Thursday, April 27, 2006

Opening in Dallas, 04/28

by Brian
In want-to-see order:

United 93 (trailer): My most eagerly awaited film in a while. Aside from the shamelessly misleading key art, this seems like a top-notch production all the way. Incidentally, I’ve been meaning to watch director Paul Greengrass’s Bloody Sunday this week, but haven’t been able to find a copy. That’s what online subscription services are for, I guess, but we canceled ours from lack of use.

Hard Candy (trailer): I don’t really want to see this very badly, but it’s a kind of a slow week aside from United 93. I’d be more interested in this if Lionsgate hadn’t spent the past year or so making a conscious effort to brand themselves as the most cynical and exploitative distributor around.

When Do We Eat? (trailer): I remember reading somewhere – don’t remember where – that this was very surreal and funny in a Buñuel-ish sort of way, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a funny drug-induced hallucination outside of The Big Lebowski and that time Homer Simpson talked to that coyote voiced by Johnny Cash. It’s more typically a lazy plot device better left to TV sitcoms, of which “The Simpsons” of course is. For now.

Akeelah and the Bee (trailer): Hot on the heels of last year’s Bee Season comes another spelling bee movie, this one looking like more of a standard underdog story than that movie’s more mystical take on the subject. If nothing else, it’s another chance for Larry Fishburne to play a character that acts and sounds exactly like Morpheus.

Hate Crime (trailer): I never heard of this movie until I saw it was opening here. Trailer looks TV-movie-of-the-weekish, and the IMDb rating is awfully low, usually a bad sign for small, specially targeted releases.

The Beauty Academy of Kabul (trailer at official site): This looks thematically similar to last year’s Mad Hot Ballroom, where we found out that there’s no inner city child’s life that’s so hellish that ballroom dancing can’t fix it. Here, we find out that, sure, being a woman in Afghanistan can be rough at times, but it’s nothing American hairdressers can’t fix! It’s like something I’d expect the Bush administration to commission.

Stick It (trailer): Looks pretty bad.

RV (trailer): Once upon a time (i.e., 1996), Barry Sonnenfeld had just done Get Shorty, which hasn’t held up so well over time but was still pretty decent, and I was eagerly awaiting his next movie. Then came Men in Black, which had its moments. It was OK. Since then, we’ve had Wild Wild West, Big Trouble (which I didn't see), Men in Black II, and now this. So I ask, has there been a worse director over the past six/seven years?

20 Comments:

Blogger Nick said...

So I ask, has there been a worse director over the past six/seven years?

Oh, that's easy: Paul W.S. Anderson. I'm sure there are more, but just can't come up with them yet. No, wait, how could I forget: the Boll.

Had never heard of The Beauty Academy of Kabul. Looks pretty good to me. May catch up with that one.

I can't stand Lesley Ann Warren, and avoid or stop watching whatever I see her in. The woman looks fucked-up and her freakish grin and blaring eyeballs freak me out every time. So no "When Do We Eat" for me.

And I laughed at the RV trailer, which usually means I'll see it even if I know it blows.

4/27/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Count Olaf said...

Big Trouble was funny in parts. Or maybe I'm thinking of "Who Is Cletus Tout?" I went through an "unknown tim allen movies" phase for a week. It's amazing what you find on Netflix. Yeah...it was Cletis Tout. Funny opening scene there

4/27/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

The first one that comes to mind is Garry Marshall. In the past 7 years he has been responsible for The Other Sister, Runaway Bride, Raising Helen, and both Princess Diary movies.

Can't forget Rob Reiner; EDTV, The Story of Us, The Majestic, Alex and Emma.

Peter Segal, the maker of Nutty Professor II, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, and The Longest Yard.

Also Wayne Wang, for Anywhere But Here, Maid in Manhattan, Because of Winn-Dixie, and Last Holiday.

And Bob Clark, who shat out both Baby Geniuses movies and something called Karate Dog.

This is fun! Although very sad because these people are very prolific and it makes no sense that they are allowed to make so many movies.

4/27/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

whoops, messed up on Reiner. He didn't make EDTV or The Majestic, but he was also responsible for Rumor Has It.

4/27/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

You know, I'm sitting here thinking, and I don't have the foggiest idea whether or not I saw Nutty Professor II. It seems like I did, but ... did I? Maybe it was a dream.

Boll doesn't count. Neither does Clark. Nobody sees their movies and nobody's even expected to. Anderson isn't prolific enough. Marshall is a good suggestion though.

I'd still go with Sonnenfeld, because studios are much more likely to pretend that his movies are "events", and they're pitched to a much wider audience than the average chick flick.

I can't stand Lesley Ann Warren, and avoid or stop watching whatever I see her in.

Even The Limey?

4/27/2006 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Stroup said...

Way to busy the last couple weeks to even think about movies but did have to screen Stick It. If you liked Bring It On you've a fair chance of liking this one.

It definitely isn't the bucket of suck I expected though it won't play for everybody.

4/28/2006 05:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Lora said...

A brief defense of one Marshall film:
I have two nieces, 16 and 19, and I have made a lot of cinematic sacrifices for them, with the most notable being a matinee screening of Spice World. Based on that standard, the first Princess Diary movie was far from horrifying. On the other hand, there is no excuse for misogynistic drek like Runaway Bride.

When my oldest niece hit 15 or so, her tastes in film changed. At the multiplex, she will pass over the blockbusters and mindless teen movies and choose something more challenging. I'm having a blast sharing some of my favorites with her. Haven't yet loaned her The Limey, but that is on the list...

