Posts Tagged ‘pixar’

Despicable Me 2 (2013) – Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin (Dir.), Steve Carrell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, an adorable child, and the directors mumbling French gibberish

This poster is oddly illustrative of this movies utter lack of concern for anything other than the minions. And I'm okay with that.

This poster is oddly illustrative of this movies utter lack of concern for anything other than the minions. And I’m okay with that.

Inevitability is an odd thing. There are some choices that, though we avoid like some kind of bubonic plague, manage to follow us throughout our lives, dogging us at every turn, ready to infect us with pus-spewing boils. They become the emotionless body snatchers, one by one removing the populace from their willful ignorance and turning them into one of the horde. For so long I was the Donald Sutherland, the Naomi Watts, if you will, of this horrendous trend, this insidious reign of unmitigated mediocrity, this scattegorically-obsessed prepackaged product designed to melt the minds of children into a susceptible mush of malleable marketability. I am, of course, talking about non-Pixar digital animation.

Yes, ring the snob alarm, if you please. Douse me in two day old caviar and flat champagne. Perhaps beat me with a Prada bag, whatever you please. But, yes, I hold children’s movies in extremely high regard. Children are simultaneously the dullest and the smartest creatures to ever spread across the face of the earth. Their minds and imaginations are, for the most part, blank slates ready to be sketched upon. I firmly believe the media we consume from an early age directly influences whether that sketch on that slate is something more akin to a Rembrandt or one of those things that a 3 year-old hands you that looks like a sausage covered in hair and the words “tHis my doGG”. For example, while watching this movie, there was a child behind me who spoke almost every line of the film in unison with it until his father begged him to stop. He’d seen it once. Was this child Rain Man? Fuck no. He’s a child! I still have awkward sound cues and snippets of dialogue from The Nightmare Before Christmas branded into my memory. Children are sponges and, if they even half-enjoy something, they will gorge upon its contents like a rabid Furby.

That being said, in the most pompous fashion possible, I’ve been in an unadulterated love affair with Pixar since Toy Story 2. Not only is their animation and direction fucking amaze balls, but their stories and themes strike deep at the heart of myriad emotional trials and tribulations. We have the tale of an overbearing father learning to let go while his son realizes he isn’t as weak as he thought (Finding Nemo), how to let go of our childhood and pass it on to the next generation (Toy Story 3), the dangers of pollution and the friendship of cockroaches (Wall-E) and how to be a really fast car that talks (full disclaimer: I’ve never seen Cars). Basically, with a few hiccups ignored here and there (I probably won’t be seeing Monsters University any time soon) their record is almost immaculate, culminating with one of the most heartbreaking tales to ever be told in 10 minutes, Up.

Hey children, interested in a new way to use Dad's poorly guarded golf clubs?Look and learn!

Hey children, interested in a new way to use Dad’s poorly guarded golf clubs?Look and learn!

So, after years of poopooing anything digitally animated lacking the Pixar stamp, turning my nose up at such harrowing classics as A Shark’s TaleOver the Hedge, Shrek 4: The One with JT and Ice Age 12: Now With More Rappers, I finally gave in and watched Despicable Me. Immediately, it is riddled with symptoms of lackluster kids movies. We have a mainly R&B soundtrack put together by a talented and completely child-unfriendly artist (Pharrell Williams),  a celebrity cast that looks like the guest list to a Woody Allen Young Woman Appreciation Party (and all of them timidly accepted) as well as already dated, over-the-head pop culture references that no child would ever understand (there is a joke about Lehman Brothers. I shit you not. What child, Doogie Houser aside, knows who the fuck Lehman Brothers is? I barely do. Shit!) Honestly, Despicable Me was utterly charming, for the most part. Yes, the minions, spouting their French nonsense (is that redundant?) while giggling and blowing each other up is chuckle-worthy. And, okay, yes, I let out a ‘Ha’ when Russell Brand’s Dr. Nefario creates a Fart Gun after mishearing directions. AND HOLY SHIT, AGNES IS FUCKING ADORABLE.

Here’s my issue with Despicable Me: everything that isn’t the main characters. They spent a great deal of time and energy upping the cuddle-factor, making Steve Carrell’s Gru a sort of Beauty and the Beast-like anti-hero that, for all of his nefarious deeds, like that one magical hooker, has a heart of gold. It’s everything else that’s the problem. The plot concerns Gru trying to get a loan from a bank to pay for his plan to steal the moon. Yes. Loans were involved. I get hives when even considering the concept of higher level interest rates. How the fuck is a kid going to understand that? Meanwhile, the bank manager instead gives the funds to his pear-shaped son, a villain who tries, and miserably fails, to create his own catchphrase. Sorry, guys, in a world where we have “Yippee kai yay, mutherfucker”, “I’ll be back”, “Use the force,” “You shall not pass”, and “I drink your milkshake”, the phrase “OH YEAH!” isn’t going to cut it. Especially when those words are coming from the mouth of Jason “I’m Over it” Segel. The guy sounds like he rolled out of bed, lit a blunt, and hurriedly spewed every line of dialogue into a fucking dictaphone, sent it to the studio and cashed a check large enough to make my bank account weep with shame.

"Did Barney the Dinosaur just have an accident on your face, or are you just happy to see me?"

“Did Barney the Dinosaur just have an accident on your face, or are you just happy to see me?”

It was Shrek, that feast of anachronistic fairy tale oddities, that began this trend of inserting famous people into voice acting roles. Yes, we know why you hire Eddie Murphy. We have all seen Delirious (except me. I haven’t. Oops). We also know that, once upon a time, Mike Myers was a bankable talent (shudder). Even John Lithgow has a voice that make bowels loosen and widows faint. But Cameron Diaz? Her? The lady’s strength is her looks. Once you strip that away, all you have left is a tepid and grating personality. It’s like, why the fuck do you cast Taylor Swift in an animated movie? So you can make sure she sings over the end credits? You might as well just hire out a speech therapy clinic for the afternoon. At least those people know how to string words together. If you notice, Pixar never, never lists their cast over posters or the opening credits. Why? Who the fuck cares! Voice acting is a different beast altogether. Here’s something that will blow your noggin: Mark Hamill, remember him? Luke “What Happened to My Career and My Face?” Skywalker? You know what his meal ticket has been for the last twenty years? And I’ll give you a clue, it ain’t Lucasfilm royalty checks. He plays the Joker in the iconic Batman: the Animated Series. Yes, the fucking Joker. Perhaps the greatest incarnation of the character until Heath Ledger ate too many popsicles and covered his hair in bacon grease. Voice actors are voice actors. Why, oh why, would you pay money for Jemaine Clement to voice a minion, when all you’re going to do is mix it into oblivion to sound like all the other minions?

