Christmas is just around the corner and the major studios want you to spend time with your families catching up on all the summer movies you didn’t bother to see at the theater. Besides The Lone Ranger and the One Direction documentary, we’ve got a sci-fi film starring Matt Damon, a superhero movie with Jim Carrey, a drama with Hugh Jackman, and a comedy(?) with Robert De Niro. If that’s not enough star power, we’ve also got new movies starring Casey Affleck, Jeremy Irons, and Steven Seagal. Still not enough? How about a horny ghost? Yeah, now I have your attention.
The Lone Ranger
Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Night Train To Lisbon
One Direction: This Is Us
Force Of Execution
Ghost Team One
Continue reading on the next page and we’ll start all the fun. At one point I even share an almost four minute long trailer for a documentary about bronies. I also mention this one time that I bought myself a coat. I know you wouldn’t want to miss that.
October 24, 2007. Any guesses what happened on that date? Now of course we all remember that it was on that date that Comet Holmes reached the epoch of its outburst, making it (temporarily) the largest object in our solar system when its coma expanded (again, temporarily) to a diameter greater than that of the sun, but there’s something specific to The Lone Ranger that happened on that date as well: it was on that date, over six years ago, that FilmDrunk began its coverage of this film. That Bush-era post informed us all that Jerry Bruckheimer was in cahoots with the Pirates Of The Caribbean writers to create that which we know now to be one of the biggest critical and commercial flops of 2013. Vince joked about Nic Cage starring as the masked man, and even one of the comments speculated that they should return to the old Hollywood tradition of hiring a white actor to play the Indian role. It was meant as a joke. By way of historical context, the two FilmDrunk posts sandwiching that original Lone Ranger coverage were a story about the controversy surrounding Ryan Gosling’s exit from Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones (which hit theaters four years ago) and a piece about Heather Mills trying to get a biopic made about her life with Reese Witherspoon as the star. Don’t remember who Heather Mills is? That’s to be expected; her claim to fame barely had a leg to stand on. The point is, The Lone Ranger has been making entertainment headlines for a long time. First it was announced, then it was cancelled, than it was back on but without the werewolves (remember when this was supposed to have werewolves?), then Johnny Depp insisted on wearing a bird hat because he misunderstood a painting, than white people expressed racial outrage on Native Americans’ behalf, then the cleft lip community expressed genuine outrage that the villain had a cleft lip, the critics bullied fans into not going to see it which led to Disney losing $190 million on the film, and finally Quentin Tarantino named it one of the ten best movies of the year. I can’t imagine he’s right, but is it really as bad as its reputation? I can’t say because while I received multiple free tickets from Disney in an effort to get me and my family to go see this in the theater, we didn’t bother –which is its own sort of condemnation of the film, I guess. So is this the eventual classic Bruckheimer swears it will become and Tarantino already claims it to be, or will it instead serve as a cautionary tale to future Hollywood productions? Only time will tell, but I’m guessing it certainly won’t be the warning Hollywood so often needs to change course; Hammer’s already filming another film adaptation of an old TV show, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and as for Disney and their pal Johnny Depp, both Pirates Of The Caribbean 5 and Alice In Wonderland 2 are pretty far along in their pre-production phases with no signs of slowing. As for the possibility of it being seen as a misunderstood classic, I’d just point out that the man most aggressively making that claim, Super Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, is currently only producing one upcoming feature film that isn’t a sequel, and it’s an apparently non-comedic demonic possession film co-starring Olivia Munn and Joel McHale, so right or wrong, one thing is certain: Bruckheimer only snorts the highest quality cocaine.
Writer/director Neill Blomkamp brings us his latest futuristic sci-fi epic, Elysium. The year is 2154 and the world is split into two factions: the rich live worry-free lives full of comfort on a space station, and the poor live in misery down on earth. Matt Damon plays one of the poor people and he discovers that he only has a few days left to live, but the excellent medical care on the space station could save him –if only he could find a way to get up there. Damon gets fitted up with a special suit and –oh my god, you guys. I just realized that Blomkamp is using science fiction as a way to comment on the problems society is facing in the real world right now. Wow. Using science fiction to make a social commentary on the present. Why hasn’t anybody thought of this before now? Mind = blown.
