Poster for Point Break remake…Wait, this is actually happening?

26 May

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.”  – Bodhi (Point Break 1991)

The people behind the remake of Point Break did not hesitate; that is clear. If they had, fear would have forced them to reconsider their hair-brained plan to make another Point Break. But before we get into the diatribe, here is the eye candy:

Point Break Poster

So, clearly there will be skydiving in the remake. I guess that is neat, except that Fast and Furious 7 had cars dropping out of planes. Come on Point Break–step up your game!

The 1991 film was not good, but it has attained a certain level of cult-film status (Important Note: gaining the status as a cult-film does not make a movie retroactively good. More often than not, the film becomes popular because it is awesomely bad. There might be an idea for a post in here). As bad as the 1991 version was, it seems like the 2015 iteration is setting up to be worse.

In 1991, the movie managed to attract one major movie star, a well-known secondary character, and an up-and-coming youngster. Patrick Swayze was coming off of Dirty Dancing, Ghost, and Road House. An odd combination I know, but his work had broad appeal–he was a star that could be sold to both men and women. Gary Busey…what can be said about Busey? He is great and supplied a level of fun and crazy that cannot possibly be replicated…ever. And then Keanu Reeves rounds out the headlining trio. Reeves was still relatively new on the scene, the Bill and Ted movie was really his only major success, but he was born for this role. Reeves was born to play a naive, surfer dude-turned-criminal. Again, this a role that cannot be replicated.

Reeves and Swayze

It appears that the leaders of the remake did not even try to recreate the (limited) charm of the original. Instead, they cast a series of bit players who have ZERO name recognition.

Wow! I’ll leave you with this from 1991 Bodhi: “What’s the matter with you guys? This was never about the money, this was about us against the system. That system that kills the human spirit.” It looks like the studio’s desire for money won this time.

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Jurassic World strikes deal with…Barbasol?

14 May

In a cute, but unexpected marketing ploy, on of this year’s most anticipated blockbusters signed a deal with a shaving cream company.

As you may remember, a can of Barbasol takes center stage in one disgruntled employee’s attempt to steal dinosaur embryos in Jurassic Park. Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) believes that he is underpaid for his services and decides to make quick buck by ‘liberating’ the building blocks for making dinosaurs.

We all know how this story ended, Nedry was blinded by a Dilophosarurus and we see the can buried in a mudslide to become a modern-day dinosaur fossil–see how it went full circle!

So, of course Universal decides to capitalize on this 22-year-old reference and strikes a deal with Barbasol. The cans have special artwork to commemorate the movie and Universal/Barbasol even came up with this ‘clever’ video:

This ploy makes zero sense! Who do you know that uses Barbasol? Certainly no one in the demo for this movie. My dad used Barbasol and he is closing in on 60. Universal made a PG-13 movie to appeal to kids who were not even born when the first film was released. Are prepubescent tweens going to run out and buy Barbasol and ‘shave’ with their dad’s credit cards? NO! Now let’s assume that this ad strikes a chord with the 30-ish crowd. There is one big problem here–Hipsters don’t shave! Beards are gaining popularity and decimating the companies who make, razors, shaving cream, aftershave, etc. So who are you appealing to Barbasol?

This is bad and desperate marketing for a movie that we already believe will suck! This type of senseless marketing only makes me more convinced that this will be one of the worse movies during this jam-packed summer.

Age of Ultron suffers “All your base are belong to us” moment

14 May

We really liked Avengers: Age of Ultron, you can read our review here. But maybe that is because we saw in its native language and not translated as it is shown in China.

Fans are expressing their frustration with clunky and sometimes too literal translations of dialogue. For example at one point Captain America says “You get hurt, hurt ’em back. You get killed, walk it off”. The Chinese translation reads “Run fast if someone tries to kill you”. Good advice, but it changes the tone of the pep talk just a bit.

And it really doesn’t improve from there. A few of the other instances that are making the rounds:

  • Captain America says “I’m Home”; translation: “I’m good”.
  • Iron Man says “We may not make it out of this”; translation “Let’s back off now”.
  • The phrase ‘son of a bitch’ is translated as “my old familiar partner”.