Well, after all that, why don’t we talk about Despicable Me 2? This time around, Gru has become a full-on single parent of the three orphans and left his life of villainy behind. However, there is a new threat to the world and he’s the only person the Anti-Villainy League (yep, no prizes for originality there) can rely on to discover who is behind a plot to create an army of purple, indestructible super-beings. By his side is the new and utterly unpredictable Lucy (Kristen “Sitting on the ‘Tina Fey Throne of Female Comedians'” Wiig) as a super agent with a penchant for being simultaneously completely clueless and infinitely resourceful. While his minions are being picked off one by one and transformed into a purple army of crazed Eraserhead impersonators, Gru and Lucy open a fake bakery (or fakery, thanks Weeds!) in the inaptly named Paradise Mall. From there, we have childhood romances, adventures with jam, an insane guard chicken, and dangerously-close-to-racist antagonist.

DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE?

DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE?

It seems that the charm factor has blown itself into oblivion once more. While Agnes isn’t offered too much of the spotlight (with the gigglicious exception of that one scene in the trailer with her and Gru), the focus is on the infinite stream of precocious minions and their increasingly bizarre and gender-bending exploits. Also, remember that fart gun? Yes, it comes back. They milk that puppy for all it’s fucking worth. And, once more, the cavalcade of b-listers continues with the omnipresent Ken Jeong showing up for one bemusingly sexual scene in a wig shop and Kristen Schaal as an indestructible Barbie-doll during perhaps the most surreal and vestigial section of the entire fucking film. Let’s take a moment to go over it: Gru, while trying endlessly to avoid his neighbor’s attempts to set him up with a lady, agrees to go on a date with boobs-mcgee because…he has a wig now? And they go to dinner where Schaal proceeds to do one arm push ups and scream in his face (boobs everywhere) and then finally breaks into full rabid-nutso mode until Lucy shows up and shoots her with moose tranquilizer. The rest of the segment involves Gru and Lucy bonding over smashing the Rohypnol-ed vixen face-first into anything they can find. What the fuck?

Ultimately, the movie was fun. It was as deep as a claustrophobe’s spelunking threshold, but it kept the giggles coming. It was nice to see characters of other race in the film (the bad guy is a mexican wrestler)…though they all end up being evil. Also, it’s nice to have so many women on screen…though three of them are children and the last, Lucy, is about as mentally stable and coherent as Finnegan’s Wake on acid. Is she incompetent? Overly competent? A child? Obsessive compulsive? A manic pixie dream girl? But yes, there were dance sequences including a mildly subversive YMCA booty-break-down and the finale was both hilarious and secretly referential (World War Z, anyone?). All in all, my axe grinding shall halt a moment. I’ll place it on the ground and, perhaps, select a spoon with which to sup upon this light meal. It won’t last forever. It’s no Incredibles. Its imagination maxes out after ‘Three Stooges’ level horseplay. But, it’s a treat. It won’t give you a heart attack or diabetes. It’s harmless and delightful. And, for now, I’m simply going to willfully ignore everything from Pixar until The Good Dinosaur finally materializes in theaters. Let’s hope it’s a little more interesting than The Land Before Time 19: the Search for Spockasaurus. 

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Summer Movie Preview

Part Two – Movies I Will See and Hate Myself

As Orpheus moved from the world of the living down into the depths of Hades, so too do we cross from the land of ‘interesting’ movies into the perpetual torment of ‘meh’. This is the section of the summer movie season that I despise for purely the reason that these films, if one can call them such, are not so much terrible as they are non-events. I love terrible. Heck, I adore terrible. I will purchase a midnight ticket, load up on whiskey, get dressed up in spanks and lycra and giggle until sun-up for terrible. But meh? MEH? What am I supposed to do with meh? I can’t laugh about Meh with my friends. I can’t even get angry about Meh. I just shrug, allow the experience to slip from my skin like some kind of soul-sucking, art-sucking, mind-sucking, suck-sucking oil designed to drive audiences to the point of utter wide-eyed non-beingness. They’re not candy. Candy is fun! Candy is delicious! Yes, it gives you diabetes, but that’s later. This, if this is candy, this category is filled with the Charleston Chews, the Werther’s Originals, and the Orange Starbursts of movies. These are the movies that if some old folk dumped them it in your Halloween basket, you’d make a face, ignore it for as long as possible but, once you’ve destroyed the M&Ms, the Twizzlers and Reeses, you’re going to stick your hand because, fuck it, you’re on a roll. So, if I can’t get angry about the movies then I’ll fucking get angry that I CAN’T get angry about these movies.

And, whew boy, we have a lot this year. Like way more than is acceptable. So many, in fact, that I decided to sort them all into thematic twosomes. That is how mind-bleedingly bullshit 2013 is. I want me money back, Hollywood! I haven’t even spent it yet and I already want it back! Well, let’s stop trying to stave off the inevitable and just chow down on these sugary pieces of digital entertainment destined for the bottom of the bargain bin. Here they are, the movies I will see and hate myself:

SCI-FI MOVIES TRYING REALLY HARD BUT FALLING SHORT

After Earth

No, it isn't a sequel to Dumbo. Their massive ears are simply a coincidence.

No, it isn’t a sequel to Dumbo. Their massive ears are simply a coincidence.

Will Smith is at it again! Not sated with fighting the apocalypse with a dog, he had to drag his son into the mix, bright-eyed and destined for stardom/cocaine addiction Jaden Smith. This is certainly one of the best of the bunch, I will admit. The concept of a journey back to a post-human Earth could definitely be interesting. Or it could be an exercise in Dinosaur-less Jurassic Park. I get that, over time, the creatures of Earth would evolve into human killing beasties…but they’re still just monkeys. I laugh at those things in a zoo. Ain’t no aliens burstin’ outta chests here. Just the well-worn tale of a boy getting stuck in a safari that is actually a planet. They’re going for the father-son angle. Fine. They’re even going for the ‘Fear isn’t real’ theme. Great. Now…wake me up when it gets interesting. I will say this, however, Mr. William “The Freshest of Princes” Smith is probably the only black actor (save perhaps for Jamie Foxx, on a good day) who would ever be cast in a movie on a color-blind basis. No other black actor can waltz into an A-list, multi-billion dollar Avatar rip-off and walk out alive. Which is ironic, because the trailers scream that he’s going to get fucked up in this movie. Just watch. Thems baboons are gonna themselves a jiggy-with-it Smith-skewer. It’s going to be like the first scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey except that it’s actually going to be the part in Congo where Tim Curry bites it…in that a gorilla bites him. So, sure, I’ll see it. And sure, it’ll be just like Oblivion, heart in the right place but, like a virgin on his wedding night, execution everywhere it shouldn’t be.

Pacific Rim

Is it me or does it look like the robot is peeing apocalypse?

Is it me or does it look like the robot is peeing apocalypse?

It pains me to add this to the list. Like, accidentally-slap-yourself-in-the-face pain. Mr. Guillermo Del Toro is an artist. He is. Unlike the rest of the talentless ass monkeys in Hollywood, this Mexican madman has a vision. And, like a director with an eerily similar name, Terry Gilliam, his movies tend to die before they even have a chance to be born. It’s like there’s some kind of artistic hitman out to destroy all that Del Toro touches. At the Mountains of Madness? Dead on arrival. The Hobbit? Stolen and morphed into Franken-Hobbit, a horrifying amalgam of misdirected children’s nonsense and self-importance. The guy can’t catch a break. But finally, he has returned from his dolorous slumber, once more allowed a shot at the spotlight. Sure, he was nominated for an Oscar for the amazing and life-changing Pan’s Labyrinth, and, sure, the Hellboy series has raked in a sickening amount of cash. So, will they allow him to adapt a beloved piece of literature into a horror film starring the still terrifyingly bankable Tom Cruise? Or will they let him adapt a book so fucking easy to adapt it’s almost written in screenplay format and based on a previous intellectual property that’s made more money than Bill Gates consumes for dinner every night (not because he must, but because he can)? Nope? Okay, how about fucking robots fighting Godzilla in the dark? Sound good? Good.

