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Off The Couch And Into The Theater: May 2010

April of 2010 was the first month in quite possibly my entire life in which I didn't see a single movie in the theaters. Luckily, after thirty-ish days of being horizontal as much as possible and keeping my broken foot/ankle elevated, May 1st arrived and I felt up for the challenge. This weekend I saw The Secret of Kells, which was the one movie nominated for Best Animated Feature a couple months ago that nobody knew anything about other than it had some tangential connection to The Triples of Belleville. While I didn't like it nearly as much as Triplets or even as much as Up or Fantastic Mr. Fox, it definitely deserved the nomination. Yes, the plot (about a magical book that needed to be completed by a whimsical young boy in order to stop the Vikings from invading the village o Kells) was a bit thin and trite, but the visuals were spectacular, as expected, and delightfully abstract at times, something kids movies are more and more afraid to do these days, especially with the importance placed on making CGI uber-realist. So with my less mobile state in mind, I shall be a bit more prudent in my 'Will I See It?' percentages for this month, though I do hope I end up seeing more than 0-1 films throughout the rest of May!

May 7th: Downey, Jr. returns in Iron Man 2 (87%), which officially kicks off the summer blockbuster season. I'm excited about the unique 'everyone knows I'm a superhero' wrinkle and the fact that Justin Theroux wrote the script, but with the addition of Mickey Rourke, ScarJo, and more, I fear it may like most comic sequels be too bloated. Babies (61%) is a movie that if I hadn't seen the trailer with two females next to me 'ooh'ing and 'ahh'ing throughout the whole thing, I probably would never have thought to see. But, in retrospect, a documentary cinematically following the journeys of four babies across the world sounds quite charming, if not profound. Ajami (45%) was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and is about trying to survive in a mixed Muslim/Christian neighborhood in Tel Aviv. It's being touted as the best Israeli-made film of all time, and while it certainly looks like it, I am unfortunately American and therefore flawed, more likely to see a movie about a man in a robot suit over this much more sensitive issue. The Good Heart (42%) stars Brian Cox and Paul Dano, two actors I find unnervingly compelling, and yet its title alone finds me middle about its potential. The bland logline of "a bartender takes a homeless man under his wings" isn't persuading me either. Mid-August Lunch (1%) is an Italian film about a middle-aged man whose mother unexpectedly moves back in with him. The trailer's just as exciting as the plot synopsis!

May 14th: Ridley Scott continues to help Russell Crowe outstay his welcome as Robin Hood (86%), which used to be called Nottingham and I thought for sure Crowe would return to playing a bad guy and I'd start liking him again. No, instead they've cast him some twenty years older than the character's meant to be and one of my favorite classic stories is ruined once again. Lady Amy already saw a sneak preview of Letters to Juliet (3%) starring Amanda Seyfried, but is prudishly following professional movie critic protocol and waiting to post her review until it comes out. I think the rom-com plot is a mish-mash of The Lake House and When In Rome but I'm too lazy to research it to find out for sure. Just Wright (2%) stars two former hip hop stars, Queen Latifah as a physical therapist & Common as an injured NBA player, who find each other in the recovery room. Awww go back to making music already! Please Give (59%) features one of my favorite actresses evah, Catherine Keener, so I might just have to go see her character battle wits with her next-door neighbor Rebecca Hall, who I found positively magnetic in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, so I'm glad she's getting more work. The Good, the Bad, & the Weird (53%) is an Asian adventure film about various characters in the 1930s Machurian desert chasing a treasure map, which could be as fun as the critics are making it out to be, but could also be just as vapid as the latest Indy or National Treasure flick. Harry Brown (68%) is another in a long line of revenge tales that have been hot in the past couple years, but seems markedly different because it's Michael Caine doling out the justice this time, which might be dreadfully entertaining. P.S. I kinda loved Taken. Little Traitor (17%) is yet another Israeli movie, this time taking place in 1947 about a young kid who gets snagged by the invading British after trying to prank them out of his homeland. Kinda like an imperialistic Jackass?

