Reasons why any self respecting person should hate X-MEN FIRST CLASS :)

“Along with me I’m gonna need a scientist, an engineer, and of course, a black person to sacrifice himself in case something goes wrong.”
– Eric Cartman, SOUTH PARK, season 9, Cartman’s Hippie Exit Strategy 2006

I don’t even like/watch South Park but that quote is funny and sad because it’s true.

Here it is 21st century and writers/filmmakers from Frank Miller (SIN CITY) to Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman (X-MEN FIRST CLASS) are still crafting films that still perpetuate this bigoted vaudeville/black-face denigration of minorities, particularly Blacks as either victims/sacrifices, hors, criminals, or comedy relief or some effed up combination of the four.

I hear all these people saying X-MEN FIRST CLASS was the best movie of 2011. Are you effing on crack?! This goes to prove what Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka said in an early age… if you live all your life with lies it becomes hard to see anything that has nothing to do with those lies.

I’m saying a population that watches American Idol and thinks X-MEN FIRST CLASS is a good movie and that their country is a democracy, the cowboy on the white hat, has perhaps lived with lies too long. And therefore can’t see the concentration camps paid for with American Tax dollars, and the 24 hour propaganda machine, and how many of us are being herded into new millennium Dachaus.

I’m saying that twisted facts are easy offshoots… of twisted fictions. The dream being father to the reality.

So needless to say Matthew Vaughn’s new X-MEN FIRST CLASS movie will get as much theater money out of me as his first one, which is to say none. I’m drawing the line in the effing sand, I refuse to pay theater prices for any movie made after 1970 (revival films being excluded) that a/ has less than two characters of color and/or b/has characters in boring, tired stereotypical roles.

Which means I’m not going to see effing DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN or PRECIOUS either. I don’t need that crap. Give me instead more OBSESSED and more TAKERS and more BLACK DYNAMITE and more BLOOD AND BONE. Any of those movies are worth a dozen times predictable crap like X-MEN FIRST CLASS (I caught it on DVD from the library, if anyone was wondering).

And what makes me the maddest about that movie is it plays lipservice to liberty and inclusiveness, using Kennedy’s speeches for God’s Sake, and invoking the age of the 1960s, while presenting a completely 50s based message of ethnic characters ‘get in the back of the bus’. And the horrible thing is so many eyes can see this film, and not see it, not see its messages, its bigotry, its failings. Can honestly crank out odious crap like that and think they are somehow being liberal??? Absolutely amazing.

It concerns me that a whole generation is growing up, somehow blind to how off the beam America isn’t just getting… but is. Even to shows like COMMUNITY (see my discussion of) which is dazzlingly bigoted. And the onus isn’t just on the creators, it has to be on the stars. Seemingly the ethnic actors these days are devoid of the social conscience of a Poitier or a Belafonte or a Williamson, and this new generation just takes roles without any larger conversation/consideration about being used as a modern step and fetchit.

Sure you risk being fired if you speak up, but you risk something worse if you don’t. Your soul. You risk walking around like all these sheep, raised and reared on lies, and unable to see anything… if it has nothing to do with those lies.

Here endeth the rant.

UPCOMING FILMS (1st Thoughts) 2012: HOBBIT, REDTAILS, PROMETHEUS

“You’re so… My Girl.” FARSCAPE’s Crichton Scorpius

Well I told you what trailers and upcoming films I’m not interested in, usually the mainstream pa-lava, so what is rocking my boat?

Well, first the list of trailers I spent good time viewing, in order to determine the good from the bad:

IN HER SKIN- Interesting trailer, not something I would see in the theater, has a lifetime channel feel, but this thriller about a missing daughter looks intriguing

DARKEST HOUR- 20something yuppie-lites in peril. I could not care less.

PROJECT X- A suburban take on House Party? If I was 10 maybe. Not interested.

THE HOBBIT- I loved the first LORD OF THE RINGS movie, I thought it was brilliant, the two follow-up movies not so much. In fact I dislike both of them and only own the first movie. It is not the first failed trilogy (cough– MATRIX— cough), and probably won’t be the last. I do think the trilogy broke Peter Jackson a bit, as the movies since… not good.

