By: Hawk Ripjaw –
There’s a weirdly specific thing about the trailers for Action Point that I always notice. It’s not even really a bad thing, it just sort of bugs me. The framing device of an older, “Not quite Bad Grandpa but sort of” Johnny Knoxville telling his injured granddaughter about his theme park he used to run. I’m guessing she’s sad about being injured so he tells her this long story to one-up her and show her how one broken arm isn’t anything as bad as a career of painful embarrassment for MTV.
It still surprises me that I mostly really enjoy Jackass (besides some of the more nauseating bits), and it never ceases to re-surprise me to be reminded that Spike Jonze (yes, creative, emotional indie drama director Spike Jonze) is an executive producer. I also have nothing but respect for Knoxville, who not only suffered at least four concussions during the filming of Action Point (he’s in his late 40s), at one point he banged his head on the ground and sneezed his eye out of his socket. After hearing that I’d kind of feel bad not seeing it, even though it’s definitely worrisome that Paramount pulled a handful of Thursday night screenings and embargoed reviews until well into Friday.
This is based on an actual park in Vernon, NJ, which might be the most interesting thing about the movie.
There are a whole mess of reasons for me to personally not care much for Adrift: I don’t really like survival movies. I have not enjoyed Shailene Woodley’s performances since The Descendants (for the love of god, girl, don’t let them rope you into more of that Divergent shit). I’m pretty sure I’ve never enjoyed Sam Claflin’s performances, and Woodley for some reason already looks like she’s dying of thirst in the opening scenes of the trailer. To be fair, she’s a solid actress that consistently gets shortchanged on meaty roles. This might be the one where she can shine again, since she’s mostly acting on her own and isn’t surrounded by a bunch of special effects that look like ass (Allegiant was, for me, the modern cinematic equivalent of a bad trip). Hell, she’s even said Allegiant kind of killed her passion for acting for a while, and it showed. I assume we’re about to find out if she’s got it back for Adrift, but someone will have to tell me about it because I won’t be seeing it.
It’s hard to see Adrift if your weekend is already filled with Upgrade viewings.
Perhaps the only other times this year I’ve been quite so excited for a movie were for Paddington 2 and The Hurricane Heist. The trailer for Upgrade gives a delightfully small amount of fucks. It feels like it’s got the premise of something really shitty and low-budget you’d come across on Netflix at midnight, but with much more care (and money) thrown at it. Leigh Whannel’s vision is wacky, vibrant, and great to look at even from the trailers alone. I also like the apparent fusion of body horror and technological “horror.” It feels like something James Cameron or Paul Verhoeven would have produced the 90s and that alone is reason to be excited.
MoviePass doesn’t let you see the same movie more than once anymore, but I have no problem shelling out for a second viewing if it’s worth it. I think the last time I did that was for Mad Max: Fury Road.