The first reboot. No the latest one. Which we'll probably see here before Rhino gets a chance.
I suppose if we have anything for which to thank the Tea Party and Fox News, it's for amplifying the very particular anxieties which made Hollywood think that this was the summer to make some stupidly 'splodey actions movies set in the White House. I was intrigued enough by the posters for Olympus Has Fallen to check out the trailer on YouTube, but not enough to find time in my day to go check it out on the big screen.
There's even less chance I'd part with twelve hard earned dollars to watch the abysmal dog's breakfast of generic derp and cheeze whizz that constitutes White House Down.
I will, however, watch both, at home almost certainly drunk, one night while Jane is away for work in June. Until then I'm wondering how two studios came to the conclusion that dropping a hundred million or so on these turkeys was a good bet. I sort of understand the reasoning behind WHD. They've simply repackaged the best ideas of much better films like Die Hard and Air Force One, with more cgi and less acting.
Olympus, on the other hand, seems to be a movie made especially for middle aged white men feeling the ebb of their power and wishing they could be just a little bit as awesome as they once imagined themselves to be.
But none of this explains why the producers and writers chose the setting and story arcs they did. What is it about American political culture and, presumably it's failures, that has given rise to the anxieties being 'released' by a couple of hours of gunfire in the West Wing? I'm too far removed to really understand it, because I suspect some of it is embedded within America's culture of violence, a culture turned more in on itself than out on the world, inspite what the rest of the world might think. But teasing out the appeal to an US audience isn't enough. With overseas markets even more important to Hollywood than the domestic dollar (how are you enjoying seeing Ironman after the rest of us?) what the fuck line of reasoning led them to this. I'm genuinely fascinated.
It puts me in mind of Steven Soderbergh, the Oscar winning director of thinky stuff like Erin Brockovich, and my favorite action movie, Haywire, who spoke recently of sitting in a plane, in bizoid class, next to some guy, white, middle aged, who pulled out his iPad at the start of the flight.
"I’m curious as to what he’s going to watch... and what he’s done is he’s loaded in half a dozen, sort of, “action extravaganzas” and he’s watching each of the action sequences. He’s skipping over all the dialogue and the narrative. So this guy’s flight is just going to be five and a half hours of mayhem. I had this wave of, not panic, it’s not like my heart started fluttering, but I had this sense of “Am I going insane?” or “Is the world going insane?” or both."
31 Responses to ‘Meme of the moment, 'splodey White House’
Lobes was wr... wro.... wr... less right than usual when he said I, Ron Man 3 wasn't a patch on '2'.
Here is proof.
From the internet.
7 Responses to ‘The completely disappointing I, Ron Man 2’
I recall a drunken conversation with a friend from university, Dave Waddington, who was wetting himself with glee and too much cider, at a terrible late night movie he'd seen late the previous night, many, many moons ago.
It had the words Iron and Man in the title but because of poor scanning, when reduced from wide screen to teev screen, it had rendered as 'Ron Man'.
Dave found this vastly amusing.
I've never been able to find the B- or possibly C-grade flick which amused him so much. It appears nowhere on IMDB. Maybe it was some Italian-Japanese co-pro? It's been bugging me all week after having watched and enjoyed the most recent of the Marvel comix franchise movies on the weekend. (I enjoyed it even more when I heard it hadn't even been released in the US. Oh, how the mighty hegemon has fallen.)
Anyway, it's US release is imminent, and the terrible page view churn of pop cultural analysis is beginning. Esquire has a bit that I won't link to and wont recommend googling or binging up because it sports some terrible spoilers, but it caught my eye cos it investigated the deeper cultural psychology of the third iteration of the Ron Man series.
I am sucker for the deeper cultural psychology of mass market genre product.
Apparently its all about the luddite anxiety.
With the release of Iron Man 3 this Friday, summer movies begin arriving in earnest, which is the time the spiritual state of the American public is revealed. During the rest of the year, even the most mainstream Hollywood movies are made for niches. But summer movies are made for everybody. They have to be, to compete in the race to 350 million domestic. Their broadness makes summer movies incredibly useful as guides to the psychology of the American public. And if this year's crop of blockbusters is anything to go by, the American public is both obsessed with technology and absolutely terrified of it. They want to see supercool machines do incredible things and then blow up and go away.
This I found to be a startling hypothesis, and one which I really didn't take away from my viewing. Esky tied it in to a couple of other titles, but poorly. What is Pacific Rim, for instance, if not the triumph of machine over monster? And Star Trek Into Darkness hasn't even been released yet, so it's a bit of stretch to be citing it in support of your unsupportable thesis when nobody's seen the fucking thing yet.
