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Off The Couch And Into The Theater: July 2009

June of 2009 is a month that will go down in infamy. Not only did I see six, count 'em - six, movies (ignores the cash register noises his subconscious makes), but I really liked four of them. In fact, four of my 5 favorite films of the first half of 2009 were viewed in the past 30 days. It's times like these that remind me why I spend the first five months of the year either at home or wasting time at terrible movies: because I know that eventually it will all pay off. The Brothers Bloom is a terrific and truly genreless indie, full of comedy, action, drama, and romance, but never sticking too long on any one of them. While WALL-E admittedly had more style and Ratatouille had more class, Up hit me harder emotionally than either and was so unpredictably hilarious that it's the first Pixar film I can see myself willingly let remain in my Top 10 by year's end. Drag Me To Hell is exactly what everyone says it is: both genuinely freaky and ridiculously funny, but what most don't tell you is that it's all in a completely good-natured Are You Afraid of the Dark?-type way, which was refreshing and left me smiling. Oh and best ending to a horror movie since The Descent. Finally, Away We Go was an absolute surprise: quirky and sweet without being nauseating, with characters that felt real while being also ethereally idealistic. So, yes, these movies all made up for The Hangover and Terminator Salvation, and even those movies were at least entertaining! The era of boring movies may be over! (Watches Transformers 2 ad.) Nevermind! Can we look forward to July? Let's see (with "Will I See It?" percentages in parentheses):

July 1st/3rd: It's too bad it looks like Michael Mann has eschewed his minimal sleekness for bombastic generictown with the ads for Public Enemies (93%). Then again, it could be all marketing, similar to Miami Vice. And while that movie largely sucked, and I wish Johnny Depp would go away for eternity, I think we have a better shot at this one redeeming the director, albeit a small possibility. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (1%) opens as well, and seeing Ray Romano on The Today Show for all of two minutes was enough to remind me why I avoid non-Pixar computer-animated films at all cost. Over at the arthouses, The Girl From Monaco (17%) opens and we get our obligatory simmering threesome drama of the year. This one's French and is between an attorney on a high-profile case, his bodyguard, and a member of the press. Yawnaroo. Also, Moon and Whatever Works, covered last month, will come out this week for real (thanks to Switchblade Comb for getting me correct Minneapolis indie release dates).
July 10th: I refuse to go to the lengths necessary to spell Bruno (55%) with an umlaut. I hate that I know I will more than likely go see Sacha Baron Cohen's new dickumentary. I dislike myself for laughing at the iPod joke in the trailer, which leads me to slightly edge out its percentage over the halfway mark. Woe is me. I Love You Beth Cooper (42%) is based on a YA novel that's actually supposed to be genuinely clever and witty, but the film just looks like a C-list teen flick, along the lines of Fired Up, if you even remember what that is. I barely do. The Hurt Locker (81%) is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, she of Point Break fame, and is about a bomb diffusing squad in Iraq. It won accolades at various film festivals, but the awkward line between hard rock-soundtracked action pic and gut-wrenchingly raw character drama is being towed here and I don't know how I feel about that. Jerichow (16%) is a German remake of the classic The Postman Always Rings Twice where an abusive husband gets cuckolded by a sexy man servant he hires to work in his home. The premise is as old as dirt, but with the houseworker recently being discharged from Afghanistan, they're trying to make some modern connection. Too bad it's boring.

July 17th: Can you believe that after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2%), we still have two more movies of this series to endure? Am I the only one that has literally zero interest in this franchise? I would rather watch Twilight; that's how much I don't care. Oh, but I'd rather see it than the new Ice Age. That's true. Treeless Mountain (28%) is a Korean film that seems very similar to a really good but really sad and slow Japanese film, Nobody Knows, in which kids' parents disappear and they're left to fend for themselves, except this time the little girl protagonists are way young, so it's probably even more sad and slow. Lastly, we get to witness the mighty return of longtime actor, first-time director Michael Keaton in The Merry Gentleman (39%). Mr. Mom plays a suicidal hitman (settle down In Bruges, it'll be okay) who forms an "unlikely bond" (I hate that logline phrase SO much) with a young woman who's searching for a new home after leaving a broken one. Wow that sounds emotionally manipulative, but also I love Multiplicity, so I'm torn.

July 24th: The sure-to-be-delightful farce G-Force (3%) is an art film about pet hamsters who are also rogue spies. It is tantamount to Fellini's early works or even the brawny anti-industrialist subtext found in Chaplin's later efforts. Critics will dismiss it today, but the future is when film professors choose our modern classics, I assure you. The Ugly Truth (4%) stars Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler, a duo I refer to as "Die Already" in a romantic comedy that finally tells women "you have to be both the stripper and the librarian" in order for guys to like you. Orphan (78%) is today's answer to The Good Son, which will always be a creepy guilty pleasure of mine. We will have a party where we watch the Culkin/Wood vehicle in preparation for the new kid-goes-crazy horror flick, I promise. 500 Days of Summer (89%) gives us Zooey Deschanel looking doe-eyed for two hours, the kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun looking wide-eyed for two hours, and the audience trying to die from twee-overdose for two hours. I can't wait for it. Betty Blue: The Director's Cut (42%) is released at the indies, and apparently the non-director's cut was a big foreign hit back in the 80s. The premise sounds like it's the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl flick, except more realistic, i.e. the girl turns out to be actually crazy. Lastly, Seraphine (5%) is about a painter that I do not know. That makes me feel dumb and ignorant art-wise. I'm okay with that, mostly.

July 31st: Eternally known by me as that movie with the terrible poster, Judd Apatow's Funny People (90%) finally gets released at the end of the month. It will be either be touching and funny or saccharine and unfunny. As long as Jason Schwartzmann is in the former category, my money will be considered well spent. Also I like to think Sandler can handle dramatics, but the only evidence of this is Punch Drunk Love, which had a director that was good at style and substance, not just substance. Aliens in the Attic (6%) is the kind of film I would have died to see as a seven-year-old, but I have a feeling if I were seven in a day and age where everything was CGI'd instead of using Jim Henson's Workshop, I would slit my wrists. But what if you found aliens in your attic when you were 7 and they looked like midgets in rubber suits instead of Roger Rabbit cast-offs?!?! How cool would that be?!?! In The Loop (57%) is a political farce that looks like a half-assed single-camera sitcom instead of focused and cinematic commentary like Wag The Dog, but it has potential in James Gandolfini (who hasn't appealed to me until his deadpan smirk seen here), despite its lack of good jokes in its trailer. $9.99 (74%) is an Australian stop-motion feature about people's lives in an apartment building intertwining and while the set-up is weak, the animation looks out of this world. Plus I can hope for a kangaroo popping in and me going, "ooh look! kangaroo!". Soul Power (18%) is a documentary about a soul music festival, and similar to that painter movie, I feel like I should care about knowing who or what this is about, but I just don't. Shrink (49%) features the best possible role for douchnozzle Kevin Spacey: a Hollywood psychiatrist. And yes, this is the same premise as that show Head Case (couldn't get through the 2nd episode, by the way), which airs alongside Party Down, except in this one Spacey really doesn't care about his patients and he becomes a pothead. Sounds terrible and intriguing, all at once.

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  1. Blogger Brigitte | 10:25 AM |  

    oh man, Bruno looks terrible. But I might end up seeing it, too...hopefully not, though.

    My parents recently saw the Hangover and both really enjoyed it...

  2. Blogger DoktorPeace | 2:03 PM |  

    Semi-spoiler: Drag me to Hell won me over with the seance demon dance.

  3. Blogger DoktorPeace | 2:06 PM |  

    Oh, and remember the CGI raccoon in the Beth Cooper trailer? I thought that raised your percentage. A lot.

  4. Blogger chris | 2:10 PM |  

    Haha the seance scene is aces, Doktor. And no, it was the protagonist wearing nothing but a slanket that raised my percentage. That was a fun exercise, you asking me what my percentages were for each movie as we watched the trailers before Adventureland.

    Beth Cooper started out as a 90 when I recognized it was based on that book, then fell to a 20 when the guy threw the microwave through the wall, raised to a 60 when I saw the slanket, then back down to 42 when Hayden Panettiere talked about reaching for your dreams or whatever.

  5. Blogger Brigitte | 2:12 PM |  

    what the x is a slanket?

  6. Blogger chris | 2:13 PM |  

    You're joking, right? It's called Google; ever heard of it?

    This is a slanket.

  7. Blogger Brigitte | 2:15 PM |  

    so because of google no questions are allowed anymore? thanks jerk.

    and yes, i googled it after i commented...and now i remember it from that 30 rock episode.

  8. Blogger chris | 2:16 PM |  

    so because of google no questions are allowed anymore?


  9. Blogger Brigitte | 2:17 PM |  

    google "so because of google no questions are allowed anymore?"

  10. Blogger Papa Thor | 2:53 PM |  

    I googled "jerk" and got "Leave Brigitte alone, you jerk."

  11. Blogger chris | 4:15 PM |  

    Yessir (pivots foot)...

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