CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT
COMING ATTRACTIONS: September 2011
by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(The Scene: The stark surface of the moon. An astronaut slowly makes his way through zero gravity.)
ASTRONAUT (crackly audio): Mission Control? You’re not going to believe this. They’re back again!
MISSION CONTROL: Who’s back?
ASTRONAUT: Those Cinema Knife Fight guys. You know, the guys who don’t need helmets to breathe up here.
(MICHAEL ARRUDA & L.L. SOARES are practicing their golf swings. MA launches a golf ball that hits the astronaut square in the helmet. The astronaut screams as he’s propelled off the lunar surface.)
MA: Oops! Sorry about that!
LS: Sorry? Look what you did! You just sent that guy into outer space!
MA: Shouldn’t we throw him a line or something?
LS: We don’t have time. We have to start this month’s COMING ATTRACTIONS column.
ASTRONAUT (flying off into space): Help me out guys! Last time you were here you told me you could do anything because you were writers, and that’s why you could breathe up here!
MA: He has a point. Okay, we’ll write you back down.
(ASTRONAUT suddenly finds himself back on the moon): Cool! Thanks, guys! Can I take my helmet off too?
LS: Don’t push it. Now, please leave us alone. We’ve got a job to do.
MA: That’s right. We’re back here on the moon—the last time we were here was back in July because of the latest TRANSFORMERS movie—because the first movie we’re reviewing in September is the long awaited and much anticipated APOLLO 18.
APOLLO 18 is the film that’s had a zillion different release dates. Seriously, its release date has been changed five times, but it looks like it’s really going to be released this time on September 2.
There really aren’t any known names associated with APOLLO 18. It’s directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, with a screenplay by Brian Miller and Cory Goodman, not exactly household names, although Goodman was one of the writers who worked on PRIEST (2011). Uh-oh.
LS: I hated that movie!
MA: But the trailer for APOLLO 18 looks really cool, and based on that, and that alone, I’m actually looking forward to this one and hope it’ll be a surprise hit.
LS: Yeah, it looks like yet another BLAIR WITCH-type horror flick that is filmed like a fake documentary. This time it involves a secret moon launch where things go horribly wrong. I’m looking forward to this one as well.
MA: And there’s also another horror movie opening on September 2nd, SHARK NIGHT 3D.
LS: The premise for this one sounds good—we finally get to see some 3D sharks coming at ya! Let’s hope it’s better than the last one, JAWS 3-D back in 1983. That movie totally wasted the gimmick. My only worry is that this movie is rated PG-13. How can you show realistic shark bites and carnage with a PG-13 rating? I’m guessing that this won’t be half as good as last year’s 3D killer fish bonanza, PIRAHNA 3D!
MA: I hated that movie!
LS: Of course you did. You have no taste.
MA: I know very little about SHARK NIGHT 3D. But I was shocked as well to learn that it’s rated PG-13 since all the trailers make it look like it’s an R-rated thriller. I’m not expecting much from this one.
On September 9, its CONTAGION in 3D, and I’m already getting nauseous about this one. It’s one of those movies where they show you everything in the trailer. I can’t imagine there’s much left in the movie that I don’t know about.
LS: We could probably review the movie based on just seeing the trailer.
MA: As you can tell by the title, it’s about a disease that threatens to wipe out civilization as we know it. Blah, blah, blah. It boasts strong star power, with a cast that includes Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, and Laurence Fishburne.
LS: Too bad it looks boring as hell.
MA: And it’s directed by Steven Soderbergh who burst onto the scene back in 1989 with SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE.
LS: I liked that movie!
MA: He’s made a bunch of movies since then, including the George Clooney OCEANS 11 movies, but none with as much critical acclaim as his debut picture.
LS: I don’t know about that. Didn’t he direct ERIN BROCKOVICH in 2000? That one got an Oscar for Julia Roberts (even though Ellen Burnstyn turned in a better fperformance that year for Darren Aronofksy’s REQUIEM FOR A DREAM).
MA: Yeah, okay, he did direct ERIN BROCKOVICH. Gee, I wonder how I forgot that one?
LS: Because it sucked. Soderbergh made two really great crime movies in the 90s, though—OUT OF SIGHT (1998), based on a book by Elmore Leonard and 1999’s hitman drama THE LIMEY, starring the terrific Terence Stamp.
MA: CONTAGION was written by Scott Z. Burns, who was one of the writers responsible for THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007). In spite of the talent involved with this one, I’m not really looking forward to it.
LS: Me neither. In fact, I’m dreading it so much I’m not even going to see it!
MA: That’s right. I’ll be reviewing this one without you.
