Opening in Chicago, 06/24

Standard

Trying something a little different this week, in a bid to be more thorough.

Bad Teacher (trailer)
Director: Jake Kasdan (Zero Effect, Orange County, The TV Set, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
Looks funny, although the developing consensus that the trailer is funnier than the actual film is quite easy to believe. I’ll probably see it because of impending boredom, and because I’m starting to feel the movie mojo coming back after a few slow months for me, but I’m not expecting much.
Metacritic: 46

Cars 2 (trailer)
Director: John Lasseter (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Cars)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
I didn’t realize until just now that Lasseter himself directed this – I just assumed that some farmhand had been given the project, as with Toy Story 3. Not that it changes much, but at least it seems a little more like a personal project than a shameless sequel, even if the shameless sequel idea never made much sense because who wanted a sequel in the first place? By the way, Jeanine and I watched Cars again last night, and it holds up slightly better than I remember. I’m not sure if I’d still put it on the bottom of the Pixar rankings list; I think A Bug’s Life has taken over that spot. That said, a new Cars movie remains a deeply uninspiring idea.
Metacritic: 58

Trollhunter (trailer)
Director: André Øvredal
Personal Interest Factor: 5
Like a Norweigan Cloverfield except with trolls, is what I take away from it. I was going to say that I’m willing to be convinced … but I’m not so sure I am. This kind of thing just doesn’t do it for me.
Metacritic: 62

Also this week:
Buck (trailer) – horse whisperer doc
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (trailer) – Conan doc
The Last Mountain (trailer) – coal mining doc
Make Believe (trailer) – teenage magician doc
Pianomania – piano tuning doc
Rejoice and Shout (trailer) – gospel music doc

17 responses »

  1. From interviews I’ve read with Lasseter, he has a very personal connection to Cars. It’s definitely at the bottom of my Pixar list, by a pretty good margin, and that Scott review may have scared me away from seeing it in a theater, which would be a first for me with Pixar. I just can’t see myself going to a movie that essentially stars Larry the Cable Guy.

  2. Again:
    Troll Hunter is one of the best movies of this new decade. Absolutely loved it. It has wonder and laughs and a pretty amazing look for a limited budget.
    If only it got the push Monsters did….

  3. I’m not surprised in the least re: Bad Teacher’s reviews. All of Kasdan’s films have seemed funny on paper, but none have really been amusing. Zero Effect was decent

  4. Come on, where is the Troll Hunter love on here? Rob, Rob? Anyone? That movie is all kinds of great…

  5. Cars 2 is direct-to-DVD caliber, sadly. It’s not even Larry the Cable Guy that’s the big problem, it’s just that I spent the whole movie asking, “Why?” Who on earth said, “OK. Here’s what we need to do – we need to take the characters from Cars, and put them in a James Bond movie!”

    That’s the most random thing I’ve ever heard of. It’s bizarre to watch, actually, one of the biggest WTFs I can think of. And Lasseter decided he needed to direct again to do this? “This is a story that NEEDS TO BE TOLD – I’m back, baby!”

    But what really disappointed me was the short – it’s just a stale Toy Story episode. So Pixar decided to take this year off altogether, I guess.

    New Pixar rankings:

    1. The Incredibles
    2. Finding Nemo
    3. Toy Story 2
    4. Ratatouille
    5. Toy Story
    6. WALL-E
    7. Monsters, Inc
    8. Up
    9. Toy Story 3
    10. Cars
    11. A Bug’s Life
    12. Cars 2

    I’m not excited that their last 3 are all in the bottom 5.

  6. Opposite of Brian’s review (not surprisingy).
    I enjoyed 2 much better than the first. I don’t even think I’ve had a desire to see the first Cars since I saw it in theaters. We’ve had it on DVD for years and I have never watched it. I thought the second was pretty funny and entertaining. Don’t know if it will beat the first domestically, but I predict a highly successful worldwide gross.
    And the Toy Story short was hilarious.

  7. I suppose it’s time for a ranking of the Pixar shorts, also. Including only the ones that preceded a Pixar feature theatrically:

    1. Boundin’
    2. Presto
    3. Partly Cloudy
    4. Geri’s Game
    5. Lifted
    6. Day & Night
    7. Luxo Jr.
    8. Knick-Knack
    9. One Man Band
    10. For the Birds
    11. Hawaiian Vacation

    This is actually harder than I thought it would be.

  8. Great teaser trailer: (I think we can agree they can make five new CARS movies if they make one of their really great ones.)

  9. The Brave landscapes definitely looked lush in 3D.
    And Brian, can you get back to the Pixar Retrospectives? I think you’re on Finding Nemo…

  10. Not a rule, so much as the only leverage I have to get Pixar to stop dragging their feet on this. I want my Nemo Blu-ray!

    … also Ratatouille, but that one’s my own damn fault.

  11. I was interested in seeing ‘Bad Teacher’ when I saw the trailer a few weeks back, but the reviews I’ve read have been so dispiritingly dire that I don’t think I’ll bother.

  12. Well I got around to seeing ‘Bad Teacher’ by renting it and my fears about it are generally justified.

    The direction is messy and has various sub-plots not resolved or go anywhere, but it’s the witless script that sinks it with barely any funny lines from a promising premise (although I did laugh at the song Timberlake sings).

    It doesn’t sink into ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ territory thanks to its cast. Diaz manages to be appealing despite the awful character she’s saddled with and the rest of the cast is game – shame they have so little to work with (Timberlake’s character is especially poorly-written).

    All in all, another example of how comedy is what has declined the most in modern cinema.

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