by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares

(The Scene: A hotel lounge, the day after a New Year’s party. Patrons are either passed out or drearily wobbling towards the exits. Hotel staff are cleaning the area, taking down streamers, putting away dirty dishes, and putting away food. MICHAEL ARRUDA & L.L. SOARES sit at a table, wide awake and ready to go, with a bottle of champagne and two glasses in front of them.)

MICHAEL ARRUDA: Happy New Year everybody! Welcome to 2013!

L.L. SOARES: We hope you’ve had a happy and safe New Year’s Eve celebration, and you’re ready to ring in the New Year.

MA (looks around them): Hopefully you’re feeling better than the folks at this party.

LS: And if not, go back to bed, take a nap, and catch us later, because we’ll still be here.

MA: That’s right. Cinema Knife Fight isn’t going anywhere, and we’re excited to be bringing you all kinds of movie reviews and goodies in 2013.

LS: Let’s get the ball rolling. (Kicks a shiny “Happy New Year!” ball across the lobby.)

MA: That’s the way to kick off the year.

(Off camera comes the sound of glass breaking followed by a loud scream.)

Today we’re bringing you our COMING ATTRACTIONS column for January 2013, where we preview the movies we’ll be reviewing this month.

LS: First up, on January 4, it’s TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D (2013). When I first heard about this, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to hear about yet another sequel, but supposedly this one is a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s original film from 1974, and takes place between that movie and Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2 from 1986. Even better, it pretends as if the incredibly tepid remakes never existed, which is fine by me. I’m still not expecting a masterpiece here – Tobe Hooper had nothing to do with this one – but maybe it won’t be so bad.


MA (shaking his head): I don’t know about this one— truth be told, I’ve just never been a fan of Leatherface and his TEXAS CHAINSAW movies, and along comes yet another one, in 3D no less— I don’t know.

LS: Not even the original? Man, you’re not much of a horror fan, are you? Maybe you’d prefer a nice little romantic comedy instead.

MA: Let’s move on to January 11. On this date we’ll be reviewing the glossy-looking gangster flick GANGSTER SQUAD (2013), a film I’m looking forward to—sort of.

I’m looking forward to it because I like Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, and Emma Stone, but I’ve seen the trailer for this one forever now, and I feel as if I’ve seen everything that’s going to happen in this movie already. Are there any surprises left?

Plus, it’s clearly reminiscent of Brian DePalma’s THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987) even though it is based on a different story. Its director, Ruben Fleischer, also directed ZOMBIELAND (2009), so that’s a good thing,

I expect that I will like GANGSTER SQUAD, but only if it offers more than what’s been shown in its ubiquitous trailer.


LS: I’m not all that excited about this one, and it may be for the same reasons. The trailer has been shown in theaters for months now, and to tell you the truth, I thought this one already came and went. The idea of actually having to sit through it sounds a little tedious to me. And Sean Penn looks kind of cartoony in the previews as an over-the-top Mickey Cohen. Maybe it will surprise me. I sure hope so.

Also, on this same weekend, John Harvey will be reviewing ZERO DARK THIRTY, and we’ll definitely be looking forward to his review.

On January 18, we’ll be reviewing the new horror movie MAMA (2013). It’s about a guy who takes in his two nieces when they’re found living a feral existence in the woods. Him and his girlfriend (played by Jessica Chastain, an actress I like a lot) seek to civilize them, but then there’s the issue of who, or what, their Mama is. Seems to be some kind of monster or evil spirit or something. A lot of people have been thinking, based on the trailer, that this one is directed by Guillermo Del Toro, but he was only the executive producer on this one. You’re going to have to wait until July for del Toro’s new movie as a director—the giant monster flick PACIFIC RIM.


MA: I’m looking forward to MAMA. The trailer looks creepy, and I have a feeling that after TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D I’m going to be in the mood for a good horror movie.

LS: Who’s saying they both won’t be good? Either way, what are you doing slamming a movie that you haven’t even seen yet? They’re going to be completely different kinds of horror movies to begin with, so you shouldn’t be comparing them.

MA: Yeah, one good and one bad. I’m just joking. Who knows? I might love CHAINSAW and hate MAMA. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Also coming out that weekend is THE LAST STAND (2013), the new action movie starring everybody’s favorite Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s the story of a small town sheriff (Schwarzenegger)—yeah, that’s believable!—who has to defend his town from a ruthless drug cartel, with only his small town “Barney Fife” associates to help him.

LS: Yeah, his sidekick in this one is Johnny Knoxville from JACKASS.


MA: Everything about this movie seems silly and ridiculous, but it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I have so many fond memories of Arnold’s movies from the 80s and 90s, that I can’t help but want to see this one, and as goofy as it looks, I’m looking forward to seeing it.

LS: Yeah, you’re alone on that one.

MA: Interestingly enough, it’s directed by Jee-woon Kim, the South Korean director who directed the grisly, relentless horror movie I SAW THE DEVIL (2010). Something tells me THE LAST STAND isn’t going to be as intense as I SAW THE DEVIL.

LS: What the hell! Why is Jee-woon Kim directing crap like this??

MA: Also worth mentioning is the presence of Harry Dean Stanton in the cast. Always good to see him in a movie.

And we finish the month with another ridiculous looking movie, as on January 26 it’s HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (2013). As much as I like Jeremy Renner, this one looks awful, and I’m not looking forward to seeing it.


LS: Yeah, it looks kind of awful. The trailer makes ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER look great. I have no desire to see this one, but I guess we gotta.

The R-rated comedy MOVIE 43 (2013) also opens this weekend, and I’ll be reviewing this one solo. Hopefully it will clean my palette after HANSEL AND GRETEL. It looks to be in the spirit of old comedy anthology movies like KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE (1977) and AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON (1987). Lots of different skits, lots of big name stars, raunchy comedy. I hope it’s half as good as it looks.

MS: Yes, MOVIE 43 looks epic in its raunchiness. It has a huge cast. I’m guessing all those folks aren’t in it very much.


And on a very busy weekend, Jason Statham also has a new movie coming out, PARKER (2013), and I’ll be reviewing this one solo. PARKER looks pretty standard. Statham plays a thief, bad guys screw him over, Statham seeks revenge.  I like Statham a lot, and so it should be fun watching him do his thing, but again, this one doesn’t look like anything special.


That being said, it’s directed by veteran director Taylor Hackford, who’s given us such films as DOLORES CLAIRBORNE (1995), THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE (1997), and RAY (2004). And it has a screenplay by John J. McLaughlin, who wrote the screenplays for HITCHCOCK (2012) and BLACK SWAN (2010), based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake, a novelist and screenwriter who wrote among other things the screenplay to the original THE STEPFATHER (1987).

This one also features Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, and Michael Chiklis in its cast.

Hmm. Maybe this one will be more than a standard actioner after all.

LS: Good luck with that.

MA: That wraps things up for us here. Thanks for joining us everybody, and we’ll see you next Monday with our review of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D.

LS: So long everybody!

MA (offering glass to LS): Champagne?

LS: Are you kidding? They’ve got tequila shots in the next room.

MA: I’m with you. (puts glass down. They exit towards bar.)


© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares


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