Bill Paxton: An Appreciation

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Bill Paxton’s characters always seemed like they were up to some mischief, or, failing that, up for some. The hint or indicator springs from the face, and his was a deceptively expressive one, with its deep, handsome lines, wide, slightly gap-toothed smile, and flinty grey-blue eyes that fairly danced with life, ill-contented to ever sit idly by while others made their mark or had their fun, desperate to be wherever, and with whomever, the action was. Action became Bill Paxton’s calling card over time, but he brought the same levels of play and professionalism to grade-Z schlock that he did to ponderous prestige pictures, and reliably came out of the transaction as one of the most memorable things on the screen. The kind of resume and cinematic archive he now leaves to the ages couldn’t possibly be the product of luck alone. Continue reading “Bill Paxton: An Appreciation”

Movie review: “Terminator Genisys” (2015)

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“That’s the kind of man your son was. (thinks) Is! Will be! Ugh…time travel gives me a headache.”

The original Terminator had the spark of genius. It was something altogether amazing and new. As a stand-alone sci-fi potboiler, and a model of low budget 1980s ingenuity, the story of a young woman under siege by an unstoppable robot assassin from the future is a stone classic. Just typing this sentence makes me want to drop everything and spontaneously rewatch it. Bleak and ruthless, consistently thrilling, pleasingly enigmatic, and, in the end, more than sufficient, The Terminator didn’t cry out for a sequel any more than the wellspring of any action franchise does. The sequel it received, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, was nevertheless a true rarity in the annals of effects-driven blockbuster action filmmaking, functioning as both a signpost along the road, indicating the exciting, innovative way forward for an oft-beleaguered art form, and a de facto destination, dynamic, fully-formed, crowd-pleasing, jaw-dropping. Continue reading “Movie review: “Terminator Genisys” (2015)”