Genre Highs, Genre Lows

Oh my god, I'm the guy from Herman's HeadFunny thing about formula pictures: Sometimes, all you need to do to make a good movie is put the formula together without any mucking around. And sometimes, the formula itself is the problem.

Here are this week’s releases. See if you can guess which movies are which.

After the Wedding“: This is definitively not a formula picture. But it’s a really interesting take on the Shakespearian tragedy and the modern soap opera, and Mads Mikkelsen is an endless subject of fascination.

Disturbia“: “Rear Window” riff or “Fright Night” without the vampire? Lotta people are thinking about the former, but it’s the latter that seems more obvious to me. However you choose to see it, a no-bullshit psychological thriller seems like a pretty good idea right about now.

Pathfinder“: Viking orphan raised by New World natives as one of their own grows up to be Karl Urban and defend his adopted people against the return of his blood kin. That is precisely as much story as director Marcus Nispel can hold in his pointy little head, which explains why the rest of the movie is entirely composed of brutal, brutal violence, shot and edited so incoherently as to make Uwe Boll look like Stanley Kubrick. (And Uwe, that’s not a compliment.)

Perfect Stranger“: In which Halle Berry plays the Glenn Close / Debra Winger / Jessica Lange / Michael Douglas / Sharon Stone role to Bruce Willis’ Jeff Bridges / Tom Berenger / Armin Mueller-Stahl / Sharon Stone / William Baldwin. Joe Eszterhas really should think about suing for a cut of the box-office … however minimal that’s going to be.

Sleeping Dogs“: Terrance Odette’s minimalist digital feature about two men wandering through Kitchener-Waterloo means well, and I admire its social conscience. But it’s kinda pretentious, and really, really dull, and his non-actors can’t, you know, act. So that’s kind of a sticking point.

I am off for a sit-down with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright at a pub on the Danforth. If I ever complain about my job, please remind me that I get to do stuff like this on occasion. That should shut me up.

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