With apologies for the late date. At least there are still three weekends left in October! Here’s what to expect in the mulitplex (or art house) near you in the coming weeks.
The Social Network
E: Want to hear a few quotes about The Social Network? You will only like it, warns The Boston Globe, if you can “appreciate a story in which the main character is so pathologically unsocialized yet so commanding.” Ty Burr continues “Like [director] Fincher’s Zodiac, The Social Network sprawls with characters, almost all of them male, deluded, entitled, and craving what the others have got. If you don’t see the comedy here, you’ll probably think you’re watching a horror movie.” Entertainment Weekly calls it at the same time “fall’s coolest movie” and “a film about greed, backstabbing, and hate.” Their critic Owen Glieberman goes on to say that “The Social Network has everything you want in a thriller for the brain: huge doses of ego and duplicity, corporate backstabbing, and some very layered performances.” Dudes, this is praise? This is supposed to inspire me to see the movie? I won’t even get into the fact that there are no women in it. I love screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, but the thought of this film makes me want to run screaming in horror.
C: Also, it’s about Facebook. Which takes up enough of most people’s day already…
M: And it’s just not that interesting an idea. I mean, do we really care about who founded Facebook and what back stabbing and conniving was involved? To me this kind of thing works much better as a comic subplot, like with Seth Green and Napster in The Italian Job.
E: I usually don’t write about other people’s reviews, but I felt the need to illustrate just what has my skin crawling about this flick. I have this sinking, rotten feeling I’m going to have to see this movie because it’ll be nominated for a bunch of Oscars. With ten nominees in the Best Picture race, and considering the fall release and the glowing reviews, it’s got a really good shot. That totally pisses me off.
Let Me In
E: I saw the Swedish child vampire movie, Let the Right One In, on which this new release is based….
M: Of course you did.
E: I have to warn you all here, neither the original or this English language remake is a pretty tween vamp sort of story. It’s not Twilight or The Vampire Diaries. It was a brilliant film, though. I understand this one is good, and very well acted by Kick-Ass‘s Chloe Grace Moretz, The Road‘s Kodi Smit-McPhee and Richard Jenkins (love Richard Jenkins!). Was it necessary to make? Probably not. Still, if you like smart, creepy horror movies, or vampires with actual teeth, this should be right up your alley.
M: Was it necessary? Studios do need to have somewhere in the vicinity of 50 crappy horror/slasher movies to foist upon us every October, so maybe they did need to.
E: Now that’s true enough. If you’re looking for a horror movie that’s actually, you know, good, this is it!
E: I totally want to read this book. I would rather do that than see the movie.
E: Love Ewan McGregor, like Renee Zellweger, hate horror movies.
C: Those two are in another movie together? What’s this, the third? Kind of impressive that they’re such wildly different genres.
E: They sure like to work together, don’t they? Looks like it’s been floating around in distribution limbo for quite some time.
M: Ahh, but October is here! All crappy horror movies come out to play!
E: Woot! I’m really excited to see this. And not just because Diane Lane and John Malkovich are awesome. Nope. It’s cause I love the horse.
M: To let people know, as a family we are going to be partial to movies like this and Seabiscut (which was tremendous, by the way). You see, our dad, for much of our lives, was a horse trainer.
E: And when he wasn’t training, he was raising them, running a related union, or buying horses for other people. I’m pretty sure he knows some of the people that we’ll see in the movie.
M: That said, even if you’re not into horse racing, this looks to be a fantastic film. Great cast, great story.
E: Yep. Wonder if we can get Dad to see it with us?
Life As We Know It
E: I might rent this. I like that Josh Duhamel and Katherine Heigl are friends in real life, as are their musician spouses, and that it was his wife Fergie who insisted they make a movie together. Katherine Heigl tends to make insipid romantic comedies, though.
C: Yeah she does, and this looks as utterly predictable as all the rest have been. Why are romantic comedies so BAD these days?
M: This looks like one where, if you get stuck watching it, and go in with low enough expectations, it might actually surprise you and entertain. However, I’m with C, where are the good romcoms?
E: Love the Beatles, don’t always love Beatles movies. Maybe this John Lennon-focused tale will be one of the good ones?
It’s a Wonderful Afterlife
E: I had to mention this because it stars Mohinder from Heroes (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and is reputed to be a marriage comedy/ghost story mashup. I don’t like zombies, but that sounds a bit funny. It’s in really limited release, so I’m not sure when or even if it might reach a theater near you.
M: I have to say, the name is clever, and kind of makes me hope it’s good.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
C: This looks like one of those sort of indie, sort of formulaic, off-beat-but-not-too-much-so movies that leave me underwhelmed. Zach Galifianakis seems to be playing your standard Inspirational Lunatic, while Keir Gilchrist is playing Michael Cera. Presence of Lauren Graham as the mom increases my interest only one iota.
