Movie Musings: September 3, 2010

Movie Musings

Kick-Ass1. Kick-Ass 2 Can Only Be a Good Thing.

As a longtime proponent of Matthew Vaughn (well, since 2004) I’m happy to hear we’re going to get a sequel. I would guess that Nic Cage will have less involvement, which I’m disheartened to say is a good thing at this point in his career, though ideally they’d find some method for writing off Mintz-Plasse too. I liked him in Superbad and Role Models but the material seemed slightly out of his wheelhouse in Kick-Ass. The film is currently ranked 186th all time on IMDB, and it very nearly cracked $100m at the worldwide box office despite being initially left for dead.

For my money, Hit-Girl is the most innovative character to hit the screen this year. While one could, if one were so inclined, point out a few obvious parallels between the mayhemic Japanese film Battle Royale and Kick-Ass my counterargument would be that Hit Girl’s reign of destruction occurs in a largely realistic world. Batle Royale definitely skews more Running Man. Second place on the iconic characters of 2010? Probably Gru from Despicable Me. Hard not to love that guy.

2. Breaking Dawn Gets Graphic? 

Kristen StewartWord has come down from screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg that they might attempt to show the infamous “birthing scene.” This would be an unequivocal mistake. For those not familiar with the Twilight franchise, Breaking Dawn is the madcap finale to the series wherein Bella (spoiler alert) gives birth to a half human, half vampire baby who proceeds to break Bella’s ribs, causing massive internal and external bleeding. Clearly, it’s quite the scene. But Twilight has managed to keep the gore down to a minimum, probably to satisfy the core fanbase.

The scene, even in the books, is slightly out of place. Stephenie was clearly feeling her writing oats after the success of the first books and wanted to try a small tonal shift which indicated how much Bella was willing to sacrifice for Edward. But things quickly shift back to non-violent methods, and by the end of the books some fans were even complaining Meyers went too pacifist. What’s this all add up to? Well, it would be incredibly easy to sucker in an audience emotionally with this scene, and Rosenberg’s Dexter work (and heck, even her Party of Five work) has left her with a deft and capable hand to do just that. But it’s the wrong route, especially given the overall story arc and themes presented. This isn’t vamp horror, it’s a modern romance, and the truly gnarly bloodletting is best left on the cutting room floor.

Snakes on a Plane3. The Meta Effect.

Our friend Adam Quigley at /Film has an interesting article on the overall self-awareness of cinema these days. Citing all levels of cinema, from genius works like Hot Fuzz and Inglourious Basterds to clear parody a la Vampires Suck, Quigley has managed to form a cogent argument on the end of true creativity in cinema. Simply put, if everything references everything else than nothing can be truly new.

So far as that goes, it’s an interesting observation, and I’d surmise much of it has to do with the massive communications we’re all exposed to on a daily basis. New ideas don’t creep out because you’re exposed too many old ideas every single day. There are 35 ways for people to reach you, and you can’t create in a vacuum anymore. The stoic and hermit creator is gone, replaced by the overly connected and self-referential schmoozer. However, I wonder if we’re missing a more elemental point here, referred to by Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a 1000 Faces work. Essentially the theory holds that disparate cultures developed eerily similar mythologies. One could make the argument that there are only so many stories to tell, and the current vibe of “been there, done that” is more an indicator of the wealth of stories we have access too … and not the overall creative level of the medium itself.

Easy A4. Liking The Look of Easy A!

I’ve seen the Easy A trailer half a dozen times, with half a dozen different people, and the reaction has been uniformly positive. When is the last great high school comedy we had? Okay, I’ll cede Superbad but that was Apatow raunchiness, not Election or Mean Girls subversion. And Emma Stone feels ready for a big move, as we’re in need of a new Julia Roberts. Could this be a rare September classic? Here’s hoping.

On that note, I hope you have a weekend devoid of labor.

Check out last week’s Movie Musings here

Laremy is the lead critic and senior producer for a website named He’s also available on Twitter.