The Last Witch Hunter Preview

Alright, well this week we have a very special interlude in our Razzie cycle. While normally we would be watching something that came out earlier in the year in one of our genres, this week we are watching an IN-THEATERS BMT SPECIAL!!!! That’s right, every once in a while a movie comes out that is just too crazy/beautiful to resist. The last one we were so fortunate to catch was Hitman: Agent 47, this time it’s a little Vin Diesel doozy that we’ve been waiting for with great anticipation. It’s finally here! The Last Witch Hunter! And just in time for Halloween! I love it. I can’t remember a film I would have been more disappointed to find that it didn’t end up qualifying for BMT. But it did. And it’s here. Hooorrraaayyyy! Let’s go!

The Last Witch Hunter (2015) – BMeTric: 25.0 (February 24, 2016)

LastWitchHunter_BMeT

(Ooooooo pretty stuff. Obviously generated after the fact, this is a very nice plot. First, you can seem to make out different release dates in the initial fast increase, but you can definitely see the VOD/DVD release near the end of January beginning of February. Beautiful stuff. A BMeTric of 25 feels right, right there on the cusp of being a BMT shoe in.)

RogerEbert.com – 3 stars – Many films try and fail to pull off the kind of densely over-plotted action-fantasy that director Breck Eisner (“The Crazies,” “Sahara“) nails in “The Last Witch Hunter.” The secrets to Eisner’s success are confidence and patience, both of which compensate for the film’s script whenever it becomes embarrassingly thin (especially during its rushed finale).

(I’m glad to know that a densely-plotted film with a (paradoxically) embarrassingly thin script can still make it in this world. It does kind of hit an idea that Patrick and I have stood by since the beginning of BMT, though: plot is just plot is just plot. As long as the film looks good, is acted well, and the script is well written then pretty much anything can be forgiven about how ridiculous the plot of a film is. So maybe we’ll like this.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsuG2JUgs_8

(“Do you know what I’m afraid of?… nothing” Just perfectly sums up how much garbage this looks to me. Just bad writing that somehow Vinny D has to try and sell. The entire plot is so trite and overplayed. Haven’t we seen this is Blade? Underworld? I, Frankenstein? Men in Black? Even Juptier Ascending, which we just watched! Maybe we won’t like this after all.)

Director(s) – Breck Eisner – (Known For: The Crazies. BMT: Sahara; The Last Witch Hunter. Notes: He’s the son of Michael Eisner, the much criticized Disney executive who kinda fucked up the company in the late mid-late 90s. Wow.)

Writer(s) – Cory Goodman (written by) – (BMT: The Last Witch Hunter; Priest. Notes: Apparently co-wrote Apollo 18 but didn’t get credit for it… or didn’t want credit for it.)

Matt Sazama (written by) – (BMT: Dracula Untold; The Last Witch Hunter; Notes: Writing partners with Burk Sharpless. I like that this exists. Also says that plot data is not available without IMDBPro, except they don’t block the IMDBPro from google bots. Dumbos. It’s apparently ‘Described as a futuristic “Jungle Book.”‘ Hahahahahaha.)

Burk Sharpless (written by) – (Known For: ; BMT: Dracula Untold; The Last Witch Hunter; Notes: Son of John Sharpless a history professor at U of Wisconsin. Fun.)

(Murderers row right there).

Actors – Vin Diesel – (Known For: Pitch Black; The Fast and the Furious; Riddick; Saving Private Ryan; The Iron Giant; Guardians of the Galaxy; Find Me Guilty; Boiler Room; XxX; Furious 7; Fast Five; Fast & Furious 6. BMT: Fast & Furious; The Chronicles of Riddick; Babylon A.D.; The Pacifier; A Man Apart; Knockaround Guys; The Last Witch Hunter. Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). Bullshit. Actually discovered as a writer-director. Willing to bet he’ll return to that role as some point.)

Also stars Michael Caine, Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie

Budget/Gross: $70 million / $19 million ($57 million) – (Editor’s Note: Ultimately $27 million / $140 million worldwide)

(Hard to say where this will land. Hasn’t been out too long, but did terribly opening weekend. Ended up as the 54th worst opening by a supersaturated film (3000+ theaters). Just ahead of… wait for it… Abduction staring Taylor Lautner. The company you keep. Editor’s Note: The $27 million domestic is bad, but if you squint then doubling the budget overall might be construed as a modest …. push. But probably not, no incentive to make a sequel at least.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 14% (11/74), Critics Consensus: Grim, plodding, and an overall ill fit for Vin Diesel’s particular charms, The Last Witch Hunter will bore and/or confuse all but the least demanding action-fantasy fans.

