Friday, July 20, 2007

SUPER SUMMER PSYCHO CINEMA SHAKEDOWN


It is obviously not only me hedging my last cinema dollars on the Ultimatum. Luther has been talking about it all summer too. I was in such a haze, seeing all the film coming at me that I didn't have the clarity of mind to make such a leap. I am there now though. God, Luther and I see it for what it is: The Bourne Ultimatum is going to deliver us from a mediocre summer.


Let me clarify: I have seen a LOT of movies at the theatre/Drive in this summer.

A buttload.

This summer was supposed to be a summer that was to satisfy the moviegoing public. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a film out this summer that I would put down as "shaping the face of pop-culture itself." However, there were a lot of films that were in fact, noteworthy. I am going to run you through my summer list. I am also going to try and recall where I saw all of these things.

Allow me to add that this summer has reminded me of multiple summers of my youth that I whittled away at the theatre. One summer, the Meralta theatre in Downey had 10 cent movies all summer long. But part of that had to do with some strange sort of advertising campaign that they were doing where they would show you commercials and have ou fill out questionnaires. Actually, it was the Avenue theatre up the street with the 10 cent movies. I thing that the Meralta was free on that advertising day. I remember my father (who was a newspaperman at the time) making some sort of accusation against the Meralta management, calling them liars. It boiled down to us filling out questionnaires and then having to fill the same ones out again after the ads were shown because "some people hadn't put their names on them." Well, someone got paid and my father was pissed and this was close to 30 years ago.



For 10 cents I saw Doc Savage. It ended with a cliffhanger and I never saw the sequel. I don't think that they even made the trash. Come to think of it, that was one of the biggest letdowns of my filmgoing career. The cliffhanger. Then the later realization that there was going to be no answer to why Doc Savage's buddy got kidnapped. I remember going to watch it again for another dime, thinking/hoping that they were going to maybe run the missing reel or something.


Then there was a summer when Casson and I saw CLOSE ENCOUNTERS about 3 times. There was the summer where we both watched WRATH OF KHAN a few times. And of course, the summer of INDIANNA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. There have been other summers, and there have been other movies. I remember as a kid seeing the double feature SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT and THE CAR somewhere in Norwalk with some friends from school. THE CAR is currently one of my old-school faves and someday I will watch Burt again in that foul-mouthed highway comedy.

Casson and I also were there for INDEPENDENCE DAY on July the 4th years ago. We were in KKKanada, and for the record, the movie sucked. But I do go to the movies. I do watch them here at home and I do download the hell out of the internet just to make sure that I fill all the holes. Even with my avid movie watching, I still miss a lot of film. There is no way to keep up. Netflix can plug some holes later down the tracks, but the fact of the matter is that all of the film being generated cannot be watched unless you don't have a job or a social life. Furthermore, you'd better be liquid, cash-wise.

The drive-in has been good on the cash tip though. Six bucks and you get to roll up in your own vehicle. The downside is that there are a lot of minivan type people who like to show up and pop their back windows up that might just block out the subtitle portion of the screen in front of you. Furthermore, the "escape factor" is completely compromised. This is no dark theatre where it is viewer vs film onscreen. There are bugs in the air and smells and smokers and cars starting and cars driving around and people walking about and kids everywhere detracts from the viewer vs film onscreen in a big way. Some of the best film experiences I have had were when I could zero in on the film and there were no distractions whatsoever. One such memory that I have is when I went to go see HEAT by myself, years ago. My only distraction was that I had to take a piss, but I took the bladderpain in order to make it through that film, and believe me, I was mesmerised. Another such experience was when I went to go see TRAFFIC alone. I was lost in this film. I became a part of its landscape...observing. Enjoying the further beatdown of Michael Douglas. That punk can never get hurt enough on the bigscreen.

This is the magic. Of course, it is good to go and have the collective experience with others. To be able to say that you threw down and felt the same twitch in your viscera with a friend is a good thing.

