Moody Armstrong and Mad Cage. Review of “Mandy” and “Man on the Moon”

Two such different and not similar in all the film – a strange “horror film” with Nicolas Cage “Mandy” and the biographical drama “Man on the Moon” about the first attempt to conquer the satellite of the Earth. The differences lie not only in the subject matter: for the Cage, the glory of a faded hero, who today can be traced, seems to be only for category B projects; Damien Chazell is behind the second picture – and he is not making a bad movie. What did they suggest this time?


  • Acid Trip from Nicolas Cage
  • Another film about landing on the moon

Acid Trip from Nicolas Cage

Hard fate with Nicolas Cage. Before our eyes, people’s favorite, almost a superhero from the 1990s, the devil knows where. Winner of the Academy Award for the leading role in the movie “Leaving Las Vegas” helped Hollywood to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in “Air Prison”, “Face Off”, “The Rock”, “Gone in 60 Seconds”. Then came the 2000s, for which the actor was not ready.

Career Cage slowly but surely went downhill. He began to agree to shoot in very very talentless crafts. And what not to be lazy, I want to eat something! Selected slag with zero budgets, ratings in the area of ​​the plinth and the same box office – this was the lot of the once demanded actor. As if waving his hand at everything, Cage rushed into a frank thrash as if in a pool of water. Like, you all are not tired of scoffing that I vlyapyvatsya over and over again in the movie, more like a cow dummy? So get the same! Well, got it. And it turned out!

What, brother, “Mandy”? So right away and do not tell. And if you tell me, you yourself will spit on primitiveness. Yes, the forester and his wife love each other. Yeah, a gang of sectarian scumbags kidnaps a woman. Of course, bikers addicts help sectarians. Of course, the forester is looking for kidnappers and severely revenge.

Another moment, and the robe opens wide

But “Mandy” is not about that. Events here are nothing more than the background necessary for the visual experiments of the director. Not everyone will like this acid-burgundy experience, but it is worth assessing it if only because the cinema has always moved experiments forward. I do not dare to call the tape a representative of the new era of cinema or religious work. This will become known only with time. However, at least this is a significant event in modern comic cinema.

The magic “Mandy” is woven from many threads. And yet the main thing here is the triumph of the visual. The stylistics (but not quoting) of the 1970s thrash films, poisonous green with the addition of dirty red color gamut – all this, with the help of uncomfortable restless music, creates with your fingertips a perceived atmosphere of madness and some kind of drug-addicted trip.

Here they smoke a lot, drink desperately, taste foul-smelling, heartily mock at claps, eat acid with spoons, show genitals and cut throats, laughing wildly and flooding everything around with “blood-pockets”. In a different picture, such a cocktail would be a sign of bad taste. The director Panos Kosmatos neatly walked along the blade, giving a suitable, albeit strange, combination in the form of an art thrash slasher.

Perhaps everything turned out because from the very first minutes you understand that something is wrong. It’s not about the aesthetics of B films from the 1970s. Even in the initial relatively “normal” moments, the feeling of mystical foreignness does not leave. For this, thanks to the British actress Andrea Riceboro, the very Mandy, whose goggle-eyed image of which either came straight from space, or disappeared from Renaissance paintings.

What is Nicolas Cage himself? Really, did he shake the old days and play as an adult actor? For the most part, he is silent, shouting, wielding the piercing-cutting and looking into your soul with a mad look. It turns out he is good, even if it does not require much effort. But in one gulp, a bloodied redneck drinking a bottle of vodka in his trusses and jersey with the lion depicted on it … At least it’s definitely worth seeing.

Oh yeah, also Mandy – the film is not only strange, scary and trash, but also funny. You will not laugh, of course, but the authors of the tape have a peculiar sense of humor.

Is Nicolas Cage back? Probably … Maybe … “Mandy” is not about the return of an actor written off to junk, but about a purebred movie. It boldly experiments and makes it clear that, despite the more than a century of cinema history, it can still be surprisingly good.

