Saturday, February 12, 2011

Four wide releases, four snarky comments

As you are surely aware, I reserve Fridays for posts about new releases. After some friendly debates on the subject with other film bloggers, I am now more cautious than I used to be about indicting a movie that hasn't come out yet. But I still love talking about new releases on Fridays, even if what I usually have to say falls more along the lines of a silly joke than some kind of penetrating, in-depth analysis. I think it's important that a blog have a certain up-to-the-minute quality, mixed in with the bread and butter of discussing older films.

Some Fridays, I force it -- I write about a new movie even though I don't have a particularly compelling "take" on it. Then there are the Fridays -- like this Friday -- when every single new release inspires me to write an entire post.

So instead of doing that, I'm going to combine four posts into one, with a short section devoted to each of this week's new movies. And as usual, I hope it will make you laugh. At least, when I'm intending to make you laugh.

The title or the egg?

So, which came first with Gnomeo & Juliet -- the title, or the story?

I'm going with the former.

Your options are these:

1) Someone decided to make a movie about garden gnomes in which some of the garden gnomes fall in love, and then happened upon the title Gnomeo & Juliet.

2) Someone realized that "gnome" rhymes with "rome," and that, by extension, "gnomeo" rhymes with "romeo." Someone get me a script!

I think it's the latter.

Wait, which one is supposed to be the hot one?

Although the advertising focus for Just Go With It has shifted almost entirely to Brooklyn Decker emerging from the ocean, Bo Derek-style, with her jiggling boobs barely contained by her skimpy yellow bikini, I first became aware of the movie from a billboard next to the 405 Freeway.

In this billboard, the same poster you see here, Decker is very small -- she really could just be a random "anybabe," not necessarily part of the plot as a distinct character. So I wasn't struck by the hotness of Decker -- I was struck by the hotness of Jennifer Aniston, now basically an afterthought in the ad campaign.

Anyone with me on this? Have you ever seen Aniston looking quite as beautiful and/or sexy as she looks in this picture?

I'm not interested in getting all pervy here, but there's something about that outfit that just makes Aniston look dynamite. Not only does it accentuate her breasts very nicely -- and make me wonder if the poster was touched up -- but it also provides an excellent showcase for her long, slender legs. Pretty sure those are all Aniston's.

Okay, end pervy portion.

One thing I think is very funny about Just Go With It is how they have basically dropped trying to sell it as a romantic comedy, which is what its Valentine's weekend release date indicates it should be, and Aniston's presence indicates it should be. In fact, they are going almost exclusively for Adam Sandler's fans, as the main line in the campaign has become "Just tell your girlfriend it's a romantic comedy." Did they stop to consider that "your girlfriend" would also be receiving this message?

While it's possible this is the right decision, I am guessing that the driving force for couples going to the movie theater on Valentine's Day weekend is the woman, not the man. So we'll see if this totally backfires. Then again, maybe I'm wrong about that -- maybe going to the movies is a compromise engineered by the guy, when the woman would rather do something more romantic, like dinner.

21st century boy

The Eagle is set in 135 A.D. Unfortunately, its star, Channing Tatum, is set in 2011.

Is it just me, or is Channing Tatum a complete byproduct of the 21st century, unable to play a character in any movie set prior to 1999?

In a brief six-year film career in which he has become pretty prominent, Tatum has played almost exclusively modern male archetypes -- the streetwise brooder/fighter (Fighting), the hip hop dancer (Step Up), the urban athlete (Coach Carter), the extreme sports athlete (Supercross: The Movie), or the modern soldier, either "real" (Dear John/Stop-Loss) or fantastical (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra). There are few actors who owe their essential "look" to Eminem more than Tatum does. In fact, I would not be surprised if he had a role as a white rapper somewhere on the horizon.

So we're supposed to believe him as some kind of Scottish warrior who lived only a hundred years after the death of Christ?

I'm just not seeing it. It's kind of the same reason they don't cast Mark Wahlberg as a viking.

I mean, I might be wrong. Tatum also appeared in Public Enemies, which I did not see, where he must have been either a 1930s gangster or a 1930s lawman. However, most people say not-great things about that movie, so maybe him not pulling it off was one of the not-great things.

But Tatum is definitely a star, so we should expect him to be expanding his roles beyond those of square-jawed 21st century troublemakers and rabble rousers. I can't wait to see him get that street-slanged mouth around some Shakespearean sonnets.

Hardly a credible source

There are a million ways to make fun of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. I will choose two.

1) On a digital billboard for this movie that I see on my way home for work, there are a couple praising quotations that appear one after another on the screen. The one that really makes me laugh is the one that says "... an inspiring story ..." It's not because I'd like to see what's on either side of the ellipses, but because of who this quotation is attributed to:

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but when you're pimping a movie, aren't you trying to find the least likely organization to support it, as a sign of just how damn good it is, rather than a source that you would imagine to be in the movie's pocket from the start? Wouldn't you rather find an approving quotation from The Wall Street Journal, than from ""? Or at the very least, a source with some kind of legitimate media credibility, rather than what appears to be a site for fangirls?

I just went to, and it appears to be a site devoted to women and their wants/needs. That much I could have guessed from the name. If I needed further confirmation of its essential frivolousness, every graphic on the site is some shade of pink.

If they wanted to drive the Justin Bieber movie even further into the marginalized ghetto of shrieking 12-year-old girls, congratulations, mission accomplished.

Then again, there's also a certain savviness to knowing your audience.

2) The title. What is Never Say Never supposed to mean?

I think it's funny that the main narrative behind Justin Bieber is supposed to be that he "beat the odds" to become famous, that people told him "all his life" that he "couldn't make it," or something like that. "All his life?" What are we really talking here? The kid is 16, and hasn't he been famous since he was about 12? So when he was 8, someone told him he would never make it?

Wow, what a story of persistence. Brings a tear to my eye.

Never Say Never would make a lot more sense as the title for a movie about an older person, who beat legitimate odds to finally make a name for themselves. Like, Susan Boyle: Never Say Never.

So ... which one am I most likely to see, in the theater or otherwise?

I'm gonna go with Gnomeo & Juliet. I know, I know. But I have to say, I kind of like the animation. It seems different enough to be original, without sacrificing quality.

However, I don't think it will be in the theater. I think it will be "otherwise."


Daddy Geek Boy said...

I doubt there is a person alive who hasn't made up their mind about the Bieber movie before it's even come out. You're either going to see it or not. I don't think a quote from anyone, regardless of where it comes from, is going to change that.

So that said...Vance, see you there tonight?

Vancetastic said...

Actually, I've heard there's this one 57-year-old man in Ghana who is taking a wait-and-see approach.

(And yes, see you there. Want me to buy you a ticket? Or should we wait until we get to the theater, to avoid the additional service fee?)