Black Knight Preview

As John Travolta dances his heart out in their dreamworld, Rich and Poe’s heart sink deeper with each hip thrust. Travolta is bringing the heat like a sultry night in Havana. “It’s just so dirty,” Rich says in stunned admiration. “Filthy, really,” Poe agrees, his bright eyes brimming with tears. Breathing hard and wiping sweat from his well bronzed and eerily smooth brow, Travolta manages to just gasp out, “That’ll… show you… what it’s like.” Confused, Rich and Poe temporarily fear that what they have truly won’t be enough and perhaps they will know what it’s like. Knowing that fear can’t stop them trying, they nonetheless start their mesmerizing twin dance routine. Years of training have perfected not only their physiques, but also their dance moves. They move in unison and Travolta’s eyes bug out in amazement. But it’s not enough. Poe’s jaw clenches in frustration as even their dirtiest of dance routines can’t match Travolta’s absolutely disgusting moves. Rich still shows no fear, though, and just as the sweat on their muscles hits peak magnitude he signals to Poe and they simultaneously rip off their shirts, leaving them clad only in their sweat-soaked jorts. The beam of light bursts from Rich’s chest and gleams off Poe’s sweaty pectoral muscles. It’s like a supernova and in the blinding brightness they hear a final “nooooooooooo… never forget meeeeeeee!” from Travolta. As their eyes adjust, they find themselves in a boggy swamp and hear the faint words of Travolta, “Now all of time and all of Earth is our Battlefield.” They know this is the fourth and final trial. They just don’t know when it is. Suddenly a armor clad knight gallops up to the swamp and cocks his head, “Sirs Sklogsalot? What are you doing in that swamp?” he asks. That’s right! We’re watching Black Knight starring Martin Lawrence where he is transported back to the Middle Ages a la A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. We’re really watching it because of the promise of Big Momma’s House. If it can approach even a fraction of that film then we’ll be in a good spot. Let’s go!

Black Knight (2001) – BMeTric: 65.5; Notability: 39 

(The rating is a lot lower than I would have expected, which is basically the entire reason the BMeTric is so high. You know what is a bit odd? I feel like when I started making these plots it looked like the IMDb votes were just increasing with no bound. I think this makes it a bit more clear that around 2011 (which I previously pinpointed to the moment IMDb got a phone app) the vote counts increased, and now the votes are mostly tailing off for older films … could be. Only time will tell.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A 21st-century homeboy who works at a run-down medieval theme park is magically transported back to 14th century England, where he must use his wits to survive, and forms an alliance with a disgraced knight (Wilkinson) to help restore a deposed queen to the throne. Comedy vehicle for Lawrence gives you pretty much what you expect, though it would have meant a lot more if a better more famous actress had played the queen.

(Interesting to condemn the film partially on just not getting a big actress for the queen? Although I guess I could see it. It would be like if you got a rando to play the part of the escaped convict in Big Momma’s House. Some of the power of the film is that they kind of randomly have Terrence Howard as the headliner of the B-plot of the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw7dzS8UJ4Q/

(The ending there is not what you want. As a matter of fact for family entertainment the trailer gives the impression of a much more sexually explicit film that one would expect.  But otherwise the film looks a bit like Big Momma’s House,  a vehicle for Lawrence’s brand of very physical and brash humor.)

Directors – Gil Junger – (Known For: Think Like a Dog; 10 Things I Hate About You; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: Huge television director, probably most notable for 29 episodes of Ellen for which he was nominated for an Emmy. Seems to work on kids’ programming mostly these days.)

Writers – Darryl Quarles (written by) (as Darryl J. Quarles) – (BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Notes: The Big Momma sequels are actually just characters, so this is the one true big budget follow up to Big Momma. He was a producer on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.)

Peter Gaulke (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Strange Wilderness; Notes: Was a gymnast at UCLA and would work his skills into his comedy routines when he was coming up. Wrote for SNL.)

Gerry Swallow (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie; Ratchet & Clank; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Notes: Was a stand-up comedian in Seattle before moving to LA. Clearly was the writing partner with Gaulke for a time, although not recently it would seem. Writes under the pen name Dr. Cuthbert Soup.)

Actors – Martin Lawrence – (Known For: Bad Boys for Life; Do the Right Thing; Bad Boys; The Beach Bum; Life; House Party; Boomerang; Death at a Funeral; Open Season; Future BMT: College Road Trip; Rebound; National Security; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins; House Party 2; Blue Streak; A Thin Line Between Love and Hate; Bad Boys II; Nothing to Lose; BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Wild Hogs; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son in 2012; Notes: Television star with Martin in the 90s, and then movie star in the 00s. After his divorse he seemed to kind of retire until the Bad Boys For Life this year. Notably almost died while running in extreme heat in preparation for Big Momma’s House.)

Marsha Thomason – (Known For: Priest; Future BMT: The Haunted Mansion; Long Time Dead; The Tripper; My Baby’s Daddy; Caffeine; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: British. Mostly a television star including a long stint on White Collar, and 11 episodes of Lost.)

Tom Wilkinson – (Known For: Selma; Batman Begins; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Burden; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; The Patriot; Michael Clayton; Sense and Sensibility; Rush Hour; In the Name of the Father; RocknRolla; Snowden; Valkyrie; Shakespeare in Love; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Green Hornet; In the Bedroom; Belle; The Ghost; Future BMT: The Titan; Good People; Jenny’s Wedding; The Samaritan; Burke and Hare; The Catcher Was a Spy; Essex Boys; A Good Woman; A Business Affair; Little Boy; BMT: Black Knight; Unfinished Business; The Lone Ranger; The Choice; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars (In the Bedroom, and Michael Clayton). A huge character actor, especially in the 90s and early 00s.)

Budget/Gross – $50,000,000 / Domestic: $33,426,971 (Worldwide: $39,976,235)

(Pretty horrible bomb. It is pretty surprising Big Momma’s House 2 was made considering that. Although maybe 9/11 played a part in the depressed box office in the end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (14/98): Black Knight feels like a lazily constructed movie, filled with lame gags and constant mugging from Lawrence.

(Constant mugging from Lawrence? What else are you expecting? Did you watch Martin? Did you watch Big Momma’s House? Bizarre consensus take. Reviewer Highlight: Martin Lawrence [stars] as a theme park worker who falls into a scummy moat and surfaces in the Middle Ages — perhaps in search of people who would find his humor fresh and original. No such luck. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.)

Poster – Sir Sklogsalot

(This is a shockingly bad poster. Like… parody poster made as a prop for a different film level of bad. I can give it some props for trying to do something with the font but that’s basically it. It’s actually hard to look at. D.)

Tagline(s) – He’s About To Get Medieval On You. (B)

(It works. This got me thinking about where and when this phrase became popular enough to be a tagline. “Getting medieval on your ass” seemed pretty current. Turns out it is. Popularized in Pulp Fiction. A mere seven years and it’s headlining a major motion picture. Not the most clever, but as I said, does the trick.)

Keyword – time travel

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Back to the Future (1985), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Interstellar (2014), Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991), Back to the Future Part II (1989), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), Deadpool 2 (2018)

Future BMT: 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 62.9 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014), 59.5 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 56.2 Land of the Lost (2009), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 49.3 Mannequin: On the Move (1991), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 43.0 Freejack (1992), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983), 33.6 The Time Machine (2002);

BMT: Assassin’s Creed (2016), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), The Lake House (2006), Jumper (2008), Timeline (2003), Lost in Space (1998), Paycheck (2003), Black Knight (2001), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(Wow we’ve watched a ton of these! Seems pretty consistent over time. Maybe depressed a bit in the late-90s, although I don’t really have a theory as to why. I’m excited to watch Freejack if I have to choose any of the films in the Future BMT list.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Martin Lawrence is No. 1 billed in Black Knight and No. 3 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The scene where Princess Regina trips over her bed sheets was not scripted, Jeannette Weegar really did trip and fall, but the director liked it so it was kept and put in the final cut.

Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism helped in the historical recreation of this movie by providing consulting work and playing as extras. (Ha!)

Chris Tucker was originally cast as Jamal Walker. (Huh, interesting. So I assume Quarles was hired onto the film to rewrite once they secured Martin Lawrence)

Martin Lawrence was paid $20 million for his work on the film.

In the DVD commentary, it was said that the black horse that Jamal rode at the end of his dream was taught to rear on command.

Based on the book “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain

The film was rushed by Fox after the attacks on 9/11 to be released much sooner than it was intended. The film was slated for a Winter/Spring 2002 release and had just started the post-production process when Director Gil Junger and was called by the studio to speed up the editing on the film for a November 2001 release date to capitalize on family friendly entertainment, comedies, dramas and thrillers which some studios were filling with after having to reschedule films that were deemed too sensitive for that period of time. (Pretty gross)

The second of two films starring Martin Lawrence in 2001. The other was “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?” co-starring Danny DeVito.

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Recap

Jamie

Totally filthy dancing is back, Jack! And this time it’s hot hot hot in Havana. When all-american girl (and total nerd) Katey is plopped in the middle of Havana on the eve of the Cuban Revolution she starts to feel the heat with Javier, a local who works at the hotel. Can she dance her heart out (and get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in… Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

How?! Katey is a total nerd alert ready to crush it at college. That is until her dad gets a job in Cuba and they have to move during her senior year. Lame. Or is it? That’s because she pretty quickly catches the eye of a pretty rad dude. Unfortunately he turns out to be a total jerk. But she isn’t crying over spilled jerk (nailed it) cause she’s more into the waiter at the hotel, Javier, anyway. He’s nice and hard-working and moves to the groove like no one she’s ever seen (and that includes her ballroom champion parents). But nothing is going right because Javier is fired for hanging out with her! Oh no! Being poor and all he has to turn to a life of crime to support his family. Darn. But wait! What about the big dance competition where the winners get to go to America? Hooray! Training in secret (and with the help of her secret weapon, old Patrick Swayze) Katey and Javier dance their hearts out and to the shock and awe of all that know her (particularly her own parents) they make it to the finals on New Year’s Eve. Despite the angst this all creates, everyone learns to live and love again just in time for Katey and Javier to win the competition, right? Wrong! That’s because the Cuban Revolution literally happens in the middle of their routine. Katey is all like “Hooray! Viva la revolution!” but Javier knows what’s up and makes her realize that despite the fact that they’ll have to separate because of this international event, they will always have love and they will always have dance and they will always have the filthy steamy dirty memories of their dance. THE END. 

Why?! Love and dance, duh. But seriously, it’s weird, because Katey’s purpose is just like love and happiness. She’s trying to find herself as teens are wont to do and she finds that the rhythm of the beat evokes something stronger than all those nerd books ever did. But Javier is dealing with some shit. He’s trying to feed his family because his dad was killed by the government for sympathizing with the revolutionaries. So the idea of winning a dance contest and going to America is pretty sweet at first, but after the revolution not as much. It’s pretty intense and serious while Katey just goes back to America with her rich family afterwards… they are operating in two totally different worlds.

Who?! Obvs the big one is The Swayz cameo. He appears only for a bit and comes off a little differently in the role of old man briefly encouraging a young woman to dance while covered in sweat. Rather than in the original where he was an old man constantly encouraging a young woman to dance while covered in sweat. We also have a big performance by Mya during the main dance scene that kinda counts as a musician turned actress.

What?! Generally speaking I anticipate a difficult time for this section in the upcoming cycle. Past and Future films aren’t necessarily focused on delivering timely product placements. This one is slightly different in that at the time there was some press regarding a pretty intense integrated marketing campaign by Revlon. There are some appropriately silly names for the different shades of nail polish and the like… Pink Cha-Cha-Cha. Ooof.

Where?! A+ Setting Alert. They say Havana Nights and they mean Havana Nights. There is actually no moment that doesn’t take place in Havana. No scene of them moving from America. No nothing. Havana all day and all night, dancing to the rhythm of the city… Havana. A+. Weird part was that I knew this was actually shot in Puerto Rico. How? Because I recognized some of the locations from the Keanu Reeves film Replicas.

When?! Somewhere in that same city on the same night of the big dance competition is Michael Corleone. That too depicted the fall of the Batista regime on December 31st, 1958. I think the question on everyone’s mind is who wore the Cuban Revolution best? The Godfather Part II or Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Scientists contend we may never know. Those scientists? Us. A.

There is a charm to this film. The dancing is quite steamy and I really did find myself rooting for the characters to find happiness with each other through dance. If that sounds cheesy that’s because it is. The entire thing is a cheesefest. So while it’s not a particularly good movie (it probably had more of a place on ABC Family) you can’t help but find yourself lulled into a sense of comfort by the cheese. That is until it all explodes at the end with the Cuban Revolution. Why they even felt the need to set the film in 1958 (somehow making this a prequel to the original film) with a nonsensical cameo by The Swayz (let’s call him the estranged father of Swayze’s character from the original) is almost beyond explanation. Just set it in current day Miami and you got everything you need. Namely sweaty steamy dirty filthy dancing. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When’s a sequel not a sequel? When it is a low-key remake where the original star appears as a different character? Whatever, I still call it Dirty Dancing 2. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – After watching both Dirty Dancing films (both? What, you don’t remember the ABC original remake? It was really really bad) we somehow sidestepped the sequel-remake set in Cuba. A period piece and destination sequel? Yes please. I went into this with little knowledge about the film beyond that Patrick Swayze appears in a cameo. What were my expectations? I think this was supposed to be one of the worst sequels ever made. Anything less than a complete catastrophe would be a disappointment.

The Good – The dancing (besides being wholly inappropriate for a 50s teenager to partake in … wait, am I getting old?) is indeed hot and sexy. While you can kind of tell Diego Luna and Romola Garai were just taught how to dance right before filming, the dancing at times is still pretty cool. And unlike the original Dirty Dancing film they replace the somewhat uncomfortable central relationship (how old was Patrick Swayze supposed to be again?) and abortion story, with a charming innocence of Luna and a backdrop of the Cuban Revolution. While the movie is a shadow of the original, I take that trade ten times out of ten. Best Bit – The dancing is better than one would expect.

The Bad – The movie is a television movie pretending to be a theatrical feature. From involving a ton of television actors, to trying to build a teaching moment around the Cuban Revolution, and overall just exuding innocence. If the original was as chaste as this film is, I’m not sure it is as big of a cult film as it is. The main actress is pretty rough, slipping into a pretty obvious British accent on occasion. Finally, I don’t know whether this is a good-bad thing or just a bad thing, but the final scene in which our protagonist is flabbergasted that Luna wants to stay in Cuba after the revolution is great. It is both extremely real concerning the naivety of a teenager, and extremely hilarious in just how dumb she seems. Fatal Flaw – Television film.

The BMT – We’ve now watched all of the Dirty Dancing films! USA! USA! So including Lifetime/ABC originals I’ve managed to complete both Dirty Dancing and The Blue Lagoon in the last few months. My self-learning is getting out of control! I think for Cuba and remake-sequels this film will always have a place in the history of BMT. What more could you want. Did it meet my expectations? Nope, I truly expected this film to be a catastrophe. For some reason I thought this film was going to be like … ultra-sexy early-00s weirdness? But it is actually (much like The Blue Lagoon) the exact opposite of that, bizarrely chaste given the material. I kind of want the gross too-sexy version, but maybe we’ll find that in one of the many Step Up sequels in the future.

Roastra-damus – Who What Where When Why How – Definitely a solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Cuba. Indeed, it is a double dose of Cuba and the temporal setting in that the climax of the film takes place during the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959. But that also makes it a Secret Holiday Film (When?) as the original dance competition takes place on Christmas Eve 1958 (at least around then), and the final round of the competition is on New Years’ Eve, and the night in which the Cuban Revolution kicked off. I do think those are the only superlatives it has a chance on. Bet chance on Good in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – Ended up being named a top 25 worst Sequel ever which is pretty solid cred. Which speaks to the film’s cred in general. It is a not-really-sequel to a pretty beloved cult film. No matter how okay the film was, there was always going to be an impression that it was a disaster. Possibly the worst film set in Cuba ever made? But yeah, as is typically for certain years, the official cred is a little difficult to find.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally, after watching Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, I was itching to see some more sexy dancing in Cuba. And Michael Mann’s Miami Vice bizarrely fits the bill perfectly. Despite the fact that I find cops-worship films pretty distasteful, there is something incredibly alluring about this film. I think it is because, despite being pretty trashy, the main characters still exude a weird charm. And the vistas and boats are beautiful, and everyone is just pouring sweat throughout the film … it is so fake-real that I can’t look away. Pretty long, and the characters mumble all of their lines, but I still couldn’t help but like it. I don’t know why! Is my brain broken? As promised Colin Ferrell and Gong Li go to Havana to get a Mojito and dance the night away. Ultimately, I think Miami Vice shows why Mann’s career stalled in the mid-00s, and predicts the failure of Public Enemies three years later. B-. Liked it, but I don’t know why.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Quiz

Oh man, so here’s the thing. I was doing some super-sexy Cuban ballroom dancing with my beau, and then a revolution broke out! I got bopped on the head, the usual, and forgot everything. Do you remember what happened in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot

1) Katey Miller and her family are moving to Cube in the late-50s on the eve of the Cuban revolution. Why are they moving there?

2) There she meets Javier Suarez who works at the hotel they live at. How do they meet?

3) Katey starts seeing a whole lot more of Javier once they both realize their mutual interest in dance. Why is Katey initially interested in dancing? And why does Javier agree to be her dance partner in the big ballroom dance competition?

4) In order to train for the big competition though Katey needs some alibis. Who provides them and why?

5) Finally the Cuban Revolution breaks out. How is Javier involved in the revolution in such a way that it results in him remaining in Cuba instead of going to America with Katey?

Answers

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Preview

Rich and Poe awaken in a world of blinding light. A light snow of ash is falling from the sky. They get up and look around, but they can’t see anything. Just the ash and the light. In front of them are footprints they begin to follow. Suddenly there is a glimmer of a man, a fleeting glimpse of a shadow fleeing. They take chase. They hear a scatter of words through the eerie silence. “Face” A mystery is afoot and they are the only ones that can solve it. “Stop, police!” they yell, but their words feel muted and no matter how they use their lightning-quick speed and muscled physiques they can’t seem to catch up to the figure. “It’s” They suddenly seem woozy, uncoordinated. “For” They are crawling, unable to keep track of where the man could have gone. “Time” The stare silently at the whirling sky of white ash. “Off” The man is above them staring down through a mask. The gamemaster laughs a horrible laugh. “Who?” Rich and Poe mumble. Or are they Jamie and Patrick now? Are they dead? Was the blinding white light, Rich’s quickening, their final moments? The gamemaster stops laughing and begins to take off his mask. Rich and Poe scream silently in horror as the face is revealed to be Nic Cage. Tears slide silently down their faces as Nic Cage slowly shakes his head. The shaking gets faster and faster until it stops revealing John Travola instead… “What?” Rich and Poe ask. They are on their feet. Travolta is in front of them clad in a leisure suit. “This is all just a dream,” he states bluntly, “but it’s no less deadly. You ready? Because when you fight with dance the whole earth is your battlefield… and all time.” That’s right! We’re making the leap from our around the world mapl.de.map cycle to a journey through time (we’re calling it The Past and Future Kings here at BMTHQ). Fortunately for us when they made an ill-advised sequel to Dirty Dancing they decided to set in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution. So let’s get ready for a blast from the past with some straight up filthy dancing to boot. Let’s go!

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) – BMeTric: 29.6; Notability: 32 

(Actually a lot higher rated than I thought it would be … something in the back of my mind made me think this was the worst film of 2004 or something. Not only does it eke out a 6.0 on IMDb, but it breaks 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. This might just be one vista away from being okay.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Romola Garai and Diego Luna. You remember him from “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” and here again he has that quirky, winning charm. She is a beauty and a gifted comedian, who played Kate in “Nicholas Nickleby” and was the younger sister, Cassandra, in the wonderful 2003 film “I Capture the Castle.” They must be given credit for their presence and charisma in “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” and together with the film’s general ambiance, they do a lot to make amends for the lockstep plot. But here’s an idea: Rent “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” “Nicholas Nickleby” and “I Capture the Castle,” and eliminate the middleman.

(To note, Ebert openly dislikes Dirty Dancing. He gave it one star at the time, and from what I can tell he never bothered to update the rating, despite years of cult status that followed, as he often did. In the review he wonders if he has gone soft. And honestly, while he dances (heyoooo) around it, I think by 2004 he had definitely fully developed his “good for what they are” idea behind popcorn films, which I think is going “soft” in a way. I might be satisfied by vistas and dancing? Ebert, you know me too well.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBGEbEqQAsY/

(Huh the film is vaguely based around a competition at the end eh … this might be one of our best and most direct “secret sports movies” ever. Also there is a multitude of bad dancing films, and we rarely touch on them for whatever reason. Maybe watching this will change our minds. Much like vistas, watching people dance is fun regardless of how terrible the film surrounding the sequence is.)

Directors – Guy Ferland – (Known For: Telling Lies in America; Future BMT: The Babysitter; BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: )

Writers – Kate Gunzinger (story) – (BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: Not much information on her, it seems like she was working with Segal on this at the time.)

Peter Sagal (story) – (BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: He is the host of the very popular radio show What Wait … Don’t Tell Me. He also wrote the Olivier Gruner classic Savage.)

Boaz Yakin (screenplay) – (Known For: Now You See Me; Safe; Fresh; Death in Love; A Price Above Rubies; Future BMT: The Punisher; The Rookie; Now You See Me 2; Boarding School; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; Max; BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: His career looks like it was split in half. He was preparing to eventually direct, and was going to get his chance with Batman: Year One in 2005 … but that then became Chistopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. He then got Prince of Persia in 2010, and has been a consistent writer since, including the upcoming Idris Elba film The Harder They Fall.)

Victoria Arch (screenplay) – (Known For: Pali Road; BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: One of the only films she has a writing credit on, but did not direct. Got a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting.)

Actors – Diego Luna – (Known For: A Rainy Day in New York; Rogue One; If Beale Street Could Talk; The Bad Batch; Y Tu Mamá También; The Terminal; Contraband; Elysium; Blood Father; The Book of Life; Milk; Frida; Open Range; Before Night Falls; Casa de mi Padre; Mister Lonely; Wander Darkly; Rudo y Cursi; Criminal; Nicotina; Future BMT: Vampires: Los Muertos; Berlin, I Love You; Fade to Black; BMT: Flatliners; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: You better believe Luna started his career on a Mexican soap opera! One of his first roles was on El abuelo y yo, although only for three episodes. Interestingly his Y Tu Mamá También costar Gael García Bernal was in 90 episodes of that same show.)

Romola Garai – (Known For: Atonement; The Windermere Children; Scoop; Suffragette; Vanity Fair; Nicholas Nickleby; Amazing Grace; I Capture the Castle; Glorious 39; Inside I’m Dancing; Angel; Renaissance; Junkhearts; Future BMT: The Last Days on Mars; The Other Man; As You Like It; One Day; BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Notes: Was a leading actress around 2003-2005. Born in Hong Kong, she has mostly done BBC mini-series and shows in the last ten years, including The Hour and Emma both of which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.)

Sela Ward – (Known For: Gone Girl; The Day After Tomorrow; The Fugitive; Runaway Bride; Nothing in Common; My Fellow Americans; Future BMT: The Stepfather; 54; Hello Again; The Man Who Loved Women; The Badge; Rustlers’ Rhapsody; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; The Guardian; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017; Notes: You’d recognize her, she’s a huge television star, she won an Emmy for Once and Again. She was a big TV Movie star in the 80s and 90s, and was one of the stars of CSI: NY and FBI.)

Budget/Gross – $25,000,000 / Domestic: $14,161,590 (Worldwide: $27,685,016)

(Not great. I don’t know what they thought a sequel made 20 years after the original would be good for $50 million? Smells like Hollywood accounting. Doubt it made much money regardless.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (25/108): Cheesy, unnecessary remake.

