Opening in Chicago, 04/27

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Darling Companion (trailer)
Director: Lawrence Kasdan (Wyatt Earp, French Kiss, Mumford, Dreamcatcher)
Personal Interest Factor: 3
Gruesome. I remember when I was in college, and as part of a film class I was shown both Body Heat and The Big Chill, Kasdan’s first two films as a director. Before that, Kasdan was one of the biggest screenwriters around. And now this, which looks downright parodic. The reviews so far suggest that it would have been better if it was.
Metacritic: 38

The Five-Year Engagement (trailer)
Director: Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
Two immediate reactions to this are that 1) these Apatow productions have gotten to the point where they have an assembly-line feeling, and 2) Nicholas Stoller’s first two movies have both been very poorly made, even by the standards of assembly-line comedies.
Metacritic: 58

The Hunter (trailer)
Director: Daniel Nettheim
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Australian thriller about the hunt for a Tasmanian Tiger, which has been believed extinct for decades but is the subject of numerous reported sightings every year. Looks worth watching just for the landscape photography alone, plus it stars Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill. It would have to be pretty awful to not be worth seeing.
Metacritic: 63

Monsieur Lahzar (trailer)
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Personal Interest Factor: 7
The final Oscar foreign film nominee for 2011 to open in Chicago, which Jackrabbit Slim has reviewed already, giving it a sold A. That’s good enough for me.
Metacritic: 82

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (trailer)
Director: Peter Lord
Personal Interest Factor: 5
I would say that I’m strongly predisposed to enjoy Aardman humor but nothing about this looks at all funny. Despite the presence of Aardman co-founder Peter Lord as director, from a distance it feels like an imitation of Aardman rather than the real thing.
Metacritic: 74

The Raven (trailer)
Director: James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin)
Personal Interest Factor: 4
Boy, does this have the strong whiff of Bad Idea around it or what? Everything about this screams direct-to-video to me, which, sad to say, includes the casting of John Cusack. His name has become synonymous with half-hearted, middle-of-the-road dullness. And I used to really like the guy.
Metacritic: 43

We Have a Pope (trailer)
Director: Nanni Moretti (Palombella rossa, Dear Diary, Aprile, The Son’s Room)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
This film sort of bombed at Cannes last year, but it’s reputation seems to have improved somewhat since then. It’s an Italian comedy about a cardinal unwittingly elected Pope. Trailer is uninspiring, though.
Metacritic: 62

Also this week:
Boy (trailer) – coming-of-age story from New Zealand
Lost Bohemia – doc about Carnegie Hall apartments
Mahler on the Couch – fictional meeting between Mahler and Freud
Safe (trailer) – Jason Statham movie
The Skinny – tensions among old friends, etc.

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9 responses »

  1. Considering the high quality of films and performances she was part of in the 1970s, it’s depressing to look over Diane Keaton’s recent track record, especially since she did her last Woody Allen film in 1993.

  2. Cusack’s career as a leading man is winding down. His best bet now is to settle into supporting gigs or try his hand at television. I have no doubt there’s a well-paying, clock punching job on a CBS crime drama for him.

  3. Ditto for Statham. Save for the odd supporting gig, Safe is further evidence that his theatrical headlining career is over. The good news for him is that he can probably make DTV features for the next 20 years, ala Seagal, Van Damme, etc.

  4. Cusack can always look back at two of the greatest love stories ever put to film, ‘Say Anything’ and ‘High Fidelity’. So he can rest easy.

    Statham’s star has not yet reached its peak. I am convinced there is a Johnnie To out there just WAITING to make him their own DeNiro or he will go to another country and enjoy a late-career resurgence in action flicks that America always deems ‘inferior’ to Hollywood, simply because it’s made in another country.

  5. I don’t think it ever hit the trades: but Statham was recently offered, and backed out of, the central villain role in a billion dollar franchise. Pure lunacy in terms of career management.

  6. …..really?
    My initial thought is: he wasn’t comfortable enough with his acting. I mean, why else would he DO that?
    You know, I saw him on Morning Buzz the other morning, and he was amiable and pleasant, but didn’t seem overly impressed by anything but he DID say that he wanted to work with *specifcally* writer/directors……and when they ended the interview, you know how they keep the cameras on as they strike?, it’s nothing, but he was asked a question and he just kind of blew it off and I thought it was just, I dunno, probably reading too much in but maybe he’s just riding out the wave and getting checks and not up for much else.
    Why, why, WHY would he turn that down? What was it? What director? What franchise? PLEASE tell me it was James Bond, so I can feel REALLY depressed. Wait, wait….DON’T tell me it was BOURNE……please, universe, no-

  7. Actually I just looked and it did make the trades a few weeks ago – Fast and the Furious 6 (and possibly 7). Amazingly, that franchise is bigger than both Bond and Bourne now.

  8. Maybe Statham wanted to move on career-wise to other kinds of roles. If he’d taken part in Fast & Furious he’s forever “the car guy”

    Some might argue he’ll never be able to move on from that, but taking that part would make it a certainty.

    But that’s just me being all positive. It was probably about the money.

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