Monday, June 03, 2013

[Movies] Going Attractions

Going Attractions: I count seven potential summer blockbusters that were released in May. These blockbusters are the seminal purpose of the movie industry. Pretty much all other movies have to count on long term plans such as rentals or hitting it off in Europe to make money. These show big profit on the the first weekend or they are considered failures. Stock price movers, they are. I, of course, saw none of them. I don't go to the movies. It's an odd concept to me -- like streaming from Amazon, but in a huge darkened room with a bunch of annoying strangers while eating nasty food and paying for the privilege. I don't see the attraction. But it's fun to me to try to figure out ahead of time which ones I'll watch when they start streaming or appear on cable.

Iron Man 3 -- I'll watch it just for Downey if nothing else, but reviews are strong. BTW, I just caught a snippet if the first Iron Man and decided I would have gone to see it in the theatre if during the face off between Downey and Jeff Daniels, Downey would have said, "Where is the money, Lebowski?" In fact, I might go to the theatre to see just about any Jeff Daniels film that contained an ironic Lebowski quote. But that's just me.

The Great Gatsby -- I find I actually like DiCaprio. I thought he was terrific in The Aviator, which is a movie that is recent in my mind but is now almost ten years old. It seems like everything reminds me of the passage of time, doesn't it? I have to stop doing that. Try to stay focused on the future. It's not like I'm some sort of old man in a nursing home. I mean I won't retire for another 15 years at least and if I look back 15 years ago, the most profound experiences of my life had yet to happen. There's no reason to expect the next 15 years will bring any less. And 15 years after that -- well, I hope to be a cyborg.

But the topic is Gatsby. You would think this is the sort of movie I would relish -- a fresh take on classic literature -- even if it turns out to be an awkward reimagining, but honestly, it seems like the kind of thing that I would plan to watch but probably think better of it when the time comes and turn on something else. Maybe The Aviator. Or Lebowski.

Star Trek: Into the Darkness -- Reviews are mixed but I'm sure I'll watch it. Even at his worst, JJ Abrams can hold your attention. I thought the rebooted Trek acting team was awfully good. We know Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing. I fear for JJ in trying to extend the Star Wars franchise though, especially after the holy abominations of the prequels. He may be mistaken if he thinks there is a trove of good will out there. But it appears he really wants Eternal Emperor of all Nerdom on his resume so he has to go for it.

There were three great fantasy-action trilogies in the '80s (roughly): 1) Star Wars, 2) Indiana Jones, and 3) Back to the Future. Lucas plus Spielberg torpedoed Indy pretty thoroughly. Lucas demolished Star Wars all on his own. It's evident that the personality of the director plays a starring role in such films. By the time Lucas and Spielberg got around to revisiting these works they were different people -- the sort of people who did not thrill to, and dream about, pulp action fantasy anymore. They were grown ups, with all the suckiness of mind that entails. Please don't let either of them touch Back to the Future. Marty McFly with Parkinson's would be the Worst of all Possible Ideas. Best to leave it to guys like Abrams and Joss Whedon. At least until they grow up. Come to think of it, I bet Whedon could do something sparkling with a Back to the Future reboot.

Fast and Furious 6 -- Yeah, I'll watch it. Mind switched to 'off'. Maybe while playing Fruit Ninja and cursing myself for wasting what little time I have on Earth.

The Hangover 3 -- I have not watched 1 or 2 so it's highly unlikely i'll watch this one. I have seen slob humor from its Animal Housian beginnings and feel quite confident that I could live a rich, fulfilling life without seeing anymore. Like most things, slob movies have degraded over the years. They sometimes descend into pure raunch or the contort themselves to have a poignant endings. But the true death of slob humor came when they started producing sequels. MISSING THE WHOLE POINT, PEOPLE. They're just supposed to be a couple hours of gags.

Now You See Me -- I had to look up the plot of this one: "Story follows a crack FBI squad in a game of cat-and-mouse against a super-team of the world's greatest illusionists, who pull off a series of daring bank heists during their performances, showering the profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law." I'll wait until I hear more about it before deciding. Could be good but only if it turns out to be a crisply plotted and cleanly directed caper film, but you only get one of those every decade or so. None of the names involved with it give me any confidence whatsoever. I'd lay odds that like the main characters, the thing the movie does well is manipulate the audience.

After Earth -- Abort. I can't get past the premise: After evacuating Earth a thousand years ago, a father and son duo crash land back on Earth where everything all life has evolved to kill humans. At least that is what I gather from the trailers. First, in evolutionary terms, 1000 years isn't very long at all. There probably would be observable effects but not that great. Roving packs of feral Labrador Retrievers? Sure. Mutant Giant Killer Reptiles -- um, no. Second, even if life did evolve very fast (for some contrived reason revealed in expository dialogue) it would not evolve to kill humans because there were no humans around to evolve to kill. See how that works? My ability to suspend disbelief only goes so far. There has to be at least some semblance of rationality behind things. I don't know why they think it's OK just to make up whatever random crap you want and turn it into a movie. Oh wait, I see the reason: M. Night Shyamalan. Because it's worked so well in the past.