May 21st: Okay, this has been pissing me off beyond belief. Is it called Shrek Forever After (9%) or Shrek: The Final Chapter or both? I suppose it doesn't matter because I most likely won't be seeing it regardless, but for chrissakes, consistent marketing people! MacGruber (100%) has me backing it despite its quite possible suckiness because whether I like it or not, a part of me has longed for another SNL movie ever since The Ladies Man disappointed me ten years ago. Also, even though SNL is just as spotty as ever, I'm a big fan of the current cast. The documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money (4%) chronicles the endeavors both ethical and otherwise of government lobbyist Jack Abramoff and friends. It's a topic I'd rather read an article about than sit through 90+ minutes of liberals preaching to the choir. Dancing Across Borders (2%) follows a dance fanatic whose discovery of a sixteen-year-old dancing prodigy in Cambodia inspires her to bring him back to the states for a chance at his dream. Stop, I fell asleep halfway through that sentence, though I could totally see myself watching this on PBS at 11pm on a Sunday and beginning to tear up. Mother & Child (39%) is the adoption-themed Crash or Babel or whatever canonical piece of hyperlink cinema you can think of, where multiple characters who are adopted, have put a kid up for adoption, or looking to adopt are interlinked by the climactic tear-jerking conclusion. I'm kinda stilll a sucker for this kinda thing. Now I almost always put movies with 'princess' in their title in the single-digit range, but Princess Kaiulani (20%) is a historical epic where the eponymous character fights against America's attempt to colonize Hawaii. And Hawaii's pretty. And...okay I probably won't see it.

May 28th: Speaking of American travesties against other cultures, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (44%) comes out at the end of the month, featuring Jake Gyllenhaal as an Iranian hard-body. Oh, I also think it was a vidja game or something. Then there's Sex and the City 2 (Handbag%), which apparently takes place in Abu Dhabi even though it was filmed in Morocco? I'm banking on the fact that they just wanted to make a lot of Garfield-Nermal jokes throughout the movie, in which case change my prediction to Gucci%. George Romero continues to refuse to let his good movies speak for themselves and returns with another zombie movie: Survival of the Dead (12%), which takes place on an island this time. Ooh! If the smoke monster shows up, I'm in. And to top it off, Looking for Eric (10%) will have to count as the obligatory sports film of the month, even though it's really about a postman/football (as in soccer) superfan who as he descends into a mental breakdown begins to see hallucinations of his favorite player, Eric Cantona. I don't like sports, but I do like crazy people, so who knows? Maybe I'll find myself...off the couch and into the theater!

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  1. Blogger qualler | 11:00 AM |  

    Gah, I do NOT want to see that Babies doc. I liked it the first time, when it was the 7UP series. Give me an emotionless British dude explain what people have been up to every seven years any day.

    That Shrek thing confuses the eff outta me, too! It's like, what's the title, marketing people? MacGruber can't not be at least a little worthwhile, having Jorma Taccone behind it.

  2. Blogger Brigitte | 11:10 AM |  

    Two females oohing and ahing? Wow. Sexist much, Chris? I'm sure some men ooh and ah at babies, too. Plus, babies are the new penguins. I must see it. Qualler, why not open your heart a little bit and see it with me.

    I think the plot for the Secret of Kells is loosely based on the legend behind the book of kells (which is a real book)...so calling it trite is basically calling my people's legends trite. you have twice insulted me.

    just kidding--i agree with you. i wanted to like this movie more than i did...i feel like the writers didn't really commit to a story. there wasn't enough conflict. i feel like the premise was there, but...i dunno. nothing much seemed to happen? i thought it would be a lot darker than it was.

  3. Blogger qualler | 11:15 AM |  

    Yeah, Kells shoulda been a short film. Gorgeous, gorgeous animation, but I kept getting bored every time that cranky uncle kept telling the boy to not explore stuff. And there shoulda been a lot more of the fairy, and just in general, stuff in the forest. Also, I fell asleep after that part where the boy was chasing that monster that was like that Snake game. Here's the Snake game, BTW:


  4. Blogger chris | 1:35 PM |  

    I'm sure there are some men that ooh and ahh at babies too, but they didn't happen to be in that movie theater. And babies will NEVER be the new penguins.

    The snake game scene was my totes fave!

  5. Blogger Wipert | 5:39 PM |  

    Survival of the Dead is absolutely horrible. It's one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time.

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