Man, I need to catch up on my theatrical viewings. There is another batch of great films that I’m dying to see this weekend, including a fascinating documentary, a Cannes-favorite horror film, and a commercial comedy from one of the best.
Here are the Theatrical Picks of the Week for July 31st, 2009:
1) Funny People (3,008 theatres)
Directed By: Judd Appatow
The initial critical response to this film hasn’t been fantastic, especially when compared with Appatow’s other films. However, most of the critics seem to imply that the reason it doesn’t work, is because it changes the formula that was used so well in The 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. I’ve got nothing against changing up the system a little bit.
Here’s what Roger Ebert from The Chicago Sun-Times has to say:
“Funny People” is not simply about George Simmons’ struggle with mortality. It sees that struggle within the hermetically sealed world of the stand-up comic, a secret society that has merciless rules, one of which is that even sincerity is a joke. “No — seriously!”
2) Thirst (4 theatres)
Directed By: Chan-Wook Park
This film received quiet praise at the Cannes Film Festival and loud praise last week at Comic-Con. Horror fans delight in an effort by one of the few working directors who really knows how to handle the genre. Chan-Wook Park (a name that is written differently by everyone) approaches the subject from a psychological perspective, with effects and loud noises secondary.
Here’s what Betsy Sharkey from the L.A. Times has to say:
Though the filmmaker has made a career of examining human frailty within brutal landscapes where violence and revenge battle it out with god and philosophy for the soul, “Thirst” may be his most fully realized film yet. Certainly its visual style is stunning, the color pallet shifting from muted browns to stark whites, the set design from cluttered to spare, as the vampire instincts take hold.
3) The Cove (4 theatres)
Directed By: Louie Psihoyos
This documentary is an investigation into the dolphin capture trade in Japan. Watch the trailer and tell me that it doesn’t look insane. These guys use the highest tech equipment and dive into forbidden territory to document the truth about what is happening to these dolphins. In the process they must have broken many international laws, but the result looks so interesting it can’t be missed.
Here’s what Andrew O’Hehir from Salon.com has to say:
What’s so remarkable about Louie Psihoyos’ documentary “The Cove” isn’t just that it’s a powerful work of agitprop that’s going to have you sending furious e-mails to the Japanese Embassy on your way out of the theater. That’s definitely true, but the effectiveness of “The Cove” also comes from its explosive cinematic craft, its surprising good humor and its pure excitement — from the fact that, as Psihoyos puts it, he spent his childhood watching too many Jacques Cousteau specials and James Bond movies.