‘Machete Kills”: Not nearly as sharp

October 9, 2013

machete kills

Cult hits are exactly that for a reason. They’re movies that appeal to a small, feverishly loyal audience who, in most cases, love them either in spite of the fact that they’re terrible (“Rocky Horror Picture Show”) or because they’re terrible (“The Room”) – or perhaps a mixture of both.

(These are not to be confused with “critical” hits – unwatchable movies that a small clique of cognoscenti proclaim as masterpieces. This category includes the films of Wong Kar Wai, the post-“Weekend” oeuvre of Jean-Luc Godard and the later work of Paul Thomas Anderson. What is it with these guys with three names?)

Personally, I don’t have a lot of time for movies that are terrible on purpose. Or terrible, period. I see plenty of them by accident – many of them starring John Travolta or Nicolas Cage – without actually trying to seek them out.

These are not to be confused with guilty-pleasure films – movies I enjoy against my better judgment or in spite of it. That’s a category into which the films of Robert Rodriguez often fall.

Not that Rodriguez couldn’t make a serious film when he wants to. He just doesn’t seem to want to very often. Or perhaps it’s that the films he’s serious about making are the type that are hard to take seriously.

So it is with “Machete Kills,” the sequel to the raucous 2010 hit, “Machete.” (More…)


‘Captain Phillips’: Don’t abandon ship


Apparently we’re going to have a bumper crop of outstanding thrillers this season – “Gravity,” the upcoming “All Is Lost” (well, not technically a thriller but still intense) – and now “Captain Phillips.”

Where the first two are fiction, Paul Greengrass’ latest film finds him returning to a story ripped from the headlines (as he did in “Bloody Sunday” and “Flight 93”). Based on the title character’s book recalling the 2009 incident – in which an American cargo vessel in the Indian Ocean was captured by four Somali pirates – “Captain Phillips” puts you right in the middle of the action and never lets you go. (More…)