The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was just plain dumb

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice opens with a prologue set in 740 AD (director John Turteltaub missed a moment by not opening in 747 AD). We see Merlin’s apprentices Balthazar and Veronica rushing to save the old wizard from his arch-nemesis Morgana le Fay (man, there is a mythical woman whom literature and history have wronged greatly) and the betrayal of Merlin’s third apprentice, Horvath (played by Alfred Molina, who is, as per usual, better than the movie he’s in). Veronica sucks out Morgana’s soul but Morgana kills Veronica from the inside. Balthazar shoves them both inside a magic doll. Merlin dies, giving Balthazar final instructions, and Horvath has scampered off somewhere unscathed. This all happened in about three minutes and I watched in slack-jawed amazement. Not because it was cool, but because it was incredibly stupid. Nicolas Cage’s (Balthazar) ridiculous wig, the pedestrian concepts for Merlin and Morgana (bearded, wizened old man and snakey woman), the Renaissance Faire costumes and sets. It was so dumb. It played like a trailer for a Magic: The Gathering movie. I cross my heart, I sat there in the opening three minutes of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and thought: This is probably what a movie for Magic: The Gathering would look like. And then, halfway through the movie, one of the characters is portrayed on a poster advertising Magic: The Gathering. I laughed so hard I almost cried.Continue reading “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was just plain dumb”

Eclipse wasn’t totally awful

Which isn’t to say it was completely great, either. Like pretty much everything this summer, it falls somewhere between trash and treasure. Yet another merely mediocre movie. I’ll admit to being disappointed. I had Hopes for Eclipse. Hiring David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) to direct the third installment of the ubiquitous Twilight Saga struck me as a good decision. A promising one even, given Slade’s indie-horror roots meant he could probably get the most bang from Summit Entertainment’s notoriously cheap bucks. So I thought, If anyone can turn this franchise around, it’s gotta be David Slade. By all reports, Slade did, in fact, deliver a wildly different Twilight movie earlier this year. So different, in fact, that Summit and Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer, or She of Zero Taste, loathed it and demanded Slade re-cut, reshoot, and re-edit his film. Slade’s frequent collaborator and editor Art Jones was sacked and replaced with Twilight editor Nancy Richardson. Then came the reshoots-but-maybe-just-pickups-no-it-was-totally-reshoots just six weeks before theatrical release. That is never a good sign and had my Spidey senses tingling the same way Jonah Hex’s lack of a trailer signaled looming disaster. Except things went much better for Eclipse, because despite the post-production drama, the movie wasn’t a total loss.Continue reading “Eclipse wasn’t totally awful”

Knight & Day Makes No Sense, or, Why Scripts Matter

I close on my first home next week. STRESS. All I want is to move into my new place but there is some work to be done first. Am trying to figure out how to squeeze it all into a couple of Saturdays so I can just move already. I hate moving. It’s so much work and effort, and I hate exerting myself. I always wanted to be Samantha in Bewitched so I could just twitch my nose and have my shit taken care of instantly. With the stress levels through the roof right now, I sought out my favorite form of escapism over the weekend. I went to the movies. Did I see Toy Story 3? No. For the second week in a row I went to see something I knew would be inferior (latent masochistic streak?). I saw Tom Cruise’s career Hail Mary Knight & Day.Continue reading “Knight & Day Makes No Sense, or, Why Scripts Matter”

Bradley who? It’s all about Sharlto.

So The A-Team was pretty much like Prince of Persia: not a great movie but entertaining. I laughed for two hours and everything blew up. Also like Prince of Persia, The A-Team had criminally bad marketing. Based on the advertising, I suspected The A-Team would be a shitty and ridiculous action movie that I would love anyway because it’s just so preposterous, which it was, but who knew it was that funny? Who knew, going off the ads, that The A-Team was a comedy? A real comedy, like they set up jokes and punchlines on purpose, not just achieving unintentional comedy through the badness of their movie? The A-Team was a bromance comedy (bromcom?) with guns and dynamites. Why didn’t they sell it that way?Continue reading “Bradley who? It’s all about Sharlto.”

Somebody please give Jake Gyllenhaal a deserving franchise

I have two separate reviews of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The first is that, as a vehicle for Jake Gyllenhaal it succeeds 100%. I was worried about Gyllenhaal as an action star, not because he can’t act–because he can–but because, despite his good looks, I’ve never seen him as a viable action hero. I should have remembered Jarhead. Gyllenhaal has an amazing physicality and he isn’t modest about stomping around half-nekkid for our entertainment. I was expecting his accent to drive me crazy, but despite what the few spots of dialogue in the trailer show, he actually does a credible job with a lower-class English accent. And the hair wasn’t as bad as I expected either, since most of the time it was either sweat-soaked or flying around his head during an action sequence. It looked a lot less flat-ironed in the movie than it did in still shots from the set. Combine his willingness to go beefcake with his very real acting talent, and Gyllenhaal definitely has what it takes. He can sell cheese and his abilities both latent and physical get him through some pretty bad dialogue. Lesser actors have been hugely successful action stars–I’d like to see the genuinely talented Gyllenhaal succeed in this role rather than, say, the barely-evolved Channing Tatum.Continue reading “Somebody please give Jake Gyllenhaal a deserving franchise”

Was Iron Man 2 too much?

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Iron Man 2. I laughed, I was engaged, I was entertained. I would see it again. I would invest in the DVD. But…was it maybe a little too much? The thing about sequels is that they’re generally everything that was good about the first film plus 1000 (recent exception, The Dark Knight, which stands on its own as a superb film). As much as I liked Iron Man 2, I can’t help but feel like they took the best elements of the film and said, “Give me ten more minutes of that.” Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.Continue reading “Was Iron Man 2 too much?”

I should have just gone to see The Wolfman.

It was a holiday weekend so I did what all good Americans do on a holiday weekend. I went to the movies. Specifically, I went to see Valentine’s Day. (I also saw Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, but more on that later.) I knew going in that Valentine’s Day was not going to be great. It was too clearly a Love Actually knockoff, and knockoffs are by their very definition never as good as the original. So already Valentine’s Day was looking at being second-best.Continue reading “I should have just gone to see The Wolfman.”