Butcher's beef diagram with movies and podcasts instead of cuts of meat

August 2022

 

Your monthly installment arrives after a four-month hiatus. ūüėČ

 

Moving Pictures

 

We’re in the dog days of the movie calendar. The big franchise films have been released, and the next few months will be your various standalones or lower-tier films before studios gear up for the end-of-year deluge of prestige pictures.

 

Bullet Train

(in theaters August 5)

This movie, with Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock and Aaron Taylor Johnson (aka “temporal pincer movement” from¬†TeneT (2020) and the titular Kick-Ass (2010)) might be good, but it is likely terrible. There have been far too many tie-in commercials and it feels like this was supposed to release like two years ago. It is about a bunch of hitmen on a bullet train in Japan, and blah blah blah betrayals and shadowy nongovernmental organizations and a bunch of other stuff that was played out years ago.

I’m mostly excited because I’ll watch Zazie Beetz in just about anything (except for Joker (2019)) and Bullet Train is such a great name. Director and stuntman David Leitch has done some good movies (Atomic Blonde¬†(2017)) and some bad (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)).

 

Bodies Bodies Bodies

(in theaters August 5)

Here’s another movie in the long line of “group of friends get together for a party and someone is murdered” comedies, and it is usually a template for success. Or at least, a reliable framework on which a decent writer could hang some jokes and macabre gags. Rachel Sennot (of¬†Shiva Baby (2021)), Lee Pace (of Pushing Daisies (2007–2009) and Halt and Catch Fire (2014–2017)), and Maria Bakalova (of the recent Borat (2020) sequel) make for a compelling cast.

 

Prey

(August 5 on HULU)

I’ve never been more prepared to be disappointed, as this franchise has an uninterrupted negative slope in quality.

Predator (1987) is a stone-cold icon of the action genre. I really enjoyed Predator 2 (1990) on my rewatch last year. Alien vs. Predator (2004) was mostly enjoyable. Predators (2010) was decent but felt infected with modern franchise influenza. The Predator (2018) was one of the worst films that I’ve ever seen, with possibly the most embarrassing failed sequel teaser ever.

This leads up to Prey, the new Predator sequel that takes place on the North American continent in the 1700s, with our favorite intergalactic big-game hunters stalking Natives (and hopefully mercing a bunch of imperialist trash along the way). The film released with an R rating, which is a great sign as there was buzz of chopping it down to a PG-13. Imagine our seven-foot-tall monster shooting its shoulder-laser through a Redcoat as a bloodless CGI hole appears on the character as they fall to the ground. No thanks. This is a Predator movie. The gore is the entire point.

I also must point out that the lead is played by a person named Amber Midthunder, and I hope that she has a very long career, because that is an incredible name.

 

House of the Dragon

(HBO and HBO Max, August 21)

If you are a pain pig like me, you probably still check George R. R. Martin’s site Notablog in ever-fading hopes that he’ll finish the long-promised The Winds of Winter. (Here is my obligatory mention that artists are free to create art as they see fit and do not owe anything to their fans.) You may hold out hope because you like the A Song of Ice and Fire books, or you may do it because you hated the last season of Game of Thrones (our review) and want to know how Martin would have ended the story if he’d kept writing. Regardless of the reason, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for¬†The Winds of Winter, as GRRM has been working on a slew of other projects instead.

House of the Dragon is one of those projects. Rising from the ashes of our enjoyment of Westeros—like a wight-dragon being hoisted from the depths of a frozen lake—comes House of the Dragon, HBO’s new series about the Targaryen family and their internecine squabbles. The Targaryens were the least interesting part of Westeros for me (give me godswoods and wildlings any day of the week), but I’ll give it a chance. The cast is interesting and Benioff and Weiss were nowhere near the project.

 

 

Idris Elba as genie stands behind Tilda Swinton as archivist

Three Thousand Years of Longing

(in theaters August 31)

This movie was the sole reason I made this edition of Curated Beef. George Miller is one of the patron saints of Alleged Beef, with his Mad Max series ranking among my favorite films of all time and his non-Max output consistently weird and wonderful (such as Babe: Pig in the City (1998); The Witches of Eastwick (1987); Lorenzo’s Oil (1992)).

Miller somehow wrote and directed this film in the time that I was still awaiting news about the new Furiosa and Mad Max movies, and jeezy creezy, I am excited. Here’s the trailer.

From what little I know, Tilda Swinton (!) plays an historian who meets a genie (Idris Elba!) who will grant her wishes in exchange for his freedom. What follows is a conversation between the two characters about the genie’s long life. The trailer looks appropriately Millerian: sumptuous visuals and interesting props and a feeling that anything can happen. And I mean that literally, as this movie’s entire plot synopsis on Wikipedia has remained a single sentence for over two years. That is impressive in a world of endless teasers and spoilers.

I have no idea if we’ll ride, shiny and chrome, on the way to Valhalla (WITNESS ME!), but I do know that I can’t wait to see what happens.

 

Music

 

Weird Al Yankovic sings on a stage

Weird Al Yankovic, The Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent Ill-Advised Vanity Tour

 

Weird Al is on tour! I feel that everyone should know this, because we are all getting older with each passing day and one day our idols won’t be around any more. The Pittsburgh date is sold out but there are an absurd number of stops on this tour, so maybe you’ll find a venue close to you. I’m giving some thought to the August 3 date in Williamsport, PA as an alternative.

One may think “that Star Wars parody” or “that Michael Jackson parody” when hearing the name Weird Al, or maybe you associate him with Comedy Bang Bang or Robot Chicken. But his catalog runs like 40 years deep, and it takes talent to master a song well enough to parody it. If that still doesn’t sell you, this tour is advertised as being parody-free, which means the setlists (which are further advertised as unique to each stop on the tour) should be quite eclectic. I’m personally hoping for “Jackson Park Express” or “My Baby’s in Love with Eddie Vedder.”