Donna Antonacci’s movie column.
So we’re playing the old early release trick with “Balls of Fury” to boost box-office returns. Something tells me this well-hyped “Dodgeball” look-alike won’t have trouble earning money. It looks like good, ridiculous fun with Christopher Walken leading the charge. I’m sure Walken will steal the show as arch-fiend Feng opposite relative unknown lead actor Dan Fogler.
“Balls of Fury” uncovers the seedy, secret ping-pong society where unlikely hero Randy Daytona (Fogler) emerges from seclusion to beat Feng and avenge his father’s death. If that last sentence seemed a bit outrageous — good. I look forward to enjoying Walken in multi-colored, goofy costumes rolling out his schtick, but I’m waiting for the DVD.
Stepping into the horror genre briefly, another oddball release this week is “Halloween.” I’m not sure why Rob Zombie wanted to remake the almost 30-year-old classic, and I’m not likely to watch. It supposedly explores the mind of Michael Myers as a child, and how he turned into a killer. Based on other Zombie films, I’m betting this will be excessively bloody. According to Zombie, “this is a bit of a prequel and a remake, combined.”
My thoughts are: “Who cares?” Part of the reason for the success of the original “Halloween” was rendered by scream queen Jaime Lee Curtis. I doubt anything Zombie does will compare with the original. Remakes are almost always bad, like sequels. Look what Gus Van Sant did with the remake of Hitchcock’s classic “Psycho.” It was practically a shot-by-shot duplicate, which enlightened viewers with nothing new. I’ll pass.
Two limited-release films piqued my interest this week. “Exiled,” the new action film by acclaimed Chinese director Johnnie To, could be entertaining. Also, the independent film by Monty Lapica about youth drug addiction looks interesting. “Self Medicated,” winner of 39 international film awards, promises to be a dramatic triumph about a mother’s intervention in her son’s addiction. I’ll have to wait for both of these on video, because they won’t be coming around this area soon.
It looks as if I’m checking out the new Kevin Bacon flick, “Death Sentence.” I’m not watching it because it looks like anything original. The plot of a mild-mannered citizen seeking vigilante justice has been done before. In fact, 33 years ago, “Death Wish” was made into a movie by the same novelist who brings us “Death Sentence.” Part of me is interested in the cool visual effects promised by director James Wan, of “Saw” fame. In behind-the-scenes featurettes, Wan exposes the secrets of driving a car from the trunk, as well as the very realistic chase scenes. One amazing scene is done in a continuous shot requiring 12 takes to complete accurately. Bacon does most of his own stunts.
The real draw for me in the movie is Bacon. I like the versatile actor. I asked two questions in an impromptu poll to my friends and family members:
1. What’s the first thing you think of when I say Kevin Bacon? The answers: 50 percent said “Footloose,” 25 percent said Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, 25 percent said “Kevin who?”
2. Do you like Kevin Bacon? Response was a 75 percent “yes.”
He is likeable, and I don’t know why. He’s not the greatest actor in the world, but he is prolific. Many of us still think of him as clean-cut, cute McCormack from “Footloose,” despite his healthy career in the 23 years since its release. As a movie buff and generally an oddball, I like him because of the six-degrees game. If you don’t already know about it, the challenge is to connect Bacon to other obscure actors through movies in six steps or less. I haven’t been in movies, but just look at my connection through people I know to Kevin Bacon: I interviewed Marina Sirtis (”Star Trek”) who had a bit role in “Crash” with Matt Dillon who was in “Wild Things” with Kevin Bacon. That’s only three steps. What does that prove? I have way too much time on my hands. Enjoy the movies.
In “Flicks,” Donna Antonacci will narrow each week’s field of new releases to one must-see cinema adventure. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.