Having seen the trailer for the HOBBIT, I don’t know if it will be a great film. It’s not going to be a trilogy… which is good, but it is a bit hard perhaps to invest in the prequel, when the follow-up films are so fresh in everyone’s head. The absence of surprises and jeopardy (I mean we know Bilbo makes it out okay) maybe making it a bit by the numbers. I’ll probably go see it, but in no way enthused, or excited by it. Time will tell if it proves me wrong.

PROMETHEUS- This is a summer film, but I have to mention the trailer… it looks GREAT! I mean we all know Ridley Scott does visuals exceptionally well, but with the exception of AMERICAN GANGSTER, I have not loved a film he’s done in the 21st century.

Not a fan of GLADIATOR, BLACK HAWK DOWN, BODY OF LIES, etc. It’s odd how he and his brother are on different and opposing trajectories for me.

Ridley Scott’s masterpieces were all at the beginning of his career, from ALIEN in 1979 to BLACK RAIN in 1989, every single one of the films he did in that decade are absolutely AMAZING, beautiful, and gorgeous and also just great, challenging, imaginative and fresh films, but his films since have, for me at least, tended toward the formulaic and uninteresting and a bit tired and propagandistic (think Bigelow). ROBIN HOOD isn’t bad, it just isn’t very good, or interesting, or re-watchable.

Whereas Tony Scott, is the exact opposite. His early films were good, if a bit formulaic and forgettable. But the films he’s done in the last decade or so… I adore. Films such as MAN ON FIRE, DEJA VU, UNSTOPPABLE, SPY GAMES. He is one of my favorite directors currently working, and I’m looking forward to his upcoming film EMMA’S WAR.

That said, AMERICAN GANGSTER has shown that Ridley Scott can still knock it out of the park when he needs to, and the trailer for PROMETHEUS looks… EPIC! It looks really, really great. So yeah that’s one of the few films I’m really excited about in 2012.

RED TAILS- I’m going to see this movie, because I like to support any non-comedy film with more than two characters of color, since there are just not enough of these films. Hollywood suits tending to enforce their quota of two or less people of color per mainstream film So I’m always enthused to support an OBSESSED or a TAKERS (both of which I loved), that flies in the face of this cinematic glass ceiling/tokenism.

So I’m going to give RED TAILS my money in the theaters. That said I’ve watched the 2nd trailer, and while the story looks good, the action scenes fun, my problem is, as I’ve said before, the leads. Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding. Particularly Terrence Howard seems horribly miscast. No offense but whatever it takes to get men to follow you into battle, Terrence Howard does not project it. I wouldn’t follow this dude across the street, much less into battle. :) So in the trailer when he gives those rousing speeches… doesn’t really work. He doesn’t have the gravitas of an Elba or Washington or even Cheedle to sell those speeches and that authenticity. And if he can’t sell it in a two minute trailer, there’s no way he can carry a 2hour movie that requires those speeches.

So yeah I’ll see the film in theaters, but I’m afraid it’s going to underwhelm (hopefully not to the extent of Spike Lee’s MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA, which is one of the worst, most disappointing films I’ve ever seen, on top of being a financial failure, grossing only 7 million dollars, on an investment of 56 million. 4 yrs later and Spike Lee’s career has still not recovered from it).

Here’s hoping I’m wrong.[I was completely wrong. Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr were great. See my full RED TAILS review!]

BENEATH THE DARKNESS- Nice title, and Dennis Quaid is typically good. But there’s more than a bit of been there, done that. 20 somethings in jeopardy by the crazy killer no-one suspects. Nothing at all interesting about the young actors, and they annoy me in a 2 minute trailer much less a 90 minute flick, so I can’t really give a good care about them or the story. This one is an avoid.

LONDON RIVER- A film that completed in 2009, but like too many intriguing films, beyond film festivals, has taken a long time to get any theatrical release/DVD release, however it seems to be making some headway in 2012. Still, it will probably not make it to a theater near you, but just as probably is better than most of the films that will. An intriguing drama about 2 parents, an act of terror, and two missing children. This is a definite one to try and track down at an Indie Theater or on DVD.

EXPENDABLES 2- Another one that doesn’t hit until late in the year, but man the trailer did the same thing as the first flick. It made me shout/cackle out loud! Just like the first EXPENDABLES it’s a dream come true to see all these names in one movie together. Applause to Stallone for putting this cast together and making this film happen while all the actors are still with us. I am a huge fan of the first Expendables and definitely looking forward to seeing this one. Another MUST SEE film!

