Movies The Dork Report

Exclusive! The Expendables 3 Poster

Carter. Grier. Hamilton. Jolie. Jovovich. Thurman. Weaver. Yeoh. The Expendables 3 movie poster

Coming summer 2014 — The Expendables 3! Starring Lynda Carter, Pam Grier, Linda Hamilton, Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich, Uma Thurman, Sigourney Weaver, and Michelle Yeoh.

This movie does not exist, but should. Hollywood, call me.

4 Stars Movies

Terry Gilliam throws the budget overboard in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Terry Gilliam’s mad, brilliant yarn The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a strongly anti-war fable to which every kid (and adult!) ought to be exposed. Like the best of its kind (including Ratatouille and Gilliam’s own Time Bandits) The Adventures of Baron Munchausen works on multiple levels and is accessible to all ages. It is, however, a Gilliam film, as as such possessed of a certain degree of darkness and naughtiness. But depictions of tobacco, decapitation, and brief nudity (of the young Uma Thurman variety… thank you, Terry!) were evidently A-OK for kiddies in its era, and merited a mere PG rating. Special mention must also be paid to the spirited performance by a very young, adorable (but in a non-cloying way) Sarah Polley.

What must be the most ironic caption in cinema history, “The Late 18th Century: The Age of Reason,” is followed immediately by harrowing imagery of warfare that wouldn’t be out of place in Kubrick’s Paths of Glory. Further driving the point home for the slower members of the audience, a trip to Hades finds Vulcan (Oliver Reed) forging ICBMs out of hellfire. In a theme straight out of Noam Chomsky, the military industrial complex (personified by Jonathan Pryce’s hilariously accented bureaucrat) imprisons the people within the walls of their own city with a sham state of perpetual war. In the end, the Baron (John Neville) defeats these villains not with more violence, but by inspiring the people to throw open their doors and thus their minds.

Must read: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen fun facts from Dreams, the Terry Gilliam Fanzine

2 Stars Movies

John Woo’s Paycheck isn’t fun, weird, or subversive enough for a Philip K. Dick tale

When it comes to action cinema maestros like John Woo — I can enjoy the the hyped-up action and weirdness of something like Face/Off, but find that the extreme violence and gunplay can sometimes cross the line from escapism into being inhumane. Paycheck, scoring a mere PG-13 from the MPAA, is less violent than most of Woo’s others, but also unfortunately less weird or even fun.

It’s also not as smart or subversive as a Philip K. Dick adaptation ought to be. I think Minority Report is the first so far to capture what made Dick’s tales so timeless and relevant.

Uma Thurman, following her star turn as the Kung-Fu action cinema goddess in Kill Bill, plays backup love interest to Ben Affleck, who himself is no great shakes here. He was funny and self-deprecating when recently hosting Saturday Night Live, if a little juvenile. His 90’s goatee-wearing, ironic geek guy in Chasing Amy was actually quite realistic. Even his Daredevil hinted at the suffering and isolation in the midst of all the superhero silliness (there’s a chilling scene where we see him return home after a night of crime-busting, where he painfully strips off his protective uniform to reveal more than a few bruises and scars, and then blithely chews a handful of pain-killers straight). But he doesn’t read as a convincing engineer in Paycheck, and his good looks and physique directly contradict dialog in the film that describes him as just a regular guy, and not a secret agent action hero.

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