Hot Tub Time Machine review is on its way soon, y’all. Yes, it’s awesome. The pitch is 2 Better Off Dead + 2 The Hangover = 4 Hot Tub Time Machine.
Clash of the Titans: This trailer reminds me of my love/hate relationship with Troy. On the one hand, it’s a big dumb stupid Cliff’s Notesing of The Iliad. On the other hand, I admired that Wolfgang Peterson, a talented director with a couple duds on his CV, attempted to make a atheistic mythology—the gods in Troy are nothing but false idols whose palaces crumble during savage warfare. Troy turned Achilles into a raging amoral psychopath, and the wussification of Orlando Bloom and his dirt-stache probably killed his career. Whatever else you can say about Troy, it had ideas and ambition. And a real actor at its center; give Eric Bana credit for embodying the contradictions of loyalty that tear Hector apart. Clash of the Titans looks like it wants to be Troy-esque, but louder and stupider—like it wants to turn Perseus into the Scorpion King. Liam Neeson may bring some badass to Zeus, but what about Ralph Fiennes? Outside of a bit role in The Hurt Locker, it seems like he’s pretty much in nothing but Harry Potter movies and Nanny McPhee since…Maid in Manhattan?
The Last Song: If you’re interested in wagering on the current graduating class of Disney Channel Stars, here’s why the smart money is on Zac Efron over Miley Cyrus. Efron’s post-HSM projects have been Hairspray, a can’t-miss commercial vehicle that played to his strengths while minimizing the risk. Efron was the teenage heartthrob; he sang some songs, acted cool…basically, he was Zac Efron. The movie’s success certainly didn’t hinge on him; the buzz surrounded John Travolta’s cross-dressing role, and Efron was surrounded by names like Walken, Pfeiffer, Latifah, and Janney. His first star vehicle was 17 Again, a time-change comedy where, again, he put himself in safe hands. The director, Burr Steers, directed the superb indie comedy Igby Goes Down, and he was surrounded by decent comedic talent: Leslie (Mrs. Apatow) Mann, Matthew Perry, and “Buffy” vet Michelle Trachetenberg. This winter, Efron starred in his first “serious” movie, Me and Orson Welles, directed by indie god Richard Linklater. Again, Efron surrounded himself with talent; here, not only Linklater, but a criminally underappreciated performance by Christian McKay as Orson Welles. The role played to Efron’s strengths (he has to charm his way into the role of the song-playing servant of Brutus), but he also had to act. Efron acquits himself as the naïve love interest of the luminous and mature Claire Danes. Far from embarrassment, Efron seems poised to grow into…perhaps not stardom, but certainly a credible actor with a long career.
Miss Cyrus, on the other hand, put her trust in first-time movie director Julie Ann Robinson. Worse, she’s expected to carry a Nicholas Sparks script. Any Sparksian enterprise requires the leads to find emotional depth where only treacle exists; thus, the most successful Sparks adaptation is The Notebook, featuring decent performances by future-Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. Because so much rides on the leads, all your flaws as an actor will be exposed. When you have to spend ninety minutes of the film emoting, Sparks doesn’t let you hide—especially when you’re sharing the screen with something called Liam Hemsworth. Dear John exposed Channing Tatum, the meathead from G.I. Joe, as a A&F model who caught some breaks. Apparently, The Last Song exposes Cyrus as a “singularly charmless teenage performer” who may have just short-circuited her post-Disney career. Not even Greg Kinnear saves her. This choice of material seems so short-sighted, especially when compared to the Efron’s. There is a lot to be said for having a good agent.
Why Did I Get Married Too?: Apparently Tyler Perry doesn’t feature Tyler Perry’s name as prominently in the title of Tyler Perry movies even Tyler Perry thinks might not be that good.
New on DVD: An Education.