E: Ah, November. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Would-be blockbusters and Oscar-wannabes flood the theaters. Goodbye, schlocky horror flicks; hello, quality. It’s like May, but with brains.
M: But less explosions. And yes, that’s a bad thing.
M: I had tickets to the sneak preview of this, but couldn’t go because the showing was at 10am on a Saturday morning. Seriously, who schedules a sneak preview for 10am on a Saturday!?! Everyone I know, including E, couldn’t go because of kids’ events. As for the movie itself, it looks amusing to me, and I may try to get my kids to it at some point.
E: Though soccer games prevented us, we do want to check this out. The super-villain who has to save the world when his nemesis has some sort of emotional crisis? That’s a cute idea. Not to mention the vocal stylings of Tina Fey, Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt doing his best George Clooney impression. And hey, don’t feel too bad about the free preview. The price of city parking practically negates the value of the tickets, especially for a matinee.
M: Update! Another sneak preview was added, and this time I’m going. Review will be up following.
M: And further update… didn’t make it to the preview. Again.
E: It’s back to the 80s Friday night at the movies – The Sure Thing with a baby instead of sex at the end of the cross country trip. I can’t get over the implausible premise. Is it possible that RDJ doesn’t have a credit card? I can’t imagine a believable scenario in which he can’t afford a plane ride home.
C: Why is Robert Downey Jr. in this movie? You can’t tell me he doesn’t have his pick of more great projects than you could shake a stick at. And he chooses – this?
E: It’s totally confounding. (Or confunding.)
M: Except that this is rumored to be hilarious, which makes it less confounding, confunding, or confiscatory, or anything else that starts with conf-.
C: You’re not gonna convince me. I find that bearded guy annoying rather than funny. Why are men so into watching movies about men who act like children?
E: Danny Boyle’s follow up to Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire, this story seems likely to put James Franco on the map. And amongst the Best Actor nominees. The riveting tale of a mountain climber who – after being trapped for those 127 – cuts his own arm off to save his life. I’m almost certain to see it, but the idea makes me super squeamish.
M: This is based on a true story, right? I’m not sure I’m up for a movie that I know ends with someone having to cut their own arm off with a pocket knife to save their own life. Ugh.
C: Yeah. No thanks. And wait, isn’t James Franco on the map? I mean, most people are aware the dude exists by now. He’s just lucky the Oscar circuit won’t conflict with seminar paper time.
E: Maybe I just mean Oscar’s map. Granted that the young guys never win for leading roles, he seems like a lock for a nomination. Or maybe I mean in the sense of becoming a headliner who can open a movie? The subject matter may seems like a tough sell, but critics and festival audiences have swooned.
E: The story of Valerie Plame, which will at least start in limited release. Staring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn (and, for fans of Modern Family, Ty Burrell – being serious, instead of just pretending to be serious).
M: Well, at least with Sean Penn involved we know this will be completely unbiased!
E: Yawn. (That’s for your politics, M. Not the movie.)
M: Oh, for MY politics? They have blatant lies in the promotional blurb for the movie, never mind what the movie itself is going to try to convince, and it’s my politics that are upsetting you? Seriously, though, this has JFK written all over it. Dull movie that presents one biased point of view as if it is fact in an attempt to convince an audience, rather than to entertain. Blech.
C: Hey, you don’t hear anyone complaining when biopics of historical figures, like the egregious Becoming Jane, make up a bunch of wild lies and pass them off as fact. Oh wait. You do hear me complaining…
E: I’m going to put in a word for this documentary about New York governor’s Elliot Spitzer’s downfall. It’s good to know the the documentaries are out there, but mostly, I’m interested in this story because one of my closest friends worked in NYC and had him pegged as a hypocrite back when he was Attorney General. Well, that and watching The Good Wife makes me more interested in hearing why people who have it all throw it all away.
E: Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton as warring hosts of a morning talk show. Rachel McAdams and Little Children‘s Patrick Wilson (looking frighteningly like Will Arnett in the promos) star as producers? Or at least, she’s a producer and he’s – eye candy? I don’t know. Perhaps the weirdest thing to me is that J.J. Abrams is involved in making it.
C: Previews for this movie have left me without the smallest idea of what it’s about, or even what genre it belongs in.
E: I believe it’s aiming for grown up screwball romantic comedy, a la It’s Complicated or Something’s Gotta Give. I have to tell you, though: the commercial that claims “in every life, there’s that first top job”? Whoever wrote that line needs a reality check. Is this PR for the recession?
M: Yeah, something tells me that’s not going to sell a lot of tickets to coal miners, union auto workers and so on.
C: Or professional teachers, or any number of other no-glory careers…
E: Denzel Washington and Chris Pine on a runaway train. Didn’t Denzel just make a train movie? Or, hmm, was it the sub? Or am I just thinking of Speed? Either way, the commercials look moderately compelling. And a lot of things go smash, which ought to make M happy.
