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DEFEND YOUR COLLECTION!: Punisher: War Zone, by Craig Schroeder

26 Jan

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This is an ongoing series that will explore the perceived anomalies in the DVD collections of BP writers. These are movies that may give someone pause when they browse your movie shelf, but we’re here to tell you why they belong in any film lover’s collection.

To my friends and fellow cineastes, no film in my collection is more baffling than 2008’s Punisher: War Zone. Having had the outrageous misfortune of following one of the worst comic book adaptations of all time – 2004’s The Punisher was a woefully miscast mountain of shit that turned Marvel’s most dour and menacing anti-hero into an impotent sadness-robot – and coming at the heels of two wildly successful comic book films in Iron Man and The Dark Knight, Punisher: War Zone never seemed to have a chance. Grossing only ten million dollars world-wide (worse than Howard the Duck) and a Rotten Tomatoes score of twenty-seven percent (only one point higher than Blade: Trinity), Punisher: War Zone was a commercial and critical disaster. A film remembered only as a punch-line. But Punisher: War Zone is in on the joke, a self-aware mixture of camp and fun that captures the very essence of its source material.

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Defend Your Collection!: Summer of Sam, by Craig Schroeder

29 Dec

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This is an ongoing series that will explore the perceived anomalies in the DVD collections of BP writers. These are movies that may give someone pause when they browse your movie shelf, but we’re here to tell you why they belong in any film lover’s collection.

I’ve seen 1999’s Summer of Sam on the wrong-end of many a ranking of Spike Lee’s filmography. It’s a bizarre movie, sure. It’s a slow-burn drama about a serial killer, that isn’t really about a serial killer at all (and features over-the-top, gonzo performances by Adrian Brody, John Leguizamo and a talking dog). But it’s also a film that belongs in Lee’s canon of films–alongside 25th Hour and Do the Right Thing that are steadfastly interested, not in the ugliness of American culture, but how American culture responds to its own ugliness.

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