Well cherubs, I of course try to be a righteous and understanding soul . . .
(“So why is he a film critic, Mommy? Huh? Why, Mommy?”)
As the Home Economics teacher at my high school was fond of relating: all taste is in the mouth. It therefore occurs to me that you might not want high-quality cinema. It occurs to me that you could care less who might or might not rate an Oscar. I’m reminded of a gentleman I used to know in a writer’s workshop. Totally respected his views on writing, but when it came to women he wanted them as trashy as possible. I mean the morning after the date he wanted to be first in line at the clinic. That’s the sort of relationship he preferred.
So I’m sympathetic. I mean, I’m not going to be ignored, Dan . . . ah, I mean pumpkins. I’ve got suggestions of stuff here that might tickle the old fancies. Let’s see . . .
“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” (directed by Tommy Wirkola) — surprisingly enough this current trend of turning established fairy tales into MTV horror videos isn’t as bothersome with me as you might think. Anyone who’s read the unexpurgated Grimm’s Fairy Tales should know that a lot of these folk legends were originally grim and dark stuff, so anything which scrapes off the squeaky-clean covering and injects more blood and violence is heartily welcomed. And Tommy Wirkola has a wonderfully twisted approach to his work (as anyone who saw “Dead Snow” will attest). Seeing as how “Hansel and Gretel” is currently killing all competition at the box office, there must be something being done right. If I have a problem then it might be in the selection of material. After “Red Riding Hood”, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and now this, I’m patiently waiting for “Three Little Pigs: No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” (or something similar). Also, being old school here, Wirkola’s movie will have to go far to beat out the Bugs Bunny cartoon “Bewitched Bunny”.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” (directed by John Moore) — Bruce . . . Bruce . . . Bruce . . . give it up, already. Criminy! Repeat after me: you do not need the money. “Die Hard with a Vengeance” was mildly entertaining (I’m a sucker for “solve the puzzle” thrillers), but “Live Free or Die Hard” practically put me to sleep. Heck, even Mike Myers knows when to walk away. You’re gonna let people say Mike Myers is smarter than you? You’re talented, you got a nice sense of humor, you don’t need this.
“John Dies at the End” (directed by Don Coscarelli) — okay. I have to confess right off the bat that any movie with both Clancy Brown and Angus Scrimm in the cast grabs my interest. And that title pokes at my curiosity as well. Based on the David Wong (Jason Pargin) novel, this is a horror comedy dealing with alternate dimensions, seeing into the future and, of course, death. The vibes I’m getting on this tell me that this is the film you want to see if you’re avoiding “A Good Day to Die Hard”. And speaking of movies to avoid . . .
“Movie 43” (directed by Peter Farrelly and a whole lot of other people) — yeah. Remember me talking about movies where all the good bits (or at least the important ones) were in the trailer? Here’s a textbook case. Farrelly is one of those people whose concept of comedy never left the boy’s bathroom in junior high. What makes his condition all the more tragic is that he somehow convinces people to give him money to make films (but I suppose if chicken farmers can become Reichsfuhrers, then . . .). Here we have a collection of several different plots (and here I’m using “plot” to mean the hole you stick a corpse in) dealing with a lot of alleged humor. Trust me, if you watch the trailer you’ll see all that’s worth seeing in this film (which isn’t saying much). Of course this might be your cup of tea. It all depends on whether or not you’re comfortable with sharing a movie theater with a lot of sniggering sixth and seventh graders.
“Parker” (directed by Taylor Hackford) — this might be the one to watch. Among other things Hackford directed “White Nights”, “An Officer and a Gentleman”, “Ray” and one of my favorite musical documentaries: “Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Plus he’s married to Helen Mirren, so the boy’s obviously got something to offer. Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Chiklis star in an adaptation of a novel from a series written by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake) dealing with a professional thief who’s out for revenge. Looking at this I keep thinking of John Boorman’s “Point Blank”, and I might be mistaken. But if “John Dies at the End” is sold out at your theater, then consider taking this one in. And let me know what happens. Uncle Mikey cares.
“Upside Down” (directed by Juan Diego Solanas) — a little while back I caught the trailer for this 2012 French-Canadian film that’s just now getting ready for a US release, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to tell all of you about it. Solanas isn’t too well known, but this feature might change that. The premise of the film is that there’re two planets existing literally within spitting distance (you look up at the sky and can see someone on the other world staring back at you). Obviously gravity plays by some very unique rules here, and personal intermingling between the worlds is strictly frowned upon. So now we have a boy on one world, and a girl on another (Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst) falling for each other. “In fair Verona, where we lay our scene”. Yeah, you can probably write out the rest of the plot (including the ending) by yourself. But the premise is interesting and it looks as if it might possess an interesting little style.
And there you go, snookie-wookums. That should help keep the crumple-horned snorkacks out of your psyche for the time being.