Sitting in the theater for Legion — which was, itself, a waste of the increasingly exorbitant NYC ticket prices — I was struck by two things. 1)Zoe Saldana is in everything coming out this year (sort of like how her Avatar co-star, Sam Worthington, was in everything last year) and 2)2010’s cinematic landscape is a barren wasteland. The latter has nothing to do with Saldana and everything to do with the distinct scent of desperation permeating the previews. Eau de “I Gotta Pay The Rent.”
How else do you explain something like the remake of Death at a Funeral, the original for which only came out three years ago. Can I just remind people how British-to-American remakes rarely work? Coupling and Life on Mars, anyone? And by featuring Danny Glover on the john with Tracy Morgan‘s hand stuck beneath him, it’s like the preview didn’t even bother disguising the film for what it is: crappy toilet humor. With a cast that also boasts Chris Rock, the aforementioned ubiquitous Saldana, Peter Dinklage (who was in the original), James Marsden, Loretta Devine, and Luke Wilson, I’m just like…”Wow, the economic crisis definitely hit Hollywood, too.”
And then there was the trailer for Takers, where some genius marketing person thought giving Chris Brown prominent billing would be a good idea. You’ve got Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Michael Ealy, and Jay Hernandez, that should suffice! And how far has poor Hayden Christensen‘s star fallen that he had to be billed after a guy whose current claim to fame is clobbering his girlfriend? Darth Vader deserves better than that! However, Christensen can probably take solace in the fact that Ryan Phillippe‘s career is in worse shape. Playing second (possibly third or fourth, given the rest of the cast) fiddle in MacGruber, the latest film based on one of Saturday Night Live‘s lackluster skits, is just plain sad. I know it’s rumored that Phillippe doesn’t look too kindly on his humble beginnings as OLTL‘s Billy Douglas, but maybe he should consider asking them to take him back.
How long till Ryan and Hayden just give up and join Orlando Bloom in the pit of obscurity? Or were they already there and somehow managed to get a day pass just to make these films? If it’s any consolation, Guys, Channing Tatum will probably be there in a couple of years. Y’all can throw a kegger and toast to your heydays, like men who peaked as the star quarterback in high school. (I’m not saying that to be mean, per se, just bitterly realistic.)
The unimaginatively named Valentine’s Day already fails at life for failing to flag Bradley Cooper and Eric Dane as gay characters in its promotions — I’m assuming so they can “spring” the gay on the viewers? And the every-actor-and-the-kitchen-sink romantic comedy trope probably should’ve been retired after the heinous She’s Just Not That Into You. Alice in Wonderland reads to me like Tim Burton just continuing to act out his crack-ridden fantasies with his regulars, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. When is somebody going to sit him down and say, “Dude, chill!”?
So far, the only big budget movies that really seem fun, inventive and must-see are Iron Man 2 and The A-Team. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that the latter appears to be a film faithful in spirit to the original TV show, with a spot-on cast and all the explosions and one-liners that fans know and love. I guess somebody in Hollywood realized that Hannibal and company were quite possibly the only way to combat a criminally bad movie docket. I love it when a plan comes together.