As you may have deduced by the fact that my last post mentioned being sick, my absence the last few days has been the result of a mixture of relentless coughing, pounding sinus headaches and enough NyQuil to have helped write a Beatles album. I made it back to work today and promptly wore myself out again, but I don’t want to let another day go by with nothing. And since these What I’d Watch columns sort of write themselves, it’s an easy toe back in the water before I collapse back into bed until Monday.
The Wayans family is still trying to keep the spoof genre alive, especially since the previous, um, “masters” Friedberg and Seltzer of ____ Movie fame (or infamy) disappeared into VOD-Land. And they might have been on to something if Fifty Shades of Grey had dug itself more into the zeitgeist than it did. As it is, Fifty Shades of Black sounds like they bet big on it being smash, lost, but already had the script and sets and figured, well, everything is already paid for. The previous two outings from this team (Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez on script, Michael Tiddes behind the camera) were the two A Haunted House films, which had such minuscule budgets they could have opened on a View-Master and still turned a profit. This one’s no different, and with the last big comedy Daddy’s Home losing some steam, there might be an audience looking to laugh, no matter how groan-worthy the jokes are. Just not much of one.
The Finest Hours looks like a big heaping slice of American heroism served up with a generous helping of Disney’s marketing muscle. And I have to admit, the trailers have made a pretty compelling case for what looks like an edge-of-your-seat tale of courage against impossible odds. I just wonder if the guy behind Lars and the Real Girl is the one to pull this kind of film off. Still, it’s got a fairly beefy cast, between Chris Pine and Casey Affleck, and it’s hard to argue that, since audiences didn’t exactly embrace 13 Hours, people are looking for something a little more ol’ fashioned and black and white in its values. An $80 million budgets sets the bar rather high though.
Besides, this weekend is going to belong to Jack Black and company and Kung Fu Panda 3. I have to admit, I haven’t really given the Kung Fu Panda franchise a fair shake. And a large part of that is having seen the first film after I saw How to Train Your Dragon. That film was my “Hey, DreamWorks Animation can make a good movie!” moment, and seeing Panda afterward probably didn’t do it any favors (my reverence for the Dragon films should be obvious to anyone who remotely knows me). But the first two Panda films are fun, chop-socky-style romps that look absolutely gorgeous, and there’s more story going on with them than most DreamWorks fare. I don’t see why the third should be any different, even if, as with any third film in a series, it might be a little hard to find that surprise of discovery. But seriously, families are looking for something to see now that they’ve all OD’ed on Star Wars, so this is going to have a monster weekend.
Now with that out of the way, I need to not be vertical for, oh, a couple of days. Good night.