Because making fun of Hollywood is soooo original
So I was recently assigned with the task of putting together a fall film preview roundup. Rather than do the dull, dry summations that just about every newspaper and magazine from here to Lower Slobovia will undoubtedly throw together, I decided to spice it up a bit by being really snarky and mean-spirited.
So how'd I do? Eh, I think I pulled my punches a bit too much, but I'll leave it for you to make the final decision. Sorry for the lack of photos, but formatting this took enough work as it was and I'm getting sleepy:
In a world ...
... where Hollywood gears up for one of its largest fall seasons ever, with a slate that includes inane comedies, mind-numbing kiddie flicks, cliche-ridden thrillers and so-called “serious” films aimed at netting an Oscar ...
... when big-budget films featuring vampires, serial killers, zoo animals, singing high school students and Josh Brolin as George W. are all aimed at netting as many beautiful dollar bills as possible ...
... can one man, armed only with Internet access, cut his way through the hype to determine if there’s anything he wants to see in the coming months?
Sure, why not?
Title: “Bangkok Dangerous”
Starring: Nicholas Cage.
Directed by: Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang.
What it’s about: Lots of guns going off. Things exploding. Cage (playing a hitman) attempting to look cool. It’s a remake of a Thai film.
Will I go see it? Stylish thriller or z-grade schlock? This is the sort of movie that the Rotten Tomatoes Web site was made for.
Title: “The Women”
Starring: Just about every over-30 actress of note, including Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Carrie Fisher, Bette Midler and Candice Bergen.
Directed by: Diane English
What it’s about: It’s a remake of the classic 1939 George Cukor film, only with more of a “Sex & the City” feel.
Will I go see it? The trailer does look amusing, but I fear that attending would force me to turn in my membership in the local “He-Man, Woman-Haters” guild. And we can’t have that.
Title: “Burn After Reading”
Starring: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich
Directed by: Ethan and Joel Coen
What it’s about: A CD holding the memoirs of a CIA agent (Malkovich) ends up in the hands of a pair of unscrupulous and rather dim gym employees (Pitt, McDormand).
Will I go see it? Duh, it’s a Coen brothers film.
Title: “Righteous Kill”
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino
Directed by: Jon Avnet
What it’s about: Getting two acting legends together onscreen. In this particular instance, they’re playing cops on the trail of a serial killer who may or may not be a cop as well.
Will I go see it? I’ve seen “Heat.” “Heat was a friend of mine. You, “Rightous Kill,” are no “Heat.”
Title: “Lakeview Terrace”
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington.
Directed by: Neil LaBute
What it’s about: LaBute hacks it out for this formulstic thriller about a cop (Jackson) who terrorizes his new next-door neighbors. Hopefully the money will help fund one of LaBute’s more personal projects.
Will I go see it? Well, it does feature Jackson in full-on psycho mode ...
Starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, Jeremy Irons
Directed by: Ed Harris
What it’s about: Harris and Mortensen are a pair of tough gunslingers who have to clean out a one-horse town.
Will I go see it? Hmmm. It’s a “classical” Western, starring two of my favorite actors, with Irons as the villain. Why, this movie seems to have been made expressly for me!
Starring: The voices of John Cusack, Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon.
Directed by: Anthony Leondis
What it’s about: A hunchbacked lab assistant decides to try to win the Evil Science Fair with his own creation.
Will I go see it? It looks like “Nightmare Before Christmas”-lite, which is not necessarily a good thing. On the other hand, it would keep my kids quiet for two hours.
Title: “Ghost Town”
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni
Directed by: David Koepp
What it’s about: Gervais can see dead people. Hilarity ensues.
Will I go see it? The trailer did make me laugh. Put me down for “maybe.”
Title: “Miracle at St. Anna”
Starring: Derek Luke, Michael Ealy
Directed by: Spike Lee
What it’s about: A 1984 murder investigation leads back to the story of a group of African-American soldiers trapped in a Tuscan village in WWII.
Will I go see it? I’m curious to see how Lee tackles the “war movie” genre.
