An 8.4 Guardian story by John Crace advances the notion that The Expendables is Sex and the City for guys. Think about that. It’s generally accepted that the Sex and the City films were awful but women paid to see them anyway. So one could conclude that Grace is saying that The Expendables more or less sucks, but that won’t deter the guys. Is that a selling point?
It has to be said that the dopey (and sometimes hilarious) splatter-gore spills that sold Stallone’s last Rambo film don’t pay off as well in The Expendables. Too much time and effort is spent on character embroidery and smart-ass macho camaraderie. It’s fun to see bad guys get blown apart (and for the most part they have no chance against “the boys,” and that feels good on some level). It’s mainly about the good guys just barrelling on through like it’s no one’s business — i.e., the Sex and the City cheer-on stuff — but The Expendables needs to be more than just a show for the home team.
A quality action movie always reaches out to skeptics and fence-sitters. Win that group over and your movie is home free. But director and co-writer Stallone doesn’t even try for this kind of approval. He seems content to operate from his safety zone, and to me that spells lazy-ass. Hell, it is lazy. Would that this film had been assembled by high-grade, top-talent people. I would have been down with The Expendables if it had been a ’90s Jerry Bruckheimer steak dinner. But it’s not — it’s tacos and cheese with chips.
Variety‘s Peter DeBruge said today that The Expendables is “a nearly incoherent all-stars-on-deck actioner that plays like Grown Ups on nitro or a brutish, blue-collar Ocean’s Eleven. The muddled execution falls far short of the talent involved” and “plausibility [doesn’t] seem to have been much of a concern. Basically, the plot serves to support the action sequences” although “the editors [haven’t] assembled the action footage footage in such a way that we can tell where characters are in relation to one another or what’s going on. [The film is] not so indispensable.”
The Alamo Draft House’s Rolling Road Show begins on 8.6 in Los Angeles with a screening of Jackie Brown, and concludes on 8.27 in New York City with a screening of The Godfather, Part II on — get this — “a Manhattan rooftop near Little Italy.” A week earlier (8.20) On The Waterfront will be shown on Hoboken’s Pier a Park. Thing is, there’s almost nothing left of the Hoboken that Elia Kazan shot in 1953 — it’s mostly been torn down, paved over and Starbucked. Even the echoes have disappeared. Or at least the meatheads have.
I don’t like guys who fall into their movie theatre seats like children. A guy did this in front of me a couple of nights ago. He just flopped backwards, his massive bulk collapsing into his rocking-chair seat and causing the hard-plastic backing to slam me in the knees. “Jerk!,” I muttered to myself. An elegant man always eases himself down onto the seat and gently leans back on his seat. If there’d been a scene in To Catch a Thief in which Cary Grant took Grace Kelly to a movie. you can bet he wouldn’t have pointed to two empty theatre chairs and said to Kelly, “Oh, look…watch me!” and then turned around and back-flopped into his chair like a kid splashing back-first into a pool.
Some kind of orange fetish has recently caught on among movie-poster designers. Last night in the 14th Street and 8th Avenue station I snapped a just-mounted one-sheet for Anton Corbijn‘s The American (Focus Features, 9.1). And then this morning Awards Daily posted an OMG Posters display of various Olly Moss one-sheet designs for several classic films. Was Moss hired by Focus Features to do an American poster, or is it just what it seems — a coincidence?
Orange has always seemed like an overly provocative color. Rude, obnoxious — doesn’t get along well with others. Splashy, splotchy. What’s orange good for besides napkins or kitschy ’50s furniture or summer dresses for older women? The fact that orange was Frank Sinatra‘s favorite color always made me think less of the guy. So I’m not a fan of orange-dominated movie posters. I never cared for that orange Vertigo poster from way back, and I’m not that intrigued by the American poster, and I think Moss’s posters for On The Waterfront and Rocky are kinda strange and what-the-fucky.
I understand that designers have to go where they want to go, etc., but let’s dump the orange at the first opportunity. Mustard…now there‘s a color!
A complete wifi modem meltdown in the Brooklyn apartment requires a hurried visit to Time Warner Cable’s offices on Paidge Avenue. This may or may not be followed by a 3:30 pm screening of Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (i.e., the conclusion of Jean-Francois Richet‘s two-part French-produced crime thriller). The only good thing that has happened so far today is that Mike the building owner has fixed the front doorbell.
The Wrap‘s Daniel Frankel has reported data that shows moviegoers are becoming less and less interested in paying 3-D premium prices to see mezzo-mezzo 3-D fare. The cause of the situation is (a) “uneven” (underwhelming or flat-out shitty) quality from the films themselves, and (b) the ruinous effect of fake 3-D, which DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg ranted about four months ago.
“Nearly 80 percent of Avatar‘s audience saw it in 3D…but 3D’s box-office trajectory has been pointing downward almost ever since,” Frankel writes. The obvious lesson is that if the 3D films that have opened since Avatar were (a) as good as Avatar and (b) delivered the same quality 3D, there probably wouldn’t be a drop in revenue worth reporting about.
Things might have been different also if the fake 3-D used by Clash of the Titans hadn’t poisoned the audience’s attitude about 3-D technology. James Cameron built 3-D into a wow attraction, and Titans delivered the first degradation that gradually convinced audiences that 3D wasn’t necessarily worth the extra cost.
What is Frankel’s report really about? The fact only 45 % of Despicable Me‘s revenue came from 3D showings and Warner Bros.’s 3-D presentations of Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore grossed only $6.9 million. I don’t know anyone who gave a damn about seeing either of these films, 3-D or flat.
What we need right now (but of course won’t get) is a Hitler/Downfall video with Bruno Ganz subbing for Katzenberg and raging at the greedies for diluting the 3-D brand in record time.