(Suitably succinct consensus I suppose. One of the big complaints appears to be a lack of chemistry between the leads. That was certainly not a problem in the first film, I tell you what. Reviewer Highlight: The movie, more wan than wicked, proves you can’t go home again. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Destination Sequel

(Oh boy. That dancing looks filthy. Shield your eyes! I think it’s getting the job done with an OK color scheme. Not sure why they gave the classic Dirty Dancing font the boot. That’s the one big mistake. B-)

Tagline(s) – Break the rules. Find your freedom. Live your life. (B-)

(This is a tagline classic straight from the Jamie School of Taglines. I mean, talk about arule of three. I wish the three things were better connected, but I appreciate the effort.)

Keyword – cuba

Top 10: Scarface (1983), X: First Class (2011), Die Another Day (2002), GoldenEye (1995), Fast & Furious 8 (2017), Big Fish (2003), Bad Boys II (2003), Original Sin (2001), JFK (1991), Octopussy (1983)

Future BMT: 62.5 Big Fat Important Movie (2008), 48.9 McHale’s Navy (1997), 34.0 Captain Ron (1992), 28.9 Original Sin (2001), 20.5 Live by Night (2016), 19.5 Havana (1990), 16.9 Bad Boys II (2003);

BMT: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)

(These graphs always seem to come in such interesting waves. Bad Boys II is probably the most “Cuba” of the remaining films. Things like McHale’s Navy and Captain Ron probably have plot points surrounding it, but they both seem to primarily take place in a more fictional Caribbean.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: January Jones is No. 6 billed in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and No. 3 billed in Seeking Justice, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 6 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 17. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Neither Romola Garai (Katey) nor Diego Luna (Javier) had any professional dance training. Before production began, the two spent ten weeks in Puerto Rico, training for eight hours a day with Producer JoAnn Fregalette Jansen and four additional dancers and choreographers.

The plot is loosely based on the life story of Producer JoAnn Fregalette Jansen, who moved to Cuba with her family in 1958. Thus, the “Based on True Events” title. (Huh, that’s interesting)

The movie was filmed in Puerto Rico, and made to look like Cuba. Most of it was done in the colonial part of San Juan, Old San Juan, a very popular hangout for Puerto Ricans, and a very touristy area. In order to maintain the look and esthetic of the pre-Cuban revolution era, producers secured underground parking places for people that would visit Old San Juan during the shoot, so that there wouldn’t be any modern cars parked in the streets.

Natalie Portman was considered for the role of Katey, and Ricky Martin was considered for the role of Javier. They were both the first choices. (I usually don’t leave casting stuff in the notes because it is sketchy and boring but … Ricky Martin?! If only)

Story Writer Peter Sagal is the same Peter Sagal who hosts the National Public Radio program “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” The script is loosely based on an earlier screenplay that Sagal had written as an original story, not as a Dirty Dancing sequel. (Weird)

Patrick Swayze appeared in this movie as Johnny Castle, since this movie took place in 1958, and Dirty Dancing (1987) took place in 1963. Before the ending credits, a new instrumental version of “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” can be heard. (Weird to think about … uh, how old was Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing?)

Rated number eleven in Entertainment Weekly’s Top 25 Worst Sequels Ever Made (2006).

Whiteout Recap

Jamie

Carrie Stetko is a US Marshall assigned to an Antarctic scientific base. She’s ready to retire after serving out her time in the remote outpost, but just before the base closes for the winter she is confronted by a murder. Soon everyone is a suspect and a storm is closing in. Can she solve the case and take down the bad guy before it’s too late? Find out in… Whiteout.

How?! Carrie Stetko is a US Marshall whose heart is just not in it since a tragic incident earlier in her career. She has isolated herself by taking an assignment in Antarctica, but with another dark winter (and inopportune major storm) on the horizon, she’s decided to retire. That is until a dead body (literally) falls out of the sky. Tracking down where this body came from she starts to piece together a crazy situation involving a remote research outpost and long missing Soviet diamonds. As she gets closer, with the help of a dashing UN security agent and a pilot, a killer starts after her trying to make sure the diamonds get on the last plane out of Antarctica and she doesn’t! She’s nearly stabbed, shot, and trapped in a plane buried in the snow, but this all only brings out the best in Carrie. It may be freezing outside, but suddenly she’s got the burning desire to solve crimes and take down the baddies. This all culminates in the capture and killing of one of the other pilots. But something doesn’t sit right when it turns out that that pilot unknowingly was trying to escape with a jar full of jellybeans instead of diamonds. Saboteur! There must be a co-conspirator. Look no further than Carrie’s own friend, Dr. Fury. He admits to the crime and decides to end his own life by walking into the storm rather than be arrested. Flash forward to where Carrie has rescinded her resignation and is ready for some new assignments. Am I smelling a sequel? (hint: I’m not). THE END.

Why?! There is a little juice to Carrie’s motivation (besides crushing crime and subduing criminals left and right). That’s because she lacks confidence and belief in herself ever since her partner betrayed her and she was forced to shoot him in the line of duty. So really she’s searching for herself and solving this crime is a way to prove to herself that she’s still got it. As for Dr. Fury, well he has a classic bad guy motivation. After years of low pay and a shit assignment in Antarctica he sees the diamonds as a way to finally get his in this unjust world. Unfortunately he didn’t account for the mega-sleuthing abilities of Carrie Stetko.

Who?! There really isn’t much to note for this so I will mostly just note my surprise that Gabriel Macht played a UN security agent in the film. Back in the 80’s and 90’s the UN showed up in a lot of action films as a global body of incredible power, often dictating exactly how the world is to respond to an international disaster. Which is funny. Case in point, Street Fighter where JCVD plays Guile, no longer in the Air Force but rather part of the U.N… OK, fine, he’s part of the A.N., but it’s the same thing. Get off my back.

What?! There is a lot of food talk in this film given that the people at the base can’t ever leave, so variety seems limited. I’m sure there are some interesting products throughout the film along those lines, but the only one I remember is the fact that when they crack open the case that’s supposed to contain the diamonds they just find a bunch of what are clearly Jelly Belly’s. They really should have had one of the characters pick one up, pop it in their mouth and then spit it out and say with a grimace “black licorice.” Would have really brought it home.

Where?! Antarctica, baby, with a little flashback to Miami. If we were to make a mapl.de.map for BMT films that truly embodied a location then I think this might beat out AvP. AvP being set in Antarctica is just some weird shit. This, though, is ‘Artica (as the kids call it) through and through. In fact… this probably should have been called Antarctica and gotten the full A+. Missed opportunity. A.When?! Interesting exact date on this guy. Kate Beckinsale hacks into the mainframe and checks some flight logs for the day she thinks the original body would have been dumped (which have been *gasp* erased). The day in question? Right around Valentine’s Day! Is this a Super Secret Holiday Film Alert? Seems so. Although a previous scene suggests that it might be early March (which kinda makes more sense for when the researchers would have to leave the base for the winter) so methinks that not everyone was on the same page for this one. B.

I swear when I started this film my mind began to chant “It’s not that bad” in hot anticipation. I was digging the vibe and I was ready for them to bring it home in a freezing hot climax that would knock the socks off of BMT. Unfortunately they couldn’t do it and it fell apart in the face of a ludicrously predictable ending. I was ready to forgive the consistently terrible acting as long as it could land the finale. Alas, it was not to be. That stumble alone kinda took it right into nomansland when it comes to BMT. It’s good enough to imagine throwing on the TV, but bad enough that I would never recommend it to someone. And not really BMT in any way (unless people find it funny to know who the killer is about 1/6th of the way through a film). As for Black Eagle, I was really surprised at how competent the otherwise poorly regarded martial arts film was. Usually those types of films can end up quite boring when they fall flat. And the IMDb score certainly made me think that it would. But I really didn’t mind watching it at all. Add in a genuinely interesting (and dare I say good?) bad guy role for Jean Claude Van Damme and I think I actually would recommend the film to people. JCVD should have been a bad guy more often. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When you want those thrillz, but you also need those chillz, but like, in a cooooool Antarctica way, who you gonna call? That’s right, super cool (literally) U.S. Marshal Kate Beckinsale. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – As a rare film set in Antarctica this was always on our radar. Otherwise I literally knew nothing about it going in which was fun. I could have guessed it was about thrills and chills as a murderer strikes in Antarctica, but I couldn’t have named anything about it. As a matter of fact I was pretty shocked to learn they were legit at the actual South Pole! That’s fun. What were my expectations? Thrillz. In reality my expectations were that it was going to be a generic thriller. It turns out that screenwriters exhausted all possibilities for thrillers by 2002 … that’s a joke, but sometimes it feels that way.

