Daily Archives: April 23, 2010



Kick-Ass is stirring up controversy, mostly because of the foul language and violence swirling about its star, young Chloe Moretz, now 13.  Moretz plays a superhero of sorts, a gun-totin’, daddy-lovin’ prepubescent lass dubbed “Hit-Girl” who clobbers grown men, is clobbered in return, spews profanity like a hardened convict and, of course, saves the day.  She uses the c-word.  Both of them.

A lot of people apparently don’t like this.  They see it as sinful.  They might be right, but the biggest sin that Kick-Ass commits, to my way of thinking, is the imposition of boredom on its audience.

Does the idea of a little girl raising all that hell make you want to see the film?  If so, knock yourself out, because that would be the only reason to waste your time and money.  The plot is standard comic-book crap:  Nerdy teen boy (imagine a movie with a character like that!) dreams of being a hero, mostly to impress the girl who ignores him.  He gets his wish in the way only dumb movies like this can contrive, and is soon involved in ridiculous exploits with cardboard villains.

The introduction of “Hit-Girl” and her ex-cop daddy (Nicolas Cage) is mildly amusing.  When she swears and fights, it looks like an 11-year-old girl following a director’s instructions.  That didn’t bother me so much.  Everything else about the film certainly did.       Grade:  D




Director:  Matthew Vaughn  Cast:  Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Lyndsy Fonseca, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Sophie Wu  Release:  2010


Kick3     Watch Trailers and Clips (click here)


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Not long ago I read the novel The Monster of Florence, in which the Italian “justice” system was, well … put it this way:  I no longer wish to visit Italy as an American tourist.  Now comes director Erik Gandini’s documentary Videocracy, and it’s frightened me away from Italian television.

OK, so I don’t watch Italian TV, anyway.  But Gandini’s film elevates the corrupting influence of television to a whole new level.  According to this film, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has managed to sway an entire electorate with a televisual combination of sex, youth, and beauty.  Berlusconi, a charismatic media mogul and three-time prime minister, has used his television and magazine monopoly to convince the Italian populace that, with just a bit of good fortune, every last one of them can live the good life.  As Gandini narrates over the film’s final images:  “Anyone can become popular.  You just need to be seen.”

Gandini shows the folly of this daydream by juxtaposing the pathetic stabs at stardom by Ricky, a talentless young mechanic, with the life of luxury and decadence enjoyed by Berlusconi and his shady acquaintances, including baby-faced talent agent Lele Mora and paparazzi king Fabrizio Corona, whose hobbies include extortion and nude preening for the camera.  (Some of you ladies might consider this scene worth the price of admission; Corona is, ahem, blessed — and not the least bit camera shy.)

None of this is a revelation, of course.  The cult of celebrity has been examined and re-examined in this country and elsewhere for decades.  But unless Gandini’s film is a gross exaggeration of conditions in his native country, we might all do well to turn off the tube and pick up a good book instead.  Like, say, The Monster of Florence     Grade:  B+


Video3    Videocracy


Director:  Erik Gandini  Featuring:  Silvio Berlusconi, Fabrizio Corona, Lele Mora  Release:  2010


Video4      Watch the Trailer (click here)


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