M: Not surprisingly, I like the look of this. I do have to say, though, I’ve kind of lost track of what Denzel “just” did, which makes me profoundly unhappy. I remember when a Denzel movie was like an Arnold movie, a must see. Now there’s been a slew of not bad, but forgettable movies, like Man on Fire. Sad times.
E: Cute looking indie about the “post-collegiate haze,” families, and useless romantic entanglements. Among the unknowns in the cast are the writer’s mother and sister. It’s made through IFC, which means I’ll have a reason to watch that channel in 2011.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
E: I could hardly be more excited to see this film! I’m desperate for it to be one of the good ones. Aren’t you glad they decided to wait on the 3D when it didn’t look like they could do the whole film well enough?
M: Since I have yet to see Avatar, and thus have yet to see a 3D film that the 3D worked well for, let alone improved – yes. And am very excited, and this may be the first one that any of my kids see in the theater. Maybe.
C: So! Excited! So so exited! But M, aren’t the kids a bit young yet? This movie looks amazing, but it also looks seriously dark.
E: I agree about the darkness (and yes, I know my wonderful niece has read the book, but still, the movie is going to be pretty alarming). In case you were wondering, How To Train Your Dragon was a fantastic movie that the 3D enhanced, so there’s at least the two.
M: Yeah, the darkness and intensity are why I said it “may be” the first. The 10-year-old has watched all the movies, including Fortress of Snogitude… I mean Half Blood Prince, and is insanely excited for this, so we’ll see.
E: We’re all on board for the insanity part, anyway.
The Next Three Days
E: I remember when I had to see every movie Russell Crowe was in.
M: Much like with Denzel above, yes. However, I think this looks like it could be good. Looks like an interesting concept (especially after the Castle episode with the prison break), and has Russell Crowe and Liam Neeson. What’s your issue with it?
E: My issue is mostly that I’d never heard of it. I was going to say that Russell Crowe hasn’t made a good movie in a long time, but there was State of Play, so I suppose it’s more that his record is inconsistent. I did just see a commercial for it, and it looks like it could be compelling.
M: You’re coming around already. Nice.
E: Chuck‘s Zachary Levi voices the male lead, the dashing thief Flynn Ryder. Mandy Moore is the heroine, Rapunzel, with seemingly prehensile hair. It’s the BEST. DAY. EVER. This is the other movie I know I will see in the month of November. My three-year-old cannot wait.
C: I can’t wait either. I always enjoy Disney’s fairy tale films, and even if this isn’t hand-drawn (my preference), the voice of Chuck Bartowski guarantees my attendance! And Chuck as a charming thief a la Neil Caffrey? Be still my heart.
M: Just saw the “sneak peek” during Chuck, and it looks like it could be a lot of fun. Huzzah!
Love and Other Drugs
E: Jake Gyllenhaal hawks “male enhancement” drugs and romances Anne Hathaway. It’s all a little odder since she played his beard (er, wife) in Brokeback Mountain. Somehow this is supposed to figure into the Oscar race. Not the most obvious subject matter, anyway.
M: Sounds like a weird version of Thank You For Smoking.
E: Only with the cigarettes standing in for – something else. If it’s anywhere near as smart and funny as Thank You For Smoking, it’s going to be quite a good movie. The commercials look kind of interesting, anyway.
E: Teenagers hold off Russian and Chinese invasion forces. Was this a good movie when they made it during the actual Cold War? And who decided we needed a remake?
C: Having recently seen the original for the first time, I can safely say: no, it wasn’t good in 1984, and I can’t imagine it’ll be any better today. Unsurprisingly, though, the fantasy of an invading Commie army fought off by kids from the football team (“Wolveriiiiines!”) seems to have struck a chord with a lot of boys, who now look back on the film fondly. Maybe that will happen again?
M: Can you believe I’ve still never seen the original (which was the first movie ever to get a PG-13 rating, by the way)? As for making a remake, now seems like a really odd time.
E: I’ve never seen the original, either. I guess I can see how it could be the ultimate in “go team” drama?
E: Seriously, Kristen Bell, what are you doing in this movie? I’m fascinated, in a rather sick way. I don’t know why I can’t remember the name of the So You Think You Can Dance auditioner who turned down a role in last fall’s top twenty so she could take part in this Christina Aguilera/Cher vehicle. Good decision? I guess we’ll know soon enough.
The King’s Speech
E: I cannot wait to see this movie. I love November! This might just be the movie of the year. There’s universal praise for Colin Firth’s turn as King George – not the mad one from the American Revolution, but the father of the current queen, a mostly regular guy whose brother decided he’d rather be married to a divorcee than be king. So his younger brother must overcome a debilitating stutter to inspire the nation in time for World War 2! This is a serious contender, not just to be nominated for best actor and best picture, but to win them both. I might see this in December, but I am totally seeing it, and I can’t wait.
C: It does look really good. Supported by Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth seems to be in top form.
E: Yay, Colin Firth! You were robbed for A Single Man – maybe this year you’ll have better luck. And either way, congrats on (apparently) turning out another brilliant performance.