E: This is based on a graphic novel, which was based on the Thomas Hardy novel Far From the Maddening Crowd. Which, seriously? It stars Gemma Arterton of Prince of Persia, and seems to be very well reviewed. I rather like the look of this one. Blimey.
E: In case you wanted to pay ten bucks to see an explanation of the financial crisis in a movie theater. Not saying it might not be a great documentary. Just questioning the idea of a theatrical release.
C: Well, documentaries occasionally make some money, right? But I’d rather just rent Inside Man.
M: Or watch Inside Edition. Is that still on?
E: Is Bruce Willis elderly now? Either way, I think this is a kind of fun idea (retired secret agents banding together for self-preservation and mystery-solving) with a pretty great cast. Love the shots of Helen Mirren with a gun.
C: Okay, that last sentence got my attention!
E: Thought that might do the trick. Sounds like her costars were pretty smitten, too.
M: I saw the trailer for this a little while back, and I have to say, it looks like it’ll be a riot. GREAT cast, and a great idea. If done right, or course, but it looks like everyone involved has their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, so I’m in.
E: I have nothing to say.
M: Is it possible to say less than nothing?
E: Total Oscar bait. Clint Eastwood tries his hand at a Babel-style ensemble drama, in which the lives of three unrelated people coping with life, loss, and terror attacks intertwine in surprising way. Matt Damon – re-teaming with the director who earned him his second career Oscar nod – plays a psychic who may actually be for real. I’m all over this one.
M: I would be, except for the disappointment of Invictus, which should have been tremendous. I’m interested, but skeptical because of that.
E: Did you even see Invictus? That was a good movie!
E: Hilary Swank seems to only make two kinds of movies; complete failures (The Affair of the Necklace, Amelia, Freedom Writers, The Core, The Next Karate Kid) or Oscar winning critical smashes (Boys Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby). Which kind is this? No clue yet. In this drama, based on a true story, she plays the sister of a man (Sam Rockwell) she believes to be unjustly imprisoned.
M: Come on, I heard The Next Karate Kid was terrific! And you forgot Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie, not the show. She was one of the dopey “friends”).
E: I didn’t say they were bad (I’m particularly fond of The Gift), just that they bombed. Well, actually, lots of them were bad.
C: That romcom she was in with Gerard “check out these abs” Butler didn’t bomb, did it? I don’t think that qualifies as stellar or a failure.
M: I don’t remember its existence…
E: …and I kind of think it did, actually. It was a critical bomb, though it wasn’t a complete failure financially, so I was counting it. Most of her “failure” flicks are both kinds of bombs, so I guess that was a half step up.
Samson and Delilah
E: Drama about Australian aborigines. Supposed to be very good.
E: I only include this doc, not because I think we’ll even have a chance to see it, but because it’s the rare political subject that M and I agree on. We were actually discussing the topic just a few days ago, when the latest congressional seat projections were released.
M: And because it gives me an opportunity to give a shout out to my friend Heather, who’s a decedent of the man it’s named for (signer of the Declaration of Independence Elbridge Gerry), and taught me the proper pronunciation of the term, with a hard G like in “get”, not a soft G like in “gem”.
E: Good to know.
Paranormal Activity 2
C: Sequels to horror movies always seem strange to me, despite the long tradition. Surely if it’s horrific enough, there should be no going back? And who wants to see a new batch of folks killed by the same old ghostie or ghoulie anyway?
M: Have I mentioned what month it is? That’s right, I have.
The Company Men
E: Ben Affleck gets downsized. There’s a good cast here, including the always excellent Chris Cooper, as well as Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello and Craig T. Nelson. Unless it ends up with serious Oscar buzz, however, or the commercials look peppier than the premise sounds, I doubt I’m going to get a babysitter for it.
E: Halloween wouldn’t be complete without another addition to this torture porn series. All’s right with the world.
C: Now you can enjoy the sexed-up agony like you’re there!
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest
E: Mr. E wants to read the books before seeing these movies, something I generally agree with. These are long books, though, and he hasn’t started yet. I’ve read them, and I really want to see these movies, so it’s really hard to wait! Hopefully he’ll read them before the American version comes out.
M: I’ve read the first one, and while rather disturbing at times, it was quite good. I’ll be interested to see the American version of the movies.
E: What, you don’t think the Swedes can make a good series out of Swedish books? I know people who prefer those movies to the books, even. I liked the books a lot, and can’t wait to see both the Swedish and American versions.
E: Bill Nighy as an assassin? Tell me more, please.
M: Well, we know from Shaun of the Dead that he can play a cold blooded (ok zombie) killer.
E: And from your repeated reminders, we know it’s the right month for some killing! I’m a million times more interested in seeing Bill Nighy wield a gun than most of the other nightmares October’s laid out for us.
C: Except Helen Mirren!
M: That’s right. Helen Mirren with a gun gets my vote, too.
E: Okay, I can agree to that. Helen Mirren for the the win!