Silver: There’s a great Monty Python sketch in which a writer creates a joke so funny it’s lethal — so deadly that during WWII both the Nazis and the Allied forces attempt to weaponize it, but as a precaution, can only translate the joke one word at a time.
This is my fear when discussing, much less seeing, any footage from Pacific Rim. There are far too many goodies involved with this film that target the deepest parts of my gooey geeky center. So as not to place myself in harm's way, the following is an appropriated version of the Python “Funniest Joke” strategy (because as we all know, the best advice and life lessons come from Monty Python).
Guillermo Del Torro; giant robots; Charlie Hunnam; “pilot-to-pilot connection engaged”; giant monsters; “two pilots mind-melding through memories with the body of a machine”; Charlie Day; robot heads; “Your orders are to protect a city of 2 million people”; night battles in the rain; giant monsters leaping out of a river onto a giant robot; “They came from deep beneath the Pacific”; winged monsters; “Their sole purpose is to aim for the populated areas and take out the vermin ... us”; Ron Perlman; dojos; Idris Elba; “Today we face the monsters that are at our door. We are canceling the apocalypse!”; giant robot double-fist punch to a giant monster’s face; and A FRAKKING SEA TANKER BEING WIELDED AS A BASEBALL BAT!
Oy. I said too much. I think ... I’m goingngn ... tooooo ... fai ...
Summer is always an endurance contest: week after week of Movies You Have to See. Once upon a time the season was four months, like actual summer. But climate change has managed to monkey with the Hollywood release schedule. Now summer starts whenever a studio says it does; last week Universal called summer first. So the season pretty much began in the middle of April, with Oblivion, which delivers Tom Cruise as the last man on Earth. The movie industry is hoping you like the end of the world. It's the source of the season's other endurance contest: seemingly endless months of planetary devastation, alien invasion, and surviving. Armageddon is the new Avengers.
Maybe it's foolish to wonder whether the bombing of the Boston Marathon and the subsequent citywide hunt for the perpetrators wasn't summer movie enough. Maybe this should have been the summer Mark Wahlberg partied with the vulgar teddy bear. We are strong, however. Absentminded, too. So if Brad Pitt wants to race around the globe in the name of stopping a zombie pandemic, we might be helpless not to watch. But there's something going on when even the comedies are horning in on that action. I saw the poster for This Is the End, with the faces of all those funny people — Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, James Franco, Jay Baruchel — and assumed it was about a bunch of man-children graduating from night school or getting drunk at a wedding or something. It might still be about that. But it's also about how a disaster has hit Los Angeles and left them stuck with each other. I'm going to go ahead and predict that Robinson dies first.
Silver: A Roland Emmerich film about the White House being attacked and a 2:17 trailer that doesn’t reveal either of its leading men till 1:11. And these aren't just your run-of-the-mill Emmerich leads (i.e., John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Matthew Broderick, Dennis Quaid), these are two legit above-the-line talents. One is coming off his biggest worldwide hit (Jamie Foxx) and the other is arguably Hollywood’s next superstar (The Tatum). Ugh! This White House Down trailer should have been a layup. But nooooo, the part of my brain that should have retained actually useful information has instead made itself a receptacle for only the most inane entertainment-related info, taken over, and dragged me down a regretful “Teaser Trailers of Emmerich Past” spiral.
It turns out that Chris Ryan and I are slow bingers. One month after the entire first season of House of Cards was dumped onto Netflix's servers like a half-rack of ribs at Freddy's, we finally managed to digest all 13 episodes. If we held back in the watching, though, we certainly didn't in the discussing: We attacked this thing like Frank Underwood sinking his teeth into a side of Freddy's delicious slaw, breaking down everything from the feng shui of free-spirited photographers and the gravity-altering intensity of Robin Wright's neck bones to the confounding mysteries of lady journalists and their backward-buttoning sweaters. All spoilers apply here, and we're not talking about Major Dad knowing how to speak Chinese.
Silver: This is a teaser in the truest sense. Aside from an invite-only industry screening of the film in early February, this new film from the brothers Coen does not have a release date — but in all likelihood, it won’t hit theaters until after its all-but-certain debut at Cannes this summer, and then a possible Toronto Film Festival showing in September, making the approximate date of first consumption by the general public sometime in late fall/winter of 2013. And if this trailer weren’t so darn delectable I’d be fine waiting. But I’m like a rabid dog who’s just gotten his first taste of blood. A little is already far too much. I now have to go through some Renton-level detoxing in order to make it to release day. Ugh! This looks so good.
2012 was a good year for all kinds of people (e.g., Jeremy Lin, Christian Marclay, Lena Dunham, R.A. Dickey, Barack Obama, Trinidad James ...). But in the realm of White Male Actors (Who Wore a Thong In At Least One Movie Scene), two reigned supreme. Their names are Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum, and this summer, in Magic Mike, they gave us the most unexpectedly cohesive all-purpose treat of the year.
Magic was just the centerpiece of Matt's and Chan's 2012s, though: Over the last 12 months, both men shed skin and evolved — one into the true-blue leading man we thought he might be; the other into the fine, odd actor we'd long stopped hoping he'd become. So yeah blah blah blah, congratulations. Now on to the important stuff: Which of them had the better 2012? To the head-to-head, chaps-to-breakaway-sweatpants faceoff!
If it wasn't utterly dumbfounding, it'd be almost comforting in its predictability: a black actor gets cast as the President of the United States in a movie, and that movie's plot line inevitably involves the world going to hell.
Next up is Jamie Foxx, who's in negotiations for White House Down, a Die Hard–style thriller in which Secret Service agent Channing Tatum has to stop a paramilitary group from taking the president and everyone inside his home hostage. (Foxx, who is still wrapping up shooting on Tarantino's Django Unchained, hasn't officially been made an offer, but Variety reports that the outcome looks promising.)
In 1996, director Roland Emmerich destroyed the White House, via aliens, in Independence Day. In 1998, he destroyed New York, via mythical dinosaur, in Godzilla. In 2004, he destroyed North America, via global warming, in The Day After Tomorrow. In 2009, he destroyed the world, via ancient Mayan prophecy, in 2012. And now Roland Emmerich will — well, he’s sort of destroying the White House again. Roland's in talks for a project called White House Down, which follows a paramilitary takeover of the highest office in the land.