(I think Patrick and I are becoming experts at decrypting even the most boring and/or confusing films that Hollywood has to offer. After watching Jupiter Ascending nothing can phase me. This will probably be as clear as a mountain lake in comparison.)

Poster – The Cheap Witch Hunter (C+)

last_witch_hunter_ver10

(Even though I think the poster is too dark, at least it’s consistent. Don’t like the car headlights. Too bright. Looks a little cheap too. Otherwise hits the right marks. Symmetry. Simplicity. Editor’s Note: I don’t know what you’re talking about. This is a terrible poster.)

Tagline(s) – Live forever. Hunt forever. (B)

(I can only give it so much positive. I like the symmetry. I like the brevity. It just doesn’t do it for me in terms of providing insight into the film. Not clever enough either. Just good.)

Notes – The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2010 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year. (Take this with a grain of salt. A lot of stuff ends up on the blacklist. Case in point? The Last Witch Hunter earned seven votes from executives contributing to the list. Another film that earned seven votes? The aforementioned Abduction).

Vin Diesel had been a Dungeons and Dragons player for many years. The main character in this movie was partly based on his old D&D character (Melkor) who was a Witch Hunter. He used one of the 3rd party D&D books to create the character class as he loved being a Ranger type but also like to use a few spells too. (N-n-n-n-n-n-erd alert. Get out of here nerd with your nerd books).

Plans to film The Last Witch Hunter (2015) were announced in 2012 and initially Timur Bekmambetov was to direct the film based on a script written by Cory Goodman. Bekmambetov was later replaced by Breck Eisner and Goodman’s script was re-written by Dante Harper before Melisa Wallack was brought on work on the film’s script. (Neither of those writers ended up with a credit on the film).

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Hot Pursuit Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Hot Pursuit? More like Hot Garbage (sorry Reese Witherspoon). Today the BMT email gets a bit philosophical so buckle up:

  • Is a movie really a movie if no one wanted it or saw it? This movie had that not-so-subtle whiff of All About Steve (JAMIE’S NOTE: that is a perfect comparison!). A movie which is bad idea on paper, that for some reason real actors signed onto. It is low budget, it is not funny, and it is barely a movie. It is something indeed. Why release this to 3000 theaters?
  • Can a movie without jokes still be called a comedy? At best you are talking about the running gag of Reese Witherspoon getting shorter and Sofia Vergara older in the news reports, the taser gag, and the cocaine car (watch the movie if you want to understand all this). That’s it. Those are the jokes in the movie. Bad comedies are the worst. Just the worst.
  • Is a script truly “written” if it was in fact produced by a computer? Quite literally this movie is so by the numbers it was like I was a Minority Report precog. “Oh, those are the other two cops”. “The chief is a bad guy”. “She’s going to kill the drug lord at the Quinceanera”. Have you ever seen those machine learning produced research articles (The ones that every so often have to be purged)? This is what this script is like. I am convinced if I fed 1000 scripts into a machine learning algorithm the first and only script the computer would generate would be this one. Over and over. Forever.

I’m going to leave it at that. Prequel, Sequel, Remake? No thanks. No to all of them.

Jamie

Trying to catch up so I’ll keep my thoughts on Hot Pursuit brief: I don’t know how this film was made. Like the script is basically the worst. So I don’t know how Reese Witherspoon read the script and was like “Good to go. Let’s make this film.” It’s really cliched, super predictable, and has a series of vignette scenes (typical of a road trip-like film) that are embarrassingly bad. I actually thought Sofia Vergara and Reese were OK in the film. Everything else though was just blech. Maybe if they rewrote it a few times it would have been OK. As is, it was not.

Alright. Hmmm, what game to play this week? No time to get a MonoSklog. There were a couple OK (but short) ones through the film but whatever. Let’s go for a little Sklogify It! That’s where I take the film and insert some Sklogs to attempt to somehow improve an otherwise unimprovable concept. This film would be called Sklog Pursuit and instead of having an “odd couple” concept of a loud Colombian lady paired with a Southern policewoman, ours would be a “same couple” concept where both of us look the same and are bestest friends. One of us gets mistaken for a snitch on a drug kingpin (obvs) and a bunch of killers are on our tails trying to take out the snitch before an upcoming trial. The other twin (a policeman) decides that he should probably accompany him to San Antonio to make sure that nothing bad happens to him leading up to the trial. We generally have a great time on the roadtrip and high five a bunch and then we get to San Antonio without the killers ever really catching up to us (pretty unlikely that they would). We then catch a Spurs game, walk the river walk, and see the Alamo before everything is cleared up and we go home. Generally a great time and a good story to tell in the future. In fact that’s the tagline: “Generally a great time and a good story to tell in the future.”

