Having read Lord of the Flies as a “young adult” I’ve only recently found out that far away from that isolated island their really in the midst of a nuclear war. Which is a total mindfuck to me now, as not only do I realize that how clueless I was back then but also that the whole concept of the novel now takes on a more apocalyptic urgency and relevance that precedes all the latter successors and imitators such as the recent teen phenom of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. But what sets apart The Hunger Games is that it is not as hokey as Harry Potter, nerdy as Lord of the Rings, or gay as Twilight, and light years better than any Star Wars prequels (but then again what isn’t?).
(can you say Natty Bumppo?)
The only thing keeping this young love story from totally making me want to vom, is that it’s less like a CW soap and more Darwinian in the game of the ultimate reality show on the survival of the fittest. Translating the simplistic writing of the novel to the big screen requires a Director able to handle the balance between the expositionary components of the rules and reality of this dystopian totalitarian society and all the while maintain the heroine of Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) perspective…but unfortunately director Gary Ross strays from her point of view and instead gives us some irritating overused handheld shakes along with cheesy cinematography and uninspired, cheap set design. Luckily Jennifer Lawrence who is coming off a similar role in Winter’s Bone of trying to support a family and survive bum fuck poverty, is such a force of nature, even with the Baker wuss Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) by her side, who’s name is associated with a fucking falafel. The delightfully deranged Elizabeth Banks, and over the top demented performance by Stanley Tucci’s also help provide comic relief, but no way compared to the laughter that was generated from the audience every time the movie cuts to Katniss’ meathead boyfriend back home with his stupid sad puppy dog face.
Of course the adapted movie franchise is always subject to comparisons with it’s source as some key elements and characters are omitted such as the reason behind the whole class structure and districts. I don’t blame them though, these days one can’t survive a theater for more than two and half hours without having an anxiety attack from fear of bed bugs or go without having to take a fucking leak. If it were a four hour HBO miniseries though…Regardless, instead they instilled us that people in Hollywood always look good, even after starving and sleeping in trees for weeks. I mean Peeta’s missing leg is rewritten to nothing more than a scab.
There probably is another franchise somewhere percolating in the near future after this hoopla is over – with grassroots beginning thru Young Adult novels followed by a Hollywood makeover and a whole other generation that will succumb to it’s mythology. The odds are in your favor…
I never watched 21 Jump Street when it was on TV, mainly because I’m not gay, but also because I was too busy watching Sesame Street. So coming into this revamped remake I only had a vague notion as to what it was – undercover Cops posing as High School students to infiltrate the bad apples that roam the hallways – and as recently recruited Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are offered these narc jobs, Chief Deputy Nick Offerman tells them tongue in cheek, that 21 Jump Street is an “old forgotten program that people drag out of mothballs and bring back to life for no other good reason than that they’re too lazy to come up with something original and they figure people are too stupid to care.” I knew at least this movie wasn’t going to take itself too seriously.
But in the end it resulted in a True Romance style shootout followed by the obligatory never-ending stupid car chase and explosions, culminating in the celebratory reading of the Miranda Rights in unison. But before we get to this high five moment, there actually were some funny moments in this genre mash up of the Buddy Cop/Prom movie between Skinny Jonah and Stripper Channing provided with a script by Hill and Michael Bacall, cowriter of the witty Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
As for the rest of the cast, Ice Cube embraces his stereotype as the head of the narc division, and if James Franco could play his younger brother he probably would considering his narcissistic desire to be eclectic, but Dave is credible even with the Franco lisp and fits the part of the popular eco friendly teen bound for Berkley dealing the designer drug HFS (Holy Fucking Shit). But Jonah’s love interest, Brie Larson, is less so believable because the heart of this movie is the bromance offering itself to a boundless stream of homo jokes and literally a stupid dick sucking finale.
It’s taken decades for Johnny Depp to desperately shed his typecast teen heartthrob image by starring in every kooky eccentric Tim Burton film, and to add nauseam, makes a worthless cameo rivaling his “Blood Brother” Keith Richards in those stupid cash cow Pirate movies.
It’s always slim pickings after award season but desperate to blog – and being I’m a sucker for scary movie matinees – after Elizabeth Olsen’s memorable debut performance from last year’s Martha Marcy May Marlene (which was snubbed by the Oscars, who instead nominated some phoney baloney Marilyn Monroe wannabe and awarded a chinless Iron Lady Streep!) I was hoping for the best but came out the worst for wear.
Silent House seemingly masquerades itself to be an inspired true, 88 minute one take, continuous hand held shot that tracks Olsen’s every moment in an abandoned, boarded up house that may or may not have intruders, squatters, or just plain fucking ghosts. But instead is mired and reduced to the conventional repressed psycho, incestual rape affair gone awry.
At least Olsen continues to prove her acting chops, showing tears and fears while playing off two C-list actors, Daddy and Uncle Peter, who are as subtle as a dinner invitation from Leatherface in the flesh. I mean Shaggy and Scooby Doo could be stoned as fuck and still know these knuckleheads were up to no good, especially when they are shoving mysterious polaroids down their pants.
The only thing scary about this movie is Olsen’s choice to partake in this nonsense and that my Dad’s paranoia about a moldy house was right as rain.