CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT
COMING ATTRACTIONS: MAY 2011
by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(The Scene: A mountaintop, with the sun shining brightly through white puffy clouds, illuminating a golden hammer situated prominently on top of a rock. MICHAEL ARRUDA and L.L. SOARES approach hammer.)
MA: Look! That must be Thor’s hammer!
LS: I believe you’re right! I think I’ll add it to my collection of rare weaponry. (Reaches for hammer)
MA: Hold on a minute! You can’t steal Thor’s hammer!
LS: Why not? He can’t be too worried about it if he just left it here hanging around a mountaintop. I’m sure he has plenty of these. I mean, what superhero would only have one weapon?
MA: I don’t know. I don’t feel too comfortable about you taking something from a guy as seriously beefed up as Thor! Couldn’t you at least wait until we finish this Coming Attractions column?
MA: You might find something else you’ll want even more.
LS: Hmm. As usual, you make absolutely no sense. But I’ll humor you. Let’s start the column.
MA: You’ll humor me? You’ll thank me when Thor’s not kicking your butt later for stealing his hammer!
Anyway, we kick off May with the new Marvel superhero movie, THOR. The 2000s has been a great decade for superhero movies, and some of my favorite movies of the decade have been superhero tales. We’ve had THE DARK KNIGHT (2008), IRON MAN (2008), and WATCHMEN (2009), to name a few, as well as the offbeat and quirky KICK-ASS (2010).
LS: Actually this is technically the 2010s, since we’ve just entered a new decade.
MA: Whatever. I’ve especially enjoyed the Marvel series, which includes the SPIDER MAN series with Tobey Maguire, THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008), the aforementioned IRON MAN, the X-MEN series, and the FANTASTIC FOUR films. So, there have been quite a few excellent Marvel superhero movies over the last decade. They’ve been on a roll.
THOR is yet another character from the Marvel Universe, and since I’ve enjoyed the other Marvel movies so much, I’m really looking forward to this movie.
It stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Hemsworth had a small role in the J.J. Abrams STAR TREK movie (2009) as he played George Kirk, Captain Kirk’s father. The film features an impressive cast which includes Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, and Stellan Skarsgard.
Interestingly enough, it was directed by Kenneth Branagh, one of my favorite directors/actors on the planet, as I’ve always enjoyed his Shakespeare adaptations. However, his version of FRANKENSTEIN (1994) with himself cast as Victor Frankenstein and Robert DeNiro as the Monster, remains one of my least favorite versions of that classic tale.
LS: I believe the full title of that one was MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN.
MA: Yeah, yeah.
LS: I’m excited about this one because Thor is one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe. I’ve been hooked since the olden days when the comics were written by Stan Lee and drawn by the great Jack Kirby. Kirby seemed to take special joy in drawing the worlds of Thor – especially his beloved Asgard – the home of the Norse gods. I hope this one lives up to expectations. You’d think Branagh would bring some Shakespearean heft to the proceedings. However, the trailer didn’t impress me very much. I was excited to see both Loki (Thor’s evil half-brother) and the Destroyer (a supernatural, armored creature), both from the comics, in this one, though. Although I would have liked to see Ulik the Troll and Hercules too. Marvel’s version of Hercules is my all-time favorite take on the character. Then again – the movie is called THOR.
Maybe we’ll at least get the mighty Volstagg! The THOR comics always had a really cool supporting cast of characters.
Then on May 13th we’ll be reviewing PRIEST—- which brings us back to trailers. If the THOR trailer looked a bit disappointing – I’m still more than happy to wait and see the movie for myself. I am hoping it is way better than the trailer lets on.
In the case of PRIEST, I’m not so eager to see it. They have been playing the PRIEST trailer at the movies for months now. I don’t know if it’s because the movie was supposed to be released earlier and was bumped, or what. But I have seen the trailer SO MANY TIMES that I feel like I’ve already seen this movie and I am not eager to sit through it again. The trailer gives away the entire plot, and it isn’t that great. This one is also based on a comic book.
MA: I agree. PRIEST sounds and looks horrible. I haven’t been impressed at all by the film’s trailer. And what a dreadful name for a horror movie! Gee, I just finished my horror screenplay, what shall I call it? I need something catchy, something creative— I’ve got it! I’ll call it PRIEST! I don’t think so. What’s the sequel going to be called? NUN?
LS: Instead of PRIEST, how about a movie version of Garth Ennis’s legendary comic book PREACHER. The names may be a bit similar, but Ennis’s comic was one of the best series ever. Now THAT I would be excited about.
MA: PRIEST is about a priest who fights vampires, and it’s set in an alternate post-apocalyptic world. I don’t know. I’m not feeling too good about this one, especially since it’s going to be in 3D, and you know what that means: it’ll cost more money! Ugh!
It’s directed by Scott Stewart, who also directed LEGION (2010), and that wasn’t too bad, so you never know. Maybe it’ll surprise us and be pretty good.
