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Off The Couch And Into The Theater: June 2009

Yay! I saw three movies last month! That's three times the number of movies I saw in any of the other months in 2009. Which is odd, considering May was finally the time when we saw sunshine and felt warmth in this state. But I guess that's why I'm so pale, now isn't it? Hopefully you caught the conversation-style post Qualler and I did on what's sure to be on the Blogulator Top 10 List for 2009, Sugar, so that's been covered. But then I saw a little gem called The Soloist, which was simultaneously terrible and not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was indeed Ray-redux, but Joe Wright's direction was just a tad more genuine and moving than Taylor Hackford's splashy emotional witchery. Finally there was Star Trek, which I can't deny that I enjoyed, but I didn't fall head over bananas (that's a phrase, right?) with it like others did. Entertaining and clever? Yes. ADD-fueled bonanza of hard-bodied gusto? I'm afraid so, kiddies. But now, we look to the future...June, what may ye have in store for us (with "Will I See It?" percentages in parentheses)?

Now Playing: The indies tried to pack in a mess of low-profile pics before the summer blockbusters shift into full force, four of which were neglected in last month's rundown. They include Rudo Y Cursi (81%), directed by Alfonso Cuaron's brother Carlos and starring Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal as rivaling soccer player brothers grappling with fame (or lack thereof). Ooh I smell semi-autobiographical interloping! Sounds interesting enough with magnetic enough leads, though I thought Luna was a little over-the-top in Milk. The Song of Sparrows (32%) is one of those heartfelt character dramas that probably is really elegantly made but has a logline so intrusively banal that I can't help but pass: an Iranian ostrich farmer begins a new life as a motorcycle cab driver. When your most exciting keyword is "ostrich", you're in trouble. I might take a solo trip to go see Adoration (94%) before it ends its short run tomorrow night since I've loved both Atom Egoyan films I've seen (The Sweet Hereafter and Felicia's Journey, though I hear Where The Truth Lies was terrible) and the trailer was tense as eff, hinting at a story about terrorism and family drama without giving away too much (unlike every other trailer ever). The other one that's out right now is Every Little Step (40%), a documentary about New Yorkers trying out for a Broadway production of A Chorus Line. Hopefully you believe me when I say it only gets a 40% because who knows when/if Jerksica will ask me to fulfill her theater geek desires by seeing this sometime.
June 5th: Looking forward, Will Ferrell's rendition of Land of the Lost (51%) hits way more screens than it assuredly deserves this Friday. Why the sour attitude and the higher-than-half percentage, you may ask. Unfortunately it's idiotic (but with dinosaurs!) summer fodder like this that winds up being the movie "no one can agree on" and thus the movie we end up seeing some lame summer night. Luckily I'll see anything so this doesn't bother me. Only a movie like The Hangover (79%) deserves such a childish percentage, as it will sure to make me knee-slap in laughter but also feel sorry for humanity, unless of course it incorporates that Apatow schmaltz (it does star three dudes trying to do good but being bad in the process) that is the only saving grace of big-time comedies nowadays. My Life in Ruins (4%) is apparently neither a sequel, remake, or reboot of My Big Fat Greek Wedding despite starring the same actress and being about a woman who finds love in Greece (this time as a travel guide). Three siblings get over a dead mother together in the indie Summer Hours (16%), which looks gorgeously shot but monotonous and wayyyy too sad. Little Ashes (43%) covers the lives of Dali, Lorca, and Bunuel, which could make for a Flintstones-meets-the-Jetsons style biopic, but judging by the promo materials, will more likely be a vacant and stark snoozefest. The most riveting indie for the week seems to be Revanche (70%), in which an ex-con runs to the South after a heist, looks sad a lot, and gets paranoid about revenge-seekers. I do like shots of people with guns looking sad; I cannot lie.

June 12th: Travolta gets to play crazy again and Washington gets to play confident and overbearing again in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (53%), which is sure to be the very definition of "standard action picture". You'd think the same for an Eddie Murphy family vehicle like Imagine That (2%), in which his uptight-but-really-goofy-at-heart archetype reconnects with his daughter. But here's how they reconnect: she has invisible princess friends who can predict business mergers. HOW IS THAT AN IDEA FOR A MOVIE?! Let's ignore and move on...the Dave Eggers-written Away We Go (90%) looks twee as all get out in its dialogue and tone alone, but when you get Jim from The Office and Maya Rudolph to star, you're just evil. I almost cried at the trailer, so I think we know I'm going to get manipulated right into my theater seat and either a) eat it all up or b) whine a lot. Lastly, dumbest title of the month award goes to the self-explanatory documentary Enlighten Up!: A Skeptic's Journey Into the World of Yoga (1%). Barf me rotten.
June 19th: Does the comedy genre have no shame anymore? Year One (52%) stars Michael Cera and Jack Black acting modern (read: one's always nervous and the other's always boisterous!) in Biblical times and looks like it was cobbled together in three hours with a ginormous budget. Then again, I'd slightly choose that over The Proposal (44%), though Ryan Reynolds' abs are hard to resist. And who doesn't like a good Canada deportation/Alaskan getaway story? Oh thank the merciful heavens for David Bowie's son's movie Moon (99%), which stars Sam Rockwell going crazy in space and seeing doubles of himself trying to kill him. Why am I only interested in violent movies lately? Something to talk about in therapy. Francis Ford Coppola tries to tell us "I'm back!" for the umpteenth time with Tetro (39%), about a man who goes to visit his self-destructive playwright brother and I continue to wonder when the self-absorbed filmmaker will get over himself and realize his glory is and should remain in the past. Harsh? A wee bit mayhaps.

June 26th: And we run head first, brains ready to splatter on command, into the end of the month with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (58%), which looks like such an exact replica of the first that I may be able to convince myself to stay home this time. Unless Jazz has more lines than last time, I don't care to bother myself with explosion sounds and Shia LaBoeuf's face. Also, Megan Fox is the antichrist (which makes me intertextually wonder when Lars Von Trier's film festival freakout is ever going to make it to Minneapolis). Then there's the comedy hit of the summer My Sister's Keeper (29%), where Abigail Breslin sues her parents for bio-engineering her to donate bone marrow to her cancer-ridden sister. Wait, it's not a comedy? My badz! I know I've ripped so many people above a new one for being one-note wonders, but Larry David and Woody Allen are together at last in Whatever Works (92%), about a cranky Jewish NYC neurotic who falls in love with a beautiful young Evan Rachel Wood. When you're a sucker for something, you better realize and embrace it. I'm doing at least one of those. Finally we have the documentary Food Inc. (30%) about the fast food industry. I guess someone eventually realized Fast Food Nation made a narrative about as well as (searches desperately for analogy)...uhh...

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  1. Blogger qualler | 1:14 PM |  

    The Hangover does look like it will be funny, despite co-starring Bradley "Oh, it's that guy" Cooper. I'll probably wait until it's on TV, though and snooze to it. Meanwhile Year One's promos make it look absolutely atrocious. And My Life in Ruins is a pun-tastic title!

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