E: Yes, of course there are a lot of horror movies out in October. It is Halloween this month, after all. But there’s so much more – fun family fare, action thrillers, and some serious Oscar contenders.
C: In other words, this ain’t August, people.
E: M, you saw the first one of these, right? Are you looking forward to this installment? Liam Neeson’s back, and the thugs haven’t learned to give him a wide berth. This time they’re coming for his daughter and his wife.
M: Yes, I did, it was very entertaining. As for this one, I was hopeful, but cautious.
E: I love Liam Neeson, but he has quite a spotty record when it comes to picking his projects, and this one’s getting absolutely shredded by critics.
M: Yeah, it is getting horrible reviews and is only at 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, so I’m thinking I’ll pass.
E: Oh well. At least someone’s employing Maggie Grace.
C: Are we just blindly loyal to the whole cast of LOST then?
E: Wow, is there something wrong in being pleased when the poor girl gets a job every 3 years?
C: I just didn’t know why her, particularly.
M: I think C was mistaking you being excited for her with your irrational obsession with supporting anyone that ever appears on The Good Wife.
E: Ha ha. Back to the movie, I can’t help wondering how the whole “wife in jeopardy” plot works for a man who recently lost his wife. Perhaps it could be therapeutic? At least his character had an enemy he could fight.
E: Girls college a cappella? Well, I like a capella. And I like that the overweight character is so confident. This one might be a fun rental. (ducks)
C: What I would like is if an overweight character could appear in something that doesn’t make a deal about her weight.
M: Not shockingly, I’m with C here. I prefer something like Mike and Molly, not that I’m crazy about that show, but it stars two overweight people, but is just a show about their lives, not something about them being overweight. This movie just looks like exploitation, and utter crap. You couldn’t pay me to go to it.
E: I like Anna Camp and Anna Kendrick, anyway.
M: I’ll give you this, “camp” is certainly appropriate.
E: A Tim Burton family film! Stop motion animation! Frankenstein updated with animals! This looks like a big winner.
C: *shudder* I know this will be huge, and people will love it, but I just do not do well with detached body parts, sutures, bugs, decay, and all the other creepy paraphernalia of a Burton cartoon.
E: I was going to say that it bothers me, too, but I do have a much thicker skin than you on this topic. If it can in anyway live up to the standard set by The Nightmare Before Christmas, we’re all in for a treat.
M: *preparing to duck* I’ve still never watched it. *ducking*
E: Well, at least now I know what to get you for your birthday. I’m not joking.
M: I will leave this to you, I’ll be back when we get to the next weekend’s movies.
C: I recently read a review of this that described it as quiet and slow-paced, with more atmosphere than character development. So far, not so good in my book. But they also said it cuts out most of the second half of the book, which is promising.
E: While I’m mostly emphatically not a fan of this book, the newest movie version of this most tortured of love stories has garnered some pretty good reviews. They’re mostly of the “flawed but compelling” kind, but still. I don’t like my love stories this abusive, so even with good reviews and a sterling literary pedigree, I don’t plan on seeking this one out in the theater.
C: Notable here is that “dark” “gypsy” Heathcliff is played here by two actors (child and adult) who are actually black. One of those casting moves that immediately guarantees a lot of articles will be written about the movie, if nothing else.
An Affair of the Heart
E: This is a Rick Springfield concert movie, honest to goodness.
C: No way!
E: And not one made in 1984, either.
M: Is it 5 minutes long? Seriously, at this point would anyone watch anything other than “Jesse’s Girl”?
E: This horror movie boasts a most impressive cast – Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke, former presidential candidate and Senator Fred Dalton Thompson, and my favorite movie Thor Vincent D’Onofrio. There’s an interesting combination of the found footage and movie-comes-to-life horror tropes.
M: As much as I like your Adventures In Babysitting reference (D’Onofrio, for those who don’t know), and the cast, I’m just not a horror fan. I really don’t want a movie to scare me just for the purpose of scaring me. If it’s done as an accompaniment to a really good story, preferably a sci-fi one, that’s a different thing. But for no other reason than to scare people or gross them out? Ugh.
Here Comes the Boom
C: Ugh, the commercials for this have me leaping for the mute button every time.
E: Think of it as a comic version of last year’s Oscar nominated drama Warrior: high school teacher Kevin James turns to mixed martial arts prize fights to save the arts programs at his school, especially the music program run by Henry Winkler. It costars Greg Germann of Ally McBeal and Salma Hayek, no doubt playing the roles of jerk and James’s love interest.
M: I would love for this to be good, because Kevin James on top of his game is really funny. I’m skeptical, though, and wondering why Salma Hayek, with this and Grown Ups, is suddenly a Happy Madison-pack love interest.
E: It looks like a lowlight for everyone involved.