I don't want to get into the end of I, Ron Man 3 because, you know, spoilers. But I fully epxect him to be there, kicking alien ass in the next of The Avengers installments.
Any US Burgers who haven't... snigger... seen it yet... go wild. And if you get the chance, check out the Chinese release. It has an extra four minutes of footage which make absolutely no fucking sense at all. New characters who have no thing to do with the storlyine but who throw out some great lines like, "Please let China help you, Ron Man."
You won't be disappointed.
19 Responses to ‘I Ron Man’
I did a little of recce of some of the other finalists in the Best Blog Comp, not because I give a fuck, because I totally don't – see, this is me not giving a fuck – but because I'm always on the lookout for new ways to waste time.
I particularly enjoyed wasting my time at Thomas Caldwell's film crit blog, Cinema Autopsy. Unfortunately it's not a blog purely about films about autopsies. But it's still pretty cool. He had a write up of Warm Bodies, which I read, even though I have an iron law; never read the review first. More of why, later.
But his Warm Bodies review I read because having just finished Walking Dead S3, I find myself hungering for a discussion of zombie tropes like Zombie Principal Skinner hungers for the delicious honor student brains of Martin Prince. Caldwell's writing is clear and informed but unburdened by wank. He knows his mass culture.
The problem with zombies is there is only so much that can be done with them before audiences develop zombie-fatigue, no longer content to simply see how many creative ways zombies can be dismembered; Peter Jackson pretty much pushed that as far as possible in Braindead (1992). Instead, filmmakers in recent times have had to find other novel ideas to present zombie narratives. In [Rec] (2007) Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza experimented with film form to present a ‘found footage’ zombie film. Romero did the same, although less successfully, in the same year with Diary of the Dead. In 28 Days Later… (Danny Boyle, 2003) and the television series The Walking Dead (originally developed by Frank Darabont, 2010-ongoing) the zombie presence is secondary to the human drama, their threat serving almost as a McGuffin to allow for an exploration of how humans behave under intense duress.
I dunno that I'd drop the walkers and biters of TWD into the McGuffin box. They're a lot more than that, but the wider point is otherwise reasonable. I didn't so much suffer zombie fatigue by the end of Seaon 3; I still love a good zombie kill, especially as practised by Michone. But the visceral horror the undead first elicited was gone, and now it's all about the tension. Will Andrea get out of the dentists chair in time? Will Hershel be to slow to escape the feed lot in front of the prison?
Caldwell made me want to see Warm Bodies, mostly by referencing Buffy when introducing the film's female lead. But the thing I really, really appreciated about this write up?
It didn't lay out the fucking plot.
I said earlier that I have a rule about reading reviews. I don't. Read 'em that is. Not until I've seen the film for myself. And then more often than not to disagree with the reviewer. Mostly the dumb arse films I love to watch get such poor reviews that I dont want my enjoyment ruined by having to filter the experience through the puckered sphincter of some uptight cinema wankiste.
But mostly I refuse to read reviews because so many of these clowns can't write a review without recounting all the major plot points. Hands up anyone who remembers failing a high school film review assignment for simply recounting the plot?
Havoc, you can keep your hands down. We take your failure as a given.
I have no idea what actually happens in Warm Bodies, beyond the broadest brush strokes of outline, but I do feel like I understand what sort of film I'm likely to see, and that is how it should be.
This all comes from having Unforgiven ruined for me by the rightfully defunct Times on Sunday's film reviewer. I read her review in the days when I still reviews because, you know... Clint! And cowboys!
She gave away the ending of the film in about the third or four paragraph. I dont even want to talk about it on the off chance there's somebody here who has foolishly never seen this movie. If you haven't, leave now. Go away and place this fine piece of cinema into your possession. You are in for a treat.
But my treat was ruined by that review. As great as the story of Unforgiven was, I couldn't enjoy it because I went in knowing what came of the showdown between Eastwood's character and Gene Hackman's hard, brutal lawman. You knew that showdown was coming from moment Hackman walked onto the screen, but Eastwood confirmed it when, in the character of Will Munny he finds out that sheriff Little Bill, like most men, knows him by reputation.
"But that didn't scare Little Bill at all, did it," he says to one of his henchmen. (Or words to that effect.
A perfect set up. Ruined by a hamfisted reviewer.
I have never recovered.
Which is why I appreciated Caldwell's so much.
22 Responses to ‘The Spoiler Convention’
Blarkon gave us a shout out, but not a link to this bad boy yesterday. And if the Space Lizard approves. It must be good.