I mean, who thought this was a good idea? Steal the plot of Evangelion, a nonsensical Japanese tale of demons taking over the world and humans scraping together resources from their rectal areas to fight them? Because, you know what I think when the apocalypse is happening? I think, “Well, I sure wish I’d gotten around to building multi-trillion dollar pieces of ridiculous before we got attacked. Fuck it, even though civilization is destroyed, let’s put together the most expensive and complex construction project known to man since the mutherfucking pyramids.” Also, I’m half expecting, since Del Toro hired the voice of GLaDOS from Portal, that all of the robots will turn on the humans and begin ‘testing’ with a side helping of imaginary cake. Best case scenario, Idris Elba yells, things blow up, we cheer. Worst case scenario, it’s like 1998’s Godzilla all over again…except with somehow more Matthew Broderick.

FROM THE GUYS WHO RUINED HORROR FOR EVERYONE

The Conjuring

If they're going for the award for blandest poster, I think they're a shoe in.

If they’re going for the award for blandest poster, I think they’re a shoe in.

Ladies and gentlemen, a hand, if you will, for the glorious and generous James Wan! Who is that, you ask? Oh ho ho, he is the genius, nay, the mastermind behind the ‘New Wave’ of horror. And, no, I’m not talking about the highly revered French film movement in the late sixties. This guy is man responsible for Saw, Dead Silence, Insidious and all other silliness that has spawned from his offspring. Saw III? Yeah, that was because of him. No, he didn’t direct it, just like the Wachowskis didn’t direct those whorish excuses for action movies released the in obliterative wake of The Matrix; all obsessed with not just using ‘Bullet-time’ but overusing it to the point that audiences began puking in the aisles from motion sickness. Mr. Wan is basically the prophet of mediocre brutality tales from his hilariously un-directed and bemusingly acted Saw to Insidious, a movie so scary that it shits its own pants in the final act. Did I say scary? I meant mentally-deranged. It’s not so much that the movies Wan churns out fail on many levels, its that the floodgates he opened have caused horror to turn into the masticated mess it is today. Saw allowed Eli Roth to think Hostel was okay. And Hostel allowed Hostel Part II. And that shit is unconscionable. Even Insidious, which was pretty creative for the most part, spawned the yawn-filled Sinister. And whoever keeps making Paranormal Activity movies needs to suffer a bizarre ice cream accident wherein all of their movie-making limbs are irreparably broken. Nothing terrible. I don’t want to feel bad about it; I just want it to stop.

Now, let me be clear, James Wan isn’t so bad. Insidious, for all of its completely deleterious third act nonsense, had some genuine moments of creep-itude. That face showing up behind Patrick Wilson’s head?I jumped so hard, I think I administered the Heimlich maneuver to myself. Also, the mumble-core psychics were hilarious. His creature design, after the pant-wetting chilliness of the Jigsaw puppet, has been lackluster at best, looks-like-my-grandmother-after-a-perm-gone-wrong-bad at worst. It seems, from the trailers, that Wan has included some of the creepier and more human elements of Insidious (including the concept of casting actual ‘actors’ and not ‘meat puppets’, which is always appreciated) while cashing in on the diminishing returns from Linda Blair in The Exorcist. There will be jumps. There will be creepy stuff. In fact, it looks like a delicious pot of ‘not terrible’ until we see the words ‘Based on the True Case Files of the Warrens’. UGH. NO ONE CARES IF IT’S TRUE. In fact, in the land of horror, those words are the metaphorical katana for the inexorable Hare Kari that the movie will commit in the last act. Either the screenwriter will take some serious liberties with the ‘truth’ forcing me to have the same conversation over and over again with coworkers about the complete-bullshittude of the film’s purported veracity, or it will devolve into a special episode of Ghost Hunters. Well, Mr. Wan, good luck. I hope this is a decent blip on the radar before you return to the inevitable and insipid Insidious 2 (see what I did there?).

The Purge

If all crime is legal, then why mask your identity? I have questions...

If all crime is legal, then why mask your identity? I have questions…

While The Conjuring is a direct descendant of the Saw patriarch, The Purge is the random kid allowed over to the house for Thanksgiving Dinner. No one is really sure how he got there and no one wants to ask the grinning little bastard to leave. This bad boy was invited to the party by “The Producers of Sinister and Paranormal Activity“. Awesome. The guy responsible for me watching Ethan Hawke get drunk and make terrible choices and the security tape of two boring people sleeping. Fucking tits, man. Can’t wait! Not to mention, this is brought to you by a greenhorn director who is famous for writing the movie Jack. You remember Jack, the one where Robin Williams plays the kid who grows at 4 times the rate of other children? That absolutely absurd tale of…but then…he just wants to be a kid, but he’s forty and at graduation he’s like 80…don’t cry, Andrew, you can do this…

Ahem. Yes, it has Ethan “I’ll Try if I Really Want To” Hawke and Queen Cersei sporting a rather fashionable bob. It tells the tale of an America where there is no crime and unemployment is at a record low because of the titular ‘Purge’. It is one night where there is no law and people can do whatever they please. So, naturally, they kill every mutherfucker they can…because that’s…what people do…? I don’t know about y’all, but I just wish I could turn my life into the fucking Hunger Games once a year. Anyway, the Hawke-meister and his Queen (watch out for the backstabbing!) hold up in their super-fortress of a suburban home to drink away the night. But then their dumbass kid was audacious enough to show ’empathy’, the little bitch, and saves a man’s life. Then people try to kill them. Basically, it’s Assault on Precinct Ordinary People. Seeing as this guy also wrote the Ethan Hawke remake of Assault on Precinct 13, I find that both worrying and calming. At least he’s done this before…except, last time, it really sucked. Oh well. This movie could go one of two ways: 1) it could be a clever, if slightly schadenfreudistic, look at the interactions of the 1% and the 99% and the distance between the haves and the have nots in a time of crisis or 2) it could be a nihilistic piece of torture porn wherein every angry white kid from the suburbs can cheer as the parents get blunt objects shoved where the sun don’t shine. Who knows? I can almost guarantee we will forget it almost immediately.

COGNITIVE DISSIDENCE BETWEEN TALENT OF CREATIVE TEAM AND THE QUALITY OF THE TRAILER

The Lone Ranger

Is that a dead bird on Johnny's head? Yep. Nothing wrong here.

Is that a dead bird on Johnny’s head? Yep. Nothing wrong here.

