By Brian D. Johnson - Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 0 Comments
This year of presidential gunslinging has produced three films about freeing American slaves: Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer and Django Unchained. What if they were all the same movie? My mash-up trailer:
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, June 22, 2012 at 12:48 AM - 0 Comments
What a mixed bag of movies we have this week: a highland feminist fable (Brave), a quirky apocalyptic dramedy (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World), a presidential horror movie (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), and a cottage love triangle (Your Sister’s Sister). Each story hinges on what Hollywood likes to call a high concept. Brave‘s family fable will, of course, leave the others in the dust at the box office. But if you’re looking for a good grown-up movie, see Your Sister’s Sister, by far the smallest of these pictures. It’s reviewed at the tail end of this blog. Now to business:
Much has already been made of the fact that Brave is the first Disney-Pixar movie devoted to a female protagonist, and that its fiery, red-haired heroine, Merida, breaks the passive stereotype of the Disney princess. But those aren’t the only things that are unprecedented about this animated feature. Brave is also the first Pixar movie that treats its kiddie audience with flashes of nudity— bare bums flashed below kilts, and a POV shot that dives headlong into the cleavage of a buxom maid. Which is not to say it’s more “adult” than previous Pixar fare. On the contrary, Brave is the broadest, most juvenile entertainment that the studio has produced, a movie that plays like a slapstick cartoon, without the layers of sophisticated adult wit that we’ve come to expect from the creators of Toy Story, Ratatouille and WALL-E. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But this Scottish fable is also the preachiest Pixar movie I’ve seen, a roaring adventure capped with the kind of heavy sentiment and sermonizing that we’d associated with old-school Disney—although the values being preached are more progressive. Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, May 4, 2012 at 12:25 PM - 0 Comments
This year’s crop of summer blockbusters promises buns of steel and dialogue of wood.
Like most young boys and all manufacturers of ibuprofen, I love summer movies. I love the one-dimensional characters and the two-breasted ladies. I love the catchphrases, the explosions and the catchphrases about people dying in explosions (“Don’t worry, baby—he had a blast”).
Here’s a preview of some of the big titles coming our way during the summer of 2012:
Battleship (May 18): At first it sounded kind of goofy to make a movie based on a Hasbro game—but now I’m totally psyched for the big-screen version of Boggle, starring Bruce Willis as a wisecracking consonant. And who doesn’t look forward to the inevitable blockbuster based on Monopoly? Can’t you see Russell Brand killing it as the Thimble? Heavens, we’ve never seen his cheeky kind here at Marvin Gardens!
Men in Black 3 (May 25): Will Smith stars as the Will Smith character who says, “Aw, hell no,” and other things that Will Smith always says.
By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, May 4, 2012 at 11:59 AM - 0 Comments
Comic-book blockbuster movies have finally become comic
“Suit up!” That’s the key catchphrase of Marvel’s The Avengers, in which saving the world is unthinkable without first getting into costume. But as the movie’s dream team of comic-book gladiators defend Manhattan from an alien invasion led by a demented Norse god, they’re not just saving the planet. They’re part of a mission to re-engineer the Hollywood superhero. The Avengers, a $220-million blockbuster destined for massive success, could be a game-changer. For comic-book fans, a superhero ensemble is nerd nirvana: anything is possible. For the rest of us, it’s way more fun than being stuck inside the lonely psyche of a single masked vigilante. As they butt heads and swap barbs, comic-book legends finally become comic.
Writer-director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has raised the stakes for the blockbuster. Amid marathons of destructive mayhem, he finds room for dense volleys of witty repartee, much of it dished out by Robert Downey Jr., the film’s resident satirist. His party pack of six Marvel superheroes is a talkative bunch. They range from Downey Jr.’s hyper-ironic Iron Man, the smartest god in the room—“I don’t play well with others”—to Thor, an earnest heavy-metal dude with a hammer and big hair. Adding bonus value is an overqualified cast that includes Jeremy Renner as a bow-weilding sniper, Scarlett Johansson as a Russian ninja and Mark Ruffalo trying to keep a lid on the Hulk.
Superhero ensembles are not new (Marvel’s X-Men is an all-star franchise), but The Avengers recombines Hollywood’s superhero DNA to suggest a world of hybrids. Comic-book legends are a finite resource. Two warhorses are back this summer in The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man, but how long can the studios mine these franchises with sequels, prequels and reboots?