The weekend’s big ticket movie choices basically boil down to two options: the three-dimensional silliness of Johnny Knoxville and company’s ‘Jackass 3D’ or the geriatric spy thriller ‘RED.’ That, or you could hunker down someplace that’s playing Oliver Assayas’ 5 ½ hour-long terrorist biography ‘Carlos.’ (It should be noted that you can see ‘Carlos’ in a truncated 2 ½ hour edition, but that’s frowned upon – by me.) There are some other things out there too, but none are all that inspiring. Read on for full details.
Since I’ve already gone into some detail about the pros and cons of ‘Red‘ earlier today, we’ll skip right ahead to this week’s other big release: ‘Jackass 3D.’ Directed by franchise stalwart Jeff Tremaine and produced by Spike Jonze, the movie looks like a big, dumb pile of fun. However, I talked to a friend of mine who has a pretty strong stomach, and he said that he had to walk out of it because it was getting so raw. (I missed my screening this week, but will see it this weekend.) When I talked to Spike Jonze earlier this year, he said that the 3D-ification process made the entire thing look like a giant ViewFinder projection. At the very least, it’s good to know there are some people who are using the 3-D process for some fun, instead of just artlessly cashing in on the fad. (‘My Soul to Take,’ I’m looking in your direction).
I’ve also already talked about ‘Carlos,’ the biography of Carlos “The Jackal” (played by Edgar Ramirez), who waged a prolonged campaign of terror against several European targets throughout the 1970s and ’80s. Yes, it’s a big commitment. My screening lasted from 10 AM to about 4:30 PM. But it’s totally worth it, if only to watch Assayas – one of the best filmmakers working today – play with such a huge canvas. This may not be for everyone (in fact, it could be for only a select bunch of folks), but it’s a totally brilliant and galvanizing piece of work.
In limited release, the Sam Rockwell Oscar bait drama ‘Conviction‘ opens up. This sees him locked away in prison while his sister (Hilary Swank) defends him from the outside. It looks totally blah, even if the previews make it seem like Rockwell is doing a wicked Boston accent, and his stylist and hair people seem to have been closely imitating Sandra Bullock’s former husband Jesse James. Seriously. Watch the trailer again. Unless this thing pulls down major Academy Awards attention – which, trust me, it won’t – I can’t see myself watching it.
Finally, Clint Eastwood’s newest opus, the ghostly Matt Damon flick ‘Hereafter,’ is dropping in select cities. This one’s getting such wildly mixed reviews that I cannot wait to see it, if only so that I can weigh in for myself. David Edelstein in ‘New York’ magazine refers to bits of it that look like “commercials for Lost.” Meanwhile, the cover of ‘Newsweek’ proclaims it “Eastwood’s Masterpiece.” Say what? Further confusing matters is the recent revelation in the ‘New York Times’ that Eastwood worked off an earlier, unpolished draft of Peter Morgan’s script, instead of the one that Morgan had finessed a bit more. I’ll be curious to see how this thing plays with audiences. Will it pick up any Oscar heat, or leave viewers as cold as corpses?