Haven’t done one of these in a while so what the hell…
In this edition of Trailer Thunderdome, we watch two of the biggest action directors working today flex their muscles. One going the upscale route. The other getting sleazy and roid raging in Florida.
WHITE HOUSE DOWN: Directed by Roland Emmerich.
Seriously, Roland. How many more times do you plan to blow up The White House?
Because it looks like you’re either running out of ideas or you’re working through anger issues from when you were trying to get your Green Card.
“White House Down” looks like a bigger and glossier version of the just released “Olympus has Fallen”, a film that I made no attempt to see. And frankly, I don’t see myself putting myself off for this one. Despite the fact that Channing Tatum has improved as an action lead. (Seriously, watch Soderberg’s “Haywire” again.) And I’m fine with Jamie Foxx, fresh from “Django Unchained” playing The President. If only to scare the crackers in the audience.
But again, it’s Roland Emmerich. The man who fucked up “Godzilla”. (And yes, I’m still holding a grudge over “Godzilla”. Dean Devlin’s off my shit list thanks to his association with “Leverage”. But Emmerich still needs to watch his ass.) And it all looks like big budget action movie velveeta.
The only wild card is that the script is by James Vanderbilt who wrote David Fincher’s “Zodiac”. And that at least promises that some attempt at thematic complexity.
Or that he has a family member who needed an organ transplant.
Prognosis: Second weekend maybe if the reviews are good.
PAIN AND GAIN: Directed by Michael Bay.
I do not care for Michael Bay as a filmmaker.
He swings his camera like a plus three mace. He cuts film like Jason Voorhees in room full of co-eds. He uses a garish color scheme that looks like Satan’s Instagram and he infuses his films with a hyper-masculinity that would make a Serbian Pornographer blanch.
And yet, I’m looking at the Red Band trailer for “Pain & Gain”…and I’m not hating it.
In fact, I kind of dig it.
This means either Michael Bay is improving as a filmmaker or I’m having a stroke.
The plot (Based I’m told on a true story.) about a group of steroid addled chuckleheads turning to crime to get their slice of the American Dream sounds like it could be the basis of a cool low-budget Neo-Noir. In the hands of Michael Bay however, there’s no Noir to been seen and it looks less like a cautionary tale and more like an infomercial for everything Bay thinks is awesome.
Mark Wahlberg has a gift for playing overly aspirational idiots. And it looks like here he’s got a character that could give Dirk Diggler a run for his money. And while I wouldn’t necessarily want to see Dwayne Johnson do Shakespeare, (Although, sudden thought. With the right director, he might make an interesting Caliban.) he’s got charisma to burn.
But mostly, you got Michael Bay giving the middle finger to decent middle class morality. Watching this trailer, I can imagine Sarah Palin making some bleating noise about Moral Decay and demanding Bay apologize. And I’d like to think that this would be Bay’s response
“Let me tell you something, moose girl. I got a billion dollars in the bank. My linen closet could hold three mega churches. And you know why I have these things? Because I got the candy everybody wants. I have a fleet of fifty Ferrari’s and you know what happens every Sunday? They get washed by an army of lingerie models, all at once. And I watch the whole thing from my balcony while I fuck a custom made gold-plated Real Doll with an ermine lined pussy. Moral decay? It’s my bread and butter. It sets my table and puts the coffee in my cup. And so far, the worse thing that’s happened to me is a jackass lawsuit over “The Island” and some nasty looks from John Sayles! I got the biggest dick in Hollywood and you’re one cancelled reality show away from giving out free handjobs for a speaking gig at CPAC .So, really…where’s your puny God now? HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!”
And then to underline his point, he blows one of his cars with a cube of C4.
Why? Because he can!
This thing looks like thirty pounds of pure Id in a ten pound bag. And may all the heavens forgive me, I kind of want to see it.
And for that reason, “Pain & Gain” wins this installment of Trailer Thunderdome.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go schedule an MRI.