Monday Morning Critic – Bob Orci, Star Trek 3 And Why Hollywood’s War on Women Is a Continuing Nightmare – I Liked Delivery: The Beast Within And Now I Feel Dirty

MMC

The big story coming out of this past week was of Bob Orci getting the nod to helm the third Star Trek film in its latest reboot. Orci, with no directorial experience, is getting the keys to a franchise he’s helped shepherd into existence with JJ Abrams. He helped to write both films in the reboot franchise, as well as produced them, but it’s a shocker to see someone with no directorial experience being given the keys to a franchise he’s helped bring into existence.

And it’s yet another high profile film that’s been given to a male director over a female director once again. And the eponymous “war on women” rears its head once again as it highlights a number of inconsistencies in modern day Hollywood that are interesting. Hollywood has a problem in that while it says the right things on a political basis the actual results tend to skew very man friendly at the highest levels. Its Hollywood’s hidden problem: its inability to provide access at the highest levels for women as directors.

Orci’s hire is defendable on a number of levels, of course, but the fact that he’s taking it over is amusing on a number of levels. He has been involved in a number of movie franchises, a well, and is credited with writing and/or producing with a well over a dozen franchises, blockbusters and other successful films. He’s been so affiliated with successful films, and franchises, over the last decade that him getting the reigns to this film would’ve made a whole lot of sense if he had any directorial background.

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Orci’s been around enough big franchises that my guess is that his vision for the film matched up with what the studio wanted. He knows the score when it comes to films of this side: it won’t be his vision purely that makes it to the big screen. The bigger the budget the more cooks working on the recipe, as Kevin Smith intimated years ago about The Green Hornet adaptation he walked away from, and Orci knows the sort of final product he’s going to be expected to produce.

He’s helped to build it behind the scenes, alongside J.J Abrams and any number of others, and now he’s being given the keys to the car and told “don’t crash it.”

Orci’s being tasked with Star Trek 3 in an era where a rise of female centered films has started. The best parts and films for women over the past decade have occurred on the indie scene, of course, but the last couple of years has been promising in that regard from studio fare. Female centric films can make money and draw in audiences. The Other Woman just proved, much like Bridesmaids did before it, that if you can appeal to women and market it like a similar project with men that you can make a profitable film that gets received well.

Female directors behind summer blockbusters is that last frontier and Hollywood has done a poor job at taking some of the talented female directors out there and bringing them up into the frontier where the biggest budgets, and the biggest risks, happen. Kathryn Bigelow’s K19: The Widowmaker, which didn’t succeed a decade ago on a commercial basis, is the last time any female director had a budget over $100 million.

The only female centered franchise of note in the last couple years has been Twilight, about a teenage girl and the importance of having a boyfriend. And even then Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first film in the series, was quickly replaced by a series of male directors for efficiency’s sake.

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It’s a bit of a problem because while Hollywood has been able to make successful films on both a commercial and critical basis for the female market, most recently the Cameron Diaz vehicle, when it comes to the big films that carry the heavy lifting it’s still an all-boys club. Orci might make an interesting Star Trek film, especially with his background in bringing it back to the big screen, but we’ll be left wondering what someone like Bigelow could’ve done with the same material.

Hollywood is not serving a huge chunk of their audience on a regular basis much like it doesn’t serve many others. Tyler Perry has made a living serving a more Christian, urban audience that’s as criminally ignored as the female audience is. It’s kind of sad that the biggest film Perry has been a significant part of that didn’t involve him wearing a dress has been his flawed attempt at revitalizing the Alex Cross series.

Imagine Bigelow, who’s had tremendous success with the adrenaline junkie type of hero before, with a prime Captain Kirk. Kirk’s an adrenaline junkie of the highest order and someone like Bigelow could bring out something we haven’t seen in the character before. Throw in an Oscar winning resume and Star Trek 3 becomes interesting.

Instead we get a different storyline, of a producer/writer with a ton of experience (but none of it directing) getting a baptism by fire in his first project behind the wheel. While that story is interesting in and of itself … it just highlights one of the more flawed parts of Hollywood.

Stuff for General George S. Pimpage, Esq

Travis wrote about George Plimpton here.

Joe Corey’s a brony? Maybe.

Mike Noyes writes about Ride Along.

I wrote about Her.

And now on MMC … we suffer for our sins for a little bit.

If you want to pimp anything email it to me with a good reason why. It helps to bribe me with stuff, just saying ….

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

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This week’s DVD Screener – Delivery: The Beast Within

So one of my awesome PR contacts wanted to know if I wanted to take a crack at Delivery: The Beast Within, which is hitting VOD on May 27th and a limited theatrical release on May 30th. I thought I’d get ahead of the curve by reviewing it this weekend.

Simple premise. Rachel (Laurel Vail) and Kyle (Danny Barclay) are expecting a child and filmed a reality show around it called “Delivery.” Unfortunately their child may have been possessed by a malevolent spirit, as a series of unfortunate events plague both the young couple and the show’s production during her pregnancy.

Filmed documentary style, we get a glimpse of the aftermath of it as well as the “raw” footage from the show (which didn’t make it to air). It’s presented in two styles: as found footage combining scenes shot as the reality show and narrative from a documentary style film. It’s trying to be a documentary about a failed reality show that had supernatural inclinations infused with a pregnancy.

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We saw this last year, actually, as Devil’s Due came and went from theatres fairly innocuously. I can see why this film, which I believe at one point had a 2013 release date as it played a ton of festivals in October 2013, is getting this sort of release instead of a full on theatrical release or DTV. This is an interesting film that, while profoundly flawed, is a step up from Devil’s Due but not by much.

I like the film’s conceit of being a documentary and meshing in the footage from the “failed” television show. It’s an interesting combination as it gives the film a bit of a different conceit than the usual found footage film. Delivery feels like damage control via documentary, explaining why something happened that wasn’t supposed to and shocked the country. This feels like a film being made to try and explain the wholly unbelievable events of something that Nancy Grace and company exploited to an insane degree for a six month period.

If this has been a real film about a wild tale it would feel exploitative to some degree.

It’s the one thing Delivery has going for it. It feels like a real documentary, with talking heads giving us insight into footage already been shot. The setup of the found footage shenanigans that comprise the film’s second and third acts are interesting in that we already know that this isn’t going to end well. They don’t admit what’ll happen, as the film’s ending is a genuine shocker, but alluding to it as if it’s something everyone in that world would know is a nice touch. This is a film that is trying to explain events that have happened to an audience (in that universe) would know.

That we don’t know, and find out as it goes along, makes it interesting and intriguing. It’s like watching a documentary on some sort of wholly unbelievable thing blamed on spirits and ghosts, laughing as Nancy Grace blubbers her way through how horrible it was and taking all sorts of wild (and stupid) angles to it to keep it in the news for far longer than it should be, and then seeing the raw footage put together and having to think about it.

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I enjoyed Delivery but I didn’t love it. I’m not a fan of horror films but I liked this one. I’m probably not going to buy it but if I get a copy to review I’m not pawning it off on someone else who does, either. If I had to rate I’d go three stars or so. It’s a solid matinee in theatres and you could do a lot worse on the VOD market than this film.

Recommended.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound

Blended – Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are single parents forced to hang out, and blend their families, during a trip to Africa. Terry Crews shows up, too.

Skip it – I’d have preferred to see these two in a sequel to The Wedding Singer, which could’ve had something interesting to say, instead of this.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Wolverine goes to the past to save the future or something.

See it – So far it’s had the only trailer to give me goosebumps in 2014. That should count for something.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .

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