CAGE RAGE: Vampire’s Kiss

vampire9After the major disappointment of Moonstruck hopes were high for this next Cage entry, the movie that contains some of the best clips included in the YouTube video that inspired this very project. Vampire’s Kiss tells the story of a lonely man with some mental health problems who starts to imagine he’s been bitten by a vampire and that he’s therefore turning into one himself.

The film is as bizarre as its plot sounds, perhaps even more so. It’s never clear what director Robert Bierman is ever trying to do. The tone changes drastically almost every scene. One second it’s comedy the next horror the next it’s trying to be an intelligent psychological drama. Needless to say it fails to be any of those but is instead just a mismatched mess of nonsensical stuff. That said Vampire’s Kiss is Cage’s purest platform yet to do exactly what he does best and really lose his shit. His performance is one of the most demented things I’ve ever seen. He’s so ridiculously over-the-top you’ll have fun trying figure out what the hell he was thinking, or anyone involved in this movie for that matter. The pacing’s completely off we’re never given any background to Cage’s character, he starts as a bit of nut-job ends as a complete and utter fruit cake and is seemingly driven to it because his work assistant lost an important document.

Vampire’s Kiss may well be one of the worst films ever made but Cage’s performance is complete genius and for that reason this is one of the funniest films I’ve ever watched. This is the reason why Cage Rage exists and it reminds you why this project was a great idea. BEHOLD….

CAGE RAGE RATING – 5/5!!!!

 

CAGE RAGE: Moonstruck

589568-moonstruck_sr_jpg_627x325_crop_upscale_q85So after the highs of Raising Arizona it was time for Cage to prove his rom-com ability again in the case of Moonstruck. Where he stars alongside Cher. The film tells the story of Cher gets engaged to marry a man who has an ongoing beef with his brother, when she goes to see his brother in an attempt to patch the relationship up she is greeted by a bitterly angry Cage who blames his brother for all his issues in life. However, as the film goes on Cher starts to fall for Cage, as I’m sure anyone would would.

Moonstruck has a good iMDB rating and has generally good reviews from all the critics which led us to think this may actually be a decent film. We could not have been more wrong. This really was one of the worst. In a film which is meant to be a comedy drama the laughs come unintentionally from the drama and the comedy leaves you wondering who in the world thought it’d be funny. This is obviously a film that took the majority of its inspiration from Woody Allen and it tries to perform a similar kind of light romantic humour with realistic character arcs and snappy dialogue. It fails on all counts, every other scene needs to be cut and the only watch-able moments come when Cage is around, which really is not enough. For a male lead in a movie his screen time is stupidly minimal. That said his performance is a fun one. Within five minutes of meeting Cher he’s lost his cool about what happened between him and his brother and a hilarious outburst ensues. Then as the couple get to know each other there is a really bizarre scene where Cher literally tells exactly who Cage’s character is in psychoanalytic terms, in film one of the golden rules is to show not tell and this is completely ignored here, we are told everything we need to know about his character within a couple of minutes and from then on the movie becomes more and more unbearable, not to mention the absolutely dreadful ending.

While I may not recommend the film, Moonstruck does provide us with some great Cage scenes and he does lose his cool a bit. However he doesn’t get enough screen time for this to really be classed as a great Cage movie hence…

CAGE RAGE RATING – 3/5

 

The Wolf of Wall Street

The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-Trailer7aSo this week for me saw the reuniting of Scorsese and Di Caprio in a film that I was ridiculously excited for. With it being the height of Oscar season this was the one that I thought looked as though it’d be the most entertaining. However in the build up to finally seeing it some of the reviews around sprouted some doubt in my mind. Many people saying that it’s lead character was too hard to sympathise with and the film was too long.

I, however, had no problem with either of these factors. While Jordan Belfort (Di Caprio) is an entirely unlikable character I think the movie does well to make him appear as a casualty of the American Dream, someone who’s insatiable need for material things and lust for women provides him with a quick fix of happiness but it’s not long before it all comes crashing down around him. In many ways it isn’t entirely his fault, it’s the consumerist ideals of the Wall Street mob and he just figured out how to be on top of the game. I don’t think its correct to say that the film glamourises his lifestyle either much of the humour comes from just how ridiculous his life, and for me it was more a laughing at than a laughing with. The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the funniest, most entertaining films I’ve seen in ages, the performances from everyone are absolutely top notch. Jonah Hill is stupidly hilarious as is Di Caprio, something I’ve not seen him do before but he manages it perfectly. Also worthy of a mention is romantic interest Margot Robbie who is so stupidly beautiful it’s impossible to get her out of your head. And also what you’re treated to in this film is typical Scorsese storytelling. He is simply the greatest living director and he can tell a story like no other, every scene brings something to the table and the pacing is just perfect.

While it could be argued that 12 Years is a better film, The Wolf of Wall Street is the most fun I’ve had at the cinema since last years Sightseers and is strong contender for my film of 2014 despite us only being in January! It may not bag the awards but I love it.

 

12 Years a Slave

twelve-years-a-slave08Artist-turned-film maker Steve McQueen in a short period time has become of the most interesting directors around. With 2008’s Hunger he proved himself able to produce a moving, important story while utilising visual elements as well. His impressive debut was followed up with the critically acclaimed Shame, but for me while Shame was visually interesting and well made I lacked sympathy for its main character making it not as successful as many other critics deemed it to be. With 12 Years a Slave though he returns to events of great historical importance and tells a story that is truly one of the most powerful of all-time.

Based on the autobiographical book by Solomon Northup the movie tells the story of a well off, free black man in 1841 who is scammed by some confidence tricksters who send him south and sell him to slave traders with threat of severe physical harm if he speaks up about who he is. 12 Years a Slave is really quite a harrowing tale and while there’s a constant state of horror surrounding the events McQueen provides with some of the most beautiful cinematography I’ve ever seen. On top of this all performers give absolutely stellar performances, especially Chiwetel Ejiofor in his first major lead role. McQueen doesn’t shy away from the brutality and forces you to witness the unspeakable violence that was exacted upon these poor people at the time and he masterfully shows us this in a way we haven’t seen before.

While 12 Years a Slave is the kind of film that whether it’s good or not was always going to garner awards attention, particularly at the Oscars. As we know they love a good true story about a genuinely remarkable man but for once this kind of film is actually a genuine boundary-pushing, intelligently made work of art. Steve McQueen outdoes himself here.

 

Sherlock – Series 3

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After the gripping end of series two this third series was a long time coming. One of my most anticipated series of recent times after being left in wake for over a year to find out how Sherlock managed to fake his own death. Series three progresses the crime fighting partnership of Holmes and Watson by focussing on Watson’s marriage which throws a bit of a curve ball into the duo’s relationship. Sticking to the shows unique three episode structure each lasting ninety minutes but could it live up to the previous series’ heights?

Series three is another strong, well-thought out collection of adventures that sees threat levels for the lives of the central pair reach new levels. Despite this rising threat, particularly on Watson’s life, the series never quite reaches the tension and excitement provided by series two. The first two episodes are perfectly watchable and well written adventures but it did feel as though they had lost a bit of the bite that previous episodes have had. The third episode is the stand out of the series providing us with a satisfyingly big plot twist and putting Watson in his biggest predicament yet and giving Freeman the chance to really steal the show from under Cumberbatch’s nose. Also pleasing is the teasing of things to come at the end of episode three hinting towards what will surely be an exciting fourth series.

While series three never quite gets as good as series two did the show may have set it’s own bar slightly too high. That said, this is another great collection of adventures that don’t flop in any way and point towards a new series that has the potential to reach the same brilliance it once found in series 2. If you haven’t got into this show yet don’t leave it any longer!

CAGE RAGE: Raising Arizona

raising-arizonaCage Rage made its largely anticipated return this week with Raising Arizona. The first really notable film with cage in the lead role. Its a screwball comedy made by the geniuses that are the Coen brothers which tells the story of Cage’s criminal who falls in love with Holly Hunter’s policewoman. They get married and try for a child but when they find out that Hunter’s character is baron they have to look for an alternative method of starting a family, due to his criminal past they can’t adopt and so make the decision to steal a baby from a nearby family that have given birth to quintuplets.

The film is great comedy, with a plot that twists and turns and keeps you enticed with jokes to match. Performances all round are strong. John Goodman is particularly brilliant as an escaped prisoner and Holly Hunter performs well throughout too. This is also the first film in the Cage Rage project to actually provide Nic with a role that really sorts his crazed performance, the Coen’s are the first to really discover that Cage’s uniquely insane acting can be incredibly effective. Raising Arizona is not one of the Coen’s best but it is genuinely entertaining from start to finish and a really great easy watch stamped with the brothers usual cinematic expertise.

Cage, for the first time, is given the opportunity to fully give a role his all and he succeeds brilliantly. Despite the reams of shit that we have had to trawl, and the load more that we will have to endure, it’s films like this that remind you why he is such an interesting character in the first place. His rage levels here are also the closest we’ve seen to the first 5/5 rating but whats lacking is a completely bizarre Cage meltdown so it just falls slightly short of the full marks.

CAGE RAGE RATING – 4/5