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Hot Pursuit Preview

Moving on to this week’s film, we had to grab a Girls Night Out where we could. Honestly, like Horror films, it can be a bit of a crapshoot whether your favorite Rom-Com or Rom-Dram makes it into the field. My favorite from last year? Endless Love obviously. And yet that was just a delicious long list treat for me and Patrick. Didn’t make it as a nominee for anything. The only true Girls Night Out film that got a nomination was The Other Woman, which was part of a combo nomination for Cameron Diaz. And besides, I saw that shit in theaters outside of BMT (I am unashamed. I will literally watch anything in the theaters. Good film? Great. Bad film? Even better). So what is a girl to do? Obviously we had to stretch it a bit and take a straight comedy and label it a Girls Night Out film just because it starred two ladies. That’s right. This week is Hot Pursuit! I remember this film coming out and feeling kind of sad. Here was a film starring two high profile actresses as the leading roles and yet it was releasing in a not high profile release window to terrible, terrible reviews. One would have hoped they could have done a bit better with it. I guess we’ll see. Let’s go!

Hot Pursuit (2015) – 52.9 BMeTric (March 13, 2016)

HotPursuit_BMeT

(Produced March 13, 2016. Sweet graph, look at that DVD release bump. Also incredible that this is a 50+ BMeTric film. I am looking forward to getting enough pre/post-DVD plateaus so I can start to try and figure out found final BMeTrics based on the initial plateau.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – As a movie, “Hot Pursuit” can barely be said to exist. It is slackly constructed, unattractively shot, indifferently edited; its action scenes are very poorly staged; its storyline—a kind of hybrid of “The Gauntlet” and “Thelma and Louise” with scraps from several very lesser movies thrown in (“Due Date,” anyone?) is so rote that it even seems bored with itself. But as a delivery system for a newly minted and reasonably engaging if not always laugh-out-loud comedy team—Reese Witherspoon and Sophie Vergara—“Hot Pursuit” works, arguably, as well as it has to for much of its brisk hour-and-a-half.

(“Barely said to exist”?! Yes please. This review is funny. Long story short: everything is shit, but hey, why not? Really the only positive in the end is that it’s short and does what it set out to do. It’s like every review for Jurassic World. “It had dinosaurs didn’t it? What am I to complain about? Good enough.”)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUeOBdxSjc8

(This really, really, really feels like one of those trailers where every single joke was included because they didn’t have enough good parts in the film. We’ll find out.)

Director(s) – Anne Fletcher – (Known For: The Proposal; 27 Dresses. BMT: Step Up; The Guilt Trip; Hot Pursuit. Notes: Choreographer on a shitload of BMT favs such as Monkeybone, Dudley Do-Right, The Master of Disguise, and none other than Catwoman.)

Writer(s) – David Feeney (written by) – (BMT: Hot Pursuit; Notes: Been almost exclusively a TV writer and producer. Most notably on New Girl.)

John Quaintance (written by) – (Known For: Aquamarine; BMT: Hot Pursuit; Material Girls; Notes: Also a TV guy. It would seem that he and Feeney met writing for the TV show Ben and Kate.)

Actors – Reese Witherspoon – (Known For: Legally Blonde; Monsters vs. Aliens; Water for Elephants; Walk the Line; Just Like Heaven; Wild; Pleasantville; Cruel Intentions; American Psycho; Election; Mud; Rendition; Freeway; Vanity Fair; The Good Lie; The Man in the Moon; Inherent Vice. BMT: This Means War; Sweet Home Alabama; How Do You Know; Hot Pursuit; Four Christmases; Fear; Devil’s Knot; Legally Blonde 2 – Red White & Blonde. Notes: Won an Oscar for Walk the Line and nominated for Wild.)

Sofía Vergara – (Known For: Chef; Four Brothers; Happy Feet Two; Fading Gigolo; The Three Stooges; Big Trouble; Lords of Dogtown; BMT: The Smurfs; Wild Card; Hot Pursuit; Machete Kills; New Year’s Eve; Madea Goes to Jail; Soul Plane; The Smurfs 2; Escape From Planet Earth. Notes: Currently engaged to Joe Manganiello, who we know from his BMT work in Sabotage.)

Budget/Gross: $35 million / $34,580,201 ($51,380,201 Worldwide)

(Not nearly as bad as I would have thought. I thought this was an absolute disaster, but it was really pushed in the theaters (3000+) and had a relatively modest budget for the release size (although still more than I would have expected). Nevertheless it landed as the 119th worst ever opening for a supersaturated release, coming in just ahead of BMT fav Red Riding Hood.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 7% (11/146), Critics Consensus: Shrill and unfunny, Hot Pursuit bungles what should have been an easy opportunity to showcase Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara’s likable odd-couple chemistry.

