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Aug

06

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MOVIE TRAILER REVIEWS
BY MICHAEL GILDEA

Land of the Lost

Just when you think Will Ferrell has the ability to be comically irrefutable he goes and sticks his wick in some kid-friendly comic adventure. Don’t believe me? Go watch Anchorman, then watch Kicking and Screaming. If things aren’t bad enough in kiddy country, Will’s taking us to remake city as well. Remember the TV show Land of the Lost? Yeah, me neither but apparently it existed.

I’m not sure how this scenario is supposed to tie into the original series, but Ferrell plays some crackpot scientist who lands ass-backwards into some magical prehistoric otherworld with dinosaurs, lizard people and other dumb crap all the other scientists said doesn’t exist. Isn’t that ironic? Who’d have thought, right?

The worst part is you can’t even blame this movie on the economy. Land of the Lost probably got the okay last summer, and at worst they got a just okay lunch table as opposed to a four star spread after the words “economic crisis” garnered daily repetition.

Why the hell does this keep happening? I really don’t want to go on some tirade about how summer movies used to mean something (actually I’m not sure if they ever did). I also know that you really don’t have to try that hard to get people into an air-conditioned theater during post-shower shower season. But can’t you at least try?

If I was promised that Ferrell did something like dry hump an ice sculpture in the middle of this kid-friendly crapfest I would maybe watch it on cable someday. Maybe he could work some 9/11 jokes in there and defecate himself, just to let us know he isn’t serious with Land of the Lost.

The Hangover

Okay. The guy that made Old School made The Hangover. His name’s Todd Phillips for anyone keeping score and The Hangover looks like a movie in the same vein. Four guys go out for one’s bachelor party in Vegas, apparently get sloshed out of their respective nuts, and of course they wake up to find they went completely off the reservation. No one remembers shit, the groom’s missing for the wedding that’s like five hours off, there’s a tiger and a baby in their hotel room and oh yeah, they’re obviously all hung over.

The movie stars Ed Helms from The Office and previously from The Daily Show, Zack Galifianakis, who just generally rules, and Bradley Cooper, who I’ve never really heard of. He hosted SNL a few months back and the episode wasn’t bad. TV on the Radio as the musical guest didn’t hurt. The Hangover looks pretty funny and is actually one of the handful of summer movies I might get off my ass to see.

But then I remember that Phillips also made Starsky and Hutch. School for Scoundrels too. See where I’m going with this? It’s not even June (as I write this) and I’ve seen enough shitty movies to last me the whole year. Did you see Wolverine? Save your goddamn money. Go buy a homeless person lunch. Donate to The United Negro College Fund. Anything that’s not giving the Wolverine people any kind of encouragement for them to make more X-Men movies. I like the X-Men movies, but this one really sucked.

To this summer movie season’s credit, Star Trek was pretty clutch, and I’m not a Star Trek guy. The story rocked, the acting was great and the effects were top shelf. I no longer want to beat the $8 and change out of J.J. Abrams I spent on Cloverfield.

Then there’s Terminator Salvation. What I wouldn’t give to see bad things happen to the cheese dick who pounded this turd out. And for those who are still keeping score, his name is McG and he made the Charlie’s Angels movies. Christ, his movie was awful! Christian Bale, who played John Connor, never got out of Batman growling mode and actually did a shit job. I supposed he could blame the uneven story to some extent, but give me a fucking break. Watching this movie was like eating a Hot Pocket with a couple cold patches and a scalding molten core. Also, Terminator Salvation convinced me that Ron Howard’s daughter has been lobotomized. It’s like there was nothing behind those eyes.

The Taking of Pelham 123

Why has the world refused to acknowledge that John Travolta has pissed his career away for a third time? And why do they let him continue making movies? What? Why? He makes some movie where he tells the makeup department not to put the obnoxious wig on his blockhead this time and lets them draw a ridiculous neck tattoo on after sticking silly earrings on his ears and this justifies years of mediocrity? Travolta gets all edgy for a movie so everyone’s supposed to pony up ten bucks? Bitch, please.