All your favorite characters from Kick-Ass are back (assuming the one that died in the original film wasn’t your favorite, and let’s be honest, he was –unless your favorite was Hit-Girl, who is back for the sequel, and while I understand that she was likeable, it’s still a little pervy to say she was your ‘favorite’ so maybe we should just avoid that lest it make us both look bad. Although to be fair, there was an obviously deliberate pedophilic sexuality to the character and it was certainly meant to be picked up on by the viewer, so maybe singling her out doesn’t so much condemn you or I as viewers but perhaps it reflects poorly on the filmmakers? I mean, I know they were trying to comment on the inappropriate sexualizing of young girls that goes on in our society (just walk down the doll aisle at your local Target–or even the girls’ clothing section, for that matter), but there’s an inherent danger to attempting that commentary with an actual actress involved. At least a comic book character is -ultimately- just a drawing. Hit-Girl on the screen is embodied by a real child and while the intention might be to criticize pedophilic overtones and/or the prevalence of graphic-but-consequence-free violence in the entertainment we expose our children to, the reality is that she –the child actress- is wearing sexy clothes and using foul language and engaging in gory graphic violent acts, even if they are “only” simulations. Even if you think the film toed that line of showing without endorsing, you’ve still got to question the poor girl’s parents. They couldn’t know how the finished film would turn out, but they did know that their daughter would be running around in a short plaid skirt, beheading bad guys while calling people “c*nts”. Now I’m not advocating that the role be cast with an adult playing a child (although Clifford is the bomb), nor am I saying that I didn’t immensely enjoy Kick-Ass, I’m just saying that if one were to show too much enthusiasm for the Hit-Girl character, it creates a bit of a moral/ethical quandary for the person asserting that stance. But in summation to these parentheses, if she is your favorite, rest assured she is in Kick-Ass 2 –if that’s your thing and nobody’s going to judge you too harshly if it is.) along with a bunch of new ones starring the likes of Jim Carrey and Donald Faison. Vince, who loved the first one, hated this one –giving it a “D-” in his review, so proceed with caution.
Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard play two friends and shitty parents who manage to lose their daughters. Jake Gyllenhaal is the detective with the stupid name (stupider than ‘Jake Gyllenhaal’ even) assigned to the abduction case and Paul Dano is the guy Jackman is convinced did it and as such Jackman tortures him because that is the only types of roles Paul Dano should get (the ones in which he gets the shit beat out of him). I hesitate to delve too much more into the plot beyond that because I’d hate to spoil the mystery for myself or others, but I will say that Vince wasn’t impressed -giving the film a “C-” in his review. Although in fairness to the film, most other critics were more kind. Vince’s main complaint was that the film took too long saying too little and that the plot twists weren’t satisfying. He writes:
Dark subject matter like this feels that much more perverse when it’s totally phony. All the more so when the filmmaker seems to be taking no joy in it. It’s one thing to film…popular…crime…like…child rape…Sing me a song or something, you frowny f*ck.
I think Vince is saying he wanted the child rape to be more realistic and to be more joyful. I’ve said it before, but Vince is one dark, messed up dude.
If you could travel in time back to 1994, track me down, and tell me that one day there would be a mafia movie written and directed by the guy who made Léon and starring Robert De Niro and that the 2013 version of myself couldn’t give less of a f*ck about it, I would call you a god damned liar. Actually, you know what? That’s not true. I’d probably ask you first what the hell Léon was and once you explained that that’s what we call The Professional in the future, then after we got all of that sorted out I’d call you a god damned liar.
I won’t pretend that I know anything about this sequel other than it, like so many other films these days, is based on a series of fantasy novels for young adults. Apparently Percy Jackson is the son of Poseidon and he has to retrieve the Golden Fleece to save Camp Half-Blood. I’ve heard of Poseidon and I’ve heard of the Golden Fleece, but I’ve never heard of Camp Half-Blood so I gave it a good, firm googling and I still don’t know jack about it, but at least I found a decent Christmas present for my sister’s gay biracial son, Lamphrey. He’s always saying he loves all things camp and hell, for all I know, he might’ve even read these books or seen these movies.
For real: I’ve watched the trailer for this Casey Affleck/Rooney Mara/Ben Foster movie three times now and I’m no closer to having any clue what that title is supposed to mean. Frankly, it’s a bit alienating. I haven’t had this much trouble with a title since that Tyler Perry adaptation of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf. I can only assume that this movie is targeting a similar audience.