This is possibly the saddest and most confusing segment of this post. This is the place where terrible people somehow create something decent and great film artists make choices that probably should have been left on the cocaine-dusted backside of the hooker where it was conceived. The Lone Ranger is the latter. I have had a minor-to-massive crush on Mr. Gore “Really, That’s Your First Name?” Verbinski, especially during his frequent forays with Johnny “Put It Back in Your Pants, Ladies” Depp, since the advent of his mind-bending blockbuster tour de force trio Pirates of the Caribbean and solidified it further with the trippiest-cartoon-to-ever-win-an-Oscar Rango. The pair of them have the most bizarre and tickling sense of humor I’ve ever discovered in a mainstream movie. Well, sometimes those giggle-butts go a little too far and decide to do The Lone Ranger. *FACEPALM* Okay, guys, you’ve already flaunted the fact that you can turn the most absurd basis of a movie, a fucking ride at Disney, into an amazing seafaring romp. Yes, you proved you can stick it to Wreck-it Ralph with bizarro Clint Eastwood references and Bill Nighy as a snake with a gattling gun (no fucking joke, you need to see Rango; it’s insane). But racism? Guys, seriously. Yes, I know, Mr. Depp is some non-existent fraction of Cherokee that, to real mathematicians would round down to naught. But it doesn’t count. That’s like Tiger Woods saying “I’m half Chinese so I can dress up in my red dragon-enbroidered robes, stick in some buck teeth (not that I need them) color my face yellow and squint while saying ‘me so sol-lee’ over and over”. It just…isn’t…kosher. (Disclaimer: Well, if a rabbi blessed his racist meat then technically, yes, it is kosher).

We’ve got the knucklehead writers of Pirates back (not the amazing and low-budget, midget-stabbing-men-in-the-face porno, the other one), Armie Hammer, the adonis with abs so nice, they cast him twice…in The Social Network, as well as a host of beloved character actors. The action will be awesome. The jokes will be weird. I just can’t get past the red-face. And I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh after going up a short flight of stairs. I’m talking about the Wounded Knee, Trail of Tears, totem-touting “Kimosabe” faccent coming out of Depp’s mouth. I get it. The show wasn’t exactly the Rosa Parks of Native American mainstream artistic perception, but come the fuck on, it was the 50s. That was the time, if you were a white man, you could slap a black man in the face, a woman, of any race, on the behind and then call the local police station and claim that both assaulted you. You know, the golden age of America. Why couldn’t we cast an actual Native American in the part? Or, better yet, change the plot of the movie to not include Native Americans. Or, even better yet, not fucking make a movie of a television show whose last surviving fans are currently eating mushy peas through a tube while still discussing ‘The Negro Problem’ and make something fucking new, you lazy assholes. Ah, that felt good to finally get out in the open.

Man of Steel

Man-of-Steel-poster2-610x904

Superman, now equipped with portable backlighting!

And then…the other side of the coin. Here we have a movie trailer that actually, shockingly, looked kind of alright. From the operatic score, the heartfelt yet dour imagery and the haggard face of Kevin Kostner relocated to the unfairly manipulative setting of a farm (fucking Field of Dreams flashbacks!) to the slick and gritty fight scenes and the promise of Michael Shannon screaming the Superman equivalent of ‘cunt punt’, this thing hits every note a summer blockbuster requires. There seems to be a unified aesthetic for this next outing this, what the fuck is it, prequel? Sequel? Remake of Smallville? Prequel to the Superman Returns remake-quel? Perhaps we’re stuck in a brutal cycle of alternate Superman universes wherein the filmmakers and actors responsible are constantly losing careers left right and center? Whatever. If you have to replace Terrence “I Eat Bricks for Breakfast” Stamp with anyone, Michael Shannon is not only the perfect choice, he is the result of cooking Pinter-ian quiet fury, batshit second amendment insanity and a host of cartoon-cereal mascots in a paint tin for two days and then shoving it in a mixer for two hours. Mutherfucker is nuttier than squirrel turds. And he’s amazing. Well, turns out we have Christopher “Bat-Penis” Nolan producing, teaming up once again for the infuriatingly oxymoronic David S. “No, I Have Not Forgotten About Blade Trinity” Goyer after destroying the world with some damn good Bat-outings. Thus far everything about this movie, save for the fact that it includes the most boring superhero of all time (other than, of course, Board-Man…with the power to…well, who fucking cares. I think it has something to do with card tricks and Jenga. Eh), seems utterly perfect. I wonder who’s directing it…

Oh.

Zack. Fucking. Snyder. Some of you might not know, most of you might not care, but I have a box of voodoo dolls with that dumbass’s face plastered on each and every one. Yes, he made a wonderful, if bone-headed and paper-thin splash on the scene with the raucous Dawn of the Dead remake. But then his penis decided to meld with his brain stem. We next received the repugnantly and confusingly homophobic/homoerotic 300, the filmic equivalent of that guy who sits in the weight area of the gym with his legs spread wide in order for him to watch his own throbbing boner and shrunken testes as he pumps iron. Yes, this is if Arnold Schwarzenneger and Sylvester Stallone had a freak test-tube baby, it would have been 300. But with less brain cells. Whatever, it was funny. We laughed. We wept for humanity a bit. At least Mr. Snyder was only shitting on history, there’s no way anyone would ever let him do that to a beloved graphic novel with a fanbase more rabid than a dog pound after national ‘Dog-Bite On the Face Day’.

Oh wait.

My hatred of the Watchmen movie is so pure and unadulterated, it could be bottled to fuel interstellar travel. When I see that movie playing, even for a moment, blood begins rushing from my earholes and I begin spewing pee-green soup. There might be some mild crucifix-masturbation. It’s hard to tell after I blackout. Well, Mr. Snyder then tried to make amens, or something of the sort, deciding to craft the woefully misguided and unintentionally ultra-mysogynistic Sucker Punch. *HEADDESK* There aren’t enough curses in the world to describe how much I vitriolically despised that ‘movie’. Perhaps there will be an article down the line. It’ll be a Clockwork Orange-esque evening of rancid torture with an entree of  Snyder and a side plate of titties.

So, Snyder, the dullard who ruined Watchmen. The prick with the prick behind Sucker Turds. He’s taking on Superman? Well, take your best shot, buddy boy. Oh! And I see you’ve brought Russell “I Will Never Forgive You” Crowe for the ride! I hope he dies. And since he’s playing Jor-El, there’s a very good chance of that. Bitch is going down harder than a concrete porcupine soufflé. It’s a match made in Satan’s butthole.

Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe Snyder has learned a little about filmmaking since Sucker MAKE-IT-STOP. Maybe Nolan has taken him under his wing and ceremoniously yanked the dick from his ear. Maybe not. This summer will show all. Bring it, Snyder-Meister.

THE PREQUEL AND THE SEQUEL TO A PREQUEL

Monster’s University

Wow, Oberlin College is far more attractive and less freakish than I remember.

Wow, Oberlin College is far more attractive and less freakish than I remember.