Chinese theaters typically hire their own translator, but the quality of the translations can vary greatly. And the issues sometimes extend to the title of a film. 2014 blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy was know by the much more intriguing Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team.

The good news for Marvel fans in China, some theaters have already corrected translation issues.

Also, a trip back to 1991:

All your Base

Kevin “I ate way too much” Bacon posts selfie to Instagram, sends Internet into pun-coma

12 May

Kevin Bacon may be the most ubiquitous movie star (see: a game based on how many degrees of separation there are between Kevin Bacon and any person on the world!), but his most popular role at the moment is on the small screen–The Following.

Bacon has endeared himself to the public by showing his human side; he and his wife were victimized Bernie Madoff and have spoken publicly about approaching bankruptcy as a result.

But the Internet is not focused on any of that. Instead they are freaking out over this selfie:

Kevin Bacon - fat selfie

Could it be that Bacon just gained a couple dozen pounds in the last month? Probably not! Is it a prosthetic for his role in the biopic of mobster Whitey Bulger? Who knows.

One thing is for certain, this picture is a far cry from the man who danced his way into the hearts of America!

Kevin Bacon Dancing

After 11 year wait, Incredibles sequel could be on the way!

11 May

Director Brad Bird is making the rounds on the press circuit to promote Tomorrowland. But that isn’t what has the Internet abuzz.

Bird announced that he will be returning to the Incredibles for a sequel. The 2004 hit was one of the first Pixar films to deal with complex and adult themes. And it was a huge hit that begged for a sequel, but that sequel never came.

Bird provided no specifics on the sequel other than saying that he is focused on getting Tomorrowland in theaters and then would be returning to The Incredibles. And, perhaps poking fun at the Internet’s penchant for misinformation, he Tweeted: “Reports” have been saying a LOT of nonsense about the plot of Incredibles 2. Just relax. I’ve got this.

In the meantime, feel free to speculate on possible characters, plot lines, or villains in the comments!

Don’t be a tease! Another Magic Mike XXL trailer

9 May

Channing Tatum, his band of male strippers, and their thongs return for the sequel that no one was asking for.

It’s not fair to say that no one was asking for the sequel; producers were begging for a second Magic Mike. These days in Hollywood, a commercial success means a guaranteed sequel. And say what you will about Magic Mike, but it had women lining up to throw their money at the movie. On a budget of just $7 million, the film pulled in more than $110 million at the domestic box office. So three years later all of the main characters from the original film have to squeeze into their policeman and firefighter and naval officer “uniforms”.

If you are unfamiliar with the details of the original film (and I expect many of you are), allow me to catch you up. Channing Tatum reprises his role as Magic Mike, a self-titled entrepreneur who is looking to get out of the “taking your clothes off for money” business. So naturally, he recruits a 20-something to take his place when he he hangs up his ass-less chaps at the end of the summer. Naturally, there are several scenes where Tatum gets to exhibit his dancing skills–he actually was a stripper before giving it up to pursue a career in acting. As the movie ends, we see Mike leave the stripping profession to focus on his custom-made furniture business.

The Trailer:

In the most played out of sequel cliches, the trailer starts with getting the band back together. Mike of course looks unfulfilled by his furniture business–let’s face it, what could give your life more meaning than stripping. What follows is the stripper equivalent of an A-Team montage. We see that the rest of the ‘dance crew’ can help but feel the calling to remove their clothes to music. Joe Manganiello is given to the stripper spirit that he feels compelled to grind on a refrigerator in a convenience store. At this point it should be clear that this movie is hoping to capture the Fifty Shades of Grey crowd. It is essentially socially-acceptable mommy-porn.

Back to the trailer. Why are the strippers reassembling? Because there is a national(?) stripper convention in Florida! Because we all know that is a thing! And of course, they can’t use the same tired routines that they had three years ago–if there is one thing people look for in their strippers, it is unique choreography! And new routines always spell success!

Bring it On

The Verdict:

This movie looks all sorts of bad. I don’t see how there could be a single redeeming quality in this film. It does not seem to have any of the charm that made the first film bearable. It is a blatant cash grab and without any semblance of originality. How man times have we seen this same story? Team/group must recruit the former leader to reunite for a final performance/competition. Along the way there will be a creative/romantic problem that will be solved in the third act. The story ends with our group winning and the man character getting the guy/girl! If you are feeling the itch to watch a movie featuring male strippers, watch the endearing and funny Full Monty.

