By Sean Kelly, Leo K. Moncel and Shane McNeil
Remember what fun we had last time? We’re back, with a leaner team (for now…) Sean Kelly, the father of this beast, returns to lead the charge. Shane McNeil is stepping up to the plate in place of Rachel West, and I, Leo, am putting my whole two cents in the pot this time. Jump in as we round up this month’s somewhat peculiar batch of films from Ferrell’s latest, Land of the Lost, disturbing indie sci-fi Moon, Cera and Black in Year One, heaps more, plus a little picture that may transform the summer. Read, comment and let our insightful quips spring to mind when you’re next gambling on a feature with real life money.
I can’t believe this film was off my radar until about a month ago. It seems that Todd Phillips has finally created a worthy follow-up to Old School (which apparently has a sequel proper scheduled for 2011). The premise here almost reminds me of Dude, Where’s My Car? insofar as the characters do not remember what happened the night before, minus Ashton Kutcher of course. Hopefully, this will become one of the summer’s comedy gems.
Land of the Lost
At the very least, I can say Will Ferrell is trying something different. It’s really good to see Ferrell in a film that does not involve sports or him playing a man-child. In addition, this will be the first time since Elf that Ferrell is in family-friendly territory. I am not entirely sold on the film yet, and I may even skip it opening weekend. However, I do think it might be worth a look, if only to watch Danny McBride’s continuing rise to stardom.
I’m a big believer in the duality of certain actors. You have your Pursuit of Happyness Will Smith and your Hancock Will Smith. Got your Cider House Rules Michael Caine and your Miss Congeniality Michael Caine.
Then there’s Will Ferrell. The man has got fans and you have to respect that, but you can never quite predict what’s going to show up on any given night. He’s like the Alex Rios of comedy… the numbers end up looking decent, but don’t account for the nights he takes off.
I have the feeling Land of the Lost will fall short of the Old School Will and a lot closer to the Kicking and Screaming Will. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s your thing… it’s just not mine. I’ll file this one under “looks a little too much like Journey to the Center of the Earth” and take the weekend off.
Holy Shit! Eddie Murphy’s in a movie where he only plays one role! Imagine that.
The star of Sundance, this independent sci-fi film directed by David Bowie’s son Duncan Jones definitely looks interesting. This film will probably result in comparisons with 2001: A Space Odyssey, especially considering the cast only looks to be made up only of Sam Rockwell and his on-ship computer. I’m a big sci-fi fan, so I will definitely be checking this film out.
I don’t often gush over actors, but Sam Rockwell is the most underrated and unjustly neglected actor I’ve ever known of. Sam Rockwell here plays Sam Bell, the lone workman on a lunar mining operation. With just three weeks left in his contract, something turns up – a corpse that exactly resembles him. Things go awry from there.
Let’s hope the creepy premise sustains the feature. But, recall that even in the disorganized PG-13 fuckfest Choke, Rockwell made every second count. Looking at Moon’s contained sets and events (low budget, sure) this one should be a perfect platform to watch Rockwell work his craft. And he is a master craftsman worthy of the highest praise.
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
Denzel Washington is starring in a Tony Scott film for the umpteenth time and John Travolta is playing the role he plays best (a villain). Not really sure what to think of this film. It looks like one of those films that people see when there isn’t really anything else to see. But, since there are other things for me to see, this film will likely be lost in the shuffle.
Just shattering. After catching this one at TIFF I named it my number two film of last year. We’ve already heard much of what guests Michael Pollan and company have to say, but as the saying goes, “seeing is believing” and Food has the imagery to tell us emotionally what we know psychologically: agribusiness run amok is destroying our planet and our health.
Do not be surprised if this film becomes more widely discussed than An Inconvenient Truth. Filmicly, it’s several times the movie that was and the argument it makes is as urgent and universally relevant.
I think the big joke with this film is that it features modern humour in a biblical setting. It’s good to see Harold Ramis directing a mainstream comedy again, after going the dark-comic route with The Ice Harvest. Don’t be fooled by the loincloth, Michael Cera is STILL pretty much the same character he has always played – it’s up to you if that’s a good or bad thing.
Maybe the toughest call of the summer for me. On paper it should be very funny. At the top of their games, Michael Cera and Jack Black can be two of the funniest men (yes, Mike, I called you a man, don’t let it go to your head) in the biz, and you have to like the odds of that kind of talent being harnessed by the guy who directed Caddyshack and Groundhog Day.
The problem is that they’ve both been playing the same damn characters for the past few years and are both desperately in need of a new approach. If Ramis can get more than awkward out of Cera – and a bit more High Fidelity and a bit less Tropic Thunder out of Jack Black – this film has some real potential. If not, don’t come calling me for your $13 back.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
This is the big one! It doesn’t seem the fanboys are as annoyed at Michael Bay this time around as they were for the first film. Perhaps, it’s the promise that this film will feature WAY more Autobot Vs. Decepticon action than was seen in the original (there are at least twenty robots confirmed). I am going to declare right now that this will be the biggest film of the summer.
Man, am I stupid? I seem to be the only one I talk to who actually enjoyed the first Transformers movie. I’m willing to accept I may be objectively wrong here, but I thought that movie was well-plotted and quite clever. It was sharply absurd to make the adolescent joke about hiding these 10-tonne robots from your parents. And [spoiler] the part where they reveal that we caught a Transformer in the 1930’s and reverse engineered today’s technology off of it? That was the sort of plausible-feeling massive secret that recalled seeing Men In Black the first time! I’ll give this one a shot.
I’m gonna out my bias. I hate Michael Bay. Shocking, I know.
But here’s why I’m going to err on the side of popcorn. Steven Spielberg really knows how to make a spectacle. There were parts of the first Transfromers that I didn’t totally hate, and I attribute that to Steven Spielberg’s acumen as a producer of great summer fare.
If we can see more Spielberg and less Bay… and, dare we dream, more Megan Fox and less Shia Laboeuf… it could be not-terrible. That’s high praise. This could be one of the best opportunities we have to shut off our brains this summer. Worst case scenario: this movie is only as bad as Michael Bay’s recent work. Proceed with caution.