The Good – The setting does, in fact, work wonders for the film. Ends up being super spooky, and allows for real danger in the simple act of investigation. That is something taken for granted in a normal crime thriller, the hero who has enough brains and gumption to solve the case. Here, you have to have brains, gumption, and a healthy dose of self-preservation. That’s pretty cool. Spoilies, but it is also rather excellent that they took the risk to have the protagonist lose two of her fingers to frostbite in the film. It left a solid sense of the consequences hanging over the murders that Beckinsale gets saddled with on her last day at the South Pole (she’s about to retire! Amazing that that trope is actually used here). Best Bit – Antarctica setting.

The Bad – This film is an incredibly generic thriller. If not for that I think I might have gone with it being a true It’s-Not-That-Bad BMT film. A psychologically broken woman about to quit the force catches one last case, the masked murderer hunts her in an effort to hide his crimes, it turns out a good friend was involved the whole time. Yeah, that might be the storyline in about a dozen major films, and countless cheesy police procedurals by 2004. It completely sinks the film since understandably the entire thing becomes hopelessly predictable. There are only ever two possible suspects! At least some of this is likely because it is based on a graphic novel, but that isn’t really an excuse. Fatal Flaw – Generic.

The BMT – I think the only real record this will have in the history of BMT is that it is set in Antarctica. But to be honest, if this ended up being on randomly when I was chilling with some friends on a lazy Saturday afternoon or something? Yeah, maybe I leave it on? It is pretty fun in the end, kind of like the first Alex Cross film (Kiss the Girls), the performances and setting is just good enough to be really fun I think. Did it meet my expectations? Sadly I suppose, yes. It was as generic as one would have expected. Which is too bad because it isn’t nearly as bad as one might think, a normal generic thriller.

Roast-radamus – Definitely a strong Product Placement (What?) with the cold weather gear being used. In particular there are plenty of Northface all over this film. Huuuuuuuge Setting as a Character (Where?) for Antarctica. In some ways you could argue the real murderer was Mother Nature and the continent of Antarctica … one could argue that. Great Super Secret Holiday Film (When?) for Valentine’s Day! There is a shot where it pretty clearly indicates that it is either February 14th or 15th in 2007 (if the days are to be believed). Had to be intentional. Solid MacGuffin (Why?) in that there is a whole preamble set during the Cold War concerning a mysterious downed Russian airplane, which ultimately results in a bounty of diamonds that kicks off the murders. And finally a very bad Worst Twist (How?) for the “reveal” that the murderer’s accomplice is none other (and inevitably) Beckinsale’s doctor friend played by Tom Skerritt. That is an incredible set of superlatives, and I think it has an okay shot at the Good award as well in my opinion.

StreetCreditReport.com – Interesting this is very much not the worst film set in Antarctica as I would say Alien vs. Predator takes that crown … while looking that up it has occurred to be that Alien vs. Predator also came out in 2004. That’s pretty weird. Antarctica ended up having a major thriller and horror film set there in 2004. I wonder if that was the moment that people realized they could do an entire film in CGI for the backgrounds, and thus setting a film in Antarctica became feasible. Also weird because both were based on graphic novels, although it seems like the Alien vs. Predator comics weren’t set in Antarctica. Anyways, not much cred, just an amazing coincidence.

Bring a Friend Analysis – In a white/black motif, we watched Black Eagle alongside Whiteout this week. One of the first Van Damme films. So early in his career he was still playing the bad guy (Bloodsport was released about a month prior to this which obviously made him into a leading man). I’m genuinely shocked at the reception for this film. It isn’t good by any measure, but it has like a 3.8 on IMDb which is incredibly low. I thought Van Damme was actually really good in the film. And the storyline, in real James Bond spy convolution, is complicated, and yet this terrible direct-to-video film manages to keep the events relatively coherent. The cons for the film are basically that Shō Kosugi has a lot of trouble with English. It could have used a dub I think. I don’t think it is a good film, but I think for a martial arts spy film … it’s better than Gymkata right?! So I don’t really get the rating. The film is a bit too boring to recommend beyond for those looking to complete Van Damme’s filmography. C+, a bit too boring, but is a fine martial arts spy film I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Whiteout Quiz

Uh oh. I was a down and out U.S. Marshal stationed at the South Pole and I am ready for a holiday (I tell you what). Unfortunately there’s a killer on the loose, and he bopped me on the head with an ice ax (how am I not dead?) and I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Whiteout?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open with our hero Carrie taking a shower and talking to her best bud Dr. Fury. Why is this a very very special day for Carrie and Fury?

2) What is the reason Carrie came to the South Pole? Bonus points if you can explain vaguely why Dr. Fury is there.

3) They soon meet up with Robert Pryce while investigating (spoilees) missing diamonds from a crashed Russian Cold War aircraft. Who does Robert Pryce work for?

4) How did Carrie lose two fingers during the film?

5) Ultimately who is the culprits and what were their motivations and plan and what happens to them?

Answers

Whiteout Preview

As the monsters descend to the beautiful (not creepy) lagoon it becomes clear that they are gigantic super soldiers from General Tiniman’s army. They are outgunned and outmatched and this is where their journey will end. They hug Rio and pat Bessy on the head. They reminisce about all the fun times they had. “Remember that time we karate chopped the President in the neck?” Rich says, “and it turned out he wasn’t even a robot,” he recalls and oh boy how they laugh. Back in the real world Rich has a wife and six wonderful children. Poe has a very solid collection of old books. But most importantly they have love. Rich and Poe nod and go in for one final Predator high five. But this isn’t a time for high fives. This is a time for hugs. With tears in their eyes, they bro hug it out. Suddenly Poe is blasted away from Rich as the beam of light shoots forth once more from his chest. Screaming in pain from the quickening he is experiencing, Rich watches in joyful horror as it destroys all the foes in front of them. No matter how advanced their super armor is, the power of love emanating from Rich’s chest destroys it. The power is so great… unstoppable. Almost as if… and in that moment Rich realizes what is happening. A chill runs down his spine. So long ago, when they destroyed the Obsidian Dongle. When they made the universe whole once more. It was never destroyed. It lay in wait, embedded in the body of Rich. It brought them to Nic Cage. It brought them to this tournament. It is the ultimate prize. They are the ultimate prize. They are fighting for themselves. And with that thought everything goes white. That’s right! We’re watching Whiteout starring Kate Beckinsale. I feel like this has always been on the horizon as there is always room for another Antarctica film in BMT. This one won’t beat out AvP and its bullshit Predator-Human collaboration, but it’ll give it a shot. Let’s go!

One man takes out several guards with his bionic karate chops while the other does a patented Robot Split and takes out several more. Their prize is so close… their revenge. “Eagle has fallen, eagle has fallen!” one of the guards screams watching in horror as the men approach. They smile and then everything goes black. That’s right! We’re bringing along Black Eagle as a friend for this one. It’s a classic martial arts film from the 80’s which also features Van Damme as a bad guy and is set in Malta! What fun. Let’s go!

Whiteout (2009) – BMeTric: 47.0; Notability: 29 

(Pretty low actually. I’m always surprised when these smallish films, films I kind of barely remember existing, seem to get pretty thoroughly trounced on IMDb. I just imagine in my mind that there would be super fans of some kind flooding the ratings … but nope, hit mid-5.0 hard and hasn’t budged in years.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Good-looking but paper-thin thriller involving U.S. marshal Beckinsale, stationed in Antarctica, who struggles to exorcise her demons while investigating some gruesome killings. Even though her character is constantly in danger, Beckinsale is always perfectly coiffed; early on, she even peels off her clothes to take a steamy shower. Only in the movies … Based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber.

(Only in the movies indeed! Very interesting he gave it what I would say is a pretty decent review? Like two stars doesn’t seem so bad. Maybe there is something salvageable from it after all.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqxjF9qR5Cg/

(Pretty intense actually. Honestly the CGI looks like garbage, and it looks like a rote thriller, but the setting is interesting.)

