2nd (or 3rd) Movie of the Labor Day Weekend: “Expendables 2”

It’s a good thing The Man is into movies, like self, or there would be a real problem with what to do on weekends.

Actually, self had a hankering to see that Man Ray exhibit at the Legion of Honor, but saw it was closed today.

Anyhoo, we ended up seeing “Expendables 2.”  This was a very very very —  and self does mean VERY — enjoyable action movie, dear blog readers, especially once you get past the first five minutes, which was full of confusing explosions and everyone running around yelling.

The highlight of the movie was a very dramatic showdown somewhere in Uzbekistan.  Or was it Nepal?  Anyhoo, some Godforsaken country in one of the usual places:  the Himalayas or the Urals.  And after the smoke cleared, out from a haze of expended-bullet smoke, appeared XXXXX (Self will not spoil the fun for those dear blog readers who still haven’t seen this fabulous movie.  Suffice it to say, at the appearance of XXXXX, the audience at the Redwood City Century 20 burst out into loud cheers and laughter.  In self’s humble opinion, when a movie audience gets to the point where they are that “into” what’s on screen — it’s something self likes to call the “Star Wars Effect” — everything else that happens is just gravy)

Here are some other highlights:

  • You will get to hear Dolph Lundgren’s character described as a genius because he got a masters (in Engineering?) from MIT.
  • You will see Jean-Claude Van Damme, without shades.
  • You will see Liam Hemsworth.  Does he get to be a permanent part of the team?  For the purposes of eye candy?  No spoilers here.
  • You will hear once again the immortal words, “Yippie-ky-yay.”  (If you don’t know what movie that line is from, don’t bother seeing “Expendables 2”)
  • You will get to see a bad guy’s head get turned into mincemeat by rotating helicopter blades.
  • You will encounter a (temporary) female member of the team, who is Chinese and who has in her possession a little toolset consisting of sharp scalpels — very handy for prying (if that’s not too literal a word) information out of recalcitrant bad guys.

Hmmm, let’s see, what else?

Stallone’s face is craggy.  Statham is too young to be lumped in with these oldies, but never mind.  The Governator is there but he does not get to say “Hasta la vista,” instead he utters “I’m back,” which is lame.  Jet Li is also in this, but only for about 10 minutes.  Self thinks there was a Director named in the closing credits.  In fact, she’s almost sure his name was “Simon West.”  Which is possibly a pseudonym.  Because the name just sounds so, so —  cinematic?

The reason self is calling “Expendables 2” her third movie of the weekend was because last night, The Man found “Flash Gordon.”  And she just couldn’t get enough of the rousing refrain:

FLASH!  Ah-ah!  FLASH!

Timothy Dalton was in there, but not playing Flash (Flash is, of course, blonde.  They could have used Dalton, but only if they’d dyed his hair.  He probably wouldn’t have looked good)

There was a whole horde of attacking flying angels.  No kidding:  the wings were exactly those of the wings of the angel in Tony Kushner’s play, Lost in America.  When one sees a whole horde of these winged beings, flying through the air, how can one help but exclaim, “It’s all up with us!”

Self just can’t wait for “Expendables 3”!!!

Stay tuned.

Things Self Learned While Watching “Lawless”

  • You can make whiskey out of anything —  even tree bark.
  • SPOILER:  It is indeed possible to survive having your throat cut ear to ear —  especially if a woman like Maggie (played by Jessica Chastain) is around to drive you 20 miles to the nearest hospital.
  • Moonshiners have a lot in common with the Mafia.  While watching the movie, self kept being reminded of “The Godfather”  —  young whippersnapper/hothead (Shia LaBeouf standing in for Al Pacino) has a lot to learn before he can truly manage the family’s illegal business.  (The Godfather role was played by Tom Hardy.  The things that man can do with close-ups, dear blog readers, would drive any woman in the audience wild!  And self does mean wild!)
  • Guy Pearce gets the Charlize Theron treatment:  he gets to play ugly. Really ugly.  Not only ugly:  loathsome.  So convincing is Pearce that only long after the movie ended did it occur to self that the probability of having a villain that dandy-ish and that arch — in 1930s America, no less — was well-nigh impossible.  (He was the Nazis, the Fascists, the Bogeyman and Freddy Krueger all rolled into one.  His character had a toe-curling predilection for pomade and three-piece suits.  Whenever he was within striking distance of Jessica Chastain, self would have to cover her eyes —  until the scene where he jams his foot in her door and says, “Don’t worry, I don’t drink from a greasy cup.”)
  • A great musical number can indeed be inserted into a violent movie —  The one in “Lawless” takes place in a backwoods church, all the men sporting long beards, raising their right hands, palm outwards, singing a very rousing, homegrown hymn (Think Gregorian Chant, only backwoods.  No, think Tibetan Buddhist monks chanting, as they do in Sherab Ling in Himachal Pradesh).  In this church there occurs a highly erotic scene.  Apparently, ritual foot-washing is part of the Sunday services, and Mia Wasikowska’s foot (in close-up) looks just ravishing. Alas, Shia’s character is branded with shame for, almost at the instant when his lady-love dips one of his horrible, calloused feet into a basin of water — what is the meaning of such a ritual, self wonders? —  he does the I-am-about-to-puke routine and barges out of the church, minus one shoe.

Self was mighty impressed with Tom Hardy’s backwoods American accent, but just to show you how pathetically ignorant self is about true American backwoods accents, every other reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes denigrated his attempt as “pseudo” —  and no one praised him.  Dear Rotten Tomatoes reviewers, don’t you understand that when one is born speaking British, it takes Herculean effort just to stop sounding British?  Never mind if you don’t sound like anything recognizable.  So long as you don’t sound like what you really are —  British — you will never fail to impress moviegoers like self.

Mia Wasikowska’s character was supposed to have a really strict Papa, but this longbeard was never around, except in church, or maybe replenishing supplies at the feed store.  Mia and Shia had ample “alone time” —  at one point Mia is even able to change her clothes behind Shia’s car —  which led self to conclude that parental supervision was exceedingly lax.

Shia’s character had a lot of stupid ideas.

And that’s about all self feels able to discuss right now, dear blog readers.

Stay tuned.

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