Brace Yourselves …

Aw, come on, 'The Office' is still kind of funny these days… because after a few relatively peaceful weeks, there’s an absolute glut of movies opening today. Shall we just dive in?

“Biutiful”: Never fear, cinephiles — Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s first film since ending his creative partnership with screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga is every bit as oppressively miserable as “21 Grams” and “Babel”, with Javier Bardem suffering manfully as a dying psychic trying to secure his family’s fortunes before he makes his own journey to the other side. Susan loved it; me, not so much.

Cedar Rapids“: It makes sense to cast Ed Helms as a small-town innocent thrust into the chaos of the (relatively) big city, but you have to give the guy something to do, and Miguel Arteta’s cramped farce mostly waits for him and his co-stars to come up with funny line readings. Anne Heche finds a couple, but Isiah Whitlock, Jr. gets the only real belly laughs in the picture. Clay Davis for the win, y’all!

“The Eagle”: Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell butch up big-time for Kevin Macdonald’s Roman Legion epic, which seems to want to outdo “300” for sweaty pecs and hip-hugging battle skirts. Glenn and Jason were equally unimpressed.

“From Prada to Nada”: “Sense and Sensibility” gets yet another updating, with Camilla Belle and Alexa Vega as Beverly Hills sisters whose misfortune sends them to live in the barrios of East L.A. (And you thought the Duffs of Manhattan had it rough in “Material Girls”.) Susan was unimpressed.

Gnomeo and Juliet“: You know, as CG animated comedies about garden gnomes that come to life to re-enact Shakespare go, this is sort of okay … though I’m not entirely sure why it needed to be set to Disneyfied arrangements of Elton John’s greatest hits. Perhaps the answer’s in the question.

“Grace, Milly, Lucy … Child Soldiers”: Raymonde Provencher’s documentary addresses the issue of Ugandan girls conscripted into the Lord’s Resistance Army; as Glenn points out in his review, most coverage of the matter focuses on boys. But the experiences of the girls are worse, as you’ll see …

Kuroneko“: Kaneto Shindo made this subtle ghost story as a follow-up to “Onibaba”, but it didn’t enjoy anywhere near the international acclaim and was lost to obscurity. Now, in advance of the inevitable Criterion DVD, it’s getting a limited theatrical run at the Bloor. And remember, the bigger the screen, the bigger the impact …

Just Go with It“: Having previously remade “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” and “The Longest Yard”, Adam Sandler takes on “Cactus Flower”. Yes, really. I’m catching it this afternoon; I’ll link to my review as soon as it’s live. UPDATE: Well, that was a horrific experience.

“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”: Why make a Justin Bieber concert movie in 3D? Because there’s no money like tween money. Rad says it’s better than the Disney films with Miley Montana and the Jonas Brothers, so I guess that’s something.

Modra“: A lot of directors make coming-of-age movies, but very few of them really understand the emotional alchemy of the genre; Ingrid Veninger does, and that’s what makes her work so intimate and moving. If you’re planning to see a movie this weekend, think seriously about this one. It’s really quite lovely.

“Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project”: I was actually supposed to review this, but circumstances led to me becoming a last-minute editorial consultant to director Barry Avrich, and I had to recuse myself. Susan ended up covering it for us, and was not terribly impressed.

And that’s everything. Whew. Now to sit by the phone and wait for an interview — which I’d be happy to tell you about, but then men in hats and coats would come and do things to our brains …

3 thoughts on “Brace Yourselves …”

  1. So how does one dodge the bullet of having to review the Bieber movie? Is it a seniority thing, or do you have to resort to rock, paper, scissors (lizard, Spock)?

  2. @ Josh — I haven’t had the chance to see the release version, but I hope to catch up to it soon, just so I can have a moderately biased opinion.

    @ Chris — I’m over 30! It’s self-selecting! But it works both ways; I had to take the Adam Sandler movie because I’ve seen “Cactus Flower”. I’d have rather bitten the Bieber bullet, to be honest.

Comments are closed.