Greetings everyone! It’s Reaper Rick back at you with another set of totally irrelevant thoughts and opinions regarding the happenings and goings on up on the ol’ Silver Screen. It has actually been a rather slow summer for movies (as far as I’m concerned), but I do have a review of one flick that nearly slipped by me. When I first saw the preview trailers for this movie I immediately passed it off as just another ‘Teen’ high school movie—one which I would probably never bother seeing, even when it came out on DVD. But then one night someone here in the house brought it home and I decided to view it, just ‘cause I had nothing better to do right then.
It did not occur to me that “Kick Ass” might have an ‘R’ rating for a serious reason—like most teens can’t even get into a theatre to view it without a parent being with them. And OMG this flick was not only hilarious; it had enormous amounts of wicked bloodshed and seriously deserved its ‘R’ rating.
Just on the off chance you may not have seen this movie yet, it does chronicle a high school kid who wishes he was a Superhero. Totally ill-prepared for such an avocation, Dave (Aaron Johnson) decides the world needs him to be a Superhero. Not unexpectedly, his first journey into the realm of Superherodom does not go at all well—but it is a visually hysterical episode. Undeterred by his initial failure, Dave tries again to save the world (once he has fully healed from his previous attempt), one small piece at a time. Pressed into yet another situation where he most surely will end up dead, Kick Ass (his Superhero moniker) meets a mini Super heroine, Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz), who is years ahead of Kick Ass in the art of Kicking Ass and ends up saving his—ass, that is. Their meeting is another hilarious, blood-soaked scene which you will need to watch several times in order to take in all of the mayhem, because you may be laughing too hard to catch everything the first few times.
I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who has yet to see this film, but Nicolas Cage plays Hit Girl’s father and he too is a Superhero (of sorts) called Big Daddy, but he and his daughter battle evil in the form of one person and his personal crime syndicate. Kick Ass just happens to stumble into the middle of Cage’s vendetta. More Superhero wannabes appear and there is much more (totally unbelievable—but visually fun) bloodshed and massive destruction before it is all over. The ending is a bit dull and somewhat expected, but after 60+ minutes of great humor and imaginative bloodletting (the industrial microwave scene is priceless), I suppose we can give the writer (Matthew Vaughn—he also directed the movie) a pass.
This was not a great movie, but all in all well worth a rental, and it’s a good popcorn flick. I give “Kick Ass” Two and a Half Howls of Pleasure for totally unexpected humor and a lot of really imaginative bloodshed.
While I would usually now give a couple or three reviews of older movies (well I’m still going to do that—too bad for you), I’ve decided to go about it somewhat differently this issue. I am going to choose a single actor and review some of his (or her) movies. This time it will be Robert Downey Jr.
A favorite Downey movie of mine is one which seems to be little known by many movie goers. “Restoration” is a great ‘period’ piece which takes place in 17th century England and it won two Academy Awards: one for Art Direction (the sets were Magnificent) and another for Costume Design (also Magnificent).
Made in 1995, Downey plays a young doctor, who while being a drunkard and a womanizer (I know—type casting), is actually a very gifted physician. His ability reaches the ears of King Charles II (Sam Neill), who commands Robert Merivel (Downey) to save an important life in the king’s court. Robert arrives at court in great haste and great expectation to discover his patient is one of the king’s favorite dogs. If he saves the spaniel’s life his own life will definitely change for the better. If he fails, however…well no one wishes to disappoint the king.
The animal has some sort of ulcer on its belly and Merivel does his best to heal the dog, spending the entire night by its side. Much to his surprise and the king’s delight, the dog has recovered its health by morning. Very pleased, the king appoints Merivel as his court dog doctor, and Robert reaps the many rewards of being at court—money, prestige, a small amount of power, and of course wine and women.
Robert, however, being…well, Robert, quickly becomes more of an annoyance than an asset to the king, who eventually banishes him from court. But, there is always a catch. Robert is to be banished to a huge estate outside London, complete with servants and lavish grounds, and the place is stocked with food and drink. The catch is Robert must marry—in name only—the king’s long-time mistress to divert the queen’s suspicions away from her. The king, however, commands Robert Not to fall in love with his new wife. Well, we can all see where this is going, eh?
Indeed, Robert soon falls deeply in love with his wife and this act the king cannot forgive. Robert is divested of his wealth and property and this time banished literally from court. Penniless and destitute, Robert takes a position as a doctor at a mad house run by an old friend. Here he meets and falls in love with Meg Ryan, who is a patient at the mad house. Anyway, not to completely spoil the story, Robert endures the plague, survives the great fire of London, and eventually regains the king’s good graces.
Historically accurate, Charles II regained the English Throne in 1660 after eleven years of Puritan rule by Oliver Cromwell. What followed was the Age of Restoration—hence the film’s title. During this period science was pitted against superstition, and very often superstition won out, but Charles was fortunately progressive and interested in science. Some of the sets in this movie are incredible, and the entire film is a visual delight. Downey plays his character to the fullest, from the riotous fun-loving man about town (and court) to the struggling doctor attempting to save the lives of his family and friends.
This is a great film and should be seen if you have not yet done so. I give “Restoration” a big Four Howls of Pleasure for amazing visuals, superb acting and a fairly believable story. Ah, well, you can’t have everything.
Another Downey film I had a good time with was the 2005 comedy drama “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Along with Downey, the film stars Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan and Corbin Bernsen and this flick is a comedy riot from the very get go.
The movie starts out with Downey playing a thief whose partner is accidentally killed during a robbery gone bad. As he is running from the cops, Downey stumbles into an audition for a Hollywood movie and acts his way into the movie to avoid being arrested. Once in Hollywood to star in a detective piece, he meets Gay Perry (Kilmer), a private detective who he ends up working with to gain experience for his upcoming film.
Women, murder, kidnapping, love, lies, lots of action and much hilarity ensue. Once again Downey becomes his character and whether you love him or hate him (and you’ll do both during this movie), he is always funny and always surprising. This movie was shot in Long Beach, California, which has no bearing on anything except that is where I grew up, so I just thought I’d mention it.
I give “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” Three big Howls of Pleasure for nerve-rattling suspense, good action sequences and Lots of humor. It’s a great flick and great for popcorn viewing. Go see it!
Okay, I guess I’ve wasted enough of your time for this issue. You readers may or not be aware that The World of Myth has been sold and is now under new ownership. Consequently, this may be my final movie review for the magazine. But, you never know—if they bump up my salary and meet my request for a new car (or at least a private trailer) maybe I’ll be back next issue after all. Whatever happens, keep watching those old movies, and I’ll be seeing ya(?).