Matthew Lickona 11 a.m., June 24
The Expendables 2
Simon West hasn’t printed one watchable frame of film since setting the bar high with his debut feature, the uproarious Con Air. When it came time to reassemble the dirty half-dozen or so (plus JCVD and Chuck Norris), West’s uncolored staging was just the touch needed to give flight to this testosterone-fueled gasbag of a sequel. Don’t expect anything in the way of plot or dialogue; everything that comes out of the actors’ mouths is a brain-plunking, frequently self-referential one-liner. (Sylvester Stallone takes co-screenwriter credit.) I'm always one to complain about lighting not matching from shot to shot, but The Expendables 2 occasionally loses focus between cuts! At first glance it appears a vain Stallone pulled the Lucy-in-Mame card, demanding they smear Vaseline on the lens to act as age-defying diffusion. One edit later, the focus is so sharp you can cut butter with it. Camp isn’t made, it’s born. Why this elite corp of action has-beens agreed to intentionally dump all over what little of their reputations still endures, all in the name of spraying bullets and schoolyard zingers...Oh, right. A lot of these guys haven’t worked in years and crave a return to the limelight. The It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Ass World, quantity-over-quality approach to casting is the film’s obvious appeal, but aren’t they forgetting someone? Danny Trejo can kick all their asses! With marbled performances by Prime Rib of Willis, Shoulder Cut of Statham, and Filet of Li. 2012.