The Films of Nick Castle
Tag: The Assassination Game
The Last Starfighter
The Boy Who Could Fly (August 3/18)
Written and directed by Nick Castle, The Boy Who Could Fly follows a newly-single mother (Bonnie Bedelia's Charlene) and her two kids (Lucy Deakins' Milly and Fred Savage's Louis) as they move next door to a mute teen (Jay Underwood's Eric) with, he claims, an ability to take flight. Filmmaker Castle has infused The Boy Who Could Fly with an exceedingly (and often excessively) deliberate pace that prevents the viewer from connecting to the material throughout, which is a shame, certainly, given that the director has elicited top-notch performances from his impressively stacked cast - with, especially, Underwood and Deakins delivering solid work that generally remains a highlight within the lackluster proceedings. The movie's episodic structure paves the way for a hit-and-miss midsection that's often more miss than hit, and there's little doubt, as well, that the ensuing lack of momentum winds up exacerbating the picture's pronounced hands-off vibe. It's clear, as well, that The Boy Who Could Fly's ludicrously overlong running time plays a fairly significant role in its downfall, as the film seems consist solely of scenes that are either unreasonably padded out or downright needless - which naturally ensures that the movie's climax is hopelessly unable to pack the emotional, uplifting punch that Castle is obviously striving for. The end result is a perfectly fine yet entirely uninvolving drama that could (and should) have been better, with the film's failure especially disappointing given the earnestness with which its been imbued.
Dennis the Menace
Mr. Wrong (July 6/16)
An almost astonishingly atrocious piece of work, Mr. Wrong follows Ellen DeGeneres' Martha Alston, a single producer of a morning talk show, as she meets and falls head over heels in love with Bill Pullman's charismatic, mysterious Whitman Crawford - with problems emerging as Whitman reveals himself to be a far more unhinged and flat-out insane figure than Martha could ever have predicted. The degree to which Mr. Wrong eventually goes downhill is somewhat disappointing, to be sure, as the movie features a relatively promising opening half hour that benefits from DeGeneres' affable work as the central character. It's worth noting, too, that the initial emphasis on Martha and Whitman's blossoming relationship is charming and appealingly idealized, which is rather impressive, certainly, given the almost total lack of romantic chemistry between the two actors. There's little doubt, then, that Mr. Wrong's downward spiral is triggered by Whitman's transformation into an unreasonably (and annoyingly) obnoxious figure, as the film's second half contains one disastrously unfunny set-piece after another - with the total lack of laughs compounded by a narrative that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. (Where, for example, is the comedic value in watching DeGeneres' character kidnapped and forced to marry Whitman in Mexico?) The progressively misguided bent of Chris Matheson, Kerry Ehrin, and Craig Munson's screenplay ensures that Mr. Wrong fizzles out long before reaching its underwhelming finale, and it's ultimately difficult to recall a more repellent and ill-advised romantic comedy within the contemporary cinematic landscape.
'Twas the Night
The Seat Filler
Connors' War (November 8/06)
Connors' War casts former Naughty by Nature rapper Anthony "Treach" Criss as Connors, an expert CIA agent who loses his sight after looking directly into a blast while on a dangerous assignment. Three years later, Connors has become a stereotypical washout - he's a drunk and he lives on a houseboat - but redemption arrives in the form of an experimental new serum that promises to restore his vision. Directed by Nick Castle and written by D. Kyle Johnson, Connors' War is a typically pointless and thoroughly tedious actioner that has little to offer even the most enthusiastic fan of the genre. The eye-rollingly obvious storyline and overall lack of violence certainly doesn't help matters, nor does the exceedingly low-rent vibe that's been hard-wired into virtually every aspect of the film's production. Johnson's egregiously idiotic screenplay is rife with ridiculous (and lazy) instances of plotting - ie a baddie divulges his location to Connors by jingling some coins in his pocket, repeating a move from earlier in the film - and although Criss does show some potential as a performer, his efforts to step into the shoes of a blind character are laughable. While Connors' War certainly isn't as flat-out terrible as some of its shoot-'em-up brethren (see below), the movie's inability to deliver even momentary thrills ensures that most viewers will be left shaking their fists in frustration.