Be Thankful You’re Not on Fire

A mumblecore remake of 'Mad Max' seemed like a good idea at the time ...The last Friday in November is a strange spot on the theatrical release calendar. The big studio movies opened on Wednesday, the better to take advantage of the long Thanksgiving weekend, so all that’s left are boutique releases and the stray mini-major title. This year, it’s “The Road”, which opened in the U.S. on Wednesday but went the Friday route here. Shall we run down the list?

“Absurdistan”: Hey, remember the quaint absurdity of Veit Helmer’s “Tuvalu”? Well, now you can experience it all over again in Helmer’s latest, a comedy of manners loosely based on “Lysistrata”. Susan loathed it, though.

Big Fan“: Robert D. Siegel’s bleak tale of a football obsessive showcases a terrific performance from Patton Oswalt — which you already know, if you read yesterday’s post about my cover story in this week’s NOW. But you should still check it out.

Coopers’ Camera“: Warren Sonoda’s microbudgeted comedy was the subject of my very first NOW cover story, back in August of 2008; now, fifteen months later, it’s making its theatrical bow here at home. It’s funny. And horrible. And then funny again. Try it, you’ll like it.

The Headless Woman“: You know how some movies are praised to the skies by critics, but they end up leaving you cold? Well, I’m still pretty frigid towards Lucrecia Martel’s muzzy drama, which has rebounded from its contentious Cannes premiere to become a sort of cause celebre in some circles. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a guy who has opinions about things.

“Parking”: Glenn is high on this Taiwan multicharacter comedy-drama, the directorial debut of Taiwanese director Chung Ming-hong. I hope it’s still running when I can spare the time to see it.

New York, I Love You“: Well, I do. But the movie’s a mixed bag, with some great stuff, some terrible stuff and a lot of middling contributions. Oh, and someone really needs to enroll Brett Ratner in a gender-sensitivity course or something, because he’s going to hurt somebody.

The Road“: Here’s a conundrum: John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s merciless post-apocalyptic allegory isn’t grim enough to capture the true despair and horror at the story’s heart. The result is a sort of exhausted drone, when what we really should be hearing is a long, unbroken scream; the only worthy adaptation of McCarthy’s book would be literally unwatchable.

Well, I did say it was a conundrum …

2 thoughts on “Be Thankful You’re Not on Fire”

  1. At least there won’t be a flood of tie-in merchandising for ‘The Road’. No grey dirty parkas at Old Navy, plastic single-shot revolvers at Toys ‘R Us, cannibal-themed Happy Meals at McDonalds…

  2. Best Christmas list ever, but I come from the kind of morbid family that went to see Sweeney Todd on Christmas day then went home to meat pies drowned in ketchup. Ah…good times.

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