Cinema Psycho

"You know what? You have a losing personality." – Manhattan

Case 39 finally getting released?

Posted by CinemaPsycho on August 19, 2010

According to Entertainment Tonight, which premiered the new trailer tonight, Paramount is finally dusting off Case 39 on Oct. 1.For those of you don’t know or recall, this is the Christian Alvart (Pandorum) – directed horror film starring Renee Zellweger, Bradley Cooper, Ian McShane and child actress Jodelle Ferland (Tideland, Silent Hill) which has been on the shelf for at least three years now. I don’t know if anybody actually cares about this, but I thought it was interesting given that I haven’t been able to find any confirmation of this on the Web. Entertainment Tonight is of course owned by Paramount, so it just may be for real. The last known release date was Jan. 1st, 2010, and of course that never happened.

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I’m actually kind of curious to see this flick. Whenever a movie changes release dates as many times as this one has, it makes me all the more curious to check it out, even though that’s usually a sign of disaster. ET wasn’t specific about whether the release would be wide or limited (for the record, I don’t actually watch that show on a regular basis, I just happened to see they were doing a piece on this movie and decided to tune in. OK?). Of course, Oct. 1st is the date that two very film geek-friendly films are being released: David Fincher’s Facebook movie The Social Network, and Matt Reeves’ Let Me In, the remake of the excellent foreign vampire film Let the Right One In. So it may be that Paramount is planning on sneaking this one in under the radar. Or they’re hoping to attract non-geeks who don’t know about the movie’s tortured history. Either way, it should be interesting to see what finally happens with this thing. Since no one else is talking about this apparently, I thought I’d throw my two cents in. I really liked Pandorum and his disturbing German film Antibodies, and I think Alvart’s a talented up-and-comer, so fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, I keep reading that John Carpenter’s The Ward, his first feature in almost a decade, is being released on Sept. 24. But I have yet to discover who is actually releasing the independent production, so I don’t know if that’s trustworthy or not. Release dates can be a pain in the ass to follow sometimes. Someone clearly needs to make an announcement on this sucker.

So, what’s up? I know I’ve been away for awhile. I was planning to write a long column comparing The Expendables to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and go on and on about how they’re two films with very different views of manhood, blah blah blah. I had it all worked up in my head, ready to type. And then I suddenly realized that I was completely full of shit and that everything I was going to write was colored by my own personal feelings on the subject. So I decided to scrap it. Trust me, I did all of us a favor.

For the record, I kind of enjoyed Expendables, though I don’t think it’s a great action film by any means. I think some people are giving it a little more love than it deserves due mostly to nostalgia. As much as I love action films, I think this particular kind of action film is something we’ve gotten past. Action heroes no longer have to be muscle-bound steroid jockeys delivering one-liners as they blow people away. The influx of Asian films by John Woo, Jackie Chan, etc. in the early 90’s showed Americans that action movies could be about so much more than that. Kind of ironic that Jet Li is even in this, since frankly I think he’s so much cooler than the rest of the cast put together. He’s short and Chinese, and he kicks fucking ass. That’s more impressive than any number of professional wrestlers in my book. But that’s just me.

The problem I had with Expendables is that while it is a throwback to 80’s action flicks, it’s more of a throwback to the cheap Cannon films of the era than to the genuinely good examples of the genre (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, etc). It even looks cheap, like they spent most of the money on the cast and had to make do with what was left over. Look, I’ve always liked Stallone as a screen presence, but as an action director he’s no more than passable. He seems to have forgotten what made those movies work in the first place – the underdog element. At no point do we ever feel that our heroes’ backs are against the wall, that they have to rise to a challenge in any way. They go to this fictional island country, kill a bunch of people, they actually go home, then they decide to go back and wipe everybody else out with their obviously superior firepower. That’s the movie. They are never in a situation where we feel like they’re in genuine danger, or they have to go, “uh-oh – what do we do now?” They’re a little too good at killing people and in not being killed in the process. There’s no challenge, therefore no tension. There are some entertaining moments, of course – the Arnold-Bruce cameo scene is priceless (and probably added at least $10 million to the boxoffice). But I was never psyched up by it, never really “got into it”. And anyone who knows me knows that I love this stuff. Even a half-decent action flick can wind me up, and this just didn’t. It’s fun at times, but there just isn’t much going on there. Apparently audiences disagree, and hey, I’m glad they enjoyed it. If its success leads to more action films being made (hopefully better ones), then I’m all for it. I just kinda felt… been there, done that, seen it blow up a thousand times already.

And Scott Pilgrim is just an awesome movie. Screw the online backlash and see it as soon as you possibly can. That’s all for now. Talk to you later!

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