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Posts Tagged ‘Nicolas Cage’

Kick-Ass is an Assault of Good Entertainment

April 19, 2010 1 comment

I heard a lot about this film months before its release. The hype on the internet surrounding the film was so huge, I was wondering if it could live up to it. Now after watching the film, it’s safe to say that the film is a first-rate piece of entertainment.

“Kick-Ass”, the new film from director Matthew Vaughn, is based on the comic book by Mark Millar about Dave Liewsiki (Aaron Johnson), a regular teenager who decides to become a superhero. While his first attempts at being a masked hero don’t play out as he planned, he eventually becomes an internet sensation after protecting a man from gang violence. Kick-Ass, his superhero alias, eventually gets caught up in a rivalry involving a mob boss played by Mark Strong and a crime fighting father daughter team, played by Nicolas Cage and Chole Moretz.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the film’s violence, specifically the violent actions committed by 13-year-old Chole Moretz, who plays Hit Girl. She cusses and kills people like a pro. Moretz steals the film and she does make you believe that she can really kick-ass. I can understand why people are turned off by her actions and how she is treated in the film. I think it didn’t bother me as much because the violence is so over-the-top and ridiculous I couldn’t treat any of it seriously.

The film both pokes fun at superhero themes and embraces them. The entire production design of New York City in the movie has a comic book look to it. When Johnson takes out his Kick-Ass costume, which is actually a scuba suit, the music swells to a superhero theme that reminds you of something out of “Superman”. The film at first does add a bit of reality to the superhero film. Johnson’s first attempt at being a hero ends badly. I thought the film would continue to add a bit of reality to the genre, but towards the later part of the picture, it fully embraces the overblown violence of some of today’s superhero films. Any notion of reality is gone. Though I have to admit that some of these actions sequences were riveting to watch.

The performances all around are compelling to watch. Aaron Johnson is a relatable presence as our protagonist. He has the potential to be a big star in the future. I look forward to him playing a young John Lennon in the film “Nowhere Boy” coming out this fall. Nicolas Cage is a natural playing the strange father of Hit Girl, who instills in his daughter the importance of a gun over a doll. Cage has long been a superhero fan and his broken up speech patter when he’s in costume is hilarious to watch. Mark Strong, who continues to deliver compelling work in almost every film he is in, continues the streak here as the story’s mob boss.

My advice would be to ignore what the critics and fanboys are saying about “Kick-Ass” and just experience it yourself. It is a thoroughly enjoyable good time at the movies and presents a more interesting take on the superhero film than were use to seeing.

3 1/2 stars

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Nicolas Cage goes batshit insane in Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

December 1, 2009 Leave a comment

This image from the film should be reason alone to make you go out and watch this film.

Even saying the full title of this film is insane. Whenever you talk about it you just have to say the full title, “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.”

This film is a remake of the 1992 Abel Ferrara film of the same name starring Harvey Keitel. But the only thing that the two films share is the title and the insanity of the main actor. Werner Herzog’s film stars Nicolas Cage as a corrupt, drug addict cop in New Orleans. Cage goes throughout the film doing really crazy shit by abusing his power as a cop.

Cage’s performance is really something to witness. Cage has always been a unique, strange actor to say the least, and I prefer him in something like this, than any National Treasure crap he might star in. What makes this performance so great is how Cage really walks the border between insanity and humor. There are numerous times when I wasn’t sure if I should be laughing or turning away. At one point Cage develops a strange speech pattern, and there is no bother to try and explain it. It just comes out of nowhere. Cage just goes all out with this character.

Going into the film I expected the film to be totally batshit insane from the very beginning. I was kind of let down that the film is actually pretty calm when compared to Cage’s performance. Herzog uses a style of filmmaking that is pretty traditional. A lot of the scenes are filmed in one long take. I wish the filmmaking style could have been more fanatic, like the Cage character. We do get some unhinged filmmaking when we get a hallucinatory point of view shot from an iguana.

I do like that the film does not end like a traditional cop story. It does not go where you expect it to. If there is one thing to expect from Herzog it’s to expect the unexpected. Cage and Herzog make an odd, interesting combo. Perhaps Herzog has found his next Klaus Kinski? I certainly hope so.

3 Stars