One of the greatest pleasures in life is indulging in the culinary arts and trying as many dishes as your stomach can handle. It is always a pleasure to try something you have never had before in your life and come away feeling not only content but also psychologically fulfilled in the process. Sure, there is always the chance that you might not like it but at least you gave it a shot – it just didn’t suit your particular tastes. I’m a pretty adventurous guy when it comes to trying new food although I haven’t quite gotten around to eating deep fried grasshoppers or scorpions yet as I just can’t stand the way they look. If someone were to “hide” it in, say a stew, I might be able to trick myself into eating it just like the time when I was a young pup and my parents told me to eat this piece of “chicken” that turned out to be frog. I liked it and I still liked it even after they told me what it was. Maybe I should just wear a blindfold so that I can’t visually look at something that might turn my stomach.
People who know me realize I’ve been trying to predict (yes call if guessing is you want) box office numbers since high school. For all those who remember “Entertainment News and Views” the quarterly magazine we published you know who I am! Or maybe not. Anyways, here I go again and unlike twenty years ago (it’s been that long) I now have at my disposal a whole wealth of numbers to showcase so let’s begin with the myth that Star Trek films don’t really do too well.
Iraq war movies have been box office poison with audiences not at all connecting with the subject matter perhaps feeling that it rings just too close to home considering the fact that American soldiers are still deployed to that theatre of operations. Count director Neil Burger’s newest film, The Lucky Ones, in the category of past box office disasters based on the conflict in Iraq which is a real shame as he has created a riveting and altogether personable insight into how the war has affected individual soldiers yet manages to do so without a heavy atmosphere of angst. Most films on the same subject matter are inherently dark moody projects that attempt to delve deep into the broken psyche as soldiers undergo mental torment in a violent and inhumane environment.
Horror movies have always been the bane of my existence. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a taut suspenseful experience but that I generally lose interest whenever some supernatural force starts ripping off heads and limbs as the gore level rises into the stratosphere. Psychological terror is a much more inviting concept than visually seeing buckets of blood splatter over the screen.
Woody Allen’s newest film Vicky Christina Barcelona somewhat marks a return to form, at least in comparison to his recent movies but its focus on a bunch of hedonistic characters who engage in a love rhombus ultimately fails to excite with a third act that deflates the whole exercise with too much emphasis on plot elements that seemingly appear from nowhere.
Excellent special effects, gorgeous panoramas, epic sounding soundtrack and gigantic medieval styled battles can’t save a witless and altogether sleep-inducing reimagining of C.S. Lewis’ second Narnia book, Prince Caspian. Populated with about as much personality as a store mannequin can muster the film is saddled with the unenviable task of taking our four former heroes from the first movie and introducing a slew of new personalities in a narrative that does little to move beyond rote stereotypes and exasperatingly dull characterization.
Well, that didn’t take long. The new Star Trek trailer has been released, in high-def no doubt, and, as if on cue, the nay Sayers are out in full force damning it to no end as a disaster in the making because, “it doesn’t seem to be like your father’s Star Trek.” Admittedly, the trailer has generated an overall positive buzz amongst cinéphiles but a large percentage of others feel that it represents a step in the wrong direction.
I am reminded of a recent South Park episode in which George Lucas and Steven Spielberg unknowingly “guest” star and are portrayed as literally raping Indiana Jones in two particularly harrowing sequences – the message here being that Lucas and Spielberg screwed up Indiana Jones And the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull so much that, in effect, they raped the sweet childhood memories of all the fans who loved the series. Now, I’m not here to condemn or praise what South Park did other than to say that the show has always been controversial but I can’t help but chuckle when reading some of the comments by angry Trek fans regarding the new trailer and how, in a span of two minutes, has ruined forty years of Trek lore.
Sometimes the simplest solutions to daunting problems are the easiest to ignore. There’s a small snippet from a Saturday Night Live skit featuring Steve Martin and Amy Poehler as a regular American couple who are having trouble comprehending a new book written by Chris Parnell called, “Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford.” The basic message is incredibly self-evident but being a comedy sketch Steve Martin continues to be befuddled, as he agonizingly can’t seem to wrap his brain around such an inherently simple concept. We can laugh and shake our heads but it highlights a greater issue – most people don’t follow this advice including the US Federal government.