Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Theatrical releases never looked so shabby

A movie I never heard of when it was released in the U.S. on July 29th was Equity, directed by a woman I'd never heard of named Meera Menon.

Not having heard of the movie or its director was far less of a consideration in my shock over its theatrical release than the poster you see here.

Simply put, how could this be anything other than a straight-to-streaming reject?

When I saw the poster up on the wall at Cinema Nova in the upcoming releases area, I was sure a mistake had been made. Somehow, a movie from a 1998 Blockbuster new release shelf had jumped in a time machine and arrived in 2016, where it surreptitiously tried to pass itself off as something new.

How else to explain the terrible font? How else to explain the monochromatic green color that makes everyone look vaguely seasick? How else to explain a cast where the leads were B-list even at their peak? (Sorry, Anna Gunn -- your contributions to Breaking Bad were invaluable, but they did not make you a star.)

And yet this is a real movie that really got released. In fact, it's a real movie that people really liked it. Its 81 on Rotten Tomatoes and 68 on Metacritic speak for themselves.

So I guess I must conclude instead that it is the worst job of advertising ever.

The poster seems to be trying to ride the 17-year-old coattails of The Matrix, yet it is also a movie about Wall Street, which that incredibly lame and un-clever tagline at the top tells us. (ON WALL STREET, ALL PLAYERS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL)

And then the faces of the actors are blown out in these unnatural tones, making it somehow all the worse that you only recognize one of them. James Purefoy (heard of him, sort of) seems to be the lucky one in that he has almost crept completely off the side.

Anna Gunn fares particularly poorly here. God bless them for allowing a not-very-famous 48-year-old woman to be the star of their movie, but the makeup department didn't do her any favors. At least the other women look a bit gussied up. (And if this comment sounds a bit Trumpian, I am only expressing surprise in the sense that posters usually tend to glamourize their stars, even if it's not suited to the movie. This movie has failed to do that, utterly.)

Well, things start to make a bit more sense in terms of the strange phenomenon that is this film when I look at its box office haul. It made only $1.5 million in the U.S., a truly paltry sum. So yes, it's not like the world has just gone crazy and now this is considered a useful advertising strategy in getting people to go to a movie.

However, I should note that the film has been open at Cinema Nova since September 29th, which means it has survived not only one new release Thursday but two. I suspect it'll disappear this week, but three weeks is not terrible.

Means at least a couple Austrlians must have been intrigued by the idea of a nauseated Skyler White about to lose her lunch over the side of a boat.

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