Hollywood Has-Beens Exact Revenge on Crooked Promoter in Campy Action Comedy
Back in the Eighties, Keith Mahar (Russell Peters) was a child actor who found fame playing the young sidekick to charismatic Adam King (Clancy Brown) on a hit TV series. But after the show was canceled, Keith’s career collapsed and his parents frittered away his pay by the time he became an adult.
Consequently, he’s been reduced to eking out a living on one of the lowest rungs of the showbiz ladder. Namely, he spends his weekends signing autographs and posing for pictures at nostalgic comic conventions run by Adam and attended by crazed fans wearing costumes of their favorite characters.
Keith and his fellow has-beens have no idea that Adam has been skimming money off the top of the purse with the help of his trash-talking assistant, Gil (Mike Epps). But when evidence of the scam surfaces, he and a few other fading stars hatch an elaborate plan to rob the crooked promoter rather than report the theft of services to the authorities.
That is the improbable point of departure of Supercon, a campy action comedy directed by Zak Knutson (Milius). Provided you’re willing to buy into the picture’s wacky premise, you’re likely to find the ensuing turn of events entertaining.
Knutson certainly assembled a talented cast to execute the zany script he co-wrote with Andy Sipes and Dana Snyder. Among the thespians featured are comedian Mike Epps, two-time Oscar-nominee John Malkovich (for Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire) and Maggie Grace, who played Liam Neeson’s daughter in the riveting suspense thriller, Taken. And making an uncredited appearance as Gil’s gay bodyguard is Tyrus, the WWE wrestler-turned-talking head on the Fox News Channel’s Greg Gutfeld Show.
It’s hard to take any of Supercon‘s over-the-top silliness seriously, and the increasingly-bizarre hijinks are just funny enough to recommend for open-minded folks not easily offended by patently politically-incorrect fare.
Good (2 stars)
Rated R for crude sexual content, homophobic slurs, pervasive profanity and drug use
Running time: 98 minutes
Production Studios: Momentum Productions
Distributor: Archstone Distribution
Period Piece Features Halle Berry as Mom Frantically Searching for Kids during Rodney King Riots
On March 3, 1991, five LAPD officers were caught on camera beating an unarmed black man who had led them on a high-speed chase instead of pulling over as directed. That driver, Rodney King suffered a broken ankle, a broken cheekbone, and numerous skull fractures and chipped teeth in the assault by billy clubs.
A year later, riots broke out all over South Central L.A. after a jury acquitted all the officers involved in the arrest. By the time the dust had settled a half-dozen days later, 63 people had died and thousands of businesses had been looted and burned to the ground, resulting in over a billion dollars in damages.
What was it like in the midst of the chaos and conflagration? That was the challenge accepted by Deniz Gamze Erguven in mounting Kings, a surreal saga chronicling a foster-mom’s frantic search for her missing kids at the height of the Rodney King riots.
You may remember that the talented Turkish writer/director made a spectacular debut a couple of years ago with Mustang, a female-centric, coming-of-age adventure which landed an Oscar nomination in the Best Foreign Film category. So, Kings is just Ms. Erguven’s second feature-length movie, and her first in English.
While the ambitious offering earns an A for the convincing way in which it recreates pandemonium, it only gets a C for coherency. For, the film unfolds less like a traditional narrative than a series of loosely-connected, impressionistic vignettes.
It stars Academy Award-winner Halle Berry (for Monster’s Ball) as Millie Dunbar, an overworked single-mom with eight foster kids. When civil unrest breaks out, she embarks on a quest to round them up with the help of her agoraphobic next-door neighbor, Obie, the last white guy living in the ‘hood. The hunky shut-in, played by Daniel “007” Craig, summons up the courage to get out of the house for the sake of Millie’s missing brood.
The plot thickens when the two are mistaken for looters by a gruff cop (Kirk Baltz) too overwhelmed by the situation to listen to any explanations. Millie and Obie end up handcuffed to each other which might not be entirely bad, since the close quarters affords them an opportunity to get better acquainted. So who knows, the old maid might even find a man in the midst of the mayhem.
