Neither a chain of spice stores nor a Food Network program, The Seasoning House is a bleak-as-nuclear-winter thriller set during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s. A deaf girl named Angel (Brit teen Rosie Day) is taken from her home by soldiers who shoot her mother dead.
Paul Schrader’s The Canyons opens and closes with a montage of abandoned movie theaters. For this film in particular, that choice strikes one as symbolic in several ways: not only as a comment on the state of the industry, but on the state of The Canyons itself. You’re unlikely to find many 2013 films this empty.
What's a director of classic musicals doing in science fiction? Making Saturn 3, one of the worst of the genre Hollywood made in the immediate post-Star Wars / Alien era. Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain) takes to it about as well as you'd expect; he's in over his head.
Military marksman Col. Jim McQuade (Gregory Hines, Running Scared) is called into top-secret duty to neutralize a surveillance robot gone haywire in San Francisco. It won't be easy, because for one thing, the android is undetectable from a human. For another, it has a built-in nuclear bomb that will detonate upon imminent threat.
I plead guilty: My friends and I have goofed around with a camcorder before and made stupid movies, but we were smart enough to know that no one outside ourselves would think they were funny. If only the makers of Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas realized the same.
Right down to the dramatic shot of the cast members walking in a single row toward the camera, the title sequence for Fast & Furious 6 feels
every bit like that of a TV series. It’s only natural, given how
episodic this entry is — all it lacks is the “Special Guest Star”
credit. (But on that note, don’t leave as soon as it ends.)
Against all expectations, 2011’s Fast Fivewas a blast; turning the wheel sharply away from gearhead porn to head into heist-fueled high jinks proved a creative, critical and commercial success, so who can blame returning director Justin Lin for dishing out more of the same?
Not I, but he adds so much more that the result is a mess — a temperately enjoyable one, but a mess all the same. The mess opens Friday.
With the promise of full pardons, the team headed by Toretto (Vin Diesel) and O’Conner (Paul Walker) is called back into action by federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his new partner (Haywire’s Gina Carano) to stop a madman (Immortals’ Luke Evans) from assembling some billion-dollar super-weapon. On that baddie’s team is Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Toretto’s girlfriend presumed to have died in the fourth chapter.
None of that matters; it’s all fuel to get to the big action scenes. But with half a dozen more major characters on top of that, Lin piles subplots atop subplots, to the point where some pieces are moved across the board not for strategic purposes, but stalling.
In big-and-dumb films such as F&F6, I’m willing to play along with extending a metaphorical finger to the laws of gravity ... provided I can tell what’s going on. This time, overly frenzied editing and spatial disorientation make that problematic. —Rod Lott