Archive for April, 2013

Summer Movie Preview 2013

Part One – Movies I Want to See

Every summer movie season has about as many ups and downs as the “Bi-Polar Coaster” at Six Flags. We’ve got our A game, our Dark Knights, our Jurassic Parks, you know, shit that makes audiences spontaneously spew fan-boy goo from every orifice. Then there’s the mid-shelf stuff. At first you’re like, “Nah-uh, they did NOT just greenlight a sequel to the prequel of the sequel to X-Men”. But then, like that old bottle of milk, you can’t find anything else to drink. You sniff. You shrug. You sip. It ain’t that bad but it’s not exactly a game changer. After that, you’ve got your indies, your cults and your duds. You know the duds. The ones the studio just NEEDS to recoup some of their investment. Why not shove every b-list slab of talent you’ve got on endless retainer up its ass and hope their recent guest spot on SNL was painless enough to jolt you from your couch, through the searing heat of the sun and into the air conditioned movie theater? You know, the one-night-stands of movies.

Well, fear not, today is dedicated to those glimmers of chromatic brilliance lost in an otherwise black and blue palette of blandness that this year has to offer. Now, last year had the likes of The Dark Knight Rises, the allure of Prometheus, the anticipation of The Avengers and the assumption that Joss Whedon was going to get sucked into the Marvel jet engine like some wayfaring bird caught in airspace over O’Hare. This year…not so much. We have a few palatable offerings but nothing that going to make me squee like I did during the opening moments of Les Miserables um…during the…(research and insert up-to-date sports reference). And much like my girlfriend on “Andrew’s Extended Striptease Night”, you are all probably saying “Get the fuck on with it!” And my response to her is the same to you: “Don’t rush genius, baby.”

Iron Man 3

RDJ, the Man so fine even G-Palt is copping a feel.

RDJ, the Man so fine even G-Palt is copping a feel.

Ah yes, once again Marvel must tighten the chains and drag out our good ole pal Robert Downey Jr. for yet another foray into the suit of iron. If Disney has given us any indication of their artistic farming practices in the past 60 years, they are going to milk that mutherfucker dry until his udders are pouring nothing but limp-lipped catchphrases and phoned-in numbness. Following is the list of stuff that RDJ has appeared in for Disney over the past few years: Iron Man, Iron Man (The Video Game), The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, The Avengers 2 – Electric Boogaloo and the Avengers’ rarely seen sex-tape Thor’s Hammer and Some Man Iron. Dude is like 60 and a recovering heroin addict. Either he is immortal or he is working on borrowed time, people.

Back to the movie. While The Avengers (or as it was turdishly known as in the UK Avengers Assemble because British people can’t discern the difference between a major blockbuster with a hundred famous people based on the massively successful comic book series, and a movie adaptation of a 60s TV show no one gives a shit about where Sean Connery goes for the Oscar for Best Supporting Comatose Actor) was brain-bustingly amazing, the lead up was a parade of uneven snore-fests. Thor? If you’re not into Hemsworth-abs, it ain’t workin’, darlin’. Captain America? It was totes dece until that montage that made up the ENTIRE SECOND HALF OF THE MOVIE. Even Iron Man 2 was an exercise in tepid blandness. How the fuck can you make Mickey Rourke, you know, that guy with a face that looks like he tried to make his nose look like a vagina, with a Russian accent, a pet bird and ELECTRIC WHIPS ATTACHED TO HIS SPINE boring? Well, Mr. Favreau did it. And then he was fired. Thank the lord.

This time we have the little-known Shane West, responsible for the gut-spewingly funny Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, as well as the addition of Guy “If Vanilla Were to Take Human Form” Pearce as boring bad guy number 1 and the ubiquitous Ben “I Have a Lot of Ex-Wives” Kingsley as the dangerously-close-to-racism-if-they-aren’t-incredibly-careful Mandarin. And, from the trailers, it looks pretty cool. Now, I won’t O over the keyboard for yet another RDJ speed-speak competition. There will be funny lines, over the top action and, most importantly, Ben Kingsley wearing Ray Bans and speaking with an accent that rivals Bane for what-the-fuckery. I am always in favor of that.

This is the End

And the award for sweatiest pile of humans goes to...

And the award for sweatiest pile of humans goes to…

So, there are these guys in Hollywood. We all know them. They’re a little boy’s club that has grown from humble beginnings to taking over the ENTIRETY of mainstream comedy. No, I’m not talking about Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler and the rest of the SNL circa 1995 gang. And no, I’m not talking about Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and the other duds from SNL circa the 2000s. And, jesus, NO, I’m not talking about Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and John Belushi. God, guys, not cool. Belushi is dead. Go think about what you’ve done.

