Guaranteed to make English teachers weep

I know that’s how I feel. Take a look, at this trailer for the latest version of Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” featuring Jack Black, Amanda Peet, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, just don’t expect to laugh.

I honestly wish I could tell you that this new trailer for the latest version of Jonathan Swift’s classic has something, anything going for it. However, based on the evidence of this trailer, I really can’t. Nothing funny here. Nothing good here. Nothing.

I’m a bit shocked to learn that this was actually cowritten by Nicholas Stoller of the really fun “Get Him to the Greek” and the outstanding “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” How could it have gone this wrong? Could it be there’s actually something worthwhile in the movie and this is just the worst trailer ever? I don’t remember the last one being much better, but still. Man, between him and the cast, what a waste of real talent.

  

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Joaquin around (updated)

Well, Roger Ebert will be “seriously pissed” if it turns out to be the hoax, but don’t expect the “is it ‘real’?” discussions about the apparent Joaquin Phoenix human-trainwreck documentary directed by Casey Affleck to die down any time soon. The already controversial film with a high squirm factor and a couple of notoriously disgusting scenes is getting a relatively high profile limited release and will be viewable on 19 screens this weekend.

Below is the full length trailer, a bit better than the teaser I ran here back in August. But don’t touch that mouse when its through, because following it is a rather amusing clip where Mr. Phoenix pays a visit to Sean Coombs, who is eager to help out with Phoenix’s musical ambitions, assuming he gets paid, that is.

Whatever else may be true, Coombs here is, in a subtler way, very nearly as funny as he was in “Get Him to the Greek.”

UPDATE: Since I wrote this, a review has surfaced at our sister site, Bullz-Eye, by our own David Medsker. He’s not a fan.

  

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The box office kung-fu of “The Karate Kid” proves strong; “The A-Team” does B-grade business

It’s probably not a completely original thought of mine and it’s obviously a vast oversimplification, but it’s always seemed to me that what audiences really seem to want is more of the same, but different. If something is too unfamiliar, only a limited portion of viewers will be adventurous enough to try out a brand new movie flavor. If it’s too familiar, on the other hand, it’s kind of a bore, at best.

That formula has apparently been in full effect this weekend as a film which put a few gentle twists on a very familiar property prospered at the box office. A second movie — in terms of marketing, at any rate — was an apparent carbon copy of its source material, notwithstanding a new cast, more violence, and a bigger budget (too much bigger, probably). That film will prove vastly less profitable, at best.

Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith in

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It’s time for midweek movie news

I used to be disgusted, now I try to stay bemused…

* Yes, they weren’t kidding. Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise are teaming up to make a Les Grossman movie, declares Nikki Finke. I try never to prejudge films, and I really did think Cruise was hilarious in “Tropic Thunder.” However, I think writer Michael Bacall, Ben Stiller, and whoever winds up directing really have their work cut out for them in terms of this not turning into some kind of inverted ego-fest (“look at me — I’m willing to act all crazy!”) like what we saw on MTV a few nights back.

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* A new James L. Brooks romantic comedy by any name will probably be worth a look, and maybe better than that.

* It’s always seemed to me that the best part of the guilty pleasure appeal of “Entourage” — aside from Ari, Lloyd, and Johnny Drama, anyway — is the lightning fast pacing that nearly always leaves fans wanting more. Now, producer Mark Wahlberg is determined to give us more in the form of a movie to follow up from the conclusion of the television show. I’m concerned about whether he gets the concept of why you want to always leave an audience wanting more. If not, “Entourage”  could become the male equivalent of “Sex and the City” in theaters as well as the small screen.

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Sometimes, it’s just for fun

Even though the weekend is long over, I thought I’d do one last post of great moments with fictitious movie bands inspired to some degree by “Get Him to the Greek” which reminds us that rock and roll and pop music is, as often as not, mostly about just having a good time, and that’s more than enough reason to keep going.

First, a brief reminder that “That Thing You Do” had music in it aside from the title tune.

Young Andrew Strong and company pay tribute to the Wicked Pickett in “The Commitments.” (Oh, and if you’re at work or around the kiddies, be aware, there’s a stray Irish-style F-word or two near the beginning and at the very end of this clip that could catch you by surprise.)

Special bonus video after the flip.

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