Wondering what to rent (or what not to rent) tonight? Here’s a look at what’s currently out on DVD in Toronto.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Nicolas Cage can ruin a movie — it’s as simple as that. Yes, sometimes he finds a director who’s able to reign in his er….unique talents, but most of the time his over-the-top scenery chewing is too much for any one movie to confine. Werner Herzog’s re-imagining of Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenent walks a fine line between Oscar-winning Leaving Las Vegas Nic Cage and flaming skull Ghost Rider Nic Cage…but strangely, that turns out to be a good thing.
Cage plays Terrence McDonagh, a formerly honourable New Orleans police officer who is now struggling with raging drug addiction brought on by an act of selflessness that led to a back injury that keeps him in chronic pain. When he’s tapped to head up a grisley homicide investigation, his troubled life suddenly kicks into high gear as he attempts to finger an untouchable drug kingpin, fight off the gangsters who beat up his prostitute girlfriend (Eva Mendes), care for his alcoholic Dad and figure out why iguanas no one else can see keep showing up at his crime scenes.
One of the more underrated films of 2009, Bad Lieutenant is all at once a taut crime yarn, a campy comedy and a dark morality fable that’s more than a match for Cage and his freaky antics.
Rating: 3.5 stars
If you’re a 15-year-old boy this will probably be your favourite movie ever. If you’re not, you should probably just go ahead and rent something else.
When I first read the description for this film, I was super excited to see it. It was being compared to Russ Meyer classics like Faster Pussycat Kill Kill and since I consider myself a connoisseur of so-bad-it’s-good cinema, I was hoping for a title I could add to my list of movie night classics. Unfortunately, this was more like an awkward mix of Reservoir Dogs and any of those late night cable Emmanuelle movies starring Krista Allen.
Three hot and scantily clad chicks are in the middle of nowhere, looking for some diamonds, dodging a Keyser Soze-like underworld figure named Pinky and slowly turning on one another. As with Dogs, the movie starts near the end and as it progresses, flashes back to how each of the girls got to where they are. Along the way there’s also enough exposed skin, lesbian action, guns and cat fights (choreographed by the kickass Zoe Bell who has one brief scene in the movie) to keep even the most twitchy ADD sufferer occupied for the duration. Too bad writer/director Rick Jacobson screwed up his chance to make this a fun and clever parody. Instead he went for cheap humour that’s obvious and corny when it should be campy and tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps if the far superior Black Dynamite hadn’t given me a lesson in how to make the perfect exploitation satire, I’d be more inclined to give this film a break. As it stands, Bitch Slap joins the Wayans Brothers in the “Way to miss the mark” Movie Parody Club.
Rating: 1 star
Special Features: A three part documentary called “Building a Better B-Movie” and two feature-length commentaries with the filmmakers and the cast.