Nicolas Cage – Greatest…Actor…Ever?

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Preview Theater

Thursday night I went to go and see the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (review coming later) and amidst the crazy of the super-fans all dressed up as Hermione, Bellatrix or Snape, there were the previews. I generally enjoy previews, except for when they last an hour long and are all about some ancient Knight that has to rise up and become King or a quirky couple that hate each other and (against all odds) fall in love. All in all though, previews are a great way to see what’s coming up and ultimately judge a movie’s quality. I decided to make this little segment all about previews for movies that I’m excited about, movies that look crappy, or just cool lookin’ trailers, and for purposes of this first post I’m going to talk briefly about the line-up of trailers that were at the HP premiere starting first with:

The Eagle

Directed by Kevin Macdonald, starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell and Donald Sutherland

I’d like to preface my thoughts about this movie by letting you all know that I have a deep-seated hatred for Channing Tatum. I’m not sure where or when it started, but G.I.Joe sure as hell didn’t help it, and the fact that the’s starring in this movie will skew my opinion on it no matter how good it is. Having said that, he doesn’t look that God awful in it and it does have Jamie Bell and Donald Sutherland so that may be able to balance it out. Maybe. This movie falls under the “epic journey” category and while it may have a slightly different plot than most Knight movies, it doesn’t seem to have any sort of different feel making it, well, boring.

Which brings me into the next movie:

Season of the Witch

Directed by Dominic Sena, starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman and Claire Foy

The theater I was in played this and The Eagle‘s trailer back to back and it honestly took me a moment to realize that they were two different movies. Now I understand that the time periods are generally the same, but everything down to the colors and tone were practically identical. What makes this one stand out is it’s plot, you know the whole dealing with a witch thing. I think that element looks pretty interesting, but all of the slow motion Knight battles set to heavy metal fused with Gregorian chants makes it seem like another generic battle movie. But hey it’s got Nic Cage, so that’s a plus.

Red Riding Hood

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, starring Amanda Seyfield, Lukas Haas and Gary Oldman

Of all the trailers I saw that night, this is the one that stuck with me the longest. As bizarre as the concept may seem this film looks interesting. I wasn’t sure how I’d buy into the whole making little red riding hood “edgier” but it sure is different. I’m not the biggest fan of Catherine Hardwicke’s stuff but this trailer has gotten my attention, oh and Gary Oldman! Im just glad that I’m not the only one who pictured little red riding hood gettin it on with the woodcutter.

The Green Hornet

Directed by Michael Gondry, starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou and Christoph Waltz

This is just an add on to the trailers that have been circling around for quite a bit now, although it gives us a little bit more of Christoph Waltz’s villain as well as some more Rogen one-liners. I’m liking what I see from this movie so far, and I’m very excited for it’s release in 2011.

Cowboys and Aliens

Directed by Jon Favreau, starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Scott Mitchell Rosenburg

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen and I absolutely love it. First off it’s directed by Favreau (Ironman) and it’s about freaking cowboys fighting aliens. It’s got everything a good story needs: cowboys, aliens, conflict and Olivia Wilde. Harrison Ford sure is looking old in this one though, but I mean who doesn’t love the guy? This trailer made me cry with laughter, which is even funnier considering this isn’t supposed to be a comedy. Nonetheless, I can’t wait for this one to come out.

The Green Lantern

Directed by Martin Campbell, starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard

Unfortunately I was least impressed by this one. I’m a pretty big comic book fan and I’ve been looking forward to this film for quite a long time now, but this trailer really just turned me off. I don’t know if it was entirely down to the crappy looking CGI or the whole Fantastic Four vibe I got from it, but I just hope that the finished product is significantly better than this trailer was. I do have to say that I enjoy Ryan Reynolds though, and from what they showed it seems like he does a good job, everything else though…eeks…

Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass

Director: Matthew Vaughn, Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage and Chloë Grace Moretz. Released 2010.

