Saturday, June 19, 2010

Why I haven't rushed out to big-studio summer movies yet.

Perhaps it's age--and perhaps it's also witnessing coming-attractions trailers. But I haven't been persuaded to invest time and admission money in slavish remakes of either THE A-TEAM (from the once-promising Joe NARC Carnahan) or THE KARATE KID (which at least proves that old showbiz legend Jerry Weintraub--who helped birth the original franchise--is someone you should never bet against).

But the cut-cut-cut-costs and play it safe-safe-safe methodology of the studios (one would think that Jeff Robinov would have been 86ed from Time Warner by now) seem to be biting them in the posterior--with Pixar craftsmanship (although with the recent Pixar tendency towards overlength) and Christopher Nolan imagination likely to be the only real offsets to a likely red-ink corporate moviemaking bottom line this summer.

In terms of the big-release summer films I have seen, here's some random opinionating:
The Cronenberg-esque SPLICE (about two-thirds of an engrossing film) would have been better off being distrubuted by IFC or Magnolia on a specialty theater/pay-per-view platform. For WB to throw it out (in the US) on a 2000-screen basis left it to laughed at by mass audience hyenas who wanted copious amounts of blood and dismemberment and less of a thoughtful update of the time-honored morality play about scientists playing God at their peril.
GET HIM TO THE GREEK was a superior Nicholas Stoller-directed Judd Apatow outing to FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL--with the same crack teamwork of Russell Brand and Jonah Hill. Unfortunately, anything emerging from the Apatow banner has to display a pandering, faux-MORK AND MINDY morality (still remembering Robin Williams being stuck with the what-I've-learned "Mork calling Orson" tags to each episode) that is becoming increasingly awkward with every Apatow-based outing. So, if you haven't seen GREEK already, expect a have-it-every-possible-way approach to the subjects of sex and drug use.
Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe's ROBIN HOOD was stupidly dumped on by mainstream critics who apparently expected Errol Flynn heroics and zest. But the 2010 version had enough action and humor--and fortunately didn't espouse the dourness and nihilism of Richard Lester and James Goldstone's 1976 ROBIN AND MARIAN (which ended with the deaths of the two protagonists). But contemporary critics/reviewers (e.g. the usually astute Karina Longworth) shrieked as if the Scott film was an exact clone of Lester's earlier (and semi-forgotten) outing.

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