Opening in Chicago, Weekend of 09/02


Thanks once again to Jackrabbit Slim for filling in last week while I was dodging hurricanes in Florida.

This looks like the last week of post-summer dead before we start getting some good stuff next week. In fact, besides this weekend, September looks pretty strong, and then we get into Oscar season. Hope it’s a good one, because this year so far has been somewhat lackluster.

The Debt (trailer)
Director: John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Proof, Killshot)
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Madden’s fallen on hard times since Shakespeare in Love‘s night of Oscar glory, with two films that came and went without anyone noticing and a third that was notoriously shelved and dumped unceremoniously into a token release in Phoenix or somewhere. This one doesn’t look all that awesome either, but at least it looks like it’s worth seeing.
Metacritic: 66

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (trailer)
Directors: Alex Gregory & Peter Huyck
Personal Interest Factor: 4
This doesn’t look very good to me, and I can’t say I’ve ever been a party in an orgy, but I can’t say I understand much of Roger Ebert’s review. It reads like he had to write so many words about an orgy movie when he was extremely uncomfortable writing about orgies. Oh well. I only bring it up because it seems like Ebert’s doing this a lot lately, playing Grand Philosopher instead of talking about the damn movie.
Metacritic: 46

Higher Ground (trailer)
Director: Vera Farmiga
Personal Interest Factor: 8
I’m a fan of Vera Farmiga as an actress, so I’m naturally curious about what she’s come up with as a director. Also, perhaps because I’m not at all religious myself, I’m always interested in movies that treat religion a serious topic, instead of a cures-what-ails-ya tonic for the rubes.
Metacritic: 75

Life, Above All (trailer)
Director: Oliver Schmitz
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Story about a young girl and her family fighting wicked gossip in superstitious rural South Africa. If nothing else, the trailer makes the movie look very attractively shot.
Metacritic: 65

Director: Lucas Belvaux
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Another Euro thriller in what is becoming a regular occurence. Don’t know if I’ll get to this or not, but it looks pretty decent, and like I’ve said before, I do like a good Euro thriller.
Metacritic: 71

Also this week:
Apollo 18 (trailer) – Blair Witch on the moon
Chasing Madoff (trailer) – Madoff investigation doc
Crime After Crime (trailer) – doc about Debbie Pleager, a wrongly incarcerated woman
5 Days of War (trailer) – Renny Harlin does the Georgian War
Saving Private Perez (trailer) – some kind of Mexican war comedy
Shark Night (trailer) – because “Shark Day” is a stupid title


7 responses »

  1. No surprise, but Shark Night iss very bad, but not bad enough to be funny. Though it takes great pains to explain why sharks would be in a Lousiana lake, it didn’t explain how they can swim as fast as a speedboat at full throttle. I did like the inflatable beer pong mattress, though.

  2. Yes it is. I know you’re a big Sara Paxton fan, though – so it’s worth it on that level.

    I’m still curious about what killed Shark Night director David Ellis beyond “no foul play is suspected”.

  3. Does suicide constitute foul play? That’s the first thing I thought of. Not to be disrespectful, but after helming both Snakes on a Plane and Shark Night one could get depressed.

  4. He did do impressive work on The Matrix Reloaded (he was responsible for the film’s only bright spot: the extensive freeway chase) and a similar sequence in Final Destination 2.

  5. Saw ‘A Good Old Fashioned Orgy’ and surprisingly it wasn’t bad.

    To be sure the film has its share of flaws – not especially funny, rather sloppily made, character and narrative issues are left unresolved, etc… And like a lot of modern US small-budget films I’ve seen recently, it can’t really overcome its budget limitations and doesn’t look particularly stylish or ‘cinematic’.

    But considering the subject matter, it’s quite an endearing and likable film. And it’s non-judgmental attitude towards the orgy itself is quite refreshing. And yes, the film does carry the courage of its convictions with regards to the central plotline Not a great film on any level, but a fairly pleasant time-waster.

    And after seeing the film, Ebert’s review seems even more baffling than it did when I first read it.

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