Clearly, movies and I have a love-hate relationship. They crave my love, trying harder each summer to draw me into their webs of intrigue, or their collision courses to wackiness, or their brainless scenarios involving lots of shirtless twentysomethings. I’m largely inured to these overtures, but some deep part of my psyche still holds hope that “maybe this year they won’t be so bad.” And then something happens – a child pees on the seat in front of me, or an usher uses his t-shirt gun too close to my head and ruptures my eardrum, or Nicolas Cage stars in something, and I recoil and hide in my room for another 14 months. And we try again. I’m going to the movies, but this year I’ve left the car running just in case.
BARB 434 – Hold onto your hats, feminists: this latest WOODY ALLEN comedy stars SCARLETT JOHANNSON as a political seductress named Barb Monroe, called “Barb 434” because she’s slept with every member of the U.S. House – except one. Who’s the one? Allen, of course, who plays Alvin Weitz, a Brooklyn novelist given a seat in Congress as compensation from a traffic accident. (If you think that’s lazy screenwriting, note that Allen’s moved the U.S. Capitol to Manhattan, with no explanation!) Even Allen’s film company doesn’t have much to say on this one – the promo line is “At least there’s a four second shower scene with seven actresses.” Comedy.
SNAKES ON A LIQUID CARGO BARGE – The official sequel to the cult hit “Snakes on a Plane” eschews over-the-top action and excitement for a stern and joyless meditation on international water treaties. SAMUEL L. JACKSON reprise his role as Neville Flynn, only this time he’s taking a week off to visit the Benelux nations. Far away in Denmark, an unmanned barge holding hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel is attacked by hundreds of venomous snakes – which have not been outlawed by the Law of the Sea Treaty! Flynn calms the frantic Danes via cellphone, explaining that the snakes will either drown in the ocean or in the fuel tank (which is exactly what happens, only it’s even more boring than it sounds). The blogosphere is still abuzz about this one, largely because they suggested Jackson’s new catchphrase, “I’m so glad I didn’t take a motherf___ing liquid fuel barge to motherf___ing Belgium.” Action.
DUDE: THE MOVIE – A bong, a Playstation 3, a case of beer, SETH ROGEN, PAUL RUDD, OWEN WILSON and a troupe of trained helper monkeys try to start a business selling balloon animals made with inflated condoms. but are forced to mature when Rogen’s character falls in love with a high school classmate (ANJELICA HUSTON in a bad casting choice) who invests in their company, “Air Trojan.” Romantic Comedy.
JENNY – Tommy Tutone meets Stephen King in this HAYDEN CHRISTIANSEN vehicle. The former Anakin, jonesing for Papa’s Perfect Pizza one night, accidentally dials 867-5309 and stumbles into a world where free delivery and garlic dipping sauce are no help. Actually, the garlic dipping sauce is help against the zombie vampires that run the local thrift store, but not against the radioactive she-hulk whose name is on the wall. Thriller.
TUSKS OF FURY: THE HARV HECKLINGTON STORY – He’s done figure skating, auto racing and basketball, now it’s time for WILL FERRELL’s hilarious take on elephant polo. Harv (Ferrell) is a loud, cartoonish fellow who becomes the first American to lead an elephant polo team to international glory. Not sure if the fifteen minute scene of the elephant’s tusk and Ferrell’s hinder is really necessary myself, but then how many of my movies draw 20 million teens on opening weekend? Yes, JOHN C. REILLY is on hand as the wacky mahout. Comedy