Archives for posts with tag: Michael Pena

A movie can be so stupid, so perfectly, perfectly stupid, that its perfect stupidity becomes its own art form, thus making the movie – well, not good, but at least mediocre. “Fantasy Island” (2020) is such a stupid movie. It’s an inspired idea to turn a 1970s TV confection into a horror movie. Fantasies manifest our most basic desires, which do not always involve hijinks with Ricardo Montalban and Barbi Benton (sometimes, not always). Here, a darker side is explored, but the modern horror cliches of skittering apparitions, zombie henchmen and oozing, black eye juice made me roll my (juiceless) eyes.

I went into “12 Strong” (2018) knowing it was “based on a true story” and I have been on this Earth long enough to be highly familiar with the true story of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. I decided I’d view this film as I would a John Wayne World War II movie. That was a smart move, as the film turned out to be a fine John Wayne flick for the 21st century, mixing melodrama and bluster with radar-guided bombs and sniper rifles. And, of course, the Americans always hit what they’re shooting at and (almost) never get hit themselves.

I often refer to movies such as “War on Everyone” (2017) as an “odd duck.” It’s a modern, buddy-cop action flick with a corrupt-cop twist. Simple enough. But it’s strewn with so many unexplained 1970s callbacks (cars, hair, underwear, interior decorating), I was waiting for Starsky to jump out of the hutch. And then there’s all the superfluous philosophical references and surprisingly sharp dialogue that’s around 50 IQ points above the characters speaking those lines. And the over-the-top violence is so stylized, I was sure the script was based on a graphic novel. Yet it all works, somehow. Odd duck.