(Wait… how do we know that Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara have likable odd-couple chemistry? The consensus makes it seem like it’s a foregone conclusion that they would have chemistry and that the only reason they don’t in this case is because it was bungled. Doesn’t really seem like a slam dunk to me. Seems more like it might end up being shrill and unfunny.)

Poster – Hot Dutch Angle (C-)

hot_pursuit_ver2

(No, no, and no. Don’t like when people are too prominent on posters (they don’t have consistent coloring), don’t like that a Dutch angle is used on the poster, and the symmetry is way off. Only thing I like is the font in the title and tagline. I like when they have their own font. Would make it hard for Patrick to produce a spoof poster called Sklog Pursuit… do it, Patrick… do it.)

Tagline(s) – Armed and sort of dangerous. (A)

(Hahaha, maybe I’m dumb or am in a good mood, but that tagline is actually making me chuckle. It’s cute in its simplicity. And nicely informative of the derogatory way that Witherspoon’s character is thought of in the film. I like it a lot.)

Notes – The film takes place in Texas but was filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The film’s original title was Don’t Mess with Texas. (would have been wonderful for mapl.de.map. Great when the title even tells you the state.)

Jupiter Ascending Recap

Jamie

Let me tell you a little story. On my way to Atlanta last week I was lamenting to my wife at how ill prepared I was for the flight. While I had obtained a glorious copy of Jupiter Ascending, I found myself unable to download it to my phone to watch enroute. ‘Woe is me’ I thought at the mere prospect that I should endure a 2 hour flight without my sweet, sweet Jupiter Ascending action. I turned to my wife on the airport shuttle and half-heartedly joked, ‘Maybe we’ll have a new plane with personal screens and the option to watch JA.’ A single tear rolled down my cheek as these words left my lips, for I was certain that I would never have the opportunity to watch the film. Perhaps I would fall so far behind on BMT that Patrick and I would never catch up. Could this spell the end of BMT? Could it all end with a bungled iphone video transfer? God must have heard my heart (for I believe it was speaking directly to him that day) and declared, ‘not on my God damned watch!’ He replaced whatever shitty Delta plane we were meant to board with the most glorious of planes. TV screens abound! Comfy seats and snacks galore! ‘Could it be? Might these tiny television screens bring me JA in all its glory?’ I exclaimed to no one in particular. ‘Doubtful,’ my wife scoffed, lowering her eye mask and inserting ear plugs so that she might not have to hear or see me weep quietly to myself upon my discovery that there was no JA after all. But no! There would be no tears that day my friends. There would only be joyous laughter and revelry as I watched JA as it was truly meant to be seen. No, not an IMAX screen, but my tiny airplane screen. It was there! Uncut and unrelenting in its ridiculousness. It was destiny. I would not go the week without BMT. Oh no. Not this week. Not any week.

You see what I just wrote there? That ridiculous paragraph of nonsense? That is better and more exciting than anything in Jupiter Ascending a.k.a. the most confusing movie in this or any universe. I literally had no idea who people were or who they were working for or generally what was happening through the film. Not for lack of trying though. They did spend 95% of the film trying to explain it to the audience. Didn’t work out great. I just kinda rolled with it and assumed that all the details didn’t matter for the most part. There were aliens and they were doing stuff. Whatever. That’s not to say that there wasn’t merits to the film. I liked the concept for the most part, it just was too much for a film to handle. Needed to be a book or something. Or like a game of thrones style TV show. Or have some background that people could grasp to. Not sure I’ll be voting for it come Razzie season, but it certainly deserves notice for Redmayne’s acting (geez louise) and writing. That’s it though.

Alright, do I have a MonoSklog for Jupiter Ascending? Nope. No time for that shit when I’m trying to catch up. I think I’ll just do a quick Prequel, Sequel, Remake. I’d love to say that we do a remake with this film starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, but that’s a cheap  and timely No Strings Attached joke. Instead I say we should get a little prequel. Let’s learn a little of the origins of Channing Tatum’s character. What is his motivation? What events led to him losing his wings? When and how did he obtain his grav boots? No one else has grav boots, why not? Did he invent them? Did he find them? Why doesn’t anyone ever take them from him considering he keeps escaping using them? These questions will all be answered in the upcoming film Grav Boots.

