Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Movie Preview, Part 4

[Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3]

Movie: Your Highness (David Gordon Green)
High-Concept Synopsis: Some kind of pot-fueled medieval fantasy wherein Danny McBride and James Franco play knights who join with warrior princess Natalie Portman to rescue Zooey Deschanel from evil wizard Justin Theroux. From the director of All the Real Girls and George Washington, of course.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who enjoyed Franco and McBride's stoner antics in Pineapple Express, the true DGG predecessor to this movie. People who feel like stoner comedy is totally applicable to any historical era or film genre. People lured closer by the luxuriousness of James Franco's hair in the footage we've seen so far.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who really, really, really don't care for Danny McBride. People who, after the Oscars, have soured on James Franco and Natalie Portman. People who can probably enjoy some skillfully deployed weed humor but jump off the bus when it gets to the purple hookah-smoking muppet guy.
Why I'd See It: Look, the Franco- and Portman-haters can suck it, but neither one of them is going to get me to see this movie. I liked Pineapple Express just fine, but I sit well outside the Danny McBride sphere of influence, and this all just looks mind-blowingly indulgent in all the worst ways. April 8

Movie: Hanna (Joe Wright)
High-Concept Synopsis: Erica Bana raises Saoirse Ronan among wolves in the hinterlands, training her to be an assassin. When he sends her on a collision course with badass, mom-haired CIA agent Cate Blanchett, shit gets real.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People riding the "deadly little girl" trend in cinema. People who thought Wright and Ronan did great stuff together in Atonement. People drawn in by the awesome-sounding Chemical Brothers score, featured in the trailer.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences who are dubious that Wright's costumey, English style can't adapt to something so adventurous and violent. People made nervous by what the trailer suggests is a healthy chunk of the movie where Hanna isn't killing anyone. People intimidated by that helmet of hair Blanchett is sporting, because: seriously.
Why I'd See It: I know a lot of people look down on Atonement, but I loved it, and since I didn't see The Soloist, I can say that I have full confidence in Joe Wright. Also, the trailer looks INSANE. Intense, exciting drama with a splash of over-the-top ridiculousness? I am in. April 8

Movie: Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichart)
High-Concept Synopsis: 1800s pioneers on the road to Oregon (including Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and Shirley Henderson) get hopelessly, dangerously lost, leading to a struggle for control with their dubiously trustworthy guide (Bruce Greenwood). Much, much, much walking ensues.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Audiences eager to see if all that insanely positive festival buzz holds up. People who aren't afraid of some seriously quiet filmmaking. People who loved the last Reichart/Williams pairing, 2008's Wendy and Lucy.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who look for a little more action in their Westerns. People who aren't down for another round of low-intensity Reichart drama. People who enjoy Michelle Williams best when she's coping with terribly ill-advised marriages.
Why I'd See It: Actually, I already have, at last October's New York Film Festival. And I'm dying to talk about it, so see it when it opens! Especially if you enjoyed Wendy & Lucy and already know what Reichart and Williams can do together. April 8

Movie: Arthur (Jason Winer)
High-Concept Synopsis: Remake of the classic "rich drunk asks us to feel sorry for him and hope he finds love" film from the '80s. Dudley Moore is now Russell Brand. John Gielgud is Helen Mirren. Liza Minelli is Greta Gerwig. Jennifer Garner is demeaned in ways I don't want to talk about.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who fall on the non-allergic side of the Russell Brand spectrum. People who enjoy Helen Mirren being better than her surroundings. People who are caught between the moon and New York City and thus don't have much better to do.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who would rather stare at Dudley Moore's booze-preserved corpse for two hours than experience this much of Russell Brand doing his Russell Brand thing for this much time. People who might normally see a movie with Greta Gerwig as the main love interest but wouldn't know she's even in the movie from the marketing. Liza Minelli fans, who are somewhat mistrustful of new things anyway.
Why I'd See It: It would take a whole lot. Like getting paid to review it or something I love Gerwig and Garner and Mirren, but that would actually make me even more depressed. April 8

Movie: Ceremony (Max Winkler)
High-Concept Synopsis: I just watched the trailer again to make sure this is what it's about so just go with me: Michael Angarano (the kid from Almost Famous and Will & Grace and Snow Angels) is in love with Uma Thurman and is trying to break up her wedding to an adorably over-the-top Lee Pace. This is apparently treated like a legitimate love triangle.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Anybody who sees said trailer and either a) kind of needs to see how this all plays out or b) cannot resist the siren call of how awesome Lee Pace looks. People hoping that Uma Thurman can find a hit again. Anybody who wants to see the wonderful Jake Johnson in another featured supporting performance (he was so great in No Strings Attached -- yes there were things that were great about No Strings Attached!).
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who decidedly can't get past the idea of Thurman and Angarano as a credible couple. People who are tired of the hyper-literate, wise-beyond-his-years boy protagonist character. People who aren't buying that a fun, winning comedy is going to come from Fonzie's son.
Why I'd See It: Yes, I'm weirded out too. But I like all three principals, and as romantic comedies go, this looks like it could be singular enough to hold my interest. And seriously, Lee Pace looks hilarious. April 8

