Friday, January 30, 2009

What - if anything - to watch this weekend?

Actually, the best thing I could find out there this morning is that Lauren Graham is returning to primetime TV in something that's at least called a "comedy," part of ABC's big buy back into the sitcom game.

Graham, a k a Lorelai Gilmore the elder, will play a female talk show host who urges her viewers to just "Let It Go," but finds she can't follow her own advice after being dumped by her boyfriend. Sounds like a big ball of meh, but I was a big enough "Gilmore Girls" fan that I'll give it at least few episodes next fall.

But here today it's all about the movie weekend, which doesn't look great, but for a January weekend in Hollywood's silly season it certainly could be a lot worse. Is there really anything new out there worth watching this weekend (at least in wide-release world, which my little corner of the world is part of)? Here, in order of how much I want to see them, is the breakdown, and if you've seen any of these and want to offer a word of warning, please feel free to do so.

1. "Taken"
I saw Pierre Morel's "District B13" a few months ago on DVD, and it was pretty sensational. Morel's futuristic vision of Paris was a trip, and stuntman-turned-actor Cyril Raffaeli had the chops to keep up with the simply frenetic action. It shows the full potential of the new French action wave, but I can't shake the feeling that "Taken" will be - at best - a pale knockoff.

For one thing, rather than looking forward, Morel's new flick actually came out a year ago in France and - according to The New Yorker, at least - employs tired torture sequences that we've seen far too many times before. Even so, I'm willing to give it a chance because Liam Neeson (as a retired CIA agent, of course) is just cool and it will hopefully be a fun ride, not just yet another movie about all the evil things that happen when Americans venture overseas (I haven't been to Paris in years, but I'm fairly certain it really isn't all that dangerous a place.) Here's the trailer.

2. "The Uninvited"
I'm fairly certain I haven't seen any horror movies that are remakes of Asian flicks since "The Ring," but with Elizabeth Banks and David Strathairn somehow in this one I just might give it a chance. I actually have seen Kim Jee-woon's original South Korean flick, "A Tale of Two Sisters," and that one is as simply bizarre as it is creepy.

I can't imagine this version helmed by first-time feature directors and brothers Thomas and Charles Guard will be anywhere near as good, but I think I just might find out as a pre-Super Bowl matinee. Enjoy the trailer.

3. "New in Town"
Just when I think my rather extreme dislike of Renee Zellweger is unfair, she once again turns up in something like this, which just looks like the most familiar, fish-out-of-water tripe. And frankly, I've been to Minnesota several times now, and while I will concede some of those folks do talk kinda funny, so do a lot of the people down here in my adopted home of Macon, GA. Is that really enough to make the basis of a feature film? Apparently so, but not enough to make me watch it. Here's the trailer.

So there you have it. I could also, I suppose, get caught up on the prestige pics by seeing either "Revolutionary Road" or "The Reader," but after sitting through (and almost completely enjoying) Jonathan Demme's thoroughly dysfunctional "Rachel Getting Married," I think I'm just in the mood for some entertainment for the masses. Have a perfectly pleasant weekend, and as I said, if you've seen any of these and want to share your opinion, please don't hesitate to do so.


Bob said...

I may try to see "Taken" this weekend. The idea of Liam Neeson playing a total badass intrigues me. Thanks for stopping by a casting your vote. :) It's always interesting because our tastes our so similar but never quite the same. Have a great weekend Keith.

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks, Bob ... I especially liked that you included Let the Right One In in different categories, because that one just holds a special place in my movie heart

Chalupa said...

From the trailer, I really want to see Taken as well. Liam is such a great actor and the thought of him taking names and kicking ass puts a smile on my face.