Patrick

Jupiter Ascending? More like Poop-iter Descending! (That’s solid, admit it). Wowwy Wow Wow. Huh …. Hmmmmmm. Huh. Huuuuuuuuh. I can’t even sort through my thoughts, I need bulletpoints:

  • So confusing. At first I was like whaaaaaat? Then I was like Oh I get it. Then I was like wait wait wait wait wait … who are these people? Then I was like No, I see …. I def got it this time. Twists and turns man. I agree with what a few other people have said about the movie: it felt like the third in a trilogy with the first two missing. Once it dawns on you that the house Abrasax isn’t the ruler of the universe, but rather one of many minor noble houses, it makes a bit more sense why no one else gives a shit about Mila Kunis and her magic genes.
  • Grav boots are dumb. Channing Tatum uses them in every scene and half the time they are so slow, like he’s just gliding around. He looks like an idiot.
  • I wanted to like this movie too. It is pretty interesting. Spectacular at times. Seems like it could be a whole universe to be explored with books and tv shows and movies … but nope, kind of falls flat by going too big and self-contained. But I did kind of want to like it.
  • Another thing I did not like: how grand and frenetic everything tried to be. Through constraints imposed by technology of the time something like Star Wars seems effortless in comparison. In this everything is so big and there is so much stuff filling every inch of it it is almost too much to take in at any given time and seems overdone.
  • Oh and holy shit, Redmaynes performance! It is a thing to behold. It really is a poor decision by everyone involved. I would be shocked if it doesn’t win the worst actor this year, even though the acting wasn’t bad per se, just a really bad idea.

I’ll leave it there. I don’t think this will be anywhere near my least favorite film of the year. It is so poorly written and executed though (possibly because they were crushing three epic movies into one) that it certainly is a sight to be seen.

Before I go I’ll mention that I watched the Sandler vehicle The Cobbler the other day. Brief thoughts: (1) Not that bad. (2) Actually pretty impressive acting. (3) And with about 10 minutes left I thought to myself “this could be a novel superhero tv series”. Then the ending happened. One of the worse endings I’ve seen for a movie. It doesn’t make sense, and it just went a bit too far and on the nose for me …. whatever. It will not escape Razzie wrath since Sandler is almost definitely getting an actor nod, and they’ll probably lump Pixels, Cobbler and Hotel Transylvania 2 together.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Jupiter Ascending Preview

OK, we finally get to move on! For the last couple years Patrick and I have voted in the terrible, terrible Razzie Awards. They are the worst, but we can only do what we can. So each year we vote, and each year we’re disappointed in the films that ultimately win. In order to successfully vote without major disruption to our BMT schedule we need to start collecting some 2015 films stat. Since a lot of the major BMT releases are coming to video in the next few weeks, we can’t really keep a strict rotation. So instead we will hit all our categories, but in an order that makes sense with whatever is available. So to start it off we are going with SciFi and the most obvious BMT release of the year. This is, of course, the much anticipated Wachowski epic Jupiter Ascending. It was widely considered the most likely bomb of the year and obliged nicely. Without further ado, let’s go!

Jupiter Ascending (2015) – 51.7 BMeTric (March 19, 2016)

JupiterAscending_BMeT

(Generated on March 19, 2016. 50+ BMeTric bro. Look at that sweet DVD/VOD bump three months after release. Borderline though, just 0.1 rating away from sub-50, so it could easily change in the future.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars – In a cynical age, poker-faced sincerity is tough to pull off. When it’s coupled with innovative filmmaking techniques and visual bombast, the degree of difficulty goes up and up, to the point where you’re inclined to give films points for attempting the near-impossible.

(oh shit, “poker-faced sincerity”. That’s not a good thing… although perhaps a bit better than lackluster attempts at humor. Looking at you Hitman: Agent 47.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoCyL_Pqzu8

(Certainly a fun trailer. Just smacks a little bit of a film heavy on visuals and low on plot… like what do you actually get from the trailer? There are aliens… that’s about it.)

Director(s) – Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski – (Known For: The Matrix; The Matrix Reloaded; Cloud Atlas; Bound. BMT: The Matrix Revolutions; Jupiter Ascending; Speed Racer. Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revolutions (2003). Obviously famous for the Matrix and have had reasonable success sense. They are at least bold with their choices.)

Writer(s) – Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski – (Known For: The Matrix; V for Vendetta; The Matrix Reloaded; Cloud Atlas; Bound. BMT: The Matrix Revolutions; Jupiter Ascending; Assassins; Speed Racer. Notes: Niece and Nephew of Laurence Luckinbill who we know as Mr. Mooney from the BMT film Cocktail.)

