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Blind Lieutenant Moons 51

I wish I could deliver on the promise of that headline, but none of this week’s opening movies go anywhere near that level of lunacy.   Instead we get lovesick vampires, alien astronauts, inspiring athletes, and Nick Cage.  Now that I think about it, if anyone is going to deliver some over-the-top ridiculousness it would be Cage playing a half-corrupt, half-addict cop in Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).  So, does Cage bring the crazy?

“Cage dives headlong into the madness. It’s plain fun to see the actor give himself so fully to a character after several years of mostly forgettable action movies” Jake Coyle Associated Press

Good news.  It’s a shame that this movie has the aroma of being a forgettable action flick.

“No one is better at this kind of performance than Nicolas Cage. He’s a fearless actor. He doesn’t care if you think he goes over the top. If a film calls for it, he will crawl to the top hand over hand with bleeding fingernails.” Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

“If there’s a sure thing in movies, it’s that if you cast Nicolas Cage in a role in which he goes crazy, he’ll rise to the occasion and keep on rising until he seems even loonier than his character.” New York Magazine David Edelstein

I sincerely hope that one day, Nicolas Cage is honored with a William T Shatner Over-The-Top Award for Over-Acting.  I also hope they read Ebert’s ‘bleeding fingernails’ quote at the ceremony.

“The film is offbeat, silly, disarming and loopy all at the same time, and viewers will decide to ride with that or just give up on it, according to mood and disposition.” Variety Todd McCarthy

Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting the Mood Movie!  It’s only as good as you feel when you watch it. Please, drink responsibly (before, during, and after the show).

“Those expecting a return to the depravity and menace of Abel Ferrara’s 1992 notorious original will be disappointed.” Premiere Mark Salisbury

The notorious original

When people look back at the original and fondly remember depravity and menace, well, maybe we just shouldn’t look back.  And speaking of sequels, tween girls have already united to make Twilight Saga: New Moon (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic) the biggest pre-sold movie ticket of all time (at least until the next one comes out).  I saw the first one and was somewhat underwelmed, is it too much to hope that I will be welmed by the sequel?

“This is a film for the fans. Fans of the books. Fans of the first film. If you enjoyed that, you’ll enjoy this. If you didn’t, you have no chance here. It’s a New Moon, not a new dawn.” Giles Hardie smh.com.au

Fair enough.  I’ve seen the preview and know that the sequel offers ab-tastic Jacob and pale-tacular Edward moping and scowling over a girl who’s most memorable trait is her strictly supernatural dating pool. What am I missing?

“The Twilight Saga: New Moon plays like a 130 minute trailer for a movie called The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” Drew McWeeny HitFix

So, if I watch the preview on a loop for two hours, I’ll have little reason to take a trip to a theater crowded with excitable teenage girls.  Got it.

“Considering Lautner’s acting improved so much sans shirt, I wonder if there might have been Oscar buzz had he taken off his pants.” Garth Franklin Dark Horizons

“Never has a man’s shirtlessness been so essential to a character’s development.” Jordan Hoffman UGO

Okay, Jacob is a feral dreamboat to Edward’s undead mojo, but if I don’t like staring at good looking guys, what does this experience have to offer?

“Watching Twilight Saga: New Moon is a bit like having your own real-life sulky teenager living under your roof …” James O’Ehley Sci-Fi Movie Page

Strangely enough, the next movie is the real-life story of a under-privledged teenage athlete living under Sandra Bullock’s roof in The Blind Side (Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic).

“Grounded in the direct, disarming truth of their experience, the movie has a straightforward lack of cheap sentiment that saves it from being either too maudlin or saccharine-sweet.” Washington Post Ann Hornaday

“Uplifting and entertaining feel-good, fact-based sports drama.” Variety Joe Leydon

Fact-based truth book

I would imagine that truth is easier to attain when working with a true story. But it’s still a movie, which means that truth might take a backseat to entertainment.

“Blind Side the movie peddles the most insidious kind of racism, one in which whiteys are virtuous saviors, coming to the rescue of African-Americans who become superfluous in narratives that are supposed to be about them.”  Village Voice Melissa Anderson

“Its m.o. isn’t understanding or identification, just white self-congratulation.” Mark Palermo Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Wow.  Are there any opponents of that viewpoint?

“Some will doubtlessly dismiss The Blind Side as another example of a heroic white person saving a black victim but, although there is an element of truth in that perfunctory description, it misses the point.” James Berardinelli ReelViews

“Ultimately, race has nothing to do with the truth of the emotions this film elicits from an audience. It’s a solid movie, whether you’re color blind or not.” Marshall Fine Hollywood & Fine

I don’t believe you can erase race in this discussion, but the movie isn’t always about the message either.  If it was, our final movie, Planet 51 (Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic), would be desperate for a point.

“This movie, which was made by an animation studio in Spain, isn’t trying to make a social statement; it speaks in the international language of lightweight comedy.”  St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams

Hey, I speak that language too.  I also speak profanity, slang, and bad English.

“Like “E.T.” in reverse, this pleasantly mediocre CG animation tale lands an astronaut on a distant planet.” Village Voice Brian Miller

If you can review and summarize a movie in one sentence, does that mean its shallow?

“Largely, it’s a jellybean of a movie: bright, colorful, sugary, and with no real content.” Tasha Robinson AV Club

So, it’s a lightweight mediocre jellybean.  Sounds like fine family entertainment.

“Do anal probe gags sound like fine family entertainment? How about multiple scenes depicting ugly gay panic? Not to worry; a penis joke referring to a male member as an ‘antenna’ is right around the corner.” Dustin Putman DustinPutman.com

You know, that doesn’t sound like good family fare, but butt-jokes are the core of too many family movies.  They’ve got to appeal to someone, right?

“A poorly conceived comedy spotlighting a collection of anal-centric humor that’s about as appealing as baseball bat to the face.” Brian Orndorf Sci-Fi Movie Page

I hope the fumble-fingered batter signed that guy's jaw cast

PDJ stared at that bat-to-face picture for about 5 minutes straight


2 Responses

  1. So it’s the “Bad Lieutenant” if you want to be whelmed this weekend?

  2. “The Blind Side” is based off a book by Michael Lewis of the same name, and from my reading of the book the message is not that “whiteys are virtuous saviors” but rather the key role that ‘nuture’ plays in the breadth a person’s life opportunities and how quickly a kid can change if their living environment changes (or: that no amount of genetic good fortune can be counted on to compensate for a terrible home life). There’s also a lot of material about why a kid with the talent to play left tackle has so much more value in the modern NFL than they would have had previous to the 1980s.

    Besides, if early reviews are to be believed, this movie is what we say we want out of a flick based on a true story: that the movie stick to the facts of that story.

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