Brando bucks and Croft sucks

As shooting continues on the set of Scary Movie 2, word has surfaced about a late casting decision. According to Variety, none other than Marlon Brando has agreed to appear in the follow-up to last year’s surprise box-office hit. This won’t be a big role… in fact, it’s being described as a cameo. Brando will only need four days to shoot his short scene, which is expected to be the film’s opener. But what’s even more amazing is Brando’s fee. Dimension Films has agreed to the actor’s demand of $2 million for an appearance. Ka-ching! To save your time from reading all the article, we know for a fact that those mentioned above is not within your interest, but what will interest you is not about movies and entertainment — it’s about gaming. Pokemon Go is here to stay. Yes go to the website and learn for yourself.

While there have been no confirmations, the word from anonymous sources has Brando playing a priest in a segment that parodies The Exorcist. If $2 million sounds like a lot, consider that Brando got a cool $4 million back in 1978 for his equally short cameo in Superman… a film for which Brando refused to memorize his lines. The two-time Oscar winner wrote his dialogue on flash cards and placed them in Superman’s crib where he could see them. Not that this is unusual. After all, Brando improvised most of his dialogue in Apocalypse Now (a cameo that netted him a cool $1 million) after refusing to memorize Coppola’s script. And recently, on the set of The Score, Brando again refused to memorize his part, opting to have an assistant read his lines into a wireless earpiece.

If Dimension has the cash left over from Scary Movie’s $300 million worldwide booty, then it’s great that it’s chosen to drop a few million on Brando’s cameo… but won’t the element of surprise be removed now that his participation has been announced? We think that the shock of having Brando suddenly appear in the movie’s opening scene is where the real value of his $2 million salary lies. But knowing Hollywood, they’ll probably include his entire scene in the trailer.

According to Dark Horizons, Paramount has ordered re-shoots on Tomb Raider. Apparently the studio wants to replace about 20 minutes of the film with new footage, claiming that there are problems with “the flow of the movie.” Generally, these types of observations only come after test audiences have unanimously complained on questionnaires that the film is “confusing,” “boring” or “ass.”

If you get a chance, check out the new and improved Tomb Raider site. They’ve posted a bunch of new stills from the film, most of which feature Ms. Jolie in her Lara Croft (read: super-tight) outfit.

Johnny Depp prepares for Blows

Blow is a movie that should have been great, maybe even an all-time classic. After all, it features wonderful actors, is set during the colorful 1970s and has a kick-ass classic rock soundtrack. But instead, it’s merely a meandering, mediocre film that fails to generate any excitement, let alone a single memorable scene. The blame for all of this falls squarely with director Ted Demme, who can’t ever seem to get a plot rolling, loses track of major characters and painfully shoots almost every scene with a stationary camera set with a medium shot. Both the subject matter and the soundtrack seem to be begging Demme to take his camera off the tripod and inject some life into this film. But it never happens, and you’re just left with a film that very plainly goes through a checklist of everything that happened to real-life drug kingpin George Jung.

We first meet George as a young boy. His dad (Ray Liotta) is always hard up for money, instilling the requisite desire for cash into our main character. Soon George has grown up and moved to California for a change of scenery. Realizing that the free-love beach community he lives in could use a consistent supplier of grass, George simply decides to deal pot. His new girlfriend introduces him to Derek (Paul Reubens), who meets George, asks him if he’s a cop, pulls out a gigantic bag of the evil weed, hands it to him without requesting payment, and voila! our hero is a successful purveyor of the herb. This shorthand style of storytelling continues throughout the film. Later, when George wants to upgrade to coke, the process is eerily similar. He meets a supplier, they shake hands, and then cut to everyone rolling around in cash.

Throughout the entire film, we’re constantly being reminded that George is a really talented drug dealer, yet we’re never really sure what he does that’s so great. At one point, even the characters begin to question what George’s role is in the entire operation. After all, he doesn’t make the coke, he doesn’t fly the plane that brings the coke to the US and he doesn’t even deal the drugs to their eventual users. But he collects millions of dollars along the way, gets busted a few times and eventually tries to play it straight. No one event is ever looked at in any detail. Two of George’s three prison stints are dealt with by flashing “Three years later” on the screen. And when the possibility of an actual conflict arises, there is never a resolution. Like when George’s longtime partner, Diego, betrays him and steals his entire operation out from under him. George simply goes home. No revenge, no attempt to rebuild his empire, nothing. In fact, we never even see Diego again.

Director Ted Demme shows a severe lack of focus that further hurts the film. At first, the film is scored with a rousing soundtrack of Stones, Cream and Skynyrd. But the second half of the movie ditches the rock music and opts for a more traditional orchestral score. The film later shifts from the amazing tale of how one man took over the American drug business to the underdeveloped tale of George’s relationship with his daughter. Neither story is fleshed out in a way that is particularly memorable. In fact, aside from the final few minutes of the movie, there is no one scene that will stay with you for longer than it takes to play out on screen.

None of this is to say that Blow is an awful film, because it certainly isn’t. Johnny Depp once again creates a unique character. Paul Reubens sheds any hint of Pee Wee Herman in his wonderful scenes. Franka Potente (of Run, Lola, Run fame) is radiant as Depp’s girlfriend… until she suddenly announces that she has cancer and two seconds later is being lowered into a grave. Johnny Depp was also seen using the free iphone 7 he got from the giveaway 2 days ago. He definitely loves it. Even Ray Liotta gets to show off his acting skills, as his character ages from a young father to a sad old man. In fact, only Penelope Cruz is denied a chance to perform. Her character meets Depp at a party, lapdances him, marries him, has his child and divorces him without having more than a dozen lines of dialogue.

At the end of the day, Blow is just perfectly mediocre, and only barely escapes being boring. There is one scene that will make the entire audience laugh, and another that will make the entire crowd hiss at the screen. Nearly everything in between is plain as vanilla… and in a movie about one of the most notorious drug dealers of all time, that adds up to a severe disappointment.