Then the reasons to step out of the way of this one keep coming when the end of the trailer for The Taking of Pelham 123 proudly states that this promise of a turkey is directed by Tony Scott. I could go on and on like I do every time this fuzzy little assclown makes a movie, but I’m not going to this time. Recently I was asked if there was anyone on this planet I would order dead, provided there would be no personal consequences. Without hesitation I answered Joel Schumacher. If I saw this trailer before I was asked that question, I’d have added Scott to that list.

As for The Taking of Pelham 123, It’s not only a remake of a 1974 Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw movie, but it looks like some kind of boilerplate hostage thriller where the ringleading bad guy (the Xenu-possessed Travolta) gets into a battle of wits against a hapless-yet-resourceful everyman. In this case, it’s a government employee, played by Denzel Washington, who insists he doesn’t have the authority to meet Travolta’s demands. I’m guessing the plot was based on a Madlibs page more than the 1974 script. No doubt, as in any other movie with two supposed megastars, they won’t have a scene together until the end. It also goes without saying that scene will be anticlimactic. The bad guy will have unnerved the unshakable good guy in some sociopathic way during the final showdown, leaving the good guy to question everything he values as the bad guy is carted off to the slammer. Just when you thought there was nothing out there to make reality TV seem appealing.

Whatever Works

That period of my life where I’d get excited about a new Woody Allen movie has come and gone. It’s got nothing to do with him marrying his adopted daughter either. Granted, that’s kind of fucked up, but at least it wasn’t his real daughter, right?

Rehashes of his ‘80s movies gave way to comedies you’d never give a second thought in the ‘90s. Then Allen got into some straight-up drama outside of the country for a bit a few years back, and now he’s back to comedy. And you’re never going to believe what his newest comedy, Whatever Works, is about—a cantankerous New York Jew surrounded by whimsical and amusing characters, inviting unwanted chaos into his life with their bizarre drama in a way that’s sure to translate into some valuable life lessons. Or not.

Apparently, Whatever Works doesn’t just look like his old movies, it actually is one of them—the screenplay is older than Annie Hall, and Allen dusted it off because he wound up having to start his annual movie production early to avoid an actors’ strike that never materialized, meaning he had to shoot in New York, for which he had no new script. So if you miss the early, funny ones, this might be worth a go.

Instead of self-indulgently casting himself in the main role, Allen casts Larry David of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame. Honestly? Casting David in an Allen role is like stealing $20 out of your grandmother’s purse when she’s got $22 in there. Is that last $2 for your own peace of mind or are you just trying to prove to the world you’re not a total jackass? The funny thing is that going off this trailer, Whatever Works looks like—well, it looks like any other Woody Allen movie. Whatever, yes. Works, not so sure.

The Proposal

I often ask myself what I’d need to do to get a free pass in life. I’m not talking bailouts; I’m talking free passes to do things as minimally or as badly as I’d like—to coast to success. World of difference. Take Sandra Bullock for instance. I challenge you to name one thing she’s ever done in this or any of her past or future lives to justify not welding shut the sewer pipe from which her movies spew. Crash doesn’t count because she was in it for like 15 minutes and she was the weakest part of the movie. Admittedly, I was laughing my ass off when she told her maid she was her best friend.

Sandra Bullock won’t go away! Why won’t she go away? Did she secretly save the president from a gang of rabid marmots or something? Did she disable a doomsday device on the eve of an important peace conference? Was there subsequently a banquet held in her honor, at which she was granted dispensation to make awful movies for as long as she likes in return for saving humanity as we know it, starting with Judge Dredd? Wait a minute: She won a bet, didn’t she? A bet with the heads of every major movie studio, that had they won would have entitled them to give her their choice of a Woody Woodpecker (not the cartoon, google it), a jelly doughnut (not the food, google that one too) or an Alabama Hot Pocket (again, google). I’m not even attracted to her, and I’d pay cash American to put her through any one of those, especially the jelly doughnut.

