Today’s Tuesday, and you know what that means: everybody’s busy playing Grand Theft Auto V. But until they adapt that into a movie and that movie hits DVD & Blu-ray, it’s none of my goddamned business, so let’s talk about what is: this week’s new DVDs. World War Z is the big heavy-hitter this week, but it’s got plenty of company with films starring Emma Watson, Jason Bateman, Ellen Page, Nick Offerman, Eliza Coupe, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Greenwood, and Brendan Fraser. If you read carefully, I might even squeeze in a bit of Matt Damon. We’ve got danger from every angle: there are zombies and thieves, internet predators and anarchists. We’ve got homicidal rednecks, sociable serial killers, and a character described as a klepto-terrorist. There’s even a special appearance by Kathie Lee Gifford as herself!
World War Z
The Bling Ring
Somebody Up There Likes Me
Greetings From Tim Buckley
The Last Tycoon
And Now A Word From Our Sponsor
Adventures Of Serial Buddies
There’s a lot to digest this week, so don’t hesitate to continue our journey on the next page. I’ll be honest, we go to some dark places. I may even make implications about my history with auto-erotic asphyxiation, so don’t get hung up here, click on over to page two and we’ll get off to the actual movies.
For those of you late to the party, it’s Brad Pitt versus the zombies. This film was a long time coming –the first FilmDrunk post about World War Z is almost five years old. We’ve lived with this movie (or at least with news of this movie) for so long that it honestly surprised me when I checked its release date and saw it was only June 21st. I would’ve guessed May or even April. Late June just seems too recent to me, and I’m guessing it’s because we’ve been hearing about this movie for so long. First there was celebration because a popular book was getting made into a film. Then there was outrage that they were only using the book’s title, and not it’s actual content. People were concerned that the director was Marc Forster, because he directed Quantum Of Solace and most people hated it. But then people were cautiously optimistic because producer and star Brad Pitt personally selected Forster for the job. But then production was delayed because they hated each other and weren’t speaking to one another on set. There was talk of a terrible ending to the film, but then they brought on Damon Lindelof to re-write it and people were thrilled by the news. Meanwhile, other people were distressed by it, claiming that Lindelof was a terrible choice of writer. Eventually the studio released clips and they were not great. Put bluntly, the CGI zombies were terrible. But the studio said it was a work in progress and the final effects would be better. But then people wondered why they showed us the shit-zombies in the first place. In short, everyone was expecting a huge failure, both critically and financially. Then the movie actually came out and to everyone’s surprise, it wasn’t terrible. Critics were far kinder than they would be to most zombie films, and audiences bought enough tickets to not only make it a domestic and international success, but it’s even Brad Pitt’s highest-grossing film to date. Most importantly, fans of the book who were outraged by the thematic departure of the film finally glanced over at their IKEA Hemnes bookcases (or Liatorp bookcases for the more discerning assembly-required furniture aficionados) only to see that their copies of the book were still there and hadn’t been magically replaced with a VHS bootleg of the movie. Somehow everything came out all right. Normally when a movie fails people like to place blame, and when they don’t, we aren’t nearly as quick to celebrate a success and give credit where it’s due, but I aim to change that. So, who should take credit? I’m going to go with Damon Lindelof, if only because I liked the Lost finale and I don’t think it deserves all the shit it gets.
