Now Playing Wants to Ride his Bicycle

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

Previews of Premium Rush, Hit & Run, The Apparition, and 2016: Obama's America


I can’t recall the last time I felt such a lethargic mood over the next crop of films. This can only mean one thing. The summer movie season has officially run its course. It’s been a good run, with the expected monster hits (The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises) and films that will quickly fade from memory (There was that remake of a 1990’s sci-fi movie that I’m having trouble recalling. Then there was that film that was based on that board game. I think it was called Warboat or something). It was a great couple of months to relax in an air-conditioned theater and turn your brain off for a while.
Now we are getting close to the second driest time in the release calendar. The blockbusters are done and we are still a few months from the award season, so we are left with mostly filler. It’s not as bad as January/February. Those are the months when they drop the dreck in the hopes that people will forget about them when the worst of the year lists are announced by critics. If Jan/Feb is the trash heap, then Sept/Oct is the recycling bin. These films are mostly disposable but they usually do not hurt the participants’ career. These are the films that are done for the money but do not need to be hidden away like the plague. They’re not embarrassments, but they won’t make anybody’s highlight reel. That represents these next two months for the most part. There can be a diamond in the rough, but those instances are few and far between.
As for these next few films… (sigh). Let’s just get to the meat of the blog. First up is…
In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city. *
The Good – I’m looking at the IMDB page for this and I’m seeing talent behind the scenes. Writer/director David Koep has been in the business for decades, writing such hits as Jurassic Park, Spider-man, Panic Room, and Mission: Impossible, just to name a few. His directorial efforts have not been many but I did like his approach to the Stephen King thriller Secret Window. Then there is lead actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was robbed of an Oscar nomination for 50/50 last year and has been reliable since his days on Third Rock from the Sun. Also on board is Lexington, Kentucky’s own Michael Shannon, who has been making a name for himself in recent years, ever since getting the supporting actor nomination for Revolutionary Road and his turn as a Prohibition agent in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Don’t know how much he is in this, but he usually turns in a quality performance.
The Bad – And yet, I’m not at all interested. I think I’ve hit my action movie limit for the summer with last weekend’s The Expendables 2. I don’t think Premium Rush looks horrible or even bad. The simple truth is I feel nothing for it. It’s coming out at the wrong time of year. Something like this could have worked in March as a build up to summer, not late August when it’s time to settle down. 
The Ugly – I see a bike on film and I’m always reminded of the classic line from Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear, “The truth hurts, doesn't it, Hapsburg? Oh sure, maybe not as much as landing on a bicycle with the seat missing, but it hurts!
Premium Rush is rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences and language.
Former getaway driver Charlie Bronson jeopardizes his Witness Protection Plan identity in order to help his girlfriend get to Los Angeles. The feds and Charlie's former gang chase them on the road. *
The Good – I’ve been a fan of Kristen Bell ever since I saw her on CW’s Veronica Mars. Her feisty teenage detective show was well crafted for which I tried to tune in every week. Once that show came to its premature conclusion, she has turned in memorable performances in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and was also the best part of the otherwise bland Scream 4. The fact she is in it gives me some hope.
The Bad – But again, I’m left with little to say. I laughed more at the commercial that appeared before the trailer on IMDB than I did during this comedy trailer (with a minor chuckle at the conversation at the end between writer/director/star Dax Shepard and Bradley Cooper). I once again feel nothing towards this. It doesn’t look like something I would necessarily enjoy but it doesn’t look like something I would hate either. If anything, it would be something that years from now may pop on television and I’ll say, “Oh. I think I’ve seen this.”
The Ugly – The whole basis of that conversation between Dax and Bradley. I also am wondering why Dax is so interested in the prison antics of his former partner in crime.
Hit & Run is rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content.
A couple is haunted by a supernatural presence that is unleashed during a college experiment. *
The Good – It’s not based on a Japanese film.
The Bad – Almost everything else. The trailer speaks volumes about what is wrong with the horror genre currently. It looks to be a PG-13 bore fest that attempts to creep one out but inevitably leaves one staring at their watch. They mostly drag through their pedestrian scare attempts, while creating unbelievable and unsympathetic characters with the only joy that comes in the form of the closing credits. The fact that this horror film is being released outside of October makes me think the producers have no faith in the final product and are dumping this early in the hopes to sucker the teenage audience. Say what you want about the Friday the 13th franchise, but at least they don’t try and pretend they are something they are not. It knows what the audience craves and feeds them their gluttonous fill. These PG-13 snooze fests are what I consider a great cure for insomnia.
The Ugly – This film, I’m guessing.
 The Apparition is rated PG-13 for terror/frightening images and some sensuality.
"If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?"
I plead the 5th.
2016: Obama’s America is rated PG for thematic elements, brief language and smoking images.
That will do for this week. Stayed tuned next time when Shia LaBeouf takes the law into his own hands. Until then, don’t open your car door if you see a bike messenger approaching. Take it from me, they don’t appreciate the comedy.
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