Friday, June 5, 2009

Land of the Lost Interest

No. I'm not going. Not if I were tied to a time machine piloted by Ferrell himself. Welcome to week six of Blockbuster Summer '09. It's taken this long to get to the stupid stuff.

Yeah, we get that these films usually make money, but since our bets have done pretty well so far this summer, we'll put another one out there. Land of The Lost is not going to be a hit. There, that actually felt good.

Ferrell was hit and miss last year - Semi-Pro released in at the end of February did less than 35 mil stateside while Step Brothers, released in July just broke the 100 million mark. We're figuring it's likely that Land of the Lost may have already lost a first place opening to Pixar Up's second weekend in 3D. That would mean a sub 30 million opening at best and if that's all it does, it will have gotten what it deserves. Pardon us for dragging out the soapbox but we really are partly exhausted / partly disgusted by filmmakers and big stars who are content with churning out lowest common denominator product and getting rich off it.

While we're wandering from statistical analysis and projections based on facts over to the
"we're just really wishing it would happen this way" counter, we hope that by the time Monday roles around, every sentient being associated with the creation, manufacturing and distribution of The Hangover, also opening today, will feel like they tied one on beyond belief. If the movie gods are doling out fair desserts, the headaches and regrets should last weeks. Are we the only ones who remember Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Cameron Diaz and Jon Favreau in a film from 1998 called Very Bad Things? Let me refresh your memory - Las Vegas, bachelor party, things go very very wrong - dead hooker and the like - you get the idea. Well so did the "creative" team of The Hangover. What's worse is where the earlier film was genuinely funny in a dark and twisted story, Hangover goes for obvious laughs and punch lines that can be seen from other continents. When the funniest thing in a trailer is seeing Mike Tyson play air drums to Phil Collins, it's a fair bet that seeing the movie is about as much fun as getting your ear... ok, that's pretty obvious too.

So we'll leave you with a May recap instead. Unfortunately, in this first week of June, you're best bet for enjoying a summer movie is seeing one released last month. There were 6 big releases - here's how they stack up.

X-Men Wolverine Origins yadayada - We sooo skipped it. Man, who hasn't had the fill of looking at these same films again and again? The trailer for this film made us want to put the DVDs for the first three in a yard sale. Seriously, what was new here? About as entertaining as Jackman doing the Oscars again.

Star Trek - You can't go wrong unless you absolutely despise sci-fi. And even then, you're missing out on a great story with a superb cast. Then there's the fact that it was a really well made movie. Anymore from us about how much we really liked this new version of the classic and we're going to start expecting a piece of the take. The best popcorn flick this summer.

Angels and Demons - If Tom Hanks would have shut up more often, at least when he was running all over the place, we would have liked it even more. As it stands, if you're into Dan Brown novels or the kind of subject matter he writes, this film was the film The Da Vinci Code should have been. Far more entertaining, faster paced and without any prolonged exposition delivered by actors just sitting around a dimly lit set. Smart, action packed and a nicely trimmed version of the story from the novel. Solid.

Terminator Salvation - is not the salvation of the franchise. In fact, it's just a lot of nonsensical, future-tinged, post apocalyptic battle sequences. This movie has all of the disjointed continuity of a poorly written video game. Christian Bale as John Connor was a waste of payroll in a role that should have stuck to its original intent and played to support newcomer Sam Worthington's Marcus Wright. Just an example - in the beginning of the movie, much time is spent as a new way of disabling "teminators" is developed and tested to great success. It then disappears from the story as terminators run rampant for the rest of the film. Skip it. God knows the earlier movies are on cable often enough.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian - Fun. We laughed and enjoyed, that is until we remembered how much more fun the first film was. Then we were not so impressed. First film -Larry's son gets to be in on the big crazy finale. Cool. Second film - some lame thing with the son guiding Larry into the Smithsonian from a computer, then nothing. First film - bad guys are old geezer night guards that are an absolute hoot (Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs). Second film - some lame excuse to make the plot line work in the Smithsonian. First film - a genuine love interest played by Carla Gugino. Second film - a really bizarre and impossible love interest in the form of a mannequin of Amelia Earhart come to temporary life, though played wonderfully by Amy Adams. If there's a third, we're far less interested than we used to be.

Up - Go. Go in 3D if you can, but it's great regardless. A movie studio, leave it to Pixar, has finally come to understand that 3D is a cinematic tool, like VistaVision or Dolby audio that enhances the experience for the audience. Gimmicks be damned. The movie is stunningly gorgeous, leave it to Pixar again, and benefits in every way from outstanding voice performances (special nod to Mr. Ed Asner), creative story telling and a terrific three dimensional script. The best movie to use your kids as an excuse for seeing - but kids won't see everything you will. And you'll throughly enjoy it all.

Hope that makes for you having a better shot at having a great time at a movie theater this weekend. Glad to be of service.


  1. Mark and I were saying the same thing about The Hangover being a bad likeness of Very Bad Things. Come on, that guy from The Office can't and Bradley I'm God's Gift To Women instead of Piven and Favreau??? Who gives a you know what?

  2. This movie looks like a two year old thought of it. I can't believe someone would waste their time playing a role in something this crummy.


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