Summer Lacklusters of 2015, Part Deux

SoapboxSmilingWpCWe've hit the mid-point of the summer movie season and we have some random thoughts and questions to share. Be sure to share your own comments with everyone!

1. Amazing. Check out the titles of recently-released movies that easily could have been used for the new "Magic Mike" flick: "A Poem is a Naked Person", "Fresh Dressed", "Soul Boys of the Western World", "Do I Sound Gay?", "Adult Beginners", "What We Did On Our Holiday", "Ardor", "Skin Trade", "Hot Pursuit", "United Passions", and last, but not least, "Balls Out". Just go to one of these if your "Magic Mike" showing is sold out.

2. How dare they degrade everyone's cherished memories of "National Lampoon's Vacation" by releasing the new sequel, "Vacation"? The flick clearly appears to be a pure p.o.c. with ripped off themes and twisted scenes from the original. Patrons at bars throughout America should boo the trailer whenever it comes on the set. And no one should buy a ticket.

3. "Baahubali". Really? Who's going to try to say this when they walk up to the ticket counter?

4. Why didn't we have an election to determine if Arnold should have starred in "Terminator Genisys" or not? Seems we'd have been happier with a different robotic lead man.

5. "Amy". Sad. Another artist/narcissist runs off the tracks while everyone stands by and watches it happen.


Wearing Our Emotions on Our Sleeves

SoapboxSmilingWpCHere's an unqualified positive recommendation for all you summer moviegoers - check out "Inside/Out".

Without question, this is one of the most well-conceived and cleverly-executed animated films of all time. And the voice-overs are just spectacular, especially the one performed by one of our favs, comedian and social commentator, Lewis Black.

Leave your problems at home, find them on the big screen, and then see them happily resolved...just the way you have always wanted it to be!


"St. Vincent"

SoapboxSmilingWpCIt's very easy for fogies to miss out on things. We don't always have our ears to the ground and it can be a year or more before we catch up with (or catch onto) what's happening.

So, imagine our surprise when we settled down to watch last year's buried treasure, "St. Vincent", and found it to be a nearly perfect imagination of what it's like to be old and getting older.

All of the performances in this little gem are excellent, but none is better than that of Bill Murray. He's believably drunk, disheveled, depressed, and unable to quit, even as he makes a conscious effort to give up.

Sure, the usual sentimental contrivances make their obligatory appearances. But it's OK. This is a film about forgiving and forgetting and fighting and finding a way to redemption. It's a bit schlocky, sure, but then, what's the alternative?


Whose Fault Is This Disaster?

SoapboxStinksWpCWhat a lob! We didn't have to search very far to find another summer release that insults the intelligence of audiences, young and old.

Calling "San Andreas" a bad movie is like calling the sun hot.

[BTW, calling that a bad sentence is like calling this a bad sentence.]

Does anyone believe that an actor who calls himself "The Rock" could ever deliver a performance of any merit? Yes, we know...all those Rock Hudson fans from decades ago.

But this isn't the new Rock's fault. And it isn't the fault of the filmmakers. Nor is it the fault of the distributors. So, who's fault is this disaster, anyway?

Clearly, it's the fault of an audience which must be ON crack to pay $ to WATCH this crack as it rips across the screen and throws fake-ass CGI artifacts all over the place for nearly two hours. Even after grabbing our earthquake kits and donning our helmets we couldn't protect ourselves from the head trauma inflicted by this bubbling ooze of igneous slop.

So, take cover, everyone, because when this kind of trash is popular, you know the end of the world is nigh.


Wild "Pitch" 2

SoapboxStinksWpCYou would have thought that after co-starring with George Clooney and Vera Formiga in "Up in the Air" several years ago Anna Kendrick would have looked for interesting roles to elevate her stature as a serious actress, a la Jennifer Lawrence. Instead, the charismatic Kendrick has settled for shared leads in pabulum like the "Pitch Perfect" franchise, a lame-brained re-hash of the cheerleader competition movie formula that launched Eliza Dushku directly into forced retirement.

Deftly nuanced by exchanging pom-poms and pleated skirts for business suits and a capella versions of tired songs from the 80's, "Pitch Perfect 1 and 2" just plain suck. Consequently, Kendrick has fallen back to the pack and is running with the likes of Rebel Wilson (who may also be a good actress, but who can tell from all the dumb bits she has done, including a banal turn on that old patient on life support, SNL).

But enough about Anna...she must know what butters the bread in Hollywood. Let's talk about "Pitch Perfect 2", an unsurprisingly vacuous sequel that's so crummy that you don't have to carefully pick your spot to take a bathroom break - any, and every, moment of this movie is perfect for ditching the scene and hitting the head. In fact, you wish you didn't only need to do #1 when you get to the toilet - you wish you had to do #2, or better yet, you wish you needed to do #3, and you're sorely disappointed when you find the concession stand doesn't offer Ex-Lax brownies.

What's wrong with this flick? Mostly, it's the songs. Then, there's the performers singing the songs. Finally, there's the script (or lack thereof).

Here's our best pitch: Don't go! Save your $, save your ears, and save our toppling culture.



"Marigold Hotel 2"

SoapboxStinksWpCFogies around the world are desperately at work trying to normalize relationships with millennials and other sectors of youth culture. We're learning how to use devices and apps, we're listening to hip-hop and torch song divas, we've come to accept the power and influence of social media despite its populist flaws. We're putting Siracha on our Cream of Wheat, for God's sake!

So, how does "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", a Hollywood, er, Bollywood extravaganza featuring a blockbuster cast of coots and geezers in any way advance our cause?? Answer: it not only doesn't advance it, it actually throws it squarely back into the previous millennium.

Has there ever been a flick with more goosey characters? Answer: Yes. See "Winged Migration" the next time it reruns on PBS.

What is the greatest dramatic tension in the film? Answer: Will all these bluehairs keep to their bedtimes or not?

And worst of all, just as we were beginning to let go of those nasty Gere-Gerbil love affair rumors, there's Poor Richard twerking rather suspiciously all over the dance floor.

Forget about it fellow fogies! Just settle on the couch, cue up some viral vids on YouTube, and save yourself some bucks. That's what the kids are doing!


We're Ending This "Interview"

SoapboxStinksWpCAfter fifteen minutes of squirming and cringing, we finally nuked the flick that made world news a few months ago - "The Interview".

The post-projection emotion that immediately presented? Relief!!

Here are a few choice words of film criticism to summarize our feelings:

1. P.O.C.

2. Hackneyed

3. Mind-numbingly stupid

4. Predictable

7. Netflix should offer rebates

8. Curdled my popcorn butter

We would have rather watched a slide show of The Rodman's last visit to North Korea!


“Shadow of the Vampire"

SoapboxSmilingWpCWanna watch a boss vampire movie? Wanna watch a boss vampire-movie-within-a-vampire movie? We've got you covered!

"Shadow of the Vampire" (2000) ranks among the most interesting, well-produced, well-acted, and gruesomely-crafted vampire movies ever. We dare not tell you much about the plot, or the characters, or the setting. Better skip the commentary about the atmosphere, also. The Fogies may be a little spoiled, but we aren't spoilers.

Let's just say this: Willem Defoe received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor; Ann Buchanan and Amber Sibley received an Oscar nomination for Best Makeup. Not too many horror flicks float around in such rarefied atmosphere. And the Fogies thought the film could easily have commanded nominations in other categories.

Get yourself a nice, tall Bloody Mary, and maybe a chunk of moldy cheese. Wear a turtleneck. Set the "language" setting for German, with English sub-titles.

NO lights, camera, action!!