Monday, September 19, 2011

Get Ready, Movie Fans, It’s Shitember!

From the September Issue of Bazooka Magazine:
Every movie fan knows that summer movie season draws to a close sometime between the middle and end of August; I think Fright Night pretty much closed it out this year. Starting in October (amidst what seems to be an ever-decreasing number of forgettable but enjoyable horror flicks), studios will be releasing the films that they think will get Oscar attention. Some of these will spend too much time cloying for the Academy nod to be enjoyable, but a good chunk of them will be really good movies.

Those of you who are familiar with modern American timekeeping will, of course, note that between these two periods lies the month of September, which we’re just entering. That’s when studios release that stuff that doesn’t have the starpower or visual effects to compete with Conan and Captain America and is far too devoid of artistic merit for even a bought Academy member to vote for. If you love movies but hate yourself, September’s the month for you! Here’s what’s in store for you:

September 2: Apollo 18
This is another one of those fake documentaries like Blair Witch or Cloverfield, which in my book is strike one against it. The footage purports to show NASA’s secret final visit to the moon and [spooky announcer voice] why we didn’t go back! So basically, this is shaping up to be the first fifteen minutes of Transformers 3, only without any actual Transformers. IMDB lists both of the actors as “uncredited.” Not sure if that’s due to a dumb marketing maneuver, a scheme to get around SAG pay scales, or just the actors saying “hey, how about you just leave our names out of this?”
What It Wants To Be: Apollo 13 meets Aliens
What It Will Probably Be: Paranormal Activity in SPAAAAAAACEEEEEE!!!!!!
Recommendation: Just go see Shark Week 3-D instead. It’s a gorefest about sharks eating people (in 3-D!), but at least they’re not trying to pretend that a worn-out framing device that rarely works is something edgy and new. If you’re really curious about Apollo 18, you can probably get the same experience by watching random excerpts from Discovery Channel shows about the space program while a guy wearing a rubber alien suit hits you in the crotch repeatedly with a hammer.

September 9: Contagion

This one worries me not in spite of its star power, but because of it. Even though the cast is largely made up of people whose careers have likely peaked, the need to bring so many turn-of-the-century big names on board makes me worry that the plot’s a little thin. Also, based on the preview, the only two who might not be completely phoning it in are John Hawkes and that dude who played Veronica Mars’ dad. Worse still, Soderbergh is kind of hit-or-miss as a director, and this film looks like Roland Emmerich trying to do a remake of Outbreak while pretending he’s Robert Altman. It might turn out ok, but I’m skeptical.
What It Wants To Be: I’m not sure Soderbergh has any idea. Is it a drama? A thriller? A disaster movie? For most of the actors, I think the answer is “how I’ll pay for that boat I’ve been wanting to get.”
What It Will Probably Be: Again, no clue. It could be good, or it could be two hours you’ll never, ever get back.
Recommendation: Unless Burke and Hare (Simon Pegg as half of the Victorian age’s most famous grave-robbing duo!) plays here, check it out. Your only other option is Warrior, which looks to be The Fighter without all the heroin addiction and, you know, acting.

September 16: I Don’t Know How She Does It
It’s a bit alarming how much the trailer for this movie pissed me off. The basic premise is that Sarah Jessica Parker is happily married, incredibly successful, and has overachieving kids...and it’s just really, really stressful! You know, I’m pretty sure there’s a chick in Marshall County or Ledbetter or somewhere with a special needs child and an abusive ex who’d trade in her double shifts at Wal-Mart and the meth lab next door for this “stressful” life without a second thought. Once you get past the elitism of the premise, the rest of the movie seems every bit as uninspired as the decision to cast Sarah Jessica Parker as a vapid cunt.
What It Wants To Be: A modern-day 9 to 5.
What It Will Probably Be: An insult to Rosanne Barr’s entire career.
Recommendation: Piranha 3DD

September 23: Killer Elite

You may have heard of “on the tin advertising,” which basically means you get exactly what’s advertised. In the world of movies, this describes fine films like Snakes on a Plane and Hot Tub Time Machine. Killer Elite seems to be a variation on, or perhaps an evolution of, that concept. In this case, the basic idea seems to be “if we tell them what the movie is about, we don’t have to even bother giving it a good title.” If you hook two groups of guys up to state-of-the-art brain scanners and tell one group, “We’re making a movie about Jason Statham and Clive Owen trying to kill each other. It’s called Killer Elite.” and tell the other group “We’re making a movie about Jason Statham and Clive Owen trying to kill each other. It’s called Photographs of President McKinley’s Hairy Nutsack,” the readouts for the two groups will be identical: Fuck yeah!
What It Wants To Be: A giant action movie about Jason Statham and Clive Owen trying to kill each other.
What It Will Probably Be: A giant action movie about Jason Statham and Clive Owen trying to kill each other.
Recommendation: Did you miss the part where Jason Statham and Clive Owen are trying to kill each other?

September 30: Courageous
This movie is from the makers of Fireproof, so I’m assuming that it, like Fireproof, will play at the Paducah Cinemark for months despite the fact that by all rights it should be a straight to video release. Fortunately, this one doesn’t have the kind of star power (by which I mean Kirk Cameron) that Fireproof brought to the table, so hopefully it won’t hang around as long. Although I’ve never seen Fireproof, my understanding is about a heroic firemen who love God. Courageous, on the other hand, is about heroic policemen who love God. So this is a pretty radical departure for the film makers.
What It Wants To Be: An affirmation of Christ’s love and/or the inherent legitimacy of authority figures in uniform.
What It Will Probably Be: Wasting a screen that could be showing a perfectly good movie about tits and evil fish.
Recommendation: Hope something good’s playing at Maiden Alley. The only other new release this weekend that might be watchable is 50/50, which might not even play here. “50/50,” by the way, is both the title of the film and the ratio of good to bad leads (Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Seth Rogan)

Once the long dark teatime of the movie industry that is September ends, things will get better (or, in the case of Hugh Jackman in Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em Robots: The Movie, bad in much more ridiculous and potentially amusing way). In addition to The Rum Diaries (which I hope will show up at Maiden Alley), October’s got at least one over-the-top action flick (the steampunk Three Musketeers movie), what could be a passable sci-fi flick starring Justin Timberlake (In Time), and a few remakes that might be worth seeing out of curiosity if nothing else (Footloose, The Thing). After that, the holiday movie season kicks into gear and there’ll be too many movies coming out to keep up with. Just don’t forget what’s really important this holiday season: seeing the new Muppet movie.
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