Even the most jaded of film fans will find something to like with this week’s new DVDs. We’ve got one of the biggest box office flops of the year so far. We’ve got real Navy SEALs for the men and Ryan Reynolds for the ladies. We’ve got Muslims and Jews and Bears. Oh my, we’ve got Christian Slater and Tom Arnold. We’ve got some big feet, and most importantly, we’ve got -after a nine week absence- the triumphant return of our favorite bad ass, Danny Trejo.
Act Of Valor
Machine Gun Preacher
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Act Of Vengeance
Hatfields & McCoys: Bad Blood
Hit So Hard
Champion Road: Arena
Dear God No!
The Tale Of The Voodoo Prostitute
There really are some unbelievable movies this week. Keep reading on the next page and we’ll go through them, one by one. If you’re in a rush and need to watch a movie right now, click here for the Netflix suggestions.
Disney’s massively expensive flop was this year’s go-to example for the gap between studios’ expectations and actual audience interest. At least it was until Battleship came out, much to the relief of everyone involved with this flick (except for Taylor Kitsch, who stars in both films). The real question, though, is whether or not Hollywood will learn the correct lessons from this. Unlike Battleship (which just looked simply awful from initial idea all the way to final execution), this film doesn’t look bad. In fact, most people I know who’ve seen it say that it’s actually pretty good. So the problem wasn’t necessarily with the film, but with the marketing. This movie used to be called John Carter of Mars, but Disney dropped the ‘of Mars’ when Mars Needs Moms flopped. Never mind that that film was a creepy looking mo-cap debacle that would turn off kids as much as adults, its failure had to be that Mars turns off audiences. So instead of a title that at least references sci-fi, they go with one that evokes nothing whatsoever. ‘John Carter’ isn’t even an unusual name; it was a doctor on ER, for f*ck’s sake. So what have they learned about selling this movie? Nothing so far; just look at that box cover. The font might as well be called ‘default’ and I can’t be sure, but is that John Carter fighting those creatures in the background…while also standing in the foreground? This is a bigger Disney box art f*ck up than that cock on the Little Mermaid VHS cover.
Denzel Washington is in ‘bad-guy-or-is-he-?’ mode and Ryan Reynolds is in ‘I’m-not-just-a-pretty-face-really-I-can-act’ mode. I’m in ‘I’d-totally-watch-this-and-then-forget-everything-about-it-the-second-it’s-over-mode”. I like spy/action flicks, I like Denzel’s bad guy over-acting, and I’m so impossibly handsome and charming (just ask my mom) that Reynold’s good looks and quasi-charm don’t threaten me, but somehow this movie just seems forgettable and average-looking. I imagine it’s the type of movie that relies on a complete lack of logic and obvious twists that the audience sees coming a mile away, but ends up being good enough for a DVD rental. Plus, if you can’t get this one, you could probably get Traitor with Don Cheadle; I’m fairly certain that it’s the exact same movie.
Remember this one, where real, active-duty Navy SEALs were the stars? They sure advertised the ever-living shit out of this, didn’t they? Did you go see it? Yeah, neither did I. I just can’t imagine how this movie could be good. For one thing, there’s a reason we like to have actors in movies; imagine Pretty Woman with a real hooker, The Godfather with real mobsters, or Lethal Weapon with real cops. How awkward would it be if they couldn’t get Martin Lawrence for Precious, and had to use a real fat chick? My point is, just because actual Navy SEALs may know the correct way to hold a weapon or storm a compound or something, it doesn’t mean it’s entertaining to watch them doing it. Just so, who are these Navy SEALs, and why are they spending their time making movies? They can’t be very good SEALs, can they? If they were, they’d be too busy doing something awesome and top-secret. These guys must be like the special-education division of the Navy SEALs, which, actually when I begin to think about it, sounds like a pretty great movie after all.
If you’re gonna make a movie called Machine Gun Preacher, I want it to be like Hobo With A Shotgun, not a true story about a born-again former drug dealing biker trying to save Sudanese children from becoming soldiers. While this could make for a fun movie, the trailer makes it absolutely clear that you, as a viewer, are not to enjoy this movie. This is serious cinema, about a serious issue, not some crass entertainment. And that’s why nobody saw it. Gerard Butler is the guy who yelled ‘THIS. IS. SPARTA!” in 300. Gerard Butler is in rom-coms with the likes of Katherine Heigl and Jennifer Aniston; he has no business starring in a movie from the director of Monster’s Ball and The Kite Runner. He’d be better off working with the director of Quantum of Solace and World War Z. What’s that, it’s the same director? He also did Finding Neverland and Stranger Than Fiction? Wow, dude’s versatile. He should work with Baby Goose, they’d do well with each other. Oh, he did already? Okay then.
Disney may have screwed up the marketing for John Carter, but New Line did at least a few things right with this awful-looking sequel. My son saw an ad for this in Target the other day and asked me if it was ‘The Mysterious Island’. I told him it was. He then asked if we could buy it. Now, I have no idea where he learned about this movie, as I sure haven’t told him about it and I don’t think my wife even knows it exists, but somehow, some way, New Line effectively marketed this to a four-year-old…without his parents’ knowledge. Granted, he didn’t ask to see it four months ago when it hit theaters, but here we are. As any parent will tell you, the most effective marketing tool is a child’s whine, and it’s pretty clear that New Line knows it. So I will probably be seeing this, a sequel to a movie I’ve never seen in the first place. A sequel that not even Brendan Frasier wanted to be a part of. Not even Brendan Frasier. F*ck you, New Line. F*ck you, and yes, I’ll take the 3-D blu-ray, please.