Cinema Knife Fight – COMING ATTRACTIONS for MAY
CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT: COMING ATTRACTIONS: MAY 2010
by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(THE SCENE: a beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds in the distance. The roar of a rocket engine explodes through the air, and suddenly we see two figures rocketing across the horizon. Close-up on the figures reveal they are wearing Iron Man suits. One is bright gold and red, the other black. They lift their masks, and we see the two Iron Man figures are MICHAEL ARRUDA and L.L. SOARES. They wave at camera, just before slamming into the side of a cliff. Cut to the bottom of the cliff, as the ground is splattered with blood and guts and charred pieces of metal.)
MA (stepping in front of the camera): This never happened to Wile E. Coyote!
LS (joining MA): Well, the coyote never starred in Cinema Knife Fight!
MA: Welcome to the Cinema Knife Fight Coming Attractions for May 2010, that dastardly column where we will tell you what’s on tap for the upcoming month.
LS: On tap? Where are you hiding the beer?
MA: Nowhere. The beer’s for after the column, after we’re done working. This column’s demented enough while we’re sober. We don’t need any help. Anyway, as you can see from our opening, up first this month will be our review of IRON MAN 2, which opens on May 7.
(LS plays with some globules of blood and guts).
MA: Stop playing with that. That’s disgusting!
LS: I just love fake gore! (throws a big bloody clump at the cliff wall).
(MAN in a suit steps forward and begins talking about global warming.)
MAN: As you can see by these charts, global warming is occurring now, not tomorrow or next year, but now, as in today, as in the earth’s melting even as we speak, and if that’s not scary enough, let me tell you again how I invented the internet—.
MA: No, no, no. That was “fake gore,” not “Al Gore.”
MAN: Sorry. (exits).
LS: And don’t come back! The last thing we want is the column to become political!
MA: That’s right. No politics here. We’ll leave that for the writers who cover REAL LIFE horror. So where were we? Oh yes, IRON MAN 2.
I loved the first IRON MAN (2008). I thought the entire film was excellent, and Robert Downey Jr. was phenomenal as Tony Stark/Iron Man. And while sequels generally don’t measure up, the trailers for this one look good, and the hype is projecting this one to be a hit, similar to THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) which was so good it’s easy to forget that it was also a sequel to BATMAN BEGINS (2005).
Speaking of THE DARK KNIGHT, as I’ve said before, that’s my pick for the best superhero ever made, and a close second for me, was the first IRON MAN. THE DARK KNIGHT and IRON MAN get my votes for the top two superhero movies ever made, in that order.
LS: Who cares? Is everyone out there hanging on your every breath wondering “Gee, I wonder what Mike Arruda’s top two superhero movies ever made are?”
MA: No, but the point is, two of the best came out back to back, and one of them was IRON MAN, whose sequel, IRON MAN 2, we’re reviewing.
LS: Well, I liked WATCHMEN a lot. And SIN CITY. And PUNISHER WAR ZONE might have been the most fun of all.
MA: I liked PUNISHER WAR ZONE, but I wouldn’t call it fun. And while IRON MAN 2 is not a horror movie, it still deserves the Cinema Knife Fight treatment. Why? Well, for starters, I think horror fans really enjoy superhero movies, especially over the last decade where the folks making these films have really had a tremendous run. Some of my favorite movies of the past ten years have been superhero/comic book movies.
Also, superheroes often share similar traits with horror movie characters. What happens to Tony Stark, for example, is quite horrific. He’s nearly blown to bits, and to survive he has an artificial heart implanted in his chest. If this were a horror film, Stark may have followed a dark path, but it’s not, and he chooses to do good by becoming Iron Man. It’s still a horrific story, however.
LS: Why do you always feel the need to justify it when you review a movie that’s not horror? We’ve been doing this column for over five years now. I think we’ve proven we can review ANYTHING, not just horror. So stop being so defensive.
MA: As always, you’re missing the point. I’m not being defensive. The fact of the matter is, we review horror movies. We don’t review comedies, action movies, chick flicks, dramas, art films, whatever. We review horror movies. Do we have the ability to review other movies? Of course. But last time I checked, that’s not what we do.
