Opening in Chicago, Weekend of 12/28 (Better Late Than Never Edition)

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So, this is all going to seem like old news, since I’m not only late posting this, but also most of the movies came out last Tuesday already. In fact, I’m having a hard time remembering which movies I need to include and which ones I don’t without looking it up.

Puzzled chin-stroking aside, I guess the biggest releases of the week are Tarantino’s Django Unchained (trailer) and Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables (trailer), with its Village of the Damned poster that is supposed to evoke the classic image from the musical but just looks creepy. Why does it have a plastic doll on it that’s looking at me like it wants to eat my soul?

I don’t really have a strong preference between these two movies, although I suppose that I’d pick the Tarantino if forced to choose. Problem is, I feel like I look forward to every Tarantino less than the one before. It used to be that a new film of his was a major event, but now it’s more of a mild curiosity to me than anything. I don’t really think his classic work holds up all that well, either. I just watched Pulp Fiction again last week, and I can still appreciate it for what it is, but I also feel like I see it the same way that I did when I was 16 years old and it was first released. Some movies grow with you, but that one hasn’t grown with me. It’s still exactly the same to me as it was then, and I can’t see anything in it that I didn’t see as a teenager. I don’t think I could even make it through Reservoir Dogs again….

As for Les Miz, well, whatever. Jeanine’s seen it (I haven’t) and can say more about than I can. I’m not a big fan of musicals but this one looks more appealing than most, mostly because it has a cast I can tolerate. I expect I’ll be a little impatient but mostly OK with it and then kind of pissed when it wins a bunch of Oscars.

Next up is Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land (trailer), which apparently aims to lure a bunch of people who are already against fracking into a movie theater in order to tell them a bunch of stuff that they already know. I like Matt Damon, and I sometimes like Van Sant, but this looks like an endurance test.

From France, we have The Big Picture (trailer), which is the kind of French thriller that I used to see as a matter of routine. Now, though, I’m working, which occasionally makes it impossible to get to the the Music Box since they’re usually not open during the day. But also, I’m a little afraid to head down there these days, because I tend to show up and find that they’re showing a Blu-ray or something, which I of course will not abide. I’ve repeatedly requested to them that they make exhibition formats available on the web, like the Siskel or Doc Films or others do, but as of yet they haven’t listened to what seems to me like an easy and fair request.

Speaking of which, they’re also showing Lawrence of Arabia, in what is billed as a “meticulous 4K digital restoration created from the original 65mm negative.” Now, this isn’t really their fault, since Sony’s making the 4K file available so that’s what they’re playing. But seriously, 4K is not the same thing as 70mm, and it’s ludicrous to pretend like it is.

I never watched The Sopranos, but now creator David Chase has made his first movie, Not Fade Away (trailer), about a teenagers in 1960s New Jersey who form a rock band. Don’t really have an opinion on this one, because I don’t really know much about it. Reviews are not quite glowing but mostly respectful. Probably will skip it.

Facets is playing a reissue of what has to be one of the few Surinamese films to play in the US, One People, originally released in 1976.

Hmm, let’s see, what else … oh, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are starring in a movie that no one in their right mind can possibly expect to be good. It’s called Parental Guidance (trailer), and in the same spirit that I imagine propels reality shows where people eat disgusting food for spectacle, our own Marco Trevisiol has braved the harsh Australian winter to check it out and report back. He reports that it’s “assembly-line Hollywood ‘family comedy’ at its worst”. Sounds about right!

10 responses »

  1. But seriously, 4K is not the same thing as 70mm, and it’s ludicrous to pretend like it is.

    Preach it, sir-

  2. Hmm, let’s see, what else … oh, Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are starring in a movie that no one in their right mind can possibly expect to be good. It’s called Parental Guidance (trailer), and in the same spirit that I imagine propels reality shows where people eat disgusting food for spectacle, our own Marco Trevisiol has braved the harsh Australian winter to check it out and report back. He reports that it’s “assembly-line Hollywood ‘family comedy’ at its worst”. Sounds about right

    All correct, except it’s summer here! btw it’s forecast to be approx 106 fahrenheit tomorrow.

  3. I don’t really have a strong preference between these two movies, although I suppose that I’d pick the Tarantino if forced to choose. Problem is, I feel like I look forward to every Tarantino less than the one before. It used to be that a new film of his was a major event, but now it’s more of a mild curiosity to me than anything. I don’t really think his classic work holds up all that well, either. I just watched Pulp Fiction again last week, and I can still appreciate it for what it is, but I also feel like I see it the same way that I did when I was 16 years old and it was first released. Some movies grow with you, but that one hasn’t grown with me. It’s still exactly the same to me as it was then, and I can’t see anything in it that I didn’t see as a teenager. I don’t think I could even make it through Reservoir Dogs again….

    With reservations, I was fan of Tarantino’s work in the 1990s – even the not that well received ‘From Dusk To Dawn’ (which he only scripted) I got a lot out of.

    But then I saw the first Kill Bill film at the cinema which I found so repellent (as bad a time as I’ve had at the movies) that I was completely turned off his work and haven’t had any interest with his work since.

    But certainly Tarantino’s reputation is such now within the film community that he seems almost untouchable now – it almost feels like no matter what film he released now a large section of film fans would praise it regardless.

  4. Yeah, yeah, sure, Marco…*summer*. And I suppose the water in Australia swirls the opposite way in the fountain and the toilet…suuurree.

  5. it almost feels like no matter what film he released now a large section of film fans would praise it regardless.

    *cough*Clint Eastwood*cough*
    *cough*thegarbagethatwasmilliondollarbaby*cough*

  6. I thought Million Dollar Baby was great. Granted, the entire plot hinges on something that is not true–an adult can not be compelled to receive medical treatment–but if you let that go it was a terrific film. Now, Eastwood has had several duds lately–Changeling, Invictus, Hereafter, and J. Edgar, but I’m not sure he has a following that heralds them like Tarantino does.

  7. I liked Million Dollar Baby well enough at the time, but I wonder what I’d think of it if I watched it again. It hasn’t aged well in my mind, if that makes sense. That might partly because of Eastwood’s shoddy recent work, but I’m not sure that accounts for it completely. The same thing hasn’t happened to Unforgiven, which I also haven’t seen in many years.

    In other words, filmman might be on to something here.

  8. Was talking to my stepfather over christmas and we were discussing movies and I was shocked, straight-up shocked to hear him say ‘I didn’t like Unforgiven, and I doubt I’d watch it again’. I mean, this was a man that movie was made for. Sweeping vistas, Clint, Gene Hackman as a guy called ‘Little Bill’…I couldn’t understand it. And then I went back, pretty far, and thought how little I wouldn’t care if I ever saw another Eastwood movie myself [Except for Mystic River, but more for Sean Penn and less for the really depressing moping of Kevin Bacon]. And yet, whenever they’re released, they’re universally praised and usually nominated and revered.

  9. I would agree to an extent that Eastwood gets a bit of a soft run from some critics. One prominent critic in Australia is especially susceptiable in that regard (he gave J. Edgar 4.5 out of 5 for example). But I think that’s more to do with Eastwood’s status within film history as a legend, probably similarish cases could be made for Spielberg, Scorsese, Woody Allen.

    But Tarantino is a different case altogether – he hasn’t been around nowhere near as long as any of those people and the support he gets seems to be on a higher level than those others. Going by certain reviews I read, the more self-indulgent he is the more beloved he becomes!

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