works for me. At least in these clothes it doesn’t. For some reason, I still feel compelled to see more of Refn’s work. Like I said, sometimes I’m a film masochist.

Young Guns (1988)

Starring Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, Terence Stamp, Jack Palance, Terry O’Quinn, Sharon Thomas Cain

Directed by Christopher Cain

Expectations: Low. I’ve seen this one before and did not enjoy it.


I thought maybe this would be one of those movies that would get better with an appreciation for shitty movies. Unfortunately this is not the case, as Young Guns is not quite trashy enough to ignite the B-Movie torch and light my way through this tortured mess. It starts out well enough with an interesting and enigmatic opening of purple-tinged film grain and the silhouettes of our main characters, but just a couple of cuts later we’re treated(?) to close-ups of the stars as their names come on-screen in the most obvious, dumb way possible. Like Batman and Robin, at least Young Guns has the decency to let everyone know what they’re getting into. I should’ve stopped it right then and there, but I have an obligation to finish the filth and deliver something resembling quality content here at Silver Emulsion, regardless of the quality of the film.

I watch a lot of slow-moving B-Movies where their budgets don’t allow much to actually happen beyond a few people talking about something that you really should be seeing. Young Guns is like the opposite, where it’s almost all things happening but very little explanation, and what is there is so mind-numbingly boring and unengaging that I literally zoned out immediately whenever someone started talking. This happened the last time I watched it too, and I went in aware of this and actively tried to avoid it. I was simply unable to; it’s not my fault, it’s just a shitty, poorly constructed movie.

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Men at Work (1990)

Starring Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Leslie Hope, Keith David, Dean Cameron, John Getz, Hawk Wolinski, John Lavachielli, Geoffrey Blake, Cameron Dye

Directed by Emilio Estevez

Expectations: Super low.


While watching Weekend at Bernie’s, my girlfriend commented that the film made her think of Men at Work, and that she would like to see it again. I had never seen it, so I quickly acquired it for review. Now having seen it, I can clearly see why Weekend at Bernie’s brought it to mind. For a good portion of the film, Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen and Keith David are carrying around a dead man. And in one scene, they even pretend he’s alive and move his limbs for him to fool someone! As the two films came out in close proximity to each other (about a year separated them), I have to imagine Men at Work was in production long before Bernie’s dropped, but I can imagine Estevez’s despair at the success of the “other movie that features a couple of schlubs carting around a dead man.” I’m sure he thought he had the corner on that darkly comic market when he was crafting this script.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Men at Work is about two garbage men who get unknowingly mixed up in a web of illegal dumping and must “take out the trash,” where the trash is a greedy business owner dumping chemicals into the ocean. When said asshole kills the one man with evidence against him, instead of entrusting the disposal of the body to two fantastic assassins, he gives the job to a couple of ’80s nincompoops that bungle the job accordingly. That’s not our heroes, though, they’re the guys that find the body in the morning while collecting the trash. Thing is, due to some strange circumstances they know who the guy is, and don’t wish to reveal his death to the police.

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