Wow…I never thought I’d be saying this, but this is a pretty good week for new releases. Just when I was starting to fall asleep, Hollywood came through with three very good choices (and one lame one). Go see a movie this weekend…that’s an order.
Okay, so I put this movie at the top because I was under the impression that it was well-reviewed. Then I checked Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, and it turns out that it’s not. That’s the last time I listen to you, Wikipedia! Grrr. Still, I can think of a lot of good reasons to see this one: (1.) Alan Rickman, who has never put in a bad performance in his life (if you haven’t seen Bottle Shock, you really should); (2.) a cool-sounding premise that’s half Coen, half Tarantino, and all awesome (Nobel laureate’s dysfunctional family is thrown into turmoil when his son gets kidnapped); and (3.) a catchy title. I know that last one doesn’t sound that important, but seriously — who wants to walk into work on Monday and have to say, “So I saw Riding in Cars with Boys over the weekend…”, or possibly, “You really should check out Life as a House…“? Nobody. That’s who.
The story of how Leonard Chess founded Chess Records, the Chicago-based blues powerhouse. Okay, so there might not be a huge audience for this one (I can already hear Evan groaning…), but if you know me, you know that I love blues music with all of my soul (pun intended, of course), and there is no way that I’m going to miss this one — particularly since I noticed Mos Def is playing Chuck Berry. That should be interesting. (No word on whether Michael J. Fox will make and appearance.)
Recommended if you liked Ray, The Buddy Holly Story or That Thing You Do!
It would have to be a good week (and it clearly is) for this one to be my third choice. The true story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay individual to be elected to office in the U.S., it should be an interesting ride. I can’t promise intellectual depth, but I’m counting on an engaging and challenging story. It stars Sean Penn and was directed by Gus van Sant, so it pretty much screams “Oscar bait”…but if that’s your cup of tea, you can’t go wrong with this one. Watch the trailer here.
Recommended if you like Oscar bait. ‘Nuff said.
Punisher: War Zone
Marvel has, as of late, been hell-bent on immortalizing all of their characters in celluloid, whatever the cost (though frankly I’m wondering where the She-Hulk adaptation is). Their current strategy seems to be to rush as many adaptations out the door as possible, and simply remake the ones that end up sucking (we saw this happen earlier this year with The Incredible Hulk,which was essentially a reboot of Hulk — no word yet on whether we can expect a second reboot in a couple of years). So here it is…the reboot of thePunisher franchise that never was. Frankly, I don’t think I can take another comic book movie (especially after the bloated and overrated Dark Knight…yeah, I said it), but feel free to go if you want. At least Marvel hasn’t been desperately milking the same property since 1989, like a certain other comic book publisher has…
Recommended if you liked the 1989 version of The Punisher, or if you liked the 2004 version of The Punisher, or if you didn’t like either and you’re hoping this one will be better