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There’s no doubt that this has been one of the worst summers for Hollywood in recent memory. Correction: Hollywood actually did pretty well. We were the ones who had to suffer. And every time a big-budget movie faltered this summer, it didn't simply disappoint, it went down in flames. You can almost hear Will Smith and Johnny Depp laughing over single malts at Teddy’s:
If you’re determined to get out of the house this week and the cineplex is your destination, you have options. OK, some of them aren’t great options, but options nonetheless. Here’s the skinny on what’s showing. Some are must-sees, others are must-misses and some are somewhere in-between.
Film critics are calling this the 'Summer of the Bomb.' I’m not sure studios have ever had so many box office flops in one season. Audiences are telling Hollywood in no uncertain terms that it’s going to take more than an A-list star and a hundred-million-dollar budget to sell tickets. So, if Channing Tatum in a wife-beater or Johnny Depp in war paint doesn't get you excited, I’m sorry to say I have good news and bad news on the home front. Here are some interesting rentals and some I wouldn't watch if I were tied to the chair.
Every once in a while this happens in Hollywood: Somebody read the script, saw the talent attached and perused the budget. Somebody eyed the corner office at Disney. Somebody called the Lamborghini dealer and made an offer on a Malibu beach house. Somebody grinned greedily at the idea of this movie, thinking, This is my Avatar, my Pirates, my Marvel superhero movie. Somebody employed some faulty logic. Clearly, the formula Disney + Depp = dollars is not an immutable law of cinema. In layman’s terms, this movie stinks.
The Baldwin Report
I know I sound like a broken record when I talk about the lack or originality in Hollywood, but prepare to be amazed. Lately, they aren’t even remaking movies, they’re just re-releasing them in 3D. Anyway, I hope you have plans for July, because you’re not going to be spending next month at the movies.
Tim Burton’s films have always been hit or miss with me. Edward Scissorhands—hit, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—miss, Ed Wood—hit, Planet of the Apes—miss. I was hoping Dark Shadows would be a hit.
If you are in the mood for car chases and alien invasions, I have good news: I count no fewer than four alien-battling blockbusters this spring. If, however, you are in the mood for more substantial fare, you may be disappointed. Here’s what’s coming up!
Allison Vernon-Williams is a junior at a Baltimore finishing school for girls with a loving grandmother, a steady boyfriend and an inner track to the American dream for young women in 1954.
Movie spring has sprung. We may have three more weeks on the calendar, but at the Cineplex, the new season has arrived. Here are the highlights:
When someone has a successful career, film makers tend to mine every aspect of the person’s life in hopes of discovering some pivotal moment to enlighten and inform the viewer. Here, the successful career is that of controversial journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and sadly, this particular period of his life—a period he felt so significant he wrote the source material—is at best underwhelming.
Halloween is Monday, and like most children their age. Cranky (13) and Whiny (12) have no idea what their costume will be. Punch (10) chose the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters months ago. Nevertheless, that leaves two 11th-hour decisions for two children at a very awkward age. So, off I went to the biggest Halloween store in the universe, the Internet, to research what the kids are wearing this year.
I don’t know. You just get to the point with these things, where enough is enough. They have even given the green light to a fifth installment. Six Fast and Furious movies? Five Pirates of the Caribbean? They really need some new blood out in Hollywood. The only movies they should make more than three of are James Bond and Pink Panther movies, period.
Summer is right around the corner, and while you may not know it from the advertising, there are other movies coming out besides The Hangover Part II. Here’s what looks interesting:
Okay, I think I’ve got this figured out. From my assessment, it seems that the animators and screenwriters started out with an engaging premise and touching animated tale about a pet lizard who suddenly finds himself in the wild. Then about halfway into the work, they started experimenting with some pretty heavy-duty hallucinogenic drugs while simultaneously watching The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Deliverance, Apocalypse Now, the destruction of the Death Star and a Salvador Dali retrospective. That’s what I’m guessing anyway.
The 2011 Golden Globe nominations have been announced by the Hollywood Foreign Press. While prestigious in and of themselves, the Golden Globes are best known for being the prognosticator for the Oscars. Here is the underwhelming list of mediocre nominees.
I have been waiting for this movie for six months. It stars the most beautiful people in the world, is shot in the most beautiful of places, and has a really interesting premise. I don’t know how things could have gone so horribly wrong. Well, sadly I do. When you have beautiful people in a beautiful place, you know the tickets will be sold regardless, so why bother?
The Oscar race is heating up and these films may be late to the gate but they are definitely not lagging behind. It may be awards season, but it is also holiday season, and the family-friendly film is well represented.
For the record, I am really on the fence about 3D. It’s a great visual tool for adding depth and richness to a setting, but I loathe the glasses and I have difficulty adjusting after the movie ends. It’s all the craze right now, though, so I guess I better get used to it.
Play: Treasure Island
So, I go to the movies a lot, and for years I have complained about the lack of new ideas in Hollywood. Every year the industry gets bigger, grander and more derivative. Well just when you thought they couldn’t get any shallower, the studios let a little more water out of the tub. Currently the top eight films at the box office are:
I want to start by saying that this film has not been particularly well reviewed. Director Michael Mann's reputation precedes him. With films like Miami Vice and Collateral on his resume, he has earned, I think undeservedly, a reputation for large-scale, glitzy films that are somewhat, well, soulless. Even if there is an element of truth to the claims about his directorial style, he certainly has found an effective way to combat it. What do you do if you're a director accused of neglecting your actors' ‘inner lives?’ Hire three actors…Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard…known for bringing rich inner lives to the screen. Done.
Here’s what movie buffs have to look forward to this sultry July…
I often imagine a young Andrew Lloyd Webber fresh out of university sitting in a pub with his mates. They kick around their ideas for their first Broadway smash, and then the friends turn to Webber for his input. He finishes a pint, sets the glass on the table and says he is going to write a rock musical based on the life of Jesus Christ. I picture his friends holding their snickers and sarcastic good lucks until he goes to relieve himself. Who knew? I feel the same way about Sweeney Todd. On my way to the theater to see it the first time, I can remember my date saying, It’s a Sondheim musical about a barber who slits his customers’ throats and a woman who gets rid of the bodies in a very imaginative way. Great.
Considering how much thought goes into our appearance, it’s no surprise that the most important accessories we own, our glasses and sunglasses, have reached new fashion heights in recent years. “Glasses are an expression of your lifestyle,” says Stacey Plank, manager of Destination Sama, which sells ‘ultra-premium eyewear’ in the St. Louis Galleria.