CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT
COMING ATTRACTIONS: March 2011
by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(The Scene: The streets of Los Angeles. Pandemonium is everywhere. People are running through the streets. Military vehicles and soldiers are firing into the sky, and giant alien spaceships are returning the favor. The camera pans to the window of a coffee shop, and through the window we go inside, with the camera settling on MICHAEL ARRUDA and L.L. SOARES at a table drinking coffee.)
MA (looking out window): Yep, it looks like yet another alien invasion. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of this storyline. We just had SKYLINE (2010) and MONSTERS (2010) last year.
LS: Those are just two movies. How can you be tired of a storyline after two movies?
MA: I guess because I didn’t like either movie.
LS: That’s because you have no taste. MONSTERS was one of the better movies of 2010.
MA: Anyway, before we get to this latest invasion, from BATTLE: LOS ANGELES, which opens March 11, we have to cover a couple of other movies. The first is THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (2011) which opens on March 4.
THE ADUSTMENT BUREAU is a thriller starring Matt Damon about a secret group of men in suits who control our destiny, and it involves a love affair between a politician and a ballerina. In short, this one sounds plain stupid, and I don’t have high hopes for it.
(Outside the window, a politician and a ballerina run by, pursued by a group of men in suits, in fast motion.)
MA: That’s what I’m talking about.
Anyway, I like Matt Damon a lot, but I’m not sure if his presence alone will be able to save what looks to be a troubled production. Rumor has it that this one has gone through multiple rewrites and delayed release dates.
It’s written and directed by George Nolfi, who wrote THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007) and the Michael Douglas thriller THE SENTINEL (2006), which a lot of people didn’t like, but I thought it was pretty good. THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU is based on a Philip K. Dick short story called “Adjustment Team” so it does have this in its favor.
LS: I’m a big Philip K. Dick fan. Some good movies have been based on his work, especially BLADE RUNNER (1982). But there have been bad movies adapted from his stories as well. THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU looks pretty boring to me. And I’m not a big Matt Damon fan.
MA: Okay, moving on to what promises to be perhaps the biggest release of March, BATTLE: LOS ANGELES (2011). This one’s got a very stylish trailer, and it’s about yet another battle between humans and aliens. I generally like this storyline, but I’m getting tired of it. I certainly hope this one delivers the goods.
It does have a good cast, which includes Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, and Bridget Moynahan. This is one that I certainly WANT to like, but a lot will depend on how well the story is written. I’m sure it’ll look great with smooth special effects, but whether a film makes that jump to the next level often depends on the strength of its story.
LS: You’re right, though, that it looks an awful lot like another movie we saw recently, SKYLINE. If we judge the movie on its trailer, BATTLE LOS ANGELES looks very similar. I hope that’s not the case. I hope it gives us something different.
MA: Also coming out on March 11 is RED RIDING HOOD (2011). I had absolutely no interest in this one. I mean, who wants to see a movie about Little Red Riding Hood?
(Three little pigs run by the coffee shop window, pursued by a big, bad wolf.)
MA: I guess it could be worse.
Anyway, I wasn’t into seeing this one at all, until that is I saw its trailer, which I have to admit has piqued my interest, and has me actually looking forward to seeing this one now. The movie looks pretty cool. It’s got some impressive photography and makes great use of the color red, at least in the trailer, anyway.
Amanda Seyfried who I like a lot is playing the lead role, Valerie, aka Red Riding Hood. We saw her in CHLOE (2009) and JENNIFER’S BODY (2009). And Gary Oldman is on hand as Father Solomon, and he looks to be a nasty werewolf hunter.
In spite of the fact that the movie is named RED RIDING HOOD, it looks like an atmospheric werewolf movie, one that I’m looking forward to seeing. I guess this really shouldn’t come as a surprise, since LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, the fairy tale, really is a werewolf story, too.
It’s written by David Johnson, who also wrote the screenplay for ORPHAN (2009), a movie I liked a lot. The only knock on this one is it’s directed by Catherine Hardwicke. What’s the knock? Well, she directed TWILIGHT (2008).
(Bella and Edward run by the window. LS & MA break window and start hurling donuts at the fleeing couple.)
LS: The trailer looks interesting, but it also looks like the werewolf is a teenager. It looks like yet another variation on the TWILIGHT concept. So I’m not that interested. Even though I do like Seyfried and Oldman.
On March 18 we’ll be reviewing PAUL (2011). At first, I thought it was the new movie by Edgar Wright, who gave us SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) and HOT FUZZ (2007). But Wright is nowhere around. It’s directed by Greg Motolla, who also directed SUPERBAD (2007). But the stars, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, were also the stars of SHAUN and FUZZ.
PAUL is a movie about a couple of idiots who pick up an alien named Paul, who has escaped from the legendary Area 51. The character of Paul is CGI and looks like he could get a bit cutesy as the movie goes on. However, this one is rated R, so maybe it will surprise us and not be as silly as the trailer suggests.
MA: Yeah, I loved SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and I’m looking forward to PAUL.
That being said, the trailer didn’t blow me away by any means. It didn’t look as funny as I thought it would be. I hope there are funnier jokes in the movie than in the trailer.
LS: And we’ll finish the month with SUCKER PUNCH (2011) which opens on March 25. This one’s about a girl sent to a sanitarium who escapes into a fantasy world. Except it looks like some of the other patients join her in this world, where they have a quest that will lead them to freedom. SUCKER PUNCH is directed by Zack Snyder, who gave us the so-so remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004), as well as the comic book movies, 300 (2006) and WATCHMEN (2009). He’s made interesting enough films so far that I want to give SUCKER PUNCH a chance, even though the trailer didn’t wow me.
MA: I’ve got mixed feelings about this one. I mean, the trailer’s pretty good, and the story looks fairly interesting, but if the action scenes don’t hold up, this one could be a disappointment. The story of girls in an institution using an alternate reality as a coping strategy doesn’t do much for me. It seems kinda lame. This one might be a mixed bag.
And yes, the fact that it’s directed by Zack Snyder is a plus.
Well, this about wraps things up here.
LS: Yes, it does. (to audience): We’ll see all of you in March at the movies!
(MA & LS pay the bill, then exit restaurant. On the street, they watch the horde of screaming fleeing people run by them. They look at each other, shrug their shoulders, and then join the running and screaming crowd, disappearing into the night.)