"Americans ... still believe in an America where anything's possible — they just don't think their leaders do." – Barack Obama
Greetings from the apocalypse! This week some Texas Republicans tried to implement a dastardly plan but were narrowly defeated by plucky State Senator Wendy Davis. Hopefully direct-to-video kings The Asylum can make a "White House Down" knockoff called "Texas State Capitol Down" for DVD shelves two weeks from now, starring Debbie Gibson as Wendy Davis. Yay!
Friday, June 28
[caption id="attachment_173163" align="alignright" width="300"] Columbia Pictures[/caption]
POW! IN THEATERS
Ah Roland Emmerich, only you have the antidote to the summer blues. The German who's cinematically blitzkrieged more than one of our national landmarks several times over is taking down 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue once again in "White House Down." He's enlisted Channing Tatum as an Aryan super soldier to rescue President Ray Charles (Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx) from terrorists intent on burning Washington D.C. to the ground. I visited the set last year and even from the few scenes I saw shot it's apparent this is not an action movie that's taking itself seriously, which is exactly how it should be. Hear that, "Olympus Has Fallen"?
"Moon 44" proved an effective Hollywood calling card for master of disaster Roland Emmerich when it was released in 1990, and by "released" I mean lobbed onto a lower shelf at Blockbuster Video. This derivative-but-fun sci-fi actioner stars '80s also-ran Michael Paré as an undercover agent/hotshot space pilot investigating sabotage at an off-planet mining colony and Malcolm McDowell at his mustache-twirling best as the patently obvious bad guy. Chiaroscuro lighting through billowing fans, Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and buttloads of fog make for proof that Emmerich has clearly watched "Blade Runner" three hundred times. Hell, he even stole the opening title fonts from Ridley Scott. Also, male rape! Lots of it! You can watch "Moon 44" in its sodomite entirety via YouTube below.
PAY CHANNEL PAYBACK
Jamie Foxx had a few minutes there when it looked like he could be Will Smith Mark II, but then "Stealth" and "Miami Vice" put a kibosh on that. Since then he's loosened up and started having more fun on screen, especially in 2011's "Horrible Bosses" on HBO2 at 8 p.m. tonight. This generic comedy revolves around three white collar professionals (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day) who decide to get revenge on their mistreatin' employers. Foxx has a hilarious supporting role as Dean "Motherf**ker" Jones, an ex-con who acts as the boys' murder consultant ... even though he only went to jail for bootlegging the movie "Snow Falling on Cedars."
NETFLIX RECOMMENDS WITH A VENGEANCE
Last year director Steven Soderbergh cemented Channing Tatum's star status with his hunky turn in "Magic Mike," but he also gave his boy a trial run as an action man in the thriller "Haywire," available on Netflix Streaming. Typically in these sort of deals the male lead reluctantly has the tough female partner who he gets the better of, but here the tables are turned with MMA badass Gina Carano as lead buttkicker Mallory and Tatum riding bitch as her sidekick Aaron. They're both crazy hot, though.
Saturday, June 29
[caption id="attachment_183620" align="alignright" width="300"] 20th Century Fox[/caption]
POW! IN THEATERS
One of my favorite comedy gurus is Paul Feig, the creator of "Freaks and Geeks" and … well what more do you need besides that? Okay, he also had a little hit called "Bridesmaids," and he's maintaining his majority share stake in the Melissa McCarthy business with "The Heat," a female action buddy movie co-starring Sandra Bullock. The trailers look hilarious, and word on the street says this really works with audiences, so hopefully these two ladies and Feig can prove that "Bridesmaids" wasn't a fluke and that X-chromosomes can indeed do R-rated comedy right.
BASIC CABLE BLUES
Sandra Bullock may not drop F-bombs with the frequency of McCarthy, but she's been known to tickle a rib or two in her broader comedy vehicles. Today there's a double-header of 'em starting with the undercover beauty pageant fling "Miss Congeniality" at 1 p.m. on ABC Family and followed by the Bullock and Ryan Reynolds marrying-for-a-visa deal "The Proposal" at 5:30 p.m. on FX.
[caption id="attachment_183619" align="alignright" width="300"] IFC Films[/caption]
Those of you who got a taste of crazy coked-up Michael Cera in "This Is the End" and are jonesing for more will find the twee 25-year-old going further off the reservation in the Sundance Festival hit "Crystal Fairy." Before the mescaline-fueled Chilean road trip comedy debuts next month you can catch a sneak screening presented by Rooftop Films, literally on the roof of New Design High School in New York City. Doors open at 8 p.m. with Cera and co-star Gaby Hoffmann of "Uncle Buck" fame in attendance with pre-show music by Salt Cathedral and an after party at Fontana's courtesy of Red Stripe.
THE CON IS ON
Where my "Harry Potter" fans at? Pull that Nimbus 2000 out of the closet and catch the first Hogwarts Express to Portland, Oregon for the first American gathering of LeakyCon, a celebration of all things Potter or otherwise nerdy. Besides a Guinness World Record attempt at "Largest Group of People Wearing False Moustaches," there's tons of literary seminars, musical performances (Harry and the Potters!) and, of course, signings with "Potter" movie alumni like Scarlett Byrne ("Pansy Parkinson"), Devon Murray ("Seamus Finnigan") and Ellie Darcey-Alden ("Young Lily Potter").
Sunday, June 30
[caption id="attachment_183621" align="alignright" width="300"] Lionsgate[/caption]
YOU DOWN WITH VOD?
Want to see a softer side of an action superstar? Then check out "Redemption" (a.k.a. "Hummingbird" in the UK), which hits theaters and VOD this weekend and is my mucho recommended Survivor of Thunderdome. Any movie where Jason Statham has sex with a nun would probably be a bit morally reprehensible, and this is, but in the sweetest, most tender way possible. The Stath plays an ex-Royal Marine who committed court martial-worthy war atrocities in Afghanistan but chose to live homeless on the streets of London rather than pay the piper. Through getting sober and committing way more crimes he somehow wins the affections of said nun played by Agata Buzek. What? It makes sense if you see it!
Now that the summer sun is blazing why not grab your stick, stock up on Sex Wax and hang ten with lassic surfing flick "The Endless Summer" on HULU fo free, yo. Avid surfer Bruce Brown released this seminal documentary in 1966 right as the surf lifestyle became a phenomenon in the states and it captures that crisp sense of freedom that practitioners of the sport claim to feel. The focus of Brown's journey is a trip circumnavigating the globe looking for that elusive "perfect wave." The exotic coastlines of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Tahiti and Hawaii are the real stars, though, as is the gnarly soundtrack by The Sandals. Watch it in its entirety below.
If you're tired of all this summer sunshine s**t and want to delve into some darkness, why not give the new autobiography "Wish I Was There" by Emily Lloyd a try? While still in her teens Lloyd starred in a British picture called "Wish You Were Here" that turned her into an overnight sensation, with the industry crowning the gorgeous It Girl a successor Marilyn Monroe. She starred in a few high-profile Hollywood flops ("Cookie," "In Country") before landing a plum role opposite Brad Pitt in "A River Runs Through It." Unfortunately a laundry list of mental illnesses (depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADD, OCD, Tourette syndrome) made her virtually unemployable for the next two decades, and now she's written a memoir that will hopefully shed light on what melted her wings after she got so close to the sun.
As I ride off into the distant horizon, here's wishing you fellow weekend road warriors the best outing possible from this burnt-out, blighted wasteland. Enjoy your fast Internet, clean-ish movie theaters, plentiful gasoline and all the comforts of home, for this world lives now only in my memories …