the eventful life of a famous blind chess champion

The New York Times

The Bruce Willis movies: from box office to on-demand television

It’s hard to keep up with Bruce Willis filmography, especially since 2015. In recent years, his IMDb page has grown with a flood of action movies that overshadow his sporadic ambitious projects, like “Orphans of Brooklyn” or ” Glass “. Mnemonics are needed to keep track of such banal titles as “Hard Kill” (which would be something like Hard to Kill), which followed “In Self Defense” (First Kill); “Protected witness” that deals with … a witness to be protected. But in truth, anyone would be forgiven for confusing “Reprisal” with “The Master Plan,” or “Acts of Violence” with Willis’ most recent project, “The Conspiracy” (in select theaters and video on demand, which is where most of these films begin their career). Regardless of the title, “Acts of Violence,” a horror movie set in space, stands out from the growing pile of movies for a few reasons. The first is that Willis appears quite a bit on screen in his role as a crew member helping Cody Kearsley (“Riverdale”) fight a parasite that turns people into murderous demons. That Willis commits to one of his films cannot be taken for granted because on average it only runs 15 minutes in each video-on-demand work; what the star rents is his reputation (which is gradually diminishing), not his real presence. But more important than the fact that Willis enters and leaves the scene is that “Acts of Violence” is tolerable for anyone, a modest but unusual quality in this context. Points in favor if you have not seen “Alien: the eighth passenger” and “The thing from the other world”, by John Carpenter; More points in favor if you enjoy seeing Thomas Jane overreacting with dark glasses inside a spaceship. In Willisland, this is considered enthusiastic praise. As Jeff Ross rightly said in Comedy Central’s comedy toast honoring Bruce Willis in 2018: “You’re like Grumpy Elmer if he hunts for bad scripts instead of Bugs Bunny.” Admittedly, these movies are generally bad, and it gives me no pleasure to write them: I really wanted at least some to be enjoyable, not because I’m a staunch fan of the man behind John McClane, but because I’ve long admired cinema B. When films of this genre are good they show an ingenuity and capacity that I prefer to the excess of expensive productions and Hollywood pigeons; in addition, they usually host performances that pride themselves on being ridiculous (it bears repeating that Thomas Jane brings sunglasses in space). So the irreverent articles poking fun at Willis’s vehicles, or rather his squeaky clunkers, only made me more curious, are those movies really that bad? And what does that tell us about the state of low-budget action movies? When I saw a dozen of Willis films from the last five years, I noticed certain patterns. What struck me the most is how much they resort to shooting. It is not only that violence is always linked to firearms, and vice versa, in this island ecosystem of cinema, but pistols and rifles and shotguns are the main point. I saw more shootouts than I can count, with an absurd number of bullets flying around in the middle of male orgies trying to take the lead with fatal aim. “Hard Kill” (2020), which is the worst of the bunch, actually starts with such a scene and then only gets worse. Pistols are not the only fetish (which, by the way, are usually kept behind the waistband of the trousers, as a kind of fashion accessory for the man of action); there is also the equipment used by the tactical forces. The SWAT unit outfits in movies like “Reprisal” (2018) would make us laugh at their petulance if it weren’t for the real-world versions that leave us cold. The idea of ​​masculinity that these films portray is disturbing, which is very rare because Willis in his heyday was not your typical bully hero. Yes I understand, this is a fantasy, like the kitchen in a romantic comedy directed by Nancy Meyers. But in purely cinematic terms, the problem is that gun violence has replaced all attempts to come up with decent plots. What need do you have to wear yourself out thinking about arguments when you can just introduce a shooting? For that matter, why bother creating a new story when you can do a robbery and it’s over? Between planning it, executing it and dealing with the consequences (I’ll give you a hint: they never go well), robberies are the engine of a considerable number of these films. As for Willis, he takes the back seat, sometimes even literally. In the normal world, a supporting role might still suggest that the character is meaty, but in Willisland it is not. Sometimes he plays men walking around in suits, with sarcastic superiority, just a minute or two before the scene changes. Sometimes he plays jaded cops or retired cops who spend a lot of time on the phone. That more comes out doesn’t mean it’ll be better either: one of Willis’s biggest roles in recent years was in a comedy-action movie hybrid called “Once Upon a Time in Venice,” from 2017, which is embarrassing to others. beginning to end (it’s the one where Willis is naked on a skateboard). My marathon favorite was “Dangerous Goods” (2016), a “Miami Division” heist movie that gives Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who would be Willis’s replacement, not one but two worthy female counterparts, played by Claire Forlani and Jenna B. Kelly. “Dangerous Goods” was also the funniest movie in my current pulp film tour, which isn’t that hard to pull off given that much of the competition seems to regard humor as a sin against masculinity, along with the basic precepts. grammar, although there was a question from “Hard Kill” that did make me laugh, something that could well be translated like this: “Did you plan [sic] something for tonight? Plus, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2021: Willis will do more science fiction in “Cosmic Sin,” there will be a human hunt in “Apex,” and he’ll appear doing criminal things in “Out of Death” and in a thriller called “Midnight in. the Switchgrass ”, which in Spanish would be“ Midnight between the grass ”, but there is still time to change the title of the latter to something like“ Sudden Justice ”or“ Lethal Vengeance ”. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2020 The New York Times Company

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