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What We Know So Far: A persistent rumor has been floating around for decades about how the United States moon landings are nothing but a hoax and that the government enlisted the help of film auteur Stanley Kubrick to create, produce, stage and film a pretend event that could be shown to the world as evidence the U.S. had beaten the Russians. This film takes that premise and turns it into a dark comedy.
The Trailer: (Official #1 – RED BAND)
Dan: This comedic trailer gives me all sorts of Lock Stock & Snatch vibes. We get the criminal underworld with a totally ridiculous scenario aimed at laughs. It goes like this: the Americans form a back-up plan in case their mission to the moon isn’t successful. That plan is to hire Stanley Kubrick to fake the moon landing so they don’t “wind up looking like a bunch of dicks.” Yes, the stakes are that high. It’s early in the sneak peek and we already know this movie isn’t taking itself too seriously. While there is some violence on display, it’s not the focus. The blood and gore feels more absurd, within the context of the tone set earlier. This brief moment of violence is so hyper stylized it makes me wonder if these guys are on drugs or something. (Where those tentacles seen briefly, protruding from the ceiling?) After all, there is a great joke with Perlman high on LSD. A woman tells him, “Acid is the best thing for headaches.” He tells her it won’t work because he’s “CIA trained” and his “mind is too strong for that sh*t.” Cue his grinning face looking like the Cheshire Cat, laying on a rug staring up into oblivion / ecstasy. With this eclectic combination of comedy, crime, drugs, and violence, Moonwalkers looks like a totally fun indie gem worth seeking out.
David: My first question is how has this not been made before? And my second is why didn’t I come up with it first? This is a topic that seems ripe for satire and it looks like the film is going to properly eviscerate the illogical theory, but I do have some major reservations. But before I get to that, I will say that the cast looks great and the settings are spot on. The beginning of the trailer has a great tone and feels like it could really be a fitting comical jab at the strangely thriving conspiracy. Then, things get violent. Heavily so. Too much so. In the red band trailer featured above, at the midpoint, horrific, graphic gunfire is shown and it’s truly jarring given the early moments and I’m not quite sure is really fits. There is not one shot of the actual staging of the event, though hints of it are here and there. This is where I want the film to take place, and hopefully it does. I imagine there are lots of opportunities for some comedy of trying to fake the mission on a soundstage. Unfortunately, it appears the makers are influenced by the Coen brothers but more for the carnage and not the wicked dialogue. The idea is fantastic, but I worry the execution will never get off the ground. Pun fully intended.
Dan Says: Ron Perlman’s character hires Rupert Grint’s to get Kubrick. Grint thinks this plan is just as dumb as it sounds, so he decides to take that money for himself and film the moon landing with friends. I love how Perlman doesn’t know what Kubrick even looks like. Once Perlman finds out about the con, Grint’s fast-thinking gets him out of a sticky situation when he says they’re his only hope out of this sticky situation. They recruit an eccentric filmmaker to help. My Sneak Peek Moment is how the unusual artist replies to the proposal. He says, “I can’t make a film in 7 days. ‘Bounce’ took me 3 years.” We see a clip of his movie: a man bouncing on a trampoline . . . with a chicken and a cat. This dry sense of humour really cracks me up. The follow-up joke seals the deal. Grint continues to pitch his plan to the insane director, “What if we doubled your money?” The man replies, “I’m not a whore. I’m an artist.” “Triple?” The artists sheepishly shrugs, “Okay.” This sequence is just a taste of things to come. The entire premise is tongue and cheek, but just brash enough to not be cheesy. There’s not too many movies that feel like the 90s independent film hey-day. I’m looking forward to this strange brew concoction.
David Says: There is a lot of fun build up in the beginning of this trailer, with the military outright admitting that they want to fake the Apollo 11 mission. They’ve chosen Kubrick because of his convincing work on the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). They’ve also got a talent agent named Jonny (Rupert Grint) in mind and send Kidman (Ron Perlman) with a case full of cash to get him to bring Kubrick to the table. Problem is that Jonny doesn’t actually know the famous and reclusive director so he enlists a friend to pretend to be him for a meeting. My Sneak Peek Moment comes when Kidman is sitting in a posh hotel lobby and is introduced to who he thinks is the man that will make a film. Trying to speak covertly, he tells the imposter that there is only one man in the world they think can pull this off, whereby “Kubrick” replies, “That man is . . .?” Even though the joke is set up and obvious from space, it works and reveals a bit of the humor we can expect. Hopefully the violence will be more contextual than shown in the trailer, but right now, it is shooting me out the airlock and keeping me from considering re-entry.