Friday, September 11, 2009

Now Playing: The Dire Days of Summer

Robert here looking at new releases this week. If you hadn't noticed (of course you've noticed) we've entered a strange barren time of year when the whiz-bang of summer has died off and the post-fest Oscar season has yet to start up. Pickings are slim so I'll remind you that these films are still in theaters: The Hurt Locker, Ponyo, District 9, In the Loop.

9 - The one film attempting to position itself for Oscar recognition will have an uphill climb, especially since three Animated Feature spots have practically been snatched up by Coraline, Ponyo, and Up, and there's plenty of competition for two remaining, should there be two remaining. Critical reaction hasn't been very kind, except toward the visuals and I'm reminded of how many filmmakers today are fantastic visual artists desperately in need of writers who aren't anywhere to be found. [rotten tomatoes / metacritic]

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself - Tyler Perry returns as Media (like you didn't see that coming) his sassy, pistol packing granny who proves that men in drag are never not funny. This time around she catches a couple of troubled youths looting her home and sends them off to their boozing, night-club singing Aunt who, judging by the title, can do bad all by herself. Taraji P. Henson plays the aunt and, judging by the poster, seems to be the selling point for this film which proves that attractive women trump men in drag every time. [rotten tomatoes]

Whiteout - Domenic Sena (director of Swordfish and Gone in 60 Seconds) could take a lesson from Michael Bay. When aspiring to an action film career better to be bombastic, successful and despised than middling, forgetful, and tolerated. After going through development hell, his latest film finally gets released and the world collectively wonders why anyone would watch Kate Beckinsale run around all actiony in a snow parka when you could see her do the same thing in a form-fitting leather suit. Ms. Beckinsale meanwhile continues her evil plan of amassing a career that utterly perplexes me. [rotten tomatoes / metacritc]

Sorority Row - Nothing I could possibly say about this film can describe it better than this: Go to IMDb, look it up and note that the very first listed actor is credited as "bra-clad sister." My work here is done. [rotten tomatoes]

Crude - Have you heard of the "Amazon Chernobyl?" Apparently Texaco hasn't been going easy on the the peoples or environments of South America. Director Joe Berlinger of Paradise Lost fame explores not just the environmental disaster but the unending and complex lawsuit that's still ongoing. [rotten tomatoes / metacritic]

No Impact Man - Another compelling documentary out this week demonstrating how the liberal doc movement of the early aughts has blossomed into something really worthwhile. Author Colin Beaven's experiment of having no environmental impact at all over the course of a year is chronicled in a film that's filled with more comedy and complexity than you'd expect. [rotten tomatoes / metacritic]

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt - I admittedly had not heard of this film before I googled it and saw Michael Douglas' scowl staring at me from inside some misguided Saul Bass-inspired thriller poster. It's enough to make me wonder when exactly it was that Douglas' career took such a hard fall from grace (did One Night at McCool's really do all this damage?) and furthermore why we must be reminded of this sad fact every so-often. Douglas plays a less-than-scrupulous District Attorney. Jesse Metcalf plays a young reporter who frames himself for murder in the hopes of getting inside the story and bringing Douglas down. Expect serious men in suits and lots of dramatic pauses. [rotten tomatoes / metacritic]

The Other Man - Michael Douglas isn't going to provide your only opportunity to see respectable actors in a turkey this weekend. Here Liam Neeson plays a man who discovers his wife, Laura Linney, is having an affair with Antonio Banderas (like we haven't all been there before). Director Richard Eyre (Iris, Notes on a Scandal) has a reasonable history of leading his actors to Oscar Nominations and I recall thinking, over a year ago, that a Richard Eyre movie could only mean good things for Neeson and Linney. Turns out we should probably just expect more serious men in suits and dramatic pauses. [rotten tomatoes / metacritic]

14 comments:

adelutza said...

Is really The Other Manopening this weekend? I couldn't find it playing anywhere and imdb says September 25th with limited release.

Robert said...

Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes both have it as opening today. Though I'm not sure where. IMDb does have the release date listed in a few weeks but their Showtimes page shows it playing this weekend very limited in NY and LA.

adelutza said...

Thanks

Drew said...

Interesting to read about Whiteout (this is the first I'd heard of it, probably for good reason), because I just watched Kalifornia and Dominic Sena is on my mind.

Speaking of Kate Beckinsale, your average cinemagoer would be hard pressed to guess that she's actually an extremely talented and intelligent woman. I thought she was really powerful in Winged Creatures. And apparently she studied Russian at Oxford? Strange.

Anonymous said...

Nat, why aren't you doing something for LAUREN BACALL'S Honorary Oscar?????? Some update or anything

NATHANIEL R said...

anon -- patience is a virtue

GayAsXmas said...

I feel a little sorry for Richard Eyre. While nobody will call him a great visual director, he never seems to get much of a boost from any of his successes. I mean Iris had three Oscar nominated actors, and Notes on a Scaldal had two (I found Notes tremendous fun in the cinema). And Stage Beauty is a really great little film, filled with excellent performances. Yet he seems consistently overlooked (though not on the stage obviously)

Danny King said...

I'm definitely feeling the effects of this dry spell. I'm constantly thinking about the Award season contenders and can't seem to get excited for much else.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Well, "Dire Days" lead-in notwithstanding, and taking into account their many imperfections, Crude is a really powerful and eye-opening doc about an important subject, and I Can Do Bad All by Myself, when it's working, is frequently a blast.

Anonymous said...

patience, patience... you don't even make an advance...

well, you're the only one blog today that hasn't reported Lauren Bacall's Oscar.

NicksFlickPicks said...

And I say, long live The Film Experience where you don't always read about everything that everyone else is writing about everywhere else, at the exact same moment and in the same way that they're all writing about it. Huzzah for Nathaniel and his very own drum! (I'm sure N will get to Betty anon, and probably have lots to say on behalf of Gordon Willis, too, who I think is the most deserving of four very strong picks for this year's Honorary Oscar recipients. If only we could watch them accept...)

Ryan said...

Wait. Wait. WAIT. I thought they were still going to air the honorary awards, even though they aren't with the rest of the Oscars. I would like to see Bacall up there on the stage.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I thought they had been pretty clear that they wouldn't, unless that was a Bambi-eyed attempt to drum up sponsorships from pitying corporations who love Roger Corman and Designing Woman.

Nathaniel, Great Arbiter, where art thou? Who's right? I hope it's not me.

NATHANIEL R said...

the idea is that they will be awarded elsewhere but there would be some sort of acknowledgement on the mainshow. I'm guessing it's a clip of their acceptance speech that we get... sort of like that technical award aside only, since they're stars, getting a clip of their speech instead of just some ogling of the sexy young girls that get to give those technical prizes.