CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT COMING ATTRACTIONS: JULY 2012
By Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(The Scene: A crowded beach in July. Sunbathers and swimmers are everywhere, and MICHAEL ARRUDA and L.L. SOARES are sitting on beach chairs, catching up on some summer reading.)
L.L. SOARES (puts down his copy of “Justine” by the Marquis de Sade): As much as I’m enjoying this book, I wish things would liven up around here. A visit from a great white shark, or some hungry piranhas would be just the thing! Any chance these creatures will be showing up in our July movies this summer?
MICHAEL ARRUDA (puts down his copy of “SpongeBob Squarepants and Patrick Go to the Movies”): Unfortunately, no. Just a couple of superheroes, a silly comedy, and Oliver Stone’s latest.
LS: No piranhas?
MA: I’m afraid not. Didn’t you get your fill of piranhas last month with your review of PIRANHA 3DD?
LS: It was over all too soon.
MA: Which, for the rest of the planet, was a good thing! How about we start our July Coming Attractions column?
MA: Up first, it’s THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012), which actually opens on Tuesday, July 3, so technically, the first weekend of July, we’ll be doing two Cinema Knife Fights because we’ll also be reviewing Oliver Stone’s SAVAGES (2012) which opens on Friday, July 6.
In regards to THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, admittedly, I’m a sucker for superhero movies, especially the Marvel movies of the past decade, and so yes, I am definitely looking forward to this movie. But that being said, there’s a part of me who isn’t into it, the part of me who feels it’s just too soon after the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire movies to be starting a new Spider-Man series, but that’s just me.
Based on the previews, Andrew Garfield looks like he’s going to make a good Spider-Man, and the film as a whole looks pretty good, again, based on the trailers I’ve seen. No Mary Jane in this one, as Peter Parker’s love interest here is Gwen Stacy, as played by Emma Stone, who was in THE HELP (2011), and she was also in ZOMBIELAND (2009) a few years back.
And this time around the villain is The Lizard.
LS: I’m not sure what to expect, either. Originally, I wasn’t too thrilled about them rebooting the series, telling Spider-Man’s origin all over again, etc. But the more I see of it, the more I think it could work. I was getting very tired of Tobey Maguire in the role of Peter Parker, and while I think Sam Raimi can be great, he was getting incredibly tiresome as the director of the Spider-Man series. SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007), especially, was a horrible movie. So it needed some fresh blood.
(BARNABAS COLLINS walks by, holding an umbrella to block out the sun)
BARNABAS: Did I hear someone say “fresh blood?”
LS: None for you, you Johnny Depp look-alike.
BARNABAS: Drat! How did you know I was a vampire?
LS: The heavy white-make-up, the aversion to the sun, the fangs?
LS: Now stop bothering us before I put a stake in you.
BARNABAS: Be seeing you guys (BARNABAS hurries off the beach)
LS: Have I mentioned lately how much I hated Tim Burton’s version of DARK SHADOWS? It’s actually one of these movies that I dislike MORE the more I think about it.
MA: I didn’t like it either, and I also have to agree with you about SPIDER-MAN 3.
LS: Where was I? Oh yeah, Spider-Man. I think Andrew Garfield could be an improvement as Peter. Gwen was his first girlfriend, so it makes sense she would be in this reboot and not Mary Jane (who came later in the comics—Sam Raimi had it all backwards). And the Lizard is one of Spider-Man’s better villains. So this one has potential. I hope it blows the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies out of the water. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Next up is SAVAGES, as you said. Based on the book by Don Winslow, it’s about three pot dealers who go up against a vicious drug cartel who wants to cut in on their business. I’m actually looking forward to this one a lot more than THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. I’m not a big Spider-Man fan, and SAVAGES looks more up my alley. A crime drama with lots of violence. It looks like Oliver Stone could be getting his mojo back. I hope so.
MA: Yes, I’d expect you to be salivating over this one, since it stars one of your favorite actors, Taylor Kitsch (who earlier this year starred in BATTLESHIP and JOHN CARTER). I didn’t like him in either of those movies, and so I’m looking forward to giving him another chance.
LS: Yeah, Kitsch deserves some success for a change.
MA: If anything, SAVAGES looks like it’ll be intense. And yes, it’s directed by Oliver Stone, but truth be told, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen an Oliver Stone movie that I’ve really liked. Interestingly, one of the screenwriters, Shane Salerno, also wrote the screenplay for ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM (2007), the second Alien vs. Predator movie, and one that I liked a lot.
Besides Taylor Kitsch, the other male lead in this one is Aaron Johnson, who played Kick-Ass in KICK-ASS (2010), and who looks completely different here. And the female lead is played by the beautiful Blake Lively, who we saw in last year’s THE GREEN LANTERN (2011).
I’ll also be looking forward to seeing Benicio del Toro in this one.
LS: Me, too. And don’t forget Salma Hayek as the head of the cartel. I’m betting this one is going to be a lot of fun.
MA: On July 13, there isn’t anything of interest opening at the theaters, and so most likely we’ll be bringing you a DVD review instead.
On July 20, we’ll be reviewing this summer’s most anticipated release, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012), Christopher Nolan’s third and final BATMAN movie. I’m certainly looking forward to this movie, as I absolutely loved THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) and enjoyed BATMAN BEGINS (2005) a lot, too. THE DARK KNIGHT is my favorite superhero movie of all time, as I believe it transcended the genre. It’s one of my favorite movies period!
LS: I believe Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker transcended the genre. Otherwise, I thought THE DARK KNIGHT was a pretty standard superhero movie. I like it, but I don’t think it’s some kind of masterpiece like you do.
MA: That being said, I can’t really imagine THE DARK KNIGHT RISES topping THE DARK KNIGHT, so my expectations for this movie aren’t that high. I’m still looking forward to it, though. Batman’s always been one of my favorite superheroes, and I’ve enjoyed the various portrayals of Batman over the years, from Adam West to Michael Keaton. Strangely, as much as I’ve loved the Chris Nolan Batman movies, I haven’t really enjoyed Christian Bale as Batman all that much. He’s okay, but he hasn’t been the reason why I’ve liked these films so much.
Anyway, it has a great cast, it’s got Nolan at the helm, and it looks terrific, so there you go.
LS: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES might be interesting. I think the villain, Bane, has a lot of potential. In the comics, he broke Batman’s back. I wonder if that will happen here.
MA: Yes, I agree. I think Bane has the potential to be another cool villain.
LS: I’m not as excited about Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman, but we’ll see what happens. I think DARK KNIGHT RISES will be better than you’re expecting, for some reason. As for the character of Batman, I still maintain that anyone can play him. He’s a cipher. Under that cowl, Paul Reubens could be playing Batman, and it wouldn’t matter.
(PEE-WEE HERMAN dressed as Batman skips by them, carrying a huge beach ball. He stops, aims and throws the ball at MA, but it bounces off the arm of MA’s beach chair and slams PEE-WEE in the head.)
PEE-WEE: Ouch! Hey, I meant to do that!
MA: Yeah, right. Hit the road, Pee-wee.
PEE WEE: Pee-wee? I’m Batman!
LS: You’re Pee-wee!
PEE-WEE: I know you are, but what am I? (Skips away) Has anyone seen my Bat Bicycle? (Exits)
LS: And then the month concludes with the July 27th release of THE WATCH. This one features Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill as members of a neighborhood watch group who come across some extraterrestrial monsters. It could go either way.
MA: I don’t have much to say about this one, except that based on the previews, it seems very mediocre. We’ll see. I like Ben Stiller sometimes, but I’ve never been much of a Vince Vaughn fan, and Jonah Hill is following up on the success of 21 JUMP STREET (2012). I really enjoyed Hill in MONEYBALL (2011).
And it’s written by Seth Rogen, who last year gave us the uninspired THE GREEN HORNET (2011).
LS: Everyone involved has done good stuff—and some stuff that wasn’t so good. So like I said, it could go either way. I hope it’s good. I hope it’s funny. I just don’t have high expectations for it. But I certainly go into a movie hoping it will be better than I expect.
MA: Well, that sums up our movies for July. Shall we get back to our reading?
LS: I still wish we’d get a visit by some hungry piranhas.
MA: Well, don’t look now, but you’re about to get your wish.
MA: Look over there. (points to ocean.)
(A group of swimmers start screaming, and a huge pool of red darkens the water.)
LIFEGUARD: Everybody out of the water! Piranha! Piranha!
LS: Ah, the sights and sounds of a beach on a summer’s day. All is right with the world. Hey, how did you know the piranhas were coming?
MA: A little bird told me.
(A seagull flies above them with a piranha in its mouth.)
LS: I guess it’s true that seagulls will eat anything.
© Copyright 2012 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares