Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Opening in Dallas, 10/20

by Brian
I’m pretty excited, so I might as well get this up early. This may well end up the best weekend of the year, with five movies that I feel are must-sees.

The Prestige (trailer): Truth be told, I think the trailer for this is somewhat underwhelming, if by no means bad. But I loved Batman Begins so much that a new film from Chris Nolan is a major deal for me, sight unseen and unquestioned.

Marie Antoinette (trailer): Ditto Lost in Translation, if to a lesser degree. This one seems to have really split critics, but I can’t shake the feeling that the serious detractors are louder than they are numerous.

The Queen (trailer): New one from Stephen Frears, who has made good films. His last one, Mrs Henderson Presents, was revolting, but this looks strong. I’ve seen the trailer several times and still can’t really recognize Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II.

Little Children (trailer): Good trailer, and Todd Field’s In the Bedroom was very good if moderately overrated. Also, I’m a big fan of Kate Winslet, although I doubt that will make much of a difference when The Holiday opens in December.

Flags of Our Fathers (trailer): I’m always eager to see Clint Eastwood’s films, but I’m not sure I really understand what this movie is supposed to be about.

Heading South (Vers le sud): I think the headline for the top user review at the IMDb says it all: “Sex starved in Haiti! YAY!”

Flicka (trailer): What’s the deal with Alison Lohman? She’s 27 years old, and still playing teens. She doesn’t even look like a teenager anymore. Oh wait, I know what the deal is - when she plays a more grown-up role, like she did last year in Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies, she’s terrible. Downright laughable, in fact. So, never mind … forget I asked.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (trailer at official site): Being released in “Disney Digital 3-D!” I really like the movie - saw it for the first time during its last reissue in 2001 or so - but I can’t take 3-D. I hate, hate, hate, HATE it, and I’m having trouble thinking of circumstances that would get me to go see something in 3-D again.

24 Comments:

Blogger Count Olaf said...

Is it IMAX 3-D? Cuz IMAX 3-D rules. The superman segments were the best 3-d I've ever seen...none of that red-blue nonsense.

That being said, I saw the Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time last year on DVD and was bored to tears. I think I overhyped it to myself....

Prestige might be the first movie I'll see in theaters this fall. Chris Nolan has not steered me wrong yet.

10/18/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Truth be told, I think the trailer for this is somewhat underwhelming, if by no means bad.

Nah, I really dug the trailer. Felt like it really set up a mood. But proper way to judge it would probably be after I seen the movie. In January.

I hate all of you.

I’m always eager to see Clint Eastwood’s films, but I’m not sure I really understand what this movie is supposed to be about.

I've really lost interest in this one. Like you said, what is it supposed to say?

I think the headline for the top user review at the IMDb says it all: “Sex starved in Haiti! YAY!”

My mother wants to see this. 'Nuff said? Yes, enough said.

What’s the deal with Alison Lohman?

She's hot. And she looks more like a teenager than Rachel McAdams did. Or most actresses do, when they play teenagers. Fooled me in Matchstick Men. Does this make me perverted?

And isn't EVERYONE bad in Where the Truth Lies?

I’ve seen the trailer several times and still can’t really recognize Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II.

Maybe they should've used this technology.

10/19/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

January, huh? Ouch. It'll probably be out on DVD here by that time.

Does this make me perverted?

I think we cleared this up once upon a time, didn't we? I think we decided that as long as you didn't think she was "enticing," you're in the clear.

I dunno. She looks like a grad student to me. I didn't see Matchstick Men, though.

And isn't EVERYONE bad in Where the Truth Lies?

I suppose that's a very good point, although she was easily the most out of place.

God, what a horrible movie that was.

10/19/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I suppose that's a very good point, although she was easily the most out of place.

Squeezed between Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth, I think a lot of people would be.

I didn't see Matchstick Men, though.

It was all right. Not grand in any way, except perhaps cinematographically (this a word?), which, it being a Ridley Scott film, was a minimum expectation. But she did make the picture stand out. A little. I liked it better than Confidence.

10/19/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Sherry said...

Flags of Our Fathers is about the story behind that famous picture from Iwo Jima with the raising of the flag. It tells three stories, really. There are the battle sequences on Iwo Jima which are as brutal as anything in the opening of Saving Private Ryan. Second, the tour of the three "flag raisers" promoting war bonds which gives to the flashbacks to the war sequences.

Third: The son of John Bradley learns of his father's actions and involvement at Iwo Jima from author survivors of the battle.

In a rare trip to the theatre I decided to see this over The Departed in a choice of Eastwood over Scorsese (My wife wants to see The Prestige, so I know I'll see that one). I'm happy with the choice, excellent movie.

10/22/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

Flags of Our Father was a disappointment. I think we can be sure that a Paul Haggis scripted film will not win an Oscar for Best Picture this year, and the script is the main reason. This film is hopelessly unfocused, jumping about in time far too much. It didn't really seem like it knew what it wanted to say. It would have worked far better as a documentary.

10/30/2006 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Agreed, Slim, on Flags. I wrote in the main post that "I’m not sure I really understand what this movie is supposed to be about", and after seeing it, I'm still not sure I understand. It seemed to celebrate these guys as heroes while at the same time admiring them for knowing that they're not heroes. Odd.

"Hopelessly unfocused" is a good way to say it. In fact, it might be the exact way I would have said it. And it's not edited in a way that I could follow what was going on half the time. There didn't seem to be any kind of rhythm to the flashbacks, and they didn't follow any kind of timeline that made much sense.

And was it just me, or was the casting really bad? I had no idea who any of the old men were, since none of them looked in any way like the actors playing their younger selves. I'm still not sure who Harve Presnell (Wade from Fargo) was supposed to be.

10/30/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I checked IMDB, and Presnell played the older Captain Severance (the one who promoted Barry Pepper). I agree with you wholeheartedly. There are some of the guys who were in the flag picture who aren't really identified until we see them getting killed.

10/30/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Wow, so that's who Presnell played. I suppose I ought to have looked it up, so thanks.

That's a great example of the whole "lack of focus" thing. Severance was a really, really, minor character, and there was no reason for him to show up as an old man to be interviewed. And he gave the opening monologue, even though he wasn't the character in who had the opening flashback. That's just bad storytelling.

10/30/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

So what's the verdict on 13 (() Tzameti ())?

10/31/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

It was good. If I summed it up I'd call it an unpretentious noir. Reminded me a bit of Intacto, even if it was better. There's something to be said for black and white French movies. You want a longer review?

I'll probably do a couple of longer reviews tomorrow (including Babel and Volver), if I get the time for it.

10/31/2006 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I was just wanting to know if it was worth the effort to go see, so I don't need a longer review if you don't feel like writing it. Will probably go tomorrow night.

Babel is this week, apparently. Volver is next. Eagerly awaiting both.

11/01/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Hey, if you consider a good film worth a trip, then it is. But reading some of the trade reviews for the film I personally find them to be a little guilty of hyperbole. Because it reminds one of so many other films doesn't make it as good as those.

It's best to see the film knowing as little as possible about the plot, so I won't say more. But if you go see it tell me how you'd rank it.

11/01/2006 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Ok, will let you know.

By the way, just noticed that I put this in the wrong thread. Oh well.

11/01/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Yeah, I noticed.

I'll review Volver tomorrow. So tired...

11/01/2006 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Saw Tzameti last night, thought it was good. Not something that I'll really remember in a few years but passed the time after a slow beginning. Surprisingly strong acting, I thought, given the nature of the plot. Not sure I liked the ending.

As for the title, what's up with that? Stephen Holden informs that "Tzameti" is 13 in Georgian. So "13 (Tzameti)" makes sense, but "13 Tzameti" is "13 Thirteen"? That doesn't make sense.

11/03/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I finally saw The Prestige, liked it okay. But you know what? I liked The Illusionist better. I thought it set a mood and was more emotionally involving. The Prestige was kind of a high-falutin' Spy vs. Spy--very clever, but didn't hit me on a gut level. The very beginning tells you there will be a gotcha! ending, so I kind of fidgeted through parts of it, waiting for that ending and seeing if I could figure it out (sort of like watching a magician and trying to figure out his trick). I think my favorite part was David Bowie as Tesla, which is inspired casting.

11/07/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

The Illusionist is getting a mid-December release here, will be fun seeing it just to compare the two. Think I'll be liking The Prestige more, me being inclined to the colder, more intellectual films.

On a related note Guru Thomson sees this as the Nolan Achilles heel. Anyone agree with this? I can see where he's coming from.

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/filmandmusic/story/0,,1937370,00.html

11/07/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

The Thompson article is kind of funny. I really liked this:

The one Nolan film, so far, with real panache is his nearly amateur Following, made in England, at weekends, in black and white, in 16mm, in which presumably the practical difficulties stimulated a genuine wit and passion.

Lecture someone about excess of pretension and then adopt the "I liked his early stuff before he sold out" pose.

I thought Prestige was light years more "fun" than Illusionist, which I thought was thoroughly hackish. I don't even think they belong in the same discussion, whether in terms of craft, story, acting, or, yes, pleasure.

11/07/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Not sure I liked the ending.

The ending was probably the strongest punch the film delivered. It was fitting, since the whole film was rolling with some doomed kind of justice.

Stephen Holden informs that "Tzameti" is 13 in Georgian. So "13 (Tzameti)" makes sense, but "13 Tzameti" is "13 Thirteen"? That doesn't make sense.

Maybe it's just to reinforce the title, somehow. Remember that in the titles 13 is on top, and Tzameti under. Maybe Babluani is just trying to show the film coming from some kind of Georgian perspective. It could just as easily have been shot there, excepting the French talk.

Seriously, I don't really know.

11/07/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Furthermore, it seems completely absurd to say that it lacked "story". It's beautifully plotted every step of the way. It's the one criticism that I don't see how anyone could make, that it lacked story. What a joke.

11/07/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

The ending was probably the strongest punch the film delivered. It was fitting, since the whole film was rolling with some doomed kind of justice.

Hmm ... maybe, but I didn't really feel that there was any kind of "justice", doomed or otherwise, involved.

11/07/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

The thing I like about Nolan is that he doesn't appear to have sold out. Rather, the opposite.

All of his films have haunted, emotionally, to not say psychologically, damaged protagonists, stuck in puzzles, often of their own design.

Man, I can already not wait for the Dark Knight.

Hey, speaking of that, anyone not happy about Heath Ledger as the Joker?

11/07/2006 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

All of his films have haunted, emotionally, to not say psychologically, damaged protagonists, stuck in puzzles, often of their own design.

Then I can say, without reservation, that The Prestige is a movie for you.

By the time Dark Knight actually gets here I think the anticipation will be so high that I won't be able to function normally. I just don't see how it won't be my Most Geekishly Anticipated Ever, even with the strong run that The Fountain is making at that title as we speak.

Hard to know what to think about Ledger. What kind of character is Joker going to be? I don't know that we really have any idea, but casting Ledger signals a move away from a Nicholson-type character, which is fine by me. So I'm happy for now.

11/07/2006 11:24:00 AM  

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