Cinema Knife Fight COMING ATTRACTIONS: MAY 2012
CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT – COMING ATTRACTIONS
by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(THE SCENE: A gothic mansion shot in grainy black and white. Spooky music is playing.)
WOMAN’S VOICE-OVER NARRATION: My name is Victoria Winters. I used to introduce each episode of DARK SHADOWS with a voice-over just like this one. This month, on May 11, a new version of DARK SHADOWS will be released, and this new version will be a comedy. A comedy? A flippin friggin comedy!!!
(WOMAN shrieks and pulls her hair, kicking and screaming as she runs away. MICHAEL ARRUDA & L.L. SOARES enter the scene.)
L.L. SOARES: Boy, was she angry!
MICHAEL ARRUDA: I can’t say that I blame her. I’m pretty miffed that the new DARK SHADOWS movie by Tim Burton will be played for laughs. But hey, if it’s funny and it works, I’ll be sure to change my mind about it. But right now— let’s just say I had been really looking forward to it, until I saw the previews. Now I’m nowhere near as excited about it.
But anyway, welcome to another edition of our COMING ATTRACTIONS column, where we preview the movies we’ll be reviewing in the month ahead.
LS: Welcome to our May 2012 edition.
(MA & LS enter the mansion and find the main room full of superheroes, busily signing autographs for long lines of fans.)
MA: Up first on May 4 is the highly anticipated Marvel Superhero extravaganza THE AVENGERS, featuring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo debuting as the Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.
LS: Don’t forget Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. Then again, when I first saw him, I didn’t even know it was Hawkeye, without his distinctive mask. The guy has a simple costume, what’s up with the bare face?
MA: Like legions of Marvel comics fans, I’m looking forward to this one big time, but would it be unfair of me to say my expectations have dropped somewhat?
HULK: Very unfair! Hulk Smash!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Not to mention, unpatriotic!
LS: Hey, enough of that! No politics allowed within these pages!
MA: Amen to that!
LS: No religion either!
MA: Well, that’s not to say we frown upon politics or religion. We just don’t want to talk about them here. Only movie talk allowed.
So, getting back to the point I was about to make about the Marvel movies, the last couple of Marvel movies, CAPTAIN AMERICA and THOR, were good, but they weren’t great. I wonder if the Marvel movie formula is growing old and tired?
TONY STARK: Old and tired? I’ve never looked better! (A group of women coo, “Oh, Tony!”)
MA: Show off!
LS: Don’t worry about it. We have our own set of adoring fans. (Behind them a long line of cheering zombies, undead, werewolves, vampires, and other assorted monsters and misfits.)
MA: That’s true.
Anyway, perhaps THE AVENGERS will be just the ticket the series needs to get back on its feet again? We’ll find out on May 4.
The impressive cast also includes Stellan Skarsgard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Also listed in the cast is Harry Dean Stanton, and for some reason, I could have sworn he had died. I guess I was wrong.
LS: That’s awful! Stanton is one of my favorite actors!
MA: Same here, so I’m actually relieved that he’s still with us.
THE AVENGERS was written and directed by Josh Whedon, who wrote the screenplay for THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. Can he have back to back hits? Let’s see.
LS: Whedon didn’t just write this one, though. He directed THE AVENGERS, too.
I am on the fence about this one. I grew up reading the comics and I guess I should be excited that The Avengers are finally coming to the big screen (and look, they beat DC’s Justice League there!). But you’re right about that formula. Marvel superhero movies have become so standardized, so boilerplate, that you just know there aren’t going to be any real surprises.
I’m sure I’ll find something about it to like. But, if the trailers are any indication, I won’t be in geek heaven as I watch it.
The wild card here is Whedon. The guy has talent. I just hope he’s able to pump some fresh blood into this movie.
On May 11, we’ll be reviewing Tim Burton’s DARK SHADOWS.
(MA & LS enter another room where the Collins clan is sitting down for dinner.)
Another movie I was excited about when I first heard about it. But then I saw the trailer, and found myself wincing all the way through it.
MA: Like I said, I had been really excited about this one too, until I saw the trailers, and saw that it was a comedy. I’ll reserve final judgment until after I see the movie, but as it stands right now, I’m not thrilled about it.
I used to be a big fan of Tim Burton, but nowadays I’d say it’s hit or miss with him. I didn’t like SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (2007)
LS: I didn’t mind SWEENEY TODD. It was fun for what it was.
MA: …and I had no interest in seeing ALICE IN WONERLAND (2010) or CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (2005). The last Tim Burton movie I liked was SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999), and the last one I REALLY liked was ED WOOD (1994).
LS: I liked SLEEPY HOLLOW a lot, and ED WOOD even more.
MA: I have to admit, though, DARK SHADOWS does have an impressive cast, topped by Johnny Depp, but there’s also Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green [who I really liked in the Daniel Craig James Bond flick CASINO ROYALE (2006)], Chloe Grace Moretz…
LS: Hit Girl!
MA:….Helena Bonham Carter, and Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis. It also features some original cast members in cameos, including the original Barnabas Collins Jonathan Frid, and even Christopher Lee gets in on the fun! It’s a cast that’s hard to beat.
I’m still dreading it though.
LS: Me, too. This is such great material, with so much potential as a straight horror film. It doesn’t need the campy humor and stale jokes. Both DARK SHADOWS and Johnny Depp deserve better. What was Tim Burton thinking?
On May 16, I’ll be reviewing THE DICTATOR. This is the new movie by Sacha Baron Cohen who previously gave us the ALI G TV show, and the movies BORAT and BRUNO, both of which were also directed by Larry Charles (who directed THE DICTATOR, too). Cohen’s trademark has been playing these characters as real, and interacting with real people who reacted to his hijinks. THE DICTATOR is a departure from that. This time, there’s no hidden camera tomfoolery. Cohen plays a fictional dictator of a fictional Middle Eastern country who comes to America. When he comes to visit America, he ends up having his trademark beard shaved off and can’t convince anyone who he really is. And, from the trailer, we see that hilarity ensues…..
God, I hate that phrase!
I like Cohen, and while I’ve seen the trailers for this movie way too many times and expect a lot of the jokes to no longer be funny, I’m still looking forward to this one. I hope it has lots of laughs I don’t know about yet.
MA: On May 18, we’ll be reviewing BATTLESHIP, starring Liam Neeson, and I guess this one is based on the popular game, but I’d say it’s loosely based on it. I mean, it’s a cool game and all, but I don’t remember the game ever having anything to do with aliens, which this movie is about, battleships fighting aliens.
(Booming explosions occur outside a window. MA looks out window to see a battleship firing on an alien spaceship.)
MA: I had no idea this place was on beachfront property.
(LS looks out window.)
LS: Me neither. Hey, look at all those hot chicks in bikinis playing volleyball. (MA returns to the window just as there’s another loud explosion.) Oops! Never mind.
MA (shrugs) To me, BATTLESHIP looks pretty silly. It looks like it’s going to be on the level of the TRANSFORMERS movies, which I’m not crazy about. I can only hope it’ll be better, but I won’t be holding my breath.
LS: Yeah, I actually reviewed the trailer for this one way back in the only installment of my column TRASHING TRAILERS, a concept I keep meaning to do more of. Back then, I said that the trailer looked pretty abysmal. That hasn’t changed. This one stars Liam Neeson as a Navy admiral, Taylor Kitsch (from JOHN CARTER) and Alexander Skarsgard from TRUE BLOOD. Hell it even has the singer Rihanna in it. Sounds like a wasted cast to me. I hope it’s better than it looks, but I still can’t understand how the board game turned into an alien invasion movie. Doesn’t’ the game take place during World War II or something?
And we’ll finish off the month with a review of the very cool looking CHERNOBYL DIARIES on May 25. This is the new movie by Oren Peli, who wrote the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies, and he co-created the recent ABC series THE RIVER (which I don’t think will be renewed for some reason). I like Peli’s work so far, and this one looks interesting.
A bunch of young American tourists in Russia visit the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. They think the town is abandoned, but someone seems to be watching them. Someone who might be dangerous.
It doesn’t look like this one is filmed in the fake documentary style that Peli usually uses for his film and TV projects. That might be refreshing. This movie has potential, and I hope it lives up to it.
MA: Yeah, this one looks pretty good, and it’s horror, which seems to be a rarity among mainstream movies here in 2012. Like you said, one of the writers who worked on the screenplay is Oren Peli, the guy who wrote all three PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies and directed the first one, so this is a good thing. But unfortunately, he didn’t direct this one. Bradley Parker did. And this is his directorial debut.
Also a good thing is I don’t know a whole lot about it, other than what I saw in the trailer, and so I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
Okay, that wraps up our column and another month here at CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT.
LS: We’ll see you on May 4 with our review of THE AVENGERS.
(MA & LS return to the main hall full of superheroes. Thor is showing off his muscles to his fans, while Tony Stark has his arms around two beautiful babes.)
MA: Maybe we should have gone into the superhero business.
LS: Nah! I’ll take our fans any day of the week! (puts his arms around two undead rotting corpse girls with parts missing)
(Cute vampire girl snuggles up to MA.)
VAMPIRE GIRL: Want a hickey?
MA: Now, you’re talking!