I am posting the rest of this month early for medical reasons (as explained in other threads).
Hit & Run: Dax Shepard (does anyone like him?) reteams with Kristen Bell (does anyone like her?) and Bradley Cooper (is there a more one note actor who is higher paid?) joins the mix. Nice girl dates scum, car chases are thrown in and Tom Arnold, a candidate for work flick of the year is my guess
Premium Rush: From the director of Stir of Echoes comes a Joseph Gordon Levitt film I have never heard of that comes out in a few weeks, not a good sign that this thing has received little adverts. The bike angle is interesting but all else looks standard, two half-baked crime flicks in a row.
The Apparition: You will rarely go wrong underestimating pg-13 horror from first time directors. This one stars Ashley Greene so not sure why it is going wide (except kids are back in school and their is limited product that fits late August). The concept was done in Nightmare on Elm Street and another Wes Craven (it had a one word title that escapes me right now) project (They?), nothing to suggest this is any better than those.
One of the worst weeks I have written on in some time.
Yes, They (and that wasn’t that good) . Yeah, this looks like a week to catch anything you missed from other weeks.
I saw a trailer for Premium Rush before Prometheus.
Seriously, I couldn’t help but think that they tinkered around with the idea wondering if it would work, and then decided to just grab the concept by the balls and go with it. I actually have to say it’ll probably be a lot of fun just to watch how they manage to make bicycle delivery people look badass (and fast) when facing off against gangsters and car chases. I think it looks like a lot of fun.
Gordon Levitt is the most unlikely action film star since David Caruso or Patrick Dempsey in his Run days
Not really. If you watch his work in 3rd Rock from the Sun you know he’s as much a physical actor as everything else. He is not a body-changing Christian Bale (ha, see what I did thar?) but he puts himself through the paces.
Also, if you pay attention to a lot o what’s going on in Premium Rush, you’ll notice that the bicyclists aren’t necessarily kicking ass because they’re competing with cars, but they’re using the float like a butterfly sting like a bee approach of their small size and relative ability access to smaller areas to use the urban landscape against whomever is chasing them. That is really cool, action is more fun when it’s as much a mental showdown as physical. That’s kind of why Batman fisticuffing Bane is sort of unsatisfying, when we already have the quote, “Gotham needs you for your brains, you don’t have to give them your body, or your life.”
I just mean he looks like someone who could be knocked over with a feather
Bicyclists and jockeys are tiny folk, but don’t underestimate their power in a bar fight!
Is it me or does Premium Rush feel like it was made in 1993 or something? It looks extremely dated for some reason.
Hopefully by this point, Cosmopolis will be playing by me
Premium Rush has been on the shelf since 2010 I believe.
I’m going to see The Aparition. I’ve been so disappointed by horror films this year so I’m basically giving everything that comes out a shot in hopes that I find something decent.
Tomas: I understand that and would join you in your quest for a good horror flick but its PG13 and that is the kiss of death for horror flicks.
Yeah I agree with that. But there often comes with a bit of room to improve particular aspects of a horror film with the pg13 rating. Some people take advantage of it and do interesting things, others (most) fall flat.
I know I’ve seen good ones that are pg13, but I’m having a hard time remembering some.
edit – Insidious wasn’t great, but not terrible. The last 20 minutes or so are what brought it down, but the rest of the movie was decent.
fire in the sky
See, there’s a few that are ok. :-)
@tommy: Insidious was alright in my book too. After the dinner scene (i.e. the greatest jump scare in recent horror history), things went downhill. I didn’t like all the explanations and science shit.
Well that whole end seemed like a game of mortal kombat. It was too much for me.
Hit and Run looks bad, I totally agree. Looks jumbled and inconsistent. Saw a small panel for it at Wizard World Comic-Con yesterday and no one showed up. Except me for the free poster?
And Premium Rush, even with a solid star, is getting no buzz whatsoever. Think all has shifted to Looper when it comes to 2012’s JGL.
“And Premium Rush, even with a solid star, is getting no buzz whatsoever.”
My understanding is that it was shelved and they’re jumping on the Joseph Gordon-Levitt train to milk some money out of it now that they have the chance.
Think Stealth after Ray with Jamie Foxx.
Comic actor Dax Shepard isn’t the kind of guy who comes to mind when trying to cast a Hollywood action movie. After putting himself in the driver’s seat with “Hit & Run,” however, the goofy-acting “Punk’d” host merits future consideration. An unexpectedly satisfying date-movie spin about a redneck lothario (Shepard) who confronts old demons in order to drive his booksmart g.f. (Kristen Bell) to a big-city job interview, this low-budget B movie looks poised to surprise, potentially rivaling the success Open Road Films enjoyed with “The Grey” earlier this year.
Arriving on the heels of “Brother’s Justice,” a 2010 mock doc in which Shepard and co-director David Palmer explored the possibility of transforming the cheeky prankster into a Chuck Norris-style action hero, “Hit & Run” represents a far savvier vehicle for such a career rewrite than the Z-grade exploitation pics pitched in that film. Even so, “Hit & Run” relies on many of the same actors and friends - Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper and David Koechner among them - to support the endeavor.
