Friday, August 27, 2010

Is there any reason at all to see "Avatar" in the theater again?

From my initial perspective, I'd have to say no, but let's at least look at what you're getting if you do spring for another ride with James Cameron's giant blue horse cats.

The big selling point in trying to nab more of your 3D premium dollars is that there are nine additional minutes (really? sheesh .. wasn't the movie long enough the first time around?) But let's be fair and let the man make his case. Here's what Cameron had to say about it to EW:

"There's a big rousing sequence where they're hunting these herd animals called sturmbeests. There's another new creature that you haven't seen before called the stingbat. There's a really powerful emotional scene toward the end of the film where the leader of the Na'vi is dying after a battle. There's a bit more in the love scene with Jake and Neytiri. There's more bioluminescent stuff in the night forest. Little bits and pieces here and there."

OK, fair enough. The creatures in "Avatar" were uniformly pretty cool (even the horse cats), but I still can't say that's enough to sucker me in again.

It's not that I didn't enjoy "Avatar." In fact, I've seen it twice now, and liked it more the second time around, but after that I really didn't feel I need to visit Pandora again any time soon. The movie itself is really just an old-fashioned, '80s-style sci-fi/action movie with lost of high-tech sheen, and viewed that way, it's a nearly perfectly entertaining bit of fluff.

Oh yeah, I probably should have lead with the fact that, starting Friday, "Avatar" indeed returns to 811 3D theaters, somehow including what's apparently soon to be the only movie theater in Macon (sad but true).

Something you can count me as amped for is the return of "Chuck," which will happen a lot earlier this season, 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, to be precise (which I have to assume means it will be something approaching a full 22-episode season ... huzzah.)

What we (or at least I) know about the new season is all good so far, starting with the fact that Linda Hamilton will play Chuck's mysterious mom. Even if, like me, Linda Hamilton didn't grow up in Salisbury, Md., I'd still see that casting as nothing but cool (and by the way, Alexis Denisof, a.k.a Wesley from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," is from Salisbury too ... it's a sci-fi mini-mecca!)

In the latest bit of news about "Chuck," Timothy Dalton, perhaps best known as the only person to play James Bond in fewer movies (two, "License to Kill" and "The Living Daylights) than George Lazenby (one, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"), will be joining the show for a multi-episode arc this fall (to belabor the Bond thing a bit more, I suppose Daniel Craig's only played him twice too, but I'd imagine he'll get the chance again sometime.)

All that's known so far is that Dalton will be playing "a mysterious stranger who has history with Chuck's mom." Not much to go on, I know, but the return of "Chuck," along with the FX shows "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Sons of Anarchy," are the shows you can count me as most psyched to see again (with Martin Scorsese's "Boardwalk Empire," coming Sept. 19 to HBO, easily the new show I most want to see.)

And all I have after that today is a couple of clips, starting with the first U.S. trailer for Stephen Frears' "Tamara Drewe," starring the not-exactly-hard-on-the-eyes Gemma Arterton as, best as I can tell, some kind of literary muse for a community of English writers. There seems to be more than a little Woody Allen-style stuff going on here, which done right certainly can't be a bad thing. Enjoy the trailer, and keep an eye out for this one starting Oct. 8 in at least America's bigger cities. Enjoy.

And finally today, I know I've been talking about "The American" quite a bit, but I'm convinced that Anton Corbijn's hit man movie starring George Clooney is going to be seriously good. Besides, I somehow only have a three-day work week next week, which means "The American" on Thursday, "Machete" on Friday and maybe even "Going the Distance" some time during the weekend too. A busy movie week, just as I like it. Enjoy this series of four clips from "The American" (the first of which I've posted here before) courtesy of, and have a perfectly pleasant weekend. Peace out.


jeremy said...

Stephen Frears is pound-for-pound one of the greatest living directors:
Prick Up Your Ears
My Beautiful Laundrette
Dangerous Liasons
The Grifters
The Snapper
The Van
High Fidelity
The Queen
So . . . why do I always forget about him when I think about great directors?
This one looks light and fun. Can't wait!

Reel Fanatic said...

I do the exact same thing to Frears, and like you, I really can't say way ... One I'd add if Dirty Pretty Things, easily one of my favorite Frears flicks, and pretty first-rate little thriller about immigration and body part smuggling, among other juicy things