Directors – Dominic Sena – (Known For: Kalifornia; BMT: Season of the Witch; Whiteout; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Swordfish; Notes: Won a Grammy for Best Music Video (Long Form) for the Janet Jackson song Rhythm Nation 1814. We have officially completed his BMT filmography, and I think he retired from directing in 2011.)

Writers – Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber (screenplay) – (Known For: The Meg; My Spy; RED; RED 2; BMT: Whiteout; Battleship; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Battleship in 2013; Notes: They are writing a live-action Naruto film (not a good idea). They are also tagged to write the sequel to The Meg. They are brothers.)

Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes(screenplay) – (Known For: The Conjuring; The Conjuring 2; Future BMT: House of Wax; The Turning; The Reaping; The Crucifixion; BMT: Whiteout; Notes: Twin brothers. Amazingly they wrote ten episodes of Baywatch Nights, the straight crime-drama spin off of Baywatch. They have been tapped to write the Die Hard prequel McClane. They were non-theatrical all-stars in the late-90s, and somehow transitioned back to wide releases in the 2000s.)

Greg Rucka (graphic novel) – (Known For: Wonder Woman: Bloodlines; BMT: Whiteout; Notes: Wrote Stumptown which has been adapted into a television show starring Colby Smulders. His graphic novel Queen & Country is being adapted into a film by Ridley Scott.)

Steve Lieber (graphic novel) – (BMT: Whiteout; Notes: An illustrator. He also illustrated the sequel novel Whiteout: Melt. There was supposed to be a Whiteout: Thaw, but I don’t believe it was ever released.)

Actors – Kate Beckinsale – (Known For: The Aviator; Contraband; Much Ado About Nothing; Serendipity; Eliza Graves; Vacancy; Love & Friendship; Laurel Canyon; Farming; Everybody’s Fine; The Last Days of Disco; Haunted; Snow Angels; Fragments; The Golden Bowl; Shooting Fish; Future BMT: The Disappointments Room; The Face of an Angel; Underworld: Blood Wars; Absolutely Anything; Van Helsing; Pearl Harbor; Total Recall; Click; Underworld Awakening; The Only Living Boy in New York; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans; Brokedown Palace; Underworld: Evolution; Underworld; BMT: Whiteout; Tiptoes; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: Voiced Queen Aryenn in multiple Elder Scrolls games. Had a child with Michael Sheen in 1999.)

Gabriel Macht – (Known For: Love & Other Drugs; The Good Shepherd; The Recruit; The Object of My Affection; A Love Song for Bobby Long; Grand Theft Parsons; The Adventures of Sebastian Cole; A Bag of Hammers; Future BMT: The Spirit; Simply Irresistible; Bad Company; Middle Men; BMT: Whiteout; Because I Said So; American Outlaws; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Most famous for his role as Harvey Specter in the show Suits. This film came out right in that brief moment where he was a genuine movie star.)

Tom Skerritt – (Known For: Top Gun; Alien; Steel Magnolias; Ted; Contact; The Dead Zone; A River Runs Through It; M.A.S.H.; Up in Smoke; Harold and Maude; SpaceCamp; Singles; Lucky; A Hologram for the King; Big Bad Mama; Smoke Signals; The Turning Point; At Middleton; Ice Castles; The Big Town; Future BMT: Poltergeist III; Poison Ivy; The Rookie; The Devil’s Rain; Beer for My Horses; Knight Moves; Tears of the Sun; The Other Sister; Fighting Back; BMT: Whiteout; Texas Rangers; Notes: Nominated for two Emmys for his role in Picket Fences. This film is his last leading role in a wide release film.)

Budget/Gross – $35,000,000 / Domestic: $10,275,638 (Worldwide: $17,976,667)

(Yeah not great. The budget at least makes sense. They definitely had to build something that looked vaguely like the South Pole station. There is only so much smoke and mirrors you can pull off with blue screen and stagecraft.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (8/115): Kate Beckinsale is as lovely as ever, and does her best with the material, but moribund pacing and an uninspired plot leave Whiteout in the cold.

(The reviews kind of outline the problem with most 00s thrillers don’t they? Bad plotting, bad twists, no thrillz. It seems like there was a streak of weird thrillers based around a poorly thought out twist, or just a book (in this case a graphic novel) which doesn’t adapt well. That was the issue with the (frankly cheesy) Alex Cross books. Reviewer Highlight: Even in a whiteout, you can see the plot twists coming. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Chillz

(Artistic and does its job pretty well. While I don’t understand the font they’ve chosen, I still appreciate it. I guess the only question is whether going all in on “Kate Beckinsale vehicle” was the best move or if they should have highlighted something else. Because that’s really the only story you get. B+)

Tagline(s) – See Your Last Breath. (A-)

(Huh… I think… I think I might like this. Telling me about the danger. Telling me about the cold. Short and sweet and a little bit of a twist on the phrase “Take Your Last Breath.” I dig it. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty solid.)

Keyword – antarctica

Top 10: Watchmen (2009), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), The Thing (1982), Madagascar (2005), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Thing (2011), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), Happy Feet (2006), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Minions (2015)

Future BMT: 64.7 Norm of the North (2016), 42.3 The Brothers Solomon (2007), 27.2 The Thing (2011), 25.6 The Pebble and the Penguin (1995);

BMT: AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Whiteout (2009)

(Amazing that we’ve seen three films either set in Antarctica or with plot elements concerning Antarctica. I genuinely believe such films boomed in the 00s because that was when juuuuust enough cheap CGI was available to make it look … fine, without having to set it inside or at night most of the time. Oddly, the only really good movie of the bunch is The Thing and that was made long before cheap CGI. Huh.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kate Beckinsale is No. 1 billed in Whiteout and No. 4 billed in Tiptoes, which also stars Gary Oldman (No. 1 billed) who is in Lost in Space (No. 1 billed), which also stars Heather Graham (No. 5 billed) who is in Say It Isn’t So (No. 2 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 17. If we were to watch Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 9.

Notes – Dominic Sena is a fan of the “Whiteout” graphic novel, and when rights were acquired by Dark Castle Entertainment Sena petitioned president Joel Silver for the opportunity to direct. (Oh snap, this is based on a graphic novel? That’s … a bit surprising considering the reviews)

Warner Bros. shelved the film for about two years, according to Entertainment Weekly (Issue #1085). (Whaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Screenwriter and novelist Alexander Stuart wrote an early draft of the script, while Reese Witherspoon was still attached, following a studio-sponsored research trip to Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost point in continental North America) – which scientists said was the closest location in “feel” to McMurdo Station in Antarctica. (Could have been cool)

The British Flag in the Communications room is hanging upside down. This is an inside joke common among South Pole installations. Since they are at the bottom of the world, if you were to look at the globe proper, the flag would appear to be right side up.

Both real and fake snow were used in production. (There was too much of it at times for it to be fake I think. I have to imagine they breathed in a crazy amount of it by accident)

The Darkest Hour (2011) Recap

Jamie

Sean and Ben are aspiring tech bros traveling to Moscow to sell their new social media app. Unfortunately while getting their tech stolen there is also an alien invasion and they must fight for their lives (along with a few other lucky survivors). Can they learn how to beat the seemingly invincible aliens (and maybe find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Darkest Hour.

How?! Sean and Ben are totes ready to expand their big new social media travel app (that hopefully will also help them snag some chicks… tight) to Russia. Despite having a fully functional app with actual users, they still manage to get their app entirely stolen by the Russian company somehow. Despondent they head to a rad Moscow bar where they meet up with some hot chicks, Natalie and Anne, using their (or not, I guess) app. Drinking their worries away, they have a great time until some glowy orange things start to descend from the sky. Everyone is like, ‘cooool’, that is until the glowy things start disintegrating people. Hiding for several days, they manage to evade the initial onslaught along with the Swedish dude who stole their app (what a coincidence!). Creeping around Moscow they come to realize that the aliens are totally invisible (except that they make electrical equipment go wild when their energy field touches them) and can’t see through glass. This knowledge allows them to make it to the American embassy where they realize that there has been a global invasion and a submarine rescue is planned for survivors. At that point they start getting picked off one-by-one as they meet up with a crazy inventor survivor, who has a theory on how to kill the aliums, and start to make their way to the submarine. They get rescued by a survivalist militia who agree to help them. On the way Ben is killed and Natalie is separated from the group. Sean begs for help to save her and with the help of the submariners are able to figure out how to start killing the aliens. In a climactic battle they are able to take out a number of the baddies and save Natalie. The survivalists vow to use the knowledge in the new war against the aliens and Sean and Natalie head off into the sunset on their submarine dream machine. THE END.

