Saw the trailer for next week’s Lakeview Terrace not too long ago.  There’s a couple decent reasons to check that movie out, for sure.  My crush on Kerry Washington just keeps on growing, as does my appreciation for the deceptively bland Patrick Wilson (see Little Children: smart performance, good movie), and Sam Jackson looks to be in full-on badass villain mode.  All directed by Neil LaBute, no less.  But none of that changes the fact that the movie still looks like any number of those late-80s/early-90s home invasion thrillers.  So long story short, I still kinda want to see it, but don’t ultimately care if I do or not, considering how I’ve already seen Unlawful Entry. 


But that’s next weekend.  This weekend is even more disturbing in how it’s revealing the levels of apathy quietly fostering within my heart…


Something ain’t entirely right when a weekend brings both a new Coen Brothers comedy and a rematch between Pacino and De Niro, and I have little inclination to go out to the theaters for either one.  I mean, I’ll surely watch both movies eventually, but won’t suffer the wait if it’s three months, instead of three hours, from now.



Burn After Reading.


I like the cruel perversity of the Coen brothers following up their brutal, mostly straight-faced Academy Awards ticket (No Country For Old Men) with a wacky farce.  Metaphorically speaking, I will always respect anyone that leaves Nobu and heads directly to White Castle.  Doesn’t necessarily make me excited for Burn After Reading though.


The realities of film economics mean that you sometimes have to put big names in your movie to get people to come see it, and sometimes the big names are even the best fit for the material, in which case it’s win-win.  But at this moment in time the Coens can do anything they want to, so it seems like kind of a let-down that they chose to go with another entry in their patented big-movie-stars-acting-goofy genre.  The best thing about their best comedies (The Big Lebowski, The Big Lebowski, and The Big Lebowski) is the way they feature up-and-comers and almost-weres giving their best, rather than A-listers giving a little less than that.  George Clooney and Brad Pitt over-acting wacky comes off a bit like the popular kids gunning also to be named class clown.  You’re already banging the cheerleader, dudes.  At least leave the joking to the guys that don’t have any choice BUT be funny.  


That said, I recently got to rewatch O Brother Where Art Thou? which turned out to an even better movie than I originally thought at the time of its initial release, and Clooney is a huge reason for that.  Further, Pitt was legendarily funny in his small role in True Romance, and Fight Club is at least half a comedy, and I personally have gotten a lot of enjoyment from impersonating his final scene in Seven, so it’s not like I have doubts about how legitimately funny these two actors can be.  It’s just not the movie I want to see right now.  Burn After Reading has more of the aroma of pricey cologne and The Ladykillers, when I’d generally rather get a whiff of chocolate chip cookies, a.k.a. Raising Arizona.




Righteous Kill.


Getting real nervous about this one.  Heat is such an crucial movie in my world, so tremendous, flawed, and alive, that another Pacino/ DeNiro superhero team-up would have to be on my radar, no matter how watered-down it looks to be.  But this one looks to be REALLY watered down.  Just the weak posters and billboards and their under-enthusiastic selling of the marquee cast make me extremely wary of impending disappointment.


For one thing, putting 50 Cent in a movie like this (a New York crime flick) feels like a grab for legitimacy or authenticity that a movie like this shouldn’t need to make, and it’s a stunt-cast that surely comes at least three years too late.  We know 50 Cent today as a Vitamin Water multi-multi-millionaire who sometimes puts out pop singles.  Hard to remember his original, much more ballsy, underground material anymore.  It’s been a long road away from “How To Rob.”  I’m not saying 50 Cent is a poser, but I might be saying that he recently has been giving the impression of one.


For another thing, John Leguizamo and Brian Dennehy are in it.  Fantastic actors both, but their appearance in a movie no longer guarantees prestige.  Sometimes that enthusiastic willingness to appear in non-prestige pictures can yield wonderful results, such as in Land of The Dead or Tommy Boy, but sometimes it turns out like The Happening or She Hate Me.  Stacking a bench deep with great actors doesn’t always translate to a cohesive directorial vision.  Sometimes it just means you’re stacking the bench.  Kind of like my beloved Yankees of late: A bunch of great players don’t always add up to a great team.


And finally, Bill Hicks’ least favorite New Kid, Donnie Wahlberg.  Is this the movie that sent Donnie back to the New Kids On The Block?  Something had to be responsible for the most quizzical career arc in recent memory.  How many people are able do a complete 180 like he did – from the stupidest, worst-named boy band ever (no small feat), to becoming a promising and respected actor (dude kicked ass in The Sixth Sense and Band of Brothers), only to willingly 180 again, to go back to the retardedness from whence he came?  What happened there?  And no, money doesn’t explain it.


All of these factors, along with the hit-or-miss-by-a-mile filmography Al and Bobby have been racking up this decade, make me way more apathetic than I should be when it comes to stomping my way to the ticket office for Righteous Kill.






All of that said?



I completely look forward for all everything I just wrote to be proven entirely wrong!  It’s hardly fair to slam movies I haven’t seen yet, especially when they’re made by some people whose work I love and respect.  So I will give both movies a fair chance.  I just may not rush to do so, this time around.