Alien Nation

Now, sir, this is the metaphor with which we are working, please follow it closelySo, here we are at the end of another week, surrounded by new movies and pressed for time. Shall we run down the list?

“Bandslam”: The “High School Musical” girl who isn’t Sharpay turns up in another teen-targeted, music-tinged romp; Matt liked it, and I’m always happy to see director Todd Graff, who played Hippy in “The Abyss”, get work.

District 9“: Neill Blomkamp’s highly anticipated SF actioner about aliens and apartheid works really well as a straight-up chase picture if you ignore the pretensions to gravity and the whole allegory thing. Mostly, it’ll leave you wishing he’d been able to make that “Halo” movie. This is not a bad thing.

“The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard”: What happens when Will Ferrell isn’t available to make a Will Ferrell movie about a super-committed car salesman? You cast Jeremy Piven and hope for the best, apparently.

Idiots & Angels“: Bill Plympton’s latest absurdist feature follows the adventures of a hard-drinking jerk who grows a pair of wings and starts acting like a better person. Well, the wings do most of the work. And as is often the case with Plympton’s features, this would have been much more enjoyable as a series of shorts.

“Ponyo”: Hayao Miyazaki takes a run at the dynamics of “The Little Mermaid” in his latest lush hand-crafted import, dubbed into English by the likes of Liam Nesson, Lily Tomlin, Tina Fey and one of the Jonas brothers. I had to miss it, but Andrew and Jason were both charmed.

“Spread”: “Ashton Kutcher, man-whore” is one of the decade’s great meta premises, isn’t it? Or at least it should be. But from Rad‘s take, it sounds like David Mackenzie’s follow-up to “Young Adam” is just as tone-deaf and ickily fixated on the mechanics of boinkery as his debut.

Tetro“: Francis Ford Coppola reclaims some of his mojo after the debacle of “Youth Without Youth” with this confident family story, featuring fine performances from Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich and Maribel Verdu. It goes wrong in the last 45 minutes, but you can see what Coppola is trying to do, and frankly, it’s just nice to see him focusing on human emotions again.

The Time Traveler’s Wife“: You know that twinkling, blurry credit sequence some movies use? And how it’s almost always a guarantee of banality? Well, here we are again with this limp, mopey tale of longing and disconnection. Rachel McAdams blows Eric Bana off the screen without even trying … yeah, like that’s a surprise.

Also, the After Dark Film Festival kicks off tonight at the Bloor Cinema; if you’re at all curious about this year’s crop of films — which features a whack of zombie-themed entertainment, including “Dead Snow”, “The Revenant” and “Grace” — you should really get down there. Fun people, good times. And I did mention the zombies, right?

2 thoughts on “Alien Nation”

  1. I’ve liked pretty much all of the Miyazaki movies I’ve seen, but I’ll be honest that the trailers for Ponyo are really putting me off seeing it in theaters. It looks to be aimed at a very young audience, even more so than some of his early films (Totoro, Kiki, etc.). The dubbing doesn’t help either. I will have to wait for Blu-ray.

  2. All right, so I’m a week late, but I finally forced myself to see G.I. Joe tonight. As expected, we’re not on the same page at all with that one, Norm. I didn’t find one single redeeming moment in the entire movie. Not one. Not even a millisecond’s worth of enjoyment.

    After Michael Bay raped my childhood and left it for dead with his Transformers movies, Stephen Sommers has officially just put a bullet in its brain. 🙁

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