Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Hot Weekend — Cold Opens

posted by Nell Minow

When a studio is fairly certain it will not get a single good review it simply refuses to let the critics get a look before the release date. That’s called a “cold open.” Usually, movies that open cold are based on video games and/or very graphic horror films and/or directed by the legendary Uwe Boll (generally considered the worst director currently working in movies), and/or directed by Tyler Perry (no idea why this is because I really like his movies), and/or a very dumb generic gross-out comedy, especially of the “Scary Movie,” “Date Movie,” “Epic Movie,” etc. franchise.
And traditionally, Labor Day weekend is the worst weekend of the year for movies, when the studios release films that they have no expectations for whatsoever.
Thus, we have three cold opens this weekend. One is the action film “Babylon A.D.” with Vin Diesel. The last film by this director was “Gothika,” which gave rise to my well-known “Gothika rule” (if a movie has a mind-numbingly horrible ending I will give it away to anyone who sends me an email). Even he is telling people not to see this movie.

“I’m very unhappy with the film,” Mathieu Kassovitz tells amctv.com. “The script wasn’t respected. Bad producers, bad partners. It was a terrible experience…” [W]hile he was attracted to the material’s dense geopolitical themes, Fox, the studio co-financing the movie, only wanted “pure violence and stupidity … Parts of the movie are like a bad episode of 24.” He tells the website that Fox “made everything difficult from A to Z.”

The other two movies opening this week are comedies. “Disaster Movie” is from the people who gave us “Date Movie” and “Epic Movie.” They have yet to give us “Good Movie.” I feel confident in saying that Josh Levin’s Slate review of a previous film in this tired franchise is vastly more entertaining than any of their movies. And then there’s “College.” Its poster features a kid throwing up in a toilet. Enough said.
Now would be a good time to enjoy those last summer swims and barbecues, do some back-to-school shopping, catch up on some of the big releases you might have missed or see your favorites a second time — and get ready for the fall. In September alone we have the new Tyler Perry, the new DeNiro/Pacino movie, “Igor” with John Cusack, and the new Coen brothers movie, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt. I can’t wait!



  • jestrfyl

    Labor Day weekend has always been when we clean out the closets and rearrange the cupboards. I guess Hollywood does the same thing.
    Given your comments on Uwe Boll, I think we may need a Boll-ing Tournament – a collection of the worst works by the worst director. Perhaps a MST3K kind of event with things to throw and awards to be given. Bring your own sock puppet!

  • Dustin Putman

    I wrote a small somethin’ somethin’ about this very topic on my site. Did you happen to see it, Nell?
    Alas, I will be seeing all three of the films tomorrow and writing up my reviews. I’m either a glutton for punishment or just really, really dedicated! :-)

  • Nell Minow

    Yes, I saw what you wrote and good for you for creating a “hall of shame” by name-checking the studios that are too chicken to let us see their movies!

  • Christian Toto

    I think Tyler Perry snubs critical screenings so he can play by his own rules … or maybe he got burned by some early reviews and is now taking his revenge. The success of his pics doesn’t speak well of our clout as critics!
    This September does look more promising than recent Septembers, though, but early notices on “Burn After Reading” aren’t good.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Christian. Some movies are critic-proof, as you know! And Roger Ebert got more angry responses for his poor review of “Diary of an Angry Black Woman” than any other movie he had ever written about, including very controversial films like “The Passion of the Christ.” But I have consistently praised Tyler Perry’s movies. Yes, they are sometimes awkward mash-ups of three or four different genres and the crude humor can seem out of place with the melodrama and romance. But I like that in his movies! For me, they are full of authenticity and sincere spirit. I am looking forward to the new one and won’t mind paying for a ticket to be able to review it.

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