Tuesday, August 09, 2011

For normally quiet August, a surprisingly strong week for movies

Two movies that I (and perhaps you) want to see in one week in August? That only seems to happen once about every five years, so we should definitely beat the heat and take advantage of it. Plus, here in Macon, the Film Guild offers a bonus pick on Sunday that takes a different look at the settling of the American West.

First up, getting an early start on the week by opening Wednesday is "The Help," based on the very popular novel by Kathryn Stockett. Having read the book, I mostly enjoyed it, but with its very broad characters drawn in stark black and white (and I'm not talking about race here) with few touches of grey, and equally broad humor, I think it will work even better as a feel-good movie.

For anyone who hasn't read the novel, it's about a listless University of Mississippi graduate, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (played in the movie by Emma Stone), who convinces the black maids of '60s Jackson, Miss., to tell their stories. She's surrounded by a pretty first-rate cast, with Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer leading the maids, and Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain and Allison Janney all playing supporting roles.

On a surely much cruder but hopefully also funnier note comes "30 Minutes or Less," director Ruben Fleischer's followup to his rather sublimely entertaining "Zombieland," this time with an even sillier premise: A slacker pizza delivery driver is kidnapped by some ne'er-do-wells who strap a bomb to his chest and force him to rob a bank. And yes, that's a comedy.

"Zombieland" star Jesse Eisenberg returns as the main slacker, and he's surrounded by solidly funny people, including Aziz Ansari of "Parks and Recreation" and Danny McBride, so I'm betting on this being a winner.

As far as the third new wide-release movie of the week goes, I've managed to somehow miss out on all the "Final Destination" carnage thus far, so I'm fairly certain I'll be able to just say no to the fifth installment (yes, really) without really missing anything.

And finally, rounding out a full movie week, the Macon Film Guild is presenting director Kelly Reichardt's Western, "Meek's Cutoff," Sunday at 2, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Douglass Theatre. I haven't seen this one yet, but I have seen Reichardt's "Wendy And Lucy," and enjoyed it quite a bit.

From that experience, I can tell you that Reichardt's movies do move more than a bit slowly, but "Wendy and Lucy," which like "Meek's Cutoff" stars Michelle Williams, was thoroughly engrossing, as I suspect this tale of a band of settlers traveling through the Oregon desert in 1845 will be, too.


Anonymous said...
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Jess said...

I loved the Help! You're right, it translated well to the screen. However, I've read the book several times so I'm not quite sure how it plays to those unfamiliar with the book.

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't say I loved it, Jess, but I certainly liked it quite a bit ... The first thing I'll do Friday morning (well, after breakfast, and maybe some swimming) is find out how the movie turned out, and judging from the reviews I've seen so far, I'm expecting it to be pretty great

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