The latest film from Sofia Coppola, this is the true story of a group of fame-obsessed California teenagers who began breaking into the homes of ‘celebrities’ like Paris Hilton. Nothing about this film appeals to me, nor did much of it appeal to Vince, according to his “D” review. Sofia Coppola is of course the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, and as a result, growing up she lived the life of all rich kids –one of unearned luxury. Yes, she eventually made her mark as a writer/director, but before she did she was still ‘Hollywood royalty’ enjoying not only immense wealth, but perks of birth such as literally being handed a major role in her daddy’s film, The Godfather: Part III. My point is, what The Bling Ring seems to be is the story of spoiled rich kids (such as Paris Hilton) being robbed by people whose only ambition is to be spoiled rich kids (apparently a member of the real-life bling ring was the star of a reality show when this all went down) as portrayed by real life rich kids such as Emma Watson, who to be fair, earned her money and may not be spoiled. All of this as written and directed by a former spoiled rich kid. The whole thing just stinks of a vapid self-absorption that betrays a belief by all involved that this story is inherently fascinating because it is about themselves, and what could be more fascinating than that? For god’s sake, one of the behind-the-scenes tidbits that they kept using to promote the movie is that the real Paris Hilton not only appears as herself in the film, but actually allowed them to recreate the real robbery of her real stuff in her real house where it really happened. I can just imagine the film’s cast and crew walking into Hilton’s massive closest and murmuring, “Oh my god. History happened here…” Which isn’t to say a decent film couldn’t be made from this source material, I just don’t think these people were the ones who should’ve made it. (Imagine what Damon Lindelof could’ve done with this. I know I would’ve bought a ticket.) Sure that GIF of Emma Watson from the trailer makes this look like sexy fun, but let’s be honest; that GIF is all that this movie has to offer, and half the reason why it’s so, well, compelling is because she’s a former child actress trying to prove that she’s now a grown woman actress and you think if you stare at it long enough the image might just pan down and then she flashes some nipple. But GIFS don’t work like that, my friends. If that’s what you want to see, you’ll just have to ignore this movie and hope she tries harder to prove herself on the next one, and in turn, chooses to do some tastefully plot-driven nudity in her next film. It’s that Russell Crowe movie about Noah and his flood, by the way, so I bet there’s a good chance of it, too. I’m pretty sure there’s a section in Genesis where the wives of Noah’s sons resorted to lezzing out on the lido deck. It happened sometime between day 24 and day 30 I think. Plus, there’s nothing more tasteful and plot-driven than Biblical nudity. At least that’s what my Sunday school teacher always used to say. Of course, in hindsight it was a bit odd that he insisted that my Christmas Pageant auditions were held in private and it’s also weird that the scenes I performed for him never ended up in the final play. I can’t say I was surprised, though; why would you need a scene of Judas’s naked suicide in a Christmas show? That’s obviously Easter material. Plus I always ended up passing out before my audition ended.
Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Paula Patton, and Alexander Skarsgård headline this dramatic thriller about the dangers of the internet. Do you use social networking? Well your identity has been stolen and your goth kid just got bullied into a suicide attempt. Shop at amazon? Guess what: Your identity has been stolen and your asshole kid just bullied some wiener goth kid into a suicide attempt. Like porn? Joke’s on you -the kid’s under-age and now you’re a pedophile. Answer your phone at the dinner table? No wonder your kids hate you and your wife thinks you have a tiny dick. This looks like one of those ‘we’re-all-connected-even-though-we-don’t-realize-it’ morality films that think they are so clever when all they really are is just plot-contrived and insulting to the viewers’ intelligence. You know what I’m talking about, like say Brad Pitt’s wife gets accidentally shot while on vacation in the Middle East with a gun that was sold on the black market by a Mexican guy so he can support his mother who was working illegally as a maid in the house of a guy who fired her when she caught him jerking off to Chinese porn, which he only got addicted to when his boss sent him to China to shut down a factory that wasn’t making enough money for the company that is owned by Brad Pitt, and the moral of the story is that Brad Pitt’s wife would be alive if only he loved her instead of loving money. This is just like that, but instead of Brad Pitt you get Jason Bateman, and instead of the dangers of greed and xenophobic miscommunication, you get morality tales about neglecting family board game night and spending all your time recklessly translating dirty jokes into other languages on babelfish.
Director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij and co-writer/star Brit Marling give us this film about Sarah, a young woman who is hired to infiltrate and undermine The East, an anarchist collective targeting major corporations. As you might assume, Sarah begins to agree with The East and questions her own beliefs and morals, but can you blame her when The East is led by the likes of Ellen Page and Disconnect’s Alexander Skarsgård? They’re an unstoppable force of charisma: He’s a Swedish dreamboat and she seems like she wouldn’t shut up until you say you agreed with whatever she was going on and on about. Also worth noting, Batmanglij and Marling previously collaborated as director/co-writer and co-writer/star on a film called Sound Of My Voice, which was about a reporter and his girlfriend infiltrating a religious cult. Before long, the reporter finds himself buying into the cult’s message. While I know the two films sound similar, they really aren’t; Unlike her role in The East as the infiltrator, Marling played the cult leader in Sound Of My Voice. Look out for the duo’s next film, Mixed Grace, in which Marling plays Grace Freeman, the white-looking child of a biracial couple, who infiltrates the KKK to expose their secrets on her blog but falls in love with a charismatic young Klansman played by Michael Cera. If he discovers her secret will he learn to love a white-skinned black woman, or will it be the end of their affair between the sheets?
Max (Keith Poulson), along with his best friend Sal (Nick Offerman, “Parks & Recreation”) and the woman they both adore, Lyla (Jess Weixler, TEETH), stumble through thirty-five years of seemingly mandatory but unfulfilling entanglements.
I share that because the odds are, even if you’ve heard of this movie, you haven’t actually heard anything about this movie, because they promoted it with this video:
And then this video:
I’m guessing most people watch those videos and they say to themselves, “Wow, Nick Offerman must be the best; he smokes weed and gets Alison Brie to say ‘pussy’ while flashing her bush, this movie must be awesome!” but I watch them and I say, “Wow, Nick Offerman must not think very highly of his movie if he won’t actually show a clip off it or talk about it and instead is just blatantly pandering to the internet’s fascination with marijuana and NBC sitcoms that are poorly rated but super popular among bloggers and their readers.” So I dug up the actual trailer (watch it below) and you know what I discovered? It’s exactly what the above synopsis describes. It is good? It is bad? I don’t know. Either way, it sure has nothing to do with Alison Brie or her seductively saying ‘pussy’. In fact, I think they went out of their way to have Alison Brie flashing bush and talking about pussy just so search engines would bring up their video whenever anyone searched for ‘ALISON BRIE’S PUSSY’ or ‘ALISON BRIE SHOWS BUSH’ or ‘AMY POEHLER AND ALISON BRIE DOUBLE DILDO DEEP PENETRATION’. This paragraph has as much to do with those search terms as the movie does -which is to say, not a thing. Shameless. You don’t see me writing ‘ALISON BRIE TOPLESS SHAVED PUSSY ANAL PENETRATION HARDCORE XXX’ just to steer internet traffic to this page, do you? Some of us still do have some professional standards, and I don’t mind saying so.
Hey, remember when you heard there were two competing movies about Jeff Buckley and you pretended you knew who that was? Well, this is one of those movies (the other one seems to have drowned in the dangerous waters of Hollywood’s endless river of development). Anyhow, this is the one with that guy from Gossip Girl and that British lady with the funny name. And that exhausts pretty much all of my knowledge about Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley, and this movie. Luckily, I can tell you all about another music biopic hitting DVD today, Behind The Candelabra. I didn’t give HBO’s Phil Spector its own spot last week, so I couldn’t give this HBO film its own spot this week (because I’m nothing if not fair). I really wanted to though, because I’ve seen it and I can’t recommend it enough. If you didn’t know, this is Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace film, and it stars Michael Douglas as the greatest pianist to have ever lived (suck it, Van Cliburn) and Matt Damon plays his lover and would-be adopted son, Scott. For real, if half of this movie is true, it’s still wonderfully, amazingly batshit bonkers. At one point, Liberace brings in a plastic surgeon (played by Rob Lowe in crazy ‘bad plastic surgery’ makeup) to make Matt Damon’s character look as much like Liberace as possible. He wanted his boyfriend to look like him. Because that’s what people do. Plus there are lots of scenes of the two men having sex, which is totally fascinating to watch because no matter how convincing their performances might be, it’s still Matt Damon and Michael Douglas simulating aggressive sodomy and your brain can’t help but think about what awkward fun it was to shoot those scenes. Need more convincing? Just look at that box cover. The soft focus, the hair, Matt Damon’s lipstick and the way he’s looking at Michael Douglas, the way Michael Douglas is looking at you…the whole thing is so over the top that if it weren’t (ostensibly) true, they’d all be criticized for dealing solely in offensive gay stereotypes. Oh my god, they take so many baths together. Plus, you know, the music’s just top notch.
Daniel Henney plays Sam Chao, an Asian-American lawyer who finds himself relocated to Shanghai. Despite his Chinese heritage, Sam doesn’t speak the language and doesn’t know the culture. Luckily, Eliza Coupe, Bill Paxton, and Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off are all there to show him that if they can love Shanghai, so can he. I gotta be honest; this film feels like it was made by the Shanghai tourism bureau. The trailer is chock full of reasonably-famous American actors extolling the charms and virtues of Shanghai. Watch it and you’ll see, it cuts from Paxton calling Shanghai the new land of opportunity (complete with sweeping arm gesture drawing focus to the beautiful Shanghai skyline) straight to Cameron saying, “Ever since relocating to Shanghai, I’ve just fallen in love with Chinese culture!” If that’s not enough, there’s a Chinese character in the movie called Awesome Wang, presumably because everything is awesome in Shanghai, including the Shanghai International Film Festival, which awarded this movie its Best Actor and Best Screenwriter awards for 2012. Seriously. It’s like the propaganda machine isn’t even trying to be subtle anymore, but what do you expect since Communist Party of China Shanghai Municipal Committee Secretary Han Zheng took office, am I right? He’s sure no Yu Zhengsheng, but despite Yu’s actual merits, his career –as you well know- was as good as over when his brother Yu Qiangsheng defected to the United States. And don’t even say what career longevity he did maintain was only because of his friendship with Deng Xiaoping; yes they were friends, but you could hardly say his influence reached that far. Besides, Deng was far too occupied with getting Hong Kong back under Chinese sovereignty to trouble himself with Shanghai, even if it is the busiest container port in the world. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t know much about China in general or Shanghai in particular, but I feel like this movie is trying a bit too hard to sell Americans on the benefits of traveling halfway across the world and living in what is already the most populous city on the planet. But again, I don’t know much about it.