Actors – Mila Kunis – (Known For: Ted; Black Swan; The Book of Eli; Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Extract; Date Night; Blood Ties; Get Over It; Friends With Benefits. BMT: Jupiter Ascending; Max Payne; Third Person; American Psycho II: All American Girl; The Angriest Man in Brooklyn; Moving McAllister; Annie; Krippendorf’s Tribe. Notes: Comes from a line of scientists. Her mom is a Physicist, dad is a Mechanical Engineering, and brother a Biochemist. So she’s pretty much a black sheep.)

Channing Tatum – (Known For: 21 Jump Street; White House Down; 22 Jump Street; Magic Mike; She’s the Man; Foxcatcher; Public Enemies; The Book of Life; Side Effects; Haywire; Magic Mike XXL; This Is the End; 10 Years; Coach Carter; Don Jon; A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints; Stop-Loss. BMT: Dear John; Step Up; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; The Vow; Jupiter Ascending; The Eagle; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Fighting; The Dilemma; The Son of No One; Supercross; Step Up 2 the Streets. Notes: Wow, how have we not watched more with him. We kinda have to watch Supercross immediately.)

Also stars the wonderful Sean Bean of the Silent Hill franchise.

Budget/Gross: $176 million / $47,387,723 ($183,887,723 Worldwide)

(When all said and done it was a major disappointment. Kinda predictable though as it was supposed to be released as a summer blockbuster, but was moved to February. The 52nd largest grossing SciFi-Adventure of all time. The worst? Obviously, The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Nothing is touching that shit. Even Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 25% (53/207), Critics Consensus: Pleasing to the eye but narratively befuddled, Jupiter Ascending delivers another visually thrilling misfire from the Wachowskis.

(Narratively befuddled indeed. If there was something I could have told you without even watching the film it’s that nothing will make sense and aliens will just be flying everywhere for no reason.)

Poster – Just a Bit Busy (C-)

jupiter_ascending_ver3
(Ooooo, I do not like that. Too much going on. The font kind of blends into the background and the people seem out of place. Not the worst, but not very good.)

Tagline(s) – Expand your universe. (D)

(Cool story, bro. Not sure why this is supposed to make me excited for the film. It’s concise, but that’s the most positive thing I can say about it.)

Notes – Channing Tatum had to wear a mouthpiece to change the shape of his lower jaw to realistically portray a part-canine character. This unfortunately prevented him from closing his mouth and gave him trouble when he had to talk. (oh God, hope it was worth it)

Natalie Portman was originally cast as Jupiter Jones, but dropped out. Rooney Mara was considered to replace her, before Mila Kunis was finally cast. The film was originally slated for release for July 18, 2014, but the studio delayed the film’s release and pushed it back six and a half months to give the production more time in the post-production process.

According to the directors, the script was over 600 pages long. (hahahahahahaha)

Be Cool Recap

Jamie

Be Cool. Ugh. Patrick is having me do the full recap for this one because he’s putting all of the information on the BMeTric that he’s been developing together [which is now on the website!]. What a film to leave me with though. I surprisingly despised this film. It is terrible. I cannot believe that it garnered a 30% on RT. Were those reviewers crazy? Did they watch this travesty of a film that tarnished everything the Get Shorty built? I really need to read the book now just to know whether Leonard (Elmore that is… Maltin wishes) screwed up in conceiving the plot for a sequel seemingly made as a result of Get Shorty’s success, or whether the acting, adaption, and production choices combined into a super storm of shit. I sure hope it’s the latter, cause that would be a shame for Elmore Leonard. I fully expected this film to just be a ‘meh’ film that I would forget about until three years from now I wonder ‘wait, did we watch Be Cool for BMT? I think we did but can remember nothing of the plot.’ Not the case. I hated this film.

Onto my three points:

  1. John Travolta! You know what happens when you try to make a sequel to a John Travolta film 10 years after the original? You go from having John “Too Cool for School” Travolta in your film to have John “Scary Mask Face” Travolta who seems just super thrilled with how great things are going in the music biz. You almost expect his scary stretched out face to start exclaiming, ‘Oh boy, this sure is fun. Neato,’ as he smiles uncontrollably at the camera. It would be interesting to look at the films in between Get Shorty and Be Cool to try to pinpoint exactly where John Travolta “lost it”. Can Patrick and I quantify it? As scientists we may be the only ones capable of unlocking the mystery. My guess? A little film called Battlefield Earth. I think it broke something in his brain… and face.
  2. The cameos! So many cameos to go along with ridiculously long music video sequences for Aerosmith and The Black Eyed Peas. I recently watched the Entourage movie (yes, of my own volition. Don’t you judge me) and found the movie pretty shitty, but the cameos at least a bit fun. This was the opposite. The cameos made everything worse. Seemed like they were more interested in filling the movie with meaningless fluff, than actually filming anything relevant. Oh and Andre 3000, who had an actual role in the film, wasn’t much better than the cameos. Pretty rough stuff all around for musicians on the big screen.
  3. The Rock! Finally something good to say. Almost all of the comedic roles in the film were pretty bad. Cedric the Entertainer was just OK, Vince Vaughn was awful, awful, awful. The Rock, though, was the only part of the film that I kinda liked. He had a fun role as a gay bodyguard of sorts and you can really tell that he’s going to be a star. The only critique I have is more in the writing of the role. His homosexuality seems to just be used as a one note joke throughout the film. He is simply gay and everyone laughs at the idea that The Rock is gay… but there isn’t any substance to it. Just felt a bit dated even for 2005. In fact the entire film just felt dated and weird and awful and I hated everyone in the film.

