Picks of the Week for October 16, 2009:
1) Where the Wild Things Are (3,735 theatres)
Directed By: Spike Jonze
My most anticipated film of the year finally gets its release this weekend to mostly positive word. The year that is 2009 got off to a slow start, but recent offerings have been fantastic and they only get better as the year goes on. I’m hoping that this film is as good as the trailers, soundtrack, and featurettes have implied.
Here is what Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly has to say:
Such a place â€” so playful and mysterious! So liberating and scary! Jonze and Eggers make a smooth storytelling leap by giving each Wild Thing a name and a personality, joyously inspired by Sendak’s own illustrations of the creatures’ bodies, balloon-big heads, and little V-shaped shark teeth. (Jonze regular Casey Storm designed the ebullient costumes.) I’ll leave the discussion of personality integration to shrinks and online discussion groups. Any kid â€” or adult, for that matter â€” can identify with the anxieties of Carol (James Gandolfini, more delightfully vulnerable than we’ve ever heard him); the peace brokering of Judith (Catherine O’Hara, funny to her marrow); and the squabbles, preferences, vanities, and insecurities of Ira (Forest Whitaker), Alexander (Paul Dano), and Douglas (Chris Cooper).
2) Black Dynamite (70 theatres)
Directed By: Scott Sanders
This sendup of 1970s blaxploitation films this film looks like a combination of goofball humor and clever metacinematic references. If this film catches on with the college age audience I could see it becoming one of the most quotable films of the year. The trailer alone is packed with excellent one-liners.
Here’s what Nathan Rabin of The Onion A.V. Club has to say:
Sanders and White arenâ€™t taking satirical aim at displays of virtuoso style like Shaft and Superfly, so much as theyâ€™re mocking the second- and third-generation knock-offs they inspired, like Candy Tangerine Man and the exquisitely unselfconscious oeuvre of Rudy Ray Moore, whose outsized presence pervades the filmâ€™s affectionate send-up of â€™70s exploitation cinema. Sanders delights in the amateurishness of blaxploitation, from clunky exposition to shootouts that violate all rules of continuity and perspective to a visible boom mic, which spends so much time onscreen that it practically deserves its own credit.
3) Paranormal Activity (760 theatres)
Directed By: Oren Peli
I keep recommending this movie because it really deserves to be seen while it is in theatres. Those of you who still may not have been near a theatre playing the movie should be in luck this week as it expands to 760 screens. There is no better way to get your scare quota this Halloween than with Paranormal Activity.
Here’s a snippet from my review of the film:
It has been said before, but it may have never been truer â€“ this film needs to be seen in theatres. I saw the movie in a late showing at a packed theatre of mostly high school students. You know the type â€“ they pay money to see a movie in theatres just so they can talk to each other and send text messages throughout. It was fascinating to watch as they set down their cell phones and shut up as the movie became really suspenseful. There were many screams, there was cowering, and there was some definite eye-covering. Iâ€™m not the type who usually gets scared and this movie shook me up. That night as my wife slept soundly beside me I lay awake jolting at every little sound I heard.
Skip These Movies:
1) Law Abiding Citizen (2,889 theatres)
Directed By: F. Gary Gray
2) The Stepfather (2,734 theatres)
Directed By: Nelson McCormick
3) New York, I Love You (119 theatres)
Directed By: Many Directors