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4 Quick Ones: Repo Men, Marmaduke, Pirahna 3D and The Box.


I’ve had five footballs de fantasy drafts these past couple weeks, meathorse is in the same category, Jenny-Jenny and primary are being worked to the bejeebus, and school is a-startin!  In other words, expect more greatness, more regularly soon – such is the way of a free repository of opinions, I suppose…. 

Repo Men  – is a pretty great sci-fi idea, the sort of thing Schwarzenegger would have been in twenty years ago.  Short form:  in the future, if you have a bad heart, or kidney, or eye or whatever, you can get a new one.  Except it’s really expensive, and the interest rates are a bitch – so when you stop paying, some dudes are going to show up and take it back.  FUN!  But what happens when one of the best repo men gets a heart transplant and can’t pay for it? 

Jude Law and Forest Whitaker tied together don’t equal Arnie, that’s what happens….I’ll give Repo Men this:  it’s the second movie I’ve seen in a year’s time I didn’t hate Jude Law in, and Forrest Whitaker, even the new thin version, is a fun guy to watch beating the hell out of people, because I never expect it to be believable, yet it is.  Other than that, this is ‘okay’ – nothing real memorable, a couple decent fight scenes, pretty gruesome blood and slicing overall (unless you’re one of those freaks that likes watching surgery on television) and it made one of the nearly unforgivable blunders in film-making:  giving John Leguizamo work.  Will you never learn?  All in all, 3 out of 7. 

Marmaduke – I watch a lot of kids’ movies, alright?  Comes with having kids, unless you’re an elitist dick.  I mention this because I want you to understand this salient point:  not all children’s (or ‘family’) movies suck ass.  In fact, those that bother to give children credit for being halfway intelligent and don’t worry about talking down to their audience tend to be the best, most re-watchable (and that’s key with kids’ movies) of the genre.  Point in fact:  my next entry is going to be about the five best family movies for jaded and bitter adults.  However, we aren’t there yet. 



See that picture over there to the right?  Yep, the one with the dog in the sportster wearing RayBans and cruising?  If only five minutes of this had half of the energy and effort put into that picture, this might have gotten a 1.  I should have known better than to watch something featuring the voice ‘talents’ of Owen Wilson and George Lopez.  Rarely have two so limited worked so often. 

I don’t even know who this was aimed at; milady and I hated it from word one, our 11-year-old fell asleep at least once, and my five-year old didn’t laugh.  Maybe it was for the elderly and the infirm?  No, entirely too many fart and pee jokes.  Dogs?  No, neither of mine were interested, and the pug likes Man V. Food, so it’s not a matter of total disinterest in the teevee.  In short, if PETA wants to do something, they should go after the makers of this pile for cruelty to the image of animals.  Zero out of 7.  

Pirahna 3D – I was totally stoked (yeah, I said that) to wrap up my summer with this offering.  I mean, I expected it to be bad, so how could I be disappointed? 

Why do I set myself up like that?  Okay, here’s all the positives:  Elizabeth Shue is great, but she usually is.  Ving Rhames has one AWESOME ‘going out blazing’ scene, and the last twenty minutes are a really fun ‘insane and improbable action montage’, pretty much starting from the point where Adam Scott leaps from a boat to a sinking floating rock stage, falls onto a jet-ski, grabs two bikini girls, and starts shooting piranhas with a shotgun. Yep, that says ‘shotgun’. 

But even for a purposely shitty movie, it’s mostly dull getting there – kinda like how ‘Planet Terror’ mostly failed in the Grindhouse experiment a couple of years back.  ‘Big Crazy Titillation’ just doesn’t work with me as much anymore.  Not that they didn’t try – there’s more boobs in this movie than on the internet, and let me tell you this:  if you’ve always had a dream about seeing Jerry O’ Connell get his crank eaten off by fish, followed by one of them burping the remnants of his wang out, then this is your film!  IN 3D!!!  Eh, 3 out of 7, just for giving Shue and Christopher Lloyd some work, killing Jerry O’Connell (AND Eli Roth in a phenomenal ‘didn’t die from the fish’ head-crushing scene) and for just blatantly not giving a rat’s ass about how horrible this was going to be, because they knew.  They had to know. 

The Box – Pretty much since Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan has progressively made worse and worse movies over and over again, with his trademarked ‘twists’ becoming increasingly trite and predictable.  However, his twist with The Box is pure genius:  he somehow had nothing at all to do with its making at all. 

Which surprised me, because – after reading dozens of bad reviews, and seeing friends opinions that concurred with the overwhelming hate – I said ‘it can’t possibly be that bad’, and then proceeded to leak on a perfectly good evening.  This is AWFUL.  First, it’s set in the 70s, for no apparent reason at all, and that kept bothering me, because it was the only thing keeping my interest.  

See, here’s the plot:  a married couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) have gotten a couple bad breaks, and money’s getting tight – so much so that Cameron’s ‘fixin’ my foot that only has the one toe’ surgery is gonna have to go on the back-burner, mostly because Marsden failed his psych screening to become an astronaut to Mars.  Huh?  Anyway, Frank Langella as Two-Face shows up at their door and gives them a box with a button on it.  If they press the button, they get a million bones, and somebody they don’t know dies. 

Dumb Box


Two things – I couldn’t concentrate on any acting when Langella was on-screen, because I was hypnotized by watching his visible jaw move.  And there was no reason he had to look like that, it was distracting.  Second, he shouldn’t have had to explain anything – pretty much as soon as ‘if you press the button, you get a million dollars and then – ‘ the button would be pressed and he’d be dusting himself off on the curb. 

So of course they press the button, after some anguished-seeming soul-searching, or something.  Then they get the money, but don’t spend any of it, and then all sorts of things start happening.  I’m not sure what, exactly, because the next hour had the most f-ed up editing and pacing I’ve ever seen.  I fell asleep for a minute – a MINUTE – and nine things had happened.  I looked at milady and said ‘how long was I out?  And what’s going on now?’  Her answer:  ‘about a minute, and I have no idea’.  It was like they were only filming every fifth page of the script, seriously. 

And it didn’t even end up being a morality tale, which it should have been – The Box, by all rights, should have been a poorly made Twilight Zone episode than was an hour too long.   But it wasn’t!  No!  

It’s about alien invasion.  Awesome.  HOW DIDN’T YOU DIRECT THIS, M NIGHT?  WHY DO YOU SUDDENLY FAIL ME?  Zero out of 7. 

More this week….thanks for joining us again.

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