Tag Archives: hero

Review: Prisoners of the Ghostland

Fans of Nicolas Cage were hyped for the recent release of Prisoners of the Ghostland, which was described by the man himself as “one of the wildest movies I’ve ever done”.  The final product is definitely wild and weird and if you enjoyed other recent Cage movies like Mandy, you’ll probably dig this one as well.

Cage plays Hero, a bank robber who has been rotting away in the jail of Samurai Town since being arrested following a botched heist that led to multiple civilians getting gunned down.  The shady Governor of Samurai Town, played by Bill Moseley, gets Hero out of jail with a deal, head into the barren Ghostland and find his “grandaughter” Bernice (Sofia Boutella) and bring her back within 5 days or else the leather jumpsuit he gets forced into will detonate with bombs at his neck, arms, and testicles.  Hero takes the deal but finds the Ghostland full of bizarre and deranged denizens and that they are seemingly trapped in this bizarre realm with no way out.  The plot is fairly straightforward but it’s layered with lots of weirdness and dream/nightmare-like imagery.  There’s tons of time and clock imagery from the literal countdown on Nic Cage’s suit to the citizens of the Ghostland holding back the arms of a clocktower with rope to everyone in Samurai Town just randomly starting to sing “Grandfather’s Clock”.  This is one of those movies where you just have to give in to the vibe and wavelength of the movie and you’ll probably know fairly quickly if you are or not.  The movie does a great job of fully committing to its bizarre world, especially with the sets and costumes.  Samurai Town is a literal mish-mash of feudal and modern Japan mixed with rowdy American Wild West frontier trappings and everyone is either a full-on samurai or a cowboy.  It’s sort of similar in a way to Mad Max: Fury Road, where the world is extremely bizarre but also lived in and full of traditions, clothing, and ways of life that are normal for the characters living in it, possibly with the exception of Nicolas Cage who exists on his own private wavelength.  There are some plot points that I feel can’t be explained away by the bizarreness of the tone, however.  There seems to be a redemption arc building for The Governor’s main bodyguard, Yasujiro (Tak Sakaguchi), that doesn’t fully come together and there’s also a big deal made about the Ghostland rallying together and slapping together a fleet of Dekotora trucks and cars to finally escape and take on The Governor but that also ends super abruptly and Cage and Boutella head back to town alone for the final confrontation.

The last Nicolas Cage movie I watched was Willy’s Wonderland, which should have been a home run of Cage craziness but it made the baffling choice to make Cage mute for the entire movie.  Prisoners of the Ghostland proves even more so how insane that choice was because here you get some prime Cage freakouts, including a truly ridiculous motivational speech to the citizens of the Ghostland that includes him screaming “My TESTICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!” at the top of his lungs and scenes where he’s fighting and literally saying “Karate Chop!” as he hits guys.  If you’re into Gonzo Nic Cage, you’ve got it here.  Bill Moseley is definitely able to hang with Cage in the weird and crazy department and he plays The Governor like a creepy Col. Sanders, dressed in a full white suit and a ridiculous Southern accent.  Tak Sakaguchi feels like he’s in a Kurosawa movie complete with great sword fights but his performance, while excellent, clashes with the bonkers nightmare vibe of the rest of the movie and, as mentioned before, his arc comes to a strange and abrupt end that feels at odds with the setup earlier in the movie.  Sofia Boutella is fine and even gets a bit of action at the end with a sword and guns.

Prisoners of the Ghostland is a bonkers genre mashup that will most likely fully entertain Nic Cage fans who love it when he goes fully over the top and if you enjoyed stuff like Mandy previously, you’ll probably dig this.  The world of Ghostland is interesting and well-realized from the American/Japanese mish-mash of Samurai Town to the apocalyptic loony bin of the Ghostland itself.  It’s in limited theaters right now but you can also get on VOD/Digital and check it out at home.

Nicolas Cage Stars in the “Wildest Movie I’ve Ever Made” with Prisoners of the Ghostland (Trailer)

After garnering legitimate acting praise for the critically acclaimed Pig recently, Nicolas Cage is going back to full-on Mandy-style insanity with Prisoners of the Ghostland.  Described by Cage himself as the “Wildes movie I’ve ever made”, Prisoners of the Ghostland is directed by Japanese director Sion Sono, who previously directed movies like Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and Love Exposure, and it follows Cage as Hero, a notorious criminal who is tasked by The Mayor (Bill Moseley) to enter “The Ghostland” and bring back his grandaughter Bernice (Sofia Boutella).  To make sure Hero stays on task, he’s fitted into a suit full of explosives and given a five-day time limit.  If Hero can’t find and bring back Bernice in five days, he’ll blow up.  The Ghostland is a nightmarish apocalypse full of insane characters and locations, all cursed by some sort of supernatural evil.  The movie co-stars Ed Skrein, Nick Cassavetes and Tak Sakaguchi.  Most of the critics who saw it at Sundance earlier this year said it lives up to the hype about its insanity and seems like it’s destined to become a cult Cage classic.  The movie is out in theaters, On Demand and Digital on September 17th and you can check out the trailer below.

