Oops, almost forgot this. Better late than never?
The Amazing Spider-Man
Better than I expected but still a bit stale, though Andrew Garfield is so perfect as Peter Parker that it’s totally worth a watch. Review here.
I’m a huge fan of indie filmmakers the Duplass Brothers, who are steadily moving into more mainstream waters. Last year’s Jeff Who Lives at Home was charming and stuck with me longer than I thought it would (it’s even better on repeat viewings). I don’t expect everyone to be down with the Duplassi—their films can be slow builds to nothing—but if you can roll with it, there are rewards aplenty tucked into their tales of oddballs and losers eeking by in life. I’m looking forward to The Do-Deca-Pentathalon, about two brothers who engage in their own 25 event Olympics, like most people look forward to Woody Allen.
Katy Perry: Part of Me
I will confess. I want to see this. I’m the victim of a really well cut trailer. It makes me want to see this concert/biopic thing about a singer whose music I’m not particularly crazy about. But damn, this trailer is REALLY well done. And it’s not like I want to run out and spend $10 on it, but I will definitely be Netflixing this one. Judge me for it, I don’t care. Trailers this good deserve to be rewarded by watching the movie.
The Magic of Belle Isle
Morgan Freeman makes more random movies than anyone else. But then, he is pretty much single-handedly supporting a small town in the Mississippi River Delta, so I try to be understanding about all the mediocre work he does. The Magic of Belle Isle is about a wheelchair-bound writer (Freeman), who moves to a small town and rediscovers his passion and joie d’vivre through a single mom (Virginia Madsen) and her children. It sounds twee and hokey but I hope it paid for like, new traffic lights or something in Freeman’s town.
Another under-the-radar horror movie for the genre junkies out there. The Pact is not drawing rave reviews, but I have heard the photography is excellent, so at least it looks pretty. The problem with horror movies is that they’re all kind of the same, right? There’s only so much you can do within any one genre, and the sheer volume of horror movies released year to year means this genre gets stretched to the max every year. Maybe if they only made three or four horror movies a year? That might be better? Once again I’m going to pass on this and just tell everyone to watch Cabin in the Woods.
The Year of Taylor Kitsch is so far pretty meh, given that John Carter outright tanked and Battleship impressed no one. Here’s hoping Oliver Stone’s Savages can jumpstart Riggins’ film career after it’s taken a couple body blows. I have a feeling your tolerance for this movie will be directly related to your tolerance of Blake Lively, who not only co-stars with Kitsch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who is gratuitously shirtless at points in the film), but narrates the film, too. I can’t stand Lively, so I’m probably not going to be the most neutral reviewer for this one, although she didn’t impede my enjoyment of The Town. But then, she had a small part in that one.
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Not unlike the Madagascar movies, they keep making these Ice Age cartoons for the kiddies, who keep consuming them despite flagging quality. I have nothing more to say about this movie. No grown adult should be seeing this unless they’re taking a tiny human to witness it.
I’m almost positive I’ve covered this movie before. It sounds really familiar. But then, it’s based on a true story, so maybe that’s what I’m thinking of. The Imposter is about a young man in France who cons a grieving family into believing that he is their son, who has been missing for three years. Between this and Compliance, I’m reminded that people are awful and humanity is doomed.
Now I know I’ve covered this one before, but I’m too lazy to look back and see what happened to it. I’m just assuming the release date got shuffled around. Red Lights looks fairly creepy and boasts a decent cast—Robert DeNiro, Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy. It’s about a paranormal investigator who looks into a psychic who resurfaces after his number one critic died mysteriously. Creepy and atmospheric, it might be a rental for me, but I’m definitely not taking time to see it in theater.
