Thursday, August 19, 2010

what's in the theaters this weekend?

i used to write a column for another website that basically gave me the opportunity to predict which films i thought were going to smash at the box office and which films i thought were going to spew radioactive waste on time the lifeless forms of the viewers. i always thought it entertaining, but started to feel awkward because i wasn't actually seeing any of these films, i was just sort of guessing if they were going to be good or bad.  i wasn't offering the audience any sort true fact, just a series of educated guesses on what i thought might be the best film for them to actually spend their hard earned money on.

after being subjected to the wide world of reviewing, to seeing nearly every shitty film that exists on the planet that has plopped on to the silver screen, i've decided that, whether or not i've seen everything, i'm going to return to this educated guess system of critiquing.  hell, i'm seeing a lot of films that i usually wouldn't, and i'm buffering those with even more films, thus i think i can spend at least a small portion of time each week making sure you, my sensitive readers, don't mire yourself in some shit storm of a film because the advertising tricks you in to thinking it is an intelligent bit of comedy.  or on the other side of the spectrum, perhaps lead you towards a film that looks terrible, but is actually a glowing diamond in the rough.

the films

nanny mcphee returns, d. susanna white
cast: emma thompson, maggie gyllenhaal, ralph fiennes

what is it?: the sequel to the first film about nanny mcphee, a beloved though hideously warted english nanny whom takes a trio of children on a magical ride ... or something

prediction: you know, from the cast present, you'd think this film would be some sort of stuffy british period piece involving a comedy of manners and perhaps a few big, flowery hats.  ralph fiennes and maggie gyllenhaal joining a cast that already features emma thompson?  i mean on a certain count it just smells like a bunch of actors watching the ink dry on a couple of six or seven digit paychecks, but maybe, just maybe this is one of this under-the-radar children's flicks that actually has some merit, and when you're forced by your bawling four and five year olds to pay three hundred dollars to attend this flick, you won't actually have the unstoppable urge to end the lives of your entire family.

or it could just be another shit-show sequel aimed to cut holes in your money tree and change your whining blobs in to even more testaments the youtube generation.  

will i see it?:  was offered, and kindly rejected. 


piranha 3d, d. alexandre aja
cast: elisabeth shue, jerry o'connell, ving rhames, richard dreyfuss

what is it?: a film about mutant radioactive piranha's ... in 3d

prediction:  i worry about this film, not because of its premise, but more so because of the studios decision not to screen it for critics.  usually when a film has this dump of a concept, the studios throw it out to the critics hoping they'll either lambast it so badly it'll draw people's attention like a freeway accident or that it'll actually be entertaining enough that they'll give it a "gee shucks, pretty good" review.  with out a screening though, it might just be bland horror crap.  though alexandre aja's the hills have eyes and haute tension are both absolute gore-fests that worked on almost every level.  though the ending of haute tension is a total bust.  

will i see it?:  my weekend is pretty open, and i know one particular roomie who might just be game for a beach-centric gore-splosion rife with cheesy dialogue and the slim possibility of nudity.


vampires suck, d. jason friedberg, aaron seltzer
cast: no one you've ever heard of

what is it?: another one of those fucking spoofs, this time of, sigh, vampire flicks

prediction: somehow this film will make money.  it probably cost six cents to film as its actors are probably dredged from the cast-off pile of amateur porn and the visual effects look to be made by a toddler.  thus if six people, high on north korean manufactured "ice" attend, it'll make nearly 180 percent profit, insuring years and years and years of more similarly toned spoofs.  will it be good?  no, not even a chance. when the pr agency sent me the screening notice for this i'd never even heard of it.  being a person who spends an inordinate amount of time reading about films, it is a bad sign when i have not heard of a film.

will i see it?: oh no.


lottery ticket, d. erik white
cast: lil bow-wow, ice cube

what is it?: a lil bow-wow film about a kid who finds a lottery ticket.  hilarity ensues.

prediction: when i was in chicago i visited the gene siskel film center, a beautiful, sparse theater playing an incredible collection of films, new and old and retrospective, and this film was the opening night film in a festival dedicated to the works of african-american filmmakers.  this creates a few possibilities in my mind:

1.  perhaps this a strong african-american ensemble film deservedly placed at the front of an exciting selection of new films from up-and-coming black filmmakers.

2.  perhaps this is another vapid shitty ensemble mess that because of a few big named actors is shunted in to the front of a respectable festival to draw in a public that might not attend films quite as often at the gene siskel film center.

thus, the question ...

will i see it?: no, regardless of which possibility this film falls in to, i will not risk wasting my twelve dollars to view it. 


the switch, d. josh gordon, will speck
cast: jennifer aniston, jason bateman

what is it?: seemingly another rom-com about single mothers and swapped baby batter.

prediction: this movie is going to make a lot of money.  i saw it, with a rom-com loving friend, this week and was, quite frankly, more than impressed by the film.  the ads and trailers and such make this out to be a brainless slapstick shitfest aimed at the lowest common denominator.  but alack, this is a smart, funny, at times depressing film about man-children, narcissism and the unexpected onset of responsibility.  thus, thanks to the ads, the mouth-breathers of the world are going to rush to theaters in the hope that it'll spawn a night of baby-making (rom-coms seemingly have this ability in the mouth-breather world), but when the critics review the film and it's actually accepted as a well-written, at times touching bit of film, the snot-nosed film lovers of the world will throw their cash-filled hats in to the ring.  

will i see it?: already did, and you should follow my lead.


so, my suggestion for the week.  the switch.  get at it.

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