As a recent classic song so reminded me: after the showers the Sun will be shining. Which means that, after heaving and coughing up whatever concerning the Oscars, it's time once again for Uncle Mikey to provide a little glance at current releases in the hope that when you see these stunning, smoldering films you will transcend your desire to chew. They will electrify you! Something will start in your pelvis and go to your heart where it will become heart slash pelvis . . .
Okay. Just let me catch a bit of my breath here and I'll try to proceed sensibly. Sorry. I'm working here under a bit of an upset. I haven't checked but I just know Michael Bay's out there somewhere making a movie.
Anyway . . .
"Zero Dark Thirty" (directed by Kathryn Bigelow) --- and yeah, I know I forgot to mention this last time in my list of Oscar contenders. Let me offer something of a catch-up: right now. Bigelow's manicurist probably has harsh words for her client, but can anyone blame her? Whether or not this movie can bring home the Best Picture gold depends (as mentioned before) on the twisted meanderings of Hollywood politics, which all boils down to the one important issue: how badly will AMPAS want to yank the rug out from under Spielberg? Enough to give the Oscar to "Zero Dark Thirty" (or "Silver Linings Playbook")? Or will denying Spielberg the Director's Oscar be enough of a slap on the wrist for daring to want to sit at the Big People's Table? Oh, and is anyone enjoying the movie?
"A Haunted House" (directed by Michael Tiddes) --- okay . . . so I will be the first to agree that the entire "recovered documentary footage" subgenre is overly ripe for making fun of. The bad news is that this is one of those films where all the footage worth seeing is in the trailer. And I know Marlon Wayans is talented (what's the story with his Richard Pryor movie?), so why does he always seem to end up in loser projects like this?
"The Baytown Outlaws" (directed by Barry Battles) --- seems to me I just finished talking about a movie where all the good footage was in the trailer. And, whereas "A Haunted House" featured the talents of Marlon Wayans, this one has both Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria in a movie which looks to be little more than wall-to-wall rednecks hotdogging around a Southern town shooting at each other (think of "White Lightning" with more bullets and without Burt Reynolds). Thornton has never disappointed me yet, so I'm hedging a bet on this one.
"Broken City" (directed by Allen Hughes) --- speaking of people who've never disappointed me, here we have Russell Crowe as a New York City mayor with feet on both sides of the law, and Mark Walhberg as a NYPD cop assigned to follow the Mayor's wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and find out (insert dramatic music) What's Going On! Hughes directed "Dead Presidents", "From Hell" and (uncredited) "The Book of Eli", so this has all the makings of a nice little style-fab. Right now I'm giving it an unconditional Pretty Please Go See.
"Promised Land" (directed by Gus Van Sant) --- you ever see these film trailers that seem to appear again and again, and you find yourself wondering "are they ever going to actually release the movie"? Well pumpkins, the thing is that this film first had a limited release so that it could qualify for the Oscars, and then it had its "real" theatrical release. So after all that posturing, what nominations did it get? ZIP. BUPKUS. NADA. You sang a bad song, Petey! Perhaps not as bad as back when Van Sant remade Hitchcock's "Psycho:", but this film (dealing with Matt Damon as a man caught between a natural gas company's desire to dig in a town by using the controversial fracking method, and the residents of such town) certainly wasn't up to "Good Will Hunting" standards. Please listen to me, Gus. You want to be an auteur that's your business. But take it to the People instead of to the Academy. They don't understand.
"Gangster Squad" (directed by Reuben Fleischer) --- with a title like that this film really needs one of those 1930s or 40s radio show openings, with plenty of machine gun sound effects and sirens. Instead we get something which sounds almost as good: Sean Penn as uber-gangster Mickey Cohen, and Nick Nolte as the head of a secret L.A. police unit determined to stop Cohen at all costs. Now Fleischer brought us the tasty little film "Zombieland", so that spreads a little extra promise on the bread. But even more important is that this was written by Will Beall, who's tapped to come up with the script for the "Justice League" movie, so here's a chance to check the boy out.
"The Last Stand" (directed by Jee-woon Kim) --- ay me! Okay . . . I have not seen any of Jee-woon's films so I cannot accurately judge. But . . . but he is supposed to be a big noise in South Korean cinema, and that country's film stock has been making some interesting rises so this could be a good thing. But the big news is that ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER is back in movies again for the first time since "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" utterly bored us to tears back in 2003. Everyone let out a big Uncle Mikey Whoop.
Okay, that was fun. We'll have to do it again some other time. If you've somehow managed to avoid the trailers, a really badass drug lord has escaped during a prison transfer, and he's tearing up the road trying to run for the Mexican border. Nothing can stop him . . . nothing possibly except the sheriff of a little bitty border town. The sheriff is played by Der Arnold, and the question is can he possibly stop the Bad Guy from reaching the border?
I said, can Arnold possibly stop the Bad Guy from reaching the border? Even more important, can this film be far more entertaining than "Terminator 3"?
Lordy the tension's so thick around here. I'm tellin' you.
"Mama" (directed by Andrew Muschietti) --- no, this isn't a dramatization of John Lennon's "Mother" (although that's not a bad idea). This is a feature-length adaptation of a short horror film Muschietti made back in 2008. The film is being executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, so that should make the ganglia twitch right then and there. The film deals with two Disturbed Children (and I don't mean Spielberg Disturbed, I mean Scary Disturbed) who are found after having been missing for five years. An uncle tries to provide a normal life for them, but there might not be Anything Normal about these kids. Heh heh heh. The trailer features a lot of screaming and shadowy shapes flitting about, and one might be tempted to initially dismiss the whole megilla as just another "Something Grabs the Actors and Kills Them" exercise in excess. Yeah, but Guillermo del Toro, man. Uncle Mikey's feeling like catching this one.
So there we have it, pumpkins. The latest update. May I expect your company in the dark sometime soon?