Monday, September 08, 2008

2008 Fall Movie Preview, Part 1

Let's see if I can get these in before the snow starts falling, huh?

Movie: The Women (Diane English)
High-Concept Synopsis: In a remake of the 1939 catty classic, Meg Ryan plays a cheated-on wife whose friends, led by Annette Bening, stand by her/talk about her behind her back. The all-star cast of mid-level vadge-havers includes Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, and Jada Pinkett-Xenu.
Who Will Be Seeing It: That Sex and the City audience I keep hearing about; you know the one, with all the...what are they called...women? But don't forget the gay men! Picturehouse is hoping the loss of Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford will be offset by Candice Bergen, Cloris Leachman, Carrie Fisher, and Bette Midler.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Not to be a part of the problem or anything, but: men. Also anyone who saw and was emotionally scarred by the dictionary-definition-of-shrill trailer. And of course those turned off by the PG-13 rating for, among other things, "brief smoking," aka, people I never, ever want to meet in my whole life.
Why I'd See It: Look, I talk a big game, but I very rarely back it up. If someone asks me to go see this movie -- a movie that, at worst, will be fodder for an indignant blog post -- I will probably go. But it's getting really difficult to find a good reason. September 12

Movie: Burn After Reading (The Coen Brothers)
High-Concept Synopsis: The usual Coens farce, this time with sensitive CIA information falling into the hands of gym enthusiasts Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand. The supporting cast of also-rans includes George Clooney, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, and JK Simmons.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Anyone who has seen the delightful trailers, I assure you. People who liked the ordinary-joes-in extraordinary-circumstances hook of The Big Lebowski but have since traded in their bongs for gym memberships. CIA trainees, who should be shown this movie so as to know how NOT to handle sensitive information.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Coens fans disappointed they're not sticking with the inscrutable serial killer genre. Fans of John Turturro, John Goodman, and other Coens regulars who got the shaft in favor of all these big movie stars. Bibliophiles, who are surprisingly humorless about the prospect of burning what you read.
Why I'd See It: This is probably my most anticipated movie of September. The trailer looks superb -- funny and chock full of actors I love having a good time. Brad Pitt will run on the treadmill of my dreams for quite some time. September 12

Movie: Towelhead (Alan Ball)
High-Concept Synopsis: Young Lebanese-American girl (Summer Bishil) comes of age in the same suburban hell we've been watching onscreen for a decade now. Aaron Eckhart, Toni Collette, and Maria Bello co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Ball's American Beauty, a movie he seems to be borrowing heavily from. Fans of Ball's Six Feet Under, a series he'll hopefully borrow more heavily from. Fans of Toni Collette, who appears to be on and popping in the trailer.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who hated the smirking glibness of American Beauty. People who hated the soul-killing bleakness of Six Feet Under. Aaron Eckhart fans, who would prefer to remember him casually brushing a hunk of flesh off of his scarred face rather than creeping on a teenage girl.
Why I'd See It: I'm ambivalent about what I've seen in the trailer -- and about Ball in general. Maybe by the time this opens I'll have been won over by his new HBO series, True Blood. September 12

Movie: Righteous Kill (Jon Avnet)
High-Concept Synopsis: Two old-ass cops (Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino) do their NYPD thing, blah-blah, standard cop drama.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Audiences who think it's 1979. Or even 1991. Or whenever was the last time DeNiro and Pacino were still making interesting movies.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who can read a movie poster and realize it's not directed by Martin Scorsese but by Avnet, who, Fried Green Tomatoes notwithstanding, hasn't made a movie you'd ever admit to watching on purpose. Audiences not fooled by the Rolling Stones song in the trailer either. The seven combined people who saw 88 Minutes or City By the Sea or any of the other tired attempts to re-ignite the burner on either DeNiro's or Pacino's careers.
Why I'd See It: Ugh. I don't mean to hate on DeNiro and Pacino, but this seems so derivative and clichéd. Not even 50 Cent's presence is enough to get me interested. September 12

Movie: Appaloosa (Ed Harris)
High-Concept Synopsis: It's a western, so stop me if you've heard this before: "Two hired guns (Viggo Mortenson and Ed Harris) come to clean up a dangerous town run by a ruthless, powerful rancher (Jeremy Irons) and his band of outlaws." Sure, but it also has Renee Zellweger!
Who Will Be Seeing It: That very specific brand of straight-guy film geek who blows a load every time a western comes clomping down a dusty thoroughfare. Viggo Mortenson fans, who possess a similar kind of enthusiasm. People who've been waiting a long time for Harris to follow up his directorial debut, Pollack.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Pussies. People who are disappointed that Harris didn't continue the trend of making movies whose titles can double as ethnic slurs. Huge pussies.
Why I'd See It: Oh, the western. The manliest of all genres. Yet they're all crying on the inside, aren't they? Anyway, I really loved Pollack, so I definitely want to see what Harris does with a second film. And I like Viggo just fine, even though that assessment would get me tarred and feathered in the more Viggo-riffic circles. September 17

Movie: Lakeview Terrace (Neil LaBute)
High-Concept Synopsis: Interracial couple (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) run afoul of their racist next-door neighbor/cop...who's black. So much so that he's played by Samuel L. Jackson!
Who Will Be Seeing It: Audiences looking for an excuse to stare at Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington for two hours. Audiences looking to see Jackson give that pretty-boy Wilson the hell-ride of his life. Disgruntled neighbors looking for tips on better and more effective harassment.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Fans of LaBute's famed misanthropic edge who have realized by now that he's begun to manifest that hatred for humanity mostly by making crappy movies.
Why I'd See It: It seemed like a much more promising film before I started to see the footage. Still, Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington are two favorites of mine, so who knows? September 19

Movie: The Duchess (Saul Dibb)
High-Concept Synopsis: Kiera Knightley plays the Duchess of Devonshire as a hard-partying trail-blazer who, nevertheless, can't seem to make it happen with her husband (Ralph Feinnes). Hot pieces Dominic Cooper and Hayley Atwell co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of tarted-up costume dramas. Lingering Princess Diana fanatics, who know that Knightley's character was a direct ancestor of Diana's. History dorks eager to support any movie that might glorify an early leader of the Whig Party.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Marie Antoinette fans disgruntled because their movie thought up this aristocrat-as-party-girl concept first. The weirdly prominent anti-Knightley community. History dorks who will do what they always do: nitpick factual inaccuracies and stay home with their James K. Polk biographies.
Why I'd See It: Sexy, fun times with Kiera Knightley and Dominic Cooper? I'm down. September 19

Movie: Blindness (Fernando Meirelles)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jose Saramago's Nobel Prize-winning novel about the world plunged into a near-total epidemic of white blindness. Only Julianne Moore retains her ability to see how crappy the world becomes. Mark Ruffalo and Gael Garcia Bernal co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the book, which is a stylistic challenge but pretty rewarding for a book with so much rape and poop. Fans of Meirelles's previous awards-getting efforts, City of God and The Constant Gardener. Minimalists, for whom all the white will be intoxicating.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People looking for a fun time on a Saturday night. Makeup artists horrified by images of Julianne Moore's unpainted face. Folks scared off by the movie's tepid reception at Cannes.
Why I'd See It: The book's great, but filming it will be a challenge. Luckily, Meirelles is a director I think could be up for it. September 26

Movie: Eagle Eye (D. J. Caruso)
High-Concept Synopsis: Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan get terrorized/instructed by anonymous phone calls. Cops chase them. Crap blows up. Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson, and Ethan Embry co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Under-16 audiences who saw Caruso's Disturbia and loved it. The ever-growing fandom of Dear Shia. Bush administration officials who are anticipating this someone-sinister-is-always-watching story as the feel-good hit of the fall.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Over-16 audiences who saw Caruso's Disturbia and resented its Hitchcockian pretensions and overall inanity. The ever-growing legion of Shia LaBeouf haters. Six really fired-up fans of Eagle-Eye Cherry (think of 1998...yeah, him) who were expecting a bio-pic.
Why I'd See It: The first trailer looked pretty stupid, but the second one made it look like this could be a fun popcorn movie. I do like Michelle Monaghan and Rosario Dawson. September 26


Sarah D. Bunting said...

Save tonight! Fight the break of dawn!

Val said...

Quick note about The Women: Did you at all think it was funny (read: preposterous) that you are expected to sympathize with poor, betrayed Meg Ryan and root for her after her husband cheats on her given that in real life she...kind of did exactly that to Dennis Quaid? Like, isn't that sort of hamstringing yourself there, Meg?

And thanks Sars, now I'll have that in my head all day, dang it!

Joe Reid said...

That's a good point; I was more concerned with the preposterousness of Annette Bening's "This is my face, deal with it," a line whose slam-dunk intentions are somewhat undercut by both the botox in her own mug as well as the presence of Meg Ryan's pontoon lips right next to her.

Sandman said...

I think I read somewhere that TCM is running The Women on September 12. I'll be watching. If the remake makes people go back to the original, that's good, right?

But, yeah; the preview for the "Brought to you by the makers of BoTox Cosmetic" version was pretty darned shrill.

jessica said...

Ah, Eagle Eye, brother of Neneh. Someone should write a VH1 Where Are They Now episode STAT.

JS said...

I'd watch Appaloosa if only they had cast Zellweger as the ruthless rancher.

(Dang I suddenly miss PopUlar after imagining Cherry Cherry play the ruthless rancher. No stretch of the imagination required!)

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why they're remaking The Women; I do kind of love the 1939 version, but it relied on the idea that women's lives were totally segregated from men's, so you had all these women's spaces where no men would be, like department stores and powder rooms and whatever. You know, the stuff ladies did while men were at work. It's pretty retrograde as a concept in 2008.

Also, the whole thing looks completely unappealing in every way, so that might also be a problem.

Kamikaze Camel said...

"Not even 50 Cent's presence is enough to get me interested."

Wouldn't the presence of such an untalented git make you even less interested? Say what you will about Pacino and DeNiro's many many many poor film choices lately, but 50 Cent? Yikes.

"History dorks who will do what they always do: nitpick factual inaccuracies and stay home with their James K. Polk biographies."


Joe Reid said...

Sarcasm, my friend.

Linda said...

I just want to say: The Women is completely horrible. Do not let yourself be dragged to it. You'd be better off staying home and watching whatever pours out of your television when you turn it on and press random buttons.