Jeremy Irons headlines a cast of acclaimed actors including Tom Courtenay, Bruno Ganz, Lena Olin, Christopher Lee, Charlotte Rampling, and Melanie Laurent in this movie with a plot I won’t even bother trying to paraphrase:
Raimund is a Latin teacher and an ancient languages expert. His life is transformed by a young woman on a bridge in the Swiss city of Bern, whom he saves from jumping to her death in the waters below. Raimund is intrigued but the woman disappears, leaving her coat. Inside it is a book by a Portuguese doctor which contains a train ticket. He uses it, setting off on a journey to Lisbon. While looking for the author, Raimund revisits a dark chapter in the country’s history and unveils a tragic love triangle. He is drawn into a high-stakes puzzle. Ultimately his journey transcends time and space, touching on matters of history, philosophy, and medicine, encountering love and evolving into a liberating search for the true meaning of life.
Absolutely true story: I bought a coat once –brand new- and after I brought it home from the store I discovered a ticket to a Notre Dame football game that was going to take place the following weekend. This was a strange discovery not only because, as I said, the coat was new complete with tags and anti-theft devices, but because I was about eight hours and two states away from Notre Dame. You know what I did? Nothing, because even if I felt entitled to the ticket, I have a god damn life with obligations and I can’t just drop everything and hop on a train to Lisbon just because I found a ticket and was curious and felt like imposing myself into other people’s lives. What did Raimund think was going to happen? Did he just walk up to somebody’s house, ring the bell and when they answered say, “Oh hi, random Portuguese dude. So anyway, I kind of found this coat and stole this train ticket out of it –don’t worry, the owner was trying to kill herself, so I doubt she wanted it- and it led me to your door where I now expect you to interrupt your life and your routines so I can experience some sort of cathartic personal journey that transcends time and space. I’m sure you understand.” This just confirms what I’ve known all along: people who speak fluent Latin are dicks.
Look, while I’ve got no particular love for One Direction or for documentarian Morgan Spurlock, I’ve also got no particular malice towards them either. That being said, I can’t help but feel like their willingness to work together on this ‘documentary’ somehow reflects poorly on both parties. I guess I just feel like both director and subject should’ve aimed higher when choosing collaborators. In other ‘documentaries-that-are-not-for-me’ news, today also sees the release of Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans Of My Little Pony. Unlike One Direction: This Is Us, Bronies is a much more fitting subject for its director, Laurent Malaquais. Born in San Francisco, at two years old Malaquais was abducted from his mother by his father and spent his childhood traveling internationally while on the run from the FBI. If you’re assuming that I’m implying that to become a brony one must have experienced some sort of scarring childhood trauma, I am not. I’m stating that explicitly.
Steven Seagal, Ving Rhames, and Danny Trejo! How did I miss this movie’s surely record-breaking theatrical run? For real though, watch the trailer and just try to tell me you aren’t intrigued by Seagal’s line readings. He sounds like he’s trying to do his own sedated impression of Robin William’s impression of a black dude. Plus Rhames gets to say “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and he’s bringing the neckerchief back into style, so yeah, I’ve gone from mockery to legitimate enthusiasm for this movie.
Renny Harlin, the legendary action director who gave us such action film classics as Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Deep Blue Sea now gives us this found-footage horror flick that of course is based on actual events. I’d suggest you skip this one and wait for Harlin’s next film, but as it’s that Kellan Lutz Hercules movie that opens next month, so instead maybe you should just dig out your copy of Die Hard 2 and revisit better times. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to mention another one of today’s new DVDs, Toad Road. The filmmakers describe it as a cross between Harmony Korine and The Blair Witch Project. Trust me, the trailer makes it look as insufferable as that description makes it sound. Also important to note: It’s executive produced by half human/half woodland creature Elijah Wood. That just seemed like something I should point out.
If this film, a found-footage horror comedy about two horny dudes trying to use ghost-hunting as a way to impress a girl and end up getting sexually involved with a ghost in the process, sounds familiar that is because this is already the third FilmDrunk post to feature this terrible looking film. We are truly doing the Lord’s work and you are very welcome. Want to know something even more depressing? Ghost Team One has a higher Rotten Tomatoes score than each of the following films: The Lone Ranger, Kick-Ass 2, The Family, Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, and Night Train To Lisbon. Happy Holidays!