Wrath of the Titans: Or, Press Your Luck. It seems like Warner Brothers was lucky to get out of Clash of the Titans, given its big budget, middling-at-best reviews and universally reviled 3D conversion, with $160 million and change domestic. But in the style of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the fact that the movie somehow didn’t hemorrhage money inspired the studio to go ahead with an equally expensive follow-up, because I guess The Dark Knight has lots of studios (especially WB) assuming that if a first movie does respectably, there’s a good chance tons of dudes bought the Blu-ray, loved it, and will make any follow-up gross twice as month. Or maybe Wrath of the Titans is enough of an overseas sure-thing to make its seemingly likely $125 million domestic irrelevant.
Worthington-endorsed attempts to do it better this time (as part of every studio sequel’s recent tour of remorse and bad-mouthing over the previous installment) involve trading one journeyman action director (Louis Leterrier, who holds a special place in my heart for his Transporter involvement) for another: Jonathan Liebesman, who may be even more of a craven for-hire guy than his predecessor. Take a look at his filmography: need him to imitate the grimy imitation of Texas Chainsaw Massacre while also imitating an imitation of Michael Bay slickness? Sure, he can give you Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, no problem. Would you prefer a pseudo-verite alien invasion movie with plenty of fashionably pointless handheld cameras? Battle Los Angeles, coming right up! Sequelize a funny but extremely dopey movie that no one loves? Can do! Worthington, Neeson, and Fiennes need some paychecks? Well, not really; Avatar and Star Wars and Harry Potter ought to pay their bills fine. But “not really!” is exactly the answer that invokes Liebesman! He’s on it, whether you want it or not!
Mirror Mirror: I like this Tarsem Singh retelling of Snow White, and it’s a good thing, because there’s plenty more where that came from. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s going to be a big-budget Snow White movie released every weekend for the next eleven weekends.
Next weekend we’re getting Briana Evigan as Snow White and Taylor Lautner as the dwarfs, in a futuristic dance-off version from visionary director Len Wiseman. On April 13th, Blake Lively gets a bad dye job to hide from a female serial killer with a creepy nickname in Wicked Queen. Then Krzysztof Kieslowski’s son, music-video director Maynard Kieslowski, will unveil the three-week release of his new Three Colors of Snow White trilogy: first White (As Snow), then Black (As Night), then Red (As Blood). Nicolas Cage did an untitled Snow White movie reuniting him with his Captain Corelli and the Mandolin director John Madden that is currently scheduled for limited release on May 11th prior to its DVD release on later in the day on May 11th. That brings us up to May 18th, when a long-shelved Taylor Kitsch movie where he plays Prince Charming opposite Dreama Walker will be dumped into theaters at the last possible moment of capitalizing on the remote possibility that he will become a movie star. On May 25th, we’ll be treated to an all-star reclaiming of the utterly racist Warner Brothers cartoon “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs”, starring Gabrielle Union and Kevin Ealy, plus Warwick Davis in a controversial blackface performance. Then the series reaches an anticlimax in June with Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Lady Twilight. Can’t wait for next year’s seventeen movies adapting “Cat and Mouse in Partnership.”
Goon: Let me get this straight: despite starring late-period Kevin Smith buddy Seann William Scott, this isn’t Hit Somebody, Smith’s long-discussed hockey comedy? But it’s some completely separate movie about a hockey player whose big thing is that he kind of sucks at hockey but takes out the other players? Opening the same weekend as a documentary about bullying? It doesn’t so much sound like a premise that can so much stand on its own for a feature, but hey, it’s supposedly not too bad, and I imagine hockey fans will get a kick out of it if they haven’t already ordered it via OnDemand and then gotten into a fistfight with their roommate about the cable bill.
Bully: Famous bully Harvey Weinstein tried to bully the MPPA out of bullying Bully into the restrictive R rating, but the MPAA wouldn’t budge and bullied the movie into an unrated release, which the Parents Television Council (outside their stated jurisdiction!) has tried to bully theaters into avoiding, because it sets the dangerous precedent that theaters need not abide by any particular ratings system as they do not carry the force of law (actually, no precedent need be set there because it is in fact true). I haven’t seen the movie itself, but as much of a showboating jackass as Weinstein often is (especially given his hard-line no-cutting-for-PG-13 stance on this movie in the face of his well-documented insistence on recutting many directors’ movies against their will), this does shine a helpful spotlight on the absolute stupidity of the MPAA in its ruling that children under seventeen should not be allowed to watch unsupervised other unsupervised children under seventeen in their natural habitats because those unsupervised children are sometimes swearing.
AMC has pledged to take a lax policy towards this unrated release (only requiring parental sign-off for kids to go themselves—not, realistically, that a lot of kids who should see this movie are going to be skipping the delightful experience of texting each other during Wrath of the Titans in favor of a sobering documentary about how horrible they and/or their peers can be). I want this release to make money, first so the MPAA can suck on it, and second to maybe encourage other exhibitors that playing a movie unrated isn’t the end of the fucking world. Whoops, shield your eyes, minors! I said a swear!
Dark Tide: Fun fact: this movie is coming out! John Stockwell (Blue Crush [He also played Cougar in Top Gun! -Ed.]) has made some kind of Halle Berry/shark exploitation movie which I had thought was a direct-to-DVD release. In fact, I signed up to review it until a publicist rescinded the offer. I guess they’re just super-excited about its one-screen, presumably contractually obligated theatrical premiere in New York City, USA!