Showing posts from July, 2019

The Wandering Earth (2019)

One of the major backups for major Hollywood studios seeing less and less financial return on large blockbusters has had for awhile now is China.  While it is really hard to say that the Transformers movies underperformed in U.S. theaters, the truth is that they and many other effects-laden money pits often are so expensive to make that even the obscene hundreds of millions they make in the domestic box office are not enough to turn a profit. Thus, they turn to foreign markets.  The advantage of many of these movies (especially many of the recent ones starring Dwayne Johnson) is that they are not dialogue heavy, and what does need to be translated is not as heavily contextual as to cause problems.  It doesn't hurt that often the movies are altered for the Chinese market to make them even more universally acceptable.  The characters are already two-dimensional, the movies hollow spectacles, and so it is perfect for light entertainment fir a non-English speaking audience. Unde

Vigilante (1982)

I recently read an article about the 1980s nostalgia being perpetuated by Stranger Things .  There was a lot I didn't agree with, but the author grew up in a small town, and though Phoenix was a decent sized city by the middle of that decade, that was one thing I could relate to, although the portrayal of the decade he was perpetuating was somewhat clouded by a misunderstanding of how the economic collapse at the time was due to almost 20 years of mismanagement, including about half of it throwing resources at a useless war.  As someone who appreciates history the second half of the 1980s were an amazing time to be alive, and even growing up in a working class family I didn't find it that bad after 1985. One thing that was bad, and continued to be bad for a good part of the following decade, was the crime.  Phoenix wasn't on the radar for most people (often overshadowed by - and largely suffering for envy for - Los Angeles), but it had many problems.  Like any major me

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Despite the budding desire to start an entire Avengers universe (now known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe), The Incredible Hulk did not exactly blow audiences away the same way Iron Man did.  However, it still made money, and Iron Man was a popular film, so now Marvel was committed, and became even more committed to creating their universe - much to the chagrin of Jon Favreau, who soon found himself bogged down with notes from Marvel execs on how Iron Man 2 was supposed to go. There were some other problems rearing their heads, even this early in the game.  Marvel, despite its decades-long popularity, is famously known for treating its talent like garbage.  This unfortunately seemed to pass on from the comic book world to the movies as Terrence Howard, who had played Lt. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes in the first movie, soon found out.  The role was expanded, but Howard's paycheck was not, leading to suddenly changing the actor in what would be a major role supporti

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

The last time I decided to go through all the James Bond films was barely into Pierce Brosnan's tenure as the famous spy.  I knew most of the movies - the Sean Connery and Roger Moore films were played frequently on television, albeit quite edited, and I had seen the Timothy Dalton films when they came out on video - by The Man with the Golden Gun was a mystery.  I had never run into it on regular television or cable, and unlike the rest of the Bond films I had to look for this one at the video store. I soon found out why.  It was not considered a great movie, and the video I was able to get of it, rather than at the higher end of quality of video tapes at the time, was a copy of a washed-out print.  It looked more like the treatment a low-budget film that had fallen into public domain than a big-budget action film.  That just added to the point that it was just not a very good movie.  Even Moonraker got better treatment, and it's typically considered the worst of Roger Mo