Opening in Chicago, 12/16

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Will be away from the computer for most of the weekend, so here’s an early edition of Openings for the holiday masses! Featuring some of the biggest-profile releases left this year, to boot:

A Dangerous Method (trailer)
Director: David Cronenberg (eXistenZ, Spider, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises)
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to this and I don’t want to prejudge it too harshly, but it’s clear that Keira Knightley is going to be a problem for me in this movie. She’s a very limited actress, and any time she has to dial up the intensity (e.g., the “IT EXCITED ME!” line in the trailer), she looks utterly ridiculous. On the other hand, I genuinely look forward to watching Viggo Mortensen ham it up as Sigmund Freud. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous Michael Fassbender defied all odds by getting through the year without being in a movie with Jessica Chastain. How’d that happen?
Metacritic: 74

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (trailer)
Director: Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille)
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Main appeal here is Bird directing and a half-decent title, even though I’ve never been that excited about the M:I franchise. Paramount, curiously, is rolling this out nice and slowly, hitting only 425 screens before expanding wide for Christmas. Apparently, they’re planning the same thing with Tintin and War Horse. The strikes me as a more notable development than Universal’s pointless flirtation with VOD, because unlike Uni’s aborted VOD plan, it’s an experiment that directly challenges the “milk the first weekend for all it’s worth” conventional wisdom that took over Hollywood for good sometime around the release of Batman Forever. Plus, by necessity it actually incorporates word-of-mouth as a marketing strategy, and when’s the last time that happened with a big-studio franchise movie? Never, that’s when. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out for them.
Metacritic: 73

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (trailer)
Director: Guy Ritchie (Swept Away, Revolver, RocknRolla, Sherlock Holmes)
Personal Interest Factor: 5
WB taking the opposite tack from Paramount here, offering up a sequel with a director I don’t care about and an awkward title. This strikes me as an unnecessary sequel anyway, since the first movie was passable at best and AFAIK there aren’t a whole lot of people out there who were a whole lot more taken with it than I was. Is there real excitement out there about this one? I have my doubts.
Metacritic: 50

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (trailer)
Director: Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In)
Personal Interest Factor: 8
Sounds like a movie about a legendary turn-of-the-century infield combo and it has a somewhat uninspiring trailer, but a John Le Carre adaptation starring Gary Oldman sure sounds like a winner to me. I’m really glad to see the reviews to strong, because I was a little worried about that trailer when it first came out.
Metacritic: 87

Also this week:
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (trailer) – no, no, no
That Girl in Yellow Boots (trailer) – Indian film about the sleazy side of Bombay

6 responses »

  1. I just checked back on the review of the first Sherlock Holmes movie and I commented that while I thought the film was sort-of OK, if Guy Ritchie was directing the sequel I wouldn’t be much interested in the sequel. And he’s directing, and I’m not.

  2. The limited MI4 rollout this week is exclusively to IMAX theaters. Next week it expands to standard theaters and screens.

    If you see it do yourself a favor and do so in IMAX if at all possible. The Dubai scene alone is worth it, but the movie as a whole is a ton of fun.

  3. Nah, thanks but I’m good. Honestly, Jeanine took the day off today, and we went out to breakfast, did some shopping, picked up a rental car for the weekend. I’ve spent the whole day thinking it’s Saturday, and basically I just forgot until you said something. But I’ll have plenty of time tonight.

  4. Despite my lack of desire to see it, because a friend wanted to see the Sherlock Holmes sequel (and there wasn’t much else of interest on), went to see it tonight. And to my pleasant surprise I quite enjoyed it, a definite step up from the original.

    To be sure, it still has many of the same flaws as the first film (too many action scenes, depressingly relishing in violence, overlong) but where it improves is that it has a more engaging and better-written plot and the relationship between Watson and Holmes is better and more deftly deployed.

    Downey Jr. toned down the eccentricties and was more tolerable and Law was impressive again as Watson. However Noomi Rapace is wasted in a thankless role. Jared Harris is OK as Moriarty although he doesn’t really convey the menace associated with such a character.

    It’s no classic but better than I thought it would be. Rating: B

  5. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is another excellent and thrilling installment in what is turning out to be a fantastic franchise. MI: Rogue Nation was the best action film since The Raid and this was another excellent, strong installment. While not having a female lead anywhere near the excellence of Ilsa, Paula Patton did more than well enough, Renner was actually watchable, and Tom kept it strong and lightning-paced. Great bad guys are another plus in these. Really love this series, and can’t wait for number 6.

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