Opening in Chicago, Weekend of 11/23


So, it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in the US, which as usual brings intolerably long lines at stores, traffic that makes one thankful for mass transit, and one of the busiest weekends of the year at movie theaters.

Leading the way among new releases this weekend is Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (trailer), which looks interesting on one hand but also carries the whiff of studio desperation with it on the other. I’ve seen a lot of Avatar comparisons floated lately, particularly in regards to its use of 3D, which seems like hype to me. Maybe I’ll eat my words (or probably not, since I won’t see it in 3D), but Ang Lee has never been a groundbreaking technician, and I’m skeptical that the movie is the landmark in film history that Fox is trying to sell it as. But like I say, I do want to see it, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at least proved that Lee is capable of very exciting but also very elegant spectacle.

Among potential Oscar hopefuls, Hitchcock (trailer) also sees its debut today, and frankly it looks awful. Who greenlit Anthony Hopkins’s make-up job for this movie? Forget looking like Hitchcock, he barely looks recognizably human. If you saw someone looking like him on the street, you’d assume he had some kind of grotesque disease.

Even aside from that, the trailer makes the film look pretty pedestrian. He has some pushback from the studios, his wife alternately stands by him and gives Oscar-bait lectures to him, he makes some droll quips from time to time … I don’t see anything here that seems enlightening or even fun. It looks like it was made for cable, actually.

Other than that, though, there’s not much to pick from. There’s the animated Rise of the Guardians (trailer), which looks like sort of a marketing-department-conceived Avengers-type thing made up of childhood mythical figures (e.g., Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc.). Not sure what the appeal is, and early box office seems disappointing for Dreamworks. There’s the remake of Red Dawn (trailer), which hardly seems worth mentioning. There’s another animated film from France, Michel Ocelot’s Tales of the Night, and an indie drama called The Comedy (trailer).

But that appears to be it. Hope everyone is having a good weekend. Try not to be trampled by the bargain-hunting herd.


8 responses »

  1. Purposely. Price is not an issue – indeed, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t watch it in 3D for free.

    I don’t like 3D to begin with, but I have a problem with it physically. Doesn’t work for my eyes for some reason or another, and I can’t resolve the two halves into one. So I see double and it gives me headaches.

  2. Hitchcock is as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it’s downright obnoxious, with the worst performance by Hopkins that I’ve ever seen. Mirren’s performance is completely predictable and dull, although she doesn’t look as bad compared to Hopkins.

    Even aside from that, though, it’s completely inane, with nothing to say about Psycho or Hitchcock’s career or anything else. My early diagnosis of it looking like a made-for-cable movie was spot on. A very poor film.

  3. I had a look at the Hitchcock trailer and it does indeed look pretty awful.

    They had a bit at a premiere where a reporter asks AH ‘you’re the most famous director in the history of the medium. But you’re now 60 years old. Shouldn’t you just quit while you’re ahead?’ Talk about heavy-handed and clunky!

  4. Have to agree about Hitchcock. The stuff about the creative process could have been interesting, but it plays second fiddle to the relationship between him and his wife, which is far less interesting. The makeup is dreadful. And somehow I felt the whole thing was unseemly, trying to psychoanalyze Hitchcock, while not really telling us anything about his artistic powers. And boy howdy, did the screenwriters kiss Janet Leigh’s ass. I’m sure she was a nice woman, but she comes across as saintly here.

  5. The makeup is dreadful.

    I feel like this point can’t be emphasized enough. What on earth kind of person looked at the makeup tests and said, “Yes! That’s it! It’s great! We can definitely go with that!”

    For christ’s sake, Hopkins’s face looks like it’s made from Richard Dreyfuss’s mashed potatoes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s just bizarre that anyone thought it was good enough.

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