LS: LEGION was okay, but nothing spectacular. I remember being disappointed by it.
MA: And there’s another LEGION connection, as the Priest is played by Paul Bettany, who played Michael the Archangel in LEGION.
On May 20, I’ll be reviewing PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (2011), and I’ll be reviewing this one with John Harvey. We’ll try not to harm you in the review, LL.
LS: Thanks. I’m glad you guys are reviewing the new PIRATES film. Not only does it give me a weekend off, but I haven’t seen the previous sequels, just the first film, and have no desire to see this one. I like Johnny Depp, but for some reason these movies don’t thrill me at all. And I wish someone of Depp’s talents was doing better movies. Like the upcoming version of DARK SHADOWS by Tim Burton. Now that sounds cool!
MA: I like the PIRATES movies, and I especially enjoy Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. I enjoyed the first two films in the series a lot, but the third I thought wasn’t as good, so I can’t say that I’m really looking forward to this one, since it’s the fourth in the series, which usually means a film of lower quality. But I’ll be hoping for the best.
It’s directed by Rob Marshall, who directed the musical CHICAGO (2002), a film I enjoyed, but it’s not exactly an action movie, so, who knows? The screenplay was written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, the same two guys who wrote the first three movies, so expect more of the same shenanigans from Jack Sparrow and company.
There have been some cast changes since the last movie. Gone are Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, and in are Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane as Blackbeard. Geoffrey Rush returns as Sparrow’s rival Barbossa, and also in the cast are Judi Dench, Stephen Graham, who we saw in SEASON OF THE WITCH (2011), and Keith Richards.
LS: The cast actually sounds interesting for this one. I like Ian McShane a lot – he was great as Swearengen in the HBO series DEADWOOD. And Penelope Cruz is pretty hot. And that’s funny that Keith Richards is in this one, since Depp said he based at least part of his performance of Captain Jack Sparrow on Richards’ mannerisms. But I won’t shed any tears over missing this one.
MA: Yeah, Keith Richard’s appearance is a running gag. He was also in the third PIRATES film.
(MA spies a giant hook)
MA: Hey, check out that hook. That might make a better addition to your weapons collection than Thor’s hammer.
LS: Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about Thor’s hammer. I certainly don’t need any boring old hooks. Thanks for reminding me!
LS: Finishing the month we’ll be reviewing the comedy THE HANGOVER PART 2. This is new for us. I don’t think we’ve ever reviewed a straight comedy before. Usually we only review horror-comedies. But there aren’t too many horror flicks coming out in May, and we have to review something.
I liked the first movie, and the second one could actually be pretty decent. I’m willing to find out.
MA: I enjoyed THE HANGOVER, though probably not as much as most other people. I enjoyed it because the situations the three guys found themselves in were so over-the-top crazy and unpredictable, I couldn’t help but like it, mostly because I had no idea where the story would go next. The problem I had with the movie was I didn’t find the humor as inviting as I expected. In other words, while I certainly enjoyed watching the crazy predicaments these guys found themselves in, I wasn’t laughing out loud all that much. But I liked it, and I’m looking forward to seeing this sequel.
LS: Remember that scene in the original where they find a tiger in their hotel room?
LS: Don’t look now, but I think that’s the same tiger.
MA: What tiger?
LS: The one that’s chasing us.
(A tiger is suddenly running towards them.)
(MA & LS flee with the tiger in pursuit.)
MA (running): The three buddies are all back for this one— Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms (from TV’s THE OFFICE)— and while Galifianakis caught most of the attention of critics for his insane performance as the weirdo Alan, I actually enjoyed Cooper and Helms better. I also enjoyed Cooper in the recent thriller LIMITLESS (2011) with Robert DeNIro.
Director Todd Phillips also directed the original. However, there’s a different set of writers who wrote this one, so beware!
Quick! There’s Thor’s hammer! Let’s use it on the tiger!
LS: I thought you didn’t want to take the hammer? I thought you were too scared of Thor’s wrath!
MA: This is different! (He grabs hammer and prepares to use it on the tiger, which has suddenly disappeared.) Where did the tiger go?
LS: I don’t know, but you have some explaining to do.
LS: Look who’s standing behind you.
(MA turns to see THOR standing behind him, with his hands on his hips.)
MA: I can explain. See, there was this man-eating tiger—.
(THOR shakes his head and growls)
MA: In the words of the immortal Don Adams, would you believe a brazen bobcat? No? How about an aggressive house cat with a hatred of hammers? Sylvester the cat, then?
LS: We’ll leave Michael to talk his way out of this mess. I’m sure he’ll figure something out. But I do find it amazing he was able to lift Thor’s hammer at all. Supposedly only Thor can lift and wield that thing! Very interesting…
So that wraps things up for May. There’s just the one horror movie this month, PRIEST, but it still looks like an entertaining month at the movies. We’ll see you this weekend with a brand new CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT review.
© Copyright 2011 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares