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2 items from 2009

Ron Says 'Ninja Assassin' Really Has Little To Do With Ninjas

24 November 2009 6:43 AM, PST | | See recent LRM Online news »

Though films with substance can be the most memorable, now and then a decent movie that invites you to check your brain at the door can be rewarding. The problem is those types of films have to be somewhat decent and they are getting pretty rare nowadays. The last action film I saw that asked me to throw logic out the window and was still entertaining was Timur Bekmambetov's “Wanted' and since then hyper-kinetic films of the genre have got dumber and dumber. 'Ninja Assassin' is no exception. It's actually one of those movies you want to succeed, because its tough to remember when was the last time we got a decent ninja flick which is a poorly developed genre. I never though I'd write this, but 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' comes to mind and I'm talking the recent CGI version, not men in ridiculous Muppet suits. »

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Won't Get Fooled Again

9 June 2009 8:40 AM, PDT | | See recent IFC news »

Since he emerged out of the psychotronica closet of his first potent but crude features, there have been two fairly distinct David Cronenbergs -- the extremist/obsessive who's been happy to exploit the fleshier anxieties of science fiction and surrealism, and the critic's darling that sprung up around the time of the still-underrated "Crash" (1996), all the easier to laud for having left the icky aspects of genre behind him. Relative to the psychosexual force on exhibition in "Videodrome" (1983), "The Dead Zone" (1983), "The Fly" (1986), "Dead Ringers" (1988) and "Naked Lunch" (1991), it seems to me that "eXistenZ" (1999), "Spider" (2002), "A History of Violence" (2005) and "Eastern Promises" (2007) are both fairly prosaic and predictable, especially in light of the critical handstands they inspired. It's not all as cut and dried as that, of course, but it still leaves "M. Butterfly" (1993) lingering, coyly and enigmatically, right in the middle. Cronenberg fans never warmed to this unsensationalized Broadway adaptation, »

- Michael Atkinson

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