May 11, 2012
Should we be worried about that Uptown Saturday Night remake?

Justin: I’m not entirely sure why I’m bothered by the fact that a remake of Uptown Saturday Night is in the works, but I am. There is a potential remake in the works, and, being faithful to the formula long ago established by Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby, the movie will  could star big name black folks! Denzel! Will Smith! THIS SELLS ITSELF ALREADY.

That should be appetizing, but it’s not. Sure, I have no love for remakes and think, generally speaking, remakes are a plague of boils. Creativity-leeching, distracting boils. But that’s not the reason, at least not entire.

See, here’s something important to point out about me: I goddamn love Uptown Saturday Night and the other members of the Cosby/Poitier trilogy, including Let’s Do It Again and A Piece of the Action. These movies were on semi-regular rotation in the he Saturday afternoon TV movies from when I was growing, along with gems like Clue, The Gumball Rally, Smokey and the Bandit, Airplane, and a smattering of James Bond flicks among others. These were not all A-list films,

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February 17, 2012
Plot Device Power Rankings: “The Spirit of Vengeance has bills to pay” edition

We are in the deep, harsh, soul sucking depths of the movie season, that time where the cutting cold of the weather outside still isn’t enough to make you walk into a movie theater. Still, the Hollywood’s not shutting down and Nick Cage has a shit ton of bills to pay. Seriously, that guy must own thousands in hair plug payments. Also, Reese Witherspoon is back. Consider that your fair warning.


1.) Marvel, and Nick Cage, are back for more cash. Flaming, ridiculous and utterly forgettable barrels of cash. (And for some reason Idris Elba is involved.) (Last week: N/A since 2007)

2.) Love and amnesia happens! And sometimes it doesn’t involve coconuts or wacky witchcraft. Sadly, it does involve ham-faced actors. (Last week: 2…or was it 1? WHO ARE YOU?)

3.) Captain Kirk and Eames romance each other through gun play and explosions. Oh wait, it’s not a gay spy love story? Reese Witherspoon is involved? (Last week: Just, really, Reese? I mean, HER?)

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February 13, 2012
Plot Device Power Rankings: Lowest Common Denominator Edition

Now, we’re not saying that Hollywood screenwriting, for the most part, comes down to a simple re-jiggering of well-nigh-exhausted formulae, but…

Oh wait, yes we are…

There’s something for everyone in this week’s crop of recycled crap fine film offerings at your local megaplex.  Aging action stars!  Suspiciously-familiar syrupy romance!  The Rock sequel-ing all over the place!  And it’s all brand new!  You know, if you don’t look to hard…


1. Denzel Washington + hunky younger (white) co-star + ‘splosions + car chase = how did Tony Scott not direct this? (Last year, when it was called Unstoppable: 10)

2. The Notebook - Ryan Gosling + Rachael McAdams again- Nicholas Sparks + that guy with the abs - Alzheimer’s + amnesia = What you have to see this weekend if you want to watch sports ever again. (Last week [and always, always…]: 8)

3. Loudly-formulaic, family-friendly adventure - Brendan Fraser + The Rock = No One Notices the Difference  (Last week: N/A. Next week: N/A)

4. Superhero franchise - 80% of normal budget + Cloverfield cameras - hammy star villain one liners = something twice as good as Hancock which will make 1/5 the money. (Last week: 3)

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February 1, 2012
The lady and the anti-tank gun: Why aren’t there action roles for older actresses?

Movie Poster - The Bonnie Parker Story 1958Something remarkable happened at the box office recently when two, yes, TWO action movies fronted by women debuted. And one of them claimed the top spot. Yes, the Plot Device Power Rankings proved its supremacy, and legitimacy, once again, but that’s not the point here. What’s interesting is that we’ve got a ‘splodey, derivative, ludicrous and loud action flick winning the box office that doesn’t have a dude running the point.  

That won’t last long. Why? Because here come the dudes, again. Or, maybe we should say, out of respect, the older gentlemen. These aren’t your Will Smiths, Vin Diesels or even Shia LeBeoufs. No, these are actors who can clearly remember the Reagan and Carter administrations. Within a two week span a pair of Hollywood’s, uh, mature, statesmen will be bare-knuckling their way into theaters, with Liam Neeson leading the way with The Grey, followed by Denzel Washington in Safe House

Let’s just get it out of the way now and say both of these movies give off the air of uninspiring energy drinks. Sure, they’re filled with blinding amounts of caffeine, enticing food dyes and the promise of brief, enjoyable highs. But they’re ultimately empty. Unless, of course, you pop a big, even aging, name on it.

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