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Monday, June 04, 2007
Full Price Pierrepont: the Last Hangman: I can't imagine that a film like this, which examines the issue of capital punishment from the very personal angle of the executioner, and doesn't shy away from the ambiguous morality of that position, will do well in America. Or even get much notice in America. We tend to like our morality black-and-white, which is why "the villain" in our movies always has to die, preferably messily or in some poetic manner. That execution leaves a stain on the soul of the people tasked to carry it out is not something we want to dwell on.
Hairspray: Dear trailer narrator, please stop talking over the music. And while John Travolta is a poor substitute for either Divine or Harvey Fierstein (or even Bruce Vilanch), and even though the trailer doesn't seem to have quite the charm or energy this film probably needs to sell itself in a market that's almost actively hostile to musicals on film...yeah, there's no way I'm not going to see this. Part of me now really wants to see Avenue Q as a motion picture, just to watch the pundit classes heads explode as they try to deal with the cognitive dissonance of puppets for adults.
Balls of Fury: I suspect that my final evaluation of the film will be something like "needed more Thomas Lennon" but I'm not going to feel guilty about wanting to see this. I sat through The Baxter people! That's how deep my devotion to the former cast-members of The State is!
Stardust: Man, an ordinary man discovers a world of wonder and magic just outside his everyday world? What a novel and completely new and original idea from Neil Gaiman! While it does look pretty, I'll grant you, and the fairy-tale aspect has an appeal, there's something vaguely...pedestrian about how this looks to be presented.
Underdog: I think this may be the film that puts the "Peter Dinklage makes everything better" theory to the test. I mean it looks...cute. Slight, but cute. It's a very cute doggie. I'm sensing "cute" may become one of the buzzwords associated with the film. I also suspect I'm more charitably inclined to the notion of a live-action version of a poorly animated cartoon I barely remember from my child-hood because, when I saw the trailer in the theater, I had to put up with two annoying sorority girls bitching about how "lame" it looked. I think I'm more inclined to like things that people I can't stand don't.
Paprika: The real question with a new Satoshi Kon film is not "will I see it in a theater" but "can I see it in a theater, or do I have to wait for the DVD release?" Falling to the curse of foreign language trailers, any suggestion of plot or theme is abandoned in favor of arresting and compelling visuals. I also could have done without the review quoted in the trailer, which is based solely on the oft-repeated fallacy that anything Japanese is inherently superior to anything American, a lapse in logic quite popular amongst anime and manga fans in recent years. Did these people never see Tetsuo the Iron Man? If they had, they wouldn't be so quick to blindly laud Japanese pop culture.
Martian Child: Oh, John Cusack, why must you test my patience with you by entering into the "children are holy and magical and solve all your problems and fix your personality defects" genre?
Death at a Funeral: Frank Oz, when not working with puppets, is a bit hit or miss as a director. Still, Peter Dinklage puts in an appearance here as well. Though, I must admit, I have personally lost track of the number of "dysfunctional family has comically amusing breakdowns at funeral" films I've seen over the years.
The Golden Compass: This is another of those films that looks pretty, but I'm mostly curious to know how the "anti-Narnia" will play in the US. My suspicion is that early rumors were correct, and anything in the story that could even vaguely be construed as anti-Christian or irreligious has been excised from the film.
Netflix-able Fay Grim: It's a sequel to a film I've never even heard of, and I'm slightly taken aback now to discover that Parker Posey is now apparently old enough to play the mother of a teenager. But there's a certain snap to the wit here that I found amusing, and something of an absurdist attitude, as well as a mocking approach to post 9/11 American paranoia, which makes me curious as to the final product.
Bratz: I doubt I would actually see this, in any circumstances, but it at least looks more tolerable than the average Disney-channel teen movie. It's interesting to see that the message of the film is one of friendship overcoming the stifling and near-fascist "clique" organization of high schools. Especially when that seems to conflict with the creepy, vaguely sexualized images of the Bratz dolls the film is (supposedly) based on.
Fido: I'm not sure how Zombie Tom would react to this; it seems to be turning the notion of zombie servitude into some kind of joke. Now, normally I don't much care for zombies, and feel that, to be generous, the genre has been over-exposed and well worn out its welcome in recent years. Which may be why we're getting a sardonic satire mixing zombies, slavery, and Lassie satires all in one.