Oh Pixar. My dear, dearest, sweetest Pixies of the Ar. How glorious you once were, soaring above the plebeians, dousing us once a year with a golden egg seemingly sent from the muses of heaven. You made us weep like children, giggle like idiots, and feel all of the feels. You played our heartstrings like they were a fucking lute. Now… where have you gone? Other than the charming yet mildly mediocre Brave, you sprinkle us with sequels and prequels and pointless rehashings of worn out IPs. Finding Nemo 2? Check. Cars 2? Ugh. Check. Of course, the argument against this cynicism is the excellent Toy Story series. Sure. That charted the progression of childhood, from wide-eyed discovery, to fear of rejection, to eventual loss and the lessons needed to let go. It was fucking brilliant and, yes, I wept like a newborn child in the aisles, hugging my popcorn against my chest calling out the name of my lost teddy bear from my childhood crib (which was difficult, because I never actually named him).

Now, Monsters Inc., sweet as you were, you barely grazed the tip of the Up-ian iceberg of emotions Pixar has explored. Kids are cute. John Goodman and Billy Crystal are funny. Is that it? Is that where we’re headed? Now, it wasn’t quite as vapid as Cars, but, guys, it wasn’t Up. Yes, I know the execs want to boost toy sales and, shit, a universe of fluffy mildly threatening creatures is a toy maker’s wet dream. But can’t we have more? Can’t we have a new intellectual property? Can we eschew the fanboy cries for more Incredibles and a sequel to A Bug’s Life. Of course they want more! They’re fanboys! They’re like dogs, you can keep feeding them until their fucking nerd-guts burst open Seven-style. Look at Star Wars. They don’t know how amazing you can be.

Unless…the magic is gone? Maybe Pixar isn’t quite the soaring eagle I had always assumed. Perhaps they’re just the goose whose golden eggs have dried up. Well, if this continues, I say we have a good old goose-that-laid cook off! Michael Eisner, you get a wing. You asshat.

The Wolverine

This is how Hugh Jackman always orgasms. It's not pretty. Unless you have a pulse.

“WHO…TOOK…MY…JELLO…MOLD!?” ~ Wolverine has expanded his culinary aspirations.

Finally, and probably leastly, let’s be real, we have the surreal entry into this year’s ‘middling’ category. Poor Wolverine, he’s been through the grinder over the last decade, tossed from a great director’s hands into the butter-and-moron drizzled fingers of Brett “Yep, I’m Proud of Rush Hour. Come at me, bro!” Ratner to the utterly incomprehensible claws of whoever the fuck was responsible for the urinal-cake-esque X-Men Origins: Wolverine (in that you can keep pissing on it, but it ain’t going away), to the point that he was in a literal meat grinder at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand. So where the fuck are we now? Post-Singer-verse? Pre-Stuart? After the bizarre misappropriation of Three-Mile Island, but before he got seriously McKellan-ed (yes, that’s a sex move. Disclaimer: much like the eponymous, knighted thespian, it requires a three foot penis)? Where are we in time, space and X-Man-dom? Well, apparently Japan, that much is clear.

This film has been in the works ever since the turd-tacular Wolverine seeped its way across the silver screen all those years ago. You know, that one with Deadpool without a mouth, Taylor Kitsch before his career tanked faster than a Blitzkrieg on the Russian Front, and Will.I.am acting…or something of the sort. It’s skipped director to director, starting with the lethally odd and mind-bustingly delightful ex-Mr. Rachel Weisz Darren Aronofsky, and ending with James Mangold, you know the guy who did Kate and Leopold…and Girl, Interrupted. You know, action movies! Okay, okay, he also did 3:10 to Yuma, which was pretty decent other than Mr. Turd-Face Extreme Puke-asaurus Rex Russell Crowe in it. Did I mention I hate him and his stupid egg-shaped face? Sure, the movie will probably be utter crud. Its fight scenes seem bland and overly-cgi-ed, a hold-over aesthetic from its near-mentally-challenged predecessor. I’m sure it will yawn onto screens and then blah-blah its way out. I’m sure we’ll forget it as quickly as we forgot that one movie…from last year…you know, the one…with the people…and explosions? Whatever, I’ll figure it out eventually.

I think I would have enjoyed Aronofsky’s The Wolverine. After all, he and Jackman have worked together before on The Fountain. I can see it now: The Wolverine is a prequel, but it’s also a sequel in that the entirety of the film takes place in the moments before he kills Jean Grey at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand. We have Logan hurtling through space on a fragment of his own brainmatter, thrust through time, rushing after a lost love, never managing to catch her, unable to die and unable to rest, caught in between infinity and a flash of nothingness…and then Craig David appears out of nowhere with a double sided dildo and screams “Ass to ass!”. Oh, and he turns into a bird while dancing Swan Lake and stabs himself. With the dildo.

Brave (2012) – Mark Andrews (Dir.), Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly

I want to go to there.

There is a film company, out there, lost in the darkness of the cinematic hellscape we call Hollywood. A beacon of impeachable light, a bastion of true talent and imagination. As the demons of bullshittery infect every commercial frame of celluloid time and again, they persevere, a teflon giant, kicking ass and taking names in the realm of childish glee and unfettered creativity. I am, of course, describing Pixar. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that if I were to run into Pixar in a gas station, it would take about two minutes before my panties are on the floor and I’m doing unspeakable acts. I mean, come on, for all of its family values and sensibility, you know Pixar is freaky in the sack. And then, after that momentary tryst, I’d keep calling, show up at Pixar’s place at 3 am, weeping my eyes out and searching for comfort. Disney would demand, “Pixar, who is this crazy asshole?” and Pixar would just say its someone who needs their help. And then, as we begin drinking the wine, I make a move. And…BOOM. Fake pregnancy, break up the marriage and I have a ring on the finger. Let’s just say, I’ll lock that shit down. And if it does take some boiling pets Glenn Close-style, so be it. I am determined.

Alrighty then, to Brave. No juggernaut of such skill and amazingness is perfect. Nor is this movie. But I’ll tell you this, for all those naysayers sneering at the shortened running time, the neat little bow placed on its top at the end, and the general lack of the complexity we have come to expect from the studio as a whole, they can shut up. When was the last time you saw something this beautiful and heartfelt? Shut up. Just shut it. That’s my future spouse you’re shitting on there. Anyway, Brave is great. Not the greatest, nor will it be remembered. But it’s well worth seeing and soon. So, let’s start at the beginning, shall we? This is the story of Merida (voiced by the infinitely cute Kelly MacDonald) rebelling against her straight-laced, tradition-bound mother (Emma Fucking Thompson. I told you in MIB3 her actual middle name is ‘Fucking’. Deal with it) who is trying to pawn her off to one of the three major clans to help ensure Scottish peace. Well, Merida gets a spell from a random surprisingly tech-savvy witch that ‘changes her mother’.

I’d marry her. Barring the fact that she’s sixteen. But I’d wait. In a totally not-creepy way.

I won’t give away spoilers…but you can kind of figure out what she turns into. Okay, fine. I will give spoilers. She turns into a bear. Genius. Let’s move along.

