Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Opening Soon and Top Ten

Opening Friday:

"The Incredible Hulk." Let me put this sentiment in all-caps, just to make myself as clear and irritating as possible: THE ANG LEE FILM WAS NOT A BAD MOVIE. It was an unsuccessful movie, it certainly wasn't a great movie, it could have used a little trimming (cut out Lee's sub-Freudian bullshit and this would damn well be a classic), but overall it was a solid piece of work. People complained that there wasn't enough action (too much subtext going on, which might not have been the best idea in when telling the story of a character best known for being green and smashing things, at least from a marketing standpoint). It wasn't the kind of movie you build a franchise out of and franchises are all Marvel is interested in, so now we're being treated to this odious filth. It's going to suck, we all know its going to suck, and because it's still going to do 10 times the business of the first film we'll be treated to at least two, maybe three sequels in the same style. The first one was a good film made at the wrong time with bad marketing. This film will be a bad film made at the right time with, well, bad marketing (the previews all make it look like shit).

"The Happening." M. Night Shyamalan should not be allowed to write his own scripts. That's really where he seems to fail as a director. "The Sixth Sense" was a solid movie, but it was one of those one-time brilliant ideas that creative people sometimes get (doesn't take a genius to come up with a clever idea and work backwards to build the plot). His need to top it has led to a string of poorly-plotted, increasingly lunatic movies that indulge his cinematic messiah-complex. "Unbreakable" was a non-entity, "Signs" was brilliant style wrapped around a trite plot, "The Village" was... "The Village" and "Lady in the Water" explored possibilities in the world of suck of which others had not yet dared dream. So expectations for "The Happening" are somewhat, shall we say, "tempered in the fact that most of his films are shit." He has the talent to make great movies, but he also has the ego to think he can tell interesting stories. Even Hitchcock knew his limits and had others write his stories, dude, and he also made his appearances short and subtle in his movies. Let it go.

Top Ten at the Box Office:

1. "Kung-Fu Panda." Considering that the film is about a wise-cracking panda that knows kung-fu, do you really think that saturation marketing is really necessary? Just a quick note to the press, "this movie is about a wise-cracking panda that knows kung-fu" would have been sufficient to get the point across. If the marketing for your movie makes "Bee Movie" look dignified, then you know you've overdone it.

2. "You Don't Mess with the Zohan." This movie might have been good if it had stared Sacha Baron Cohen or Stephen Chow, or anyone with real comedic talent. Even a better director would have added a little more polish to this turd. Instead we get another in a long string of goofy, pointless Adam Sandler comedies that involve a silly voice and a plot pulled from a hat. Complacent, meaningless time-fillers with all the creativity of nailing two pieces of wood together.

3. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Whatever." If this had been made ten years ago and with a script that attempted to make some sense, it might have been a solid film. Instead it looks just like the kind of movie that has gone through the bowels of pre-production hell and come out through the studio-system anus into the toilet bowels that are our multiplex theaters. It has a too many scripts fighting for dominance and too many action sequences that don't have any real meaning or influence. Fun enough, but overall an unmemorable addition to a series that is mostly unmemorable.

4. "Sex and the City." This is sci-fi geekery for women. Its absurd, poorly plotted and doesn't make any sense unless you have some obscure, esoteric knowledge. It's also sexist and focused solely on the lives of elite white people. Just like any number of countless science fiction franchises. Guys, if you ever hear a woman complain about "Star Trek," just point to this.

5. "The Strangers." The preview for this film is the best horror movie released this year. I'll probably need to do some personal confirmation on whether or not this is actually worthwhile, as film critics as a group seem to really suck at reviewing horror movies.

6. "Iron Man." Again with this.

7. "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian." If you're going to adapt the works of a Christian apologist, at least pick something by someone interesting. May I recommend G.K. Chesterton?

8. "What Happens in Vegas..." Ashton Kutcher is going around touting the merits of the current fad celebrity religion of the week, Kabbalism, thus cementing his dipshit status. Madonna and Britany Spears have also gone along with this one at some point or other, so I guess its a religion that caters to the shallow and vapid. Much like this film.

9. "Baby Mama." Idiotic, heartless, makes-me-weep-for-the-future-of-my-generation romantic comedy trifecta in play.

10. "Made of Honor." Trifecta complete.

No comments: