August 8, 2014, - 6:47 pm
Wknd Box Office: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hundred-Foot Journey, I Origins, Into the Storm, Venus in Fur
It’s August, the pet cemetery of movies, where studios generally send all of their garbage movies to die. And so it’s no surprise that it’s yet another subpar weekend at the movies, with one interesting but very weird new release, one okay disaster movie, and three annoyances chock-full of typical liberal claptrap (“Step Up All In” was not screened for critics):
* “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles“: This is yet another unnecessary remake–this one of the 1990 movie of the same name. When TMNT was a big hit in the early ’90s, I thought it was a dopey idea. But I came to this movie with an open mind. I left with the same conclusion I had in the 1990s. It’s dumb, dopey, cheesy, and pointless. Unless you count the fact that the plot of this version has been souped up to include the boring, old, stock Hollywood liberal narrative in which the corporate CEO and his company are the villains who try to poison the world with disease. Yaaaawn. And, for a kids’ film, I was surprised at how violent it was. The turtles are electrified, people are killed, and so on. On top of that, star Megan Fox utters the S-word, and a turtle jokes about Fox, “She’s so hot, I can feel my shell tightening up.” Really? In a kids’ movie? Come on.
Fox–who is clearly not in the movie for acting skills–plays a TV reporter who no one takes seriously. Gee, I wonder why. She’s stuck doing dumb reports on aerobic exercises on the streets of New York City. A crime wave has overtaken the city, and she sees vigilantes–who she soon uncovers as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–stopping the crime gang, the evil “Foot Clan.” But her boss, Whoopi Goldberg (who is not acting when she “plays” indignant), thinks she’s nuts and fires Fox. Fox soon discovers that the turtles were her pet turtles who were experimented on by her late father and his business partner when she was a kid. The partner is now the evil CEO of a giant company. He is out to poison the world with an illness, so he can then sell the antidote, a chemical which is in the blood of the turtles. He’s aiming to harvest the turtles’ blood, kill Fox, and make oodles of money. And predictably, the turtles and Fox foil him. The end.
Hey, I warned you it was August.
The movie–for an action film–gets to be incredibly boring and repetitive. It has some good special effects, but you can skip the 3D (in which I saw it), and save your money.
I found this movie to seem incredibly dated and passe. There are so many great kids’ and family offerings at the movies these days, and this didn’t compete. Not even close. It seems anachronistic in comparison. But I’m sure it will do well at theaters, with the mega-hype it’s getting.
One last thing: there are so many scenes of the turtles eating Pizza Hut pizza, I wanted to know when the way-too-obvious commercial would end and we would get back to the movie. Sadly, when that happened, I wanted back in to the pizza commercial.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “The Hundred-Foot Journey“: This is produced by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, so that’s pretty much all you need to know. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also financed and produced by ImageNation Dubai, which is owned by the Muslim emirate government of Dubai? I’ve seen a gazillion movies with this tired, old plot–a regular Hollywood narrative: evil White, xenophobic Europeans persecute Third World immigrants. In this case, the Third Worlders are Indian Muslims. Figures.
The story: a family of Indian Muslims have a restaurant in Mumbai. But, one night, rioting Hindus set fire to their restaurant and kill the mother. Um, reality check: in real life, it would be Muslims rioting and setting fire to and killing Hindus. But, hey, it’s Oprah and Spielberg, so who cares about the facts, right? The Indian Muslims move first to the UK and then to France, where they get stranded in a small village. They decide to open a restaurant across the street from a fancy restaurant owned by Helen Mirren, a snobby White lady who does everything she can to hurt and ruin these immigrants whom she sees as dirty and undesirable. Of course, the Muslims are kind and pure as the driven snow, while the European Whites are just loathsome.
One night, Mirren’s evil White European chef and his sous chefs set fire to the Muslim Indian restaurant. Reality check: um, who would be burning down who’s restaurant in real life? It would be the other way around. The fire burns and injures the hands of Hassan, one of the sons of the Muslim family. He’s the star chef and extremely talented. And he’s in love with the White European new sous chef of Mirren’s restaurant. But since Mirren feels guilty about the violence, she is suddenly nice to everyone and invites Hassan to her restaurant where he masters all of French classic cuisine, and then leaves to Paris to become a star chef. In the end of this extremely predictable, stale old plot, all of the White women fall in love with the Muslims and end up with them. We are the world, we are the children. Blah, blah, blah. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Uh-huh, it’s really “believable” that classy Helen Mirren would end up with the loudmouthed, uncultured, bulbous-nosed Indian Muslim dad. Nope. Not even close.
I should note that the movie does not tell you that the Indians are Muslims (you can tell by their names and the headscarves the women wear) and there is no praying or mention of the koran. But that’s by design. They don’t hit you over the head with Islam to propagandize you. They kill you softly with kindness. These are nice, unobtrusive people with charming cooking and vignettes. That’s how they sell you on Islam. How Oprah and Spielberg pimp you on Muslims as nice people who harm no one but are oppressed by the evil Whites anyway.
If you still go to see this horrible piece of propaganda fiction, don’t go on an empty stomach. There are lots of close-ups of food and cooking. But, whether you go to this hungry or sated, this plot and story will make your stomach turn.
THREE MARXES PLUS THREE BIN LADENS
Watch the trailer . . .
* “I Origins“: This is one of the weirder movies I can remember seeing in a long time. I hated the first half of this, thinking it was another one of these oversexed, sleazy, pretentious, pro-atheism arthouse movies. But, then, just as I settled on that conclusion, the movie does a 180 and becomes interesting and actually pro-theism. I’m sorry I had to see a woman split in half by an elevator or see a guy having random sex on a toilet in a dingy bathroom with a masked woman he doesn’t know, to get there, though.
Michael Pitt plays a scientist and doctor who is obsessed with eyes and has been ever since he was a kid. He is doing studies on the eyes and the genes which create them and the colors and designs of pupils. He’s a skeptic and is using his study to try to prove evolution and disprove the existence of G-d. At the beginning of the movie, he meets a mysterious masked woman at a party. He’s drawn to her because of the unusual colors and flecks in her eyes. He has sex with her on the toilet of a dingy bathroom, and then she runs off. He becomes obsessed with finding her, and when he finally does, they begin a relationship and are set to be married. But it’s not meant to be. Ultimately, he ends up with his lab partner, Britt Marling, and strange things start happening regarding their baby, his eyes, a hospital, and some strange experiment. To tell more would be to give away everything. But it all ties together and turns this skeptic into a believer in divine intervention and the existence of G-d.
As I’ve noted before on this site, I like actress Britt Marling and everything in which she acts, but I know that whatever she is in will be unusual and strange. Her movies are never conventional, and that’s a good thing, so long as they are not too unconventional. As I said, I liked the message of the movie, but I wish it wouldn’t have involved so much strangeness to get there. I like strange movies, but generally I prefer less strange than this. Still, the movie was extremely suspenseful and creepy, putting chills up and down my spine, and it combined sci-fi with drama, mystery, and other movie genres in a novel way. I’ve never seen a movie quite like this before. And new and different is interesting. Again, beware of the elevator scene. And you gotta stick through the pretentious first half of this to get to the good stuff.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Into the Storm“: The thing I most hate about this movie is that $12 million in Michigan taxpayers’ money went to fund it. For a low-budget (if $40 million constitutes low-budget–I’m not sure) film, it’s not bad. But it’s not great. I’m not sure I would pay ten-plus bucks to see it, but I might watch it on Netflix. That’s only for the tornadoes and special effects, which were good for a low-budget movie. I generally don’t like tornado movies, but this one was okay.
The story: a widower principal of a high school in a small town and his sons are caught in a set of giant, monster tornadoes. There are several smaller tornadoes that split up into more. And there’s a giant one that is bigger than any tornado ever. There is a team of storm chasers who are chasing the tornadoes. The storm chasers and the principal team up to save each other and the students at the school. And they also try to find and save the principal’s older son. The movie is predictable and has an unimaginative storyline and script.
There are no big stars or anyone recognizable in this movie, unless you count Sarah Wayne Callies, who played the now-deceased mother on “The Walking Dead.” There are amateurish moments in which unknown people and characters pop up suddenly and impossibly in scenes, but other than that, it’s your average natural disaster movie.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Venus in Fur [La Vénus à La Fourrure]“: No, this is not a pornography film, despite its title. But it’s a complete waste of time written and directed by child molester rapist Roman Polanski.
The story: a mysterious actress arrives at a darkened theater on a stormy evening, just as the director is packing up and ready to leave from a day of fruitless auditions for the lead role in his new play. Soon, she convinces him to let her read, and, voila, she knows the play by heart. She initially seemed like a cheap, stupid woman, but transforms into a sophisticated, beautiful, insightful woman. She also knows a lot of intimate details of the director’s life. She constantly whines about how anti-feminist the play, based on a sick sado-masochistic novel from the late 1800s, is. The actress tries to seduce the director, and soon she has tied him up and left him there. The end.
Why on earth did I waste my time on this? Long, boring, pointless, and a total snooze-fest. A total time bandit that stole 96 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.
Watch the trailer . . .