I am, of course, talking about the entire cast of Freaks and Greeks along with all the other kinda-indie funny guys they have sucked into their charging snowball of increasing revenues. These guys show up like the Magnificent Seven every fucking year with yet another film that you hope isn’t just a dumb stoner comedy and yet, it almost always is. We have Seth “The Writer” Rogan, James “He Says He’s a Writer But I’m Pretty Sure He Has No Idea Where He is Half the Time” Franco, Jonah “The Younger, Fatter Seth Rogan” Hill, Paul “Dreamsicle” Rudd, Jason “Actually Does Other Things, Like the Muppets, Seriously” Segel, Craig “The Black Guy” Robinson, Jay “What Happened to His Face? Like, Has it Always Been Like That? Does He Constantly Have Something Stuck in His Eye?” Baruchel, Danny “If a Mullet Were a Human Being” McBride and Michael “Please, For the Love of God, Stop” Cera. Well, their years of circling around the inevitable have finally come to an end. Yes, we all believed that they would eventually suck themselves into their own anuses but, while many assumed it had occurred on the set of Your Highness, they deliver this little puppy into theaters.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

You know what isn’t funny? Watching a bunch of smug comedian friends sit around being assholes to each other and the rest of humanity. You know what is? Watching that same load of smug assholes get VICIOUSLY MURDERED ONE BY ONE. The concept is, for all intents and purposes, balls-out brilliant. I’m talking, swinging-testicles-free-from-pants-and-flying-in-the-wind genius. What’s the problem with apocalypse movies? That pesky thing known as ‘characterization’. It’s a scourge on all Emmerich-esque screenwriters. Unfortunately, for an audience to care about whether or not you drop a fucking skyscraper on a character’s head you have to get them to actually care about them. You don’t get points for making them a) black, b) a child, c) a black child, d) gay or e) a black, gay child. Until they do something worthy of our interest, they are simply slabs of meat readied for the oncoming abattoir of choice. Here, however, they already have characters…themselves. Suddenly, the jokes that all those Disaster Movie and Scary Movie Vs have been attempting for years suddenly become hilarious. Love them for their banter or fucking hate them for it, you are guaranteed that every one of the ‘Geek Squad’ is getting mutilated somehow. Yes, I know the third act will be a horrid unfunny mess. Yes, it will totally overstay its welcome. But, I mean…come on…Michael Cera gets impaled in the trailer. Oscar for Best Screenplay written all over it.

Elysium

Elysium, the touching story of a man overcoming scoliosis and terrible back-tattoos

Elysium, the touching story of a man overcoming scoliosis and terrible back-tattoos

A few years ago, the geniuses in Hollywood greenlit a movie adaptation of Halo. I know what you’re going to say, but wait, it gets better. They then hired Alex Garland, the brains behind Danny Boyle classics The Beach and 28 Days Later to write a screenplay for $1 million. They then threw it out. The Halo debacle cost someone or other millions upon millions of dollars, Peter Jackson a major headache and almost killed the career of up-and-coming filmmaker and Bond-villainly-eponymous Neill Blomkamp. Luckily, from the mountain of artistic manure grew a single delicate flower. District 9 hit theaters with a shoe-string budget, a no-name cast and a whole lot of limb-dismemberment. It was a brutal and half-clever/half-video-game-fanboy-snuff-film that explored the politics behind South African apartheid and fear of otherness. The movie was so damn good that even my mother, you know, the matriarch of “Game of Thrones looks disgusting”, fucking adored it. No joke, I bought it for her on Blu-Ray for a birthday and she couldn’t have been happier.

Now, years later, Blomkamp is back with Mr. Matt “Please Don’t Ask Me To Do Another Bourne Movie” Damon in the lead. What’s it about? Fuck knows. Earth sucks. Elysium is great. Also, they use a bone saw to attach a metal skeleton to Matt Damon’s spine. TICKET PLEASE! You had me at ‘bone saw to attach a metal skeleton to Matt Damon’s spine’. District 9 was one of the first of many sic-fi movies forcing the winds of change to sweep through the desolate soulless plains of Hollywood Summer-dom. Intelligence and humanity is finally finding its way into this horde of messes hotter than an Lindsay Lohan between rehab visits. Sci-fi is now skirting the realms of Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clark and more writers with middle initials. From Inception to Looper to the recent stylings of Oblivion, science fiction is desperately trying to discover this concept called ‘intelligence’. Now, yes, it’s hard because most of the writers are insufferable morons, but the thought does count. Who knows? Maybe Elysium will be more the bang-bang-lightning-gun-head-a-sploding second half of District 9 and less the ponderous and discussion-provoking first. I’m willing to give hope a chance. Unless hope fucks it up then I’m going to hunt hope down like the dog it is and burn it in public effigy. You hear that, Blomkamp? If your movie sucks, I will make sure that this world becomes a hopeless hellscape!