LS: Sucker! Well, I deserve a break once in awhile. And CONTAGION seemed like a great excuse to take a weekend off.
MA: Most likely we’ll have a guest reviewer filling in for you.
LS: On September 16 we’ll be covering two movies, DRIVE and STRAW DOGS.
DRIVE is based on the crime novel by James Sallis and features Ryan Gosling as a getaway car driver. It sounds pretty cool, and has a cast that includes Bryan Cranston (from the excellent AMC series, BREAKING BAD), Ron Perlman, and Albert Brooks, playing against type as a sadistic crime boss.
STRAW DOGS is a remake of the Sam Peckinpah classic from 1971, starring Dustin Hoffman. It’s about a guy who moves into a quaint cabin in rural England with his new wife (it’s where she grew up) and how some hostile locals decide to make their lives a living hell. In the original, Hoffman played a meek guy who is forced to become violent to protect his wife and home. James Marsden has the Hoffman role here, and Alexander Skarsgard (he plays Eric Northman in the HBO series TRUE BLOOD) as the leader of the bad guys. While I don’t think this movie needed a remake – I am a huge Peckinpah fan and the original film is just fine – I am a little curious about this one.
MA: I’m looking forward to DRIVE. I always enjoy Ron Perlman, and in the trailers Albert Brooks looks like he’s having a field day playing a real bad-ass villain, so this could be fun.
And based on the trailers I’ve seen, STRAW DOGS looks pretty intense.
On September 23 we’ll be reviewing THE KILLER ELITE, a hit-man movie starring Jason Stratham, Robert DeNiro and Clive Owen. This one looks like it’ll be fun, and I always enjoy DeNiro, so I’m looking forward to it.
LS: To tell you the truth, I haven’t enjoyed DeNiro in a movie in a long time, so I’m really hoping he’s good in this one.
MA: I liked him in MACHETE (2010), and he was good in LIMITLESS (2011).
LS: Clive Owen is pretty reliable to turn in a good performance, and Jason Stratham is one of the few action heroes I actually enjoy watching in these kinds of movies. So it looks pretty good to me, too. It shares a name with a 1975 spy drama called THE KILLER ELITE, starring James Caan and Robert Duvall, but I’m not sure if it’s an actual remake.
This same weekend, we might also review ABDUCTION, starring Taylor Lautner—the shirtless werewolf guy from the TWILIGHT movies.
MA: Say it ain’t so!!!
LS: It really depends on if we’re in the mood to do two movies that weekend. The way I see it, ABDUCTION might be an unintentional laugh-fest, because Lautner is a horrible actor, or just plain unwatchable. If it’s one of those “so-bad-it’s-good” movies, I’d be interested in seeing it. If it’s just plain bad, I hope we decide to skip it.
MA: I’ll barf now (barfs into barf bag) and that’s really all I have to say about Taylor Lautner and ABDUCTION.
We finish the very busy month of September with DREAM HOUSE, a haunted house movie starring Daniel Craig, which opens on September 30. Not that I’m a big fan of haunted house movies, but I am a big fan of Daniel Craig, and this movie looks somewhat interesting, so I’m looking forward to it.
It also has Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz in the cast, so it has some star power. It’s directed by Jim Sheridan, who directed MY LEFT FOOT (1999) and IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (1993), two excellent films featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, so it has an experienced director at the helm.
LS: I don’t know a lot about this one. I guess it sounds okay. But what I have seen of the trailer, this one could go either way.
MA: All right then. That wraps things up from here. We can leave the moon and go home now.
LS: I dunno. I kinda like it here. With no one here to distract me, I could really make some headway with my novels.
MA: Yeah, but what are you going to do when you get hungry? Order take-out?
LS: Everyone knows the moon is made of cheese. (Reaches down and plucks up a succulent slice of Swiss cheese, which he promptly eats.)
ASTRONAUT: Are you kidding me? All this time I’ve been sucking down that awful liquefied astronaut food, and I could have been feasting on cheese? Let me have some! (begins to remove his helmet).
MA: No, wait—!
(Without his helmet, astronaut gasps for air. MA helps him put his helmet back on.)
ASTRONAUT: It’s not fair!
LS: Quit your whining! At least you get paid!
ASTRONAUT: Well, if you put it that way—but that moon cheese looks awfully good.
LS: You can buy all the cheese you want when you go back home.
MA: Speaking of which, I’m heading there now. (to LS) Are you coming or staying?
LS: I guess I’ll head back. Something tells me I wouldn’t get much writing done here anyway. (ASTRONAUT chops at the moon’s surface with a golf club, looking for cheese.)
MA: Okay, folks, we’re heading back to Earth, and we’ll see you in September with reviews of lots of new movies!
LS: See you then!