CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT COMING ATTRACTIONS: DECEMBER 2010
by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(The Scene: a festive living room decorated to the hilt for the holidays. Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares are sitting in front of a fireplace, both dressed in red. Michael is wearing a red suit, and L.L. is wearing white clothes almost entirely covered in blood stains, some of them fresh. They both hold stockings full of goodies.)
LS: You got anything in there for me?
MA: Yeah. Coal.
LS: Alright! My favorite!
MA: Nah, just kidding. I got some stuff in here for you. (Fishes around in stocking trying to pull something out.) I can tell you what we don’t have this month. Horror movies! Horror’s just not on the menu at the theaters this month, I’m afraid. Oh well. We’re going to be unconventional this month.
LS: Enough yakking! What do you have in there for me already?
MA: Oh yeah. Well, first we have— (pulls out a giant black bat that flaps its wings furiously.)
LS: What the hell is that?
MA: It’s supposed to be a black swan, but we only have bats under contract.
LS: Even better. I love bats! Give me that. (Grabs bat from MA.)
MA: Anyway, on the weekend of December 3, we’ll be reviewing BLACK SWAN starring Natalie Portman. Since this gift is for you, perhaps you’d like to tell about the movie?
LS: Sure. I’m excited about this one because it’s directed by one of my favorite filmmakers, Darren Aronofsky, who previously gave us such powerful films as PI (1998) REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000), and most recently THE WRESTLER (2008). While BLACK SWAN takes place in the world of ballet and stars Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis, it’s supposed to be pretty dark. And Aronofsky hasn’t let me down yet. Despite entering some dark psychological territory, this isn’t the usual kind of movie we review for Cinema Knife Fight, so it should be interesting.
MA: Winona Ryder is in it as well. It’ll be fun to see her again. Not that I was ever a big fan, but it’s more of a nostalgia thing. Her early appearances in movies like HEATHERS (1989) and BEETLE JUICE (1988) seem like yesterday.
LS: HEATHERS was actually a really good movie.
MA: So, do you have anything in there for me?
LS: Here you go. (Pulls out a bust of William Shakespeare with fangs.)
MA: It’s the bard with a bite. On December 10, we’ll be reviewing THE TEMPEST, a new film version of Shakespeare’s play starring Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones and Djimon Hounsou. I enjoyed Helen Mirren in the recent STATE OF PLAY (2009) also starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, and in THE QUEEN (2006) before that.
LS: What’s the obsession with newer films? Helen Mirren has made hundreds of movies over the years. To me, she’ll always be Detective Jane Tennison from the top-notch PRIME SUSPECT series from the BBC. She starred in several of those.
Other great films she was in include the notorious “classic” CALIGULA (from 1979) and she played the wife in Peter Greenaway’s THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER (1989), one of my all-time favorite movies (and a disturbing one at that). Now those were great roles!
MA: And Djimon Hounsou delivered a powerhouse performance in BLOOD DIAMOND (2006) and so I’m looking forward to seeing him in this movie.
Shakespeare’s plays are always fun, and while I’m not as familiar with THE TEMPEST as I am with a lot of his other plays, I’m still looking forward to it. Should be fun.
LS: THE TEMPEST is something a little different than we’re used to from Shakespeare. It’s one of his very few fantasy plays. And Mirren plays Prospera, who fans of the original play will recognize as a female version of the play’s sorcerer, Prospero. The fact that this movie is directed by Julie Taymor is also exciting. She made a very interesting post-modern version of another Shakespeare play, TITUS (based on Titus Andronicus) in 1999, with Anthony Hopkins. One of Shakespeare’s more violent plays.
MA (searching through stocking): What else do we have in here for you? Here you go. You’re very own TRON action figure!
LS (groans): Oh boy.. I hope that’s not as lame as I think it is!
MA: I was not a fan of the first TRON (1982) movie, or of the video game. Back then, I wasn’t much of a fan of Jeff Bridges either. But he’s one of those actors who has grown stronger and better with age. I’d now have to list him as one of my favorite actors working today.
LS: TRON was interesting for its time. I guess it was pretty cutting edge in 1982, but it’s pretty dated now. Basically, it’s the story of a man who enters the world of a video game. Of course, with today’s technology, they should be able to do things the original film never dreamed was possible. TRON is, if anything, a cult classic now. I’m surprised Disney took such a big interest in reviving the franchise 28 years later. But maybe the effects have finally caught up with the concept. The movie will also be in 3D (of course!)
The trailer doesn’t really look all that amazing to me, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see TRON LEGACY. As for Jeff Bridges, I’ve been a fan of his for a very long time, at least since 70s classics like THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971), FAT CITY (1972) and THUNDERBOLD AND LIGHTFOOT (1974).
Not to mention John Carpenter’s STARMAN (1984), and films like THE FISHER KING (1991) FEARLESS (1993)
MA: Speaking of Jeff Bridges, we’ll be seeing him again a week later with the December 23 release of TRUE GRIT, a remake of the John Wayne movie TRUE GRIT from 1969, a film that earned Wayne his only Oscar. It’s actually based on a novel by Charles Portis.
LS: Don’t forget your gift. (Hands MA a John Wayne figure.) It talks. Press that button.
(MA presses button on toy figure’s chest.)
JOHN WAYNE FIGURE: Howdy, Pilgrim. You’d better give this here movie a darned good review or else I’m going to kick your ass you mutha—.
MA (Shocked. Drops toy): Whoa! The Duke never spoke that way in the movies. Where did you get this toy? Never mind. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to TRUE GRIT, mostly because it features a terrific cast, which includes Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin. And of course it’s directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. With the talents involved here, this one sounds like a winner.
LS: It’s nice to see Jeff Bridges working with the Coen Brothers again. He did the THE BIG LEBOWSKI with them in 1998. Maybe my favorite movie by the Coens and one of Bridges’s best roles.
As for the original version of TRUE GRIT, I loved that movie. It was easily one of my favorite John Wayne films. Not as good as THE SEARCHERS (1956) maybe, but pretty damn good.
MA: And we’ll round out the year on the last weekend of December with a DVD review of an as of yet undetermined title, which means it’s going to be a surprise, so mums the word!
So, that wraps things up here.
LS: Couldn’t have said it better myself. Here’s another gift for you. (Throws a wad of crumpled wrapping paper at MA, who catches it.)
MA: What’s this?
MA: What am I supposed to do with this?
LS: Put it with the rest of your opinions, cuz that’s where they belong! (laughs).
MA: Lame. Very lame. (to audience) Happy Holidays, folks.
LS: Bah, humbug!
MA: We’ll see you throughout December with lots of reviews of lots of new movies. (presses button on JOHN WAYNE toy.)
JOHN WAYNE TOY: You reach for that gun, Pilgrim, and it’ll be the last thing you ever reach for, you no good low-life slimy sonofabitch, you muther—.
MA: Where did you get this?!
© Copyright 2010 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares