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Off The Couch And Into The Theater: January 2009 aka Dumping Grounds

Sure, four members of The Blogulator saw a little movie called The Wrestler only a day after publishing the Top 10 Movies of 2008 list and loved it so much (see it if only for the deli scenes) that they wanted to put it near (if not at) the top of the list. But with a couple of exceptions, that's when going to the movies in January stops being wonderful. And those exceptions in question are also both 2008 films just finally released in the Twin Cities right around Oscar nomination time. Oh well, sometimes taking a break from seeing good cinema is healthy; harsh on the wallet, yes, but self-loathingly hilarious and enjoyable for a larf (though regrettable upon reflection, ALWAYS). Especially when it's a horror movie in 3D...here are your projected January releases for the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, accompanied by "Will I See It?" percentages in parentheses:

Now Playing: Amidst the hoopla of year-end listdom, we saw the wide release of Clint Eastwood's apology for making the craptastic Changeling earlier this year - Gran Torino (64%), where he steps in front of the camera for the first time since Million Dollar Right To Die Advertisement, this time to show he's not racist against Hmong culture. While I'm glad the underrepresented population is getting some mainstream action, does it really have to be in Crash 2? There's also that other Anne Hathaway wedding movie Bride Wars (3%), which focuses on the hilarity of broken friendships rather than the subtleties of living in a broken family. Guess which one makes more money! David S. Goyer, the supposed co-writer of The Dark Knight (the first time someone as a co-writer has been marketed so heavily) came at us with the obligatory weekly January monster movie The Unborn (19%), which actually has a teenage girl in her panties as its poster. At least they're not being coy. Apparently Benjamin Button's mom got freaky with Morris Chestnut in Not Easily Broken (4%) this weekend as well as a couple dealing with the ramifications of a fateful car accident. I had NO idea this movie existed until just now.

January 16th: Here we go. Cue maniacal laughter. Finally someone has made a remake of the movie that became the name of the early 90s pioneering rock acts and made it three-effing-dimensional. My Bloody Valentine 3D (75%) will surely reel in those looking for cheap thrills and nothing else, as its slasher flick plot's only small dose of originality is that the killer is prospector. That's right - Old Man Willis up on the range gets murderous. Can't wait/hope I don't convince myself to pay for this. Notorious (33%) charts the rise and fall of Biggie Smalls and with its cookie cutter biopic format, I go sleepy bye. Defiance (51%) bang bang war movie Daniel Craig Edward Zwick director of Glory and The Siege so it's probably decent but not worth exerting actual effort to a) find out what it's really about or b) make special plans to see. Then there's the much more sophisticated Hotel For Dogs (50%), whose amazing title, self-explanatory premise, and inclusion of various Home Alone-esque gadgets is enough to make it a toss-up as to whether or not I'll find myself ironically (read: not ironic) in the theater. Paul Blart: Mall Cop (20%), funnily enough, actually meets all the same requirements, except it doesn't have any adorable puppies. So here we are with indifference bordering on rage. Ah, one-time Oscar sure thing Che (23%) will be released in two parts, forcing everyone to sit through a four-hour biopic for $18. I might rather see Last Chance Harvey (24%), if only by one percentage point, because it's half the price and half the length - even though it's just Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson getting it on.

January 23rd: The trailer for the fantasy artery-clogger Inkheart (27%) didn't make any sense the first time I saw it and therefore I have dismissed it, despite its use of the compelling Paul Bettany (who I still like even though he has yet to make a good movie besides Dogville). Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (15%) will surely get me in another argument with my students about the franchise's relevance in the canon of vampire stories, regardless of its exorbitant use of Kate Beckinsale in leather. Wait, no Beckinsale? Change that percentage to ZERO. Wait, written by Danny McBride? WTF? Change it back to 15%. Killshot (40%) only slightly breaks out of the thiry-percent range because of two reasons: Mickey Rourke and based on an Elmore Leonard novel. Hitmen, psychopaths, and the Witness Protection Program can surely make for a suitable five-dollar weeknight diversion. I just read the synopsis for the Jim Caviezel (remember Jesus?) Outlander (0% or 100%), five times and I think I've finally concluded that it is indeed about an alien that crash lands on Earth and helps vikings defeat a village-terrorizing monster. Yes, that is for realzies. The Golden Globe-winning animated documentary Waltz With Bashir (93%) finally comes to the Minneap as well, and I just looked up what exact Israeli conflict it focuses on: the 1982 occupation of Beirut. Now I only feel a little stupid history-wise.
January 30th: Elizabeth Banks plays an evil stepmother married to David Straithairn in The Uninvited (88%) and that is enough to convince me to probably see a PG-13 suspense thriller, even though they're the supporting cast to some tweens. And it's a remake of A Tale Of Two Sisters, which was awesome in Korean, so I'll have a lot more to complain about with the American version having seen the original! Liam Neeson of all people attempts to look all revenge-crazy in Taken (39%), where he tracks down his missing daughter. Snoozefest with guns alert. New In Town (14%) pits two of the world's most annoying actors, Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr., in a wintertime romantic comedy set in New Ulm, Minnesota, where guess what, EVERYONE TALKS LIKE A MORON BECAUSE EVERYONE'S ALL FOLKSY MF'ERS WITH NO BRAINS UP HERE IN PRACTICALLY-CANADA. And finally, there's The Class (99%) which only curls my tummy a teensy weensy bit because it's an inspirational teacher movie where a French guy teaching inner city Parisian teens under dire conditions uses his actual students to make a narrative movie about his year teaching them. I guess he just forgot to invite a camera crew in while he was actually teaching and make it a documentary. This either has the potential to be the best teacher movie ever or yet again fall flat and be overly schmaltzy and heavily edited to only show the successes and not the enormous amount of failures teachers endure every day. Either way, I'll be there in the theater, judging silently.

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  1. Blogger qualler | 11:57 AM |  

    New Ulm has a damn fine Dairy Queen that I used to frequent with the fam on our way to see the grandparents. Renee and Harry better be visiting that DQ or they won't be getting my box office cash (or, they probably won't anyway)!

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