Monday, February 28, 2011

Drive Angry 3D

This movie was so bad it was awesome... Cage plays Milton, a dead man who has escaped from hell for the sole purpose of rescuing his granddaughter from the cult leader that killed her parents. The best scene in the entire movie occurs about 30 minutes into the film where a fully clothed Nicolas Cage is killing people in a crazy gun battle all while he is in the middle of banging away at a middle-aged blonde waitress he picked up in the previous scene. All in all it's a pretty horrible movie but there are plenty of car chases, violence and nudity to make up for it. It's a little long for what it is but if you don't have anything else to do watch it for the sheer spectacle. This movie was in 3D, which I'm not a huge fan of but I won't go into the details because Roger Ebert already did a great job with his article on "Why 3D doesn't work and never will. Case Closed.". The article is worth reading more than this movie is worth watching.

Notable appearances by David Morse ( 12 Monkeys ) and William Fichtner ( Entourage, Prison Break ) and well as East Bound & Down's curvy Katy Mixon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Cotton Club

Nominated for 2 Academy awards and inspired by true events, The Cotton Club centers around a prohibition era Harlem jazz club of the same name. Richard Gere plays Dixie Dwyer, a cornet playing jazz musician with unwanted ties to the mob. Nicolas Cage plays Dixie's brother, Vincent Dwyer whose character is based on Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll. Vincent uses Dixie's mob contacts to secure himself a job as a small town lackey, collecting money and terrorizing the residents of Harlem.

I'm not a huge fan of Richard Gere and I didn't think I would really enjoy the movie but Gere was remarkably bearable and the all-star supporting cast was nothing short of amazing. The story revolves around Dixie and his love interest Vera Cicero played by Diane Lane. After Dixie witnesses a murder by local mob hothead Dutch Schultz ( James Remar ), he is tasked with entertaining Dutch's girl Vera. Vera is more attracted to Dixie but both agree to keep things under wraps for fear that Dutch would find out and possibly kill one or both of them. In a parallel story arc, real-life brothers Gregory and Maurice Hines play the tap dancing Williams brothers, trying to make it big at The Cotton Club. Meanwhile Vince is working his way up the mob ladder by any means necessary. The underlying theme throughout all the story arcs seems to be about the price we pay for the things we think we want. Laurence Fishburne ( Rumble Fish ), Bob Hoskins ( Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and Fred Gwyne ( aka Herman Munster ) round out the cast with supporting roles and Tom Waits also makes another appearance in Nic Cage's 5th movie.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rich's Late Review of Racing with the Moon

I feel like I'm back in college and handing in my assignments three weeks late again. I honestly thought I could get through at least 10 movies before I fell behind. But between the multiple snowstorms, preparing for job interviews and attempting to acquire Microsoft certifications, I had to put movie reviews on the back burner. But as a consolation prize to our wonderful fans (all 6 of you), I have acquired Nicolas Cage: Hollywood's Wild Talent  and Uncaged: The Biography of Nicholas Cage  books. I know unauthorized biographies such as these are about as accurate as most supermarket tabloids. But, I believe that this additional material will assist us to blatantly plagiarize analyze and review Nicolas Cage's movies more efficiently. But enough about me, let us move onto "Racing with the Moon."

 "That nerd from Fast Times can actually act"  - Sean Penn describing Nicolas Cage

I don't think that Nicolas Cage fits the classical definition of a nerd. However, he can definitely be classified as an outsider. Not only is Nicolas Cage the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola, but he also attended Beverly Hills High School. You would think that these two developments would give Nic the inside track for being popular and successful but it actually had the opposite effect. He might have had the last name Coppola, but his father was only a poor teacher (a poor but acclaimed teacher)and Nic felt that he could never compete with the children of movie stars who had money and influence. This eventually caused him feelings of insecurity. These feelings of insecurity followed him onto the movie sets of Fast Times and Rumble Fish as many of his fellow actors felt that he was getting work due to his name and not by his actual talent. Nic became the butt of many a jokes and one of the nicknames he acquired was "that nerd."

It was only after the success of Valley Girl that Hollywood began to shower Nic with some acclaim. But the feelings of insecurity still remained. And for his next role, Nicolas Cage decided to get out of Hollywood for a while and hang out with his good friend and drinking buddy, Sean Penn. The film they stared in together became "Racing with the Moon."

As Alex described earlier, "Racing with the Moon" is a story about Henry and Nicky, two small town pals with only a short time before they ship off to World War II. Henry begins romancing new-to-town Caddie Winger (Elizabeth McGovern) and Nicky gets into trouble because of his penis. Sean Penn plays the hell out of Henry with a wonderful tour-de-force of intensity, compassion, and confusion. Nicolas Cage plays the role of Nicky. Initially, you start to think that the character is eerily similar to "Smokey" from Rumble Fish. But as the movie continues, you realize that Nicky is just a tough talking kid that's actually scared shitless of the upcoming war and Nic plays it just right. The best compliment I can give to Nicolas Cage's acting in this film is that he is not at all overshadowed by Sean Penn's performance. And in this movie, that's a pretty decent feat.

I could go on to describe more of the story, but in all honesty the movie isn't really that good. What is worse is that it almost feels like there is a really good little film somewhere in this jumbled mess. Sean Penn’s and Nicolas Cage’s performances just get lost to either bad writing or bad directing. Hell, even Nicolas Cage thought this was a bad movie when he stated, "I don't think it was that good ... I felt it was something like a Hallmark Card - sweet and sentimental without and sense of depth or danger".

So, in conclusion, Racing with the Moon has some great acting by Sean Penn and Nicolas Cage. But both of those performances are wasted in this "Lifetime Movie of the Week" quality, shitty movie. I've already taken the two best scenes from this movie and put them in the Youtube video below. I recommend watching that video instead of watching "Racing to the Moon." You'll thank me later.

Fun Fact: Nicolas Cage and Crispin Glover both went to same high school.