Boosting the Signal

No, sweetie, it's a real good piePick up today’s Metro and you’ll notice something … different.

This week marks the launch of the paper’s redesigned Friday movie coverage, which basically boils down to a nice little banner on the pertinent pages, and a logo accompanying my byline.

Logos are cool, even if they increase the chances that someone will pick a fight with me publicly for liking/not liking a movie they hated/loved. Occupational hazard.

But never mind all that; you want to know what to see this weekend, right?

Delta Farce“: After the triumph that was “Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector”, Mr. Guy returns as a weekend warrior who accidentally invades Mexico, thinking he’s been deployed to Iraq. Someday, a college student is going to write an awesome thesis about the appropriation of redneck culture by bad stand-up comedians, and then — and only then — this film will have a reason to exist.

The Ex“: What does it say about a movie when it assembles perhaps the single best comedic cast of the year — check the review for the list — and gets maybe three laughs? And by “laughs”, I mean “small snorts of air through the nostrils”, and by “three”, I mean “one and a half”. You’ll see it on DVD, and think I’m being overly harsh. I am not. This movie sucks.

Georgia Rule“: Garry Marshall, the hack’s hack, strives for edge with this soapy drama about three generations of women dealing with allegations of incest. Didn’t get that from the marketing campaign, did you? That’s because Universal somehow forgot to mention the whole movie revolves around Lindsay Lohan accusing her stepfather of touching her when she was twelve. Oh, and Felicity Huffman might want to look into having herself removed from the DVD version. I’m just saying.

Jindabyne“: Australian director Ray Lawrence tries to replicate his terrific 2001 drama “Lantana” with this transposition of a Raymond Carver short story — already filmed by Robert Altman as part of “Short Cuts” — to an outback town. It doesn’t work too well; Lawrence does manage to sustain an eerie, unsettled mood for most of the first hour, but we can’t help thinking Altman told this particular story a lot more efficiently. And I didn’t much care for “Short Cuts”.

28 Weeks Later“: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s film is much more of a remake than a sequel, restaging the good parts of Danny Boyle’s apocalyptic 2003 thriller with better production values. And while it works in fits and starts, the law of diminishing returns is very much in operation; there isn’t much here that tops the original for ragged tension or emotional impact. But it did inspire me to write that long-overdue meditation on zombie movies over at Sympatico/MSN.

Waitress“: Adrienne Shelly’s final film, completed shortly before her stupid, pointless murder last November, is a bit of a mess, really — which is almost inevitable, when one tries to make a whimsical movie about real life — but it’s got a huge heart, and Keri Russell’s wide-open performance carries it over its biggest potholes. Plus, Nathan Fillion turns up as Russell’s flustered obstetrician, playing a combination of befuddlement and raging sexuality as only Nathan Fillion can. (Small note: The review would make a lot more sense if someone hadn’t cut the first line, which is: “The actress and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly was murdered last fall in a New York City apartment building.”)

159 thoughts on “Boosting the Signal”

  1. Bad edit on Metro’s part. They dropped any reference to ‘Adrienne’ as well. Your readers might wonder if Shelly Winters had directed it instead. All that pie would have been a motivating factor.

  2. Norm dearest,

    Lindsay Lohan accuses her stepfather of *having sex* with her *since* she was 12 (actually between the ages of 12-14, and then trying to start it up again recently). Not just touching her. This is a pretty salient point. It makes the ick factor in this allegedly feel-good movie exponentially ickier.

    Just sayin’ … and I agree with you about Huffman’s slurring embarrassment of a performance. Get thee back to Desperate Housewives if this is all you plan to do with your summer vacation! (She and her hubbie are taking hack lessons from Marshall, apparently.)

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