Kick Ass 2

Um...Kick Ass 2, I think your catch phrase is broken.

Um…Kick Ass 2, I think your catch phrase is broken.

Alright, I’m not really sure how this bad boy made the list…but I guess that’s what happens when I gotta scrape the bottom of the barrel. Sometimes you don’t get the good stuff, just the black and moldy leftovers that people forgot to wash out months ago. Oh well, I’m talking about it now. To those of you who didn’t see it (and judging by box office receipts I’m pretty sure that includes everybody in the world) Kick Ass gracefully slid into theaters, cutting under the sensors with it’s cunt-and-knife-weilding 12-year-old Chloe Moretz Grace and Nicholas Cage giving his best performance in a trillion years. And, so graceful it was, Kick-Ass slid right across the stage and into the orchestra pit. Nobody noticed. I had a multitude of reasons to see the first Kick Ass. First of all, it’s called Kick Ass. Second, it’s from the disturbingly dark mind of Mark Millar, the man responsible for Timur Bek-Oh-God-Please-Don’t-Make-Me-Say-His-Name-betov’s literal blood-and-shit-show Wanted. Third, it was written and directed by Mr. Claudia Schiffer and the talented half of the Snatch production crew, Matthew Vaughn.

Let’s get this straight. Kick Ass wasn’t good. It was awesome. Foul-mouthed, invincible ninja 12-year-old girl? Check. Mark Strong being an asshole? Check. And…well, really it only needed that first one and I’d be cool with it. So, years later, after Ms. Moretz Grace has been tapped to remake every movie ever (Let Me In, Carrie etc.) and the titular Aaron Johnson was in that one movie where Salma Hayek had bangs, the crew is back. But Chloe isn’t 12 anymore. And Nic Cage isn’t in it. And the allure of Moretz Grace who, since the first movie, has now eaten people, ripped people’s heads off, murdered an entire auditorium of high schoolers and almost killed herself because of her period, has worn off. Yes, she murders people. YAWN. Gimme something else. Well, there is Jim Carrey. Who doesn’t love Jim Carrey? Oh, right, me. Um…who cares. It’s going to be violent, dumb, and Hit Girl is delightful. NEXT!

Star Trek to the Ground into Darkness

Star Trek's shocking twist: Cumberbatch is really the Kool Aid guy

Star Trek’s shocking twist: Cumberbatch is really the Kool Aid guy

Ah yes…the coup de grace. Through all of this seasonal mediocrity finally a morsel worth supping upon. Alright nerds, hide your boners. Let us sit upon the ground and talk of kings. And by ‘kings’ I mean the jerkoff who made me both love and despise LOST. Mr. JJ Abrams (because he’s just too good for first names, JEFF) is a man who has both plagued and saved Hollywood over the last few years. From his breakout dud Mission: Impossible III to the confusingly mislead Super 8, his career is filled with more misfires than a blind man’s firing squad. His movies are never bad per se…they’re just not exactly, well, good. That was until Star Trek. We all groaned when we saw the Enterprise under construction in Iowa back in 2008. I think the Nerd Discussion Boards crashed faster than Evil Kineval on a bad day, loaded with death threats and rages of the pimpled variety.

And then the movie arrived in theaters.

To say that we all let out a sigh of relief would be like saying people were ‘slightly excited’ about the return of the McRib. If it weren’t a horrific Obam-ian sci-fi faux pas, I’d say that there had been a disturbance in the Force. But I ain’t no nerd baiting moron. I mean, all I would have to do is point out that Spock intends to cut open the heads of the Enterprise’s crew to steal their powers, Chekhov will have to go back in time to impregnate Sarah Conner, Sulu is going to get lost on his way to White Castle, Bones is going to save Helm’s Deep from the forces of Saruman, Uhura is going to turn blue and hiss at things, and Scottie is going to defend a pub against zombies. Oh yes, that’s all while the director opens a Jedi Academy.