4/28/2006 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Boll doesn't count. Neither does Clark. Nobody sees their movies and nobody's even expected to. Anderson isn't prolific enough.

Oh, so now there are rules? All right, Rob Cohen.

Even The Limey?

Ain't seen The Limey. And now I have a good reason not to.

4/28/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

And have to say that I echo that sentiment for Princess Diaries. As far as teen movies go it wasn't bad.

4/28/2006 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Holy shit, so far United 93 has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 92 rating on Metacritic.

4/28/2006 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger LesterG said...

Random thoughts:

Hack Director Battle Royale: I'm going to label Sonnenfeld worse than Cohen because he's proven himself capable (with the Addams Family movies, MIB and Get Shorty) of making a decent film. Cohen has never made anything more than a B-grade action film. Therefore, Sonnenfeld’s acts are more deplorable because he knows what to do but he's just too lazy to do it.
Additional nomination: Brett Ratner

On Wayne Wayne: I really wonder what happened to the other Wayne Wayne (who directed Smoke and Joy Luck Club). He clearly can’t be the same hack who is churning out rancid crap like Maid in Manhattan and Last Holiday. The very definition of “sell-out”.

The Princess Diaries: Despite my unhealthy fixation on Anne Hathaway, I can rent Havoc or Brokeback and get a much more…satisfying…view of her “talents”.

United 93: Considering the overwhelmingly positive reviews, I'm wondering if folks at Uni are kicking themselves for not holding back the film until awards season. “Too soon”, indeed.

And Nick…you’ve NEVER seen The Limey? For shame…

4/28/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Professor Wagstaff said...

Peter Segal's a good nomination - I've generally seen films from longer then 7 years ago (My Fellow Americans, Tommy Boy, Naked Gun 33 and a third) and on that basis would be fully prepared to be a leading proprietor of movie drivel.

I think I first noticed something distinctly unappealing about his directorial style in 'My Fellow Americans'. The film benefits from the professionalism of Lemmon and Garner in the leads but there was something vaguely depressing about Segal's ultra-fast paced direction which it made it clear he had no concept of narrative cohesion, well-timed gags, or any hint of sophstication were fully alien concepts to him.

Certainly a viewing of large portions of 'Anger Management' has confirmed him being a leader of lowest-common denominator filmmaking.

Gary Marshall I wouldn't put in this bracket - he's been backing the same manipulative phooey since the 1980s. Admittedly he's quite adept at it. 'Overboard' is completely unbelivable from the word go but I must admit to quite enjoy watching it any time it pops up on TV. And considering how financially successful most of his films are, why would he change?

As for Rob Reiner, what happened to his career? Just over a decade ago he was clearly one of the better directors coming out of Hollywood and now he's considered the definition of hack. Perhaps the turning point was 'North' one of the most godawful films made in the 1990s. He did make 'The American President' after that (as idealistic and unrealistic it was about US politics, it was still a pretty entertaining film) but nothing to write home about since.

4/28/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

"The Limey" is probably my favorite Soderbergh movie. The commentary track with him and writer Lem Dobbs is also terrific.

Another recent Warren movie that was pretty solid was "Secretary." Probably my favorite performance of hers is in "Clue."

I don't hate Ratner as much as others (of course, X3 could change that). "Red Dragon" was mediocre but not terrible. And I liked the pilot of "Prison Break" he directed. Of course, I didn't see "The Family Man" or "After the Sunset." I mean, the guy's not great, but I don't think he's terrible.

4/28/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I've never actually seen a Brett Ratner movie. That will change with X3, I imagine. Not sure why I didn't see Red Dragon.

Nick: Watch The Limey. I'm not saying that it will change your opinion of Warren, but I am saying it's worth putting up with her presence (which isn't huge, anyway).

4/28/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

For Marshall I was aiming squarely at The Other Sister, actually. I believe it to be one of the worst movies ever made. Princess Diaries are aimed directly at a certain target and do what they need to do.

But for someone like me, whose favorite filmmakers are Cronenberg, Jarmusch, and Tarantino; Garry Marshall is the anti-christ. I hate him more than I hate the GOP.

4/28/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

If anyone is avoiding seeing Secretary because of Lesley Ann Warren, you're only punishing yourself (no pun intended). Secretary is a terrific movie.

4/28/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Also, I'm going to chime in on the Limey praise. See it, seriously, it is an incredibly cool film.

4/28/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Wow, how'd you guys get roped into seeing all of those Garry Marshall movies (besides "The Princess Diaries")? I mean, damn, what a cv over the last decade or so:

The Princess Diaries 2(2004)
Raising Helen (2004)
The Princess Diaries (2001)
Runaway Bride (1999)
The Other Sister (1999)
Dear God (1996)
Exit to Eden (1994)

When I saw the trailers for each of those movies, I ran the other way. You couldn't pay me to see any of those movies.

4/28/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Professor Wagstaff said...

I saw 'Clue' a little while back. While it a had feel of being a B-Grade 'Murder by Death', it managed to stay entertaining almost till the end despite it having a tricky premise that could've easily fallen into tediousness.

4/28/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger jaydro said...

Somehow I don't even recall Lesley Ann Warren in The Limey. Lem Dobbs' presence in the commentary track is more memorable to me, so if you're avoiding it because of Lesley....

4/28/2006 11:24:00 AM  

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