Friday, February 5, 2016

Still Just a Rad-a-Nic Cage

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Nicolas Cage is an American treasure. Let’s be honest. He’s an Academy Award winning actor (“Leaving Las Vegas”) and has had iconic roles & legendary freak-outs. His movies have been colossal blockbusters and incredible flops… and his acting has ran the gamut of award-winning to a meme maker’s wet dream. However, can you recall the last big, good movie that he has starred in? “Kick Ass”? “Sorceror’s Apprectice” maybe? Those were five years ago… and he’s been in a LOT of movies since then. We’ve already reviewed a few of them (“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”, “Drive Angry”, “Outcast”, “The Frozen Ground”) but there are a LOT more… and you’ve probably never even heard of them. So thanks to Netflix… here are a few movies from Nicolas Cage’s last five years that you might have missed…
First up was his latest movie, “The Runner” starring himself, Sarah Paulson, Connie Nielsen & Peter Fonda from director/writer Austin Stark’s feature length directorial debut. The story is about a Louisiana politician (Cage) who is ferociously fighting for his constituents in the aftermath of the 2010 BP Oil Spill… and just when he’s getting traction… get involved in a sex scandal because he’s been banging a fisherman’s wife while his trophy wife is the hot sister from “Devil’s Advocate” (Nielsen). Well, on the advice of his advisors (including Paulson) & his father who was a somewhat disgraced mayor of NOLA (Fonda), he decides to resign from his post… wait it out… and then start fighting BP again… and then has a relationship with his advisor (whose still married) and… okay, it’s a movie about politics and how it’s all kind of screwed up… and it’s called the runner because he runs every morning… and he’s running for office… and he’s running from himself & his own stupid decisions I guess… but it’s an okay movie. It’s really tough to root for the guy when he keeps making HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE decisions constantly throughout… but you’ll notice that’s a trend in a LOT of Nicolas Cage’s recent movie roles (and personal life). If you like political non-thrillers & wanna see some New Orleans, check this movie out… if not, pass.
Now, if you want a more exciting New Orleans-based Cage movie, then check out 2011’s “Seeking Justice” starring Sir Nicolas, January Jones & Guy Pearce from director Roger Donaldson (“The Recruit”, “World’s Fastest Indian”, “Species”, “Cocktail”, so he’s got some range).This movie is about a high school English teacher named Will (Cage) whose wife (Jones) is violently assaulted… and while he’s in the waiting room, he’s approached by a man named Simon (Pearce) who says that he sympathizes for his situation… and the city has gone to sh*t… and the Justice System is flawed… but he knows who attacked his wife… and if Will would like… then Simon & his group of fellow-minded vigilantes can exact VENGEANCE and make it look like a suicide. The cost? Sometime down the road, they will ask him to do a favor for them. That’s all. What happens after that… is a bit of a twisted tale of corruption, lies, counter-lies, VENGEANCE and more. I really enjoyed the movie… even though there were a few decisions made along the way that didn’t make a whole lot of sense… but I’m surprised that I didn’t hear much about this movie. The performances are good. It’s set in New Orleans. It’s a Vigilante Vengeance movie. Yeah, check it out!
Next up was a bit of a throwback with 2005’s “The Weather Man” because it was on Netflix… and Izzy & I hadn’t seen it. This was the movie that Gore Verbinski directed between “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies… and is about a Chicago weatherman (Cage) who wants to be the weatherman on “Hello America” in New York with Bryant Gumbel. His father (Michael Caine) was a Pulitzer Award-winning author… but he’s dying of lymphoma. His wife… is divorced & marrying another guy. His kids… pretty much don’t want anything to do with him. People throw food at him in the street because… people are dicks. The movie is about whether he can get his life together… and basically he’s a bit of a selfish prick… but also doesn’t use his words well (odd for a weatherman) and ends up just screwing things up along the way. Now… it’s an okay movie despite my horrible summary… but it’s also kind of boring at times, not going to lie. There’s a lot of things about choosing between your career & your family… maximizing your short, short life… all that stuff… but you may want to follow it up with an action movie. Check it out!
Okay, back to the last five years… and remember when I mentioned ‘incredible flops’ earlier? Well, “Trespass” was #1 on my list. This movie stars Sir Cage, Nicole Kidman, and is directed by legendary filmmaker Joel Schumacher (mostly legendarily bad for “Batman & Robin” but he also directed “Phantom of the Opera”, “The Client”, “A Time to Kill”, “The Lost Boys” and others). The budget was $35 million. Any guesses what the total box office for this movie was? No, seriously, guess. About a million? Lower. About half a million? LOWER!!! Fifty grand? LOWER!!! Total box office was $24,094 and it broke the record for theatre-to-home-video speed by going from nationwide release to DVD in only 18 days. “From Justin to Kelly” took 29 days. That being said… I actually liked this movie. The story is about a diamond dealer (Cage) and his family (wife Kidman) are in their home when it’s attacked by robbers… who want to get the diamonds in the vault… but then betrayal rears its ugly head. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just stop it there. Yes, some of the acting is… annoying. Overall though, it wasn’t a bad way to spend 90 minutes. You could kind of see what was going to happen… but the way it unraveled was pretty interesting. Check it out!
Next up was one called “Pay the Ghost” starring Sir Nicolas and the mom from “Walking Dead” as the parents of a young son who… well, they lose at a Halloween carnival (no, his name isn’t Carl). After a year without any leads… the couple has divorced… and Halloween approaches again… and some things start to suggest that their son may not have been abducted by a pedophile at a public place… but some ancient evil ghost. Yeah… the premise is… shaky. It’s not a horrible movie though. Not a great movie either. Not even really that memorable to be honest. It’s… very blah. Fun fact though: the kid in the movie is the kid who’s the star of the Academy-Award nominated movie “Room” and he does a pretty good job. Cage does well too. The mom not so much… she kind of just has the creepy waif neck muscles that are mildly disturbing… but yeah, check it out. It’s free. Why not?