So…many…crossovers…brain…melting

So, what’s the plot of this movie? Well, it seems the crew, hot off the victory over Eric Bana playing, I guess, a crazy Roman emperor with some serious skin and rage issues, are taking it easy. And then things blow up. Maybe. Who knows? All I care about is the fact that the enemy is Bendy-Dick Mutherfucking Cabbage-Patch-Kids. That’s right, the Federation is fucked because, for some reason, they pissed off Sherlock “Gun to My Head? Sure” Holmes. That’s right, JJ Abrams, the man tasked with rebooting the two greatest science fiction series of all time, has decided to insert so many juggernauts of nerd-joy into this thing that he seemingly intends to force a critical mass of squee, a chain reaction of dork-bliss, a nuclear blast of fan-person-doo-doo-batter and unravel the fabric of the universe. All we need now is for the Star Wars reboot to include David Tenant, Nathan Fillion, Sir Ian McKellan, Matt Smith, Patrick Stewart and, let’s say, Daryl from The Walking Dead and I think he will have his Nerd-pocalypse in the bag.

He stirs. He rolls to one side. His arms feel the coursing blood of a dozen film reels slowly revitalizing him into consciousness.

*YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNN*

No, that was not in response to memories of watching The Master. I have awoken once more. The temperature is rising (in theory) and the threat of the longest, coldest, blandest fucking winter in history is beginning to abate. That’s right! I have returned! Mama bear has risen from her den of lazy iniquity, doing her best to ignore the last four months of utter penis-drizzle that has decorated our silver screens (Pro-tip, if your movie theater is sticky, use disinfectant).

It is a time honored tradition among critics (well, just me) to lull oneself into a three month slumber, a coma of such artistic impenetrability even Rip Van Winkle would say ‘dial it back a bit, homes’ (because we all know Rip Van Dubs was totes hood – look it up). After the annoyance and rampant self-congratulatory visual masturbation of ‘awards’ season, cinema annually decides to not only ‘take it easy’ but to essentially attempt suicide. This, my friends, is the Time of Turds, the Armpit of Art, the Peril of Perry. Think I’m over-reacting? Think I’m hyperbolizing? Remember this butt-plugging-woman-hating-ham-fisting-kardashian-employing-smeg-ulicious gem?

Tyler-Perrys-marriage-counselor

That’s the face of a cold-blooded killer…of cinema

Granted, my critical hibernation had a few desirable hiccups along the way. Evil Dead was fun. I mean, not in the “Let’s hang out and grab coffee” kind of way, but rather, if I saw Evil Dead hanging out at a party, I’d totally say hi and make awkward conversation for a few moments. It was a classy film. Did I say classy? I meant bitch-cut-off-her-own-arm-with-a-meat-shaver. That movie was terrible. And fucking amazing.

evil-dead-remake-2013-arm-cuttting-scene

Evil Dead: The Tale of Ladies Losing Limbs and Dudes Getting Shot with Nails. You know, for kids!

Anyhoo…I’m back. From outer space. I just walked in to see you here with that sad look upon your face. And guess the fuck what? I’m back in time for mutherfucking SUMMER MOVIE SEASON!

(Cue audience applause)

That’s right, folks, the Rear Admiral of Snark is about to admiral his rear in the direction of some of these seasonal stinkers. Do I think it’s absurd that I’m talking about summer movies while still wearing a scarf because it’s thirty fucking degrees outside? Of course not! Because when I moved to this back-asswards town they call Chi, I knew what I was signing up for. That’s right, a Checkovian/Satrian/ Beckettian nightmare of meteoric implausibility and almost rabid weather-based mood swings. So, zipping up my winter coat, lets talk about the joke that is SUMMER.

Those of you who read my articles last year, you know, when I was writing articles and such, you will know that I have four distinct and essential categories of summer film: first, the coveted Movies I Want to See, you know, the films that get my fan boy goulies all twisted up with some kind of Joss-Whedon Family-Jewel Juice (Patent-pending). These are the movies that, when their glorious cheeky grins spread across the movieplex, I’m reduced to a galloping and insufferable child, returned once more to my days of hiding behind the couch when that Nazi’s head explodes at the end of Raiders. This is Class A, premium cut, top quality ass meat (but the good kind of ass…like rump, you know, not-anus meat). Expectations will be high! Sweeping declarations will be made! Tears will be shed! Dreams, like a really dodgy masquerade ball filled with David Bowie look-alikes and far too much Bowie-Balls, will be shattered! This is usually where the most weeping occurs, fair warning to you all.

He haunts my dreams. Take that as you will.