It’s become increasingly rare for me to be thoroughly excited about a movie I’m watching, a movie that gets me so pumped up that once it’s over I’m on the edge of my seat, gawking slack-jawed at the screen and longing for more. Kick-Ass did just that.

A group of friends and I saw Kick-Ass about a week ago (from when I originally wrote this, which now is about 5 months ago) and it’s been on my mind since. We had so much adrenaline pumping through us afterwards that once we finally stopped talking about “how freaking awesome that movie was!” we started planning out our own superheroes, costumes, names, powers and all (even drawing the concept art, which could possibly end up on this site…).

I was looking at some other reviews for this movie and most of them (not surprisingly) were negative. What most critics failed to realize about this movie, however, is that it takes you on a ride. Sure, there isn’t that much emotional connection to the movie or any real kind of aesthetic appeal, but this movie is fun. From start to finish, I was having the time of my life and watching that movie went from being a pass time to an experience.

Matthew Vaughn creates a pitch-black satire of the comic genre in his film adaptation of the Marvel comic Kick-Ass.The movie follows the same basic structure that’s become increasingly popular over the years (Wanted andZombieland are just a few that come to mind), a loser protagonist narrating his experience from zero to hero.

The movie tells the story of an average-Joe High Schooler, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) who transforms into an internet celebrity and local hero when a video of him risking his life to save someone from a brutal mugging (all while dressed in his make-shift super hero costume) becomes a viral hit on YouTube. Not only is his MySpace page getting thousands of views and requests for help, but he’s suddenly got the attention of his lifelong crush, Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca) although she’s only into him because she thinks he’s gay…

The plot thickens when Kick-Ass runs into actual super heroes, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), a crime fighting father/daughter duo who straight up murder people. The duo offer to team up with Kick-Ass, offering their assistance whenever he needs it. Up until this point, Kick-Ass has been enjoying his time in the lime light and the new found fame he has, claiming that “with no power, comes no responsibility”. However, he soon finds himself involved in a war between Big Daddy and local crime syndicate leader Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and quickly discovers this whole superhero business isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…

Aaron Johnson played an excellent nerdy superhero, Mark Strong did what he does best-played the bad guy and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (who plays D’Amico’s nerdy son) was an excellent rival for Kick-Ass and his McLovin-ish character made for an awesome nerd-on-nerd battle towards the end of the movie, but Nicolas Cage and Chloë Grace Moretz completely stole the show.

Nicolas Cage has chosen you. Feel honored.

Nicolas Cage plays Damon Macready, a former cop who is framed by D’Amico and sent to prison. To make matters worse, his pregnant wife dies while giving birth to his daughter, Mindy.

After his release from prison (time he spent totally pumping up) he does what any single father would do, trains his little girl to be a killing machine.

Cage finally broke away from his seemingly endless line of movies where he played the same National Treasurey character, and his twisted, absurd performance reminded me of some of his earlier work (Raising Arizona and Adaptation specifically). He’s so engulfed with revenge, that he makes Batman look like a melodramatic teenage girl and Cage’s Adam West/William Shatner voice is absolutely hilarious.

Chloë plays Macready’s daughter,Mindy who takes on the masked persona of Hit-Girl. I would’ve been perfectly fine if this movie just revolved around her character because she was amazing. I’ve never seen a young actress say something like “contact the mayor’s office, he has a special signal he shines in the sky—it’s in the shape of a giant cock” and deliver it with such devastating wit. She has the most intense fight scenes in the whole movie, at one point single handedly taking out all of D’Amico’s guards and henchmen in the most gruesome ways she can think of, and behind all the bullet dodging and knife throwing, you can tell Chloë is having an absolute blast. And so was I.

On the surface, this movie seems like just another run-o-the-mill super hero flick, but it is so chock full of super hero references, that it becomes a shameless parody, completely self aware of what it’s trying to do. Kick-Ass satirizes the entire comic genre by making the ultimate comic movie and the result is an exciting two hours that you will never forget. In short: this movie kicks ass. You honestly thought I could make it through the review without dropping that joke? You’re a fool. So what are you waiting for? GO WATCH IT!