Michael Winterbottom is a prolific guy, but there’s not much accounting for his consistency. I adored The Trip last year, but am decidedly less enthused for his set-in-modern-India retelling of Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Largely because I dislike that book (Victorian slut shaming start to finish), but also because it just doesn’t look very compelling. It does, however, star Freida Pinto, who has not really lived up to her promise (or ability), though she’s worked with some solid directors. I don’t know if that’s due more to a bad agent, poor taste or lack of opportunities, or a combination thereof, but I would love to see her in something more suited to her talent. She deserves better.
Remember when Mira Sorvino was a thing? Proof that winning an Oscar does not guarantee you career stability: Mira Sorvino. She can currently be seen in this here-and-gone indie about two sisters, one flaky, one dependable, who reunite just as the dependable sister is about to get engaged to her dependable boyfriend. How much do you want to bet her flaky sister shakes up her routine and makes her question everything about her orderly, mundane life? Yeah. It’s that kind of movie.
Shut Up and Play the Hits
If you’re a fan of LCD Soundsystem or writer Chuck Klostermann, this documentary about the final performance of LCD Soundsystem is for you. If you don’t like either of those things but like music, this documentary is for you. If you like nothing I’ve mentioned so far, this documentary is probably not for you. (Although how can you not like music?) Might be hard to find in theaters, but I love a good music documentary. Cameron Crowe’s Pearl Jam documentary, Pearl Jam 20, was excellent. And I’ve already mentioned that I’m going to get sucked into the Katy Perry movie. I’ll balance that out by giving this one a shot at some point.
The Dark Knight Rises
Does this movie really need any introduction? It’s bound to be a monster on the order of The Avengers. Let’s make predictions! I predict Batman dies. You?
The Queen of Versailles
This documentary premiered at Sundance to mixed reviews and some controversy, as the subjects objected to the assertion that they went bankrupt. The Queen of Versailles follows the Siegel family, particularly matriarch Jackie, as they attempt to build a grand mansion in Florida (of course), with money earned during the real estate boom of the mid-aughts. The family fortunes, and those of the house, took a tumble in 2008, but Jackie wants you to know that they totally did not go bankrupt, ya’ll.
Paul Dano (Being Flynn), quietly continuing to build one of the most interesting resumes among twenty-something American actors, has his second movie of the year with Ruby Sparks. He stars as a novelist who creates a female character to love him, and then wills her into existence. It’s total Manic Pixie Dream Girl stuff, but I love Dano and will eventually see anything he’s in. Plus, he an Kazan are a pretty hot hipster couple—their chemistry ought to be fun to watch on screen.
I’m telling you. Matthew McConaughey for Oscar 2013. Killer Joe represents another of his chances for a nomination, though the NC17 rating and difficult nature of the film will likely tank the odds on this one. But critics have taken note of his performance, enthusiastically supporting it, and that could overflow to a more voter-friendly movie like Mud. McConaughey seems reengaged with his career in a way we haven’t seen since he started making shitty rom-coms with Kate Hudson, and it’s nice to be reminded that this dude does actually have talent. Killer Joe is about a young man who puts a hit on his terrible mother in order to collect her life insurance to pay off a debt. It’s directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Excorsist).
Step Up Revolution
Besides launching Channing Tatum’s improbable rise to Movie Stardom, the Step Up dance movie franchise has made no material contributions to cinema. Want to see a good dance movie? Check out Pina. Want to see a cheesy, bad/good dance movie? Rent Center Stage. Want to see hot guys gyrate? Go see Magic Mike. Just don’t spend money on this one. Maybe then, they’ll stop making them.
We’ve had a decent year with comedies so far. 21 Jump Street was funny, Ted was funny, and now we have some heavy hitters of comedy, Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill, uniting for The Watch. It’s about a neighborhood watch group of bros trying to stop an alien invasion. The trailer is funny, so hopefully the movie lives up to the advertising. This is also the US introduction to Richard Ayoade, of the UK’s The IT Crowd (which also launched Chris O’Dowd), and who directed last year’s charming British indie Submarine. Ayoade is very funny and talented, and I really hope he takes on this side of the pond. Moss forever!