Sunday, July 6, 2008

The word loses all meaning

In addition to the silliness that was Wanted, last night's screening filled me with severe irritation because of the previews. First off was the increasingly impressive looking Eagle Eye. I'll grant that DJ Carusso's re-working of North by Northwest the way he re-worked Rear Window into Disturbia looks fun, but it's what followed that raised the bile in my throat.

The Mummy Three Hollywood? Really? Hasn't this teat been suckled of its last ounce of rancid mummy-flavored breast milk? In a summer with already one staggeringly lackluster mid-century burly adventure-man film I have to ask who is the audience for this? Anyone young enough to actually want to see this probably hasn't seen the first two. And if you've seen the first two Mummy movies well you've certainly learned your lesson by now. I don't care how many creatures they cram into the preview (but oh how that Yeti does make for some tempting material, resist nerd, RESIST) the Sickness isn't buying it. I do eagerly anticipate seeing this film on a plane. It look PERFECT for a plane. I also love the fact that the O'Connel's son has somehow aged about fifteen years while Brendan Fraser's Rick looks EXACTLY the same. I also love the fact that they try to hide the fact that Rachel "An Oscar means I don't have to do this crap anymore" Weisz has been replaced by Maria "Did it on the stairs" Bello. Also the word "mummy" is used more times in this preview than it appeared in the last two movies combined. Check out Rob Cohen's latest here.

For all its faults at least the Mummy movies look like everyone is having (or trying to have) silly fun. The same cannot be said for the drab and dour palette and attitude of the truly awful looking Death Race, a remake of Paul Bartel and Roger Corman's Death Race 2000. This movie is especially awful in that it has completely missed the point of the original. In the original cult classic, the premise was that participants raced on an open track that dominated the American landscape causing mayhem and engaging in all sorts of vehicular manslaughter for points. The America of this film is so enraptured of this bloodsport that it's an honor to be struck by one of the cars. Hell, they wheel out old people out of their homes and line them all up like dominoes. It's bright, shiny, Swiftian satire. So our dear executives have decided that THAT should go right out the window. Now the race is run by a sinister looking Joan Allen and its only participants are prisoners so that the teeny tiny audience brains need not be hurt by any kind of moral ambiguity. Our hero is Jason Statham, a professional race driver framed for murder. Wouldn't you know it that the same gesture made by the murderer is made by someone at the prison he's shipped to? Oh no, a set-up! Now Statham must race for his life in the Death Race. See the whole movie in trailer form (see now I don't have to see it at all doubly).

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