Whatever the case, and whatever the experience, I have seen a lot this summer. In no special order, here are what should have been the heavy hitters:







Spiderman 3. I was on it. I needed this. I was expecting a lot more. Raimi has taken my soul in the past, and I was really hoping for the same this time around. But unfortunately, this didn't hit the notes that part 2 or 1 hit. Venom was wack and the super climactic end scene was a lot more interesting when Matt and I took on the Sandman in the XBOX 360 version. I am glad I saw it, but I got a lot less than what I expected. It has been said that Raimi was in a corner and couldn't do much with all that he had to do. This is very possible. He took a huge bite and swallowed the thing unchewed. Bruce Campbell was worth the admission price. In the end, it was relatively mediocre. I saw it with Matt and Luther at the Del Monte Shopping Mall theatre. I recall looking at the Fantastic Four 2 Silver Surfer standee and wondering how many of those things were being made for promo for the flick. We went for super burritos afterward and talked. Overall, the experience ended on a high note, but not the highest.















Pirates 3. I believe I have blogged a bit about this experience, so I won't say too much. Other than the fact that this was a disjointed beautiful hoo-hah. Lots of problems and lots of overpaid actors that didn't need to be there. Chow Yun Fat could be deleted as could Keith Richards. But damnation, when those effects got rolling, it was a sight to behold.


I hope to God in heaven that the "end credits scene" wasn't some primer for a part 4. We are done here, Disney. You have proved your point. You have done good with the franchise, and I am willing to forgive you for that blasphemous HAUNTED MANSION movie.
I took Ivan and Ysabel to see this at the Drive-In. It is crap. Forget Shrek. This stuff wasn't funny the first time.
The movie clocked at 88 minutes or something, and I am glad, because that was all I could take of this absolute crap-fest. The only good thing about it was the Immigrant Song maneuver which I think I referenced in a blog a few weeks ago.
Forget Shrek
Forget Michael Myers
Forget Dreamworks
Forget Antonio Banederas
Forget Cameron Diaz

All the aforementioned people/parties can die on railroad tracks today via a slow moving runaway Amtrack car as far as I am concerned. What a capital waste of money-grubbing time. This is what is wrong with American filmmaking in its most concise sense. I don't have the stomach to really elaborate, but this film was an absolute suck-fest of the grandest, foulest most bloated proportions.

Hatred is strong, and I hated this movie.




Transformers.

I was hyped. I posted some pre-release pics in this blog a bit ago. How could they mess it up? In all honesty, they couldn't. They had too much money into it, and I knew that a big part of that budget was for F/X. Good to go.

A lot of fun. Shia LeBarf has made a name for himself in Hollywood and I am proud of him. EVEN STEVENS may have been the last great family sitcom.


If you are a TRANSFORMERS fanboy, then this is for you. I don't consider myself a fanboy. I think that I still had a good time though. When I took Ivan, i had to cover his eyes for the impaling and plug his ears for the masturbation sequence. There is a lot of cornball in this film, but when things start to pop, this thing is straight eye magic. Barricade interrogating Shia LeBarf was top tier. The way they wreck the city at the end of the movie is solid too. Everyone does well. I am even willing to forgive the powers that be for letting Anthony Anderson into this film. Who said that fat fool can act? Kangaroo Jack having muth....

John Voight, John Turturro and the boss from OFFICE SPACE all do good in turn. But the key is that you are watching BIG ROBOTS KICK THE SHIT OUT OF EACH OTHER, and it is a lot of fun.



CRAP.



I haven't read the books. I can't invest the time. I am too busy reading the Bruce Campbell Chin that kills book.



CRAP.



Lots of FX, but when it is said and done, this was an episode. The dude with no nose is back and haunting Harry in his dreams. There is some sort of connection with him and Harry. There is this wacky girl who has a name like Lunar Lustmonger. Harry gets his kiss on. There is a showdown and Gary Oldman gets smoked. But it is obvious that they are not done with this trash.





CRAP.



I have watched this film every time as a result of being tractor beamed in by people who actually care about this stuff. In this case it was Matt and Luther. Matt proudly claims to read no other books than Harry Potter books. Luther reads, but he has a soft spot for the Potter. Every time I have watched these, I thought I was going into a mysterious land of mediocrity. This was the most convincing episode in my opinion.