Second: Movies I will See and Hate Myself. Let’s be real. Cinema is a drug. No, fuck that. Movies are candy. They’re a pack of gummy worms, of Reese’s Pieces, of sugar-encrusted cola bottles because, fuck, I certainly wasn’t getting enough sugar when I bought the regular old 100% sugar treat designed to taste like a drink made of 100% pure cane white gold. You have one, but you know it doesn’t stop there. You reach into the pack again and again. I mean, you could cook something with, you know, nutrition but…well, that’s all the way in the kitchen and this grab bag of pre-diabetes is already right here. You eat and gorge and stuff and suck and, before you know it, you’re three hundred pounds getting a Reese’s Hysterectomy (full disclosure: not really sure what a hysterectomy is, but it sounds cool – fuller disclosure: OF COURSE I KNOW WHAT A HYSTERECTOMY IS). During the summer, I will return to the movie theater again and again, hoping that this time…well…this time it’ll be different. We all hear ourselves saying it: “But guys, maybe they’ll get Wolverine right this time?” or “Well, I know watching the last Smurfs movie was like getting a lap dance from Rush Limbaugh…but this is a sequel,” or, “Fuck it. Just give me two scoops of Transformers: Whatever the Fuck the Next One Will Be Called.” Yes, these are the movies that, on a rainy summer night with nothing else to do, we might reach into the bag and wake up the next morning with apenda-Michael-Bay-citis. These are the movies that are soulless, pointless, classless and, in the worst way possible, worthless. They’re the movies you will one day catch on TV when you have the flu and, due to general weakness and the fear of self-defecation, can’t reach the control. I’ll see them. I’ll ‘meh’ them. I’ll forget them. Like that one movie I forgot last year… Can’t remember the name of it, but it’ll come back to me.

Brought to you by our sponsor, Michael “It’s Only Hurts The First Time” Bay.

Third: Movies I Will See Drunk. Ah yes, perhaps the most sacred of categories. This list of cinematic delicacy is really only palatable with a handle of Jack and, let’s say, another handle of Jack to wash the first one down. If one were to witness these gifts from the filmic gods while under the satanic influence of sobriety, one might be tempted to claw one’s eyes out, or sex one’s mother, or something else of the Greek persuasion. Everything about these crotch-monkeys is terrible. Bad acting. Bad writing. Bad, well, ‘directing’ is a strong word. Let’s say ‘Man wearing an ass for a hat waggling his penis in the direction of a camera’. However, add to this crap-pie just one (actually ten) shot of whiskey and, ladies and gentlemen, you have a mutherfucking masterpiece. That’s right, Jack Daniels should have a goddamn Oscar for Best Supporting-My-Ability-to-Sit-Through-Abraham-Lincoln-Vampire-Hunter. This is probably my favorite category of film…in that I fucking hate it and love it all at once. If I publicized my relationship with this category on Facebook, it would be ‘It’s Complicated’ followed by a really awkward picture of me licking the DVD case of Piranha 3D. Don’t tell my therapist about that last part.

This is what the inside of my brain looked like after seeing Showgirls for the first time.

Finally and absolutely lastly, the fourth category: Movies That Want So Much For Me to Like Them to the Point They’d Roofie Me, Throw Me in the Back of Their VW and Then Gradually Reeducate Me While Having Me Strapped to a Chair in their Parents’ Basement. These are the films that are devised and concocted in a lab on a boat out in international waters, Robert Oppenheimer on one side and Josef Mengele on the other. These are the movies crafted precisely for my ‘Demographic’. You know, white twenty-something douchebags. These are the movies with about as much respect for gender equality as I do for the Star Wars prequels. These are the movies where aerial-barfing is a glorified art, farts are as revered as strings to Tchaikovsky, where pedophilia is the punch line (I’m looking at you, everything-Adam-Sandler-has-ever-done). These are the movies that, if I had the chance to condemn something to eternal damnation, they’d be at the top of the fucking list ready to be shoved down Beelzebub’s throbbing gullet. I will not see these. Not just because they are bad. Not just because they are lazy and stupid and about as witty as the smelly kid in kindergarten accidentally sticking a thumb up his own anus and getting it trapped (okay, that’s kinda funny). It’s because they offend me. They offend the fact that they want me. They try so hard. They woo me with their Zack Galifinakises, their casts of the Daily Show, their Senor Changs…but then the product they offer up is about as palatable as a dinner at Courtney Love’s new restaurant chain, “Needles N’ Noodles” (don’t get the lo mien, I beg you. Unless you’re really into Hepatitis A through G. If you are, fair play. Bon appetit).

What I do after watching any Adam Sandler trailer ever.

So, my adoring and, probably now, nonexistent public, tune in over the next couple of weeks for my Summer Movie Preview. There will be Marvel movies! Prequels! Sequels! Sequels to prequels! Oh lord will there be sequels! In fact! Now that I look at it! It’s pretty much ALL sequels!

Mama bear is back. And she wants some meat.

Okay, that last part was really creepy. Now I’m confused about several aspects of my psyche. Um…I’ll catch you next time.