So, the rest of the movie is Merida trying to stop her hilariously goofy, yet incredibly adept killer of a father (comedian and renowned star of Boondock Saints II: Boondockier Saints, Billy Connolly) from murdering her mother and stuffing her while at the same time transforming her back to herself before the second dawn. Why the second dawn? Shut the fuck, that’s why. We’ve got some side plots with a demon bear and the absurdly impish firecrotch redheaded triplet brothers. People learn lessons, the scots are ridiculed and everyone lives happily ever after. Again, it ain’t deep. But, damn, it be pretty. I remember when the movie Final Fantasy: Spirits Within came out, bravely not being at all like the video game it was ‘based on’ and employing Alex Baldwin as the main love interest. It really was a brave film. Did I say ‘brave’? I meant ‘piece of baboon feces’. Anyway, all of Geekdom was creaming themselves over the main character’s hair and how ‘lifelike’ it was. Well, it could be called ‘lifelike’ if the bitch had never heard of conditioner. Maybe some styling products. I know this is post-apocalypse with a bunch of…ghosts? I guess? But you could find SOMETHING to use. Sidenote: That movie is an enigma, a blip on the radar of collective insanity. Try watching it. I dare you. It also answers the age old question of “Is Steve Buscemi as terrifying in CG as he is in real life?” I won’t tell you now. You have to watch and find out (cue: evil laugh). Anyway, the belabored point is this: that lady who had all of Japan’s technology up Square’s butthole trying to simulate real hair was a woman with straight black hair. That’s like paying thousands of dollars getting every paint in the world together, only to do something in black and white. A brunette? Really? I love me some brunettes, but that shit ain’t exactly challenging. Come on, people, have some balls. Brave on the other hand creates the most gorgeous mass of curly red locks that I have ever seen. I got a major salon boner that almost lasted long enough to warrant a doctor visit.

If I ever have a daughter, I want her to be Merida. Well, less ‘making me turn into a bear’ and more, I dunno, science enthusiasm.

This is an important movie though for subtler reasons than you’d expect. First of all, it’s one of the few Pixar movies to pass the Bechdel test. And with flying colors too. The main two characters are ladygirls and extremely competent ladygirls at that. Both are charismatic. Both are intelligent. In fact, rarely in a major motion picture is the central relationship between a mother and a daughter. You might get one of the side plots concerning them or it’s an utter chick flick. But here…it’s compelling as all hell, at least to me. You have this girl throwing her independence in the face of age-old tradition, believing that its solely her mother’s fault that they are in this mess, when really her mother is simply a slave to the same traditions. She isn’t forcing the girl into line, she’s offering ways of coping with what can’t be changed. But then…they change it… and that all goes to the wind. So…I guess…fuck tradition? Sure. Why not. Not only that, but there is no love interest. There is no disarming male presence that comes to the rescue in the end. They’re all too busy fighting like idiots. How refreshing is that? Seriously. But, for all the well-devised exploration of full female characters, the movie is decidedly short-sighted on the Scots. I’m not sure if any of the Scotch actors involved minded being portrayed as backwater nincompoops. I mean…it was funny, though an utter fetishization of Scottish culture, a minstrel show for modern day anglophiles. But…pick your battles. I did laugh pretty hard when they all walked back into the castle bare-assed. So. Yeah. That’s cool.

One thing that did endlessly amuse me throughout the film is the fact that I know very adult things about each of the actors involved. That’s like watching Sesame Street knowing that everyone behind the scenes is doing blow (not true! I promise! I know some of those guys and it’s not true!… To my knowledge…DUN DUN DUUUUH). We have Kelly MacDonald, perpetually stuck as that schoolgirl in Danny Boyle’s trippy-as-fuck morally-questionable Trainspotting. You know, that movie where Ewen Bremner shits himself and then accidentally throws it over a couple of parents eating dinner. Also, on the amazingly delicious and entirely white-as-fuck British quiz show QI, Emma Thompson recounted the fact that when she was living with Stephen “Oh lord, He’s Queerer Than Oscar Wilde With a Pineapple Up his Arse” Fry, she used to terrify him by stripping naked and shaking her titties in his general direction. True story. And hilarious. And…arousing? Sorry, I have a crush on Ms. Thompson that will never die. Finally, we have Billy Connolly. I have seen his penis. Not in real life…just on British television. Seriously, you should switch on some of the smut on the BBC. Those saucy minxes. I couldn’t get that out of my head. Especially Connolly’s free-balling haggis flopping about Trafalgar Square (he actually did that. Wikipedia it if you don’t believe me).

From left to right: Merida gets murdered in ‘No Country For Old Men’, Fergus was a boobie guzzling zombie in ‘Fido’ and Queen Elinor is that lady who told Arnie he was pregnant in the oft forgotten ‘Junior’. Fucking pedigree.

In the end, you should see Brave. Support Pixar. They have more talent in their fucking nighttime janitorial staff than Brett Ratner has in the entirety of his nobbish existence. Support a movie with a couple of strong female leads and set outside of America’s comfort zone. It’s funny, it’s cute, it’s pretty and it has a tiny bear diving into a woman’s cleavage. What’s not to love?

Up (2009) – Pete Doctor (Dir.), Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer

There is a badass in that house. A badass coming to a Paradise Falls near you.

I’ve seen Up before. A dozen times. Maybe a million. Somewhere in that realm. I know it back to front. I know almost every line, every shot. I own the soundtrack. I saw it in theaters twice. But this is no relapse. This is no Fifth Element. This is no mindless crap. This is Pixar. This is the most creative commercial institution currently working today. These boys, singlehandedly, are bringing back our childhoods one color-soaked laugh-fest at a time. Or they make Cars. Nobody’s perfect.

It’s been a while since I’ve flicked this bad boy into life. I remember the first time I witnessed that opening montage, the adorable children meeting for the first time and their descent into the deepest love. I remember watching them wish for children, the build up and then the loss. I remember seeing Ellie stumble as she takes a few steps towards Carl’s great surprise, the moment they’d been saving for their entire lives. I remember him sitting at the funeral, holding the balloon. Alone. Lost. His entire routine shattered and his one true happiness snuffed out.

That happens in eight minutes. Eight fucking minutes. More nuance and human emotion than in the entirety of the Twilight Saga. Yes, I have seen the Facebook posts but it is so true it hurts.

You sit there, witnessing these two people blossom and bloom. You see two lives intertwined. And then you see them shattered. I don’t care who you are, Voldemort, Darth Vader or even Mike “Ear Nibbler” Tyson. You cry. You cry like a fucking baby. You tell your girlfriend/boyfriend/dog/cat/turtle/imaginary Aunt Mildred that you were cutting onions beforehand. You wipe them away but it only makes it worse, the flood of human sorrow spewing from your face. And then, as you weep into your bag of Sour Patch Kids, hoping the sour will take away the pain, that these gummy children will remember you after you’re gone and please, god, don’t let me die alone… the movie actually begins.

“I hid under the porch because I love you.” Best. Line-reading. Ever.

This movie is a fairly odd thing. Throughout the thing it employs fridge logic…meaning, you accept it long enough, until you walk to get another drink and you think ‘Hey…wait a sec’. Por example: Muntz begins the film at around age, let’s say, 25. And that’s being generous. He leaves and explores the wilderness to be confronted, let’s say, fifty years later…and he’s still able to swing a fucking claymore and stop himself from falling off a blimp with one hand. Did he discover the fountain of fucking youth? At age sixty? And, if so, why the fuck does he still care about a bird?