DJANGO- And speaking of phenomenal casts. Just the cast list for this Tarantino film, reads like a who’s who of great actors. Whether this will be a great movie, or a Tarantino miss, I have no clue, but the cast alone makes it a theater watch.

SILENT HOUSE- I don’t like the idea of trying to sell a film by trading on someone’s ‘real’ horror. I don’t like the sleazy based on true events tag. I’m not objecting to it being ‘true’, but based on a 1940s anecdote in a different country, by the time the American filmmakers get their hands on it I’m not sure if there is anything reasonably close to ‘true’ left.

No, what I object to is what the trailer seems to be selling. It’s selling you, like a carnival barker, the chance over ‘real time’ to watch someone suffer, to watch someone’s world end. It is precariously close to the same allure one would no doubt use, to sell a snuff film.

I didn’t like it. The trailer.

I didn’t like it when I saw it in movies like THE STRANGERS (which I walked out of the theater on) and I don’t like it here. There is something of me, inherent in me, raised on older ideas of dragons slain, and maidens rescued… that objects.

That objects…. to evil… rampant.

I think as an audience, such films appeal to what is worst in us. They are not about journeying with the victim to get out of the situation or be rescued or the bad guy put down, they are about reveling with the predator or rapist in terrorizing, mutilating and then killing his victim. They are snuff films in spirit if not in fact, and I don’t like that. I don’t like it at all.

And I think the prevalence of such films hints at a widening hole in the fabric of the audience, a hole that just might be our decency and our humanity and, perhaps even, our collective soul… falling away.

That is if anyone in the world, besides madmen and writers, still believes in anything as naive and old fashioned and archaic… as a soul.

GONE- If SILENT HOUSE is what I don’t want to see in a thriller, GONE is what I do. It’s quite a refreshing take on the thriller genre, with the young female protagonist having to race against time to save her friend, and bring down the monster. I quite like the trailer.

If it has any fault, it’s that it probably gives away too much of the movie. But I think it almost had to play its hand to get the attention of people like myself who would have written it off as just another slasher flick if a more mysterious trailer was used. But yeah they have me intrigued enough to see this in the theater.

Wow. That was a lot more writing than I had intended when initially starting this post. Hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you have got a kick out of my rambling craziness, please support this blog by donating or shopping through the handy links located throughout the posts.

Thanks, and till next installment… be well.

John Luessenhop’s TAKERS Trailer


TAKERS is another trailer that comes from a relatively unknown director, but fortunately with its cast it has a lot going for it.

Idris Elba, I consider one of the best actors working, being a huge fan of his OBSESSED. From THE WIRE to ULTRAVIOLET he elevates everything he is in so was intrigued enough to give this trailer a look.

(Now all that praise about Idris Elba said, casting him as one of the Norse Gods in the upcoming THOR movie?

Really?

Only if you give me some Neil Gaiman ELEMENTALS type reason for a Norse God to be inhabiting a Nubian dude, failing that I have to agree with the Geek Syndicate guys on this particular casting.

There is no question of Elba’s talent.

There is colorblind casting, but when the ethnicity of the character, is part and parcel of the character, the history, the mythology, then colorblind casting doesn’t come into it. Just as it would be idiotic to have white guys portraying Nubian Gods, or playing Reggae– makes me laugh. Jah is a concept that no amount of braiding your hair can give you. So click on the link to hear the GS take on the casting. That said, they are completely wrong on their Samuel L. Jackson bashing. He was GREAT in IRON MAN II! :)

So yeah, I’m always glad to see Elba in a flick, but like I said… to make this casting okay, make it not a lightning rod against the film, they are going to have to write-in some type of Gaiman ELEMENTALS type reason for it. If they can do that they can make it work.

Okay back on topic…) ,

Before I get to the trailer, the poster… just poor. What the hell is up with these marketing guys. There was a time when posters were high art, as well as sought after collectibles. These days posters more often than not are just lazy.

Thankfully the trailer, has no such issues. Trailers are typically poor, good, or great. I mean you typically either get it right or you don’t.

300, STAR TREK (2010), OBSESSED, WATCHMEN these are examples of GREAT trailers.

