August Movie Preview

M: Usually any weekend after the first week of August is akin to January or February, a time for studios to dump out the dregs that they have collected over the year, except that in August some people actually go see them, even if they stink.  This year it seems to be the month of the remake or reboot or other form of movie, script or idea recycling.

E: Er, which makes it different from the rest of 2011 how?

C: In no way at all.  So let’s get to the quibbling.

August 5th

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

E: So, as a kid, I was completely freaked out – but also fascinated – by the Planet of the Apes movies.  I don’t know if I want to see this installment, though.  I mean, how dark is this piece of the story?  The apes look scary as all get out.  And really, the trailer makes me want to cry.  Sad and tragic.

M: I think the original Apes movie has one of the great twist endings in movie history, and most of the rest of the movies sucked.  This looks really well done, but as you said, dark, tragic, and surprisingly sad.

C: And freaky. No thank you.

E: On the other hand, I don’t know that I’d mind seeing chimps fling poo at Draco Malfoy…

M: Well who doesn’t want to see that?

The Change-Up

E: Jason Bateman, family man, and Ryan Reynolds, ladies man, switch places after peeing together in a fountain. Awesome.

M: Freaky Friday meets Wife Swap.  Um, no thanks.  And when will Hollywood realize that Ryan Reynolds is NOT a movie star?

C: I agree with your view on Reynolds, M – he’s so vanilla! – but I know many who would disagree vehemently.

E: Like Mrs. M!

C: This movie, however, looks unbelievably distasteful and ugly. Married guy gets to live a single fantasy while single guy sleeps with his wife. Is there a reasonably contented, decent human being to whom that plot would appeal?

M: That begs the question… is there a reasonably contented, decent human being in Hollywood?  Before we answer that, however, I just read a ridiculous and yet absolutely hilarious little blurb about something in this movie.  Apparently big time movie star Ryan Reynolds and current it-girl Olivia Wilde have a “love” scene in the movie.  She wanted to be modest (sort of), and did not go completely nude for the scene, instead she covered up with pasties, and they were going to use camera angles and body positioning to ensure that they wouldn’t show up.  Well, like any high quality production, they screwed that up, and the pasties could show.  So, rather than trimming those moments from the scene or re-shooting they did what any high quality production would do…  they had her pick out digital nips, and used CGI to superimpose them into the scene.  Seriously.

C: What. Seriously? Ugh.

E: Yeah, there’s a funny bit of her discussing it with Jimmy Kimmel while she was supposed to be talking Cowboys & Aliens.  Big points deduction for the word “nips,” though, M!  Serious ugh.

The Sitter

E: What sort of fool would trust Jonah Hill with their children?  Seriously.

M: The kind that’s never seen any of his movies?  Other than that I’m coming up empty.

E: The real question: is there a cameo by Thor?  Does anyone lip synch to “And Then He Kissed Me” and if so, please could it be Hill?  It seems unlikely this could be anywhere near as fun as Adventures in Babysitting.

M: How many things are as fun as Adventures in Babysitting?  That’s rhetorical, by the way.

The Whistleblower

E: Peacekeeping in Bosnia with Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn, Vanessa Redgrave and Monica Belluci.  Too serious for the summer?  Or too good a cast to miss?

M: Ummm, not really peacekeeping.  More exposing that the UN was covering up sex-trafficking, from what I understand.  Hell of a cast, supposedly already getting Rachel Weisz some Oscar buzz.

C: It sounds like a high-class movie, and not like something I’ll be rushing to the theaters for in August. Weird choice of release time. Maybe it’s not as good as it should be?

August 10th

The Help

E: Every August, there’s at least one so-called woman’s movie.  This movie’s chock full of stars, and it’s usually (though not exclusively) a literary adaptation.  Mamma MiaThe Devil Wears Prada, you know what I’m talking about.  A whole summer and the grown up women get this one flick.  But let’s be honest.  This is the sort of book I never read; the kind of Oprah weepy whatever.  Of course, I’ve been wondering if I’ve been categorizing this book – hence the movie – wrongly.  So I’m going to wait for the reviews.  Will this be a failure on the level of Evening, or will it be more akin to The Hours or someplace in the middle like Eat Pray Love?