Why?! Survival, duh. Per usual, the motivation of the good guys is so pure that it’s almost boring. More interesting is the motivation for why the aliens have invaded Earth. In this case it’s the well-worn idea that the aliens need Earth for its sweet sweet natural resources and humans are just an extraneous nuisance that must be exterminated. Not so fast, Aliums! You underestimate the human race.

Who?! As the beginning of Crimson Tide tells us, one of the most powerful men in the world is a submarine captain. It certainly seems like this film had one such powerful man, however it’s a little hard to tell from the credits who that is. I think perhaps the character was given the name Anton Batkin? Really need to make this more clear… I mean… he’s a pretty powerful man.

What?! Add this to the list of Faraday cage related films we’ve watched (looking at you, Transcendence). On top of that there was also a whole article about how 2011 was the year of the tourism product placement where it seemed like every film released was set in a new and interesting location. But really the real winner of this film was the oft forgotten Hollywood Badass Bar. We don’t get to talk about it much but these bars are far too bright, far too quiet, and super “cool” in a “girls dancing in a cage” kind of way. And this one had a really nice example.

Where?! Russia for days. It’s funny to see that article about tourism product placement because most of what I learned about Russia from this film is that people steal your sweet IP, you mostly just meet other Americans, and aliums fall from the sky. Not the most ringing of endorsements in my opinion. A.

When?! I have no idea. I wonder if there is more indication of when this took place than I think, just because I really wasn’t paying attention. Def not Xmas, no matter what the tagline led us to believe, though. They would have been freezing if that were the case. So tagline, you lied. F… for now.

It’s hard to really like a film whose main character seems like a terrible person and never really acknowledges that fact… he just kinda wins and gets the girl and that’s fine because obviously it’s better that he beats the aliums. But it also seems like a little carry over from a time when tech bros were all the rage and, well, that hasn’t aged well as of late. Add on top that the CGI only held up as long as the aliens were virtually invisible (not a great sign) and we were looking at what felt like a prequel… or sequel… or concurrent-quel to Skyline that was similarly interesting to watch in a trainwreck kind of way. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When some baaaaaaaad ‘tricity comes down from the clouds in Moscow, whatchu gonna do? Run to that submarine, you know it! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – For real we’ve almost done this film like ten times in BMT history. It was one of the worst reviewed films of 2011, the year we started BMT, but prior to when we like … spent money on watching recent films or even really organized things in a coherent fashion. And it almost got bumped again. But finally, we’re going to watch this film about … aliens I think. They’re bad electricity or something. At the time I remember being rather confused about it. What were my expectations? I was hoping for a crap Independence Day knock off and not much more. Set Independence Day in Russia and that’s what I hoped this film was.

The Good – Parts of this film play like a video game. They get a microwave gun, and can freeze the enemies with it. They can then use water to chain the freeze mechanism across multiple aliens, etc. It is precisely the kind of thing you’d see in a video game … makes you wonder why they didn’t just do that? Have they? They could actually try and do the opposite. Make the good video game after the terrible movie adaptation. That would be a new one. Other than that the setting is pretty fun all things considered. And there is a submarine which is always very very fun. Cool gadgets and a submarine? That’s a bit more than I expected from the film. Best Bit – The alien design.

The Bad – Absolutely terrible CGI. Despite a cool and innovative alien design, it suffers from some of the worst CGI you’ll see in a BMT film and that is saying something. Emile Hirsch has a redemption arc in the film that is fully undeserved. It is made abundantly clear that he’s flakey and kind of a dick. Instead of holding a mirror up to him to show his previous attitude as dangerous, it instead decides to double down by revealing that he’s actually a genius and just the right kind of street smart to get their group through the mess they are in … wha? If you can ignore how cheap the film looks, then that is really what sinks it, especially once they kill off multiple much better characters. Fatal Flaw – Deplorable main character.

The BMT – We had to eventually do this film. It came out at a perfect time for BMT, less than a year after we started, we had matured our formula a bit … and yet we just didn’t do it. Well we finally have. And it’ll stand in a pantheon for some of the worst alien invasion films we’ve seen (and we’ve seen a few), and some of the worst CGI we’ve seen as well. Plus I don’t think it’ll get supplanted as a worst Russia-set film anytime soon. That’s some sweet BMTness right there. Did it meet my expectations? It kind of did. I was surprised that the alien design didn’t suck more, but it more than made up for it by spending maybe $10 dollars on CGI to bring that vision to life. So yeah, really just dumb enough for me to find enjoyable.

Roast-radamus – Definitely some solid Product Placement (What?) with McDonald’s getting featured multiple times while panning over a devastated Moscow. Obviously a good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Russia in general, and Moscow specifically. There are multiple references to “Welcome to Russia” and the Russian attitude. I think there is an okay argument for the single-minded pursuit of getting to the submarine as a kind of MacGuffin (Why?) in the context of the film.

StreetCreditReport.com – This one isn’t really mentioned anywhere. Probably because it was kind of buried in early early 2012. Once you get into that January releases you won’t make the lists which will be compiled in mid-December. Besides that I’m a bit shocked no one seemed to put it on a list of worst alien invasion films. It certainly feels like one of the worst alien invasion films ever made.

You Just Got Schooled – I was quite pleased with myself here in that I was racking my brain trying to think of an equivalent “good” version of this film. I finally settled on The War of the Worlds from 1953, and it turned out to basically be a perfect analogue. Weird aliens descend suddenly on Earth, humanity is overrun in the face of what appears to be impenetrable alien defenses, humanity solves the issue … fine in this case, spoiler, it turns out the aliens can’t live on Earth due to not having immunity to any of our diseases (apropos indeed!). If you like the pacing of 50s films this is one of the better ones I’ve seen. The entire thing operates as a thought experiment on how scientists and the military might respond to an attack from an unknown and formidable opponent. A-, would highly recommend especially if you’ve seen the Spielberg version, but again, it has 50s pacing and effects.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Darkest Hour (2011) Quiz

Oh boy, last thing I remember is glowing things falling from the sky, and then I got bopped on the head and woke up a week later in a desolate city. Do you remember what happened in The Darkest Hour?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open on our heroes, Sean and Ben, heading off to Russia to close a big deal for their startup. But what does their startup do?

2) After that deal … doesn’t happen, the boys hit the town and meet up with Natalie and Anne. How do they know / have heard of these two women before?

3) After the aliens attack the, now fivesome, hide in a storage room in the bar. After that they make a plan to escape to where?

4) In the shopping center they figure out a way to detect the aliens, a way to hide form the aliens, and later on with the help of Sergei, how to kill the aliens. How?

5) In the end, the reason the aliens have come to Earth is alluded to. Why?

Answers

The Darkest Hour (2011) Preview

As Rich and Poe karate chop the necks of the old buffoons ogling Rio, the creepy old men try to explain all the terrible rich people problems that have driven them to this point. “My wife is cheating with my best friend!” one screams. The other nods his head, “that’s right, and I’m disillusioned with my materialistic life and that drove me to find thrills sleeping with his wife!” Oh boy. Rich and Poe roll their eyes at the tired excuses. Time to take them to the Twin Chip Zone. But just as they are about to finish the job, Rio steps in. Hugging them both she explains how she no longer needs their protection. That she is a strong woman who can defend herself against these weak willed old men going through whatever midlife crisis has brought them to this beautiful (and certainly not creepy) blue lagoon. “Don’t let them change the beauty of this place with violence. We can keep it natural. Beautiful. Love.” Bessy, Rich, and Poe wipe tears from their eyes and let the old men run off into the jungle. They roast s’mores and enjoy some refreshing Coca-Cola on the beach as the sun is setting. “It’s beautiful,” sighs Rio, “I’ll miss it when I’m off becoming a detective.” Bessy snorts happily, but Rich cocks his head quizzically. “It’s so… uh… green?” he says as a chill runs down his spine. Indeed the sky is streaked in green and while those creepy old men were ultimately harmless it seems that the civil war has arrived after all. The sky becomes smokey and what appears to be monsters begin to descend from the sky. Everything is plunged into darkness. The hour of battle has arrived. That’s right! We’re finally, finally, finally watching The Darkest Hour. There are a number of films from 2011-2012 that were coming out around the inception of BMT where we’d see the trailer on TV and be like “word, that would be fun for BMT” and then we just never watched the movie. And it would come up all the time over the years… and we’d still not watch the movie. And now we’re here and we’re watching The Darkest Hour. Which is weird because probably no one remembers what The Darkest Hour even is. Rest assured, it’s very much set in Moscow. Let’s go!

The Darkest Hour (2011) – BMeTric: 68.2; Notability: 26 

(Oh … this is going to be garbage. It hits 4.9 like a heat-seeking missile. I’m actually a bit surprised, because after Emile Hirsch torpedoed his own career I would have imagined people might go online to pile on his real stinkers.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  In Moscow, a group of young Americans is among the few survivors of an attack by invisible aliens. They have to make their way across the deserted city in hopes of meeting other survivors. Well-made by standard alien-invasion stuff (thank you, H. G. Wells), distinguished primarily by the Moscow locations.

(I’m glad I nailed this actually. I wanted to make sure I watched a good “learning” film and was working through in my mind which alien invasion films make the most sense. I settled on an older adaptation of War of the Worlds because it fit the bill of alien invasion across the globe in insurmountable odds against humanity. Leonard’s little “thank you H.G. Wells” is certainly an allusion to how much of a rip off this film is of that book.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgXzLMQuQ6Y/

(Oooof. It just looks bad. There is no way around it, the CGI and effects just look terrible.)

Directors – Chris Gorak – (Known For: Right at Your Door; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Production designer on the smash Stephen Baldwin classic Sub Down. Was the art director for Minority Report and studied architecture before getting into film.)

Writers – Jon Spaihts (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Doctor Strange; Prometheus; Future BMT: Passengers; BMT: The Darkest Hour; The Mummy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Mummy in 2018; Notes: One of the writers of the upcoming Dune film. Passengers was an unproduced script he wrote that made the 2007 blacklist.)

Leslie Bohem (story) – (Known For: Twenty Bucks; Future BMT: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; Tracers; Nowhere to Run; Dante’s Peak; House III: The Horror Show; The Alamo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Daylight; Notes: Won an Emmy for the 2002 miniseries Taken. Played bass in the 80s band Gleaming Spires. You’d recognize their song Are You Ready for the Sex Girls.)

M.T. Ahern (story) – (BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: I believe this is Megan Ahern who is the daughter of Emmylou Harris. I have a theory that Ahern came up with the story, Bohem helped her out with it knowing her via some musical connection, and then Spaihts was brought on to finish the shooting script.)

Actors – Emile Hirsch – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Into the Wild; Lone Survivor; Freaks; The Girl Next Door; The Autopsy of Jane Doe; Savages; Alpha Dog; Killer Joe; Lords of Dogtown; Speed Racer; Milk; Never Grow Old; An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn; Taking Woodstock; Prince Avalanche; The Emperor’s Club; 10,000 Saints; The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys; Roxxy; Future BMT: All Nighter; The Outsider; The Air I Breathe; Imaginary Heroes; Venuto al mondo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Amazingly consistent career … well, right up until he was convicted of a pretty grotesque assault of a movie producer in 2015. He’s been blacklisted from what I know, although his recent appearance in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood probably will help him get back on his feet in the coming years.)

Olivia Thirlby – (Known For: No Strings Attached; Juno; Dredd; United 93; Above the Shadows; The Stanford Prison Experiment; The Senator; 5 to 7; Margaret; The Wackness; Solitary Man; Nobody Walks; Snow Angels; Being Flynn; Uncertainty; Between Us; Breaking Upwards; Love Comes Lately; Future BMT: New York, I Love You; Damascus Cover; Just Before I Go; Arlen Faber; Welcome to Happiness; BMT: The Darkest Hour; What Goes Up; The Wedding Ringer; Notes: Married a sound designer she met on the set of Dredd. This was one of her first starring roles.)

Max Minghella – (Known For: The Social Network; Horns; Agora; Into the Forest; The Ides of March; Syriana; 10 Years; About Alex; Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Bee Season; Future BMT: The Internship; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Art School Confidential; The 9th Life of Louis Drax; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Son of Anthony Minghella, who won an Oscar for directing The English Patient. Directed the film Teen Spirit starring Elle Fanning which got a limited 4 theater release.)

Budget/Gross – $30,000,000 / Domestic: $21,443,494 (Worldwide: $64,626,786)

(That’s not super great, partially because that $30 million figure was probably quite above the initial budget considering they decided to film in 3D and there were a lot of issues in Russia during production.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (7/59): Devoid of believable characters or convincing visual effects, this may be The Darkest Hour for the careers of all involved.

(Rough, the film is compared unfavorably towards the Transformers sequels. Makes sense though, lots of grinding machine noises without many ideas. Reviewer Highlight: Not since Mark Wahlberg trembled in fear beside a menacing houseplant in The Happening has a film tried to provoke terror with such an unlikely object of menace. – Nathan Rabin, AV Club)

Poster – Bad ‘Tricity

(It’s posters like this that had me going “WTF, mate?” back in 2011 and assuming that we would have watched it for BMT ages ago. Giving me flashbacks to The Avengers. I guess I like the orange color scheme and the russification of the font. C-)

Tagline(s) – Survive The Holidays (C)

The Invasion Begins Christmas Day (D)

(They really went all in on the Christmas release date, didn’t they? I don’t love taglines like these primarily because they are using something wholly separate from the film in order to try to be clever with the tagline. These would be OK for a Christmas film, but I don’t think this is even a secret holiday film… so what’s the point? First is better than the second and would actually be good if it pertained to the film at hand.)

Keyword – end of the world

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Justice League (2017), Interstellar (2014), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), Suicide Squad (2016), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Man of Steel (2013)

Future BMT: 65.6 Pulse (2006), 61.0 Legion (2010), 57.5 Little Nicky (2000), 56.1 Spawn (1997), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 48.4 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 47.5 The Dark Tower (2017), 44.3 The Reaping (2007), 40.2 End of Days (1999);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Geostorm (2017), Fantastic Four (2015), Hellboy (2019), 2012 (2009), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The 5th Wave (2016), Gods of Egypt (2016), Pixels (2015), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), The Darkest Hour (2011), Left Behind (2014), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Skyline (2010), R.I.P.D. (2013), Bless the Child (2000)

(Absolutely amazing dip right when this movie is made. I have a feeling I know what it is: the financial crisis. The reasons could be twofold. Mainly I just think disaster films are ultra-expensive so they put all of them on the back burner. But also psychologically I imagine people struggling to find work have no interest in watching films where the world falls apart, so that could be part of it as well. I’m excited for Legion, that looks like a giant pile of shit.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Olivia Thirlby is No. 3 billed in The Darkest Hour and No. 3 billed in What Goes Up, which also stars Steve Coogan (No. 1 billed) who is in Around the World in 80 Days (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jackie Chan (No. 1 billed) who is in The Medallion (No. 1 billed), which also stars John Rhys-Davies (No. 5 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 2 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch Suicide Squad, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 20.

Notes – Shot in 3D as opposed to post-conversion. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa)

Production was suspended for a planned two weeks due to the extraordinary air pollution caused by heavy smoke from the wild fires surrounding Moscow in August 2010. It eventually resumed three weeks later. Even with this precaution, smoke still made it into a lot of shots and had to be digitally removed in post production.

The involvement of Timur Bekmambetov as producer afforded the production the opportunity of using Russia as a backdrop instead of the usual USA locations. Bekmambetov owns a film production company in Moscow called Bazelevs where most of the movie was made.

Not screened in advance for North American critics.

The crew was made up of about 30% American and 70% Russian.

The boat the refugees use to try to reach the submarine is named “Orca” (spelled “orka” in Cyrillic).