Film

Hot Stuff: The 2012 PopMatters Summer Movie Preview (August)

Bourne and a bunch of ancient action movie icons wrap up the annual popcorn movie march, not with a whimper, but (hopefully) with a box office bang.

Director: Tony Gilroy

Film: The Bourne Legacy

Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/t/thebournelegacyposter.jpg

Display as: List

3 August
The Bourne Legacy

There are several questions surrounding this seemingly "rushed" installment of the prized action franchise. First, why did Matt Damon, perhaps the ultimate thinking man's spy, suddenly decide to drop out? Why did Paul Greengrass, original praised for this shaky-cam you-are-there approach to thrills, end up directorial persona non grata. Huh? Well, Jeremy Renner is a good replacement and Tony Gilroy -- recently responsible for the excellent Michael Clayton and Duplicity -- is a good choice for handing things behind the scenes. Whatever the reasons, we either have the start of another terrific triptych, or an entertainment experiment that didn't work.

 
Director: Len Wiseman

Film: Total Recall 2012

Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/t/totalrecall2012poster.jpg

Display as: List

3 August
Total Recall

Apparently, Arnold's previous admonishment about getting one's "ass to Mars" was completely ignored by the makers of this reboot. Instead, Colin Farrell's version of Doug Quaid will be stuck in a future shock dystopian world where two major reconfigured superpowers battle for corrupt control of the populace. We still get the memory implant, the mistaken spy, the hot wife/assassin (Kate Beckinsale), and Kuato, this time in the person of omnipresent actor Bill Nighy (one imagines no deformed twin attached to Davy Jones' torso this time around). While the trailer looks promising, this is not really Total Recall. Without Mars, it's meaningless.

 
Director: Fernando Meirelles

Film: 360

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Ben Foster, Jamel Debbouze

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/f/film360poster.jpg

Display as: List

3 August
360

Some are calling it the cousin of Robert Altman and Paul Thomas Anderson -- a multilayered, multi-character narrative with intertwining subplots and situations. Others are referring to it as a B-level Babel, or even worse, Crash. Whatever the case, City of God/The Constant Gardener's Fernando Meirelles has his work cut out for him, especially if the final result is more of the latter and not the former. In fact, many are complaining about the bland script fashioned by Peter Morgan who seems to do better when he's dealing with politics (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) and not personal issues.

 
Director: David Bowers

Film: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Cast: Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris, Peyton List, Karan Brar

MPAA rating: PG

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/d/doawkdogdays.jpg

Display as: List

3 August
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Believe it or not, this kid vid series has been pretty successful. The first installment made over $75 million at the box office (on a $15 million budget) while the sequel topped off at $72 million. So, naturally, a third film was mandated, this time covering two of the books in the successful realistic fiction franchise. Of course, our hero will remain wimpy, his older brother will be a major league pest, our their parents will remain clueless, calculated laugh fodder. While inoffensive and often quite affecting, the Diary films represent the most middling of movie material. Strictly for the wee ones.

 
Director: Jay Roach

Film: The Campaign

Cast: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Dylan McDermott, Jason Sudeikis, Katherine LaNasa, Sarah Baker

MPAA rating: R

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/t/thecampaignposter.jpg

Display as: List

10 August
The Campaign

It's interesting that Jay Roach, the man behind such silly comedies as Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Meet the Fockers has found legitimacy in the arena of political theater. His TV movie take on the 2000 election, Recount, won him an Emmy, and last month, Game Change took on the nomination of Sarah Palin for Vice President. Now, he's stepping back to the big screen and is bringing Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis along for the ride. The story centers on two Southern gents vying for their small town's Congressional seat. Hopefully, hilarity ensues.

 
Director: David Frankel

Film: Hope Springs

Cast: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, Elisabeth Shue, Jean Smart

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://www.popmatters.com/images/blog_art/h/hopespringsposter.jpg

Display as: List

10 August
Hope Springs

No, this is not a remake of the 2003 RomCom featuring Colin Firth and Minnie Driver. Instead, this sounds like a weird A-list level of TV movie material. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, four Oscars between them, play a couple who need counseling after decades of marriage. They end up in the offices of Dr. Bernie Fields, essayed by Steve Carell. Apparently, his therapy method is "intense" and involves purging both the personal and sexual hang-ups of this ordinary couple. Sounds like an attempt at something a bit more adult, along the lines of Streep's last major success, It's Complicated.






Next Page

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Film

Subverting the Romcom: Mercedes Grower on Creating 'Brakes'

Julian Barratt and Oliver Maltman (courtesy Bulldog Film Distribution)

Brakes plunges straight into the brutal and absurd endings of the relationships of nine couples before travelling back to discover the moments of those first sparks of love.

The improvised dark comedy Brakes (2017), a self-described "anti-romcom", is the debut feature of comedienne and writer, director and actress Mercedes Grower. Awarded production completion funding from the BFI Film Fund, Grower now finds herself looking to the future as she develops her second feature film, alongside working with Laura Michalchyshyn from Sundance TV and Wren Arthur from Olive productions on her sitcom, Sailor.

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image