Set in Shanghais Gangster era of the early 1900s, THE LAST TYCOON tells the tale of CHENG (Chow Yun-Fat), a young man who is set up by the chief of police (Sammo Hung) and must leave the life he knows and QIU (Monica Mok), the woman he loves, to start again. After escaping prison CHENG quickly and violently moves his way up the ladder of Shanghais criminal underworld to become on the most powerful mob bosses in Shanghais history. But fame and notoriety take their toll when CHENG finds himself stuck between the looming Japanese army and the scheming local secret service. Matters are only made worse when he bumps into the love of his life QIU, along with her writer husband. Will love re-kindle in the dusk of an era?
Oh look, a movie set in Shanghai that doesn’t make it look like heaven on Earth. Not surprisingly, this film didn’t win jack shit at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
For those of you who suffered through Terminator Salvation, Avatar, Clash Of The Titans, Man On A Ledge, and Wrath Of The Titans, I’m happy to report that Hollywood’s attempt at making Sam Worthington the next big thing has been suspended until further notice. He’s been returned to his beloved Australia and is acclimating nicely by starring in this ‘based on true events’ surfing film. Negotiations are still on-going for the return of Liam Hemsworth, but at this time American filmmakers are meeting resistance due to Australia’s firm stance that he is a package deal with his brother, Chris.
Kellan Lutz is a ‘mysterious FBI agent’ and Mickey Rourke is a ‘klepto-terrorist’ (whatever that is) in this movie that Burnsy’s been excited about since last November. He’s funny that way. Do you think Mickey Rourke even remembers that he was an Oscar nominee in 2009? I have to believe that when he’s presented with that information, he gets a confused look on his face and says, “What? No, brother. You’re thinking of someone else. Probably Dolph Lundgren. Or Stallone. He’s a good shit, Sly. Smart, too. Shame he lost to Sean Penn for playing that fruity governor. Oh well, he’ll get another shot; the good ones always do. Hey, let me ask you something…you like pork chops? I know a guy, sells the best damn chops you ever put in your mouth, and I know from pork chops. I got his card here, you should call him.” Then Rourke fishes in his pockets for a while and eventually pulls out a half-finished pack of unfiltered cigarettes which he hands to the person to whom he was speaking, and then wanders away while quietly humming the theme song from Bonanza. Conversely, if you say anything at all to Kellan Lutz he just waits for your lips to stop moving and then wordlessly takes off his shirt.
I’ve actually heard quite a few good things about this thriller starring Josh Duhamel and that fat guy from Balls Of Fury. Well there’s a sentence I certainly never thought I’d write.
Bruce Greenwood plays an advertising exec who one day wakes up in a hospital and now only speaks via famous advertising slogans. Parker Posey is the one person who believes he shouldn’t be put into a mental hospital. I will now express my feelings about this film using only the titles of movies and TV shows that either Greenwood or Posey have appeared in: I’m Not There. Bored To Death. Perry Mason: The Case Of The All-Star Assassin.
So here’s the situation: Brendan Fraser is a dude in prison, and his kids are camping in the woods, but they witness Dominic Purcell and the fat brother from My Name Is Earl murder somebody, so those two guys start hunting the kids through the forest. Meanwhile, convict Fraser catches wind of all this, gets himself on a work detail in what appears to be that very forest, arranges to have a car waiting for him, and escapes so he can rescue his kids, all before his kids die out in the wild (either by exposure to the elements or murder) and seemingly all this takes place over the course of only a couple of hours. Based on scenes in the trailer, he finds his kids before the bad guys do, but somewhere along the way those same bad guys (who couldn’t find the kids before) become master hunters and are now stalking Fraser and his kids, who are now simply trying to escape -unless they decided to stick around and kill the bad guys, because that’s what families in mortal peril do. All the while, Johnny Law is presumably also hunting Fraser, but they can’t find him even though he is in the very same forest he escaped from while on work detail. Just so, I can only assume that once Fraser and family gruesomely kill the bad guys, they will return to civilization, where not only will Fraser be forgiven for his little vacation, but he will also be exonerated for his prior crimes, which he surely didn’t commit –a fact that will probably only be made clear by a plucky reporter or someone similar researching his case during his period of premature freedom. That’s quite a bit of shit sandwich to chew on, is it not? If you selected ‘Three’ in the “How Many Writers Did It Take To Come Up With This?” pool, congratulations! Your exclusive Breakout branded promotional boat float key-chain and beer koozie combo collector’s set should arrive at the mailing address you provided in six to eight weeks.
