“The X Files: I Want to Believe” doesn’t bother with any of the show’s elaborate alien-invasion mythology. As Chris Carter has been telling everyone, this new feature is a lot more the one-offs that had Mulder and Scully chasing the monster of the week — a stand-alone story that doesn’t require you to have seen all nine seasons of the series.
Fair enough. The thing is, the story he came up with is really, really lame. Seriously; six years after the show goes off the air, this is the best he could do?
I briefly considered coming up with a totally different plot for the movie for my review — something about the agents stumbling across a genetically enhanced werewolf army — and then coming clean in the last paragraph, explaining what the movie was really about, because there’s just no way anyone would believe that my story wasn’t a better premise for an “X Files” movie.
But that just seemed cruel.
Also opening this week:
“Brideshead Revisited“: You know how Joe Wright’s “Pride and Prejudice” raced through all the scenes of the book in order to squeeze as much plot as possible into a feature-length running time? Julian Jarrold’s movie tries a similar trick, boiling Evelyn Waugh’s epic tale of class and desire down to its three principal characters and reinventing the plot as a sort of romantic triangle. It sort of works.
“Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer”: A homegrown monster movie with practical effects and Robert Englund! How did I miss this? (Well, I was on deadline with some other stuff, so Rad got the assignment. But still.)
“Just Buried”: Saw this at TIFF. Hated it like poison. Barrett and Adam don’t have much time for it, either. Jay Baruchel’s a talented and relatable actor; maybe his role in next month’s “Tropic Thunder” will be the vehicle that finally breaks him out of crappy Canadian movie hell.
“The Last Mistress”: Is legendary French provocateuse Catherine Breillat mellowing? Or has she just discovered the advantages of a coherent plot? Either way, this period drama about the push-and-pull tensions between an aristocrat (Fu’ad Ait Attou) and the woman with whom he’s dallied for a decade (Asia Argento) is a lot more watchable than most of her recent work.
“Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired“: Marina Zenovich’s film about the media circus of the director’s 1977 rape trial and his subsequent flight from justice plays a bit more like an advocacy documentary than I’m entirely comfortable with; she does make some valid points about the corrupt Los Angeles court system, but that doesn’t exactly excuse the nature of Polanski’s original offense. (Adam argues the same points from a different angle.)
“Step Brothers“: Judd Apatow and Adam McKay have encouraged Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly to follow their bliss wherever it takes them in their latest arrested-development comedy — and it takes them to some delightfully absurd places. Also, if you’ve been waiting to see Richard Jenkins get another comic role on the level of “Flirting with Disaster” … well, your patience will finally be rewarded.