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The Golden Compass
Since the Lord of the Rings trilogy was so damn successful, a string of imitators has expectorated like so much snot from Gollum's nose. Okay, maybe just a dull and poorly executed Chronicles of Narnia, but you know that more are on the way.
And here’s The Way. The Golden Compass is about a little girl in an alternate reality (a plot device that comes in especially handy whenever numerous lapses in logic, disbelief and plausibility come into play) or… something. I can’t say for sure. Science fiction sometimes is fucked up just for the sake of being fucked up. I’m guessing some kabala of old, pale-eyed and pasty Europeans (The Majesterian I believe they go by) wants to rule the world and needs a golden compass which can see into the future to do it. The compass is hidden and a little girl has it and can wield it, a cast of unusual characters who happen to be the sworn enemies of the imperialist limeys are sworn to protect her and you get the idea.
In the plus column, it looks a hell of a lot better than Narnia, everyone’s got a talking animal (some with celebrity voices) and there are warrior polar bears. Or “ice bears” as the trailer explains. There also appears to be lots of action which may be more Middle Earth than Narnia, but then again that Narnia trailer once showed promise. Once. And if Daniel Craig, sporting a badly dyed beard, is here, he sure as shit isn’t making another James Bond movie. And I don’t like waiting.
I Am Legend
Whenever a lone survivor after the apocalypse or a holocaust movie comes out I get all excited. Partially because I know that I don’t ever want to see either of these things happen in real life and also because I’ll get to see it happen.
So as the trailer so obviously explains, Will Smith is apparently all that remains of humanity because of what he explains is a man-made virus. He’s living my dream of being the only person in Manhattan (or the world for that matter) with a German Shepherd (okay, in my dream it’s a Great Dane). He eats breakfast with his dog, “rents” videos, drives a mustang around the city, goes hunting (whenever a lion doesn’t beat him to the punch) and uses the back of an aircraft carrier as a driving range.
Of course things get nasty when the mutant vampires come out at night. They want Smith’s blood because he’s the only one immune to this virus and he’s working feverishly on the cure. You know, because coincidentally the last guy left on earth just happens to be the scientist who was responsible for the biggest catastrofuck of all time. It looks like his dog gets hurt, many explosions happen and everything else you’d expect.
So they’re remaking Omega Man (or Last Man on Earth if you’re keeping score) and with 99.9% of all remakes something goofy or supposedly interesting has to be done to differentiate it from the original(s). I’m guessing a love triangle with the head of the mutants or a jungle fever tryst with a blow up doll. After all, Charlton Heston had a touch of the fever in Omega Man, so they’ve got to do something. I’m going to hold off until cable unless Charlton Heston falls off the wagon and personally invites me to go see I Am Legend with him. He’s also got to promise to drunkenly provide a commentary track for me and me alone. AND he’s got to complain that a scientologist couldn’t pull off the lead role in this movie.
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Jason Lee as Dave and three computer-animated chipmunks. One of which eats shit. And I’m not just trying to be a craggy dick. One of them actually eats shit. A scientologist playing second fiddle to cartoons singing “Funkytown.” I knew I was going to get a lump of coal this Christmas, just not this early. There is nothing good afoot here and if someone’s trying to introduce Alvin and the Chipmunks to a new generation I’m guessing it’s not going to work. They couldn’t be killed quicker with a bullet.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Oh, sweet Jesus. Another one. Wasn’t one Da Vinci Code knock off bad enough? Nicolas Cage running around in a really bad wig, lending credence to fictional and non-fictional conspiracy theories with a cast of old farts and computer geeks in tow. All of the intrigue, none of the religious backlash. None of the charisma either.
I don’t even remember what happened the first time around, but apparently it comes out that Cage was one of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination through the creepy ramblings of Ed Harris as a government creepy guy (I’m guessing that’s an actual governmental title) at a public speaking event. Cage and company run around all over the country to secret places looking for evidence to clear his ancestor.
Then the… dare I say it… Book of Secrets comes into play. It’s a non-existent (or is it?) book that only presidents have access to. It’s got such coveted pieces of information such as Warren Commission findings, missing minutes of Nixon’s Watergate tapes and the truth about Area 51. So in an effort to get his hands on this conspiracy nut’s wet dream, Cage decides to kidnap the president. Yeah, I said the same thing.
Cage and company end up on some sets from Tomb Raider that didn’t get dismantled while battling some clichéd spider webs and bring Helen Mirren along for some street cred and Harvey Keitel takes a break from his Gatorade commercials to age even more gracelessly.
And in case you haven’t figured it out, Cage’s great whatever had nothing to do with the assassination. Harris is just using him and his team as pawns to get the Book of Secrets all for himself! There are embarrassing pictures in there of him both giving and receiving rim jobs or whatever to/from/with Henry Kissinger, and if those get out he’ll never be in charge of his local rotary club. And he might get away with it if it isn’t for those meddling kids!
Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Whenever Johnny Depp and Tim Burton work together it’s usually gold, but even the team of Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro had their New York, New York. And I think this is Burton and Depp’s. So we’ve got Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street. All I knew about the story is that a wackadoo serial killer/barber starts killing people and lets his landlady or somebody like that have the bodies to cannibalize or turn into blue plate specials or something. Which isn’t so bad in itself, but if you tack a sticker that says a musical by Stephen Sondheim on it any anticipation I may have had for it is deader than Robert Goulet.
