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The Train Fairy Created The Tooth Legion

The January cinematic slump continues with a series of lame offerings that have lined up to beg for your money.  Hollywood’s panhandlers include American myths, Charles Darwin, recent media troublemakers, some guy who looks like Han Solo, and the armies of Heaven.  Perhaps if all these figures appeared in the same movie we’d have something worth watching.  But alas, we have things like The Tooth Fairy (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“The poster’s the funniest thing about the project: Johnson, sporting a pair of fairy wings larger than his forearms, glaring at the camera.” Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

Am I supposed to be laughing at his glaring or something else?

“Another excruciating film about an unlikable hero who is somehow considered a badass despite making jokes like, ‘You can’t handle the tooth.'”  Matt Pais Metromix.com

In addition to the poster being the most memorable thing about the movie, it spoils one of its best dental jokes?  My interest is fading…

“Focus. Tooth Fairy isn’t as bad as you may have feared. It’s not all that good, either, but at least it’s possible to sit through it and hold down your popcorn.” Arizona Republic Bill Goodykoontz

You made me focus so you could tell me this movie won’t make me barf.  Gee, thanks.

“One can only hope it doesn’t serve as a precedent for, let’s say, John Cena following up ‘The Marine’ with a fantasy in which he plays the Easter Bunny”  Frank Swietek One Guy’s Opinion

How about the Rock’s Fairy and Cena’s Bunny versus Hulk Hogan as Cupid and Stone Cold Steve Austin as Punxsutawney Phil.  Bets?

Is that a bandanna or a content label?

“Like oral surgery without laughing gas, the latest family film to star former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is an annoying pain we could all do without.”  Ben McEachen Sunday Mail (Australia)

Speaking of annoying pains and painful surgery, our next film, Extraordinary Measures (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic) pits desperate dad (Brandon Fraser) and dynamic doctor (Harrison Ford) against corporate cocks who won’t share their new wonder-drug.  Sounds pretty straight forward.

“Director Tom Vaughan seems to have put more thought into that five-second title card, “inspired by a true story,” than he put into the rest of the movie.”  Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid

The title probably took some time.  They could have called it Unorthodox Efforts or Aberrant Deeds.  There must be a reason it’s not called Screwy Stratagems.  Perhaps there were fierce debates over calling it Peculiar Maneuvers.  I guess we’ll never know.

“Everything about this excruciatingly dull, talky film screams made-for-network-TV: The I’m-only-here-for-a-paycheck performances by famous actors; the Crate and Barrel catalog mise-en-scene; the syrupy, heartwarming score that lays the pathos on so thickly you gag on it.” Miami Herald Rene Rodriguez

How exactly does someone choke on emotion?

He's choking! Someone perform Heimlich's Peculiar Maneuver!

“It’s unsurprising that the first movie released by the new film production outfit CBS Films is something that looks and tastes an awful lot like a TV movie of the week.” Marjorie Baumgarten Austin Chronicle

Never mind, now I want to know what a TV movie of the week tastes like.

“As tailored-for-television as a movie can get without containing actual commercial breaks.” Sean O’Connell Filmcritic.com

Perhaps the film could have used them, it might have stopped critics from wanting to euthanize this movie.  But don’t the big name actors automatically raise the quality level?

“The overall feel is one of a generic, feel-good drama, albeit one with Harrison Ford stomping around most of the time as if someone kicked him in the shins. One suspects that this is a story that deserved better.” Arizona Republic Bill Goodykoontz

“Fraser, who’s in way over his head skill-wise, sabotages the movie every time he’s on screen. Which is almost every scene.” Matt Pais Metromix.com

Okay, suddenly things just got a lot more interesting.  Someone kicked Indiana Jones in the shins and Brandon Fraser is committing cinematic sabotage to further some unknown political agenda.  Why doesn’t Hollywood make a movie out of that?  Oh well, I guess zombie hordes and warring angels will have to do: Legion (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).
This is one of those movies that critics weren’t allowed to see before it was released, which is rarely a good sign.  However, since this movie deals with a potential antichrist, perhaps there was some subtle sign-commentary going on.  Maybe?

“The finished product is shockingly bad … an exercise in futility. Spare yourself the agony.” Uncle Creepy Dread Central

I’m shocked that it’s that bad.  Who’s to blame?

“Whoever is responsible for the final cut must get the brunt of the blame. Sadly, a far better, more cohesive picture probably exists somewhere on the cutting room floor.” Dustin Putman DustinPutman.com

Interesting.  It’s not often that you hear the editor blamed for a movie’s failure.  I’m already preparing myself for the director’s cut/unrated release that promises footage that was “too intense for theaters.”

“It’s a labored, darkly photographed, cringingly acted hodgepodge of fanciful geek-bait genre ideas and hideous connect-the-dots scripting. Who knew the end of the world could be such a screaming bore.” Brian Orndorf Sci-Fi Movie Page

Additional boring hodgepodge = too intense for theaters.

