Saturday, January 12, 2013
Which Ruben Fleischer will show up?
Ruben Fleischer's first two features as a director have been one of the freshest comedies of the last five years, and one of the most rancid.
I am referring, respectively, to Zombieland, my #14 movie of 2009, and 30 Minutes or Less, my #121 movie of 2011. And to refresh your memory, I ranked only 121 movies in 2011, making 30 Minutes the 2011 movie I hated the most.
Today, the director switches genres though stays in a violent milieu with Gangster Squad, a period mob movie that is sure to have a couple moments of comedy as well as generous helpings of the visual style he introduced in Zombieland and then utilized in exactly one scene in 30 Minutes.
Consequently, I have no idea what to expect from this movie.
You could say the fact that it was delayed from a September release, and is now coming out on the second release date in January, means that I should be very pessimistic. However, you wouldn't be looking at the whole picture. The primary reason the movie was delayed was the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, which necessitated cutting a scene out of the film where hoods shoot up a movie theater full of people. Unlike last year's shooting-impacted movie The Watch, this shooting necessitated more than just a title change.
But the tone is something that's not likely to change -- something that's impossible to change, in fact. And this would have been the tone Fleischer brought in with him on the first day of shooting.
With Zombieland, it was light-hearted despite being definitely edgy enough to walk various fine lines and walk them well. Yes, almost the whole world had died in a zombie apocalypse, but Fleischer wasn't mean about that fact.
In 30 Minutes or Less, meanness was the primary takeaway. Each character is more repugnant than the next, and those who aren't actively repugnant are at least very insensitive. This movie was a singular displeasure to sit through.
So, Ruben ... which is it? Which will we see today?
Well, not today, not for me anyway. Unless I hear it's as bad as 30 Minutes, I do intend to make this the first 2013 film I see in the theater. But not for a couple weeks. I need to lick my wounds after a particularly intense push to finish my 2012 rankings, which occurred yesterday.
There is one thing I wanted to mention today, which is completely silly, but if it weren't silly it would be a bad omen.
Look at the picture of Josh Brolin in the poster above. Now, look at the picture of Nick Nolte below:
Twins? Well, close enough anyway, despite Nolte's thicker neck. Close enough to have made me draw the comparison, anyway.
And though it's ridiculous to extrapolate the quality of a movie based on the similar appearances of actors in the posters -- so ridiculous that to even point out that it's ridiculous is ridiculous -- Gangster Squad better not be anything like Mulholland Falls, or it really will be terrible.