It looks decent enough. Depp plays some poor bastard who gets locked away when some rotten judge played by Alan Rickman wants and eventually steals his old lady. Somehow Depp wriggles away, assumes a new identity and hairstyle and his neighbor played by Helena Bonham Carter helps him exact his revenge and the whole thing is very spooky and atmospheric. Actually, the whole goddamned thing looks exactly like Sleepy Hollow, but it’s Tim Burton so what do you want?
Then Depp starts singing. If there’s one thing in the world I can’t stand (okay—there are things by the dozens that I can’t stand, and when I come across them I’m filled with a boundless rage that can only be relieved by opening fire into a crowd, watching Stella or taking a nap) it’s when people sing. Obviously if I’m listening to an album or if I’m at a show that’s one thing, but if someone starts singing in real life it’s a total boner killer. That scene in Animal House where Belushi smashes that folkie’s guitar on the stairs pretty much sums it up for me.
It's a musical. But Borat’s in it. Then again it looks pretty cool. At the same time so what? Why should I get all excited about seeing the same thing I’ve seen a few times already, only this time it’ll be with people singing through most of it? It appears to have no comic elements to it and the theater’s going to be filled with pussy goth kids and even worse, theater students. I’ve never downloaded or pirated a movie in my life, but Sweeney Todd might make me start for two reasons. 1) I’m probably not going to like it. 2) Those fucking theater kids. There’s always a few who just have to dance in the aisles. I don’t like when people dance in real life either.
Alien vs. Predator: Requiem
After seeing an R-rated Alien vs. Predator: Requiem trailer on some film site I was kind of torn. I couldn’t decide if I was more impressed with a deuce I dropped a few hours before or this trailer. The deuce won.
The plot for Requiem is like the punchline to a joke you’ve heard before, only told a little differently. Some predators get some alien facehugger eggs, drop them somewhere, and let some poor idiots get turned into mincemeat so the hunt can begin. Of course the predators underestimate the aliens, and there’s one predator and one human left. They work together to squash the hive and at some point the predator is going to blow off the nuke on his wrist, effectively bringing the movie to an end and leaving one human survivor out in the middle of some desolate and ominous setting.
I’ve read the comics during a misspent youth and even though I’d all but outgrown it by the time the battle of the titans hit the big screen, I went anyway. The original Alien vs. Predator didn’t really offer much. It was a monster movie where the most fun was watching the humans get killed and an ending that offered an interesting premise—a premise that doesn’t look like it’s going to get touched in Requiem.
Instead we get some predators dropping some aliens in some isolated town (instead of Antarctica) only to have the aliens outwit the predators. Oh! But the US military is moving in and if I heard correctly time is against everyone as I’m guessing some hard-on general plans on nuking the site. So maybe Mr. Lone Wolf Predator won’t get to blow his load from his fancy wrist band. Ah well. God created cable for a reason, right?
Charlie Wilson’s War
I can’t follow the thought pattern of Hollywood for the life of me sometimes. We just had a pair of movies about the current conflict in the Middle East thrown at us and I want to say that definitely one, maybe two more are on the way. Total overkill, right? So when you want to make essentially the same type of movie but you don’t want to compete with the 328 other douchebags doing it, what do you do?
You tell a similar story from a few decades ago. Maybe even have this story lead up to the one happening now! Make it about a person that no one’s really heard of. Make this person more eccentric in the movie than they ever were in reality. Get a big star, put a bad wig on him. Get an equally big actress, stick an even worse wig on her. And whatever you do, don’t make it too serious. Or at least don’t make the trailer too serious.
And that’s what they did. Charlie Wilson’s War seems to be about a hack Texas senator played by Tom Hanks who either helps or attempts to help Afghanistan by supplying arms, aid and what have you in the '80s. He dusts off his accent from The Ladykillers as he exceeds his power to do his part for the cold war. Julia Roberts shows up too. I’m not really sure what purpose she serves because I started nodding off about 16 seconds into the trailer. I couldn’t care less and this is apparently one of the movies that has such a level of self-importance it expects people to blow off their families and travel through shitty weather to see it. And if you’re an uncle or an aunt on a school board AND a Fox News enthusiast, you might. I’m not, so I’ll probably just load up on turkey then unbuckle my pants and watch a sporting event I couldn’t care less about. Merry Christmas, everyone.
The Bucket List
Were you wondering why Jack Nicholson had his head shaved earlier this year at the Oscars? Me neither, but apparently it was for The Bucket List. Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play a pair of cantankerous yet good natured terminal cancer patients who decide to hit the road instead of bearing the brunt of each other’s incontinence. The plan is that they’ll do what they never got around to doing (but always meant to) in their lives instead of playing gin rummy in a hospice and eventually getting kicked out when they don’t die within ten days.
So they go skydiving. They abuse classic cars on race tracks. Ride a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China, fight with their wives, visit their estranged children, go to Africa, visit a computer-generated Taj Mahal and Egyptian pyramids. Run a train on a Croatian midget, cut the do not remove tags off of mattresses, finger-pop nuns, eat lunch then immediately go swimming, call in bomb threats, compose sonnets, do embroidery, perform fellatio, etc. They get crabby with each other and I’m guessing Nicholson will share an anecdote about a handjob from a nurse in Vietnam.
I’m also going to take a shot in the dark here and say that Nicholson and Freeman will have some kind of blowout, resulting in a faggy and sensitive letter that Freeman writes. You know these two are going to die, and you’re supposed to bawl like a baby when they do anyway. Just like when the Titanic sank. Instead, I’ll probably just watch Chinatown and Five Easy Pieces then wonder what the hell ever happened to Nicholson and remember the days when the man did movies without lines like find the joy in your life. Gross.
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