C: Isn’t it about the Civil Rights movement, though? I don’t see why that should be interesting to just women, or just to Oprah book readers.

M: As this is the “women’s movie” of the summer, I am contractually obligated to refrain from commenting, or caring.

C: Right. Because neither E nor I commented or cared about any of the films not designed explicitly for our gender? Hence why the sexism of Hollywood perpetuates itself…

M: The difference is that most “men’s” movies either have significant enticements put in them to attract women, or they are smaller (reach, not production), targeted things that the general public doesn’t take too seriously.

E: What?  Like Megan Fox being in Transformers, you mean?  Or is it Shia LeBoeuf that you think would draw the average woman in?  Dude, I can’t even believe you’re defending that practice.

M: If anything it would have been Josh Duhamel, but I said most, not all.  Michael Bay movies do not count.

E: My point was mostly that almost every August, there’s a so called tentpole movie with big female stars – which, trust me, have more men in them than there are women in the average ‘male’ oriented movies that dominate most movies, with only a token love interest or mother thrown in as a sop to our half of the population.

M: Yes, but in general the men in those movies are portrayed as scum, kind of the way this season of So You Think You Can Dance has been portraying men, as worthy of scorn, poisoning, pain and death.  In general “women’s” movies neither attempt to appeal to men, nor tuck themselves into a corner of the market. They often expect to be big, and expect men to not like them, but still get dragged to them. If you want women to see Green Lantern, you put crappy but good looking Ryan Reynolds in it and have there be a love story. If you want men to see The Help, do something about it.  If you don’t, don’t blame me for not wanting to see a bunch of women gossip and then get burned by it.

C: And by “significant enticements to attract women,” you mean – what, exactly? Perhaps those things that all people like, like interesting character arcs and humor and issues that are relevant to real life? Oh, you’re right, “women’s” movies never have those. Nor do they ever feature good looking women…

E: Yes, which men object to being subjected to so much…

M: No, I mean boring stories that appeal only to women.  🙂

August 12th

Final Destination 5

E: You know we’ll all be there at the midnight show, waiting with bated breath to see if the newest batch of twenty-somethings finally arrive, or just end up as fish food.

C: In a not-so-final way, of course.

E: Oh, wait, I forgot.  We hate this kind of crap horror movie.

M: I saw a commercial for it the other day.  Well, to be more accurately, I fast-forwarded through a commercial for it the other day.  I’m pretty sure in the 4 seconds it took me to watch it I fully understand everything that will happen in what is sure to be an action packed 88 minute “feature” film.  NEXT!

30 Minutes or Less

E: A pizza delivery guy falls in with criminals in this comedy, which is not so very likely to get Jesse Eisenberg his second Oscar nomination.

M: Okay, we commented on this when Your Highness came out, but who the hell is Danny McBride, and why are Oscar nominees lining up to be in awful looking movies with him?  Can anyone explain this to me?

C: Nope. It’s like filmmakers decided he was already a movie star, without need of press or a breakout role. Baffling.

E: He had a show on some cable channel none of us get, I think.


M: On the much, much smaller side is this highly acclaimed documentary about the late Formula 1 (Indy 500-type car racing) driver Ayrton Senna, which I’ve heard is just brilliant.  Like, Hoop Dreams level brilliant, which means that it will be ignored by Oscar, especially if people actually go see it.

C: In that case, it’s really unfortunate they named it after a man who’s named after a laxative…

M: Apparently your knowledge of laxatives far exceeds mine.

August 18th

Conan the Barbarian

E: I like Jason Momoa, but he looks too much like Khal Drogo here.

M: I have no idea what you just said, as neither of those names (if the second one is in fact a name, as the capitalization suggests) are at all familiar to me.

C: Maybe she meant Ka D’Argo?

M: Now THAT I’d like to see!

E: The actor Jason Momoa just played Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones.  And he basically looks exactly the same as Conan, which seems like really bad marketing to me.

M: Okay, I looked him up, and recognize him from the short lived North Shore, in which he was actually pretty decent.

