Thursday, June 02, 2005

I Think I Smell a Ratner

Horrible, horrible, terrible news, folks. Now that Matthew "Layer Cake" Vaughn has left the production of X-Men 3, everyone's been buzzing about who will step in to take his place? Joss Whedon was the first name to be thrown around the Internet, and he does write X-Men comic books, and his new film Serenity is due in theaters soon and is rumored to be a great success.

But Whedon has said he wouldn't want to do X3, and he is a bit unseasoned for a studio to just turn over such a massive, expensive production to him with any sort of creative control.

So he's out. And original director Bryan Singer's hard at work on Superman Returns, so he's out. And I'm not yet an actual film director, but rather a know-it-all guy working at a video store, so I'm out.

And now AICN is reporting that they know the identity of Vaughn's replacement. It's possible, they say, that it will be John Moore, the hacktacular hack known best for the Owen Wilson vehicle Behind Enemy Lines and last year's Dennis Quaid debacle Flight of the Phoenix.

That guy can't direct for shit. His idea of an intense action scene is having Tyrese walk across the desert, dehydrated, while playing loud sound effects. The plane crash is the best part of the movie, and it lasts for about 2 minutes.

So hopefully Moore won't get this job and will continue right on making soulless, CG-intensive fodder for overexictable 13 year olds on a sugar rush, leaving the actual filmmaking duties to someone whose cinematic vocabulary has advanced past spinning the camera around, like, real fast.

According to AICN, the real front-runner is this race probably guessed it from the headline...Brett Ratner.


Double ugh.

Triple ugh.

I fucking hate Brett Ratner. And you should too. Let's puruse his filmography together, shall we?

Money Talks (1997)

This idiotic, mildly racist Charlie Sheen-Chris Tucker comedy made Ratner's name in Hollywood. It's a complete mess, it's really stupid, and did I mention that it stars Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker?

Rush Hour (1998)

Probably the BEST film Ratner's ever made, if you can believe it. Loudmouth, obnoxious cop Tucker teams with doddering, bemused foreigner Jackie Chan for some violent-but-not-too-violent adventures in crass xenophobia!

The Family Man (2000)

Oh, man, I forgot he did this shitkicker. Captain of industry Nicholas Cage wakes up suddenly to find that he's...a total loser living in the suburbs. Well, in this movie, being a "loser" means being married to Tea Leoni, having three healthy and well-adjusted children and working at a steady but unglamorous job. Oh, the horror. Has any movie ever been less in touch than this? It presents a life that most people would kill for as something so utterly beneath its main character that his contempt for his surroundings passes for broad comedy. And then, by the end, he learns that, hey, maybe a hot wife and loving family aren't so bad after all! sweet...An embarrassment.

Rush Hour 2 (2001)

Amazingly, this is even more racist than the first movie. It was, however, Chris Tucker's last starring role, so I guess that's something to praise.

Red Dragon (2002)

Most people would say that Ridley Scott's Hannibal is the worst Hannibal Lecter movie. But that one is so ridiculous as to be highly entertaining. If you watch it as a twisted, dark romantic comedy (with Lecter's tender care for Clarice underlying all the action), it actually kind of works. This dour, lifeless affair, however, turns Lecter completely into a cartoon, fails to come up with an interesting villain for Ralph Fiennes to inhabit, and manages to squander the abillities of an amazing cast - including Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Emily Watson, Ed Norton and Harvey Keitel.

After the Sunset (2004)

I haven't actually watched this whole movie, but we've had it on in the store. Here are my impressions of how it unfolds:

-Exceptionally loud pop music
-More explosions
-Salma Hayek cleavage
-Pierce Brosnan making a weird face in an attempt to look cool
-Lots more explosions
-Woody Harrelson tied up somewhere
-More teasing, half-obscured Salma flesh
-Some jewel
-Bad jokes
-End credits

Yeah, it's quite a ride.

So, please, for the love of god, Fox Executives, hire someone with some actual merit and ability. I beg of you. The kids go see Brett Ratner movies because he has famous people in them, and because you attach him to high-profile projects like Red Dragon. Not because this guy can direct. He totally can't.

I was at the Arclight recently for a screening of Palindromes by actual filmmaker Todd Solondz, and I noticed they were having a special screening of After the Sunset featuring a Q&A afterwards with Brett Ratner. It was part of their "Contemporary Directors" series.

In retrospect, that is about the nicest thing there is to say about Brett Ratner. He's a contemporary director. He's a guy making films right now. Beyond that, there isn't much about him of note.

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