Another month of 2009 gets off to a ho-hum start this weekend with one loud, mindless film, a few decent indies, and one for the ladies (or men who are in touch with their feelings).
Here are the Film Misery picks of the week for August 7, 2009:
1) Paper Heart (38 theatres)
Directed By: Nicholas Jasenovec
The story is nothing new – Charlene Yi does not believe that fairy tale love exists and she explores other people’s views on love in documentary style. Along the way she learns that Michael Cera has feelings for her that may prove everything she believes about love to be wrong. It’s not the story that makes me want to see this film, though, but rather the creative way it is presented.
Here’s what Mark Mohan of The Portland Oregonian has to say:
“Paper Heart” isn’t the most cloying instance of earnest indie quirk to emerge in the past few months, nor is it the most charming, but the mere fact that such a continuum exists is reason enough to worry.
2) Julie & Julia (2,975 theatres)
Directed By: Nora Ephron
I would recommend checking it out this weekend for one reason: Meryl F***in’ Streep. The smartest, most talented, most entertaining actress working today and one of the all-time greats manages to re-create herself brilliantly for each role. She resists the temptation to overact with a character as colorful as Julia Child and is really a treat to watch.
Here’s what Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe has to say:
This is blissful moviemaking. Much of the pleasure we have in watching it comes from seeing Tucci and, obviously, Streep connect. But itâ€™s also the effortlessness Ephron reveals in bringing it all together. There could have been something cartoonish about Streep, who usually appears to be standing on a box to approximate Childâ€™s height. But beneath each of these scenes, between Streep and Tucci, and Streep and the women playing her French coauthors of â€œMastering the Art of French Cookingâ€™â€™ (Linda Emond and Helen Carrey) and her sister (Jane Lynch), between Streep and the vegetables playing the food, is a deep, abiding joy. Itâ€™s not just the onions that bring a tear to the eye.
3) Cold Souls (<10 theatres)
Directed By: Sophie Barthes
This would have been much higher on my list this week if it weren’t getting such a small release (I think it’s just in NY). However, this movie looks fantastic. Any movie that gives Paul Giamatti a lead role should be seen by everybody. Nobody does melancholy existentialism like the brilliant Giamatti and this film looks like another great chance for him to showcase his dramatic chops.
Here is what Anthony Lane of The New Yorker has to say:
For too many directors, the merest hint of sci-fi means a possible end of the world, with a hero nicely poised to save the day; for Sophie Barthes, the writer and director of â€œCold Souls,â€ Paulâ€™s great loss doesnâ€™t even mean the end of his job. On the contrary, he is freed up to ham his way through Chekhov with unfeigned delight, and he must be the first Vanya on record who not only admires Professor Serebryakovâ€™s wife but cops a feel of her ass. You canâ€™t help wondering, at such times, what the function of a soul might be: is it a fancy name for the superegoâ€”a shackle on untoward behavior, waiting to be unlocked?
1) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (4,007 theatres)
Directed By: Stephen Sommers
Many people seemed to be surprised that this film does not suck as much as it was supposed to. Regardless of how good or bad the film is, if it makes any kind of money this weekend there will be several sure-to-be terrible sequels. Please spend your money on something else this weekend.
Here’s what film biz from The Sun has to say:
Only those of you young enough to be playing with action figures will have the imagination required to believe in this nonsense. And I’m sorry to say The Sneak gave up on Action Man a long time ago.
2) A Perfect Getaway (2,159 theatres)
Directed By: David Twohy
Despite the fact that I really enjoy Steve Zahn, that’s not enough to get me to see what looks to be a sub-par horror film. Plus I have a feeling that this will be the type of film that I won’t be able to avoid while on an airplane or donating plasma sometime in the next few years.
Here’s what Clay Cane from BET.com has to say:
Like many movies that want to go down the risky twist-ending route, which made Sixth Sense and Saw so likable, Getaway twists itself into a knot of implausibility. It takes skillful writing to pull off these intricate twists and when it doesnâ€™t work, itâ€™s painfully clear. Therefore, in the end, Getaway is like Bonnie and Clyde on a bad re-run of Survivor with more spins and twists than a salamander on the canopy of the Amazon rainforest â€” except theyâ€™re in Hawaii.
What movies are you seeing this weekend? Feel free to discuss any here.