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In Theaters This Weekend: Reese Witherspoon needs to fire her agent

8 May

Avengers: Age of Ultron came out last weekend, and it did what everybody expected it to do (or maybe a little less, due to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight), and everybody got the hell out of the way. No major movies opened last week against it, and it looks like the studios projected a second weekend of dominance, as well, as the only film out this go around, is a female, buddy-cop, road trip movie, that looks miscast and miserable, and ploy to grab at the demo that doesn’t plan on seeing Avengers for a second time.

Hot Pursuit stars Reese Witherspoon as a beat cop, and Sofia Vergara as the drug kingpin’s wife, who needs protection. This odd couple pairing – the by-the-book blonde vs. spicy-Latin-bombshell – soon realize both sides of the law are out to set them up, and they learn to work together, to make it to their destination (Dallas), and clear their names. It’s like every other road trip buddy movie (Due Date, Identity Thief, Planes, Trains & Automobiles), but the problem here is it seems unbearably miscast. Witherspoon plays the dowdy, naive, wholesome cop, out to get the job done, whatever it takes, but the problem is, the whole time I’m watching the trailer, all I’m doing is picturing Amy Poehler, playing an Amy Poehler-type character…..but it’s not Amy Poehler, it’s Reese Witherspoon. Sofia Vergara does what she’s supposed to do, walking around in a bra and yelling things in Spanish. And it’s no surprise there’s an oddly-timed tabloid scandal regarding frozen embryos and her ex-husband (really scrapping the barrel to drum up press for this stinker). But if we wanted someone to play the foil, and look weird in granny underwear, we want Amy Poehler, who is, after all, an actual comedian. Oh, that reminds me, it also doesn’t look funny AT ALL. It’s Thelma and Louise meets The Odd Couple, and if the studios needed to throw a sacrificial lamb at the feet of Iron Man and Co., this bungled mess of a film looks like it will do nicely. I’m guessing the film was written with female comedians in mind (of which there are growing numbers: Poehler, Wiig, McCarthy, Schumer), but for lack of anyone willing, they must have thrown a bunch of money at a big name, and lost any hope of improvisational-magic to fix a rehashed, dull script.

But hey, if you were stuck watching the May-Pac fight (speaking of dull!) last weekend, you might want to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron…we heard from about 60 million people that it was pretty good…

hot_pursuit_ver5_xlg

Mad Max: Fury Road – Final Trailer

7 May

George Miller returns to the Mad Max universe and presses the reset button.

Mad Max is back, this time without Mel Gibson! That might be the single most exciting detail to me. Mad Max needs to be a young man with nothing to lose, not an old man who is looking to rehabilitate his public image.

There has been a long wait for this film and it has been a long (and difficult) road for the cast and crew. From delays due to weather, to issues with the shooting schedule in Nambia, the project has been in the works for going on five years. But that is all behind us and we get to follow George Miller into his world yet again.

Fury Road represents Miller’s fourth trip to the Mad Max world. In 1979, Miller introduced us to the post-apocalyptic wasteland by sharing Max Rockatansky’s quest for survival and revenge. Two years later he took us back, as Max helped a small community escape a group of bandits. Finally, in 1985 we discovered the depths that humanity will fall to when all seems lost. In Beyond Thunderdome, Max helped rescue a band of children from a despotic ‘Desert Queen’. I liked each iteration of series more than the previous installment. Each time that Miller returned to Mad Max he seemed closer to fully realizing his imagining of a dystopian future. Unlike The Road, where the viewer is beaten down with increasingly more depressing situations, Max is drawn further into the insanity of humanity without a future. Imagine sitting alone in a room that is completely dark and sound proof. Sure, you might be fine for a few minutes, or even a few hours, but eventually you would crack. That is the vacuum Miller places humanity in. People are trapped in their own little groups because they have no way to travel to see other people. So, people’s actions become crazier without an outside influence to pull them back to reality and civilization.