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston
Directed by: Clark Gregg
What it’s about: Rockwell’s an unlikable sex-addicted con-man who falls for his mom’s doctor.
Will I go see it? A cheerfully black comedy sounds like just the thing to get me through the morass of “feel-good” movies being pumped out around this time of year.
Title: “Beverly Hill Chihuahua”
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Salma Hayek, Jamie Lee Curtis and other actors apparently in desperate need of a paycheck.
Directed by: Like it matters.
What it’s about: Judging by the trailer, which features lots of badly animated Chihuahuas screaming “Chihuahua!” until my ears bled, it’s about making me contemplate how far the current state of American cinema has fallen.
Will I go see it? Unfortunately, I will be very busy the entire time this movie is in theaters trimming my nose hair. Such a shame.
Starring: Bill Mahr
Directed by: Larry Charles (“Borat”)
What it’s about: Mahr gets all Michael Moore in this irreverent documentary examining the world’s religous beliefs.
Will I go see it? Mahr can be insufferably smug at times, but assuming he approches the subject with a genuine curioity it could be a good film.
Title: “What Just Happened?”
Starring: Robert DeNiro
Directed by: Barry Levinson, John Turturro
What it’s about: DeNiro is a Hollywood producer on his way down the ladder and desperately trying to get his movie made.
Will I go see it? Maybe. Hollywood movies about Hollywood tend to have a bit too much navel-gazing to suit me.
Title: “Rachel Getting Married”
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
What it’s about: A young woman who’s been in and out of rehab reunites with her family for her sister’s wedding.
Will I go see it? Depends. Is this one of those painfully funny, awkwardly honest family comedies or one of those simpering, sloppily sentimental family comedies? I prefer the former to the latter.
Title: “City of Ember”
Starring: Bill Murray, Tim Robbins and a bunch of freckle-faced kids.
Directed by: Gil Kenan (“Monster House”)
What it’s about: A underground city is losing power unless a plucky bunch of kids can figure out how to turn the lights back on.
Will I go see it? I’m beginning to get more than a little weary of movies featuring plucky bunches of kids.
Starring: Gerald Butler, Tom Wilkinson
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
What it’s about: Guns, guys in nice suits, explosions, impenetrable English accents.
Will I go see it? No. Ritchie hasn’t made a good film since he became Mr. Madonna.
Title: “Body of Lies”
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe
Directed by: Ridley Scott
What it’s about: Something about the war on terror, I’m not sure. The trailer’s mainly about DiCaprio and Crowe getting all macho and actorly in each other’s faces.
Will I go see it? This film has “desperate attempt at netting Oscar nominations” all over it. Those sort of films are never any good.
Starring: Josh Brolin, Richard Dreyfuss, James Cromwell, Thandie Newton, Elizabeth Banks, Scott Glenn and many, many more talented people.
Directed by: Oliver Stone
What it’s about: The life and times of our current commander in chief.
Will I go see it? Yes, if just to see how North ties in the Kennedy assassination.
Title: “Secret Life of Bees”
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah
Directed by: Gina Price-Bythewood
What it’s about: A young girl in the '
Will I go see it? They might as well have titled the movie “Things Chris Mautner Has No Interest in Seeing.”
Title: “High School Musical 3: Senior Year”
Starring: OMG! Vanessa Hudgens, who is, like, so pretty, and Ashley Tisdae and Corbin Bleu and the totally hot ZAC EFRON! Squee!
Directed by: Some guy, I dunno.
What’s it about: The gang is growing up and getting ready to graduate, so it’s all bittersweet good-byes, you know? Sigh.
Will I go see it? I’ve made an active effort to keep all things containing the phrase “Disney Channel” out of my house. It’s been a successful enterprise so far and I see no reason why I should alter it now.
Starring: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
What it’s about: A woman reunited with her missing child wonders if the boy is really hers. �
Will I go see it? Knowing the midstate, this probably won’t come around here until March 2009, but yeah. Eastwood hasn’t failed me yet.