Shepard plays Charlie Bronson, a meathead who seized the opportunity of entering the witness protection program to reinvent himself as a better man. Stuck in a backwater California town, Charlie seems admirably devoted to Annie (Bell), a brainy Ph.D. with a degree in conflict resolution who’s stuck teaching at a local community college. But their relationship is tested when her well-meaning boss (Kristin Chenoweth) threatens to fire Annie unless she interviews for her dream-job opening at UCLA.
At this point, neither the audience nor Annie knows anything about Charlie’s past, but little by little, clues emerge he’s a muscle-car aficionado originally christened Yul Perrkins, who may have witnessed a bank robbery back in L.A. For Charlie, Annie’s job opportunity means defying the inept federal agent (Arnold) assigned to his case, and then having to face the gang he testified against — a trio headed by Cooper.
Most of what follows is fairly stock stuff, but the formula works for several well-calculated reasons. Shepard (who wrote the script) tailors his character for maximum female appeal, playing Charlie/Yul as a scruffy fixer-upper. Whatever mess the guy was mixed up with back in L.A., Shepard looks a shave and a haircut away from being marriage material. He’s puppy-dog loyal, has a great sense of humor and always knows exactly what to say to soothe Annie’s neuroses.
Charlie caters to the macho contingent as well, earning Annie’s disapproval as he cracks off-color jokes at the expense of gays, hicks and other races — a canny cake-and-eat-it strategy by which the film can land the un-PC laugh, then correct it with a more enlightened rebuttal. Guys will also appreciate Charlie’s choice of wheels: a turbo-charged 1967 Lincoln Continental, the same sleek black sedan featured in “The Matrix.” If Annie is his wife-to-be, then this baby is his mistress.
Above all, real-life couple Shepard and Bell bring genuine chemistry to this high-energy excursion. Charlie may be the one behind the wheel, but Annie’s refreshingly intelligent and assertive personality elevates her beyond mere love interest, offsetting the script’s sophomoric tendencies with her erudite badinage.
Shepard and Palmer’s lean co-helming effort should connect especially well for middle-American auds seeking characters and stories that approximate the thrill of crashing tailgate parties and NASCAR races.
The fact that Shepard is chummy with a number of fairly recognizable actors merely sweetens the deal, with memorable turns from Arnold and Cooper, as well as a wonderfully abusive cameo by Beau Bridges. Arnold in particular enjoys a chance to monkey with his too-often-typecast hothead persona. Barely able to control his own firearm, his flustered “Smokey”-like lawman not only updates the ‘70s-chase-movie formula by joining forces with Shepard’s affable bandit, he also gets his own romantic subplot, courtesy of Pouncer, a GPS-based gay-dating app clearly modeled after Grindr.
Shepard and Palmer’s shared direction is alternately energetic and easygoing, smoothly shifting gears between hot-rod and romantic comedy modes. Bradley Stonesifer’s sharp widescreen lensing gives the pic a pro finish. Version screened was missing end credits.
Camera (color, widescreen), Bradley Stonesifer; editor, Keith Croket; music, Julian Wass; music supervisors, Jason Altshuler, Laurence Freedman; production designer, Emily Bloom; art director, Mariano Rueda; set decorator, Liz Callens; costume designer, Brooke Dulien; sound (Dolby Digital/Datasat), Sean O’Malley; sound designer, Jeffrey A. Pitts; supervising sound editor, Michael Perricone; re-recording mixers, Gary Coppola, Perricone; special effects coordinator, Dennis Dion; visual effects supervisor, Mike Dillinger; visual effects, Ovni Armada; assistant director, Michael Breines. Reviewed at the Aidikoff screening room, Beverly Hills, Aug. 1, 2012. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 94 MIN.
I doubt I’ll be seeing any of these theatrically. I was expecting Hit & Run to be savaged across the board by critics, so I’m a bit taken aback by this positive review, as well as the 2/4 positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment. The trailer was terrible and I loathe that poster advertising it as “THE BEST COMEDY OF THE YEAR” (according to some guy with a MySpace, if you check the fine print), so I still won’t pay to see it, but perhaps it might merit a look at some point.
Premium Rush looks like a sad waste of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon, and PG-13 horror is so rarely effective that I’ll skip The Apparition unless it gets an unexpectedly positive reception.
As Bijoux said, this seems to be a weekend to catch things you haven’t already seen. It looks like my possibilities may include Beasts of the Southern Wild (assuming it gets held over another week), Ruby Sparks, The Expendables 2, and The Queen of Versailles.
from las vegas weekly:
David Koepp’s Premium Rush is one of those compact little action movies, like a junior version of Die Hard or Speed, that might once have looked like Assault on Precinct 13 or The Warriors. It certainly tries for a B-movie spirit, proudly eschewing too many digital effects (excepting some for trick shots).