“When all is said and done, Legion is all talk and no “do”, a prude film with some seriously wasted potential. It’s boring, slow-paced and takes itself way too goddamn seriously.” Brad Miska Bloody Disgusting

Given that this movie is about Heaven declaring war on humanity, are you joking or jeering when you use ‘goddamn’ in your review?

Or both?

“Beneath its superficial religious facade, Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick. A Biblical ‘I Am Legend’.” Thomas Leupp Hollywood.com

To prove that Legion is a supernatural force on this earth, I will now conjure a miracle.  I summon, another Paul Bellamy movie that comes out on the same day (insert thunder and lightning special effects here)!  Behold my Creation (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic)!

“In fact, given its subject matter, Creation should arguably be bolder and more shocking if it wants to survive among the fittest at the multiplex. Audiences with so many flashier pictures available may not regard a straightforward period biopic as a natural selection.” NPR Bob Mondello

Okay, we’ve got ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘natural selection’ referenced.  Did we miss any other Darwinisms?

“What begins as a multilayered tale of scientific discovery and cultural history gets reduced to a single maudlin idea: that even Charles Darwin had to evolve.” Noel Murray AV Club

Look into the origin of my species.

“If some of our home-grown Bible thumpers had been exposed to dramas like Creation at a tender age, we might have been spared a lot of bother.” Kelly Vance East Bay Express

Yeah, instead they’re exposed to movies like Legion.

“Bettany conveys with poetic intensity and an excruciating anxiety, a man torn by a terrible discovered truth he can hardly bear to acknowledge as he faces public scorn and resentment at home, a kind of second coming of Adam booted out of the Garden.” Prairie Miller NewsBlaze

He’s an uzi-packing angel!  He’s the first man on earth (rebooted)!  Paul Bettany is Captain Bibleman!

Here is another sign of things to come

“After seeing the movie, a sense of insufficiency remains; we feel the need to read additional accounts to truly learn about the man who left such a huge imprint on science.” Claudia Puig USA Today

A movie about history’s favorite researcher makes me want to do research.  FAIL or WIN?

“Jon Amiel’s portrait of Darwin’s efforts to accept and acclimate to a new reality is mucked up by all manner of directorial flim-flam.”  Nick Schager Slant Magazine

“There are good performances and fleeting moments of exquisite moviemaking, but the experience as a whole is an evolutionary dead end. A dodo this is not, but rather a curiosity — an aye-aye of a film, or a narwhal.” Ty Burr Boston Globe

New reality narwhals, exquisite acclimating, and aye-aye flim-flams?  In addition to the researching, this movie made people want to flex their Thesaurus’ muscles.  Perhaps I conjured an inferior miracle.  Oh well, our miracle-needs have expired because our last movie is based on actual events: The Girl On The Train (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

Since this is the best reviewed movie of the weekend, let’s get started with a summary.

“Master filmmaker Andre Techine (“Les Egares,” 2002) presents a deceptively minimalist story of a French girl’s false allegations regarding an anti-Semitic attack during a train commute that shook France during the summer of 2004.” Cole Smithey ColeSmithey.com

Wow, recent history is being explored for modern film.  I feel the same trepidation I felt when W came out with Bush still in office.  Does the film provide some much-needed perspective on the events?

“Given several years’ distance from the media blitz, Téchiné brings clarity, maturity, and perspective to the case while still subtly addressing all the thorny social issues the affair touched off.” The Onion (A.V. Club) Scott Tobias

Glad to hear it.  What other reasons do readers have to track down this foreign gem?

“…exuberant but unfocused drama about a recent French news story that caused a sensation before being exposed as bogus. Jewish-themed elements may also help fill seats.” Doris Toumarkine Film Journal International

If that seat-filling conclusion were true for all of this week’s films then Christians will be watching Legion, scientists will watch Creation, kids who believe in a Tooth Fairy will watch a movie about one, and anyone who’s ever taken on a massive pharmaceutical company will be watching Extraordinary Measures.  Maybe it’s better if the audiences are made up of more than the already-converted.

“For better or worse, there isn’t a human experience that French director André Téchiné can resist lathering into a tone poem.” Village Voice Ella Taylor

My commentary instinct tells me I should try to compose a tone poem here, but first: what’s a tone poem?  Nevermind, we don’t have time for that.  Our weekend’s beckon.  Final thoughts?

“The movie is held together…by the fluidity of his style and his characteristic blend of lightness and gravity.” Bernard Besserglik Hollywood Reporter

PDJ is only as light as gravity allows.


4 Responses

  1. Sometimes the tooth hurts, my friend.

  2. Love the caption to the Captain Kirk photo. Bravo!

  3. Extreme Acts! Wait – that sounds like a porn title.

  4. Looks to me like Paul Bettany is either making a bee-line for the coveted “Busiest Actor in Hollywood” Award, or he’s trying to get all of his contract pictures out of the way before Valentine’s Day.

    And I have no idea how you dig up gems like that Star Trek picture, but you have a talent for making them fit with whatever you’re writing about.

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