Opening in Chicago, Weekend of 08/24

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Chicken with Plums (trailer)
Director: Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parannoud (Persepolis)
Personal Interest Factor: 8
I really enjoyed Persepolis, and the filmmakers’ followup is a live action film about a violinist who loses his most prized violin. The trailer’s pretty great, and the reviews are very good, so I’m looking forward to this one.
Metacritic: 73

Cosmopolis (trailer)
Director: David Cronenberg (Spider, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, A Dangerous Method)
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Two films in two years is odd for Cronenberg, a director much more used to taking three years or so between films. Anyway, this seems to be getting some of his weakest reviews in some time, but it’s got a strong trailer and I’m curious to see what Cronenberg does with this kind of subject matter.
Metacritic: 58

Nobody Else but You (trailer)
Director: Gérald Hustache-Mathieu (Avril)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
Offbeat French film about the investigation into the death of a TV commercial actress. Looks somewhat interesting, although unfortunately my new job will make it difficult to get down to the Gene Siskel Film Center with any regularity since they’re not open during the day and their showtimes are typically at odd times (i.e., 6PM). Stuff like this figures to be the biggest casualty, the kind of thing that I might have gone to see but don’t really need to see. Oh well.
Metacritic: 63

Premium Rush (trailer)
Director: David Koepp (The Trigger Effect, Stir of Echoes, Secret Window, Ghost Town)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
I had never really heard of this until the poster showed up at the theatre, and I was struck by the title is so much smaller than the tagline. Sure looks like a movie its studio doesn’t care about, but reviews are decent. Didn’t realize Michael Shannon was in it, and the presence of him and Gordon-Levitt might be enough to get me to see it. Or not. Incidentally, I’ve never actually seen a Koepp film.
Metacritic: 66

Red Hook Summer (trailer)
Director: (25th Hour, She Hate Me, Inside Man, Miracle at St. Anna)
Personal Interest Factor: 7
A new Spike Lee joint shows up mostly unannounced and with limited bookings, and honestly I don’t know much about it. I’ve seen lobby cards sitting around on the Red Line, though, so I assume that there’s some targeted marketing going on. I think I’ll have time to see it this week, and I’m kind of looking forward to it. Lee’s films can be kind of a mess sometimes (even the good ones), but he’s one of the most purely cinematic directors around, if that makes any sense.
Metacritic: 50

Also this week:
The Apparition (trailer) – horror movie
Hit and Run (trailer) – Dax Shepard car chase movie
The Imposter (trailer) – doc about a couple’s long-lost missing child
Robot & Frank (trailer) – Frank Langella and a robot

11 responses »

  1. Yes, actually, I thought it was kind of wonderful. Not quite a masterpiece, probably, but very inventive and very unique, and not quite like anything else I’ve seen. I liked it better than Persepolis.

    Things are getting back to normal here for me (I’m back in Chicago), so I’ll be catching up on the reviews on my site soon.

  2. Didn’t get a chance to see it, unfortunately. Meant to check one of our local Redboxes, but I keep forgetting. Maybe will do that right now….

    Turns out Redbox only has it on DVD. Bah.

  3. And Filmman: Inside Man. I thought there was a pretty strong consensus on that (Lee’s highest grossing film by a wide margin, enjoys an 86% on RT, the studio tried to make it a franchise, etc…hey I reviewed the sequel script here). What was wrong with it?

  4. Okay, timeout. Someone can write a paragraph about how LOTR no longer holds up to repeat viewings (a sentence I can’t understand, as I can enter any of those movies at any point and watch for any amount of time and be enthralled, thrilled and enamored but write a simple sentence that simply infers that Inside Man is not a good movie by Spike Lee standards and it’s immediately countered?

    Inside Man is formulaic, trite, overwritten, overdirected, overacted and well, simply not good, for me, from even the man who made Summer of Sam (a sadly overlooked near-masterpiece) and 25th Hour, not to \mention DTRT and Clockers (which might work more because of Price than Lee, but regardless…).

  5. For instance, the interrogation scenes in Inside Man make me cringe.

    I still have my Japanese ticket stub to Summer of Sam. Japanese ticket stubs were always, when I was there, mini versions of the movie posters. And they were excellent.

  6. *****There be spoilers here*****

    Premium Rush was actually kinda really good. It’s formulaic and the characters only work to serve where Koepp wants to get from beginning to end (characters can just ride into police impound without being stopped, even when they’re caught, so they can conveniently, you know, steal bikes from impound and get away from like ten cops, you know, on their bikes, but I quibble, but not really because the entire ‘bike impound’ scene is horrid in its ridiculous execution of bumbling keystone cops, I mean, Shannon has to tell them to close the doors while two illegal entrants on bikes elude police on the very racks and bikes and tops of cars, but I quibble), and Koepp handles the story with flashbacks that break-up the formula and it’s on bikes! So we get some cool chase scenes and though it’s a niche that may not ‘get’ it, and who may think it’s ‘over the top’ or ‘unreal’ (it isn’t), and he gets the entire world of the messenger pretty damn close (I did messenger in NYC for a very short time a few years ago. A very short time. It is a serious, hardcore subset of NYC life).
    A bumbling cop would never spend the movie chasing a bike without getting him and then say “I’m done” after the amount of damage to himself and property, you know, the reason he’s been chasing him, but I quibble.
    It’s not for everybody, but Michael Shannon is very, very excellent. I cannot wait to see him in Superman. He is a really, really great actor, his death is handled rather effectively, and the emotions are real at the end.
    On a cool side note: Hawala and hawaladars.

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