It’s never good to put a movie on a shelf. Even if the film is terrific, a delayed release date brings with it the stigma of a troubled production or a studio with no confidence in its product.Â This week sees the release of not one but three films that have been kicking around the calendar for a while … and two of them are kinda great. Read on, it’ll all make sense.
“The Adjustment Bureau“: George Nolfi’s delightful high-stakes romance was originally slated for release last summer, and then bumped briefly to the fall. I can see why it was shifted around; a summer release would have led people to expect another Jason Bourne movie, and the movie’s too light for an awards-season release. It feels just right where it is now — like a weird, wonderful little anomaly — and with any luck, audiences will tune into its particular wavelength.
“Beastly”: This modern spin on “Beauty and the Beast” was originally supposed to open against “The Adjustment Bureau” last summer, on July 30th; apparently it got bumped when the studio decided to wait for “I am Number Four” to make Alex Pettyfer a huge star. That, um, doesn’t seem to have happened. And according to Rad, this movie’s not likely to do it for him either.
“Curling“: Denis Cote’s austere portrait of an overprotective father and his decidedly unworldly daughter is sure to divide audiences just like every other one of Cote’s films. (We talked about that a little in this week’s NOW.) I think it’s great. You should see it, the better to decide for yourself.
“Funkytown”: Daniel Roby’s look back at disco culture in 1970s Montreal stars Quebec superstar Patrick Huard (looking eerily like Peter Stormare) as a radio and television personality who’s been living the high life for too long. Susan has some issues with it, but argues Roby gets a pass for the period detail.
“I Love You Phillip Morris“: Poor Jim Carrey. Crap projects like “Fun with Dick and Jane” and “Yes Man” shoot straight into the megaplex, while this invigoratingly odd true-life comedy romance spends two years on a shelf because someone got nervous about the gay content. Marketed properly, this could have landed Carrey another Oscar nomination; instead, it gets dumped into the Royal for a week before next month’s DVD release. Stupid industry.
“Machete Maidens Unleashed!“: Mark Hartley, director of the Ozploitation retrospective “Not Quite Hollywood”, turns his lens on the American cheapies shot in the Philippines during the ’60s and ’70s, and gets Roger Corman, Sid Haig, Pam Grier, John Landis, Joe Dante and Allan Arkush to weigh in on some of the silliest grindhouse movies ever made. Sadly, Jonathan Demme — whose “Caged Heat” is a watershed of the women-in-chains subgenre — only appears in an archival interview.
“Nora’s Will“: Another vault movie, sort of: Thanks to the vagaries of international distribution, Mariana Chenillo’s 2009 domestic dramedy has taken its time getting to Toronto — and in that time, it won seven Ariels (the Mexican Oscars) including Best Picture and Best Director, and made its local premiere at last year’s Toronto Jewish Film Festival. All par for the course, except that the movie’s not nearly good enough to rate all this attention …
“Rango”: Gore Verbinski’s CG animation epic casts Johnny Depp as a domesticated chameleon who winds up in a Western town, where he gets elected sheriff and finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery. (At least, I think that’s what the story is; it’s awfully hard to tell from the trailers.) I couldn’t make the press screening, but Rad loved it, and so has everyone else who’s seen it, so it’s at the top of my to-do list.
Right, that’s that. And now to get all my forensic ducks in a row for tonight’s Defending the Indefensible double-feature. It’s gonna be epic, I tells you! Epic!