Lots of different releases this week, though I can’t say I recommend that many of them. On the bright side, this would be a great time to hand out the “Snakes on a Plane Memorial Award for the Movie Title That Leaves Absolutely Nothing to the Imagination.” The envelope, please…
Chandni Chowk to China
If you’ve never seen a film from Bollywood (as the Hindi film industry is affectionately known), you really should check one out. They’re all chock-full of ridiculous stunts, dopey music videos, and awesome set design. They almost make Hollywood fare look tasteful and low-key by comparison. This particular one has the distinction of being the first Bollywood martial arts comedy, or so I’ve heard. You can watch the trailer here…now excuse me, but I’ve got to go buy a ticket.
Winner? Not quite. It does feature a character who goes from Chandni Chowk to China, but that title doesn’t tell us what he does once he gets there. Better luck next time, India.
Recommended if you liked Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer or Kung-Pow!: Enter the Fist
Probably the last WWII-milking piece of Oscar bait we’ll have to sit through this year, this drama features Daniel “Bond-James-Bond” Craig as one of a thousand or so Jews who build a settlement in the middle of nowhere to evade the Nazis. It’s gotten mixed reviews, but the trailer made it look decent. In any case, it’s a better bet than anything else this week.
Winner? Well, it is a movie about defiance, so it gets a few points. That title’s just not literal enough, though. Next!
Last Chance Harvey
Quiet little romantic comedy starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, both of whom earned Golden Globe nominations for their work. He’s an American stranded in London, she buys him a pity drink. Something like that.
Winner? Doubtful. I still can’t figure out what that title means…though it does get some badness points for making me think about Good Luck Chuck.
Recommended if you liked An American Werewolf in London, but didn’t like the werewolf
My Bloody Valentine 3D
What can I say about this one? Yet another remake of an old horror movie, plus the ol’ 3D gimmick, plus one of the worst movie trailers ever. It’s either embarrassingly awful (count me in) or tedious and annoying (count me out).
Winner? Well, the title says exactly what it is (it’s My Bloody Valentine…in 3D!!!), but in order to “get it,” you have to possess a small amount of knowledge of film history, so…no.
Recommended if you’re looking for something to do with those 3D glasses you’ve had lying around since Bolt
The life of famed hip-hop emcee Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. I caught an early showing of this one, and I have to say it’s really for hardcore fans only, and even they won’t like it all that much. There’s just not much here.
Winner? That is a pretty lazy title (not to mention stolen from Hitchcock), but it’s not entirely obvious what the movie’s about from it, so…no. (But they may have won if they had stuck with the working title: Untitled Notorious B.I.G. Project.)
Recommended if you regularly check supermarket tabloids for Biggie sightings
Hotel for Dogs
Based on the novel by Lois Duncan, this family film tells the story of some kids setting up a hotel for…(wait for it)…dogs. Standard-issue canine hijinks ensue.
Winner? This one’s a close runner-up, but it’s just not quite as obvious as the one to follow…
Recommended if you liked Beethoven, Harriet the Spy, or The Spiderwick Chronicles
Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Paul Blart (Kevin James, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry) is a mall cop. Then the bad guys show up. Then you realize you’re out of popcorn. Then the ice in your soda has all melted, and you hate watered-down soda, so you go for a refill. Then, once you get back, that old lady sitting behind you is talking again, so you tell her to shut up. Then your cell phone rings. Then the credits roll, the lights come up, and some teenager sweeps the sticky floor while you leave.
Winner? …And the winner is, Happy Madison Productions for Paul Blart: Mall Cop! Happy Madison has won several times before, including a special award for the intrinsically redundant Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Accepting the award tonight is Adam Sandler, who has nothing better to do.
Recommended if you’d like to thank your mom and dad, the boys at the academy, and all the little people. Oh, this is just all too much.