E: Yes, exactly.

M: As for the movie, it is supposed to be a reboot, not a remake.  I’ve re-watched the Arnold version recently enough to know that it is still in the Rebecca Black’s Friday, “so bad it’s good” category of cheese ball action films.  I’m not sure this one is aiming for that, and fear that it will be just bad enough that it’s just bad, if you know what I mean.

C: …Did you just call Rebecca Black “good”?

M: Only in the “so bad” sense of good. Plus, I legitimately LOVE the Stephen Colbert/Jimmy Fallon/Roots/Taylor Hicks version of it, which is bad because it can get the song stuck in my head when I watch it.

One Day

E: This summer’s non-prestige chick lit adaptation.   The Help is literary fiction, or kinda.  One Day, not so much.  Boy and Girl fail to notice that they’re perfect for each other.  For, like, a decade.

M: See Help, The

C: Grrr….

Fright Night

E: A creepy stranger (Colin Farrell) comes to town and threatens Anton Yelchin’s chances of having a cool senior year in this remaking.  Rumored to be good for what it is.

C: How could that possibly be good?

M: I’ve been told by a ton of people that I really should see the original, I might just have to.  Plus, I think it’s free On Demand right now…

E: Well, free is good, anyway.  Farrell’s been having more success lately in offbeat roles than he had as a leading man, don’t you think?

M: He has, and I think it’s all about the choices he’s making.  He’s not trying to be the leading man of crappy movies, he’s taking roles in more creative projects.  That, and maybe he’s getting over some of the 852 or so STD’s that I’m sure he contracted in his romp through Hollywood.

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D

E: I really liked the first of these movies.

M: I have still not seen any of them, believe it or not.  I think I’m still in shock over Robert Rodriguez’ comments about how he made El Mariachi and Desperado and From Dusk Til Dawn all so that he could make enough money to make Spy Kids.  That literally blew my mind.

C: Literally? Ouch. How are you typing, then?

E: Well, I can only speak to the first one, but it’s worth checking out with your kids.  This one might be, too.

C: Wait, 4D? Is that a typo? Oh… apparently not. Huh.

August 26th

Our Idiot Brother

E: I’m not even going to say anything.

M: I’m ignoring you, and discussing Paul Rudd as a slacker pothead.  Okay, no, I’m just moving on, because as much as I like Paul Rudd, slacker potheads don’t really interest me.

C: Ditto. I love that guy. He should be in more movies where he’s adorable.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

E: August is all horror flicky, huh?  What’s up with that?  It’s not like it’s October.

M: August is always the summer version of October, it’s part of it being one of Hollywood’s crap months.

C: Yeah, August is always horror flicky. They use these low-budget, high-yield movies to mop up the leftover movie viewers who aren’t back to school yet but already saw all the big blockbusters twice.

E: Also, how did they get Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes to sign up for this?

M: Sibling favorite Guy Pearce I don’t know about, but ever since being abducted and brainwashed by Tom Cruise, isn’t Katie Holmes is a horror movie director’s dream?  I mean, she shouldn’t have to act, right?

C: Poor Katie. But – if I needed one more reason to skip this – Guy Pearce is no fave of mine…

M: Just. So. Wrong.


E: Zoe Saldana as an assassin, whose family was murdered when she was a child.  Because no one becomes a hit man because they’re just, you know, amoral or scummy.  They’re all tortured.

M: I wish they kept the original title, Kill Bill Part 3.

Higher Ground

E: Vera Farmiga directs herself in this story about cults and religious life.

M: Is it about cults?  I thought it was a woman looking critically at, and eventually leaving, faith.

E: I don’t know, I got the impression that the “small, tight knit religious community” was code for cult, but that might be unfair.

C: Either way, sounds like a downer.

August 31st

The Debt

E: Helen Mirren plays another retired spy.  With assists from Ciaran Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington.  Iiiiinteresting.

C: That woman is so badass.

M: She has been at least since Excalibur, and shows no sign of letting up, which is pretty awesome.

C: Well, that’s your August preview, Quibble Readers. Anything on there that any of you actually want to see?

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