That’s kind of the entire take away from the film. Everything is dated. nothing feels like it was made in 2005. What once felt real and interesting in Get Shorty now feels super lame. Chili Palmer (Travolta’s character) is no doubt about it super lame in this film. God, he’s the lamest. Thank God I’m done with this. Great end to the map. A film I really didn’t care for, apl.de.ap singing a little tune on the big screen, and a beautiful finished map. Love it.

Well, I really, really, really wanted to get a MonoSklog from this film, but Netflix failed me and couldn’t get me the disc in time (whaaaaa? Let the people in charge know. Not good for their brand when they let down a media juggernaut like BMT). Lucky for us the MonoSklogs I wanted are available on Youtube. The first one is an absolute gem by The Rock. I call it Mi MonoSklogio:

Hilarious, albeit a bit shorter than we usually go for. The second one is the “infamous” MonoSklog by Cedric the Entertainer. I call it Mi Cultura:

This is explicitly mentioned as not being in the book and written for the film. Egad! Both are pretty ridiculously bad. Which makes them good… for their badness.

Cheers,

The Sklogs

Be Cool Preview

Alright! Here it is! Moving on to this week’s film we are finally at the finish line! You all doubted we could do it, but here we are. Us shrouded in glory and you all eating crow. That’s right, we are finally to the coveted final state of apl.de.ap. To recap, we have seen all the Black Eyed Peas in BMT films. Will.i.am was in X-men Origins: Wolverine, Fergie was in Poseidon, and Taboo was in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-li. While apl.de.ap has never appeared in a film as a character, he has appeared with the Black Eyed Peas in several film. Lucky for us they appeared in the BMT sequel to Get Shorty called Be Cool. So here’s the map. Look at it… I said look at it! It’s fucking gorgeous and it’s all ours. Phew. Well there we go. After years of searching and watching terrible movies it is done (literally years. We started the map on January 31, 2013… so almost three years ago). Now time to start up the world map. Which film would represent the US? Here on Earth probs. Here on Earth represents everything that is BMT. Let’s go!

Be Cool (2005) – BMTMetric: 40.6 (at the time ), 37.8 (April 18, 2016)

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(Pretty good score. Surprisingly so. This basically means that the movie is predicted to be a better BMT film than 40.6% of other films that scored 40% or lower on RT (our original, arbitrary BMT metric). So kind of middle of the pack. Patrick has already explained what it is before… I think. But he might do it again in a future email [or on the website!]. It’s a really good metric actually. Uses imdb data in a clever way to reflect our feelings on good and bad films for BMT watching.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – In this sequel to Elmore Leonard’s GET SHORTY, Chili Palmer (Travolta) moves into the music business and chooses a promising young singer (Milian) as his protegee, despite the fact that she’s already under contract to ruthless Keitel and his loose-cannon lieutenant Vaughn. Amiable, good-looking film retains Leonard’s story smarts but blunts the impact by allowing its comedic costars (Vaughn, Cedric) to riff to their heart’s content. The Rock is especially funny as a bodyguard/Hollywood wannabe. James Woods appears unbilled; other music stars make cameo appearances.

(Second movie in a row that has commented on how the film is “handsome-looking” or “good-looking”. One would hope given it’s a visual medium. Glad we get a little Vaughn riffing. It’s become quite the BMT standard.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl94t438Jjo

(Oh wow. I don’t like that at all. That feels very dated to me. In particular the Vince Vaughn character. Didn’t realize that Andre 3000 is a legit cast member in the film either. Love me movies with singers as actors (obviously))

Director(s) – F. Gary Gray – (Known For: The Italian Job; The Negotiator; Friday; Straight Outta Compton; Set It Off. BMT: Law Abiding Citizen; Be Cool; A Man Apart. Notes: Bet he gets an Oscar nom for Straight Outta Compton. Like his slate of movies. A Man Apart will be a fun future BMT. Started out as a major music video director. There was a time when that’s where many prominent filmmakers were being found… Interesting to think about.)