Another film about landing on the moon

The first landing of a man on the moon took place almost half a century ago – in July 1969. A lot of time, many began to forget. Since then, we have not achieved breakthrough progress and remain attached to the Earth and its immediate environs. Recently, the theme of tourist flights into space is gaining momentum, private companies are actively trying to go into orbit, and amid all this, interest in traveling outside the home planet is growing. And indeed, I always wanted to reach the “outer limits”.

The film “First Man” (First Man in the Original, “Man on the Moon” at the box office) was based on James R. Hansen’s book The First Man: The Life of Neil O. Armstrong. For most viewers, this will not play any role, but for some it will be a definite plus.

In this review there can be no spoilers: everyone knows perfectly well whether the Apollo 11 mission was successful in the end. The main thing in the film is completely different – whether the director Damien Chazell could tell the story beautifully, smoothly and interestingly. The producers had to collect the ingredients for this “cocktail”. The demanded actor Ryan Gosling was invited to the role of Neil Armstrong, but at first it seemed that he was out of place.

Difficulties in working on biopic films consist in the fact that a long story needs to fit in a limited period of time, while not losing key points, emphasizing important places and retaining the interest of the audience. In the case of “Man on the Moon”, it was necessary to keep the brand, without slipping into a frank “nauchpop” – so that everything looked authentic. Probably, the “experts”, after seeing the premiere, will soon find various inconsistencies and technical flaws, but we did not go to the cinema for this.

The tape very briefly introduces the story, talking about the space race between the United States and the USSR. It does not look like John’s struggle with Ivan, but as a respectful rivalry between the two powers. A rare case in which in the American film we do not meet the ubiquitous patriotic pathos, loud speeches about the superiority of someone else over anyone – all this remains behind the scenes. On the contrary, dirty control panels, frayed elements, levers and buttons are visible – “hell, I’m used to seeing shiny decks without a single speck of dust and sparkling screens in fantastic films about America!”

For a little less than 2.5 hours, the creators of “Man on the Moon” manage to tell the story of many years of astronaut training for a landmark flight. Installation with seamless transitions from one year to another is taken for granted, confusion, which is important, does not arise: you can easily understand who is who and at what stage the preparation for the mission is.

When it seems that everything is going too smoothly (“Where are the internal conflicts,“ flocks ”, offenses?”), “Clouds” appear on the screen. True, at a certain moment there are too many of them: gloomy characters without a measure frown at their brows, their depression are transmitted to the viewer so that even the most persistent in the hall stop crunching chips. The tragic death causes instant surprise, but there is no time to worry – in the next 30 minutes you need to fit another couple of years of heroes’ life. And a couple of deaths. Is it minus? Almost certainly, even with such a pace, you will remember this episode, and many others.

Sound! The next take-off, the flight – it sounded in my head “this is really cool, this is a claim to Oscar”. The crushing roar of rockets, the quiet clicking of the switches, the ringing silence of the vacuum — everything turned out to be five points out of five. The soundtrack is good, but not perfect, it turned out to be too … ordinary. The composer of the First Man on the Moon was Justin Hurwitz, who has long collaborated with Chasell. It’s not for us to judge his work, but it seems that Hans Zimmer would be very helpful here.

The drama about the flight to the moon, fortunately, was not embroiled with contrived romanticism, although for the sake of drama, appropriate artistic techniques that reduce the degree of authenticity are not always used (sometimes “everything is too simple”). But this is not enough, without simplifications, the film would have to be turned into a series, and a rather boring one.

There is not enough time to uncover the experiences of all the characters. Their mood does not change from episode to episode, but with the passage of the entire timekeeping. As a result, to the finals, instead of delight, there remains a depressing feeling – these detached, cold and purposeful people have achieved their goal, but what is the use of this?

In an ordinary picture, we would be shown Americans clapping their hands, looking enthusiastically at astronauts walking in slow motion – how they come out of the thick smoke between the huge doors of the hangar. No, not this time. Want an epic and spectacular? For this there is “Transformers”.

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