I return to pwning Metro’s movie coverage today, reviewing all six of the week’s new releases. (Chris is on vacation; he’ll be back next week for Michael Moore’s “Sicko”, which is just as well because its press screenings are lined up against other movies I have to see, dammit.)
And how are this week’s offerings? Well …
“Eagle vs. Shark“: A bunch of New Zealanders try to remake “Napoleon Dynamite” in their own vernacular, and the result is this muddled, posturing indie. It might have made a great short film — the trailer’s a hoot — but at feature length, it’s a crushing misfire.
“Evan Almighty“: Speaking of crushing misfires, there’s this utterly unnecessary sequel, a pandering mess of animal gags, overblown CGI and desperate, uninspired improvisation. It’s being heavily marketed to Christians, which reveals the low regard in which Hollywood holds people of faith. Or, you know, everybody.
“1408“: In the latest Stephen King rehash, a skeptical John Cusack checks into an eeeeevil hotel room and is tormented, more or less in real time, by various horrible visions and unpleasantries. It starts out well, but devolves into silliness and pointless reversals; I wonder what it was like before they changed the ending.
“Gracie“: Davis Guggenheim follows “An Inconvenient Truth” with the safest project imaginable: A gauzy, inspirational sports picture based on the adolescence of his wife Elisabeth Shue, who — we are told — defied incredible odds to play on a boy’s soccer team. To quote Mark Peranson’s single greatest line of film criticism: “Big deal, she rides the whale.”
“Killer of Sheep“: I’ve been hearing about the brilliance of Charles Burnett’s vanished 1977 debut for a good two decades now, and I can’t imagine any film could live up to that level of acclaim … let alone the movie that this is. Not bad, by any means, but not exactly one of the greatest movies ever made.
“A Mighty Heart“: Angelina Jolie reclaims her title as one of the most interesting actors around — which she’s kind of let slip in recent years, let’s be honest — with a terrific turn as Mariane Pearl, widow of Daniel, in Michael Winterbottom’s curiously bloodless reconstruction of their story.
What? You want more? Well, there’s my latest Sympatico/MSN piece, a breakdown of all the places where terrible things have happened to people in the movies. I have to say, this gig is turning out to be a lot of fun.