Writer(s) – Peter Steinfeld (screenplay) – (BMT: 21; Analyze That; Be Cool; Drowning Mona; Notes: From his imdb trivia page: “Abandoned a promising Mixed Martial Arts career to become a writer at the insistence of novelist Cormac McCarthy”, “Goes by the nickname ‘Gator’, which he earned in Hawaii”, “Has won two regional pie baking competitions and place top three in an astonishing 17 others.” Just so many follow up questions and thoughts.)

Actors – John Travolta – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Face/Off; Grease; Bolt; Hairspray; Broken Arrow; The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3; Phenomenon (Dir); Get Shorty; Look Who’s Talking; Saturday Night Fever; Carrie; Blow Out; Ladder 49; Primary Colors; A Civil Action. BMT: Swordfish; From Paris with Love; Battlefield Earth; The Punisher; Be Cool; Wild Hogs; Basic; The General’s Daughter; Look Who’s Talking Too; Michael; Old Dogs; Look Who’s Talking Now; Domestic Disturbance; Killing Season; Staying Alive. Notes: Nominated for two Best Actor Oscars for Pulp Fiction and Saturday Night Fever. BMT Legend. Nominated for Worst Actor of the Decade both 1980s and 2000s. Won Worst Actor for Battlefield Earth/Lucky Numbers (2000). Nominated for Worst Actor, Old Dogs (2009), Domestic Disturbance/Swordfish (2001), Perfect (1985), Staying Alive/Two of a Kind (1983). Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Shout (1991).)

Also stars Uma Thurman and Vince Vaughn.

Budget/Gross: $53 million / $56,046,979 ($95,226,116 Worldwide)

(Wow. That’s way more than I thought it would have cost and made. It’s the 14th highest grossing film set in Hollywood about the world of filmmaking. The worst wide-release film in that category? Our old friend Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 29% (50/169), Critics Consensus: Be Cool is tepid, square, and lukewarm; as a parody of the music business, it has two left feet.

(Oh, wow RT. For a website that loves its puns when it comes to crafting a consensus this one is pretty weak. You use “two left feet” as a jab about a film about the music business? It’s not the dancing business guys. Also, this movie is perfectly low enough for BMT. For some reason I thought we were reaching for this final state with a 35% film or something. I’m warming to this one.)

Poster – Human Colored (C-)

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(While I feel like I should like this (like them all sitting on a big gold record is kinda cool right?) I really do not. I don’t like when there are huge blocks of color that split the poster. Should be well integrated and a single color should be dominant. And you know how I feel about “human colors” on posters and with all of them sitting in the middle of the poster being all human colored and and wearing all different clothing it just jumbles everything. Boo.)

Tagline(s) – Everyone is looking for the next big hit (A)

(When I first read this I didn’t think it was very good. Just seemed like a phrase about the music business was being used lazily. But now that I get it (the use of the word hit meant to evoke not just the music business, but also Travolta’s criminal background) I really, really love it. Gives great insight into the plot of the film, by using a common phrase in a new way, and in a tight package. Perfection.)

Notes – In the beginning of the film, Chili mentions how a film needs to only use the “F” word more than once in order to get an R rating. He then uses the “F” word – the only use of it in the film – and thus, it gets a PG-13 rating. (That’s fun)

James Woods was originally cast as Nick Carr but had to drop out due to emergency surgery for an aneurysm. He was given the smaller role of Tommy Athens instead.

The film deviates considerably from the source material. (Awww man, now I feel bad that neither of us read the book in advance. Damn.)

This was Robert Pastorelli’s last film. He died from an accidental drug overdose during production. (sad)

Joe Pesci was part of the cast before filming began. But, for reasons unknown, he left the project shortly before production started.

Jennifer Connelly, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts and Halle Berry were considered for the role of Edie Athens.

The infamous monologue that Sin LaSalle delivered was neither in the novel nor in the early drafts of the script. The idea was put on by director F. Gary Gray who wanted Sin to be likable, but serious at the same time as well. (oh shit! Why infamous?)

Barry Sonnenfeld originally intended to return as director to this follow-up to his Get Shorty (1995) but production delays and scheduling issues precluded that.

Eric Balfour’s role as Derek was cut from the movie, although at least some of his scenes appears among the deleted scenes on the DVD. (Oh, man. I love Skyline’s Eric Balfour… I need that DVD).

Brett Ratner was originally set to direct the project, but pulled out.