I’ve rarely seen a trailer, that starts off in one gear and then kicks in to overdrive, that goes from good to great. TAKERS trailer goes from good to great. WoW. If the movie can live up to the trailer, I’ll be a happy camper.

Take a look! :) .

UPCOMING MOVIES 2009: OUTLANDER and Elba, Ali and Beyonce in OBSESSED

I’ve been going trailer crazy recently. Sampling trailers old and trailers new. under the “new” heading two trailers/upcoming films that have me (to differing degrees) interested are OUTLANDER and OBSESSED.
outlander_xlg
What drew my attention to OUTLANDER, beyond the premise of THE HIDDEN meets PREDATOR meets BEOWULF, is the international poster above (the US poster as usual lacks any creativity, being basically just a closeup of the stars face. Ala HANCOCK, TRAITOR, etc. Note to studios, the best way to sell an action movie, isn’t with a big face. Star or no, it just shows a staggering lack of creativity on the marketing department’s side). That said, having Jim Caviezel as your star is also a strong selling point. His work in Tony Scott’s DEJA VU opposite Denzel Washington, showed an actor who brings his A game.

So I watched the two International trailers for OUTLANDER, and it looks fun, if not exactly original. It’s heavily advertised as being from one of the producers of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, but this tale of an alien predator and prey that lands among the Vikings circa 700BC, is very much the three movies I stated above (THE HIDDEN, PREDATOR and BEOWULF) mixed together. That said if director/writer Howard McCain can offer a fresh delivery and spin, the film could rise above its obvious influences to be something enjoyable.

This will be Howard McCain’s first feature film. His made for TV movie, 1998’s PERFECT PREY, was very derivative of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, but did show moments of style, and you can see the growth of that style in the trailer for OUTLANDER. We’ll see if that growth extends through the movie in total.

OUTLANDER (according to their website) is getting a limited release in theaters this coming weekend, so if you’re near a major city (DC, New York, LA, etc. Full list is here.)

So you can catch it on the big screen if so inclined. For the majority of you, this should be coming to a DVD near you, shortly. Innitial feedback sounds positive, so I think it’s worth a look.
obsessed
Possibly, with the exception of THE WATCMEN, the best trailer I’ve seen so far for a flick in 2009 is OBSESSED. A thriller/drama it’s a reworking of FATAL ATTRACTION, but man that cast just has me wowed!

Idris Elba has that old-fashioned Leading man charisma, but unfortunately has not been given leading man roles. Though even in the largely supporting roles he has been relegated to, his presence brings a weight and gravity that elevates the films he’s in.

His films include: ONE LOVEonelove, SOMETIMES IN APRILsometimesinapril, WORLD OF TROUBLE (TV Pilot), DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS, THE REAPING, 28 WEEKS LATER, AMERICAN GANGSTER, THIS CHRISTMAS, THE NO 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY, ROCKNROLLA, THE HUMAN CONTRACT, THE UNBORN (Speaking of the UNBORN, exactly what is this poster selling? :). Perhaps not the most comforting of signs, when a ghost flick has to resort to an ass shot to sell the flick. Not that I’m complaining, just mentioning it. :).

unborn)

However, with the OBSESSED Idris Elba moves into leading man territory. And surrounded by stunners such as Beyonce Knowles, Ali Larter, and Christine Lahti, there aren’t many better roles… for a leading man.
obseesed2
The trailer looks fantastic. The film is directed by Steve Shill, his first feature film, but he has a lengthy resume directing episodes of some of the best television shows; and is written by David Loughery. If the film can live up to its preview, this film could be as good, if not better than the champ of homewrecking terror… FATAL ATTRACTION.

Film is produced by RAINFOREST FILMS (unfortunately their site appears to be flash only, so I won’t link to it. You guys know how I feel about FLASH only sites, it’s a definite no-no in my book. Note to rainforest, include an HTML entrance for people who don’t use FLASH for security reasons, or just in the name of being easily accessible to the widest number of people. It’s just good business sense) and distributed by Sony Screen Gems. So far no one has released a poster, but hopefully soon, and hopefully it will be good.

obsessed3
Now of course the preview could be completely misleading, and the film could be a stinker, ala Spike Lee’s MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA, but I’m hoping not. And giving the track record of the cast and the director, my money is on it being great. Let’s put it this way, I’m going to be in the theater when this flick, OBSESSED opens in April 2009.