So What’s Opening Today?

This is how you'll feel at the 140-minute markI think there’s some stuff. Also, it seems Harold Pinter has died. Somehow that cheap shot about his “Sleuth” screenplay being a sign of early decline seems kind of mean now. Not wrong, mind you, just mean.

“Bedtime Stories”: Adam Sandler plays a shiftless uncle who learns the value of growing up when the bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew start coming vividly true. But the really improbable part? Keri Russell plays his love interest. Rad bears witness.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button“: Brad Pitt ages backwards! Cate Blanchett dances! New Orleans serves as a clumsy metaphoric backdrop for an epic American tale that’s as digitally processed — and, ultimately, as pointless — as a certain 1994 Oscarpalooza directed by Robert Zemeckis. I don’t blame David Fincher for trying (and failing) to tell a human story as much as I blame screenwriter Eric Roth; now, that guy can just go Gump himself.

“Marley and Me”: Look, I know the dog is adorable. I also know what happens to the dog. I will be elsewhere, probably forever. But Rad acknowledges that the movie worked on him, so that’s something.

The Spirit“: Frank Miller tries to bend Will Eisner’s doofy crime-fighter to his misogynist will, and fails mightily. Some eggs just aren’t meant to be hard-boiled — especially when Samuel L. Jackson is ranting about them at full volume in every other scene. (Louis Lombardi’s a hoot, though.)

Valkyrie“: Yeah, Tom Cruise doesn’t really pull of the German-aristocrat thing as well as he thinks he does. But at least he’s not the only thing pushing against Bryan Singer’s tale of a 1944 coup attempt within the Nazi high command; that whole Hitler-assassination plot somehow fails to generate a whole lot of tension. On the upside, you’ll witness incredible advances in digital swastika technology.

“The Wrestler”: Darren Aronofsky’s gritty tale of a lug’s redemption has been greeted ecstatically at film festivals around the world, and it is indeed very good … though, much like Mickey Rourke’s disintegrating hero, it’s also a little on the clumsy side. But that’s really the worst thing I can say about it, and Rourke really is amazing, as Barrett and Jason argue at greater length.

Oh, and “Waltz with Bashir” opens tomorrow. It’s very good. If you aren’t braving the Boxing Day hordes, there are worse ways to spend a soggy afternoon …

2 thoughts on “So What’s Opening Today?”

Comments are closed.