Opening in Chicago, 07/22

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Captain America: The First Avenger (trailer)
Director: Joe Johnston (The Wolfman, Hidalgo, Jurassic Park III, October Sky)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
I guess the ceiling here would be something like The Rocketeer, also directed by Johnston all those years ago, and which seems to have provided the inspiration for this movie’s art direction. The reviews aren’t too terribly bad, though, so maybe it’s watchable. Which is the most we can reasonably expect these days, I guess.
Metacritic: 67

Friends with Benefits (trailer)
Director: Will Gluck (Fired Up!, Easy A)
Personal Interest Factor: 5
Doubt I’ll get around to seeing it, but doesn’t look too terrible. Kunis’s abilities as an actress are very limited, but this looks like something she can handle. I doubt the movie has the nerve to really follow through on its premise; surely they fall in love at the end, right?
Metacritic: 61

Terri (trailer)
Director: Azazel Jacobs (Momma’s Man)
Personal Interest Factor: 5
A four-star review from Roger Ebert, which used to mean that I’d go see it, but doesn’t these days as much since I’d need 8 days a week just to keep up with them all. Looks very tedious, I think, although John C. Reilly is at least a step up from Paul Giamatti. Most of the time.
Metacritic: 71

Also this week:
Incredibly Small – indie relationship dramedy
Roll Out, Cowboy – rapping cowboy doc
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (trailer) – dull-looking period Chinese film

9 responses »

  1. Which is the most we can reasonably expect these days, I guess.

    And I thought *I* was the pessimistic one of this little gathering.
    But there isn’t a shred of falsity in this statement.

  2. Watched ‘Friends With Benefits’ the other week and was pleasantly surprised how agreeable it was. It tries to have it both ways in terms of being self-aware and cynical about all the cliches of romantic cliches in the early scenes, and then embracing them towards the end. To answer Brian’s question, it doesn’t have the courage to follow through on its premise.

    But it is a consistently enjoyable experience – decently written, brightly directed (and great cinematography) and especially strong in the cast. Kunis and Timberlake work very well as the central couple and they’re backed up by a strong supporting cast with Jenkins, Clarkson and Harrleson all adding value.

    It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s one of the more enjoyable films I’ve seen this year. Rating: B

  3. Wow, do I disagree with Marco about Friends With Benefits. I hated it with a red hot passion. Nothing about it struck me as authentic, another romantic comedy about rich people who seem to have no problems except their pesky romantic issues. I thought Kunis was very grating, and throwing Richard Jenkins with Alzheimer’s seemed a low move. I give it a D-.

  4. I can understand not liking FWB. But as a movie, and with writing, and with tone and execution and overall effectiveness, FWB was lengths ahead of Ted. FWB was affecting and fun and Kunis is awesome and Timberlake even plays his role effectively and if you don’t like the ‘flash mob’ at the end, you’re a heathen communist stick-in-the-mud. Closing Time? Brilliant.

  5. God, I hated the flash mob. I know I’m a heathen, and I may be a communist, but I’m not a stick-in-the-mud. I wanted a bomb to drop on that flash mob. And Kunis is awesome to look at, but that character was as annoying as fingers on a blackboard. FWB was not fun, and affecting only in that it made me hate it.

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