Vengeance: A Love Story (2017)

US / 99 minutes / color / Patriot, Saturn, FilmRise, Hannibal Dir: Johnny Martin Pr: Michael Mendelsohn, Nicolas Cage Scr: John Mankiewicz Story: Rape: A Love Story (2003) by Joyce Carol Oates Cine: David Stragmeister Cast: Nicolas Cage, Anna Hutchison, Talitha Bateman, Deborah Kara Unger, Don Johnson, Joshua Mikel, Rocco Nugent, Joe Ochterbeck, Carter Burch, Charlene Tilton, Dikran Tulaine, Kara Flowers, Jimmy Gonzales, Cory Scott Allen, Mike Pniewski.

A somewhat idiosyncratic piece—as you might expect from its being based on a Joyce Carol Oates novel—that seems to set out to be a pretty standard vigilante-cop movie and yet somehow never quite commits to that template. Instead of focusing on the offing of the bad guys—those killings are treated almost as incidentals—and instead even of focusing on the cop, the movie instead becomes almost a character study of the people closest to a rape victim: her daughter and her mother.

In Niagara Falls, NY, on the night of July 4, young widow Teena Maguire (Hutchison) walks with her 12-year-old daughter Bethel “Bethie” (Bateman) home from a late-night party, short-cutting through a park. Four drunken, drugged-up no-goods Continue reading

Silenzio dei Prosciutti, Il (1994)

vt The Silence of the Hams
Italy, US / 78 minutes / color / Thirtieth Century Wolf, Silvio Berlusconi Communications Dir & Scr: Ezio Greggio Pr: Ezio Greggio, Julie Corman Cine: Jacques Haitkin Cast: Ezio Greggio, Dom DeLuise, Billy Zane, Joanna Pacula, Charlene Tilton, Martin Balsam, Stuart Pankin, John Astin, Phyllis Diller, Bubba Smith, Larry Storch, Rip Taylor, Shelley Winters, Nedra Volz, Rosey Brown, Tony Cox.

Silence of the Hams - 5 no captionIn the, er, grand tradition of Airplane! (1980) and The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988), one of those slapstick parodies that operates on the principle of throwing as many jokes at the wall as possible and hoping that at least a couple of them stick. In this case, about half a dozen did, which—for this curmudgeonly watcher—is above par for the genre. Most of the rest is about as funny as a botched vasectomy. Perhaps if I’d had a few beers first . . .

The principal target of the parody is PSYCHO (1960), and the one convincing part of the script is the final identification of the person who murdered the writer/director of this mess, Ezio Greggio, in the shower. Another main target, although secondary to Psycho, is—as Continue reading