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Off the Couch and Into the Theater: November 2011

Last month I began my preview of the month's films with a little reflection: "Wow, I can't believe it's October and I still haven't seen Drive, Moneyball, and/or 50/50." Well, now it's November and I did manage to see those three movies, but not any of the big releases from October that I wanted to see, such as The Ides of March, The Thing, or In Time. From what I've heard though, this isn't that big of a deal. Especially because Drive, Moneyball, and 50/50 are all now in my top ten of 2011 and I can't imagine any of those others would be. Yes, they're all great, though both Drive and 50/50 have their weaknesses, I believe. Now, onto the box office and art house hopefuls of this month, each with "Do I Wanna See It?" percentages in parentheses...

Nov 4th: My students are all psyched for A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas 3D (43%), though I still have yet to see the first two in the series and have only a passing curiosity in the Cheech and Chong for the generation right after us. On the other hand, I unabashedly want to see Tower Heist (92%) and I don't care who knows it. Yes, it's Brett Ratner, the "auteur" of the Rush Hour franchise, but dammit, I have a weird nearly inexplicable love for crass Eddie Murphy and wacky caper flicks - plus Matthew Broderick! It's been a while. The Son of No One (54%) features Al Pacino almost assuredly chewing up scenery as the mentor Denzel detective to Channing Tatum's Ethan Hawke character, near as I can tell. I like the title, and corrupt cop flicks are another weakness of mine, but I still am not sure how Tatum is different from Ryan Phillipe. Elizabeth (of Mary Kate and Ashley) Olsen is practically an Oscar lock for Martha Marcy May Marlene (98%), so I am required to see it. It's about an emotionally devastated woman who tries to go back to her normal life after leaving a cult. Sounds delightful! Okay, this is going to get old because The Double (51%) is yet another example of a soft spot for me: the conspiracy political thriller. Richard Gere and Topher Grace plus the CIA, FBI, and assassinations isn't much, but damned if I like shouting, plot twists, and intrigue. Like Crazy (49%), however, is the kind of movie that I really don't typically enjoy, but is likely still going to be good because it looks like it's done with care and gravitas, not just for kicks like the others. A straight romance featuring unknown leads about deportation? Meh. Lastly, The Mill and the Cross (52%) is an adaptation of a famous painting, because apparently that's a thing you can do. Rutger Hauer though! Cool!

Nov 11th: Tarsem, director of The Cell and The Fall, finally does what he was meant to and makes an unarguably horrible 300-esqe epic film about battles and Greek gods and stuff. Oh well, at least Immortals (39%) will be pretty to look at sometimes maybe kind of. Dustin Lance Black, scribe of Milk, tries his hand at another biopic with J. Edgar (88%), this time with Leonardo DiCaprio in the Oscar-baiting role. I'd usually say yawn, but you know, Academy Awards blah blah. Also, there's the FBI movie crossover link, so I'm in. Jack and Jill (v0m%) has little to nothing that I want to exist in the natural world, much less to get me into the theater to see it. I seriously thought it was a joke movie trailer when I first saw Adam Sandler playing identical twin brother and sister. Let's leave it at that. Werner Herzog manages to get two documentaries in this year and I'm far more psyched to see Into the Abyss (96%) than I was to see Cave of Forgotten Dreams. This one features conversations with a death row inmate and his family for two hours. That's it. And I'm sure the narration is awesome. Revenge of the Electric Car (57%) chronicles the resurgence of the once-thought-to-be-dead gas-less vehicle, which is only vaguely interesting. What's way more interesting/strange is the list of people interviewed for the doc: Danny DeVito, Anthony Kiedis, Stephen Colbert, and many more. So weird.

Nov 18th: Bella gets preggers, or so I've gleaned, in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 (1%) and I tell you what, now that I know I'm going to be a dad, I have just the slightest fear that if it's a girl I will have to end up watching these movies at some point. Unless they're seen as lame 10-12 years from now by everyone. We'll see. Happy Feet Two (8%) reminds me that the first one won the Animated Feature Oscar and that's probably why there's a sequel. Or was that March of the Penguins? Oh well. Don't care. Penguins dancing is probably cute I guess. Alexander Payne returns with The Descendents (94%) starring George Clooney as a father trying to bond with his daughters after a tragedy befalls the family matriarch. I love half/hate half of both Payne and Clooney's work so this will be a crapshoot, but I'm once again required due to...you guessed it, Oscar buzz! And Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (89%) is self-explanatory and therefore completely awesome. I just hope it doesn't taint my pure view of Sesame Street.

Nov 23rd-25th: Apparently Martin Scorsese has a movie coming out this year and it's called Hugo (91%), though my memory has no knowledge of such a thing. It looks like a kid's movie about an orphan and a fantastical world and a mythology regarding his parents. Sounds positively unfamiliar! Groan. Scorsese, you're lucky you're Scorsese. The Muppets (99%) has received some harsh words from Fran Oz regarding its loyalty to the franchise and Jim Henson's ghost, but so many of us who have been longing for a new Kermit movie for years will have to not care in order to live in denial a few days longer until we see it and have our hearts crushed. Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud go head to head in the forms of Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen in A Dangerous Method (97%), directed by creepster extraordinaire David Cronenberg. I'm psyched and excited in my pants, and that's an intended pun and an intended Freudian slip. If that last thing is a thing. Arthur Christmas (2%) is some computer animated movie that is indeed about Christmas, though unfortunately it does not seem to be anything about an aardvark or a drunken Dudley Moore. The new Lars Von Trier film, Melancholia (100%), is about what if another planet starts on a collision course with Earth. And yet that's not what it's about at all. Kirsten Dunst stars as a young woman who goes through drama somehow while this is happening. Young Goethe in Love (10%) is a historical romance drama in which a fancy white guy with a remarkable talent loves a girl but then some stuff happens. Lastly, The Other F Word (22%) is a documentary in which Art Alexakis of Everclear is one of several "punk rockers" that discuss their experiences as fathers. Hell if Art can get in that, I should be able to book a spot in the sequel. Rimshot!

Thanks as always to the fine folks at Uptown Theatre for the indie flick release dates for the Minneapolis area!

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  1. Blogger qualler | 11:59 AM |  

    Hey The Son of No One! 1997 called, and it wants its Marquee In 1997 Stars back!

    Can't wait for Melancholia!

    I haven't seen Moneyball yet, but I can identify one flaw: that it doesn't address the fact that the A's in 2002 were successful mostly because they had three ace pitchers in their starting rotation, not because Mark Hattiesberg is a totally great fit at 1B because of on-base percentage. And they got their one-uppance by the Twins in the playoffs anyway. Suck it, Billy Beane!

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