Also! The bird has babies…doesn’t that entail a male bird to be present? You know, recently in order to impregnate said bird? Also! The dogs yell ‘squirrel’. There are no squirrels in the rainforest! How the fuck do they know what a squirrel is? Unless, Muntz has been training them Clockwork Orange-style to despise the little nut-gobbling bastards.

But…it doesn’t matter. I know, that’s hard to swallow, like a butter-covered cue ball (I’ve tried with moderate success), but it’s true. It doesn’t matter. This is a kid’s story where the central plot point is that a man flies his house to South America (it’s like America, but South!). Realism doesn’t really hold any traction in this world of whimsey and prune-juice. I could write to the folks at Pixar, listing my complaints in an orderly fashion. I know their response: “Get a soul, dickbag. Sincerely, Us.” And they would be right. These are the fantasies that dragged us through Elementary School, Middle School, High School…come to think of it, just school in general. These were the tales that, as we dreaded heading back in because we know Mary-Ellen will be there, you know the girl who laughed at you when you asked her out that one time and then told everyone about it, you could hide within, folding back the crayon-scraped walls and protect yourself with layers of illusion and fantasy. These are the tales that, no matter how dark they dip, they will always find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes we don’t need movies to challenge us. Sometimes we don’t need movies to drag us into an intellectual pit of despair, a cranial hell-scape where emotion is pitted against humanity and Tina Turner screams ‘Two parts of your soul enter, one part leaves“. Sometimes we need these movies. They’re a blanket we can slip into at night, warm and safe, the prelude to a dream. Sometimes we need the movies that put their arms around us and tell us that it gets better. Sometimes we don’t need Mr. Herzog blathering about the inevitability of nothingness but rather that sometimes good things happen to good people.

 

Commence sobbing in t-minus…now.

Up is a movie that brings such bounteous joy upon every viewing. As those balloons break forth from the confines of the house, dragging Carl out of his worn and tired existence, tossing him headfirst into the adventure he’d been waiting his life to taste, you can’t help but smile. And when he finally reaches his end, the house perched atop the waterfall, and discovers that perhaps its not as sweet as he thought, that Ellie isn’t coming back, the tears come again. They tumble and spray, they trickle and explode. As the music swells and his fingers trip across the pages of the life he’d lost… he discovers his wife’s final words telling him exactly what he needed at the end… You can call it trite. You can call it cliche. Or you can shut the fuck up and watch. You can be a little kid again, dragged through the magical world of blissful impossibility you’ve been searching for and haven’t even witnessed in years.

I know a man who would say those things. A guy who would probably read this, scoff and go, “You’re fucking mental.” A man who berated me when I declared The Departed better than the people-pointing-guns-at-each-other-on-rooftops-while-yelling-in-Japanese original Infernal Affairs. A man who screamed in my face on the car ride to my sister’s wedding because I declared 300 a misogynistic piece of shit.

I knew a man.

I think he liked Up. I think. I don’t remember. I don’t think we ever discussed it. He loved movies as much as I did. Perhaps more, if you can believe it. He was a writer, a reader, a thinker, a dreamer, a berater, a yeller and one hell of an arguer. English as fuck. He was a man who had more passion in his fucking fingertip than most people our age have in their entire body.

Sometimes you don’t need Herzog. Or Von Trier. Or Bergman. Sometimes you just need a blanket, wrapped tight. Warm. Safe.

I hope somewhere you have a phone and you can read this, Mike. And I hope you have Bovril. Lord help the bastard who tries to take either away. And I hope they have Dolby Surround and a widescreen as well, because The Avengers is amazing.

Mike Clode (1988 – 2012) He’s bigger than a fucking castle. Are you?

by Andrew Mooney

The temperature is rising. The rains are coming. The sun isn’t being such a dick anymore. Puxatawny Phil lied to us. As Ned Stark wouldn’t say: Summer is Coming. We know it comes every year and, no matter how much we think we can prepare, the result is a vomitous mess of wasted celluloid and fried neurons. We no longer measure summers in lost loves, days trickling away on the beach and road trips. We measure them in blockbusters, Twizzlers and jumbo buckets of popcorn, monstrosities we know are going make us want to throw up and yet we keep coming back for more because…because it’s free refillsIt’s free food! WHY WOULDN’T YOU TAKE IT?

Summer movie season will be upon us soon. As I practice how many Reese’s Pieces I can force down my gullet without purging, the parade of mediocrity that is the Summer Movie Preview begins its dirge. So what do we have this year? What films will play across our faces as we question what we are doing with are lives and why we’re not in grad school and, seriously, Tom Hardy has like a thirty pack, how is that even possible?

I have split the bigg’uns into four categories: Movies I Want to See, Movies I Will See and Hate Myself, Movies I Will See Drunk, and Movies I Would Rather Be Diagnosed With an Awkwardly Placed Fungus Than See. So…let’s get started shall we?

MOVIES I WANT TO SEE

The Dark Knight Rises

Bane? Bane! Hey, Bane! You forgot your mask! Hey Bane?

Alright, alright. Let’s get my fanboy panties out of Christopher Nolan’s butt and just come out and say it. I love Batman. Not just that he is an enjoyable character with intriguing flaws as well as equally complex villains to complement him. I love him. I want to be him. I always have. This is no joke. If he actually existed (that’s a begrudging ‘if’) I would attempt to steal his heart and force marriage. Perhaps by way of a faked pregnancy. I haven’t thought it through.  Thus, when Batman Begins charged its ways into theaters back in 2005, I was about ready to put a hit out on the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane when he declared it “Meh.” Meh? MEH? Batman is the night. You know what doesn’t give a fuck? The night. Because it comes, whether you like it or not, every night. They even named a part of the day cycle after it because it’s not-giving-a-fuckness hit such levels of magnitude, it had to be respected.

So, there is this movie. I still get hot flashes when I think about the truck chase in The Dark Knight. Granted, the trailer for Rises had some…odd stuff in it. And I still have not forgotten Ken Watanabe’s hilarious accent in the first one. But seriously, on paper, it’s like Christopher Nolan went into my dreams and took everything I have ever wanted in a film: Batman, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, my insatiable crush on Anne Hathaway in leather body suits and… Wait…that is my dream. Did Nolan…?

My god. He is the Master of Dreams. All hail Nolan.

The Avengers 

This poster is terrible, aside from Iron Man playing invisible basketball.

Alright Joss Whedon. You have my ear. Now give me something good.

The movie that instigated this re-scouring of classic film was actually one of Whedon’s. I saw Cabin in the Woods twice in one week. I loved it that much. Seriously, if you enjoy horror films like I do, go see it immediately. You will have a blast. Ok…so, now onto this 4-year marketing campaign in the making. This film better be fucking worth it otherwise I’m forming a fucking posse and we’re gonna ride into Hollywood and drag Whedon out by his ass. And then we shall brand him, on the rump, “Thanks for wasting out time. Jerk.” I know it wouldn’t really be his fault, but someone must pay.

