Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Despite their hue, not all TMNT films deserved to be greenlit.
Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in 1984. Now almost 40 years later, what started as a comic book has inspired seven movies, five television series, and countless amounts of merchandise. This week the four ninja tortoises return in a new animated incarnation, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. Considering I’ve been a fan of the Turtles since six years old, this seems like the perfect time to put an official rating on four decades of movies. Some are gnarly, some tubular, and there’s always a whole lot of cowabunga.
Writers Note: This list doesn’t include the recent Netflix installment Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, a TV-movie crossover Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the live recording of the 1990 Coming Out of Their Shells stage show. That one you can catch on YouTube, although I don’t know why you would. Continue Reading →
Wrath of Man
Guy Ritchie hasn't worked with Jason Statham, the tough-guy lad whose breakout performances in Lock, Stock and Snatch helped propel him to A-list action stardom, since 2005's twisty pseudophilosophical gangland thriller Revolver -- a film critics at the time called "impenetrable" and "stupid". It's a shame, then, that their long-overdue reunion, Wrath of Man, succumbs to many of the same tricks and traps as their previous collab, but without any of the perverse flash that made the former at least grimly interesting. Continue Reading →
Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg's latest exercise in macho posturing is both aesthetically and thematically ugly.
“It would be so easy,” I whisper to myself. My finger hovers over the little red button that would close Netflix, and grant me freedom. “I made it through almost an hour. I’ve got more than enough to write about, my editor would never know the difference.” Instead, I poured myself a stiff drink and hit resume; blame a foolhardy dedication to craft or sheer stupidity, but I watched all one hour and fifty-one minutes of Spenser Confidential. Do yourself a favor: don’t make my mistake.
Has director Peter Berg started making movies on iPhone? No, that would be an actual aesthetic choice; still, I’m scratching my head as to why Spenser looks like a poorly shot student film. A de-saturated, opening flashback is particularly ugly and juvenile, not just because we see the titular Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) beat up an unarmed man – an opening that’s all the more uncomfortable considering the star has done something similar in real life.
But instead of leading to a prosperous career as a leading man, Spenser’s violence towards his police captain (at his home) lands him in prison – according to an enormous title card that reads “PRISON.” We cut to five years later, the day before this now ex-cop’s release. For some reason, global superstar Post Malone saunters into the frame, and eventually stabs Marky-Mark in the side with a rusty shiv. Continue Reading →