August 1, 2011

Justify My Netflix: Season of the Witch

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Season of the Witch

Today's movie: Season of the Witch, 2011 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this is yet another in a whole series of low-budget genre thrillers that have recently come out on DVD, which I've been adding to my Netflix queue on a random lark before running the risk of forgetting about them forever (see also, for example, last week's review of The Adjustment Bureau), this one written by the creator of the short-lived CBS "Lost" ripoff "Threshold," and directed by the guy responsible for giving the world Swordfish and Gone in 60 Seconds.

The reality: Oh, Nicolas Cage, we should all be starting every morning these days by thanking God you're so terrible with money; because otherwise we would never have the string of brilliantly surreal quickie B-flicks you've been churning out since declaring bankruptcy in 2009, including not only this glorious stinker but also the headscratching Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Drive Angry (the movie next in my Netflix queue), and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (the next film after that). Because let's be clear -- Season of the Witch is bound to infuriate just about everyone on the planet besides fanboys who are watching a late-night screening at a sci-fi convention with all their wasted buddies, one of those groan-inducingly lazy screenplays supposedly set in the Middle Ages but chock-full of modern slang and attitudes (I especially loved Cage's decision to "walk away from the Crusades" because he was morally opposed to harming women, not only a laughable attitude for a Medieval soldier but that would've gotten him a sharp sword in the back the moment he tried to leave), with cheap CGI effects, hammy acting from literally all involved, and really not a single positive thing going for it besides its legitimately gorgeous location footage from the Austrian Alps and other southeast European spots.

But still, I couldn't help but be charmed by it anyway, mostly for the same reason I always seem to be charmed by Nic Cage quickie B-flicks; and that's Cage's unswerving professionalism in these situations, an absolute refusal to ever even once wink at the audience or deliver a line with tongue in cheek, helped immensely in this case by fellow slumming professional Ron Perlman (here playing a weathered squire to Cage's jaded knight, the two in charge of delivering a hot girl to a Bavarian monastery so that an exorcism can be performed on her), who turns out to be just as game as Cage for trying to salvage at least a little dignity from what's essentially an excuse for a fast paycheck. Absolutely to be avoided at all costs if you're anyone besides an obsessive fan of easily forgotten genre disasters, but a must-see if you are.

Worth your time? If you're drunk and it's midnight, then yes

Filed by Jason Pettus at 4:42 PM, August 1, 2011. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |