Opening in Chicago, 05/25

Standard

Chernobyl Diaries (trailer)
Director: Brad Parker
Personal Interest Factor: 1
Normally I’d throw this into the “Also this week” section, except that this one seems unusually crude. I don’t know why it’s gotten so under my skin, except that the Chernobyl disaster was one of the worst things to happen in my lifetime, and I’m not really keen on some dumb exploitational zombie movie made about it. I realize that this is a distinctly fogeyish attitude to take, and I also realize that I could be wrong about the movie and it’s actually more than the dumb run-of-the-mill horror junk it’s being advertised. But I also think it’s fair of me to wonder just what the appeal here is supposed to be.
Metacritic: no score yet

Hysteria (trailer)
Director: Tanya Wexler (Finding North)
Personal Interest Factor: 4
Story about the invention of the vibrator, which looks a little like the female arthouse equivalent of Love and Other Drugs. In other words, pretty much tedious. On the other hand, it appears to also exist as a means for modern audiences to laugh at how stupid people were back in the day, as if future audiences won’t be laughing at what morons we are now.
Metacritic: 53

Men in Black III (trailer)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld (Wild Wild West, Big Trouble, Men in Black II, RV)
Personal Interest Factor: 5
Um, I’ve been more skeptical of this than just about any other summer movie this year. And now I find myself kinda thinking about checking it out just to see Josh Brolin do his Tommy Lee Jones impression. How’d that happen? The movie doesn’t even look any good.
Metacritic: 59

Polisse (trailer)
Director: Maïwenn
Personal Interest Factor: 5
French drama about a division of the Paris police assigned to child services. The trailer indicates that I will strongly hate it for pretending to be about the filmmakers’ self-congratulatory concern for the welfare of children but in actuality being about the trivial romantic drama of the officers. But I could be wrong. So it’s a dilemma for me, because I might go and like it, but if I don’t like it, I might really hate it. I’m leaning towards ‘no’.
Metacritic: 76

Also this week:
Hick (trailer) – Chloë Grace Moretz does the Jodie-Foster-in-Taxi-Driver thing
Wallander: The Revenge (trailer) – first episode of the Swedish TV series

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17 responses »

  1. Isn’t there another chernobyl movie coming produced by the guy who did District 9? Gonna have to research…

  2. I love the tagline for that Wallander trailer site…and wasn’t Kenneth Branagh Wallander? Nick?

  3. I’m kinda looking forward to Men In Black 3, myself. I am curious whether the mostly good reviews are skewed by critics comparing it to the last entry.

  4. I am curious whether the mostly good reviews are skewed by critics comparing it to the last entry.

    Ebert says it’s better than the first. Not that I necessarily believe him, but if you think about it, that’s not really all that high a bar to clear.

  5. Yeah, Branagh did the English version – the version playing here is the Swedish one, which Music Box Films has apparently decided to release into theaters on a serial basis.

  6. Branagh’s WALLANDER series was excellent (the 1st series was at least, haven’t seen the 2nd yet), and these are the Swedish originals from 1994-2009. Music Box just sent me the seven disc set w/13 films so I have some serious watching to do in the next couple of weeks.

  7. I love the tagline for that Wallander trailer site…and wasn’t Kenneth Branagh Wallander? Nick?

    If you’d, ahem, read the entirety of my post on the Swedish ‘deckare’ you’d know that Wallander has been done a few times on film already before Branagh. The one that the Music Box are putting up is the one before Branagh’s, with Krister Henriksson in the lead, which was primarily financed by Germans.

    I always preferred Rolf Lassgård in the lead (scroll down the article for an image of him), since I feel he looked and behaved more like the volatile sad sack Mankell portrayed Wallander as. The ones with Henriksson felt like they were missing much of the grime and ennui that I associate with the novels.

    Branagh’s WALLANDER series was excellent (the 1st series was at least, haven’t seen the 2nd yet), and these are the Swedish originals from 1994-2009. Music Box just sent me the seven disc set w/13 films so I have some serious watching to do in the next couple of weeks.

    From 1994? Then it must be with Rolf Lassgård as well, but I have a hard time seeing why they’d send both series.

    The probably greatest criminal drama ever made in Sweden, which I believe y’all have been missing out on, is Mikael Marcimain’s ‘Lasermannen’ from 2005. A miniseries based on a series of shootings in the early nineties, it’s a factually based drama and absolutely fantastic in capturing the sense of place. The portrayal of the lead role of John Ausonius by David Dencik is eery (who played Toby Esterhase in Tinker, Tailor… which Marcimain also was assistant director on). It’s too bad they never seem to get around to subtitling these in English.

    http://cdon.se/film/lasermannen%3A_en_ber%C3%A4ttelse_om_sverige_(2_disc)-519207

  8. Saw MIB 3 today and I don’t quite get the praise for it. It’s certainly a step up from the second installment, but it’s still stale as hell.

    The first 30 minutes are horrifying. MIBII-level badness, if not worse. The funeral for Rip Torn’s character is a candidate for the worst scene of the franchise, particularly in the way it embarrasses poor Emma Thompson.

    It picks up when Smith gets to the 60′s as we enjoy some fish-out-of-water stuff in an environment not so friendly to African-Americans. Unfortunately, Sonnenfeld and his writers immediately retreat from exploring something interesting and we’re right back to formula a few scenes later.

    Josh Brolin and Michael Stuhlberg are terrific, but they belong in a much better movie. It’s a shame they couldn’t have just made a period Men in Black film focusing on their characters.

    Jones is completely checked out, his soul swallowed by the four decades it looks like he’s aged since the last installment. Smith isn’t charming or funny, just tiresome as a middle aged man who should have matured beyond the on-screen persona he had 15 years ago.

    Again: definitely better than the last film, but that’s really not too difficult, is it?

  9. I know I saw it, but I honestly can’t recall a single thing from it. Or was that the one with Michael Jackson? I’m too lazy/indifferent to look it up.

    I know it makes me sound like a perv (which is nothing new) but I’d like to see Hick.

    For the articles, I’m sure.

  10. MIB3: Not horrible. Redeemed by the AWESOME shot of Smith playing video games with the framed picture of Frank behind him and the line “When I see a couple, I’m like OoooKkk. :-)”

    The first 30 minutes are horrifying. MIBII-level badness, if not worse. The funeral for Rip Torn’s character is a candidate for the worst scene of the franchise, particularly in the way it embarrasses poor Emma Thompson.

    Yup.

    Smith isn’t charming or funny, just tiresome as a middle aged man who should have matured beyond the on-screen persona he had 15 years ago.

    In a BIG way.

    Brolin is really good. And yeah, they had a chance to explore some cool things…but didn’t.

  11. Thanks to the crazy run Men In Black 3 enjoyed internationally (most successful of franchise, how did that happen?) Sony is proceeding with a fourth installment. I’ve got to imagine they’ll be heading into reboot mode, but lord knows.

  12. They’ve got to keep Will Smith if possible, don’t they? No doubt Tommy Lee Jones would rather slit his own throat, though. Maybe instead of sending Will Smith back in time, they can send Brolin forward for the next one.

    But I can’t imagine they’ll reboot as long as Smith is bringing them in and he’s willing to do it.

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