This otherwise grim period piece arrives blessed with a retro soundtrack featuring James Brown’s African-American anthem, “Say It Loud, I’m Black & I’m Proud,” Bill Withers’ haunting, R&B classic “City of the Angels,” and Nina Simone’s searing rendition of “Ooh Child.” Nevertheless, consider Kings a harrowing descent into depravity that makes The Florida Project look like Leave It to Beaver.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity and pervasive profanity
Running time: 92 minutes
Production Studios: Bliss Media/ CG Cinema / Maven Pictures
Distributor: The Orchard Company
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening May 4, 2018
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Bad Samaritan (R for violence, drug use, pervasive profanity and brief nudity) A suspense thriller revolving around a car valet moonlighting as burglar (Robert Sheehan) who breaks into the home of one of the restaurant’s rich customers (David Tennant) only to find a kidnapped woman (Kerry Condon) tied up there. With Carlito Olivero, Jacqueline Byers and Lisa Brenner.
Overboard (PG-13 for suggestive material, profanity and partial nudity) Romantic comedy, loosely based on the 1987 classic of the same name, flips the script to revolve around a spoiled, filthy rich playboy (Eugenio Derbez) who is duped by his maid (Anna Faris) into believing they’re married, when he develops amnesia after falling off his yacht. With Eva Longoria, John Hannah and Swoosie Kurtz.
Tully (R for profanity, sexuality and nudity) Mackenzie Davis handles the title role in this New York City dramedy about a nanny who forges an unlikely friendship with the mother (Charlize Theron) of the three kids she’s caring for. With Mark Duplass, Ron Livingston and Elaine Tan.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
102 Not Out (PG for mature themes) Bollywood comedy, based on a play of the same name, about a 102-year-old geezer’s (Amitabh Bachchan) attempt to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest man alive with the help of his 75-year-old son (Rishi Kapoor). Featuring Jimit Trivedi and Mukesh Hariawala. (In Hindi with subtitles.)
The Cleanse (R for profanity and some sexual references) Midlife crisis comedy about an unemployed, heartbroken slacker (Johnny Galecki) who gets a new lease on life when he falls for a fellow lost soul (Anna Friel) at a spiritual retreat with a hidden agenda. With Oliver Platt, Anjelica Huston and Loretta Walsh.
The Con Is On (Unrated) Mob comedy about a couple of con artists (Tim Roth and Uma Thurman) who flee England for L.A. to pull a big jewel heist to repay a debt owed the notorious gangster (Maggie Q) on their tail. Supporting cast includes Sofia Vergara, Parker Posey and Crispin Glover.
The Desert Bride (Unrated) Paulina Garcia plays the title character in this romance drama, set in Buenos Aires, revolving around a 54-year-old housekeeper who falls in love with a traveling salesman (Claudio Rissi) soon after being fired by the family that had employed her for several decades. (In Spanish with subtitles.)
The Guardians (R for violence and sexuality) Tale of female empowerment, set in rural France during World War I, where a matriarch (Nathalie Baye) hires a teenage orphan (Iris Bry) to help her daughter (Laura Smet) work the family farm while the men (Cyril Descours, Nicolas Giraud and Olivier Rabourdin) are fighting on the front lines. Supporting cast includes Glibert Bonneau, Xavier Maly and Mathilde Viseux. (In French with subtitles.)
Ray Meets Helen (Unrated) Keith Carradine and Sondra Locke play the title characters in this romantic fantasy about two suddenly-wealthy strangers whose paths cross serendipitously. With Keith David, Jennifer Tilly and Kim Wayans.
RBG (PG for mature themes and mild epithets) Reverential biopic chronicling the career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Featuring commentary by Gloria Steinem and Nina Totenberg.
The Son of Bigfoot (PG for action, peril, mature themes and mild epithets) Animated adventure about a teenager (Pappy Faulkner) who embarks on an epic quest in search of his long-lost dad (Christopher L. Parson) only to discover that he’s a legendary, ape-like creature.