Category Archives: Coming Soon

Weekend Outlook – Pirates of the Baywatch: Guardians of the Covenant

Happy Memorial Day weekend everybody! So after you get done with your barbecue (which is really just burgers and hotdogs, or maybe brats if you’re fancy), then what are you going to do?

Maybe you’ll go shopping. I hear there are some good deals meant to lure you away from the simplicity of always paying less for things by shopping online. Perhaps you are thinking about visiting a theme park, but that’s expensive and you run the risk of dehydration. I guess you could watch any of the mediocre sporting events which will be on all weekend, you’ve got the Indy 500, the NBA conference finals, a whole bunch of baseball, or the carbonated poison water 600. But those all sound long, boring, and better watched in short clips on YouTube as a last resort of entertainment.

Why not hang out at the multiplex and catch up on those early Summer blockbusters that you have missed because you have been so busy catching up on your assignments from procrastination class or cramming for that test that you no longer remember because of sleep deprivation? It has been a relatively slow start to the summer movie season, but this long weekend should be the perfect time to catch that movie that has been calling you. We’ve got 3 sequels and an R-rated comedy TV adaptation to examine so buckle up!

If you haven’t already seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, you might be a Mennonite (Note to self: find Mennonite comedian and pitch the idea of stealing Jeff Foxworthy’s signature bit). It has only been out since Cinco de Mayo and it has already made close to 3 quarters of a billion dollars worldwide! Guardians is a ton of fun and it is fairly kid friendly, so as long as your kid can dress themselves and no longer needs a high chair, they should be up for this adventure.

The premise is simple. We rejoin our lovable gang of space anti-heroes a little while after the first film ends (If you haven’t first Guardians of the Galaxy, then you should probably buy it on iTunes and catch up with the rest of civilization). Star Lord has daddy issues that he needs to work out and they do it in hilarious fashion. This is has more laughs per minute than the first film with more of the same character driven drama and amazing 80’s soundtrack. (I’m serious about the soundtrack! I literally just Googled “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass. It will be stuck in your head for the rest of the week, just be prepared.) I’ll be honest, if you haven’t seen this one, and maybe even if you have, it is your best bet. The rest are likely going to be hit or miss.

I just saw Alien: Covenant last night and it was very good, but it kind of felt like it was struggling with what kind of movie it wanted to be. But what should we expect from the 3rd film from Ridley Scott in this franchise which he helped reboot back in 2012 with the prequel Prometheus. Covenant rides the line between the heady philosophical ramblings of Prometheus and the crap your pants scariness of Alien.

If Guardians was safe for kids that can ride a roller coaster then this one is only safe if you can drive a car (manual transmissions only, none of that wussy automatic garbage). I’m serious, there is blood everywhere in this, aliens bursting out of all kinds of cavities and orifices, not to mention the synthetic on synthetic porn that almost happens. I could hear the Fassboners rising in the theater. If you’re a fan of Ridley Scott and the franchise you won’t be disappointed, but it’s not his best work. I’m seriously hoping that Blade Runner 2049 is better.

I’ll be quite honest, the only thing that get’s me excited about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Longest movie name since Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood) is the inclusion of Javier Bardem as the baddie. If you’ve seen Skyfall or No Country for Old Men you know that he can be extremely creepy and intimidating, and that’s before he’s been all zombified. Even though it looks creepy, this is Disney we are talking about and I’m sure if your emo kids are into pirates then they would be okay going to this one too.

I know that this is a total cash grab on Disney’s part. They want to revive the franchise that has brought in $3.7 billion since 2003. I get it, but even Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley were smart enough to get out after three films and here Johnny Depp is riding into his fifth. He is simply the worst pirate that I’ve ever heard of, but I have heard of him so I’ll be checking this one out on Saturday, so stay tuned for my thoughts.

Finally, we have the R-rated 90’s TV adaptation that literally no one has ever been clamoring for. Baywatch hits theaters this weekend and I can only hope that they at least got Hasselhoff for a cameo, I mean he’s in Guardians so it’s not like he wasn’t available for filming. If they missed out on the Hoff, at least they have the ghost of Pam Anderson’s boobs, a.k.a. Alexandra Daddario. It looks like they are trying to go down the comedy parody road with this one and that would be great. But they have had me worried in a couple of trailers that they might try and take this straight, and if it takes itself too seriously it will be garbage.

The critical consensus is already that it is garbage (18% on Rotten Tomatoes), but I’m hoping that this could at least be as good as Central Intelligence. I’ve never been much of a fan of Zac Ephron, but I’m willing to give him a shot. This one is for adults only, the red band trailers have been bad enough that I had to watch them after my kids went to bed. I’ll be seeing this one next Wednesday so you’ll have to wait a little bit longer for my full review.

The most important thing is for you to enjoy this weekend and remember those brave men and women who died so we can eat lots of expensive buttery popcorn and be entertained by the beautiful monkeys we pay to entertain us. Have a great weekend!

 

 

Entering Academy Awards Season

The Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Screen Actors Guild, the list of film awards goes on and on. Traditionally, once we enter September, Summer movie season is over and we begin the march toward the years’ end which acts as a deadline for Oscar consideration. Those lines have blurred over the past 20 years or so through several factors. There has been a widening gap between popular films and critically acclaimed films. If you look at the Best Picture Oscar Winners from the 1970s and 80s (The Godfather, Rain Man, and Rocky) many of them were the most popular movies of the year. I don’t know if we can trace it back to a particular film, but many have linked the beginning of this divide to Jaws in 1975.

Wherever the crack started, it has grown into a grand canyon. In 2015, Spotlight won the Best Picture Oscar, but it earned just over $45 million. That may sound like a lot, but it was the second lowest grossing Best Picture Winner in 38 years just behind Birdman in 2014 which made just over $42 million. Spotlight made over 20 times less than the top grossing film of the year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which hauled in a cool $936 million domestically. In fact, The Force Awakens made over 5 times as much as Spotlight in its opening weekend.

Obviously, these two films are very different. For instance, The Force Awakens had a $245 million budget and it was continuing an epic saga that millions of fans have adored for decades. I’m not out to condemn the blockbusters. I love them. I don’t even particularly mind that the top grossing films of this fall/winter season will probably be big budget blockbusters like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Marvel’s Dr. Strange, or the one that my kids are clamoring for, the animated, Sing! We live in a different time than the late 60s when The Jungle Book was the 2nd highest grossing film with $73 million behind The Graduate with just over $100 million. Those years were not better than today, just different.

Perhaps the likes of the People Choice or MTV Movie awards could fill the gap and give some recognition to the films which have captivated the popular opinion. However, I don’t believe that those films need any awards. Most of them have traded their hopes for critical success for big bags full of money. Who knows, maybe there is a film just on the horizon that will be able to complete the trifecta: Entertain fickle audiences, delight cynical critics, and pad the pockets of greedy producers.

But, since the mountains have gotten higher and the valleys lower, it makes it more difficult to notice some of the films that are garnering Oscar attention. Some of the films are counting on that Oscar consideration to help them at the box-office as they will stretch their theatrical run through February in hopes of getting a bump. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to post a handful of guides to this season. I want to give you a roadmap so you can set your calendar and look out for some of the exciting releases that are coming soon. Are there any that stand out in your mind that you are particularly excited about? Let me know in the comments below.