One of the great pleasures I receive in writing these weekly prognostications is that every so often, I can and will be incredibly wrong. Last week, I truly thought The Change-Up would find a bigger audience than Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Incorrect. I thought Apes only had little excitement brewing from its trailer and from its franchise’s seemly-diminishing fanbase (and one other guy). Also false. Finally, like several other folks of the entertainment media, I predicted the film itself would be a “letdown” – a movie that only goes through the motions toward a commonly known climax with subpar CG effects for its somewhat absurd choice of dangerous animals and would pay the price for skipping the option of 3D…
Who ordered the Ultimate Wrong Feast? Oh, that was me – over here.
I’m actually relieved. The stink of The Change-Up‘s clearly desperate humor turned out to be stronger to moviegoers than its many stool-related gags, and once again, they more closely proved that 3D is an afterthought if the film’s experience appears rewarding enough. Lesson learned: Always bank on CG’d Andy Serkis, for he picks these roles with the utmost care.
But on to the second week of August. Was Apes the summer’s last hurrah? After Change-Up and Friends With Benefits (I know, I’ve nearly forgotten about that one too), is the R-rated comedy down for the count again? Even though I occasionally don’t get it right, here’s how one person is using his fine-toothed comb before this Friday. GOT ME/LOST ME begins now!
starring Miles Fisher, Ellen Wroe, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, and Courtney B. Vance. Directed by Steven Quale. Rated R.
You know what I said on Flixster two years ago when The Final Destination was about to release? “Promises, promises…” Drop the balloons from the ceiling – I called it!
Before writing this, as opposed to just viewing the trailer for this sequel like I normally do, I watched the trailers for all five installments. It led me to two conclusions. First, there’s no way the movies are half the fun the trailers are since that entails learning a little about these helpless victims (well,… perhaps except for the more dramatic original with Devon Sawa). Secondly, if you look at these ads with a perspective director Michael Haneke might use, the serial killers of this gory saga are the screenwriters. That’s simultaneously funny and troubling. I can’t help but imagine being in their presence when these character murder ideas occur. They’re sitting on a park bench at Six Flags… – “Hey! What if that roller coaster tragically malfunctioned with people on it?” … Or they just got soft pretzels and Orange Julius at the mall… – “Hey! What if that escalator tragically malfunctioned… with people on it?”
Let’s keep these movies coming for the trailers alone, or better yet, can we just have a new Final Destination trailer before every movie – regardless if one’s really opening soon? They’re the cinematic equivalent to a warm-up comic.
starring Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson. Directed by Ruben Fleischer. Rated R.
Unlike the rest of the world (source: Rotten Tomatoes), I was only minimally impressed with Fleischer’s earlier film Zombieland. It had some good things going for it (like Jesse Eisenberg’s Columbus’ first undead encounter in the form of Amber Heard inside his apartment), but it also had its recurring annoyances with catchphrases and caption graphics. Nevertheless, the film as a whole was enough for me to take note that there could be something special within Fleischer as a comedic filmmaker.
30 Minutes‘ red band trailer doesn’t offer much more than a thrown-in F-bomb for the same scenes as the green band trailer, but I see that as preferable for an upcoming comedy. Too often the best laughs of a film have already been revealed before its release, and this one about a pizza boy (Eisenberg again) instructed by bad guys to rob a bank with an unremovable vest of explosives hasn’t even shown a bank in the ads yet.
The other three stars listed above only tickle my funny bone in brief moments, the rest of the time causing me to think they’re best in small doses. This could be their time to shine too.
starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Bryce Dallas Howard. Directed by Tate Taylor. Rated PG-13
My wife Roo has listened to the book on tape (that if I’m not mistaken was performed by this film’s co-star Spencer, up till now perhaps most recognized from last summer’s Dinner for Schmucks), and now she wants to see the onscreen adaptation more than ever. I’m just a step behind her – I want to listen to the tape and then see this dramatic tale of a caucasian woman’s published human interest article that served as a helping hand in the civil rights movement. The star power is strong with Stone, past Oscar nominee Doubt‘s Davis, Oscar winner Sissy Spacek, and Emmy winner Allison Janney. However, if the trailer is as much an indication as I assume, the best performance may come from the antagonist. Ron Howard’s daughter Bryce has yet to steal the show in a worthwhile film (I’d say the closest she’s come to this was M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village), but the ads for The Help look to reveal her character to be one we could all love to hate.
On the other hand, I asked Roo who her favorite character was before typing this, and she said Davis’ role. We’ll soon see how noble Taylor is to this fruition.
starring Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Directed by Kevin Tancharoen. Not rated.
I know I was given plenty of time to inevitably accept that this popular show would eventually crash through my beloved hobby of movies, but *sigh* it still wasn’t enough… I recently read that Jane Lynch and her cheerleader-coach villain Sue Sylvester has hit the cutting room floor completely before the finished product of this concert doc opens. Despite my ultimately dismissive stance on FOX’s biggest hit musical TV series since “Cop Rock“, say what you will about the character’s tired quirks, even I know “Glee” isn’t “Glee” without Sue’s condescension. More than that, being that I’ve seen far more clips of this show than I care to admit (thanks, Roo), am I wrong in noticing that these are all song-and-dance numbers that have already been presented on the show? (I know I’ve seen the blond airhead cheerleader – Heather, is it? – do her Britney Spears number before.) You could argue that this film is for all the “Gleeks” (gross) that didn’t have a chance to see the touring live show, but the point is moot since it’s not live anymore.
Oh wait, don’t tell me – that’s where the “3D” part comes in. I know I’m not the first to say it, but I think this phenomenon has already shown us all it has to show us.
With that last sentence, was I talking about “Glee” or 3D? Answer: Take your pick. As for Lynch, I think I’ll take the hipster route: just pop in Best in Show again instead and look back fondly on when only I and a select few knew of her under-the-radar talents.
Return next Monday or Tuesday (I always shoot for Monday) for the GM/LM for August 19th, 2011 which will include Conan the Barbarian with Jason Momoa and Fright Night with Colin Farrell. If you regularly visit Twitter, feel free to follow @MEIER_in_a_CT and @gttmovies for more instant and unadulterated reactions to movies.