Michael Bay catches a lot of flack for his bombastic tendencies behind the camera. The portmanteau Bayhem refers to the distinctly American director’s excessive inclinations behind the camera; his impulsive need to aggrandize nothingness through dynamic camera movement and, of course, ‘splosions. It makes for busy filmmaking the equivalent of a massively oversized pair of fake breasts bouncing up and down in front of your face, whacking you in the nose with each rise and fall. There’s so much happening at any given moment and from one scene to the next that there is little to no contrast. Just a constant thwacking of the noggin. Everything is turned up to 11 so that even the legitimately intense moments are overshadowed by other elevated humdrum. Read More
Synopsis: “A corrupt small-town sheriff is on the hunt for two runaway kids who took his car on a joy ride in Cop Car. When a pair of 10-year-olds find an abandoned cop car in a field and take it for a joyride, it seems like they could kill themselves at any moment. But things only get worse when the small-town sheriff goes looking for his missing car—and the illicit cargo he left in the trunk—and the kids find themselves at the center of a deadly game of cat and mouse they don’t understand. The only way out is to go as fast as their cop car can take them.” Read More
Black Mass is a stage upon which Johnny Depp has revived his career, and little more. As the film’s malevolent heavy and famed criminal overlord “Whitey” Bulger, Deep is borderline excellent, brooding and prowling around the screen like a silverback gorilla. On the streets, he’s equally guerrilla, taking down his enemies as well as former-confidantes-turned-rat in maelstroms of cold-shelled slugs. And though Deeps is admirable as the callous and cold Jimmy Bulger, the film itself overwhelmingly replicates its star’s unenviable personality traits in its cinematic aura, resulting in a film that’s even more callous and cold than the iconic gangster at its center. Read More
To promote his new film Cop Car, a thinly plotted but hugely enjoyable genre flick that mixes suspense and high violence with a coming-of-age bent [review here], Kevin Bacon was in town, hitting the Seattle International Film Festival red carpet in style. After talking briefly about who he’d choose to bequeath the honor of Six Degrees of Bacon upon (other Kevin actors: Spacey, Klein, etc.) Kevin and I talked being Kevin Bacon, playing cops, not being pigeon-holed or type-cast, crafting a character from little dialogue, jumping back and forth from movies to television and not watching his old movies.
Succinctness in the contemporary thriller is a rare and precious virtue. In the case of Cop Car, the brute simplicity of the narrative and visuals make for a dread-filled, inexorable ride through an experience of unadulterated suspense and brutal humor.
Cop Car begins innocently (though worryingly) enough: two pre-teens cross an empty expanse somewhere flat, sun-drenched and dry; one is reciting increasingly bad swear words, which the other repeats, laying out the dynamic of their relationship that will lead, inevitably, to what comes next. They spot an apparently abandoned cop car in a lonely copse and dare each other to get closer, until they are not only sitting in the front seats but driving it – slowly at first, then egging each other on to hit the 100mph mark. The film cuts to moments before: Kevin Bacon, who we learn is the sheriff, parks the same car where they will find it, and begins a bit of “cleanup” work just outside of hearing range; when he returns, the car is gone, and so the chase begins. Read More