29 March 2011


The summer season has been creeping earlier for quite some time now; but I don't think I'd ever seen an April release trumpeting itself as the first Summer Movie. Until this year. We'll get there soon in enough; in the meantime, I can think of no meta-narrative to cover a slate of films that, even by the standards of a month that often doesn't seem to know if it's coming or going, is oddly dischordant.

Fun fact: there has not been a single year in the last decade - and probably longer, but that's all the farther I checked - in which we got as far as the end of the first quarter without a single film having ruled the U.S. box office on two separate weekends: until this year. 12 weeks, 12 different #1s. A poor sign of Hollywood's quality, I suspect, and I'll make no predictions as to whether this month changes things.


At any rate, the month is getting a strong start, with a movie in which Russell Brand, the suddenly-overexposed former delightfully kooky Brit, plays the son of the Easter Bunny, who moves to Los Angeles to become a rock star and teams up with James Marsden. Haha, April Fool! Nobody would ever come up such a stupid-


Elsewhere in a shockingly packed weekend, Duncan Jones, director of Moon and son of David Bowie, makes his second feature, Source Code, which will hopefully prove to be the kind of brainy thiller that can't be reduced into a trailer, because that trailer makes it look kind of blandly "power of love" -ish. Also, Insidious, a bastard stepchild of Sawmeisters James Wan and Leigh Whannel and Paranormal Activity's Oren Peli. All the good buzz in the world can't convince me that it's going to be even marginally good.

Then there are the limited releases: Super, or "Kick-Ass without the troubling fetishisation of a preteen girl killing people", and Trust, director David Schwimmer's tale of sexual assault between teenagers in the internet age. You read that right


Speaking of Russell Brand overexposure: he's playing the lead in a remake of Arthur. Which I still don't get. What possible reason is there to remake Arthur? Does anybody in the history of life actually enjoy the original? Is this a brand name that gives anybody the slightest feeling of hope? Are there plans to remake On the Rocks as well?

Moving into more comforting areas, Joe Wright and Saoirse Ronan reunite for Hanna, a movie that looks so profoundly obvious from the ads that I'm guessing it's not even meant to have twists, but it certainly has the aura of a really solid thriller about it, especially if the Chemical Brothers score hinted in the trailer is as fucking awesome as seems likely. Fans of inspirational true stories can take refuge in the heartwarming tale of a girl whose arm gets eaten by a shark, Soul Surfer; fans of inspirational cute true stories will have to do with Born to Be Wild, a documentary about cute wittle owangutans and ewephants.

Fans of Satan must make do with Your Highness, in which onetime savior of indie cinema David Gordon Green shepherds medieval pot jokes and ceases to matter to me in any but the most abstract intellectual sense.


Yeah, yeah, Scream 4 (don't like the series, but as far as horror has degraded in ten years, I'm still looking forward to it), Rio (oh boy, talking animals who make pop culture references), and The Conspirator (Robert Redford directs a political harangue in period garb). For me, the weekend is all about the probably infinitesimal release of Atlas Shrugged: Part I, boasting a trailer of the most utterly piquant ghastliness - I have mislaid the name of the commenter who first brought it to my attention, but you have my deepest thanks - promising something along the lines of a collaboration between the Ayn Rand Fan Club of Akron and the people who make Syfy Original Movies when The Asylum is asking for too much money. Heaven help me, I'm more excited for this than pretty much any summer tentpole this year.


Every time I hear the title of Disney's newest Earth Day nature documentary, African Cats, I want it to be a blaxploitation film. This is because I am an irreversibly broken human being.

Moving along: in amongst about ten dozen movies that will probably never play outside of New York, there's a new Madea film - and my relationship to the cinema of Tyler Perry has become complex in the last few months, not because he is a good filmmaker, but because he is fascinatingly bad - Madea's Big Happy Family, as well as the Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson period circus love story Water for Elephants, which will not be fascinatingly bad nor fascinatingly good nor anything involving the word "fascinating" unless it is combined with the prefix "anti-"


Are you ready for summer to begin? The producers of Fast Five - which, unintuitively, is an entry in the Fast and the Furious series - certainly hope you are, because that is the exact claim being made in the last trailer. Marvel Studios must be pissed.

If you'd rather stretch the crappy in-between doldrums out longer, you can do it with Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, which is a title so unfathomably hateful that I would want the movie to fail even if Hoodwinked,six years ago, had been the second coming of Jean Renoir. Or some kind of vampire/zombie melodrama thing, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. Or best of all, Disney's latest attempt to sell high school to 10-year-olds, Prom.


Rob Niven said...

Wow... April looks so... sad. Can't we just skip it and get to May?

Mr. K said...

In defense of Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (which I have not seen the previews for), it is based on the work of the same comic book creator whose work was adapted into Michele Soavi's beautifully sad CEMETERY MAN.

It's not going to be CEMETERY MAN, I'm sure, but it'll be a damned sight closer than anything else that month, I'm sure.

The.Watcher said...

I've actually heard really good things of Source Code, kinda makes me hope that it will be the first movie of the year that I'll actually like. Hey! it's only April... *cries*

Dylan Dog: The Comic is awesome sauce, but I really haven't seen anything of the movie. I kinda hope it will be at least decent, since Sam Huntington stars as Emo-Superman's partner. He plays the werewolf in the US Being Human show. Brilliant.

Rob Niven said...

Well, I watched the trailer for that Dylan Dog movie, it looks like it could be good. Certainly looks better than almost all the rest of April.

MrRoivas said...

Hi, I was the person who linked to the Atlas Shrugged trailer on one of the comment threads on this blog. Thanks for the mention. Quite glad its existence causes you joy.

Mr. K said...


The guy playing Henry Rearden was the same guy who played Captain Galt on LOST. Who got shot by his mercenary buddy. Also, Patrick Fischler is in it, which means you can also make MULHOLLAND DRIVE jokes as well.

dfa said...

Heard the Hannah soundtrack, sounds more Where the Wild Things are than Tron, YMMV. As for Source Code I've blind faith on that one.

Daniel Silberberg said...

So let's see your Tyler Perry reviews, Tim. I'm intrigued.

Simon said...

I thought Prom was a horror movie. What's going on?

I shall gather all my friends (yeah, all four of them) and we shall go to the first screening of Atlas Shrugged and we will laugh. We will laugh because it's hideously bad, but mostly we'll laugh because who the fuck's going to stop us?

And, of course, you can hurl what you may at Arthur, but I'm seeing that shit. The things I do for Gerwig...

Tim said...

That's enough of you talking up Dylan Dog that I guess I can be provisionally excited for it. I haven't seen the trailer, just read the description.

Daniel- I actually have plans in that direction, in a half-finished state.

Simon- Gerwig, yeah. You and me both.

james1511 said...

I've seen the trailer for Hop. I suspect that only the fact that I had the TV sound turned off stopped my head from exploding. I look at that, I look at the other films you've mentioned here, and then I stop feeling bad about hardly ever seeing anything new these days.

Meg said...

The horror/wonder of bile fascination that is an Atlas Shrugged movie makes me rub my hands together and cackle.

Neil Fulwood said...

Just watched the 'Atlas Shrugged' trailer. I ... um ... words fail me.

The fact that it happily bills itself as 'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' ... words continue to fail me.

This might just be a must-see.

jjjonatron said...

Oh man, having watched the complete debacle Diary of a Mad Black Woman, I definitely support your Tyler Perry review series! I may even be compelled to watch his other films if you do such a thing.

And god was Diary of a Mad Black Woman bad.