Movie Diary 6/6/2022

I’m catching up on some Nicolas Cage titles for this upcoming free online talk, presented as part of Scarecrow’s Zeitgeist 22! quarterly series: “International Treasure: The Massive Talent of Nicolas Cage,” which happens on June 22 at 7 pm Pacific Time. Register now!

Drive Angry (Patrick Lussier, 2011). Cage plays an otherworldly avenger, Amber Heard plays a trashy waitress prone to violence, Billy Burke plays the leader of a cult of Satan-worshippers who plan to sacrifice an infant on their redneck altar. All of this, yet the most (enjoyably) out-there performance comes from William Fichtner, who plays an accountant. Lots of muscle cars and fire. It seems like this should come later in Cage’s career – this was only a year after The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – given the fragrant aroma of rubbish, but maybe in some weird way it made sense at the time, dovetailing the elements of Gone in 60 Seconds and Ghost Rider. He’s very much in the Cage-ian vibe here, his own genre, and seems in the spirit of it all. Of course, the movie came out in 3D.

The Humanity Bureau (Rob King, 2017). Post-apocalypse: Cage is a bureaucrat who investigates people whose government support has run out, invariably consigning them to be “re-settled” in New Eden, which everybody but him understands is extermination. He makes an exception for one widow and her young son, goes on the run, etc. etc. Everything is so half-hearted here even the genre crap doesn’t come to life, except maybe in the last few minutes.