Tag Archives: Sienna Guillory

Tony Krantz’s The Big Bang

Tony Krantz’s The Big Bang is one of the most interesting indie flicks to have come along in recent years, and while I can’t quite call it a great film, it has to be one of the most ambitious I’ve ever seen. There are so many concepts, characters, creations, ideas and pontifications running about here that it almost becomes a swirling soup made up of parts of itself as opposed to a cohesive meal, but I’ll never turn down original ideas and unique creative expression, no matter how fucking bonkers it’s all presented.

This is one of those films with a cast that is the very definition of eclectic. A handful of actors are gathered up here who would normally not be seen in the same thing together, let alone casted as against type as they are, and I’m always an advocate for casting against type. It’s basically a noirish California detective story infused with themes of physics and pseudoscience, like Phillip Marlowe by way of Nikola Tesla. Antonio Banderas does an impressive encore here as Ned Cruz, a low rent private eye who is hired by one monster of a Russian prizefighter (Robert Maillet) to find a pen pal girlfriend named Lexie Parsimmons, who he has never even met. As with all detective stories like this, that one seemingly simple task leads Ned on a riotous goose chase all over LA and the outskirts, encountering every oddball, weirdo and pervert the sunny state has to offer. His search is also intercut with scenes in the future where’s he’s somehow been arrested by three spectacularly corrupt LAPD big shots and is being interrogated to the nines.

I greatly admire Krantz for giving his film life, vitality, filling in every corner with substance and conversation and providing every character, right down to those who only get one scene or so, with their own personality, quirk or viewpoint. The three cops are played by William Fichtner, Delroy Lindo and Thomas Kretschmann and if you’re a fan of either you’ll know what scene stealers they are, they constantly try to one up each other with pithy barbs and are all fantastic to watch in action. Most memorable has to be Sam Elliott as Simon Kestral, an eccentric billionaire who is funnelling big bucks into literally recreating the infamous Big Bang using scientific equipment, it’s a hilariously counterintuitive casting choice for such an earthy cowboy but it just somehow works. Look at the rest of the lineup too, which is populated by people like James Van Der Beek, Jimmi Simpson, Bill Duke, Sienna Guillory, Rebecca Mader, Autumn Reeser and Snoop Dogg as a porn director who greatly enjoys acting in his own films, because of course Snoop would.

The plot here is impossibly convoluted and packed to the gills with nonsense, runaway trains of thought, synergetic visual poetry, scenery chewing from almost every actor and all manner of sideshow trickery, but as they say, the fun is in the journey, and what a journey Krantz provides for his characters. I can’t call this a great film but I can say that I love it a lot, I think it’s one of the nuttiest things I’ve ever seen attempted, it looks so fucking sexy onscreen (just look at the poster) and you don’t find films this unique every day. With the upcoming release of David Robert Mitchell’s Under The Silver Lake, which I’ve still yet to see, I’ve been fixated on LA noir films (this one is that and then some) and I’ve been going back in time to revisit some of my favourites. What are yours?

-Nate Hill

Advertisements

Paul WS Anderson’s Resident Evil: Apocalypse

As the doors of the Hive blast open and gory mayhem eats up the streets of Raccoon City, so too does Paul W.S. Anderson plough past the restraint and pacing of his first chamber piece horror show for something that resembles all out chaos and splatters across the screen on a much larger scale. Is that a good thing? Well… the short answer is.. sort of. The first RE is the only one that is actually a great film, and everything after is commotion, a bunch of competing ideas stuck in a blender, left on tumble dry and scattered throughout a laser tag arena while music videos blare in the background on double volume. That’s not to say they aren’t any good though, there’s definitely fun to be had, but the sleek viscera and unmistakable style of the first film are out the window. Milla Jovovich’s Alice has become a walking government weapon, decked out with genetically altered killer instincts and superpowers, on a bullet ridden quest to eradicate that pesky T Virus and all the abominations it has brought with it. The super memorable team of mercs from the first are all but decimated (the film severely misses Michelle Rodriguez’s presence), the city’s population dwindling with the Zombie threat and the nefarious Umbrella Corporation preparing to seal it off for good, because apparently their power supersedes that of the actual government. Alice is joined again by Matt (Eric Mabius) or at least a version of him, and aided by a few ass kicking newcomers like super cop Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), hotshot mercenary Carlos (Oded Fehr, honestly one of the coolest characters in the whole franchise), wise ass street hustler LJ (Mike Epps), a TV reporter (Sandrine Holt) and more. There’s a lot of slow motion jumping, kicking, fucking shit up and busting through more plate glass windows than the grips could haul in by the hour, Anderson shows he can operate in a vast, spacious playground like Raccoon City (actually Toronto) as adeptly as a close quarters science lab full of slicing lasers and undead dobermans. German character actor Thomas Kretschmann does an icy, evil turn here as Umbrella bigwig Major Cain, a quietly deranged, power mad asshole who unleashed the freaky Nemesis monster, an ugly golem with built in weaponry and enough horsepower to bash through brick walls. It’s all a lot of wanton sound and fury, but Anderson makes it fun, fast and gory as all hell. As far as the sequels go, I consider this puppy to be the best, or at least the most entertaining. Watch out for Jared Harris as an Umbrella guru who literally and figuratively fathered the infamous ‘Alice’ computer program that begat this whole freak show, and Ian Glenn briefly as a new villain in a setup for Extinction, which is kind of like the hangover after Apocalypse’s raging block party. Good shit.

-Nate Hill