It’s that time again for TGITDNMAR, which (obviously) stands for Thank God It’s The Day New Movies Are Released.
Last week I questioned whether or not I was getting out of touch with contemporary cinema. This week, it’s sadly been confirmed…see below.
I’ve been on the Karl Urban Bandwagon ever since his noteworthy performance in The Two Towers. I’ve been calling for him to be a bigger name, to get meaty roles in quality action films, to become a star. The results have been mixed. Believe it or not, The Two Towers came out a decade ago, and I’m not sure he’s known to many more non-film geek types now than he was in his Xena: Warrior Princess days (seriously; he’s from New Zealand, so I imagine any actor of a certain age and body type made their way through that show or Hercules). He got a meaty role in The Chronicles of Riddick – the only problem being that it was in The Chronicles of Riddick. Pathfinder bombed. Doom was a dud. The Bourne Supremacy hit, but his character didn’t.
Finally, Star Trek came in 2008 and he received a ton of worthy praise in his homage to DeForest Kelley. Though he wasn’t doing much action in JJ Abrams’ reboot, he managed to probably do even better for himself, showing a gift for comedy that had been unseen (at least to me; who knows, maybe he showed those wares back in his Xena days…). RED gave him a chance to blend the action with the comedy, but he was nearly drowned out, acting alongside such scenery-chewers as Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren. You stand out in that crowd! I love seeing him play an outright villain in Priest; that is, I loved seeing him in the trailer. I wasn’t about to watch that, especially after the reviews came out.
Now Dredd. After Sly Stallone’s don’t-say-dreadful take on it, there’s really nowhere to go but up, even though director Pete Travis’ filmography (Vantage Point, anyone?) isn’t all that terrific. Muddying those waters even further is the news that Travis was booted from the editing room in post-production. Typically, that would come across as pretty terrible news for a film…here, I’m not so sure. However, the film appears to have a gritty, interesting, sleek look to its apocalyptic future, and Lena Headey and Olivia Thirlby ought to make for good sparring partners for Urban as the villain and partner, respectively.
The downside? Even if it’s a hit, Urban might go unnoticed, as reportedly, his helmet never comes off. Ever the unknown up-and-comer, this guy.
Dylan’s Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 51%
End of Watch is the third effort from writer-director David Ayer (his seventh script), though you might have fooled me. Ayer is the Wes Anderson of testosterone-laden cop flicks, what with Training Day, Street Kings, S.W.A.T., Harsh Times, and Dark Blue all on his resume. Can you tell one from the other? I sure as hell can’t. Kai sure seems to love him, but I’m bored with him. If the films were consistently, you know, good, I might take more interest in the guy’s career.
The problem with this issue of mine is that his films end up with pretty damn solid casts, and this one’s no exception. Jaky Gyllenhaal stars and is joined by Anna Kendrick, Frank Grillo (awesome in The Grey earlier this year) and…Michael Pena.
Pena can do everything – why isn’t he in more high-profile films? Want proof? Watch Crash (despite what you may think of it), watch Everything Must Go, and then watch Observe and Report and 30 Minutes or Less and tell me he’s not capable of being intimidating, bizarre, charming, and hilarious, sometimes all at once?
Dylan’s Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 30%
House at the End of the Street
It’s little shit like this that keeps me from embracing modern horror. We already have a similarly cumbersome title, and at that one that also is in reference to a domicile somewhat isolated from the rest on the avenue. So did the marketers of HatEotS (interesting acronym…) really have to go and steal the same (or eerily similar) damn font that was used for The Last House on the Left as well? Is there a rule that all horror films must follow the same stupid conventions and copy each other ad nauseum until no one cares? Here’s the font on the Last poster – you tell me if I’m crazy:
Also troubling me is that this is starring Jennifer Lawrence and it’s rated PG-13. Damnit!
Dylan’s Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 2%
Trouble with the Curve
Despite what I might think of chair-talking, or even (more relevantly) his last few films as a director, I’m pretty glad to have Eastwood back in front of the camera, even for this film that I don’t have all that much interest in seeing. Clint proved with Gran Torino that his mere presence can increase the quality – or at least watchability – of a film exponentially. And if you consider that he was starring alongside virtually an all-amateur cast in that one, imagine what he can do with Amy Adams, John Goodman, and Justin Timberlake at his side? I’m certainly curious.
Dylan’s Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 33%
LIMITED RELEASE LOOK
Really only one film worth discussing here this week, and it’s one that probably shouldn’t be a limited release. I’ve seen the trailer for The Perks of Being a Wallflower plenty of times, and though it’s probably not made for my demographic, and though it covers a topic we’ve seen probably hundreds of times onscreen, and though I’m having a really hard time buying Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson) or Emma Watson as being any sorts of wallflowers, I’m seriously intrigued. Why’s that, you might ask? Ezra Miller. If, like me, you were lucky enough to catch him in 2009′s hidden gem City Island, then you probably weren’t nearly as surprised by his awesome turn in We Need to Talk About Kevin as the rest of the filmgoing public was. Again in Wallflower, he looks to not only steal the show, but leave you wondering why he wasn’t the star in the first place. This kid’s got sick talent.