CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT – COMING ATTRACTIONS:
by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(The Scene: The wild west. A group of masked OUTLAWS on horseback wait by a train track. A train whistle shrieks in the distance.)
OUTLAW #1: Here she comes. Right on time.
OUTLAW #2: I can’t wait to see the look on the conductor’s face when our man Willoughby guts him like a pig! (snorts and spits tobacco).
OUTLAW #2: Here she comes. Look fast for Willoughby!
(The outlaws hoot and holler as they see Willoughby with a knife to the conductor’s throat.
OUTLAW #2: Stick him, Willoughby! Stick him!
OUTLAW #3 (points): Wait a minute. Who the hell is that?
(A man in black appears behind Willoughby and pummels the outlaw over the head with a sledge hammer. The man in black faces the camera— it is L.L. SOARES. He continues to pummel Willoughby with the sledgehammer, stopping only to give the outlaws on horseback the finger.)
OUTLAW #1: What the—?
OUTLAW #2 (points): Lookee there
(MICHAEL ARRUDA, dressed in white with a white 10 gallon hat, walks on the roof of the train. He smiles for the camera and lifts a submachine gun which he uses to blow away the outlaws on horseback in one swift sweep.)
(Dissolve to the train station)
CONDUCTOR: That was friggin amazing!!! Thank you, gentlemen, for stopping the Whippersnapper gang. That was terrific!
MICHAEL ARRUDA: Shucks, it was nothing. What we’re really good at is reviewing movies.
CONDUCTOR: You don’t say?
L.L. SOARES: He does say!
MA: In fact, right now, we’re about to do our COMING ATTRACTIONS column for July, where we preview the movies we’ll be seeing in the month ahead; in this case, July!
CONDUCTOR: You guys are better than the Lone Ranger and Tonto!
MA: That remains to be seen, but wouldn’t you know it, our first movie in July, opening on July 3, is THE LONE RANGER (2013), Disney’s big budget production, starring Johnny Depp as Tonto.
Now, as much as I’m a fan of the Lone Ranger character, going back to my days as a kid when I used to watch reruns of the old LONE RANGER TV show from the 1950s starring Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto— I even had a Lone Ranger toy— I simply wasn’t all that excited about this movie.
LS: Hey, I remember that old TV show, too!
MA: I used to be a big fan of Johnny Depp, and I really enjoyed his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies, but lately I just haven’t been into his roles as much. His Barnabas Collins in the recent DARK SHADOWS (2012) disaster may have been the last straw. So, the idea of seeing Depp play Tonto does nothing for me.
Now, all this being said, I have to admit that I’ve actually enjoyed the trailers for this one, and although I won’t go so far to say that I’m looking forward to it, I will say that I’m not dreading seeing THE LONE RANGER as much as I was a few months ago.
It’s directed by Gore Verbinski, by the way, the guy who directed the first three PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies, as well as American remake of THE RING (2002).
LS: Yeah, I’m pretty much in the same boat. I’m a Johnny Depp fan from way back, in the days when he mostly appeared in independent movies. I understand him going for the big bucks now that the first PIRATES movie made him a bankable star, but I haven’t been excited to see a movie starring him in a long time. And yeah, DARK SHADOWS was pretty horrible.
The trailers for LONE RANGER don’t look completely awful. I’ll certainly go in hoping it’s a decent movie. But I don’t have a lot of hope.
On July 12 we’ll be reviewing PACIFIC RIM (2013). This is one of the movies I’ve been wanting to see most this year. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the guy who gave us PAN’S LABYRINTH and the HELLBOY movies, among others, this one has real potential. And what a cool cast. Idris Elba, Ron Perlman, even Charlie Day from IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA!
PACIFIC RIM looks like a cross between TRANSFORMERS and CLOVERFIELD, as giant monsters rise up from the Pacific ocean to terrorize mankind, so the humans build giant robots to fight them. If anyone else made this movie, I’d think it was a pretty goofy idea, but with del Toro involved, I think it has a real shot at being an enjoyable flick, and smarter than it sounds. At least I hope so. Like CLOVERFIELD, it looks like it’s trying to make giant monsters scary again.
MA: You have more faith in this one than I do, and you know what? I hope you’re right! Because I would be really into a cool giant monster movie!
But for me, the problem is the trailers just remind me too much of the TRANSFORMERS movies, and that’s not a good thing. But like you said, del Toro’s involvement should lift this one to a higher level, and I certainly like that Idris Elba and Ron Perlman are in the cast, but I’m guessing in a movie like this, they probably don’t have large roles.
I just think this one’s going to be a monstrous flop.
LS: Oh, give it a chance! It might surprise you.
MA: I hope so. I certainly would be happy if this one turned out to be more like CLOVERFIELD than TRANSFORMERS, but I won’t be holding my breath.
LS: The horror movie THE CONJURING opens on July 19, and I’ll be reviewing this one solo. This could be interesting, with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as a pair of paranormal experts who investigate a haunted house where Lili Taylor lives with her kids.
MA: I’m sorry I’m going to miss this one. The trailers look really creepy, and it’s directed by James Wan, who directed one of my favorite horror movies of the past few years, INSIDIOUS (2010), a movie that I like even more now than when I first saw it a couple of years ago.
I also like the cast, led by Patrick Wilson, who played the dad in INSIDIOUS, and Vera Farmiga, who’s currently starring as Norman Bates’s mother on the TV show BATES MOTEL.
LS: Yeah, I enjoyed the first season of BATES MOTEL, and I’m a big Farmiga fan.
MA: We finish July with THE WOLVERINE (2013), which opens on July 26. Now, I’m a huge fan of the Marvel superhero movies, and I like the character of the Wolverine a lot, and I especially enjoy Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the Wolverine character in the X-MEN movies, so why aren’t I all that excited about this one?
For one thing, the title is about as blah as you can get: THE WOLVERINE, especially considering the title of the last Wolverine movie, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009). Here’s a look at some future titles as the series continues: THIS WOLVERINE, THAT WOLVERINE, WTF WOLVERINE, and THE MICHIGAN WOLVERINE.
There you go.
It’s directed by James Mangold, who directed the western 3:10 TO YUMA (2009), a movie I liked a lot.
I’m not all that excited about THE WOLVERINE, but strangely, I am looking forward to seeing it.
LS: Yeah, I’m a Wolverine fan from way back when Chris Claremont and John Byrne were the creative team on The Uncanny X-Men comic books. So it’s cool to see the character doing so well in movies. However, while he’s been good in the X-MEN movies, I wasn’t a big fan of his last solo outing in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, which I felt was kind of a misfire.
MA: I actually liked X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.
LS: You would!
Hopefully James Mangold can get the character back on track. This adventure takes him to Japan, where the character had a lot of storylines in the comics. There’s been a kind of “modern samurai” take on Wolverine for a long time, and I’ll be curious to see how this translates to film.
But man, you’re right, that title is incredibly lame.
MA: And that wraps things up for July. (turns to Train Conductor) So, how did we do?
TRAIN CONDUCTOR: A very entertaining column. But I still wish you’d consider catching outlaws on a full time basis.
MA: Sorry. No can do. We have too many movies to review.
LS: And I have a new novel to write.
MA: Me, too.
LS: A writer’s job is never done.
(MA & LS ride off into the sunset).
(SHERIFF approaches the TRAIN CONDUCTOR.)
SHERIFF: Who were those masked men?
CONDUCTOR: Sheriff, those men were Cinema Knife Fighters, the toughest, meanest, sons of bitches this side of the Mississippi. And when they’re not hunting down outlaws, they review movies.
SHERIFF: What’s a movie?
© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares