Tagged in: new releases

Surveying the Field: CSI: Riyadh, Kids Say the Darnedest Things to Football Players, and Sex & Sensibility

I thought The Kingdom was pretty bad-ass, all things considered. This one is worth your time, even though it won’t change the world and isn’t as deep as it seems to think it is.

the game plan the rock

The Game Plan seems like a regrettable move for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Perhaps not quite as regrettable as trying to get everyone to stop calling him The Rock by putting in quotation marks in between his first and last name, but fairly regrettable nonetheless. Here he seems to be a famous quarterback who has to hilariously bond with the young daughter he never knew, which seems to include a number of tutu-related jokes. I tend to eschew movies with precocious children/adorable moppets who teach adults about the important things in life and/or help them realize shallow emotional truths and I don’t see anything in this movie to make me feel otherwise.

feast of love

I’m not completely against the romantic comedy genre, although it does lend itself to cliche and tired meet-cutes. The best one stand out not for revolutionizing the genre, but for adding a unique voice and making the audience think about familiar emotions in a new (and hopefully amusing) way. Feast of Love looks like it may or may not accomplish this. This ensemble comedy could easily be a dud, but there is a sliver of hope it could be another Love, Actually. I might see this.

jane austen book club

The Jane Austen Book Club, on the other hand I will avoid like an estrogen plague. Becoming Jane already filled my quasi-feminist Austen love story. Pass.

And that’s it. Another week of slim pickings. But The Darjeeling Limited is in limited release, although it doesn’t look like its opening in San Francisco yet. And The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford still looms on the horizon, so there is hope for the near future.

Surveying the Field: Extinction Zombies, Dwarven Dorks, Famous Cowboys and Dane Cook still Can’t Get it Right

Good Luck Chuck Dane Cook Jessica Alba

I want Dane Cook to make a funny movie. I really do. I’m not gonna hate on a brother just because he’s overhyped. I find his stand-up to make me laugh, sometimes heartily. He seems like a nice guy, and he’s capable of being funny. But his Tourgasm on HBO was a snoozer, and the movie where he played the stock boy was so bland and stale that not only has the name escaped me, but I can’t even be bothered to switch over to my IMDB tab and look it up. But you know the one I mean, with Jessica Simpson acting up a storm? But I don’t see Good Luck Chuck as the one that puts his personality to good use, even casting him as a lucky charm for women who all meet their future husbands after having sex with him and watching the hijinks ensue. It looks formulaic at best and utter drivel at worst, and either way a waste of my time.

amanda bynes

Oh, Amanda Bynes. I don’t think your breezy charms will be able to save you from this one. And why do you gravitate toward remakes/re-workings so much? First, we had She’s the Man, in all its neo-Shakesperean glory transporting the silliness of Twelfth Night into the world of prep-school soccer. And now we have Sydney White, which appears to be an interpretation of Snow White set at a university and portraying the seven dwarves as the current pledges of Lambda Lambda Lambda. Why? How will this movie be better than either of its two sources? Answer: It won’t. Or it might, but I’ll never know.

resident evil: extinction milla jovovich

Resident Evil has done me wrong. I love the games and Resident Evil 4 was mind-bogglingly bad-ass and I always thought the storyline would make a good transfer to the big screen, what with all the zombies and the corporate intrigue, and the cool cops. Despite the tendency of movies based on video games to be cinematic turds of epic proportions (Super Mario Brothers, anyone? I thought not), the first Resident Evil movie was kinda good. Not great, but passable on almost every criterion. That put it into a pretty slim category of good video game films. A category which consisted entirely of the first Resident Evil movie and the first Mortal Kombat. Then Resident Evil: Apocalypse came out and took a crap in living room. That’s really the only way to describe it. That movie was so bad that it felt like there was a giant piece of shit in my living room, which was a shame because that rug really tied the room together. And now we have Resident Evil: Extinction to put a cap on the whole sorry affair. I have no expectations for the final chapter, as a an upswing in quality for the third outing is pretty much unheard of. There’s always hope, but based on the previews I have the exact opposite of a desire to see the thing.

eastern promises mortensen watts

Eastern Promises is awesome. Go see it.

into the wild

I have no interest in watching Grizzly Man without the grizzlies. Doomed nature nuts can’t sustain me alone. Pass on Into the Wild.

brad pitt the assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford

As for me, I will be catching the annoyingly long-titled The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Its a Western biopic in which Brad Pitt portrays the famous outlaw in his final days. Brad Pitt generally (not always, but more often than not) chooses his roles carefully. After Fight Club, Se7en, and Twelve Monkeys he’s one of the few actors that can draw me to see a movie by virtue of his appearance in it. It looks suitably moody and muted, and I like a good cowboy movie as much as the next guy so I think I’ll be checking this one out.

