(The above image is from Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector. Aren't you glad you won't be seeing it?)
Here's a shock: of the three major releases this weekend, neither Health Inspector nor Stay Alive (Inside Man is the third) was screened for critics. Stay Alive, like most of the relatively cheap, audience-pleasing horror flicks that have been released in the past year or so, promises sadism, blood and, if you're lucky, pretty young girls threatened with sexual violence - really, do you need critics to tell you that? And anyone who goes to see Health Inspector after seeing the ads (Sushi is raw? Hilarious!) doesn't deserve to be warned by critics anyway. So, in sum: Health Inspector (presumably) sucks, Stay Alive (most likely) sucks and, what do you know, Spike Lee can make a movie that's nothing more than slick and fun to watch!
- Inside Man: Like James, the great majority of critics really, really
like this one. The lovers describe it variously as a "crackling heist thriller", "the
kind of seamless diversion that should be a stock item in Hollywood, but isn't", and "flawlessly cast and marvelously acted and
directed", all of which are the kind of praise about which filmmakers dream. Just to make sure Lee doesn't get
too big for his proverbial britches, however, there are a few who don't love it, the
most negative of whom - the very angry Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian - turns in the kind of review that could
crush a young director's very soul. Try this, for example, on for size: "You could try emptying Lake Victoria with a
teaspoon...or getting into your house with front-door key made of marzipan. Any of these activities would be less of a
waste of time than watching this supremely annoying and nonsensical film from Spike Lee." OUCH. I think I'm
shaking a little bit, just out of sympathy.