Does the name Mike Banning ring a bell? You’d be forgiven for finding it the generic and forgettable name of a Hollywood action hero, which is the Mike Banning I’m thinking of. He’s the presidential bodyguard played by Gerard Butler in the trilogy Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016), and Angel Has Fallen (2019). There are plans for more but I think I’ve had enough. Already I have trouble telling them apart. The perfectly generic and forgettable vehicles for a Mike Banning.
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been wtaching the Riddick, or Chronicles of Riddick movies. So far there have been three: Pitch Black (2000), The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), and Riddick (2013). Will there be more? Probably, though the franchise hasn’t been a blockbuster. I’m not sure I’ll be sticking with it though.
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the almost totally undistinguished Children of the Corn movies. I say “almost” because the first movie isn’t bad, and in later episodes you can catch Charlize Theron’s debut and Naomi Watts in a leading role before she was a star. But mostly these movies are awful, which shouldn’t be surprising as they were being produced by the same company driving the Hellraiser franchise into the ground. Apparently Stephen King didn’t even keep track of how many there were. Though I guess he was getting paid since he usually received a credit for coming up with the title of the series (if nothing else).
Bottom line: the first movie is still worth seeing, but I would avoid all the others.
Children of the Corn (1984)
Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992)
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)
Children of the Corn: The Gathering (1996)
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998)
Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return (1999)
Children of the Corn VII: Revelation (2001)
Children of the Corn: Genesis (2011)
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching Rowan Atkinson’s Johnny English trilogy: Johnny English (2003), Johnny English Reborn (2011), and Johnny English Strikes Again (2018). I feel like I should be surprised at how long-lived a phenomenon Bond parodies have been, but then Bond is still with us and apparently going strong so . . .
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching a bunch of movies about people racing cars around. Not on a racetrack, but across country. For cash prizes or treasure. For a while in the late ’70s and early ’80s these were a thing, especially if they were directed by Hal Needham and starred Burt Reynolds. I guess the Fast and the Furious franchise today is the only direct inheritor, but it’s morphed into something else now. Leaving these movies alone in their nostalgic goofiness. Watching them again was a very fast trip down memory lane, but I’m pretty sure it will be my last with any of them.
Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the Child’s Play movies, which are headlined by the murderous doll Chucky. A better-than-average horror franchise that covered a lot of ground over thirty years. Alas, the 2019 reset was a total disaster.
Over at Alex on Film I just finished watching the trilogy of Robert Langdon films based on the novels of Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code (2006), Angels & Demons (2009), and Inferno (2016). Since I can’t tell you what made the books so popular I sure can’t help with the movies. The weird thing is that they don’t even seem like good popcorn entertainment to me. They’re all very dull and talky, and despite throwing in so many highbrow references they’re unbelievably stupid. Is this the sort of nonsense people want to believe in? Yikes.
Over at Alex on Film I’ve posted my 100th movie quiz, which is also going to be my last for a while. It’s time to take a break. But I tried to celebrate the centenary in style by giving you a hundred films to identify. Plus you can always check out the quiz archive if you want to test yourself with some of the previous postings. They range in difficulty from the pretty easy to the nearly impossible.