Greetings from the apocalypse! You want destruction? This weekend's got MASSIVE destruction. You want egos? This weekend's got MASSIVE egos. Whether it’s the bickering Apatow Mafia or Zack Snyder pounding Superman's face into the pavement over and over it just might be the end of the world as we know it. Feeling fine optional.
Friday, June 14
POW! IN THEATERS
Nap before Zod! Sorry, boys and girls, but I must be the bearer of sour tidings: "Man of Steel" isn't that great. Is it better than the coat hanger abortion that was "Superman Returns"? Yeah, but not by leaps and bounds. On the plus side the cast is terrific, anchored by the measured charisma of Henry Cavill as the superest man there is and Lois Lane at her spunky best courtesy of Amy Adams. Unfortunately, the retro sci-fi trappings are "Green Lantern"-level ponderous and a climactic Metropolis battle that's 9/11 times-a-hundred ("Yes, 91,100") yields less excitement and more questions about the untold millions who are killed every time Superman flicks his wrist. It's also portentous as f**k. On the fun-o-meter it makes Chris Nolan's "The Dark Knight" trilogy look like "Cannonball Run," so afraid to crack a joke that it swings around to unintentional camp. Oh, and can you say "dildo-shaped spaceships"? I warned ya. Perhaps its greatest sin is that, for all its aesthetic and tonal pioneering, "Man of Steel" is essentially a remake of "Superman I" & "II," right down to General Zod's female and bulky guy henchmen. *snore*
PAY CHANNEL PAYBACK
If you're wondering how director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan gathered the mechanisms to build this particular bomb then check out "The Making of 'Man of Steel'" at 10:50 p.m. on Cinemax. Want to bear witness to another massive (and massively flawed) superhero blockbuster that did it mostly right? Tim Burton's iconic "Batman" airs on BBC America at 9 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
With their low production values and high talent ratio, "Shelly Duvall's Fairie Tale Theatre" is a delightful relic that most people who didn't have Showtime in the '80s would be totally unfamiliar with. I'm guessing that's most of you. Some stars who dropped in to re-enact various fables in front of charming painted backdrops include Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Jeff Goldblum, Mick Jagger and a young Sofia Coppola. One of the best episodes was the Duvall-ing of "Sleeping Beauty" (via HULU fo free yo) starring the greatest Superman of all time, Christopher Reeve, as the handsome prince in search of a beautiful princess (Bernadette Peters) as handsome princes are wont to do. Watch it in its entirety below:
This year's LA Film Fest is giving the City of Lost Angels a chance to garner some amazing cinematic experiences. See what I did there? There will be gala screenings of Nicholas Winding Refn’s polarizing Ryan Gosling blood-fest "Only God Forgives" and the Steve Carell dramedy "The Way, Way Back " alongside free anniversary screenings of "Hairspray" and "Dazed and Confused." The real treats are the many panel events, including a live-taping of KCRW's "The Treatment" with director Justin Lin ("Fast & Furious 6") and conversations with David O. Russell, Mark Boal and Maya Rudolph.
Saturday, June 15
POW! IN THEATERS
I haven’t had a chance to scope this one out yet, but from all I've seen and heard "This Is the End" delivers on all meta-comedy fronts. Star/ co-writer/ goofy-laugher Seth Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg have taken the plunge into directing and assembled a Murderer's Row of funny people (James Franco, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, etc.) to assist in their dramatic recreation of the Biblical apocalypse ravaging the cesspool known as Hollywood. Sight unseen, gonna go ahead and call this one as the week's most recommended Survivor of Thunderdome. Sorry, "Man of Steel," that's what you get for being so damn mopey.
BASIC CABLE BLUES
As far as screenplays go, Rogen and Goldberg seemed like comedy alchemists with the one-two punch of "Superbad" and "Pineapple Express," airing at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively on FX. "Superbad" took the "one crazy night" high school coming-of-age genre (yes, that's a genre) and crafted a worthy successor to "American Graffiti" for today, albeit with far more d**k jokes. Riding on that momentum, they potently combined action with bongs for "Pineapple," thanks to their can-doobie-do spirit. It's a Rogenpalooza!
NETFLIX RECOMMENDS WITH A VENGEANCE
Love hurts, or at least stings like a bitch. Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz" (available on Netflix Streaming) examines what happens when a young wife (Michelle Williams) flirts with charting a new course in life as her five-year marriage hits cruise control. Here's my issue with the movie: The dude she falls for (played by Luke Kirby) is such a pretentious douchenozzle and their encounters seem to fall under either "improbable" or "stalking." Only in a movie could Kirby be able to afford the enormous apartments he lives in on a rickshaw driver's salary. Seriously. Why would she leave her husband for such a toolbag, especially when her husband is played lovably by Seth Rogen? Sure, his character is a little on the bland side (he's writing an all-chicken cookbook), but he's the best part of the film and displays a range we'll hopefully see again.
National Theatre Live brings the West End to your end as they broadcast live performances from jolly old London at the local neighborhood movie palace. Starting this week you can catch "The Audience," featuring the gift all dad's want for Father's Day: Helen Mirren. Yowza. She's reprising her Academy Award-winning role as Queen Elizabeth II from "The Queen," and like that film this show is scripted by Peter Morgan. It centers on the weekly audiences the Queen grants to England's various Prime Ministers over the decades ... and presumably the many tea biscuit eating contests they've held. Find your nearest NT Live venue at their website.
Sunday, June 16 (Father's Day)
BASIC CABLE BLUES
Leave it to TCM to offer a Father's Day lineup that includes "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" at 8 a.m., "Father of the Bride" at 10 a.m., "To Kill a Mockingbird" at 8 p.m. and "Life With Father" at 10:15 p.m. Sensing a pattern? Thought so. If Atticus Finch and Scout were still alive today I imagine they'd spend this Sunday starting an online petition movement to get English band The Boo Radleys back together. Some day.
One of the greatest father-son adventures gets the peanut gallery treatment as LA's Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre presents "Doug Benson's Movie Interruption" featuring "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989). Despite only a 12-year age difference, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery closed the generation gap by mowing down Nazis and drinking from Jesus' juice glass (the Holy Grail). Benson and his pals — who in past interruptions have included Ed Helms, Sarah Silverman and Zach Galifianakis — will talk loudly into microphones throughout, letting their comedic brain droppings cascade over the audience. Also check out this week's "Doug Loves Movies" podcast where Benson gets "This is the End" star Seth Rogen to play The Leonard Maltin Game and trash "The Green Hornet." Again.
There was a throwaway line in "Marvel's The Avengers" regarding that pesky Dark Energy that the All-Father Odin harnessed to send Thor back to Earth in order to retrieve Loki and the Tesseract. Turns out that had some serious repercussions that will be dealt with in "Thor: The Dark World," so Marvel Comics has created a two-issue prelude to November's big Norse brawl as a handy primer for those who still don't know how Mjölnir is pronounced. The first issue is on stands now, and if you're still traumatized by "Game of Thrones," don't worry, I'm pretty sure there's no "Red Wedding" equivalent … at least not in this issue.
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 …