Cinema Knife Fight – Coming Attractions for JUNE 2010
by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(THE SCENE: It’s the wild, wild west. A vast desert-like prairie, with enormous cacti in the foreground, and a rocky mountain in the background, a scene worthy of director John Ford. Into the scene ride two men on horseback, dressed in cowboy gear, and a close-up of the two men reveal them to be MICHAEL ARRUDA and L.L. SOARES. The men pull up on the reigns and bring the horses to a halt.)
MA: Whoa. Good horse.
(A huge man on a tiny horse suddenly rides into scene and joins them.)
MAN: Gee, thanks! What did I do, anyway?
MA (rolls eyes.): No. I said “good horse,” not “good Hoss.”
MAN (blushing): Oh. Sorry about that. (He rides off as BONANZA theme plays.)
LS: Another joke for the old-timers. I wonder how many of our readers even know what BONANZA was?
MA: I don’t know, but I bet there are lots of folks who know the theme song but don’t know anything about the old TV show. Good old Hoss was a character on that show, which was a western, by the way. Anyway, I reckon this is as good a place as any to start our Coming Attractions column for June.
LS: I reckon it is, I reckon!
MA: We’re here in the wild west because later on in June we’ll be reviewing the horror western, JONAH HEX, which is probably the film I’m looking forward to most this month. This isn’t saying a whole lot since I’m not all that excited about June’s new releases.
LS: You mean you’re not excited about SPLICE, which we’ll be reviewing on June 4th?
MA: Not really.
LS: Aww, come on, the trailer actually looked interesting. Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play scientists who create a clone, but because they can’t make a human clone legally, they mix human and animal DNA to get around the law. Looks like the creature they create might be a little bit dangerous. It looks like a rip-off of SPECIES (1995), but it could be good.
MA: I agree that the trailer for this one look good, but I’m still not all that excited by it. It kinda looks like an evil AVATAR movie. I certainly hope it has more of a story than THE HUMAN CENITPEDE, which I know you liked a lot, but to me, it was just an excuse to feature a horrifying scientific experiment. There wasn’t much of a story there.
I hope SPLICE is a better drama.
LS: No reason why you have to use the June Preview column to bash THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE, which we already reviewed. But I betcha SPLICE isn’t even half as cool.
So then, on June 11, we’ll be reviewing TRICK R’ TREAT (2008), now on DVD.
This one is an anthology movie featuring a handful of scary stories that take place on Halloween. Despite the fact that it got a lot of positive buzz by people in the know, it never got a theatrical release and went straight to DVD. But it was given theatrical release dates at least twice, even though it never hit theaters. Why did it sit on the shelf so long? This one also has a solid cast that includes Brian Cox and Anna Paquin of TRUE BLOOD fame.
MA: I have to admit, I know very little about this movie. From what I’ve read about it, it sounds like it has a good story anyway. Looks like there’s a lot going on.
On June 18, we’ll review JONAH HEX, a new horror western with comic book origins. Now, while the trailers haven’t blown me away, not by a long shot, I am still looking forward to this one.
It’s got a decent cast, led by Josh Brolin in the lead, and it also stars Megan Fox and John Malkovich. So, you have some star power here. Malkovich is an intriguing actor, always good for an unconventional performance, and Megan Fox— well, we like to use the term eye candy in this column. She’s some serious eye candy.
LS: When it comes to candy, she’s Godiva chocolate, man!
MA: But I’m also a big fan of westerns, so that in itself has me looking forward to this one. Plus, there’s been a long history over the years of mixing the genres, and while there really hasn’t been a true classic of this hybrid genre, there have been notable movies, films like Ray Harryhausen’s VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969), which was basically the story of KING KONG (1933) retold in the wild west and substituting a T-Rex for Kong.
There’s also a low-budget black and white vampire western called CURSE OF THE UNDEAD (1959) which in spite of its low budget has some good moments, and then there’s the sci fi western WESTWORLD (1973) starring Yul Brynner and— James Brolin, who happens to be Josh Brolin’s dad.
LS: I dig all three of those movies. And CURSE OF THE UNDEAD is kind of a forgotten gem. Maybe you can review it for your IN THE SPOOKLIGHT column sometime.
MA: Of course, the absolute worst of the bunch, in the “it’s so bad it’s hilarious” category is the John Carradine debacle BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA (1966).
So, there’s some history here in terms of the western/horror genre.
LS: Yeah, JONAH HEX is based on the classic DC Comics character, a man left disfigured and for dead, who seeks vengeance. There are some supernatural elements along the way. Even the great Joe R. Lansdale wrote a few JONAH HEX comics over the years. I hope this movie tries to capture the feel of his “weird western” stuff.
(MA & LS ride towards cave, but stop as they hear wailing and screaming.)
LS: What’s that?
MA: That looks like a crowd of hardcore horror fans. They’re absolutely horrified by the film coming out on June 30.
LS: You mean TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE?
MA: Sorry, I just cannot help myself. Yep, it’s the third installment of the TWILIGHT series. Out already. Can’t they slow things down a bit and take a page out of the George Lucas school of filmmaking, and maybe release these flicks three years apart as opposed to every few months? I still haven’t shaken all that boredom out of my system!
Now, I know there are a good number of people who love these movies, and that’s okay. I have nothing against a vampire love story. Really, I don’t. It’s not my favorite thing, but at the end of the day, if it was a good movie, I’d say so. That second film in the series, NEW MOON (2009), was so incredibly boring and slow that the butter on my popcorn solidified.
I expect more of the same from TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE, but I’ll keep an open mind just in case.
LS: You have some nerve complaining. I’m the one who had to sit through the first TWILIGHT (2008) movie by myself and review it for this site, before NEW MOON came out. So I knew what we were in for, and yet, like a runaway train, I couldn’t stop it. Considering that NEW MOON was actually a lot worse than the first movie, I can only say I am really dreading the third one!
To have a TWILIGHT movie coming up to review – that is what real horror feels like.
MA: That about wraps things up from here. Time to ride back to the lab and get ready for SPLICE.
(A great roar is heard, as a Ray Harryhausen-animated TYRANNOSAURUS REX appears.)
LS: Hey look, it’s Marc Bolan! (to T. REX ) What are you looking at?
T. REX: DINNER!
MA: Funny you should say that, because we were just about to call it a day and grab a bite to eat. Care to join us?
LS: I’m having a flashback to the beginning of the FLINTSTONES when Fred used to order those gigantic dinosaur spare ribs (licks his lips)
T. REX (roars louder): DINNER!
MA: I think his mind is made up.
LS: Look! (points behind T.REX) It’s Megan Fox!
(T-REX’s eyes nearly burst out of their sockets, and he turns around expectantly, but no one is there.)
(Cut to MA & LS racing their horses across plain, with T-REX in hot pursuit.)
MA & LS: We’ll see you next time with our review of SPLICE.
T.REX (bellowing and holding its stomach): DINNER!