It doesn’t entirely get there. Its New York City feels more like a tourist’s vision, like a sixth borough called Hollywood. And, as a screenwriter (Jurassic Park, Snake Eyes, Panic Room, Spider-Man, etc.), Koepp has stayed in business for so long thanks to his knack for high-voltage storytelling. The dialogue sounds all too written, but if spoken forcefully and with attitude, it works.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Wilee (get it? Like Wile E. Coyote?), a bike messenger who prefers his steel machine without gears or breaks. Wilee’s day gets worse when he picks up the wrong package at the wrong time and stirs up trouble with an errant police detective, Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon). Gordon-Levitt is an asset to the movie, bringing something wiry and piston-like to his role. It feels as if he’s really been at it a while, rather than having simply spent a few weeks with a trainer.
Koepp the director considers speed and economy, choosing the shortest and cleverest routes to take his story to the finish line, especially when he takes his bikes into places that cars could never go. He pays ultimate tribute to B-movies when Detective Monday is required to give a phony name
If you listen closely enough while things go bump in the night during “The Apparition,” you might also hear the scraping of barrel bottoms. This enervating muddle of paranormal nonsense manages the difficult feat of seeming frenzied and lethargic all at once, while building toward the sort of ludicrous cop-out climax that often incites die-hard genre fans to shout rude things at the screen. Even if the late summer Warners release manages to post middling opening-weekend numbers, word of mouth should be sufficiently scathing to douse long-term potential. Ancillary prospects are dim.
Writer-director Todd Lincoln lays on the portentous atmosphere with a trowel, and attempts to amp the suspense with an insistent techno score by the ensemble known as Tomandandy. But all that window dressing does little to generate sustained interest in a jumbled narrative that plays out as though it were improvised on a day-to-day basis during shooting. It doesn’t help that lead players Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan offer performances that seem not just muted, but Quaaluded.
The plot involves two attractive young lovers — Kelly (Greene), a veterinary student, and Ben (Stan), a home-entertainment tech guy — who agree to housesit a suburban investment property owned by Kelly’s parents. (Exteriors were filmed in Southern California, but most interiors were shot in Berlin’s Babelsberg Studio.)
Even after they begin to hear strange noises at night and notice doors opening and furniture moving by themselves, the couple stays put. (“Our house is too new to be haunted,” Ben insists when Kelly gets a teeny bit nervous. “It has no history.”) But when unsightly splotches of mold appear on walls and beneath floors, and a neighbor’s dog just lies down and dies in their kitchen, they still don’t get the hint.
Eventually, Ben surmises that maybe all this weird stuff has something to do with a mysterious whatsit that he and his fellow students summoned a while back during a university parapsychology experiment. But the audience remains several steps — miles, really — ahead of him. So it comes as a surprise only to Ben when, somewhere around the 50-minute mark, a college chum states, “Your house isn’t haunted. You are.”
To say there is a resolution to “The Apparition” would be to credit the pic with more coherence than it deserves. Suffice it to say that the payoff has something to do with a malignant spirit that can use bedsheets as lethal devices and something else to do with power-line towers that loom ominously in shots scattered throughout. (These towers teasingly hint that someone involved might have remembered “Pulse,” Paul Golding’s unjustly overlooked 1988 thriller about a killer power grid.)
Shorn of its mercilessly protracted final-credits roll, “The Apparition” clocks in at a compact 73 minutes. But, really, some pics can never be short enough.
Camera (color, Panavision widescreen), Daniel C. Pearl; editors, Jeff Betancourt, Harold Parker; music, Tomandandy; music supervisor, Amine Ramer; production designer, Steve Saklad; art director, Steve Summersgill; set decorator, Daniele Drobny; costume designer, Kimberly Adams; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/Datasat), Martin Mueller Sr.; sound designer, Mark Larry; supervising sound editor, Mark Larry; re-recording mixers, Timothy O. Le Blanc, Tom Ozanich; special effects supervisor, Gerd Feuchter; special effects coordinator, Klaus Mielich; visual effects supervisor, Jan Krupp; visual effects, Scanline, Bluebolt, Image Engine, Method Studios; associate producers, Ethan Erwin, Stephen Bender; assistant director, Matthew Henderson; casting, David H. Rapaport. Reviewed at Edwards Grand Palace 24, Houston, Aug. 23, 2012. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 82 MIN
I am now interested in Apparition due to its compact length (yes I see films just cause they are short sometimes) and its potential for fun badness
I’ll definitely go see it if it comes to the dollar theater for the short length and the “two attractive young lovers” (yes I see films just to look at attractive people being scared sometimes). Also, the “insistent techno score” sounds interesting, though I’ve never listened to tomandandy.
These movies never make it to second run though….
Well, I ended up giving Premium Rush a chance based on the positive reviews, and I’m glad I did. It’s certainly nothing of any special merit, but it’s fun, fast, and features a completely unhinged performance from Michael Shannon.
“These movies never make it to second run though….”
Yes, yes they do.
Sometimes these movies get their primary release only through second run. Anyone heard of Schumacher’s Blood Creek?