Thursday, September 18, 2008

What to watch: I'll glady be menaced by Sam the Man and annoyed with Ricky Gervais

Even with two movies opening wide this week that I really want to see, it still just seems like an appetizer for the feast that will hopefully be coming next week.

If wide really does mean wide (which way too often simply isn't true), we get Sept. 26 three movies that I've just been waiting a long time to see: Fernando Meirelles' "Blindness", Spike Lee's "Miracle at St. Anna" and Clark Gregg's "Choke," starring Sam Rockwell and Kelly MacDonald and based on the novel by "Fight Club" scribe Chuck Palahniuk. All three have been heavily advertised on TV all week, so I have my hopes very high they'll all reach my little corner of the world in week one.

But before that, we get a fairly remarkable five movies opening in wide-release land this week, two of which I'll actually be going to see. Here, in descending order of appeal, are this week's offerings:

"Ghost Town"
In designing a flick that should finally show that "Office" mastermind Ricky Gervais can indeed topline a flick that appeals to American audiences, the makers of this one have apparently just made a movie in which he will essentially play himself, which is just fine with me. In it, he plays a dentist who's pretty much annoyed with everything and everyone around him until he has a near-death experience and ends up seeing dead people who annoy him just as much as the living variety. That premise has me laughing already, and even better I can't wait to see what Gervais can do in 2009 with his big writing/directing movie effort, the rather seriously star-laden "This Side of the Truth."

"Lakeview Terrace"'
Ever wonder what happened to writer/director Neil Labute? I had forgotten all about him until I noticed his name attached to this fairly standard looking thriller that still might be a cut above the rest of the pack. In fact, a quick look at the IMDB revealed I haven't seen any of his flicks since 2000's "Nurse Betty," which was fairly entertaining. Here he's got Samuel L. Jackson as a rather pissed-off L.A.P.D. officer who gets more annoyed than usual (sense a pattern here?) when he finds out an interracial couple played by Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington has moved in next door. I'm hoping there's more than enough gray in this black-and-white flick to make it interesting, and I'm still just a sucker for seeing Mr. Jackson be a serious badass.

An animated flick released after the kids are back in school? Never a good sign. In this one, John Cusack provides the voice of the titular mad scientist's assistant Igor, who just wants to be the master of his own lab. Sounds like a fairly promising premise, but early word is the story isn't enough to lure me in, even with John Cleese and Steve Buscemi in supporting voice roles.

"Beer for My Horses"
I'm not sure if this one really is playing everywhere in the U.S. or is just one of those little redneck flicks that they trot out only here in the South. Either way, I'm at least glad it's not an hour-and-a-half-or-so of Toby Keith threatening to kick everyone's ass. Instead, written by Keith and Rodney Carrington (an annual fixture on Macon's comedy club scene), it's the story of two buddies who team up to take on a corrupt sheriff and rescue one of their damsels from the distress of being kidnapped by drug lords. Somehow I'm sure I have the strength to just say no.

"My Best Friend's Girl"
Isn't the actual name of the rather cool Cars song that this flick steals its title and theme song from "My Best Friend's Girlfriend"? It's bad enough when you can't even get that right, but when you throw in three truly annoying (there it is again!) people - Dane Cook, Kate Hudson and Jason Biggs - in what looks like a "romantic comedy" that won't be remotely funny or romantic, you've just got a recipe for disaster. For some reason I thought Mr. Cook was in "The 40-year-old Virgin," but I'm mistaken, and it turns out I've never seen any of the "comedian's" movies. I'm 100 percent certain that streak will still be intact after this weekend.

Reel Fanatic poll results
It may not be as scientific as a Gallup poll, but I was happy to see 33 people cast 62 votes in my question about which Fall movies they're most looking forward to. And it turned out that every flick except "Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys" got at least one vote (I almost voted for that one myself just because I like Mr. Perry so much and hate to see him slighted). The top vote-getter is no surprise, but I didn't expect to see such strong support for "The Road" and a few other flicks. Anyways, here's the results, after which I'll just sign off and wish everyone a perfectly passable Thursday.

Top winner: 7 votes
"Quantum of Solace"

Second place: 6 votes
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Road"

Third place: 5 votes
"Burn After Reading"
"Slumdog Millionaire" (huzzah!)
"Zack and Miri Make a Porno"

4 votes:
"Miracle at St. Anna"

3 votes:
"Synecdoche, N.Y."

2 votes:
"Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist"

1 vote:
"City of Ember"


Eric said...

Hey Been reading but not commenting.
Beer For Horses - Sounds like any random Dukes of Hazard plot

Dane - Not all bad. Waiting is pretty good and Employee of the Month is pretty funny. (I work for Costco though

Looking forward to Ghost Town and I just finished reading the Road and was not even aware they were shooting the film when I randomly came across a production still that as soon as I saw it I identified as being from the book. It is a depressing story.

The Battle in Seattle opens here this week. That should be interesting even if they did shoot most of it in Vancouver.

And finally Terrence Malick never ever disapoints me. I am watching The New World. Had to pause to sleep but I will finish it tonight.
I love his ability to capture nature and make it a part of the story. He has a slow deliberate pacing that you just settle in on and watch for the pure joy of it.

Look not even pimping my own stuff. :)

Reel Fanatic said...

Waiting is one that always comes close to making my Netflix list, Eric, but never quite makes the cut .. With you recommendation I'll give it a try, though ... As for Malick, I didn't wholeheartedly enjoy The New World, but I agree that he does let his stories unfold a nice and slow pace ... Based on what I know of the story, I'm really looking forward to next year's Tree of Life

Bob said...

Excited to see Mr. Gervais on the big screen. Just like you though, even more excited about "This Side of the Truth."
"Sunny" is back! :)

Reel Fanatic said...

I've already seen the premiere episode of "Sunny," Bob, and I can assure you that it's just as sick and funny as ever .. Just one word in case anyone stops by here before 10 p.m. EST ... Cannibalism!

kat said...

Crap! I don't think I voted. I'm definitely looking forward to "Milk", "Frost/Nixon" and--out of sheer curiosity--"W".

Reel Fanatic said...

I would have left the poll up longer, Kat, but Blogger has a seven-day limit .. Of those you mentioned, I certainly can't wait for "Milk," which should be the best Gus Van Sant movie in many years

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