Christian Bale Month comes to an end this week here on SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!?!, so we decided to go out with a roar as we take on 2002’s dragon epic REIGN OF FIRE, directed by Rob Bowman. Bale and Matthew McConaughey butt heads as two alpha males desperately trying to survive in a dragon-ravaged England. How the dragons got there, or if they’ve always existed, or just their entire damn history–no one involved in this production could even be bothered to address these most basic questions, resulting in a frustrating viewing experience. Needed more swing dancing Nazis, that’s all we’re saying.
This week, Christian Bale Month continues as we tackle 1993’s WWII-era tale SWING KIDS, directed by Thomas Carter. In 1939 Berlin, Bale and Robert Sean Leonard play best friends who rebel against the Nazi uprising the only way they know how: by swing dancing! And while we would like to report that this film is as bonkers as that synopsis might imply, it actually plays more like a semi-interesting Wikipedia footnote brutally stretched to feature length–although it’s hard to fully hate any movie that repeatedly features the phrase, “Swing Heil!” Yeah, you read that correctly.
Christian Bale Month continues this week as we’re talkin’ about 2000’s SHAFT, directed by John Singleton–you damn right! Samuel L. Jackson stars as the titular hero, a smooth-talking police detective who delivers his own special brand of justice when an overprivileged and racist trust fund baby (Bale) commits a hate crime on the streets of New York City. The only thing he can’t defeat, though, is a script that crosses the blaxploitation elements of the ’70’s original with what basically amounts to a Very Special Episode of Law & Order. But we sure do love Jeffrey Wright in this movie. Somebody give the man an Oscar!
June is Bale Month here at SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!?!, where we tackle a few of the films of the talented–and temperamental–Christian Bale. First up is 1992’s NEWSIES, directed by Kenny Ortega, the heart-warming Disney musical about the 1899 Newsboys’ Strike in New York City. Nothing screams ‘uplift’ quite like watching a group of orphans sing and dance about child labor laws and unionization, although an even more impressive feat of tap dancing is listening to co-host Luke defend this trainwreck. His love of this film knows no bounds, and frankly, it frightens us. Not as much as Bale’s ‘Santa Fe’ number here, but a close second.