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Off the Couch and Into the Theater: September 2008

In the midst of all TheBlogulator.com and Fall TV hoopla, I missed my monthly deadline to share with everyone the prospects of cinema that September brings us. At first the anal retentive in me began to hyperventilate. How will our readership know what movies come out the first weekend of the month? Will they think I've canceled the now dependable regular feature of complaining about how many crappy films Hollywood will release over the next 30 days followed by a quick retort of "oh but who am I kidding, I'll see them all anyway"? Midweek, I swiftly checked the major releases for last Friday, September 5th, and suddenly all my nervous tics and wide-eyed nailbiting diminished. The only feature we've failed to mention in anticipation here on The Blogulator is Nic Cage's return to long-hairdom action flick Bangkok Dangerous (32% chance I'll see it). Hyperbolic exhalations commenced and I knew that the stars of Hollywood were aligned in my favor for this, our ninth month in the mostly disappointing (film-wise) year of 2008. So here's the skinny with "Will I See It?" percentages in tow:

September 12th: I would only go see The Women (13%) if Sarah Haskins would go with me and she was allowed to talk through the whole thing. Near as I can tell it's a supergroup of rom-com staple actresses such as Meg Ryan teaming up to blandify you as hard and as shrilly as they can. (Cue Joel McHale: "It's a metaphor for hell!") The Coen Brothers try the comedy card again with Burn After Reading (91%), which I'm only skeptical about because the trailer gives it an uber-wacky Lady Killers or Intolerable Cruelty vibe on the Coen Comedy spectrum, rather than a more character-driven Big Lebowski or O Brother vibe. I've never seen a Tyler Perry movie though I've always been minutely curious, but with the big nasty word that rhymes with "phereotype" populating so many of his movies' reviews, I don't think the road trip romp The Family That Preys (19%) will get me out to the multiplex. When he wasn't getting vampiric with True Blood, Alan Ball was preparing his directorial debut Towelhead (74%) for us, running the gamut of issues from Arab-American relations to sexual identity to pedophilia, so a post-9/11 American Beauty, which makes it sound both intriguing and yawntastic. De Niro's last good role? 1997's Jackie Brown, and he was in it for like two seconds. Pacino's? 1999's The Insider. What's the chance that their big buzz collab Righteous Kill (82%) will change the score? Not very likely, but a fizzling disappointment featuring America's two most famous Italians will be just as interesting as a surprise success.

September 19th: It's sad when someone that seemed so promising as a lifetime actor of various capabilities like Samuel L. Jackson just turned out to be the guy that had an awesome pissed-off voice. Even moreso when his new one Lakeview Terrace (56%), which is essentially Pacific Heights plus racism, makes Michael Keaton look infinitely scarier in the correlative role. José Saramago's terrifically poetic novel Blindness (96%) about a curse of white blindness that attacks a town gets the adaptation treatment with a cast that makes my heart swoon with greatness (Julianne Moore), potential greatness that he never fully achieved (Danny Glover), and a mediocre actor that is nevertheless always charming (Mark Ruffalo). Obligatory old clothes movie that does nothing to challenge conventions and features Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes? Check: The Duchess (3%). Ed Harris has got to be my number one actor that I love that I never think of to mention when I list my favorites and the same can be said for Westerns when listing genres, so when I heard Appaloosa (94%) was directed by Harris and stars the long lost creepster Jeremy's Iron, I almost wet myself. Don't even know what it's about and doesn't matter. Of course, for every surefire genre picture homerun there's a surefure genre picture stinker, such as My Best Friend's Girl (21%), which falls supremely in the newly cemented category of Douchemantic Comedy. Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, Jason Biggs, and pastel cinematography, meet Satan, who will be your line producer.

"Grassy sand dunes and teal sweaters? You bet I'm in love!"

September 26th: Spike Lee, how you thrill me with your gutsy comeback career at infusing the personal themes you became famous for into truly cinematic and action-packed productions. If there's one movie I see this month, it will be his intimate war epic Miracle at St. Anna (99%). If there was any Fight Club backlash, I either didn't notice or refused to be a part of it. As egotistical and testosterone-driven that movie is, I still love it. Gotta admit though, it wasn't Chuck Palahniuk's ideas that got me riveted, it was Fincher's direction and the performances. Which is why the new one by the same author, Choke (63%), looks like a definite stinker to me. Shia LaBoeuf doesn't transform into a fierce bird in Eagle Eye (47%) but now that that idea is floating around on the Interwebs...crap. Seriously though, can't we just leave (hey Fincher again FTW!) brilliant ideas like The Game to rest? 88 Minutes did enough damage to the concept of outside "other" controlling one's life. Oh crap, Nights in Rodanthe (20%) just screams for another new rom-com subgenre: Oldmantic Dramedy. Richard Gere and Diane Lane? What year is it? 2002? Lastly, the only September release that I had no idea existed is The Lucky Ones (33%) starring Tim Robbins and Rachel McAdams as soldiers returning from Iraq. Again, I'm confused about what year it is, because I could have sworn Robbins died out with War of the Worlds, McAdams disappeared after Red Eye, and everyone realized last year that Iraq movies can't be done properly unless you're HBO and/or David Simon.

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  1. Blogger qualler | 11:12 PM |  

    Haha, now I know that Eagle Eye is the movie my boss was talking about today. We were talking today and he goes "Oh! A lot of good movies this month! First, De Niro and Pacino together in, what's that movie?" Me: "Righteous Kill." Him: "Yeah, Righteous Kill. And that other movie, I don't know what it's called, but, oh, it looks great, they're talking on a cell phone and then the guy says what's gonna happen and then it does happen?" Me (thinking): "Phone Booth? Cellular?"

  2. Blogger DoktorPeace | 8:56 AM |  

    So there's a 13% chance that that woman will go to see The Women with you? Sweet.

    In that case, I award myself a 21% chance of watching Ghost Whisperer next week.

  3. Blogger Brigitte | 11:47 AM |  

    ah, so many movies!! i can't wait to see Burn After Reading, and am actually a little bit curious about The Women, as i'm always a little bit curious about movies that dare to have really, really lame titles. does that make sense? i don't think so. but i might see it eventually (in a couple months) when they play it on HBO (tbs).

  4. Blogger chris | 12:01 PM |  

    September did surprise me as I was writing this post. I thought Nic Cage was a definite indicator of a quiet month of crapfests, but we may just get upwards of 4 year-end-list caliber movies by the time October hits. And I've only seen 4 year-end-list caliber movies thus far this year (over the course of 8 months!).

    Why I'm being so optimistic I have no idea...

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