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Percy Jackson and the White Hot Tub Crazies

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | June 29, 2010 |

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | June 29, 2010 |

The Crazies: “Therein lies part of the chief complaint, I suppose. It’s not that it’s an inferior film to the original, or even that one needs to compare the two. While this new version ramps up the action and atmospherics to great effect, it lacks the raw humanity and complex emotionality of the original. But that’s a minor quibble — it’s a remake that wants to be its own movie, and that’s good. The downside is that it’s not its own movie. It’s a frenzied and ultimately somewhat hollow amalgam of the ‘73 version, of Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, “The X-Files,” hell, there’s even a little bit of Jaws thrown in — there’s a scene between David and the town’s mayor where if you exchanged ‘virus’ for ‘shark’ and ‘David’ for ‘Brody,’ you’d have a scene re-enactment that took place in a cornfield. The Crazies relies heavily on tried and true horror movie staples and brings little new material to the table. Those that it does borrow from/copy/pay homage to have done it better and with more imagination. Even the film’s tepid attempt at political commentary, depicted in its passive criticism of the military, fails to provide the viewer with much more than the conventional mustache-twisting and cynical depiction of government = bad guy.” - TK

Hot Tub Time Machine: “The time travel element of Hot Tub Time Machine isn’t very well explored (sorry sci-fi geeks), except that the threesome agrees that they need to duplicate everything they did during their original weekend there in 1986: Fuck a random woman, break up with a girlfriend, play with a band on stage, etc., so that Jacob’s future life isn’t altered or extinguished. The way it all plays out is fairly predictable, but Hot Tub Time Machine is a comfort comedy. It’s not meant to be challenging; it’s meant to make a few ’80s references, play around a little with future knowledge, and defeat the villains, here amusingly characterized by a couple of Commie-hating teenagers straight out of Red Dawn. It succeeds, but it doesn’t overachieve or blow you away with humor. In fact, it wastes the casting of Chevy Chase, who plays a daffy time-travel shamen slash fix-it man. Even Crispin Glover — who is there as an obvious nod to Back to the Future — is not really put to much use, other than to carry a semi-amusing running gag to the finish line.” - Dustin Rowles

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief: “When it comes to a successful book series, it’s hard to blame an optioning movie studio for kickstarting production with a decidedly franchise-minded attitude. After all, successfully established franchises can rely on a built-in audience for many years to come. It just so happens that Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is based upon the first novel in the highly popular (and similarly-named) five-book series by Rick Riordan. However, it’s pretty damn obvious (even from the promotional posters) that The Lightning Thief has taken more than mere inspiration from the Harry Potter franchise and also, conveniently, arrives just as Harry Potter enters its final lap. Admittedly, there are certain undeniable similarities at work, and it also doesn’t help matters that Chris Columbus—who helmed the first two Harry Potter pics—is directing yet another story of a trio of adolescent protagonists set on a path of unreal destiny. And while The Lightning Thief aims to distinguish itself by putting a modern spin on the soap opera of Greek mythology, it fails miserably. But, hey, the special effects are, like, way cool.” - Agent Bedhead

The White Ribbon: “But give the man credit for White Ribbon, which is so spare, oppressive, fastidiously constructed and thematically heavy that you barely notice that it’s essentially Village of the Damned by way of the art house. Set in a small German village, leading up to World War I, White Ribbon opens with a horse carrying the town doctor; the horse trips over a wire, badly injuring him (you’ll feel worse for the horse). Two days later, the farmer’s wife is killed in an accident at the sawmill, and the Baron’s young son is subsequently hung upside at the same location in the sawmill and tortured. Much later, the midwife’s son, who has Down’s Syndrome, is also blinded under mysterious circumstances.” - Dustin Rowles

Also released this week: Creation, Warlords, When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors

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Genevieve Burgess is a Features Contributor for Pajiba. You can follow Genevieve Burgess on Twitter.