Speaking of Dominic Purcell, he continues to be Uwe Boll’s muse as they follow up their Assault On Wall Street –in which Purcell plays a man who is fed up with the way America is heading and expresses his anger by shooting up Wall Street, with Suddenly, a film in which he plays a man who is fed up with the way America is heading so he tries to assassinate the president. The only man there to stop him is a small town sheriff (who’s also the town drunk) played by Ray Liotta. The tag line for this movie is “Patriotism Has Two Sides”. Because both characters have a valid point of view and approach to their problems, I suppose. Oh Uwe, you are ever the provocateur! Look, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. There are better films hitting DVD today than many of the ones I’m actually featuring. Certainly better films than this. Remember that Laetitia Casta movie Vince mentioned a while back, War Of The Buttons? That’s out today. There’s also a couple movies that have gotten decent reviews, like Bless Me, Ultima and Simon Killer. Oh yeah, and the latest film from Michel Gondry, The We And The I hits DVD today as well. The point is most of those movies are almost definitely better than this latest pile of tax-credit abuse from Uwe Boll. (This time it’s the Canadian Film Or Video Production Tax Credit.) That being said, I firmly believe you’d rather I share the trailer for Suddenly than the frankly boring one for Simon Killer. I didn’t even bother watching the trailers for War Of The Buttons or Bless Me, Ultima because I knew I wouldn’t be featuring them this week. As for The We And The I, it’s a semi-improvised film about inner-city youths riding the bus. And it plays out in real time. And it’s from the guy who gave us The Green Hornet. I think we’d all rather watch Ray Liotta and Dominic Purcell run around with guns in an Uwe Boll film than ever watch that piece of deliberately self-important, socially-conscious navel-gazing, even if it was directed by the guy who once painted a picture of a tranny for Vince.
Eric Roberts and Michael Berryman (the freaky dude from The Hills Have Eyes) are the psycho killers in this horror film about the dangers of throwing parties in a self storage facility. For those keeping score, this is the second of Berryman’s seven acting credits for 2013, and the 31st of 70 acting credits for Eric Roberts for 2013, and that’s why he pops up in this column practically every damn week. The guy’s like just like a fly: he seemingly won’t ever go away and he’s attracted to literally every piece of shit that he comes across.
This comedy about two serial killers who meet in the woods and become friends includes the following people in the cast: Henry Winkler, Christopher Lloyd, Beth Behrs, Christopher McDonald, Maria Menounos, Artie Lange, David Proval, and Kathie Lee Gifford as herself. How…just how does that happen? I mean, I know none of those people are exactly A-listers, but still. How did this cast come to be in this film? Oh I see now, the writer/director, Keven Undergaro, is Menounos’s boyfriend. That still doesn’t explain the rest of them, however. I can’t even get three friends to come over and try out the new expansion for Settlers Of Catan, how does this guy get all these people to be in his shitty movie? You know what? Screw it, I’m making shit up, if only to let me sleep at night. So here it goes: Henry Winkler’s podiatrist is Undergaro’s uncle. He got a deal on cortisone shots for his neurmoa if he agreed to be in the film. Menounos caught Christopher Lloyd outside her window, staring at her and masturbating. Same with Beth Behrs. Christopher McDonald mistook this for one of those talking puppy ‘… Buddies’ flicks that Disney cranks out every other month. Artie Lange needed the cash to pay off his bookie. David Proval is just honored I recognized his name and that am including him in this charade. Finally Kathie Lee Gifford thought she was being pranked by The Today Show and decided to just played along. Okay, I feel better now. But for real guys, that expansion, it seems pretty cool. Everybody gets their own pirate ship and you actually have to build settlers that can go from harbor (oh yeah, you get to build harbors now) to ship and back and you can transport goods like spices and fish and you have crewmen, and it just seems really awesome and fun. I think Klaus Teuber has really found a way to take the best parts of the Seafarers expansion and give it some extra depth without any of the needless tediousness of the Cities & Knights expansion. It really seems like this new Explorers & Pirates could be the definitive version of Settlers Of Catan.