The movie Spring Breakers is coming to theaters March 29th. It stars Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine. Near as I can tell, the entire marketing plan is “Check out these hot young actresses as they wear two-piece bikinis for about 90-minutes straight.” On the one hand, I don’t object to hot half-clothed women. Au contraire; one might say I actually endorse the half-clothing on women. But on the other hand, there’s this whole internet thing where you can search and find all sorts of pictures and videos of women wearing half of their clothes. Sometimes even less than half. I once tried to search for “fully clothed women” and Google vulgarly slurred my manhood. Maybe that has something to do with my search settings, though.
I digress. Check out the pics below and see if they either whet or sate your appetite to go see these girls on the big screen when Spring Breakers comes out. I’m gonna go ahead and guess the former…
Rob Zombie has a pretty decent eye for stunning, macabre visuals. He’s also seemingly never met a weird-rock-video-homage shot he didn’t like enough to throw it into his movie. He’s also the modern cinematic keeper of certain Grand Guignol horror traditions. He’s also hellbent on giving prominent rolls to his wife, who conspicuously doesn’t have much of an acting career at all outside of stuff directed by her husband. In summary, the dude is a mixed bag.
The latest illustration of this comes in the trailer for The Lords of Salem. The plot seems interesting. Some of the visuals are arresting. The mystery is intriguing. But some of the dialogue already sounds stilted, even by bizarre, religious-themed horror movie standards. The visuals that don’t look great either look overwrought or ridiculous (the scene of Sherri Moon Zombie bullriding a goat in slow motion… just the description alone sounds like a bad cutaway joke on Family Guy). And the lead actress is still a lady who either doesn’t care enough about acting to bother exploring roles that weren’t written expressly for her by her husband, or who can’t really act and only gets work at all because her husband writes roles expressly for her in his movies.
I still remember getting excited over the very first teaser for House of 1,000 Corpses years ago, before it went through all of the delays and bounced around before finding a studio willing to distribute it. For whatever reason, I’ve always had faith in Zombie, even though I’ve never completely liked anything he’s put up on the big screen. I’d like to have more faith in this movie than I do. I want this movie to be good, and I want Zombie to make the horror masterpiece I think he’s capable of, just like I want Tony Romo to stop throwing interceptions at the worst possible time every gotdamn year. Alas, as the old song says, you can’t always get what youwant.
I’m still not sold on Gerard Butler as a leading man in action movies, but maybe Olympus Has Fallen will change that. Yeah, he starred in 300, but just about any muscular dude could have played the role of Loud Warrior King. Gamer was a flop, Machine Gun Preacher is something nobody remembers existed, and Law Abiding Citizen took itself way too seriously for its own good.
Now he plays a troubled Secret Service Agent who has to go all “Die Hard in the White House” when a group of super terrorists launch an insanely well-executed assault on the nation’s capital. This looks less like a terrorist strike than a small scale invasion. President Aaron Eckhart ends up a hostage, and Butler gets to save the day, and redeem himself for that time when he totally let the President’s wife fall into a frozen river. Check out the trailer below.
While it may look like The Sweeney is London’s Dirty Harry, it’s actually based on a TV show from the 70’s. Ray Winstone stars as a cop who leads the “Sweeney Flying Squad.” They play by their own rules, they’re loose canons, they’re getting too old for this sh*t, and other grizzled fictional cop cliches may apply as well. But hey, it’s Ray Winstone. There’s a reason why Mr. French topped the BNC list of Coolest Right Hand Men in Cinema, and it’s not because he’s so lighthearted and lovable. Check out the trailer below.
Mama was the number one movie in America this weekend, helping Jessica Chastain own the box office along with Zero Dark Thirty. I got a chance to see it, and here’s my belated, reductive review.
The movie almost commits to just getting the mystery out of the way early so it can focus on the execution. This is a terrific idea. There are only so many motivations for vengeful ghosts in fiction, after all. Either somebody desecrated your grave, or there’s a wrongful death you’re trying to “right,” or someone beat your high score at the local arcade in Street Fighter. Only that arcade isn’t even there anymore, yo. You’re haunting a Starbucks. Anyway, it’s too bad Mama doesn’t completely commit to forsaking the “mystery” for the execution.
On the plus side, the child actresses are crazy convincing.
Alert to filmmakers; the line between “weird, CGI scary ghost face” and “weirdly humorous CGI ghost face” is thinner than you probably realize. Particularly when you keep throwing that CGI right at the camera. That said, in the early scenes when “mama” is just a blurry shadow, she’s more than a little creepy.
The big problem is that supernatural horror stories hardly ever know how to end. There’s about a 90% chance that any supernatural horror flick you’re watching is going to botch the last 10-15 minutes. Mama is the latest victim of this trend. It drags for no reason and delivers like three false endings along the way to finally closing with a dissatisfying “huh”? There’s a difference between an emotionally complex or challenging ending, and one that’s just inconsistent and cumbersome.
Ordinarily I don’t put much stock in Cinema Score grades, but a B- sounds about right.