E: Without a doubt, this is the movie I’m most interested in this month and perhaps all fall. Ben Affleck stars in and directs this tale of a daring hostage rescue from Iran, a scheme like Oceans Eleven that relies on creativity and timing rather than firepower; his costars include Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman. Word from the festival circuit has been huge, as is the Oscar buzz.
C: These commercials, I will say, are compelling. I’m very, very interested.
M: Me too, soo, soo interested in this one! Though, E, I don’t think Ocean’s Eleven is the right comparison, it looks like there will be very little comedy in this.
E: I just meant in, for lack of a better term, the way it’s about a plan coming together.
M: And you know I love it when a plan comes together.
E: Oh yes I do, and you are not alone. The best thing about this movie? And no, it’s not the 70s hair, although I have to admit Ben Affleck’s look is growing on me. No, it’s that this is a true story. There’s something so incredibly appealing about a true story.
M: Or a movie at least based on one.
C: And this is a particularly filmic-sounding true story; it feels like all they have to do is not screw that up.
E: Tarantino-inspired romp from the director of gangster comedy In Bruges, this movie features Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Colin Farrell in some sort of crazy, cartoony fight to the death over a kidnapped dog and a screenplay. In other words, the title is probably pretty apt.
C: Martin McDonagh’s rather more than the director of In Bruges; he wrote both that and this, and has another career as an extremely famous Anglo-Irish playwright. His stuff is darkly comic — with an emphasis on the crazy crazy DARK — and it’s incredibly respected, and I can’t stand it. Yucko.
M: Not so for me. I won’t likely make this a trip out, but I could be persuaded to Redbox this in a few months.
E: I’m with C on this one. Not interested.
E: Two best friends – a straight woman and gay man – who’re unlucky in love decide to have a baby together. It’s a tiny indie movie with no recognizable cast and a cliched set up, but the trailer made me laugh out loud. More than once. The advanced word on this one is great.
C: At first glance I thought the title was a typo for Gatsby, and then guessed it might be Gay Gatsby, and was glad to make sense of the pun at last when I read your comment, E. It does sound awfully sitcommy, though.
E: Ha! C, I had the same thought about the title – that’s actually why I watched the trailer.
M: I thought that, too! I think the fact that the new movie of The Great Gatsby is being titled Gatsby, and is coming in the not too distant future, probably played into it significantly.
E: Diane Kruger’s a reporter about to be executed by the Taliban; Djimon Honsou is a soldier sent to bring her back.
C: Good pair of actors, that.
M: Yes indeed. Good concept, too.
E: But will it be a good movie? Now that’s the question. I’ll be looking for the reviews on this one for sure.
Paranormal Activities 4
E: Can this found footage series sustain a fourth entry and still get good reviews? Not that a horror movie ever needs them.
M: Did it sustain versions 2 and 3? Yuck.
E: I think it did, surprisingly enough.
E: Matthew Fox and Edward Burns (brothers in blandness?) join Tyler Perry in this mystery based on the James Patterson character so ably played by Morgan Freeman in the past. Here’s the big question: can Perry, whose bread and butter is broad comedy, stack up well enough against Freeman?
C: I can’t imagine the portrayals will have much in common!
M: I can’t stand the whole Madea series, but I think Perry shouldn’t be underestimated. I actually think he can pull it off.
E: Documentary about I.S. 318, a public school in NYC where 65% of the students live in poverty.
M: Sounds… um… entertaining?
E: In case nothing else this month has depressed or frightened you sufficiently, check out this documentary on digital culture and the sexualization of tweens.
M: No thank you.
E: This movie will either be brilliant or dreadful. Starring Oscar winners Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent as well as Jim Sturgess and Hugo Weaving, the trailer piles one astounding image after another. But will all the pieces – clearly strewn through the past and an imagined future – hang together?
M: In concept it’s reminding me a lot of The Fountain, which wasn’t able to.
C: I know the book this is based on was really well received, but I know nothing about the story and the trailer (and title) don’t really help on that front. It’s an impressive-looking swirl of confusion, though.
E: It’s visually stunning, that’s for certain.
M: After The Matrix, and the poor reviews it got because of a “weak, confusing plot,” I tend to give some leeway to the Wachowskis.
E: I did before Matrix Revolutions, anyway.
M: I don’t know what you’re referring to, there was only one Matrix movie…
E: Last but definitely not least, his renamed festival darling (formerly called The Surrogate) features Oscar nominee John Hawkes as an invalid looking to lose his virginity, and Oscar winner Helen Hunt as the therapist helping him. Both actors have enormous buzz for this year’s Oscar races, making it a must-see for me, although that’ll more likely happen when it goes into wide release later in the fall. If the word from the festival circuit is to be believed, this is going to be very much worth all our time.