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Y Tu Mama Tambien (#110 of 4)

Box Office Rap Gravity and the Art-House Blockbuster

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Box Office Rap: Gravity and the Art-House Blockbuster
Box Office Rap: Gravity and the Art-House Blockbuster

When Contagion opened in IMAX theaters on September 9, 2011, only a handful of films had previously been offered in that large-scale presentation that weren’t either part of a franchise, an original film with hopes of becoming a franchise, a work based on another text, or a prominent remake a la Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. From 2002 to September 2011, a total of 77 wide release films made their way to IMAX screens. Of these, and excluding animated and concert films, only three films (Eagle Eye, Inception, and Sanctum) opened over that nine-year span that didn’t fit the above qualifications. Certainly, these anomalous entries can be explained by their potential box-office appeal, but only Inception had directorial (let’s say auteur) pedigree, which is where my interest lies. We shall call such films art-house blockbusters (AHB), in accordance with our established definition.

15 Famous Movie Love Triangles

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15 Famous Movie Love Triangles
15 Famous Movie Love Triangles

Hitting theaters today is McG’s This Means War, a frothy comedy that pits Chris Pine against Tom Hardy in the fight for Reese Witherspoon’s smiley affections (best of luck there, Chris). From Arthurian legend to Bridget Jones’s Diary, stories of smitten trios have flooded the popular landscape, each threesome casting its sinful shadow on boring old monogamy. For this list of 15 standouts, the door was open to hallucinations, inanimate objects, and even different species—which is not to say Ménage à Twilight was ever in the running.

Tribeca Film Festival 2009: Rudo y Cursi

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Tribeca Film Festival 2009: Rudo y Cursi
Tribeca Film Festival 2009: Rudo y Cursi

Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, the Mexican Matt & Ben—never more toxic than when paired on screen—reunite in Rudo y Cursi to denigrate rubes from Jalisco as slow-witted provincial brothers and banana plantation workers whose unlikely rise to soccer stardom supplies the purported comedy. García Bernal’s “Cursi” (corny) is a gullible romantic who wants to run off to Texas on a quest for a singing career; Luna’s “Rudo” (tough) is a husband, father, farm foreman, and fuck-up with twin passions for gambling and bullying Cursi. After a fútbol scout (Guillermo Francella) watches them play a local game on a dirt pitch, Cursi serendipitously makes a decisive kick to best his more talented goalkeeping sibling (in a groaningly obvious setup for the third act), and is whisked off to Mexico City and the pros. When Rudo follows, first-time feature director Carlos Cuarón (co-writer of brother Alfonso’s obnoxious Y Tu Mamá También, the leads’ launching pad) turns the farce into a gag-starved Dumb and Dumber, with Luna, sprouting facial foliage worse than his Milk mustache, falling into debt with gangsters from his gaming losses and coke habit, and García Bernal donning Tejano cowboy duds for a music video cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” (like nearly everything on view, not as funny as it sounds). The overaged brats flail about slapstickily, undergoing shower-room pubic shavings and cock-whippings, returning home as celebrities for their sister’s wedding to a drug lord, and trading “asshole” and “faggot” jibes in the absence of a También–style make-out scene that would bring some agreeably incestuous adventurousness into the picture. As Rudo and Cursi are correctly labeled old for soccer prospects, these bucolic 30-year-old ninnies are even more tiresome than the randy little shits the stars played in their breakthrough vehicle. As Cursi boinks his TV hostess girlfriend on a kitchen countertop, a mock-portentous narration by the scout announces, “Loving a woman is like loving a ball—she requires guidance and control.” The younger Cuarón should’ve applied either virtue to this bungled rehash of sports comedy clichés and sophomoric star power.

Rudo y Cursi @ the Tribeca Film Festival