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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Con Air - Heroic Savagery and Chivalrous Fury

Con Air is nothing if not a bold film. I mean, take that title. It's a pun on air con(ditioning). To launch a multi-million dollar action film lumbered with that title is a move that takes serious cojones. 

Fortunately, the film is much better that its cheesy title. Con Air is wicked. But then, how could it not be? You've got John Malkovich providing some honey-glazed ham as the excellently named Cyrus the Virus, the film's bad guy. You've got John Cusack driving around in a sports car being humane but also very cool. You've got Steve Buscemi, doing what comes naturally to him: being creepy. You've got support from Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames, Dave Chapelle and that bloke from Lost. And of course, you have Nic Cage giving a cocksure performance as Cameron Poe (most people in this film have excellent names), the army guy who made a mistake way back when, after accidentally manslaughtering some yahoos who insult the honour of his woman. 

This lands him in prison for some years, where he nobly serves his time, gets even more ripped and grows some quite remarkable hair. On the day of his release, for reasons important to plot, he finds himself being transported on an aeroplane with a load of vicious crims who duly take over the plane in mid-air. Cage must then use his powers of arse-kick and his Southern drawl to Save the Goddamn Day.  

What I liked about Con Air, after the funny lines, impressive action sequences and Cage heroically and savagely beating a rapist in chivalrous fury, was the film's ability to take its own inherent ridiculousness seriously. For the most part. The part of Con Air I didn't really care for was the final chase sequence which feels unnecessary. To be fair to it, that I can watch a load of criminals with wacky names joy ride an aeroplane around the United States only to be foiled by someone who looks like he roadies for Monster Magnet and then be confronted with a motorcycle chase and think, 'oh, now it's getting silly!' is a tribute to the rest of the film's wicked-awesomeness. That said, Cyrus's inevitable and climactic death at the end of the chase is a convoluted master-stroke of brilliant proportions. The only other bad thing about the film is Trisha Yearwood's godawful balladeering as the credits crawl. How do I live? Hopefully without hearing that nonsense again. 

That aside, you have every reason to make Con Air the next airline you fly with. By that I mean that you should watch it at your next opportunity. You can't really fly with Con Air, it's not real. I was doing a metaphor. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Something to tide you over

Apologies, legions of fans, for neglecting The Cage Rage. I'll be remedying this soon. In the meantime, if you haven't seen it already, please check out this.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Snake Eyes and Cage Rage News

 (Brian De Palma, 1998)

In Snake Eyes, Cage plays a dodgy but decent cop, who along with thousands of others bears witness to an assassination in the middle of a boxing match. Cage snaps into action to try and figure out whodunnit. Unfortunately, Cage's best mate in the film is Gary Sinise, who though a sterling actor and a brilliant screen presence (someone should write a blog about him), is one of those thesps who always seems to play the bad guy. So while it's a pleasure to have Cage and Sinise, who plays a military top brass guy, together on screen, the whodunnit element of the film is a bit redundant.
Other than that though, I really enjoyed Snake Eyes. Cage is really good in it, giving a slightly manic, yet not unrestrained performance. Brian De Palma gives what might otherwise be a slightly by-the-numbers thriller a classy sheen. His opening tracking shot, which lasts something in the region of thirteen minutes and follows Cage around the labyrinthine hotel in which the fight is held is remarkable. 
My mission statement voiced an intention to watch what I assumed would be a naff Cage film, a decent one and a 'leftfield' choice. I had placed Snake Eyes in the naff category, but I'm happy to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a pretty slick, enjoyable and very watchable outing. Though with a combination of Cage, Sinise and De Palma, I'm not sure why I thought this would be naff in the first place. I guess it must have been the brilliantly tacky green and purple colour scheme employed on the DVD cover.

Cage Rage News

Great news Cage fans! Cage has reportedly paid off a significant chunk of his crippling multi-million dollar tax debt! Hooray!

What does this mean for Cage fans? Well, as a highly trained tax analyst and movieland insider, I believe there are pros and cons to this. I understand Cage's prolificness is down to him needing to repay this debt, so in the negative corner, the more he pays, the fewer films per month we're likely to see him in. 

On the other hand, this could mean that Cage has more opportunities to pick more interesting scripts and has to do fewer take-the-money-and-run jobs. Maybe. 

In other Cage news, check out this fantastic Avengers-Cage mash-up poster:

This comes via Matheus Candido (who I think might be this guy) and The Shiznit. The Shiznit are also responsible for this and are therefore brilliant people. 
Oh and I bought my next batch of films: Con Air, Bringing Out The Dead and Wild at Heart. 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Cage Rage News

Interesting Nic Cage news emerged this week - Lionsgate have apparently bought the rights to film the real life story of how Cage's highly valuable copy of Action Comics #1 was stolen from him, only to be rediscovered over a decade later in a storage locker. It supposedly takes the form of a heist comedy. See here for further details.

It has yet to be confirmed whether or not Cage will play himself in the film. I'm not sure which I'd like to see more, Cage playing Cage or another actor's take on the man. Ryan Gosling? Jeff Goldblum? Will Ferrell? Who would you like to see? I'm keeping my beady eye on this one!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Vampire’s Kiss

(Robert Bierman, 1988)

What a film with which to kick start The Cage Rage! Vampire’s Kiss sees Cage take on the role of a womanising publishing executive, who during the throes of passion with a mysterious woman is bitten on neck. Cage believes he’s becoming a vampire. Is that the case or is he just going batty?

age gives an outrageous performance and I recognised several moments from the Nicolas Cage Losing his Shit video on YouTube. An excellent sign.

I liked the intro montage, which managed to make New York look suitably gothic. The film reminded me in a lot of ways of American Psycho (rich New Yorker sleeps around, goes a bit mad, questions his reality). I also liked the awkward black humour in the film and Cage’s scenes with his psychiatrist are consistently amusing.

I was somewhat troubled by the film’s slightly offhand attitude to women. Cage’s tormenting of his assistant Alva (Maria Conchita Alonso) pushes the boundaries of taste a little too closely. Alonso gives Cage as good as she gets though, more or less, which is good to see.

It would have been interesting to see this film in ’88 (the year of my birth, incidentally), before the recent Twilight-inspired re-proliferation of the vampire genre. Watching it now, Vampire’s Kiss felt like an original and refreshing take on the mythological monster. One can only imagine how exciting watching this vampire movie must have been before we were seeing the current oversaturation of bloodsuckers.

Cage Rage News

First things first: check out the excellent new banner my friend and colleague Mat Barnett has made for the site. Isn't great? I might get a t-shirt made.

You can follow Mat on Twitter here and read his considerably more erudite blog here.

Additionally, I've set up some Google Alerts to let me know whenever Mr Cage troubles the world media so I can pass it onto you, the multitudinous readers of The Cage Rage.

So far, the best thing about Nic Cage on the internet recently seems to be this:

Also, my good friend Naved recently informed me that Nic's son also rocks. Quite literally.

He's in a heavy metal band! How 'bout that!