Opening in Chicago, 11/11

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Immortals (trailer)
Director: Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
Tarsem’s previous two films were both visually fascinating and somewhat perfunctory in their storytelling, although The Fall was still pretty good. This movie unfortunately looks much more ordinary than either one, and apparently adds post-converted 3D into the mix as well. I might go see it if I can in 2D, just because I’d be afraid I was missing something if I didn’t.
Metacritic: 43

Into the Abyss (trailer)
Director: Werner Herzog (The White Diamond, Grizzly Man, Encounters at the End of the World, Cave of Forgotten Dreams)
Personal Interest Factor: 9
The latest from the great Werner Herzog, who seems to pop up with a new film every few months these days. This one is a documentary about a death row inmate in Texas, and looks to be his most compelling doc since Grizzly Man.
Metacritic: 77

J. Edgar (trailer)
Director: Clint Eastwood (Changeling, Gran Torino, Invictus, Hereafter)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
I’ll go see this just because seeing stuff like this is what I do. But it really looks awful, and Eastwood’s last couple movies have not been good. Besides, I wonder how much there really is to say about Hoover these days. I’ve been thinking that in its own way, Michael Mann’s Public Enemies was a very effective J. Edgar Hoover portrayal. He wasn’t a major character in that movie, but he was a big presence nonetheless. And though it was early in his career, I think one can extrapolate the power he would accumulate and the abuses of power that would be so problematic from the way Mann and Billy Crudup portrayed him. Yes, the more I think about Public Enemies the more it gains in stature with me.
Metacritic: 59

Melancholia (trailer)
Director: Lars von Trier (Dogville, Manderlay, The Boss of It All, Antichrist)
Personal Interest Factor: 10
Yeah, I’m excited for this one. I’m glad to see Kirsten Dunst getting a really great role; I’ve always thought she was underappreciated as an actress. And from what I’ve heard, this treads similar thematic ground as Antichrist and advances LVT’s newly found and very bold visual aesthetic – who knew it was coming from Mr. Dogme? – but is more disciplined and maybe not as brutally confrontational.
Metacritic: 81

Red Desert
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni (L’avventura, Blowup, Zabriskie Point, The Passenger)
Personal Interest Factor: 9
Excited about this too. I’ve never really gotten into Antonioni, having only seen Blowup and The Passenger, which I both enjoyed. This movie was earlier than either of those two, and was his first color film. It’s playing in a new 35mm print this week. Great!
Metacritic: no score

Also this week:
Bobby Fischer Against the World – Bobby Fischer doc
Jack and Jill (trailer) – most repulsive-looking Sandler movie ever?
Revenge of the Electric Car (trailer) – followup to Who Killed the Electric Car? from a few years back
The Women on the 6th Floor (trailer) – French comedy about a new maid in a wealthy house

12 responses »

  1. I know I’m not going to like it, but the previews want to make me watch The Immortals.

    Jamie Bell was on the Graham Norton show and he told an anecdote that Lars Von Trier directs completely naked. I used to think his thing was a semi-act like Kanye West, that he knew what he was doing and did it on purpose, but now…I’m not so sure-

  2. I agree with your view on Dunst. She was great in Crazy/Beautiful, was the best thing about Marie Antoinette, and gave a great juvenile performance in Interview with a Vampire.

  3. Agreed on Dunst, I’ve never understood the hate directed towards her in recent years.

    I was iffy on Melancholia, but she was terrific in it.

  4. She was very good in The Cat’s Meow and The Virgin Suicides, also.

    I’ll even go so far as to say that I liked Dunst in the Spiderman movies. Or at least the first two anyway; the third didn’t really turn out well for anyone involved.

  5. I’m gonna use that argument from now on.
    “I like Sugar Pops cereal.”
    “I can’t believe you would like Sugar Pops.”
    “Well, then I guess that kinda proves my argument.”
    “……………………..”

    I’m not saying she’s not a good actress, but I wouldn’t call her underrated. I’ve never seen any real hate directed at her and no one really gives her bad reviews.
    I didn’t think she was right at all for Spider Man, just didn’t think it was proper casting and none of her performances has ever stuck in my head.

  6. There’s a difference between these two statements:

    1) “I like Kirsten Dunst.”
    2) “I think Kirsten Dunst is underappreciated.”

    Your Sugar Pops analogy works with one of those statements. It’s nonsense with the other.

  7. A couple of choice bits from the Times. A.O. Scott on Jack and Jill: “As for Mr. Sandler, I have always been interested in what he would do next, and I suppose I still am, especially if what he does next is retire.”

    Paul Brunick on Immortals: “Sing to me, O Muse, of gods and men, of timeless legends and forgettable retreads. Speak of “Immortals,” and answer in all seriousness: did you even read that awful script?”

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