Woo-hoo! The choices this week are (again) quite rich for the movie lovers palate. As Hollywood exits its late-winter slump theater wise, DVD shelves and NetFlix queues the country over exit their slumps as well. For drama this week, my pick would be Charlie Wilson’s War, and for creepy horror I would go with The Orphanage. The Motion Sickness Inducing Monster Flick of the week is, surprise surprise, Cloverfield. Dig in!
Charlie Wilson’s War –
Another film with visions of Oscar dancing in its head, it was not quite up to the Academy’s ‘high standards.’ In this instance, it was both an anti-war film that didn’t beat its drum loudly enough and a movie that was not quite the sum of its respectively outstanding parts. Based on a true story, Senator Wilson (Tom Hanks) decides to wage war against communism by outfitting Afghanis with rocket launchers. The result is a compelling drama, but one you kind of shrug your shoulders afterwards and go, “Huh, that was interesting.” Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the loose NSA cannon who brings the lead to the fight is brilliant though, and the film is worth watching just for him.
Recommended if you liked Wag the Dog or TV’s The West Wing.
Guiellermo del Toro’s name is all over this one, although he only served as a producer. Looking at his upcoming production slate, he’s basically Judd Apatow, except Mexican and into horror instead of gross-out comedy. If you don’t know who he is, he directed the exceptional Pan’s Labyrinthlast year, and he’s been tapped to take the LOTR reigns from Peter Jackson on the upcoming Hobbit film. So what is this movie actually about? Oh, a creepy orphanage where murdered children terrorize a woman. Sounds derivative, I know, but with del Toro attached its guaranteed to be worth a peek.
Recommended if you liked The Ring, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone, or The Others.
Boy did this one ride the hype train all the way to box office central. The only shining star to come out of Hollywood this year (which Iron Man is sure to put to shame May 2), J.J. Abrams’ mystery project is equal partsGodzilla and The Blair Witch Project. A friend of mine said it was the only film he had ever seen in the theater that he thought would have been better viewed at home. One can only take so much shaky cam, andCloverfield puts the Bourne movies to shame in that regard.
Recommended if you like The Blair Witch Project but wished that you had actually seen the witch and that she had been 200 feet tall and had, I dunno, ripped the head off the Statue of Liberty.
This film completes the trifecta of amazing performance by Phillip Seymour Hoffman last year (the other two being Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and Charlie Wilson’s War, the latter of which he was nominated for). He and Laura Linney play an estranged brother-sister pair who have to come together and learn life lessons when their father is diagnosed with Alzheimers. The script, along with Laura Linney, was nominated for an Oscar, and the film is supposed to be equal parts humor and drama. I think Hoffman is one of the three most talented actors working today (the other two being Johnny Depp and Daniel Day-Lewis), and his performance alone is worth checking out the film for (didn’t I already write that once?).
Recommended if you liked You Can Count On Me or About Schmidt
One Missed Call
A sampling of quotes from IMDB, because I’m too lazy to write something for this one: “Had free tickets, but still, I knew better.” “Download that game “snake” for your cellphone, it’s a lot scarier.” “Get the Japanese version and stick to it, in it the actors at least look like teenagers, in the American version they all look over thirty.” “The only compliment I can give this movie is that it’s not the worst ever made.” “For the love of all that is holy someone tell me why Margaret Cho needed a role as a cop in this movie?” “Was almost as disappointing as ‘The Land Before Time 16′.”
Recommended if you have a hole in your head.