Everybody knows you don’t release your best stuff in January. Sure, there’s the occasional awards-season holdover, but mostly, all we get is major-studio junk … and the odd little feature that manages to sneak onto a single screen.
And before anyone says anything, I’m holding out hope that Paramount’s decision to open “Cloverfield” in mid-January is another clever element of its marketing. Nobody expects a giant-monster movie in January, right?
Anyway, this week’s movies aren’t much to talk about.
“First Sunday“: Always a savvy producer, Ice Cube goes after the Tyler Perry market with this slapdash, pandering comedy about two scoundrels who try to rob a church and find themselves caught in a whirlwind of misplaced rage and unexpected redemption. And despite the title, this is not a sequel to any of the “Friday” movies. But Tracy Morgan should totally consider signing up for one of those.
“For the Bible Tells Me So“: Remember that great, awkward moment in “Heathers” when a beefy American family man breaks down at his son’s funeral and proclaims his love “for my dead gay son”? Yeah, well, Daniel Karslake’s movie about religious Americans trying to reconcile their faith in scripture with the existence of their own homosexual children misses a golden opportunity by not including it. Otherwise, though, it’s worth a look.
“Imitation“: Okay, I’ll admit it’s novel to see a movie set in Montreal that’s performed in English and Spanish, and the idea of using a missing-persons structure to investigate that city’s immigrant underworld is also novel. But those things only matter if the movie around them works, and this one decidedly does not.
“In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale“: God bless you, Uwe Boll. God bless you for casting Burt Reynolds and Matthew Lillard as royalty; for casting John Rhys-Davies and Leelee Sobieski as father and daughter; for letting Ray Liotta wear his own clothes to work as a mystical wizard, and for all those other wonderful things you do. God bless your pointy little head.
“Persepolis“: A lot of people really love this animated adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel about growing up in Iran before the fall of the Shah, and then growing up some more in Europe. Me, I remain unmoved, and quietly aghast that anyone could consider this entirely of-the-moment little film a serious challenge to “Ratatouille” for any of this year’s animated-feature awards. But that’s just me.
Also, there’s a VeggieTales movie opening about pirates, but Universal didn’t screen it and I can’t honestly think of a reason I’d need to catch up to it.