I read somewhere that you needed to be under 10 to enjoy this film. Truer words haven't been spoken . The fire-gutted hull of the Marvel flagship series churns once again. It is wack, it is stupid, and the only thing that I dug about this absolutely tepid piece of diarrhea was the fact that my 8 year old loved it.
Forget Galactus.
Forget plot.
Forget anything you have ever heard about the Fantastic Four. Forget it ALL. Even forget that stupid-assed Herbie robot from the 80s cartoon.
This is a re-invention of the series by some common-denominator interns who don't give a rip about anything whatsoever to do with "integrity" or "art" or "class." This was crap.

My kid loved it though, and that is because those interns that I speak of must have had the minds of 8 year olds.



CRAP.



I can't lie. I downloaded this sucker way before the summer and watched it way before release time. It is garbage. It is complete garbage. I want those two hours and the use of my harddrive space back please.



Who makes this trash?



Who greenlit this?



Downloading this and watching it is the greatest compliment that you could possibly give to these fecal-meisters. It is uncanny how horrible this thing was. it was Enter the Dragon done worse. I say this because Enter the Dragon sucks in its own right. How could someone possible screw that up worse? Watch this tripe and find out.



TOTAL BRAINDEAD CRAPOLA.






This stuff was unexpectedly funny. It was funny because it came out of nowhere. All of a sudden these people are talking about this movie that I had heard nothing about. Seth Rogan is a funny guy. He really is.
I usually stay away from stuff like this. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 40 Year Old Virgin. But I wound out laughing painfully throughout it. This is another similar kind of film. While not as funny as 40YOV, it sure delivers hard when it does. The pop culture references sprinkled in this film are genius.

I don't need to summarize anything here. The title says it all. Take all of the depravity that you can possibly pack into the title's meaning and there you go.

It will be an awesome rental. I can't wait to see the DVD extras.

THIS MOVIE IS HARD.

THIS MOVIE IS THE HARDEST OF THE SERIES.

BRUCE WILLIS KICKS SO MUCH ASS IN THIS MOVIE THAT IT IS MIND-BOGGLING.

The plot is implausible and the physics are atrocious, but it was good to see Bruce Willis doing what he does best. In my mind, he has dethroned Mickey Rourke as the man of all men. I just watched UNBREAKABLE again to solidify my internal point. I also watched the opening to 16 BLOCKS to seal the deal. Bruce Willis holds it down with some range. But when he is all out? He might just slam your ass into an office chair and throw you down a flight of stairs.

That being said, after it is said and done, I feel empty after watching this film. There were all of the trappings of substance, but after it ends, there is no substance. The ass-kickery is top-knotch. That gay kid from JEEPERS CREEPERS and the APPLE commercials sure drops the one liners. He is funny. Something about this film though...the advertising campaign was all wacky. When the trailers dropped, it made no sense. They could have given a bit about the ex-patriotic plot and really made it work. LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. Whatever the hell that title means, I must say that the movie was all about a good time. It all gets blown up. It all gets blown up good.


Mediocre. Not as mediocre at part 2, but in the ballpark. Al (Scarface) Pacino holds it down. Ellen (perpetually hawt) Barkin plays her age well. Brad Pitt and Clooney open up their little exclusive club again and the target is taken down. it is completely improbable and stretched. The comedy isn't good enough to cover for all of the useless blunderage. There is a buttload of blunderage. The Scott Caan/Casey Affliction rivalry is officially tired. Bernie Mac is funny, but he is worth more than his role in this and as the sleazeball car salesman in the Transformers. Where I need to go to make this all work is to Matt Damon.

Matt Damon acts. He is believable. He puts it down. When he wants to be tough, he is tough. When he wants to be a dork, he is a dork. When he wants to be stiff, he is stiff. When he needs to be loose, he is just that. Matt Damon is the star of Oceans 13 IMHO.

And now we are back to the Bourne Ultimatum. Matt has the chops, and the trailer looks damn good. I have six bucks left in my budget for this summer, and I am hoping that I will be satisfied. Whatever the case is, this has been a cinema-soaked summer that rivals any cinema-soaked summer of my past.