Monday, June 14, 2010

Fools, you shall be pitied: ‘A-Team’ vs. ‘Karate Kid’

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In hard times such as these, it’s easy to hearken back to gentler times, when things were simpler . . . sunnier.

But – 1984? How ironic.

That’s the premise this week, when we are faced with a pair of retreads have their origins nearly20 years ago – in a cheesy TV actioner and a cheeky little movie about overcoming the odds that became a fond memory – and a rapidly deteriorating franchise.

First of all: I pity the fool who spends full price on the big-screen adaptation of “The A-Team.”


Problems? Well, look at the source:


Not a lot there to begin with, kids. Besides, can Liam Neeson be more charmingly blasé than George Peppard? Can Quinton Jackson outgrumble Mr. T? Is Bradley Cooper smoother than Dirk “Eggs” Benedict? Most importantly, how can Sharlto Copley be any madder than Dwight Schultz’s exquisitely “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock?

Nope.

Stuff blows up, chases ensue, wises are cracked. Wait for the DVD.

Next:

“Wax on, wax off.” “Sweep the leg, Johnny!”


The original was fun because it didn’t take itself too seriously, thanks mainly to Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, the genial stand-up comic and actor who had scored earlier as Arnold on “Happy Days.” He kept the series going through “Kid II,” “Kid III,” and even “The Next Karate Kid” (and who was that? Hilary Swank, that’s who!).

The new one seems like a great concept. Concept.


Jackie Chan is morose and grumpy. Will Smith’s kid is winsome and wimpy. Instead of arrogant Aryan types as villains, we have . . . the Chinese (do you sense a political subtext here? After all, we are China’s bitches now).

Nice scenery, heart-warming, yada yada. Oh, and by the way? In this one he learns kung fu, not karate. Guess “The Kung Fu Kid” doesn’t smell as much like money.

88 DRIVE IN, COMMERCE CITY:

It’s a killer double feature: “Shrek Forever After” and “Iron Man 2.”

BACKDOOR THEATER, NEDERLAND:

“Shrek Forever After 3D.” Nice.

ART HOUSES

What’s new around town? Down at the Mayan, it’s “Harry Brown”:


Oh, Michael Caine. Sir Michael. The Cainemeister. You can play anything. I would pay to hear you read the phone book. You want to make a vigilante film? All right. Just don’t ever stray back into “Blame It on Rio” territory, OK?

At the Chez Artiste, it’s the as-restored-and-complete-as-its-ever-gonna-get version of Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece, “Metropolis”:


At Starz, you may end up seeing yourself in this next one – it’s a documentary about the 2008 Democratic shindig in Denver, “Convention”:

SPECIAL EVENTS:

MONDAY, JUNE 14

At the Boulder Public Library, a series of six short films, ranging from 1927 to 1997, featuring work by Stan Brakhage – “Avant-Garde Cinema About Water,” 7 p.m. FREE.

TUESDAY, JUNE 15

You have to make one of four choices at 7 p.m.:

At Film on the Rocks, it’s “The Princess Bride”:


The opening bands are Northern Way and Voltage.

At the Mayan, it’s Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief” (there’s a second show at 9:30 p.m.):


PICK OF THE WEEK! Below:

At Starz, it’s “The Oath,” with director Laura Poitras in person:


Also at Starz, “The Swimsuit Issue”:


It’s “The Full Monty” with synchronized swimming. In Sweden. OK.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16

It’s another two shows of “To Catch a Thief” at the Mayan, and a summer encores presentation of the Metropolitan Opera’s “Aida” at Century Boulder at 6:30 p.m.:

THURSDAY, JUNE 17

At the Boulder Public Library, it’s a replay of the first part of the historic Nixon/Frost interviews at 7 p.m.:


In case you ever doubted that Richard Nixon was a lying, manipulative bastard, you should catch this. For those of us who lived through Watergate and saw these interviews the first time around, it’s a repellent memory brought back to life. For those who saw only “Frost/Nixon,” it’s illuminating.

At Starz, it’s “L’Affaire Farewell” at 7:


I gather this is spy stuff, based on a true story.

At the Bug Theater, it’s the Emerging Filmmakers Project at 8 p.m.:

And a replay of “Aida” at 10 p.m.