You’ll Have to Excuse Me, I’m Not At My Best

'Funk'? 'Fie'? Um ... 'phobia'?This is how fatigued I was when I wrote yesterday’s post about talking to Steven Soderbergh: I didn’t realize I’d written virtually the same exact post a few days earlier, in the service of saluting “The Limey”. Sorry for the redundancy; I hope there was enough new material (like, um, the actual interview) to justify your reading it again.

In other news, it’s Friday and there are movies opening. Shall we?

Cadillac Records“: Darnell Martin compresses perhaps the most contentious period  in the history of American popular music into a Chess Records greatest-hits album, and when Jeffrey Wright’s Muddy Waters and Mos Def’s Chuck Berry are on the screen, it totally swings. (Mixed metaphor, I know. But appropriate to the characters, I think.) The trouble is, when they’re not on-screen, this is one awfully simplistic movie.

Che“: I won’t lie to you: It’s a massive undertaking, and it doesn’t fully work. But it doesn’t not work, either, and it’s a fascinating film to unpack after you’ve had time to digest the experience. Does this mean you should run out and sit through the four-and-a-half-hour roadshow version as soon as possible? Well, no. Unless you want to. In that case, maybe it’s worth it. (Frustrating, isn’t it?)

“Fired Up”: A comedy about guys who join a cheerleader camp to meet hot girls. How could this plan possibly go wrong? And is it bad that I kind of like the trailer, and am curious to see it just because it reunites Eric Christian Olsen and Philip Baker Hall from the short-lived but fondly remembered Fox sitcom “The Loop”? Yeah, probably. Stuart takes it down.

“The Necessities of Life”: Set in 1954, Benoit Pilon’s quiet, powerful drama follows the cultural journey of a tubercular Inuit man (“Atanarjuat” star Natar Ungalaaq) brought to a Quebec City hospital for a cure he can’t even begin to understand. It’s really quite something. Try not to let anyone spoil it for you.

Stone of Destiny“: Yeah, this just sucked. I want to dissect it at length, but it doesn’t merit the effort; sure, the determined Scottish nationalist students who plotted to steal a big rock from Westminster Abbey pulled off something impressive, but the movie that supposedly pays tribute to their venture is predictable, sloppy and utterly inert. So that’s a problem.

Oh, and the World’s Best Commercials program returns to the Bloor Cinema today to delight anyone yearning for several dozen quick hits of high-energy storytelling (and, yes, salesmanship) for an Oscar-weekend distraction. Admit it: A great big movie-theater screen beats click-and-stutter YouTube viewings any day of the week.

Okay, so sometimes the online presentation is a little better than YouTube. But still. Big screen! Happy audience! Go on, you know you want to.