If it seems like there’s really only one movie opening this weekend, there are in fact a couple of hidden gems and other things I haven’t gotten to talk about yet. But if you do only get to see one movie this weekend, one big movie that’s already getting tons of critical love and has many box office prognosticators predicting it’ll be the summer’s biggest hit (I’m not one to contradict either camp), then that’s fine by me. ‘Toy Story 3’ really is a masterpiece, as complicated and challenging and fun and heartbreaking as the other two entries in the series. (And no, you don’t have to see it in lousy 3-D).
So, yes, Disney/Pixar’s beautiful, brilliant ‘Toy Story 3‘ opens this weekend. Expect it to decimate the competition a million times over. You know what? It deserves to. We’ll talk more about this on Monday with the box office recap, but I think there’s a fair chance it could break some records. Exhibit A: It’s been waaaaay too long since ‘Toy Story 2,’ and people love these characters. Thanks to the ingenious ways the characters have been utilized by Disney/Pixar, particularly in the theme parks around the world, the toys are never far from our thoughts. People are going to stampede to the theaters to see them again. Exhibit B: This summer has been absolutely terrible. Something, anything that is even remotely good will make people thrilled. Word of mouth will spread. It will be big. Exhibit C: The critics are already doing backflips for this thing and will continue to do so all weekend, particularly in the more feature-length pieces in Sunday’s papers. The love will flow.
Oh, back to the subject of how lousy this summer has been, Warner Bros. opens ‘Jonah Hex‘ this weekend. I didn’t bother going in for the press screening of this thing. (I saw ‘Toy Story 3’ again instead, this time in flat 2-D.) So far, the response has been terrible. This movie suffered more production problems than ‘Waterworld.’ (Note: I may be exaggerating.) That has resulted in a movie that clocks in, without credits, at 72 minutes long. You read that correctly. If that doesn’t scream editorial hardships, I don’t know what does. Which is a shame, because the DC Comics character that the movie is based on is a lot of fun, particularly in the arcs written by Joe R Lansdale, the master of mojo horror. Josh Brolin seems to be the perfect man for the job. Plus, the supporting cast is pretty groovy too. Michael Fassbender is in the cast for crying out loud! I am a staunch supporter of Megan Fox, no matter how ditzy she can be. Those of us that love ‘Jennifer’s Body‘ know why. I fully intend on seeing this over the weekend, and I look forward to dissecting what exactly went wrong, and to what degree. This was originally slated for an August release, but the studio bumped it up in a bid at counter programming to the unstoppable juggernaut that ‘Toy Story 3’ will undoubtedly be. I think they maybe should have left it in the oven a little bit longer. By all indications, this thing still isn’t done.
There are some noteworthy smaller releases. I already reviewed ‘Cyrus,’ the quirky and oddly affecting comedy about the awkward triangle between a mother (Marisa Tomei), her son (Jonah Hill), and her new boyfriend (John C Reilly). If you’re a fan of squirmy awkward comedy, and if you rightfully count ‘Greenberg’ as one of the best comedies of the year, you’ll be sure to get a kick out of ‘Cyrus.’ It is officially “quite good.”
Also, Tilda Swinton is starring in a great little Italian movie called ‘I Am Love.’ I didn’t get a chance to devote a whole post to this even though I desperately wanted to. It’s a baroque turn-of-the-millennium melodrama that is absolutely one of the most gorgeous movies you’ll see all year. As far as the narrative goes, well, there isn’t much of one. It’s about a wealthy family that owns a fabric company, ostensibly. Between the sensuous photography, the deep emotional charge, and the evocative score by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams, you’ll be in movie geek heaven. Seek it out and get lost in it. You won’t be sorry.
It should also be noted that the exemplary Michael Douglas drama/comedy ‘Solitary Man‘ is going wider this week. This is a really classy, really funny little movie with a superb cast (including Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito and certifiable next big thing Imogen Poots) and a whole lot of heart. Douglas plays a man whose life is falling apart, which may be the best thing that ever happened to him. If you’ve seen the playthings come to life and want something a little bit more adult, then this is the movie for you. I really loved this flick.
That’s it for now! On Monday, I’ll check in to see just how much dinero Andy’s toys racked up! Then next week, we’ll see if Tom Cruise can get his mojo back.