Surveying the Field: A Vigilante, a P.E. Coach, some Journalists and a Dragon walk into a Bar

It doesn’t look like the Gods of Hollywood are bestowing much bounty on us this weekend. There’s nothing in this scouting report that truly motivates me to shell out for a movie ticket. Here’s what they are foisting upon us this week, in order of the likelihood of me watching:

No Way in Hell: Dragon Wars (or, more annoyingly) D-War

Dragon Wars: D War Big CGI Lizard

As near as I can understand it, this little gem comes to us from Korea (not the bugfuck crazy one, the southern one) but it features a bunch of American actors speaking English. It’s about ancient dragons that apparently have some sort of war. I’m not sure how the SciFi Channel let this one slip from the Saturday night lineup but I do not feel the need to watch ludicrous CGI lizards flying around the modern world. I didn’t like it in Reign of Fire, and I don’t think I’d like it here.

Probably Not Even on DVD: The Brave One

The Brave One Jodie Foster

I have no burning desire to watch Clarice Starling go all Deathwish and waste some no good punks like Ol’ Charlie Bronson. Foster plays a character whose fiance is attacked and killed, forcing her to pack some heat and show the criminals what street justice is. What’s the deal with all the revenge movies coming out right now? I have a rule against seeing movies that come out in matched pairs. I saw neither Armageddon nor Deep Impact. Neither Volcano nor Dante’s Peak. Neither Red Planet nor Mission to Mars. Neither the recent Kevin Bacon movie Death Sentence, nor this movie.

Maybe… But Probably Waiting for HBO: Mr. Woodcock

Mr. Woodcock Billy Bob Thornton

This movie just doesn’t seem like it would be all that funny. I enjoy Billy Bob Thornton, and can stomach Seann William Scott, despite the inexplicably redundant spelling of his first name. Here he plays a self-help guru who must deal with his mother dating his antagonistic old gym coach. But I get a vibe from the previews that this will be a middle of the road comedy at best. Sometimes that’s all you need, though. Maybe it’s because I’ve known too many coaches in time to find the humor in this slanderous portrayal of the profession. All my coaches were upstanding men of fortitude, and unparalleled whistle-skills.

The Most Likely: The Hunting Party

the hunting party movie richard gere

I hear good things about this movie, but I’m not entirely convinced although I like the idea behind it. I don’t know if it qualifies as a war movie, but I think there is some fertile ground in the Balkan conflict. My reservations come from the inconsistency of the trailers I’ve seen. Some have played up the free-wheeling comedy of the film, going for a kind of Three Kings feel. But I’ve also seen a few that are cut to make it look like a serious issue kind of thing. I’m not saying that the approaches are incompatible, but the tone of the trailers varies wildly from one to the next and that makes me think the film might do the same. I ordinarily find that jarring. But I might just give it a chance.

Surveying the Field: Cowboys, Morons, and Brits with Guns

I like to sit in a darkened stadium with a bunch of strangers watching flickering blue light paint moving pictures on a screen. I like the smell of popcorn and the sound your sneakers make on the sticky floors. But I don’t have as much time as I used to for double features and have to budget my time accordingly. It’s a struggle out there to spend my time and money wisely, and more often than not Friday is a crowded field for new movie releases. That’s why scouting reports are essential to today’s modern movie-goer. Here’s what’s coming up this weekend:

3:10 to Yuma Christian Bale

3:10 to Yuma – Starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, who is at his finest when acting against another strong player. I like Westerns, especially the grim and unrelenting ones like Unforgiven or The Wild Bunch. This one looks like it has some grit to it, but I generally try to avoid seeing remakes. It’s the principle of the thing. Still…

brother solomon will arnet will forte

The Brothers Solomon– Like remakes, movies starring Saturday Night Live actors tend to keep me at bay. But I haven’t seen anything from the most recent crop of sketch comedians to pass through the show so I might be missing out on Will Forte. This movie also stars Will Arnett who played Gob on Arrested Development. Superbad also starred a veteran of the greatest show ever canceled and it did pretty well for itself. The only problem is that this movie, which revolves around a pair of clueless dopes trying to impregnate a woman doesn’t sound nearly as funny. I think I’ll pass.

shootemup clive owen paul giamatti

Shoot ’em Up – This movie looks fun. Advance reviews say that it tries to walk the razor’s edge between being an over-the-top action movie and being a parody of the same. It’s a neat trick when it works, but it can easily go off the rails. Either way the film looks frenetic and exciting. I’m expecting something like The Big Hit, only with more Giamatti. The trailers make it seem like I won’t be bored and it looks at least halfway original. I think we have a winner.