Ang Lee’s Hulk was one of the worst pieces of fecal matter I have ever had the pleasure to witness at 30,000 feet. And, as everyone knows, all movies are 40% worse on a plane. That’s science. I vowed, then and there, that I would never see another Hulk movie. And then Ed Norton decided to take a career nosedive and 2008’s The Incredible Hulk was born. This time, 100% less credible! Well, I saw it. No, not because it looked good or that it had fine reviews, but because Robert Downey Jr. was in it for thirty seconds. I watched two hours of unrelenting mediocrity because of The Avengers. So, Whedon, you have been warned.

In all honesty, it looks kinda cool. Yes, the only interesting part of Thor is back (Tom Hiddleston, not Chris Hemsworth’s abs. Put it back in your pants, ladies). Yes, I get Scarlett Johansson in a cat suit…again. Yes, Jeremy Renner shoots a bow…or something. Whatever, he was in The Hurt Locker so he is infallible. Yes, Samuel L. Jackson yells (he better fucking yell or Whedon is getting branded). And of course Mr. Robert Downey “Just Dare Me to Give A Fuck, I Dare You” Jr. as Iron “The Nice Version of Batman” Man. I’m a teeny bit excited. And apprehensive.

Your move, Whedon.

Moonrise Kingdom

Have you ever noticed that every Wes Anderson poster is the same thing? Quirky people standing in a line according to height?

That’s a lot of cursive. Cursive is intimidating.

I’m gonna lay down some truth bombs. I am white. I am male. I went to liberal arts college. I believe I am legally obligated to love Wes Anderson. Of course, the budding hipster, yearning to escape my body every day I think to myself, “Which vest goes with this shirt?” shudders with restrained excitement at the thought of Wes “No Big Deal” Anderson committing a new image to celluloid. The love affair began with Rushmore, as it did for so many blossoming detentes of the millennial generation. It grew from a tryst into true, codependent adoration with The Royal Tenenbaums, had a sexy vacation with The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, lost the luster slightly trapped on a train with The Darjeeling Limited and then rediscovered the passion with the divinely-sent Fantastic Mr. Fox. As his similarly named counterpart traversed the Matrix in order to bring down the robot hierarchy, Mr. Anderson traverses human emotion to bring down our hearts. Aww. But seriously, if you like him, his movies are hilarious. If you don’t, well, you are probably a lot more fun at non-hipster parties than us.

I owe Anderson several life debts. 1) Fantastic Mr. Fox. My entire childhood development, if it could be blamed on any one person, was crafted by Roald Dahl. This book was perhaps may favorite of all. This is a movie, that no matter how crappy I feel, how lost, how tired, how depressed, I can switch it on and feel a wash of bliss subsuming my every doubt that, in the end, everything is going to work out. That is, until Michael Bay announces ‘Ninja Turtles‘. Head…about…to…explode… I mean, since Fox, whenever I really am feeling down, I think to myself “I wish I were Fantastic Mr. Fox”, because then I would be George Clooney. And Clooney is a fucking god.

2) He reanimated the jaded, bearded corpse of Bill Murray, siphoning that sarcastic Ghostbusterian brilliance into the bitter, distant father of humanity that he has since become. It’s incredible to see such a nice man act like such a brutal jerk, seemingly drunk at all times and finished with life. And yet, instead of murdering himself, he continues to trudge through each day, shooting down the young and sneering at the optimistic. His acting is amazing. Unless he isn’t acting then…well, I would certainly regret inviting him to my 21st birthday party.

This movie looks great. Surly Bill Murray? Check. Throwing shoes at Ed Norton? Check. Quirky, hipstomatic color scheme shot square in every scene? Check. Bruce Willis? Um…sure. Why not? Sometimes you need to invite the older kids to the party. It’s just polite.

Brave and Paranorman

Oooooh. Puuuurdy.

Now, it’s not really fair they don’t both get a section each, but I have pretty much the same thing to say for both. Brave is the newest Pixar film. Disney has been successful in convincing me that, no matter what happens, the world exploding, Mitt Romney becomes president, Newt Gingerich reaches the moon, one thing will always, always be true: Pixar films are amazing (unless the word Car is in the title). The Incredibles, Toy Story 1, 2 and 3, Wall-E, Finding Nemo and Up weren’t just formative moments in cinema for me…they reduced me to a weeping, giggling, spitting-up child, squirming with glee as I gobbled the rest of my Reese’s (I bathe in them. The love affair is that deep). I can count dozens of moments that took my heart and twisted it into a tiny ball of fear, anxiety, stress and longing before allowing it to explode out of my face in the manliest tears possible (given the situation of course). That being said, Pixar gets a pass. The trailer for Brave is beautiful…it has Scottish people in it. Yeah, the jokes fall a little flat and the story doesn’t seem as mind-bogglingly brilliant as their other stuff. But then, what did we say about Up’s teaser? Lawyered.

Worst. Metal band. Ever.

Paranorman, on the other hand, is from the same studio that produced Coraline a few years ago. Since growing up with those apexes of literary brilliance that are Wallace and his pensive canine companion Gromit, I have adored stop motion animation. Yes, I was that ass with a Nightmare Before Christmas poster in college. Also, I’ve been known to pop a boner or two for Neil Gaiman, on occasion. Coraline, though flawed as all hell (the second half devolves into a video game, essentially), it tickled every Roald Dahl bone in my body. And there are a lot because, after my accident when I was a boy, I found his grave and took several pieces of… I’ve said too much.

Paranorman looks fun. Zombies. Scary things. Imaginative stuff. In the end, it probably won’t be anything to write home about. But then we remember we have the Internet and everyone loves to write home about everything. So…yes, it will get written about.

Prometheus

Bask in its glory.

Ok, boys and girls, this is it. This is the big kahuna of the summer. I would like to believe that, if there were seven and two half words that could collectively drop fanboy panties through the outer crust of the earth, they would be: “Ridley Scott is making a new sci-fi film”. And then we hear it’s a ‘prequel’ to Alien. Thanks to George Lucas, the word ‘prequel’ is about as palatable as a UTI. Also, there have been so many Alien films and only two of them have been good. Lastly, Damen Lindeloff, a man whose name is synonymous with ‘Fanboy/girl Blue Balls’, wrote the script. At that point, I dusted off my hands, looked out into the sunset and declared, “I think I’m done here. See you all in hell.”

And then the trailer was released. Even with my best Clint Eastwood poker face (equal parts concrete, disgust and ‘wow this cigar tastes terrible’) disintegrated into something closer to a gelatinous mass of anticipatory euphoria. Michael Fassbender…Noomi Rapace…a soundtrack that seems deadly close to Inception’s…Charlize Theron…Idris Elba…ALIENS…CREEPY ALIENS… SCREAMING…IT’S IN MY SKIN…

I can’t explain the religious epiphany I had in that moment. If this movie isn’t good, I won’t be upset. There will be no posses, no branding of Scott’s heiney. Rather, I will sit in the grass outside the movie theater (let’s be real: tarmac) and weep. For Beckett was right. We are waiting for something that will never come. Something greater than ourselves. Something to give meaning to this universe and its backwards existence.

And that thing, of course, is another good Alien movie.