Title: “Saw V”
Starring: Nobody you’ve ever heard of. Trust me.
Directed by: David Hackl. I have to say, that’s an unfortunate last name for a director.
What it’s about: Watching people being tortured and maimed in creative, disgusting and completely implausible ways.
Will I go see it? Depends. Will I understand what’s going on if I haven’t seen “Saws I-IV?”
Title: “Pride and Glory”
Starring: Ed Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight
Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
What it’s about: Farrell’s the bad cop. Norton the good cop who has to bring him in. They’re also brothers.
Will I go see it? Great Godfrey, another cop drama? Was their a discount sale over at “Genre Cliches R Us” this year?
Title: “Crossing Over”
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Penn, Ashely Judd
Directed by: Wayne Kramer
What it’s about: A “Crash”-like meditation on illegal immigration, seen from the viewpoint of multiple characters.
Will I go see it? You know what I hate? When Hollywood decides to tackle some “serious issue” like racism or immigration and then they all pat themselves on the back because they think they’re “making a statement,” even though they’re just making obvious points that everyone already knows. I really hate that.
Title: “Synecdoche, New York”
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams
Directed by: Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich”)
What it’s about: A theater director attempts to deal with the women in his life while trying to create a life-size replica of New York City in a warehouse for his next play.
Will I go see it? Yes. Kaufman’s one of the most intriguing screenwriters in Hollywood right now and I’m anxious to see what he accomplishes in the director’s chair.
Title: “Zack & Miri Make a Porno”
Starring: Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks
Directed by: Kevin Smith
What it’s about: The title says it all, doesn’t it? A pair of friends decide to solve their money troubles by making an X-rated film.
Will I go see it? Kevin Smith is pretty hit or miss with me, but I confess to being intrigued by the premise. Plus, Rogan’s a pretty funny guy. I’ll probably check it out at some point.
Title: “Quantum of Solace”
Starring: Daniel Craig as 007.
Directed by: Marc Forster
What it’s about: Dude, it’s a James Bond film. What more do you need to know
Will I go see it? Well, I still need to watch “Casino Royale,” but sure.
Title: “Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa”
Starring: The voices of Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and the late Bernie Mac.
Directed by: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
What it’s about: A sequel to the popular 2005 animated film. This time the zoo animals end up in ... well, read the title.
Will I go see it? While I tire of computer-animated animals putting on third-rate Warner Bros. schitck, my kids will no doubt drag me to the theater.
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
What it’s about: Kidman inherits a ranch in the Australian Outback in the days just before WWII. Jackman helps her run it. Sparks fly.
Will I go see it? Luhrmann could make a movie about people watching paint dry and I’d go see it.
Title: “Soul Men”
Starring: Bernie Mac, Samuel L. Jackson, Isaac Hayes
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
What it’s about: Jackson and Mac are an estranged singing duo who agree to do a reunion performance.
Will I go see it? Prediction: the fact that the film includes Mac’s and Hayes’ final performances will in all likelhood not obscure how bad a movie it is.
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke.
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
What it’s about: Film adaptation of the uber-popular novel about a teen-age vampire and the girl who loves him. Anne Rice has a lot to answer for.
Will I go see it? These vampire books are insanely popular, which means there will be tons of uber-eager fans lining the cinema when this comes out. And I will be nowhere near them.
Title: “The Soloist”
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr.
Directed by: Joe Wright (“Atonement”)
What it’s about: Reporter Downey befriends the brilliant but homeless pianist Foxx and draws the world’s attention to his plight.
Will I go see it? Are you kidding? The synopsis alone makes me want to gag.
Title: “The Road”
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Directed by: John Hillcoat
What it’s about: Father and son wander a post-apocalyptic landscape in search of safety. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cormac McCarthy novel.
Will I go see it? I likes me some dour post-apocalyptic drama.
Starring: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
What it’s about: Penn plays Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected city supervisor in San Francisco, only to be assassinated a year later.
Will I go see it? Van Sant and Penn? Hell yeah, I’m there.