Opening in Chicago, 11/02

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Flight (trailer)
Director: Robert Zemeckis (Cast Away, The Polar Express, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol)
Personal Interest Factor: 8
There was a time when Zemeckis was one of my favorite directors. In fact, I’d still count Contact as a favorite, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Back to the Future, and Cast Away are all films that any big-studio director should be proud to have on their resume. I still like Forrest Gump, although not quite as much as I did when it was released. So I guess I’m happy to see a real movie from him after his years of distraction with that dumb motion capture shit.
Metacritic: 76

A Late Quartet (trailer)
Director: Yaron Zilberman
Personal Interest Factor: 6
Another role for Christopher Walken, who has a lot of movies coming out all the sudden after a few years without prominent releases. This one’s about the internal dynamics of the relationships between members of a string quartet, also with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener. Might be interesting, or it might be a dull indie melodrama.
Metacritic: 68

The Loneliest Planet (trailer)
Director: Julia Loktev (Day Night Day Night)
Personal Interest Factor: 7
I should really go see this one, about a couple who get into trouble hiking across the Caucasus Mountains. For a variety of reasons, I’ve been slack in my movie attendance for the last couple months (work is only part of it), and this is the kind of thing I definitely would have gone to see before I fell off the pace.
Metacritic: 76

The Man with the Iron Fists (trailer)
Director: RZA
Personal Interest Factor: 4
I’ve already heard a few people say they were excited about this but it was terrible. Not a good sign on opening night, since this is the type of movie where only people who are really into this kind of thing are going to bother with it in the first place. Maybe if I had made it, I wouldn’t have cast Lucy Liu, just so that it didn’t look like quite so blatant a Kill Bill ripoff.
Metacritic: 53

Wreck-It Ralph (trailer)
Director: Rich Moore
Personal Interest Factor: 5
I wish I had more to say about this than I do. Seems like there’s some excitement about it out there in the world, and it opened reasonably well, but it’s just not doing it for me.
Metacritic: 72

Also this week:
Brooklyn Castle (trailer) – doc about a school chess team
The Flat (trailer) – Israeli doc about a man cleaning out his grandparents’ apartment
Shun Li and the Poet – about a Chinese immigrant in Italy
Wake in Fright (trailer) – reissue of 1971 Australian film

4 responses »

  1. Re: the Lucy Liu and Kill Bill rip-off, that was the first thing that went through my mind after thinking ‘holy shit, what is this’ when I first saw the trailer, but then I said: “Lucy Liu coming around the corner in slow motion in a kimono in a-no, he really-but there must be’ and then before I could formulate a further thought on the matter: Russell Crowe.
    Yeah….come on, man…come on. Come ooonnn. This is the kind of movie I want to see come out of America, to see how we make it and get away from derivative sequel-itis and do what so many other countries do so well, and-derivative.
    And I don’t think she’s Lucy Liu anymore.

  2. Flight sort of sucks. It’s really un-Zemeckisy, for one thing, except for the big plane crash sequence, which is extremely well done. But even that felt familiar after his big plane crash in Cast Away.

    But the big problem is that I found myself thinking, not for the first time, that alcoholism – and addiction in general, I suppose – is just not a very interesting dramatic topic. I mean, we’ve all seen this 10 million times, haven’t we? People tell an addict he needs help. Addict gets defensive and says he’s good. Repeat ad nauseum.

    There just aren’t many places to go with this story. Denzel’s character is really an incredible asshole, and not the sympathetic in the slightest, and that’s a ballsy move by the filmmakers. But there’s nothing more to it than that – people spend the whole movie telling him he needs help, and he spends the whole movie being a dick about it. That’s all there is to it, and it’s really pretty dull.

  3. people spend the whole movie telling him he needs help, and he spends the whole movie being a dick about it

    Sounds like my kind of movie!

  4. I liked Flight a lot more than you did. Washington is great, so is Kelly Reilly, and their characters are interesting. And sure we’ve seen it all before, just like we’ve seen Westerns, war movies, and romantic comedies. They all follow certain templates (aren’t there only supposed to be 27 plots?) but it’s the way they’re told that determines the quality.

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