By Jay Sizemore
Next week I will whole-heartedly celebrate the release of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, the film that will symbolise the end of what I like to refer to as “The Hollywood Release Doldrums”. I’ve been looking forward to that release for quite some time, as Wes Anderson is one of my favorite active directors, and the trailers for the movie have me giddy with boyish excitement. However, the recent releases from Hollywood up until this moment have been nothing more than space-fillers in which studios have no real faith, just killing time in what is considered to be the off-season by film connoisseurs, even though most Americans actually have surplus funds to spend at the cinema since most of them should be getting their tax refunds and buying large screen LCD televisions. Well, my tax refund was stolen by a thief along with my social security number, so I don’t happen to have those excess funds to waste on movie tickets for something I am sure to despise, so instead, let me tell you why you should also avoid the movie theatre this week.
- 300: Rise of an Empire — Frank Miller didn’t write this, because how the hell does one write a sequel to a battle in which all the original 300 soldiers died for glory? I suppose, if you liked the first film enough, you may be intrigued to see this completely imagined follow-up made by a no-name director brought on solely to mimic the iconic style of Zack Snyder’s CGI-laden slow-motion violence extravaganza. But seriously, if you liked the first one that much, just watch it again and save yourself twenty-five bucks. Or better yet, watch Man of Steel, and remember that Zack Snyder proved he has as much artistic integrity as a packet of fire sauce from Taco Bell.
- Mr. Peabody and Sherman — Are you kidding me? The highlight of this trailer includes both main characters being shot out of the rear-end of the Egyptian Sphinx in grand fart joke fashion, and this is yet another CGI bastardization of a cartoon I adored as a child. I think I shall pass.
- Non-Stop — It’s official, folks: Liam Neeson has given up on acting. Personally, I blame George Lucas. Someone should have warned Liam that working with Lucas was practically committing career suicide, but no one did, and so gone are the days of Rob Roy, Schindler’s List, and Gangs of New York. Now, this once credible actor is reduced to seeing how many times he can re-package the same story and character from his last action hit Taken. Gotta give the guy credit, at least he knows how to milk something for a paycheck.
- Son of God — I’m not religious. Even so, the mythology of this Caucasian version of the Messiah, perpetuated for easy consumption by the largely Caucasian target audience, is disturbing to say the least, and it is even less appealing to me than the religion it claims to pay tribute to. Next.
- 3 Days to Kill — I appreciate that Kevin Costner is attempting to mount a comeback, but if I wanted to watch a Tom Clancy movie, I would watch a Tom Clancy movie.
- Ride Along — No. Just… no.
- The Lego Movie — I am actually interested to see this one, so I am going to hold off on saying it deserves to be totally avoided. In fact, you should take your kids to see it. Forget all my negativity; if I had the money, this is what I would have seen this week. I hope I get the chance to review it before it leaves theatres.
Jay Sizemore is a film critic for the magazine.