What’s she getting away with this time? She plays a bitch-from-hell boss whose visa runs out (she’s Canadian, the least challenging kind of foreign) and either threatens or bribes her beady-eyed assistant into fake-marrying her so she can stay in the USA. Then to make things that much wackier, they head to his family’s place in Alaska, and if this is like any of the other 23,489,563,456 movies that combine fish-out-of-water and opposites-eventually-attracting elements, I’m guessing these two kids are going to get real-married by the time you realize you pissed away your hard-earned money. Is this making sense for you yet? Sinking in at all? Sandra Bullock has never been in a good movie and if she’s been doing it for over 15 years, why the hell would she start making decent ones now?

Which is why I challenge Bullock to a double-or-nothing bet: She wins, I quit The BEAST. No more reviews. If I win, I get to pick two of the nastiest and unhygenic bastards I can find. Hell, I’ll even have a contest through this publication to find them. Second place winner gets to give Bullock the Woody Woodpecker. Grand prize winner wins the Alabama Hot Pocket. And sorry, boys. I’m saving the jelly doughnut for myself. And again, I’m not talking about food.

My Sister’s Keeper

I’m sometimes accused of shutting down emotionally and blanking out in times of stress, frustration or total disinterest. It happened again when I watched the trailer for My Sister’s Keeper. While it clocked in at just shy of 2 1/2 minutes, I just couldn’t bring myself to pay full attention. The following three times I tried didn’t help much either.

As best as I can tell, the little kid from Little Miss Sunshine was conceived for the sole purpose of having her organs harvested so her cancer-ridden sister can live. Despite this seemingly never-ending black cloud of illness, the family presses on until Little Miss Sunshine finds out she’s spare parts. Then she gets an eccentric billboard lawyer to help get her emancipated from her desperate and morally bankrupt parents. This is like the Michael Bay movie The Island, except nobody’s getting cloned and no helicopters are crashing into electronic billboards. But like The Island, I promise you that it’s nowhere nearly as interesting as it might sound. Even if you’re on Ecstasy and have seen nothing impressive in your life, the viewing experience still promises to be painful.

But what’s more painful than having to endure this saccharine family bullshit as they pull together in the face of adversity is having to look at Cameron Diaz’s gross and stupid face. Look at it, all gross and stupid. That goddamned mouth covers 3 country zip codes for crissakes. A former lover must’ve tried smoothing out that service road face with a rolling pin. Look at her, with her big wide face. Either that or he took the rolling pin to her face, one or the other! Maybe both! Look at her! Jesus! What has she become? She was cute for a couple years in the ‘90s and I know we all aged a bit rapidly during the Bush administration, but this is preposterous. How can anyone eat lunch with her? Or breakfast! Can you imagine eating breakfast with her? An Egg McMuffin going into that rotten pie hole? JEEsus! Fuck Armageddon, that’s hell!

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

The first Transformers movie was surprisingly entertaining. What’s surprising about this is the fact it was made by Michael Bay and it wasn’t entirely bad. But what’s not surprising given the fact that it made a shitload of duckets is that a sequel is being made.

Look. I’m not going to bullshit you. If you saw the first Transformers, you saw large evil alien robots who can transform (clever the way they came up with that title, huh?) into vehicles trying to take over the world battle the good alien robots who can transform into vehicles trying to stop them and save the world. The story centered around an awkward high school student who wound up hooking up with a frighteningly hot girl before evil was defeated, after much exciting and well-executed death and destruction.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is its sequel, with larger evil alien robots, an awkward college student still with the even more frighteningly hot girl, and what looks like more exciting and even more well-executed destruction. Check your brain at the door, kids, and have a happy summer.

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