Opening in Chicago, 10/28

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Anonymous (trailer)
Director: Roland Emmerich (The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, 2012)
Personal Interest Factor: 3
This isn’t exactly getting great reviews, but I’ll admit surprise that it’s not being mercilessly panned. First, you have one of the world’s dumbest directors, and he’s tackling what I understand to be a pretty dumb subject. And not just any dumb subject, but one that you would think would raise the cackles of professional writers, i.e., critics. And yet there seems to be a sizable contingent of critics that think it’s pretty good … I have strong enough doubts that I don’t feel like finding out for sure.
Metacritic: 52

In Time (trailer)
Director: Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, S1m0ne, Lord of War)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
An interesting premise, and an opportunity to watch Cillian Murphy play a weird bad guy for probably the last time before watching Cillian Murphy play a weird bad guy starts to get old. Or maybe it won’t – he has a Walken-esque quality that might have more staying power than I think. Actually, now that I think about it, it might be more Spader-esque than Walken-esque. Which is still good but no one beats the master.
Metacritic: 55

Martha Marcy May Marlene (trailer)
Director: Sean Durkin
Personal Interest Factor: 8
Obviously the big winner this week, as it both looks the most interesting and has the most critical buzz behind it. Won the Best Director prize at Sundance this last year and is getting serious attention for Elizabeth Olsen’s performance.
Metacritic: 75

Oranges and Sunshine (trailer)
Director: Jim Loach
Personal Interest Factor: 6
So I don’t know the history here, but apparently it was once custom for social workers in Britain to basically abduct poor children and send them off as child laborers to places throughout the empire. This was brought to light in the 1980s, and that exposure is the subject of this movie, which stars Emily Watson and Hugo Weaving.
Metacritic: 62

The Rum Diary (trailer)
Director: Bruce Robinson (Withnail & I, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Jennifer 8)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
I wasn’t a big fan of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, although it’s been long enough since I’ve seen the movie that I wonder if I’d feel differently about it now. Anyway, I doubt this movie’s all that similar to that one aside from the obvious superficial elements, but I can’t say that I’m feeling the pull here.
Metacritic: 57

Also this week:
Boy Wonder – indie teen vigilante/superhero movie
Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (trailer) – biopic about Charlotte Serge Gainsbourg
Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together – lesbian romance
Puss in Boots (trailer) – Shrek spin-off

9 responses »

  1. I loved A.O. Scott’s opening graph on Anonymous:

    “Anonymous,” a costume spectacle directed by Roland Emmerich, from a script by John Orloff, is a vulgar prank on the English literary tradition, a travesty of British history and a brutal insult to the human imagination. Apart from that, it’s not bad.

  2. Then you might like it, because I think it does a nice job of translating his work to the screen. But then again, you didn’t like Fear and Loathing, so all bets are off.

  3. I was pleased to hear that Rum Diary is decent. It was on the shelf for a really long time (like two years or so I think).

    Martha Marcy May Marlene is probably my most anticipated film at the moment, unfortunately it still hasn’t made it to CT.

  4. Andrew Niccol is very hit-or-miss.

    Gattaca, Lord of War…excellent.
    Simone and now In Time….not so good.

    Though not nearly on the terrible scale of Simone, it really isn’t that good, with gaping plot holes, many contrived conveniences and a premise that would make a MUCH better Philip K. Dick short story than this movie.

    Cillian Murphy is really good in it, though.

  5. Oh, shit, I feel stupid. Was I supposed to know this?
    It says he filed an injunction against the movie. I don’t know, but if he actually saw it, he wouldn’t want his name whispered anywhere in conjunction with the film and he likely won’t have to worry about too many people relating his name or story to it.
    Really, the end is so bad, the movie should’ve tried the beginning in the middle end at beginning and whatnot.
    Gonna search out the story now.

  6. No, don’t feel stupid. I’d never heard of the story, either, but I read about it on the Wikipedia entry for In Time. I also remember a different story (I think it was in Playboy in the 80s or so) that also used the “time is money” angle–if you ran out of money, you died. Not an original idea to Niccol.

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