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Team Karate Bone

Hollywood has launched a sequel assault on American audiences.  After advancing the franchise forces (Sex in the City 2, Shrek 4, Iron Man 2), Hollywood is employing a remake maneuver with a double shot of 80’s pop culture nostalgia.  First up, the modernization of super-violent, but not-super-bloody, mercenaries for hire: A-Team (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

I remember an episode of the show where the team MacGuyver’ed a pair of swivel-mounted AK-47’s behind the front grill of their van.  During a battle with baddies, the grill drops and two machine guns open fire.  Miraculously, no one gets hit.  It was as if everyone in the show was doused in bullet-repellent.  In making the film, the creators had to strike a balance between fans of the violent, but wholesome, ridiculousness of the original while adding the explosions of blood and fire that are expected in modern action films. One notable fan already has a bad attitude.

“People die in the film and there’s plenty of sex but when we did it, no one got hurt and it was all played for fun and family entertainment. These seem to be elements nobody is interested in anymore.  It was too graphic for me. I’ve no doubt it will do big business at the box office but it’s nothing like the show we turned out every week.” Mr. T

Should I pity the fools who made the movie?

“Carnahan’s movie doesn’t take itself seriously at all, which adds to the lightweight charm of what is essentially Charlie’s Angels with balls.” Andrew Hedley Flicks.co.nz

I wonder if anyone called Charlie’s Angels “The A-Team with boobs.”

“The pyrotechnics should please the guys in the audience looking for mindless summer fun. And for the women… Cooper has his shirt off early and often. And he’s clearly been to the gym.” Christy Lemire Associated Press

Heads up for oglers of sweaty man candy.

“It’s temping to say that you’re better off not thinking about the plot and how tenuously it all holds together. The truth is, you’re better off not thinking at all.” Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic

Got it. Put your mind in neutral, turn off the ignition, and zzzzzzzzzz.

“The A-Team is a truly awful film, both script-wise and visually — but if you go in knowing this, the experience is almost fun.” Beth Wilson Trespass

A crafty marketer could condense that review to “awfully fun.”

“Disposable yet superficially satisfying, just like the ’80s.” Matt Pais Metromix.com

80's nostalgia makes this awesome

And as long as we’re taking a dip into the era of Bananarama summer cruelty, let’s crane kick some bullies with The Karate Kid (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“There is the impression, deadly to the sense of fun, that the talent here actually thought they were remaking a classic.” Village Voice Nick Pinkerton

Sweep the leg Johnny.  Catching a fly with chopsticks.  Wax on, wax off.  The cultural impact makes it a classic, not just the film’s quality.

“Given the dreck we’ve seen this summer, it’s nice to be reminded of the virtues of clean storytelling and cultural curiosity.” Time Out New York Joshua Rothkopf

I'm culturally curious to see more Chinese illusions

“The kids in the movie, from musicians to marital artists, are unusually skillful, and Smith seems assured of more starring roles. By the end of The Karate Kid, we can’t help cheering, even when we know we’ve been sucker-punched.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams

Why is the film bullying the audience with sucker punches?  Do we need to whip up a training montage?

“…the movie fails to recognize that our understanding of bullying has significantly changed since 1984.” Josh Larsen LarsenOnFilm

Isn’t that why the movie takes place in China, where advancements in bullying are decades behind the U.S.?  Modern American bullying happens on Facebook.

“Jaden Smith is destined to be a star by the force of will (and wallets) of parents Will and Jada Smith, both producers on The Karate Kid. But he’s also got the raw material.” Boxoffice Magazine Amy Nicholson

Jaden Smith's raw genetic material

“There are worse things than marveling at beautiful cinematography and excellent fight choreography, and witnessing the acting rebirth of Jackie Chan.” Katey Rich CinemaBlend.com

Worse things include: Small pox, crotch rot, and Hillbilly crime noir, but only the last thing appears in Winter’s Bone (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“Gothic in tone, and unapologetically downbeat, “Winter’s Bone” is a film that turns over a rock of backwoods American reality and studies the beautiful and ugly things that crawl there with equal interest. It’s the strongest drama of the year, so far.” Cole Smithey ColeSmithey.com

I’m not sure the “strongest drama of the year” point is supported by the “it’s like turning over a rock and looking at bugs” analogy.

“Noir may be the MSG of genres — a little pinch makes almost any film tastier — but does it work for Ozark gothic drama? Yes.” Shaula Clark Boston Phoenix

Possible logo for the Cooking with Noir Channel

“Winter’s Bone so far past any notion of formula or precedent that comparison is a futile exercise. This film is a thing all its own.” Boxoffice Magazine Ray Greene

Okay, but if you had to compare it to another film…

“The temptation to call Debra Granik’s latest film, Frozen River Jr., will be great. But the longer the buzz builds for it and for Jennifer Lawrence’s star-making performance, it will become abundantly clear that this is the Senior of the two films.” Erik Childress eFilmCritic.com

Frozen River Jr.  Winter’s Bone Sr.  The parody could be Arctic Nutsack the III.  Let’s end with a metaphor.

“Winter’s Bone sometimes feels like a haunted house, where only extreme deference to scary people will save you.” Joshua Rothkopf Time Out New York

Alternate title: Conversations With Myself

King Sheep can think of one scary person who deserves a kick in the arctic nutsack.

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3 Responses

  1. “The cultural impact makes it a classic, not just the film’s quality.”

    “The parody could be Arctic Nutsack the III.”

    Two killer lines there, sir.

  2. I’ll nominate “Jaden Smith’s raw genetic material” for lulz-of-the-week.

  3. I wouldn’t mind seeing Karate Kid. But I won’t spend 10 bucks to do it.

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