The Trailer:

I cannot say it enough, I am so happy that Tom Hardy is in the movie. He strikes the perfect balance between, “looks like he could kick my ass” and “looks like he hasn’t eaten a hot meal in years”. There are more breadcrumbs packed into this trailer than any trailer for any other movie, yet we still don’t know a lot about the story. Charlize Thereon has a ROBOT ARM! That should set the stage for the absolute insanity in this movie. I also must confess that I dig it when movies and TV shows have their own weird slang language (think Serenity or Battlestar Galactica). That is present here…”3000 gallons of guzzoline…”. And then there are sand people on motorcycles? This looks crazy! And that is just the first 30 seconds of the trailer.

Hardy - Mask

Theron - Arm

Save…Your…Self…Save…Your…Self

Tell me that is not the most haunting music! For a movie that is about spectacular set pieces with explosions and cars flying through the air, what a great way to get you to feel. Eliminate all of the sound of motorcycles racing along sand dunes and monster trucks revving their engines, and you start to feel the loneliness. That is what Miller has been trying to capture in each version of Mad Max; when the artifice of civilization is stripped away, we realize that we are all alone. As if the song weren’t enough, we see the creepiest little music box and a character says she is “praying to anyone who is listening”. Could this feel more hopeless? If it weren’t for the fact that we knew Hardy already signed on to appear in several sequels, I might think that Max meets his end in Fury Road.

Back to the action..did that guy just jump onto a car with grenade-tipped spears? I think so! Is that a car exploding as it is sucked up into a massive tornado/dust devil? Yes it is! And by the way, that scene where the guy is swinging on a giant pole attached to one of the cars…yeah, that is a real stunt, not CGI! What a lovely day indeed!

The Verdict:

All of the Mad Max trailers have been exhausting to watch. There is just so much action. That begs the question, how does George Miller do it? From what I have seen, this would be amazingly demanding work. So many of the biggest scenes in the movie are real. How do you keep all of the action straight? How many takes do you need to get the perfect shot? I can only imagine the workload, but the 70-year-old Miller seems to have pulled it off. Lest you write this off a just a silly action movie, with muddled and hard to follow sequences, it appears that Miller has done a great job of giving us color cues to separate the action, locations, and characters.

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Will it Suck? NO! I could not be more excited to travel back to Miller’s wasteland. Mad Max: Fury Road hits theaters May 15.

Mad Max - Wont Suck

Indiana Jones sequel coming…but when?

6 May

I consider Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to be the greatest action/adventure film. I have been hooked to the series since seeing that first entry. Unlike many Indy fans, I was not offended by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. To clarify, I would not say that it was a good movie, but it also was not among the worst films all-time. Hell, it wasn’t even the worst movie of 2008. That title belongs to the Lindsay Lohan’s I Know Who Killed Me. But still, Kingdom was not good and it seemed like Indy’s future was in doubt. Fear not!

In a Vanity Fair interview, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said that Disney purchase may have given new life to the daredevil archaeologist.  She said Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm was for the Star Wars brand, but they got several other properties in the deal, including Indiana Jones. Although she did not supply specifics on a timeline for a new Jones movie, she said there were plans for a new film.

Shia - Jones hat

Not so fast Shia!

Still, it is difficult to deny that Kingdom may have turned off some hardcore and casual fans. As Jones himself put it, “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.” And after the 2008 entry, Jones is looking more like a used Volvo than the 1937 Mercedes 300c.

Jones - Car

Cast of Captain America: Civil War expands

6 May

The cast for the third Captain America is growing. Martin Freeman is the latest star to sign on to the movie. It is not clear which role he will fill. Film producers say they were impressed by Freeman’s dramatic and comedic roles.

Freeman was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role of Lester Nygaard in the mini-series Fargo. He also won a Primetime Emmy for his portrayal of Dr. Watson in the BBC series Sherlock.

Captain America: Civil War, represents the beginning of Phase 3 of the ambitious plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The events pick up after Age of Ultron and represent a shift within the films–friction between our heroes will increase as governments tried to manage the threat from super-humans. Civil War continues the march toward the Avengers: Infinity War films–the first will be released in 2018.

Marvel - Phase 3

Captain America: Civil War hits theaters May 6, 2016

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