The Brothers Solomon: The Wills Arnett and Forte tend to be fairly funny on their own, so pairing them seems like a natural idea. If anything, this looks like it could be a welcome antidote to the "aw, having a baby completely fixes the lives of self-absorbed career women and shiftless losers" spate of films recently.
La Vie En Rose: I think they revoke my Gay Card if I don't offer at least a token amount of enthusiasm for the idea of an Edith Piaf bio-pic.
The Boss of it All: Lars von Trier makes an office comedy. Well, I should perhaps type it "comedy" after all. I don't quite grasp the appeal of the genre. I work in an office all day, why would I want to watch a movie or television show about people working in an office when I get home?
The Bourne Ultimatum: The first film was...okay, as far as it went. The influence of European action films was fairly strong on American films of the genre at the time, to mostly good effect. But at its heart, this was just another spy thriller, with an almost clever gimmick to see you through a paper-thin and conventional plot. This doesn't look offensively bad, but nor does it look like it has anything in particular to recommend it either.
Duck: I have no idea what the hell is going on here. Is the duck real? Is the old man senile? Does this take place in the future? Explanation please!
The Savages: Laura Linney usually gets points from me, but a laughles comedy about committing elderly parents to a nursing home is going to be a real hard sell. I can't really quite grasp a situation in which I can see myself really feeling the need to see a movie like that.
Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior: The web-site says this came out in April. I somehow managed to never hear of it. And while Vikings may be the new pirates/ninjas/monkeys for the obsessive nerd set, I'm just not feeling it. Still, sword-fights and half-naked men...granted, that couldn't get me to see 300, but this doesn't look as ponderously stupid as that...just regular stupid.
The Brave One: It feels like it's been awhile since we had any entries in the "female vigilante out for revenge" genre. In fact, I can't even remember the last "you touched my stuff" film with a female protagonist to come out without it being a "mother defending child" film.
I Don't Want Eyes Anymore Rise: Blood Hunter: Have I ever mentioned that I really fucking hate vampire movies? This looks like a particularly bad example of an attempt to up the angst stakes in the genre, in a rather calculatingly "hipster" vein. Either that, or a female knock-off of Blade starring a formerly hot Asian-American actress. In a just world, it would be a direct to DVD film. And not a general release DVD, a "Hollywood Video" or "Blockbuster" exclusive.
Crazy Love: A documentary about a woman who married her psychopathic stalker after he was released from prison for blinding and disfiguring her with lye. And the tone of the trailer suggests that this is just some "kooky" love affair gone wrong, not a horrendous portrait of the damage abuse does to people. You can not only count me you, you can count me physically sickened at the thought this even got made.
The Kingdom: It would be nice if, after all this time, we could get a thoughtful film about terrorism...and not yet another action movie.
Joshua: The "evil child" genre of horror has never really worked for me. This particular outing seems to have made an extra effort to add "your child is a psychopath" to the list of "things to scare American parents" with. Or, I'm misreading the trailer, and this is more of a satire on the "holy child" philosophy that seems to dominate American discourse. Although it seems a bit straight-faced for that.
Captivity: More sadistic torture porn. I've gone from being tired and frustrated with the ascendancy of this genre of horror to actually being angry that so much of this sick, misogynistic garbage is still around.
Good Luck Chuck: In the past, I might have, might have mind you, said that, at the very least, Dane Cook isn't actually bad looking. But the years of being painfully unfunny and untalented appear to have taken their toll, and he looks absolutely horrible in this. Oh, and Jessica Alba's downward career spiral continues, with her appearance in this.
Civic Duty: I don't think this is the thoughtful film about terrorism we're looking for, either. Frankly, even though the trailer seems to suggest that it's about paranoia and mistrust, and how racism and fear-mongering politicians exploit that, I don't think I trust an American film studio to follow through with that premise to a conclusion that makes "America" or "Americans" look bad. In short, I fully expect the resolution of the film to be about the scary terrorist next door and the brave man who discovers him in the face of official indifference.
License to Wed: Hey, remember when Robin Williams was funny? Me neither.
Superbad: Modern teen sex comedies do nothing except make me longer for the quality of the Porky's trilogy.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry: What do you get when you combine an aging comedian, well past his prime, and a complete and utter trivialization of a civil rights issue? A frat-boy pandering ninety minute fag joke. The Gay Deceivers should have been the last word on this particular joke.
Severance: I'm not sure we needed a melding of the "office comedy" and "slasher/stalker" genres, to be frank.