Opening in Chicago, Weekend of 07/01

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The Imperialists Are Still Alive! (trailer)
Director: Zeina Durra
Personal Interest Factor: 6
The Facets site compares this to Godard’s La chinoise, which is not a flattering comparison IMO, but the trailer doesn’t actually make it look much like that film. It’s about a group of possibly tedious wealthy young Manhattanites doing whatever it is they do, but apparently with a post-9/11 twist. IFC Films has released it in 35mm, though, which is an unusual show of respect for the stuff they dump at Facets, so it might be worth taking a flier on just to encourage the practice.
Metacritic: 63

Larry Crowne (trailer)
Director: Tom Hanks (That Thing You Do!)
Personal Interest Factor: 5
I’d say the trailer for this could be summed up as “Tom Hanks rides scooter, Julia Roberts there for some reason.” What a strange thing this looks to be, not just a mid-level star-driven comedy of the type we hardly see anymore, but one that would have looked anachronistically light and fluffy 20 years ago. But I guess Hanks’ last directorial effort was sorta like that too. I skipped that one, but may go see this. Or may not, whatever. It’s not like I feel my life is poorer for having skipped That Thing You Do!.
Metacritic: 41

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (trailer)
Director: Michael Bay (Bad Boys II, The Island, Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen)
Personal Interest Factor: 2
I’d say 1, but it’s another Transformers movie, and I didn’t even see the last one. On the other hand, I’d say 3, just by virtue of it being shot here in town. But I don’t really think I care to see Chicago get blown to bits. I think it would just make me angry, to be honest. Blowing cities to bits is so passé anyhow.
Metacritic: 42

Also this week:
Bride Flight (trailer) – mail order brides head to New Zealand
Monte Carlo (trailer) – teen girls in Europe
Page One: Inside the New York Times (trailer) – NYT doc
Taxi Driver – new restoration

5 responses »

  1. I enjoyed That Thing You Do a great deal, but I’ve only seen it once. I “managed” a band that some friends of mine were in at the time, so it was extremely prescient and on-point.

  2. It’s interesting to think how the likes of Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks headlining a film could be percieved as so inconsequential (even before the negative reviews were in) in that it’s reportedly weak box office is no surprise.

    In the mid-1990s, there would’ve been a huge marketing push and public interest in such a film, leading to an almost guaranteed big bo hit. Even in the early 2000s the same thing probably would’ve happened.

    When did both of these stars decline from their peaks? I reckon for Roberts it was after her Erin Brockovich Oscar where the likes of ‘The Mexican’, ‘Mona Lisa’s Smile’ and others underwhelmed and she hasn’t really recovered since. As for Hanks, the back-to-back disappointments of ‘The Terminal’ and ‘The Ladykillers’ (both with highly acclaimed directors) in the mid 2000s was significant, but also the fact that he just doesn’t make that many starring films anymore and has dropped out of the public eye to an extent and feels a bit like yesterday’s man (he’s as much a producer these days as he is an actor).

  3. Hanks has two problems: age and a filmography over the past 10 years that has avoided challenge at every turn.

    I think it’s conceivable he could stay the course and occasionally land in a hit or two (say, Triple Frontier w/ Will Smith if that happens) but I would imagine he’ll end up fading into supporting roles if he continues starring in endless Dan Brown adaptations.

  4. And I doubt he’ll have a problem with receiving the “and Tom Hanks…” credit as long as it comes with a big paycheck and little work.

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