Movie: Scream 4 (Wes Craven)
High-Concept Synopsis: Ten years later (in on-screen time, at least), Ghostface is back killing hyper-self-aware teens and the adults who used to be them: Sydney, Gale, and Dewey are back, and if none of them are either killed or revealed to be the killer, I'ma be pissed. Holding up the cast for a new generation of ticket-buyers: Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Aimee Teegarden, and Rory Culkin. Onboard for my own appreciation: Adam Brody, Alison Brie, Kristen Bell, and Mary McDonnell.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the original trilogy, which spawned some awful copycats but were honestly remarkable in their own right. Fans of the something-for-everyone cast full of photogenic victims. People hoping to catch some Cox/Arquette divorce awkwardness on screen.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Anybody who's seen a Wes Craven movie lately. Folks who were justifiably put off by the lame, lame, LAME Scream 3. Party of Five fans pissed that this is the beloved '90s project Neve Campbell has chosen to revive.
Why I'd See It: I'm right there with everybody who hated Scream 3, but the self-awareness and general horror formula of the franchise means there's no way that taking another crack at the Scream universe won't yield better dividends. I really hope Wes Craven is taking this seriously, though. April 15

Movie: The Conspirator (Robert Redford)
High-Concept Synopsis: Robin Wright plays the only woman charged with conspiracy in the Lincoln assassination. James McAvoy is her lawyer.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of alternative takes -- or at least road-less-traveled takes -- on famous moments in history. People who respond to the unexpectedly positive buzz the film got in Toronto last fall. Folks who like a movie with a great supporting cast (Tom Wilkinson! Kevin Kline! Jonathan Groff! Stephen Root!).
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Lincoln enthusiasts sickened that an accessory to their hero's murder is being glamorized. American history buffs irate that so many filthy Scots and Brits are reenacting our stories. Folks who are turned off by any of the more polarizing members of the supporting cast (Evan Rachel Wood! Alexis Bledel! Danny Huston! Justin Long!).
Why I'd See It: This is basically history-as-courtroom-drama, which isn't a dealbreaker but which does give me Amistad fears. That said, the cast is really great (even if it's going to take some doing to make Alexis Bledel, Justin Long, and Jonathan Groff read 1860s), and I hear it's a solid movie. April 15

Movie: Water for Elephants (Francis Lawrence)
High-Concept Synopsis: Robert Pattinson plays a Depression-era circus hand who gets swept up in the show both under the tent and outside it -- i.e. he gets involved with the wife (Reese Witherspoon) of the head honcho (Christoph Waltz). Hal Holbrook, Paul Schnieder, and James Frain co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Twi-hards desperate as ever for their Edward fix. People who have been looking for an excuse to enjoy Robert Pattinson's charms without having to lower themselves to actually watching a Twilight movie. People who made the source novel a best-seller (I'm thinking the same people who made Memoirs of a Geisha a best-seller?).
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who wish Reese Witherspoon would quit setting herself up for failure like this and who only want the best for her at all times! People who aren't quite into whimsical situations being thrust upon the Great Depression. People who can't seem to trust this delicate romance to the director of I Am Legend.
Why I'd See It: I'll admit, the instant I saw that first trailer, I thought that not only did this look excruciating, but that it would be absolutely roasted by critics and audiences alike. Which is too bad, because you know I love Reese, I like the rest of the cast, and I even have a soft sport for Francis Lawrence because of Constantine. But that trailer ... yeesh. Since then, I've heard some genuine enthusiasm for the movie, so maybe I'm just being too pessimistic? April 22

Movie: Prom (Joe Nussbaum)
High-Concept Synopsis: It's prom.
Who Will Be Seeing It: If the phrase "Let's go see a movie called 'Prom'" appeals to you, then: you. Fans of Friday Night Lights' own Aimee Teegarden. Fans of the wonderful Shameless star Cameron Monaghan.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Anybody who broke out in hives at the mere thought of a movie about prom that doesn't also involve bloody ax murders. People who were never asked to prom (let's be honest). People who were somehow unimpressed by Nussbaum's directorial work on American Pie: The Naked Mile.
Why I'd See It: You know, I thought it looked supremely stupid when I saw the trailer. But you know, who am I kidding? The second this thing crosses my path on HBO, I will be watching this shit. April 29

Movie: Fast Five (Justin Lin)
High-Concept Synopsis: Vin Deisel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and everybody else who was in a Fast & the Furious movie over this last decade of dumb movies get together for One! Last! Job! The Rock is on hand to play the heavy.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Who's been seeing the rest of 'em? Gearheads and their cowed girlfriends? Paul Walker's desperate publicists? A bitterly jealous Dominic Sena?
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Everybody you know. A bitter Michelle Rodriguez for being killed off in the last one. Concerned citizens for driving at safe speeds.
Why I'd See It: I mean, look: I want Paul Walker to have a career comeback as much as anyone. But I think I want him to hit rock-bottom first so he is then forced to take a series of ever more sexually experimental roles in order to get back in the game. So this one needs to bomb. April 29


RJ said...

I'm hesitant to see Fast Five, b/c the last one was SOOOO boring. Like, all I wanted was fast cars and shirtless Paul Walker sexing up Jordana Brewster. All I got was a lot of talking, Paul Walker in baggy T-Shirts, and some sort of cock teasing on a kitchen counter while Jordana Brewster was wearing a cardigan.

Roommate Mark said...

Water for Elephants is a fantastic book... I liked it so much, in fact, that I guess I'm blind to whatever it is that people don't like about the trailer for the movie. Because to me... it looks great. But maybe that's because I know what else the story holds? That it's not just a dippy romance? And maybe that means I'll be disappointed when the movie ends up reduced to a dippy romance? Maybe.

jessica said...

Wait, there are no bloody ax murderers in Prom?? What kind of bullshit is that?!

I actually saw a free screening of Arthur earlier this week and ... I laughed. I have little tolerance for Russell Brand, but, despite his voice being some elaborate practical joke (as always), I found him more likeable and engaging than he usually is.