Your Ass-Kicking Weekend at the Movies

04/16/2010 8:51 AM |

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Kick-Ass: Though I do read comics, I haven’t read Kick-Ass, nor have I read the comic book of Wanted, by Kick-Ass author Mark Millar. However: I have seen the movie of Wanted, and while the story supposedly differs wildly from its source, I’ve heard the tone is similar, and I hated the ever-loving bejesus out of that movie’s tone; the whole thing sounded like it had been written by people who love but don’t understand the movie Fight Club. It was almost (almost) enough to sour my interest in over-the-top trash. Moreover, I’m familiar with the faux-meta, ultra-violent, way-sub-Watchmen superhero-deconstruction thing, enough to be wary about a movie crossing that exhausted shtick with the crassly anti-human antics of Wanted. However: if I knew nothing about comics, and you just came up to me and said, OK, there is this movie, directed by Matthew Vaughn, about wannabe superheroes without powers, with Nicolas Cage in a supporting role riffing on Batman, I would probably hand you a bunch of money and demand you take me to it immediately. This probably speaks to multiple character flaws on my part, not to mention poor financial sense, but nonetheless, of the movies coming out this weekend, none of which I’ve seen yet, I recommend you bet on this one, because Nicolas Cage dressing up as Batman has to be at least kind of amazing on some level.

Death at a Funeral: Hey! You can’t fool me! I’ve seen this movie before! Not just in that way that many movies make you feel like you’ve seen them before! This was documented; I reviewed the original Death at a Funeral for the L Magazine in 2007! Granted, back then it didn’t star most of the major African-American comics in Hollywood, but judging from the trailer, most of the rest of it is the same, down to several lines of dialogue (I am not surprised that the original screenwriter was judged the sole author of the remake without directly working on it). My original L Mag review was, as it happens, a pan, and I went on to name it the worst movie I saw in 2007. There’s just something that gets under my skin like an unfunny British comedy, especially one that fails so spectacularly at being wry and farcical. For that reason, I’m pretty sure this version has to be better just by default, even though it’s directed by Neil LaBute instead of Frank Oz. Yes, Neil LaBute has directed an all-black-but-otherwise-shot-for-shot-remake of a movie that came out three years ago. I can’t wait to see George Hickenlooper’s Asian take on Kinky Boots. Anyway, if you insist on seeing a movie called Death at a Funeral, this looks like the best one so far, because I’m sure that Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan can score at least two or three laughs apiece, which will put it far above the laugh count for the English one.

Handsome Harry: You put Steve Buscemi in a movie, there’s a more than decent chance I’ll see it at some point, and if you name that movie Handsome Harry, well, I’ll at least think about seeing it in the theater. Yes, I’d prefer an Italian Job spinoff movie called Handsome Rob focusing entirely on the Jason Statham character, but we can’t have everything.

The Joneses: I’m quite pro-Duchovny, but the premise of this movie—Duchovny and Demi Moore lead a fake family hired to go into the suburbs and serve as secret spokespeople for a variety of consumer products—seems better fitted to an X-Files-size story, not a feature film, although obviously in the X-Files version, the family would have to eventually eat someone. Oops, I think I just ruined any enjoyment I might’ve gotten out of this movie and should just rewatch the X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully go undercover at a gated community (seriously, season six —good stuff).