Musical Montage: The Spider-Man Trilogy

One of the many things that separate earlier superhero films, like Sam Raimi’s beloved Spider-Man trilogy, for the MCU and DCEU’s of today is the prevalence of soundtrack songs as a main piece of the marketing.  Nowadays, you can listen to the scores for stuff like Avengers: Endgame on Spotify but there aren’t really any bands making MCU-based music videos.  Back in the early 2000s, the movies coming from Sony and Fox were full of nu-metal, indie rock, and alternative bands writing songs specifically for the movies and putting out music videos to help market the movies.  Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series had arguably it’s biggest and most memorable hit right out the gate with “Hero” from Chad Kroeger ft. Josey Scott from the first film but each movie in the series got at least one, if not multiple, soundtrack songs like “Vindicated” by Dashboard Confessional for Spider-Man 2 and “Signal Fire” by Snow Patrol for Spider-Man 3.  All the albums were pretty major hits on the Billboard charts and songs like “Hero” and “Vindicated” were #1 hits around the world as well.  Check out a bunch of the songs and music videos below.

Musical Montage: Enrique Iglesias “Hero”

Although most of us probably consider it one of the cheesiest songs ever now, back in 2002, Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” was a massive hit.  Coming off Iglesias’ second English album, Escape, Hero hit radio stations in January 2002 and hit number one on multiple Billboard genre charts and number 3 on the Hot 100 and won multiple year end awards as well.  The real reason we’re featuring it here on Musical Montage though is the music video and the appearance of none other than Mickey Rourke.  Directed by Torque’s Joseph Kahn (who is currently Taylor Swift’s go to director), the music video seems inspired by movies like True Romance as Iglesias and his love interest, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, have apparently stolen a huge amount of cash from a criminal played by Rourke, who’s hunting them down with his band of goons.  There’s some prime Rourke acting, even though he doesn’t have any dialogue, including a dramatic coat removal and a “fight” between himself and Iglesias.  Check it out below.

Musical Montage: Chad Kroeger ft. Josey Scott “Hero”

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man set the standard for our current trend of comic book movies back in 2002 but it also set the trend for the soundtracks going forward to be full of nu-metal and alternative rock until well into the MCU.  The main single from the first Spider-Man was the ubiquitous “Hero” by Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger which also featured Josey Scott who, at the time, was the lead singer of Saliva and it was Kroeger’s first solo single away from Nickelback.  The song was a huge hit, hitting #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock and Alternative charts and hitting #3 on the Hot 100 and also hitting #1 in Kroeger’s native Canada.  The music video for the song features Spidey swinging past the band while the perform on top of a building in New York City while clips from the movie also play on a billboard nearby.  You can check it out below.

Action Hero of the Week: Xena

Name: Xena

Occupation: Former warlord, traveling hero

Family: Cyrene (Mother), Atrius (Father), Solan (Son), Lyceus (Brother), Eve (Daughter)

Allies: Gabrielle, Hercules, Joxer, The Amazons, Lao Ma

Enemies: Ares, Callisto, Borias, Alti, various warlords and evil groups

Weapon(s) of Choice: Sword, Chakram

Body Count: N/A

Memorable Quote: Alalaes war cry

See Xena in Action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMQrORyQnEA

New Release Round Up 9/15

Tons of stuff coming out this week including an onslaught of mutants.

DVDs

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The Big Bang Theory Season Two

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season Four

X-Men Volume 3 (4 also available)

Primeval Vol. 2 (Series 3)

Transformers Season 2, Vol. 1

Phantasm II

My Name is Earl Season 4

An American Werewolf in London (Blu Ray)

Army of Darkness Screwhead Edition

Van Helsing (Blu Ray)

Misery (Blu Ray)

Child’s Play (Blu Ray)

Hero (Blu Ray)

Video Games

Scribblenauts (DS)

Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Toy Story Mania (Wii)

Need for Speed: Shift (360, PS3)

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS, PSP)

NHL 10 (360, PS3)

Wet (360, PS3)

Katamari Forever (PS3)