The fall movies sure are looking like one crazy mixed bag of mindless entertainment, which isn’t all bad. Just be sure to set your expectations to highly cautious. After catching whatever mysterious germ Matt Damon and Kate Winslet are spreading, sit back and enjoy yet another horror remake with an alien that’s also contagious. Then there’s a heavyweight blood-match between robots, sure to end with a first-round knockout that makes you wonder why you spent so much on ticket prices. If that’s not enough, how about pregnant vampire teens?
Don’t you just love it when previews include real-life tidbits so as to add a sense of urgency, as if viewers will think this could happen in the real world? Kate Winslet’s speech in this trailer almost transcends to the level of Public Service Announcement. We have a nasty habit of touching things with our hands and then touching our faces. Germs and other foreign contaminants are everywhere, and you never know which one could spark an epidemic, along with the apocalypse. According to that logic, we should remain indoors instead of going to the theaters in September.
Then again, with Steven Soderbergh in the director’s chair, I’m willing to take the risk for this sci-fi disease thriller. It’s been a while since we’ve had a flick of this sort. I’m still trying to rid the repulsive taste of ‘Dreamcatcher’ out of my mouth. It’s also been a while since Soderbergh has made a picture that would be considered accessible by mainstream audiences. And the film seems to feature a rather attractive cast, headlined by the likes of Winslet, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne. All right then, I suppose I’ll give it at least a watch… so long as I can bring my gas mask and 2-liter pump of Purell.
‘The Thing’ (2011)
As seems to be the popular trend in Hollywood these days, another remake is heading our way this Halloween. And once again, it’s from the John Carpenter canon. Along with ‘Halloween‘, ‘The Thing‘ has long been a fan favorite since its release, especially in the sci-fi horror subgenre. Technically, Carpenter’s movie is a modernized reimagining of the 1951 Howard Hawks/Christian Nyby drive-in classic. Also technically, this new film from producers Marc Abraham and Eric Newman of the ‘Dawn of the Dead‘ remake is actually a prequel to Carpenter’s version. So in that respect, the preview has me intrigued.
The story is set a few days before the events of the first movie, with a Norwegian scientific team excavating in Antarctica. The very-pretty Mary Elizabeth Winstead from the very-fun ‘Scott Pilgrim‘ movie joins the team as a very-attractive paleontologist. Just like in almost every single horror picture imaginable, even smart people do stupid things, like thawing out an alien life form without taking extreme precautions and insuring everyone’s safety before continuing. But if they did the right thing from the start, we wouldn’t have what looks like mild spooky entertainment. So we must forgive blatant human error playing a significant enough role in order to make this possible. Being a big fan of the Carpenter movie, I wonder how this prequel will end?
I think Hollywood has finally hit an all-time low. With rumors of a ‘Candyland’ movie circulating about, Tinseltown appears to be scraping the bottom of the barrel by making a sci-fi drama (?) based on the popular Rock’em Sock’em Robots toy. We’ve already seen what Hollywood did to ‘G.I. Joe‘ and ‘Transformers‘. Now, they’re about to destroy another childhood memory. I’m really nervous that ‘Real Steel’ will turn out to be another great idea on paper with execution that’s… well, literally an execution.
Okay, so enough with the hyperbole. The movie is actually adapted from a short story by Richard Matheson, and a rather entertaining one at that. (You can also enjoy a ‘Twilight Zone‘ episode based on the story made during the show’s fifth season, called ‘Steel’.) Starring Wolverine – Argh! I mean Hugh Jackman – and the lovely Evangeline Lilly (who played Kate on the immensely popular ‘Lost‘) and directed by Shawn Levy, the movie could be surprisingly good or, at its worst, decent. The trailer, on the other hand, does little to generate much interest despite all the inspirational music in the background. It makes the movie look exceedingly predictable, if not the least bit humdrum. I’m definitely waiting for reviews on this one.
Oh, and one final thing: ORANGE & TEAL!!!
If the movie is anything like this ridiculous trailer, then I know I’m in for a great, gut-busting laugh. Every time I see the title, I want to read “Breaking Wind.” My daughter has already banned me from watching the ‘Twilight’ movies with her in theaters because I laughed embarrassingly out loud for most of ‘New Moon‘. The dark room filled with the red beady eyes of Twi-hards pointed right at us, as my daughter cowered down into her seat.
I have to admit this two-minute teaser has me laughing because the setup is hilarious. Why does it even try to create an air of mystery when it’s obvious what we’re looking at? An exotic-looking woman walks down a hallway made of stone and hands a wedding invitation to a sickly-pale Michael Sheen. “You are cordially invited.” Then more time is wasted with crybaby Jacob taking off his shirt and a brooding, still blindly-shiny Edward standing at an altar before looking down at a rather plain Bella. That’s it? Where do I check “Decline” on the invitation?
The best part is those last few seconds, which leave viewers guessing as to why the young drama queen is holding her tummy so intently. She must have a stomach ache. You know, because the other possibility would not only be impossible, even in the fictional world of vampire lore, but utterly and downright stupid!
Just in case that’s what it is (even though it just cannot be; his blood is dead while hers is still warm), then it’s a good thing the two of them waited, right? What better way to raise an evil brood with good ultra Right-wing conservative values? As long as we can get past the idea that self-restraining vampires apparently believe in the sanctity of marriage, then I suppose anything is possible.
I’m watching that ‘Dark Knight Rises‘ teaser again. There, at least, is one small shimmer of hope in the future – however obscure and ambiguous it may be.
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Contagion and Thing both look like pretty good flicks, flicks I’ve already seen, but pretty good nonetheless. Hadn’t heard of Real Steel before, but it looks decent.