We also watched “Rage” starring Sir Nicolas, Rachel Nichols as his completely age-appropriate wife & Peter Stormare. Cage plays a reformed criminal / construction foreman… and his daughter is kidnapped… and killed. So now he rounds up some of his old buddies for some good old fashioned VENGEANCE and finding out who killed his daughter… and maybe why… he has plenty of reasonable reasons from his past indiscretions though. This movie… was probably my favorite of all the ones reviewed this entry. I mean… it’s Vengeance… it’s twists & turns… it’s gritty… and honestly, I think the best performance in this whole movie is from the head of the Russian Mafia (No, NOT Peter Stormare, he’s Irish in this movie) played by Pasha Lynchnikoff. He really does a great job for such a small part… and I REALLY liked the ending. Crazy stuff… check this movie out!
Last up was a little movie called “Stolen” starring Nic, Malin Akerman, M.C. Gainey & Josh Lucas… and directed by Simon West, probably best known for the modern classic “Con Air”. This movie is about a bank robbing foursome who get pinched by a New Orleans detective (Danny Huston) during their big $10 million heist… well, just Nicolas Cage does, but he’s not found with the money… so he serves an 8 year stint in jail. When he’s released… he’s under constant surveillance since the police think he still has the money… as does his old crew… in fact, one of them kidnaps his now teenage daughter and holds her ransom in exchange for the money. One problem though… he burned it to get a reduced sentence when they found him. He’s got 12 hours to get $10 million dollars… or his daughter’s dead. What do you do? Well… I think Nicolas Cage has really made it a point to have every movie over the past few years be in New Orleans, which I’m all about… even if it’s probably because of house arrest and/or probation. That being said… I’d say check this movie out. There are a few questions that will come up… but overall, not a bad little flick. It’s pretty much what you expect.
Oh, there are a few more movies like “Joe” and “Left Behind” that… well, really I’ll probably get to another time… but Christ Almighty, that’s SEVEN Cage Movies in a week… my penis can only get so erect. Until I’m in my refractory period… have a great weekend everybody!!!

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