This is one of those weeks where even writing about what’s in store for us at the movies is like trying to shove myself through a garden hose. The mere thought of Larry Crowne, Monte Carlo, and Transformers: Dark of the Moose…er Moon makes me want to take a nap. The prospect of actually sitting through them, however, makes me want to hide behind the sofa till the whole thing blows over. There aren’t even any art/indie titles to lighten the grim prospect.
Well, let’s get on with it. And since it happens first, we might as well tackle Mr. Bay’s 157 minutes of intellectual assault and property damage right away. I refer, of course, to Mooseformers, which opens on June 29 in order that audiences can be assured of getting every ounce of Shia LaBeoufish goodness out of the thing before the Fourth of July weekend is but a dim memory. I thoroughly detested the first two movies in this marketing empire, so I’m not expecting to feel any differently about the third. Getting rid of the jive-talking Autobots was a good idea. (Bay has, in fact, offered a $25,000 reward to anyone who can spot the duo in this entry.) Getting rid of Megan Fox is neither here nor there, though. Presumably it’s easier telling Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whitely, “Raise your butt closer to the lens.” It’s still about cars that turn themselves into giant robots and knock down buildings, it still stars LaBeouf and it’s still directed by an insurance company’s worst nightmare.
I realize that there is a market for this Transmoosers jazz and that I’m not it. That’s fair. There are a lot of things out there that I’m not the market for. Most of them, however, have the decency not to be over two-and-a-half hours long and aren’t based on a line of toys. At the moment the early good reviews are starting to melt away, though I’m considering memorizing Roger Moore’s gushy breakout quote—“delivers the popcorn in gigantic fist-fulls of fun”—so I can use it on him next time I see him.
At least Tom Hanks’ socially relevant rom-com Larry Crowne has the common courtesy to be a mere 99-minutes long. Whether that means it’s likely to be good is a wholly separate issue. The fact that Hanks decided to break out his directing shoes isn’t necessarily good or bad. That he has co-written the film with Nia Vardolos is sketchier. Now, I liked the teaming of Hanks and Julia Roberts in Mike Nichols’ Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), but that was a very different proposition than this story, which the press notes describe with, “Until he was downsized, affable, amiable Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) was a superstar team leader at the big-box company where he’s worked since his time in the Navy. Underwater on his mortgage and unclear on what to do with his suddenly free days, Larry heads to his local college to start over.” It gets worse-sounding with him becoming part of a group of “a colorful community of outcasts” and developing a crush on disillusion teacher Roberts. But we’ll see.
Last up is Thomas Bezucha’s Monte Carlo. Now, Bezucha made the pleasant—but hardly distinctive—The Family Stone way back in 2005. That this is his first film in nearly six years is—interesting. And it’s probably more interesting than the film itself which credits at least four writers (rarely a good sign). This PG-rated opus that has garnered zero reviews so far stars Selena Gomez, Katie Cassidy and Leighton Meester—and is obviously pitched at people familiar with the TV shows they’ve been on. Offhand, it looks less like it was made for teenage girls than it was made for those hoping to become teenage girls. It also apparently offers Life Lessons, since according to Fox “at the end of their journey, they discover the true magic of friendship.”
If ever a week needed some alternatives, this looks to be that week. This week’s Thursday Horror Picture Show is Christophe Gans’ Silent Hill (2006) on Thursday, June 30, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. (For those paying attention this Thursday will also boast the first episode of the 1941 serial Adventures of Captain Marvel approximately 20 minutes before the feature.) On Friday, July 1, at 8 p.m. World Cinema is showing the documentary film Antonio Gaudi (1985) in the Railroad Library of the Phil Mechanic Building. The Hendersonville Film Society is screening Roger Corman’s The Intruder (1962) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 3, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing in Hendersonville. The Asheville Film Society is showing Ken Russell’s Mahler (1974) on Tuesday, July 5, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge at The Carolina. More on all titles in this week’s Xpress.
As if to add insult to injury, this week’s DVD releases include such wonders as Sucker Punch, Beastly, and Season of the Witch. By way of recompense, however, there is The Warrior’s Way and Barney’s Version. so not all is lost.
Notable TV screenings
For some reason, I thought last week wrapped up TCM’s “Drive-in Double Features,” but I was in error. This Thursday is the last cheese explosion. It all starts at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, and goes on all night long. This round we’re treated to The Blob (1958), The H-Man (1958), The Magnetic Monster (1953), X the Unknown (1956), The Thing from Another World (1951), and It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958). I’m not sure how The Thing slipped in there.