These next three film simply didn’t inspire me to do full reviews for them. So here we are, the famous mini review! Ready? Set? Go!
Who is responsible for this? This is Richard Linklaters first film.
What’s it all about? Nothing really. It’s a collection of conversations and monologues precariously linked together. The film opens with a character (played by Linklater himself) getting into a taxi and while on his way to his destination, telling a story (which is actually quite interesting) about a dream he had. When he gets out of the taxi, he witnesses a hit and run, and the film movies away from his character to follow the driver of the hit and run vehicle. And so on, as we spend a few minutes or so with random, unconnected individuals and eavesdrop on their conversations.
Is it any good? Yes and no. It works more as an experiment in a certain type of filmmaking. It’s almost a surrealistic dreamlike film where we float from one random (sometimes confusing) conversation after another. Much like ‘Waking Life’, this works for a while, and I found myself interested and entertained by the quirky monologues and ideas of the various characters, but it’s not an idea that can last a full length feature. And to say the film outstays its welcome at 105 minutes is an understatement. Slacker really isn’t any different in structure to Linklaters “Before” films, which follow two characters around Vienna and Paris. But the important difference is that those films followed the developing relationship of two likeable people, and in the films ideas, conversations and encounters, those two people were a constant presence. We get involved because we trust that the film is building towards something. But in Slackers the episodic, random nature of the film, and the characters mouthpieces for (often unfinished) thoughts and theories, keeps us at arms length.
Recommended? If you like Linklaters films, then yes.
Who is responsible for this? Geoff Murphy, a Kiwi director responsible for such classics as Freejack and Under Siege 2.
What’s it all about? The further adventures of Billy The Kid (Emilio Estevez), and his rag tag band of Brat Pack bad boys.
Is it any good? Kinda. Sorta. Not really. To be quite honest, I quite enjoyed the first Young Guns, but this sequel really seems pointless. It opens in 1950, in the middle of the desert, with a decrepit old man beside the road who claims he is William H. Bonney, aka Billy The Kid, who was (supposedly) killed by Pat Garrett some 70 years prior. He recounts his story to a lawyer, because he wants a pardon from the Governor, and the story we see is his recounting. But the problem with this is that we don’t know that the tale this old coot (actually Estevez in heavy makeup) is telling is even remotely factual. That, combined with the fact that his story really isn’t very interesting (Billy and Pat were friends, Pat turned lawman, hunted him down then let him go), results in us not really caring too much. So instead the story just gathers a bunch of known actors (Kiefers Sutherland, Lou Diamond Philips, Viggo Mortensen, James Coburn, Christian Slater and William Peterson), and devolves into an uninspired chase film punctuated with a couple of shoot outs and escapes from custody.
Recommended? It’s not terrible, but I wouldn’t actively seek it out.
Who is responsible for this? John Flynn, director of ‘Rolling Thunder’ and ‘Out for Justice’.
What’s it all about? Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone), who has six months left on his prison term, is transferred to the maximum security prison of corrupt Warden Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland), who has a grudge and intends to punish Frank. Punish him good!
Is it any good? As a silly diversion it passes the time without offence. But no, it’s not very good. First of all, it’s preposterous that a disgraced prison warden could somehow connive to have the instigator of said disgrace randomly transferred to his prison. Secondly, Frank is such an unreasonably nice guy, and the reason for his prison sentence so “just” that the film is blatantly stacked in our heroes favour. It would’ve been more interesting if Frank was a darker character, a bit more of a reformed felon, someone who had committed an actual crime (not defending someone) who had served his sentence, and was ready to re-enter society. But as usual Sly is a likeable screen presence and we want to see him take down the villainous warden.
Recommended? It’s a half decent late night TV type watch.
And that’s the mini review Birthday over! I’m sure you can understand why I felt these film didn’t warrant full reviews. That, and I’m lazy.
For Droids a jolly good fellow!
2009 – The Collector
2008 – The Midnight Meat Train
2007 – Hot Rod
2006 – Bon Cop Bad Cop
2005 – The Dukes of Hazzard
2004 – The Manchurian Candidate
2003 – Gigli
2002 – Signs
2001 – Rush Hour 2
2000 – Hollow Man
1999 – The Iron Giant
1998 – BASEketball
1997 – In The Company of Men
1996 – Chain Reaction
1995 – Babe
1994 – Clear and Present Danger
1993 – The Fugitive
1992 – Buffy The Vampire Slayer