March 10, 2009

On their way in '09, Part 4

And to conclude this series on Coming Soon to a Theater Near You, let’s dive into those that I’m definitely the target audience for, but there’s just something holding me back from. For lack of a better title, we’ll call it The Wishy Washy Chapter.

The Brothers Bloom (May 29) – Quirky, bright colored movies that get better with each watching – that is my type of movie (I even love that American Express commercial by/with Wes Anderson.), and that is the type of movie this trailer is trying to convince me ‘The Brothers Bloom’ is. But, just how the Duplicity trailer makes me squirm because of how forced the Steven Soderbergh-wannabe pacing is, I just am not quite feeling it with this one.

The Year One (June 19) – This is brought to us by Harold Ramis, the genius behind ‘Ghost Busters’ (And Caddyshack and Meatballs and Stripes), and he co-wrote it with the writer of some of the finest episodes of ‘The Office’ around (including ‘Michael’s Birthday’ and ‘The Convention’). It stars Michael Cera, being given a chance to break out of his puppy love teenager skin, and Jack Black who I actually still find very funny. So, I have high hopes that this will in fact be so-stupid-it’s-brilliant and the back-in-time hit that ‘Land of the Lost’ wants to be. (Total aside: When you search for 'The Year One' on IMDB, the first recommended title is 'The Talented Mr. Ripley,' complete title: "The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley")

Funny People (July 31) – If you’re Judd Apatow and you’re famous for taking minimally known actors and turning them into brilliant leading man comedians in unexpectedly hilarious roles, doesn’t casting Adam Sandler seem kind of like a step backwards? Maybe not – if the point of his character is that he’s the high-ranking comedian mentoring Seth Rogen. Aside from that, this looks about par for the course for Judd Apatow movies: Bromance + Poignant plot that people will forget about in the face of some out-of-nowhere gross-out humor. Has the magic worn off? TBD. But Judd Apatow’s movies – specifically ‘Knocked Up” and ’40 Year Old Virgin’ –always feel about 10% too long, and that’s exactly how I feel about this trailer.

Julie & Julia (August 7)– Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are clearly best friends for life, and I like both of them very much. This is a movie about redemption through cooking (or it should be, if it’s an accurate adaptation of the book, which is described as: “The story of Julie Powell's attempt to revitalize her marriage, restore her ambition, and save her soul by cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I, in a period of 365 days.”), and I love the idea here. It should also be noted that I think this is the first mainstream movie based on a blog (sure, the blog was turned into a book, which is now being turned into a movie), but how’s that for Adapted Screenplay? I would have much higher expectations for this movie if: A. I had gotten around to reading the book yet, and, B. I hadn’t seen ‘Doubt.’ As is, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Taking Woodstock (August 14) – The description is generic enough – “A man working at his parents' motel in the Catskills inadvertently sets in motion the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969” – but coming to us from Ang Lee, you know the movie will be anything but. This is a man who directed the quiet, period piece ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ the special effects-laden, indescribable ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and the sweeping epic ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ He’s only taken a misstep with ‘Hulk,’ so expect good things here, especially with a cast featuring Emile Hirsch and Paul Dano, young actors who are incredibly smart in their role choices (‘There Will Be Blood,’ ‘Little Miss Sunshine,’ ‘Into the Wild,’ ‘Milk’…Yes, we’ll forgive you for ‘Speed Racer’, Emile).

Inglourious Basterds (August 21) – As is the case with most things Quentin Tarantino, I can’t tell how much I’m supposed to be laughing. This one is going to be all review-dependent, as with ‘Grindhouse’ (nay) and ‘Kill Bill’ (yay) before it.

The Informant (October 9) – They should rename this, because not only is it the world’s most generic title, it also sounds too much like the year’s early bomb, The International. But this is a pairing of Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damon, so I’m hoping for ‘Bourne Identity’ action in a ‘Traffic’ pace.


readerbean said...

Hey Ashley, it's been interesting reading your thoughts about movie that are comin' out soon! Thanks for sharing. One movie that I'm excited to see...that you didn't mention in your State of Play with Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman and I'm sure a slew of other actors that I'm missing. Have you seen the trailor for this one? Where would it fall in your mind of movies you will, may, will definitely not see?

Ashley said...

Hey Beth! I'm glad you've been reading! I hadn't seen the trailer for it yet, but I did just go look it up - we'll probably wind up getting it on Netflix - I have a hard time with Russell Crowe. But I do love (love!) Jason Bateman...

Trevor said...

Good choices for this category.

If "Funny People" is the sequal to "Smart People" then count me out. If Luis Guzman is in it then count me in.

I think "Inglourious Basterds" is going to be a return to brilliance for QT after the indulgence of "Kill Bill II" and "Death Proof."