LS: We do whatever we want. We don’t need no stinkin’ boundaries! We can review anything. It’s just that, our first priority and the kinds of movies we love best, are horror films.
MA: I’m just thinking of our audience, who I believe expects us to be reviewing horror movies.
But back to IRON MAN 2. In spite of the heroics, there are still dark forces at work in superhero movies, and there’s plenty of evil to go around. That’s what the villains are for. In IRON MAN 2, we’ll have Mickey Rourke as the baddie, and from the previews, it looks like he’s going to be quite dark, a far cry from the campy portrayals so often seen in previous superhero stories, going back to the days of the 1960s Adam West BATMAN TV show. So, I’m looking forward to IRON MAN 2.
LS: Mickey Rourke plays a villain named Whiplash. He looked a helluva lot different in the comics. For starters, he wore a mask. And he had a long, electrically-charged bullwhip. In the movie, he has some kind of breastplate like Iron Man does and has some kind of crackling whips made out of electricity. Or something like that. It doesn’t look awful, but I sure wish some of these characters looked similar to how they do in the comics.
MA: That stuff doesn’t bother me. I’m a big fan of dramatic license, so I don’t think you have to always do things exactly the way they were in the book or this case, comic book.
LS: And if you notice in the trailer, there’s TWO Iron Men in this movie. That’s because Tony Stark’s pal James “Rhodey” Rhodes is finally going to appear as WAR MACHINE. Which might be pretty cool.
MA: On May 14, we’ll be reviewing HOUSE OF THE DEVIL on DVD. We had originally planned to cover this one in April, but our schedule changed.
LS: Yeah, what happened with that? I was looking forward to HOUSE OF THE DEVIL!
MA: Things change.
LS: Well, I hope things don’t change this month. I want to see this one.
MA: As of now, the weekend of May 21 is wide open, which means it’ll be a surprise weekend! Here’s what we do know: it’ll be a solo Cinema Knife Fight column by either LL or myself.
Rumor has it that a kid-friendly monster might be showing his face that weekend, of the ogre variety, so if you’re a kid at heart and like the animated humor of that famous green ogre, you might want to check us out on May 21. Which is a fancy way of saying I most likely will be reviewing SHREK FOREVER AFTER that weekend.
LS (in green ogre make-up): Donkey, you’ll be on your own as I have no interest in reviewing a kids’ movie.
MA (in a donkey costume): Who you calling donkey?
LS: You’re the one dressed as a jackass—Besides, these silly costumes were your idea.
MA: You’re wearing a costume?
LS: And, by the way, some surprise review that will be. You already gave it away.
MA: Things could always change.
LS: That again! And we finish the month with a review of SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. A brand new movie by the man who started it all with the first “flesh-eating zombies” movie, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968), George A. Romero.
MA: The King of the Zombies.
LS: Yep. And since zombies have become so popular again, he’s been putting out movies fairly regularly the past few years, which is a great thing for Romero fans. This new one is going to be a continuation of his “DEAD” series and I hope it’s more fun than his last one, DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007).
MA: I’m looking forward to this one, too. I like Romero’s movies, and I know this is hard to believe, but it’s actually been a while since we’ve reviewed a zombie movie, since last year’s ZOMBIELAND, unless you count this year’s THE CRAZIES.
LS: No, THE CRAZIES are people who go crazy. They aren’t dead.
MA: SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD should be a nice way to finish off May. But first things first. IRON MAN 2 is right around the corner.
LS: And don’t forget we have several new writers on the site, to keep things fresh around here.
(MA approaches crate labeled “ACME SUPERHERO COSTUMES”) Ready for our new suits?
LS: I wouldn’t open that if I were you. You know what always happens to the Coyote.
MA: What do you mean? (Opens box. There is a huge explosion. When the dust clears, MA stands as a darkened charred figure.)
LS: Well, you always say you like explosive endings!
MA (dusting himself off): I think you had something to do with this.
LS: Could be.
MA: This means WAR! But in the meantime, folks, we’ll see you at the movies. Here, have a cigar. (offers LS a cigar).
LS: Gee, thanks. (lights cigar, and it explodes in his face, with a cartoon KABOOM!)
LS: Why, you!
(LS chases MA as the THREE STOOGES theme plays them out)