Take heart, moviegoers! There are two good movies – like really, really good movies (in fact, if I want to be grandiose, two of the best movies of the year) – coming to the multiplex near you! When was the last time I said there was ONE good movie out, let alone TWO? But, you have to take the good with the bad, and there’s also some really awful stuff hitting the screens this weekend too. Read on to find out which ones you should rush out to see (I’m fairly certain I’ve already given one of those away) and which ones you should avoid at all costs.
As I’ve already stated, David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network‘ is probably the best American film I’ve seen so far this year. It has it all: whip-crack dialogue, gorgeous camerawork, and performances to die for. Not to mention the fact that it’s based on an unbelievable true story that absolutely captures the American zeitgeist as it exists today. I’m sure I’ll be talking about it more soon (I cannot wait to see it again), but for now I’ll just say: Get your asses to the theater! Even if you remain unconvinced that you want to spend $10 and your Saturday night at “the Facebook movie,” just trust me, it rules.
Also opening is Matt Reeves’ remake of ‘Let the Right One In,’ simply titled ‘Let Me In‘ (which was the name of the American translation of the novel on which both films are based, but also ditches a much-appreciated Morrissey reference). When Josh saw it at Toronto, he called it his favorite film of the festival. I agree that it’s a really excellent movie, easily one of the year’s best. It’s faithful in ways that will please the hardcore fans of the brilliant original, and deviates in equally intriguing ways. I heartily recommend it. Even if you’re sick of the current vampire craze, this is a story with a lot of scares and a lot of heart. (At my screening, there were critics – CRITICS, I TELL YOU! – who were letting out audible “Awww”s.) It should not be missed.
On the totally horrible side of fright flicks, you get Adam Green’s belabored ‘Hatchet II.‘ Even if you thought the original film was mildly amusing (which is all it was, let’s be honest here), you will see the sequel for what it is: a drawn-out, mythology-strewn mess that has little regard for things like pacing, character, plot, or mood. Not helping matters is the fact that it was shot digitally, which makes the murky swamp look murkier (and cheaper and more ill-defined). Before the movie, a super-energetic publicist came out and said, “This will be the widest release for an unrated movie since ‘Caligula’!” Now, two things to consider: one, ‘Caligula‘ wasn’t a huge release, and the only reason it was unrated was because of the hardcore porn footage that was spliced in after-the-fact by sleazeball co-producer Bob Guccione. And two: ‘Hatchet II’ will only be available on 65 screens, largely because the producers somehow conned nationwide chain AMC to carry the movie. Oh, and a note on that whole “Unrated” thing: this movie is as tame as a kitten on YouTube. There’s very little objectionable here. ‘Piranha 3D‘ was way more outrageous, and way better. This just sucks and is boring and I hated it.
Speaking of things that are probably horrible (but I haven’t yet seen), ‘Case 39‘ is a supernatural thriller starring Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper that was shot roughly five million years ago. It was released overseas, but has been sitting on the shelf stateside ever sense. Funny story: ‘Pandorum,’ the iffy sci-fi thriller starring Dennis Quaid that came out last year, was marketed and hyped as the first English-language film by talented German director Christian Alvart. But here’s the thing – he had already directed ‘Case 39’! It just hadn’t come out yet. The movie seems to have somewhat striking images from the relatively scarce television commercials and trailers I’ve seen, but it’s hard to shake bad buzz that hums this loudly. If ‘Pandorum’ is any indication, maybe Alvart should have stuck to making movies in Germany (like his wonderful debut ‘Antibodies’). Hopefully, it’ll get creamed by ‘Let Me In.’
Also in limited release is the finance documentary ‘Freakanomics,’ based on the insanely popular nonfiction book. I missed all my screenings, but the movie is available to watch on iTunes, so I still might see it this weekend. How cool is it that the best movies of the week are not playing in the art house, but rather the multiplex? Totally cool!