Friday, January 14, 2011

Opening This Week

Ah, it's truly 2011, and this week features the first real studio\movie star offerings of the new year.  Last weekend's sole new wide release-- the Nicolas Cage vehicle Season of the Witch-- doesn't count.  It's also a fairly lucrative weekend if all parties play their cards right, with the MLK holiday on Monday.  This weekend offers:


  • The Green Hornet- the onetime visionary director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) tries his hand at the superhero game, as well as the 3-D thing-- I only wish he tried that with his witty dream piece The Science of Sleep (I think that could have been nifty!)  Seth Rogen stars, much slimmer than usual, as the titular dude.  I, personally don't care at all, but I'll likely catch it from dumb, mindless entertainment, plus supporting actors Christoph Waltz and Cameron Diaz might make it go down favorably, but I caution that this a retrofitted 3-D job, and most of them suck-- smart American consumers should see the film in the traditional 2-D format!
  • The Dilemma- oddly directed by Ron Howard, this bromance comedy stars Kevin James and Vince Vaughn; something about Vaughn's moral predicament if he should tell James' character that his wife is cheating.  The trailer looked unfunny, and was notable for it's anti-gay joke that got them in so much trouble.  Still, I bet given the lazy, but lucrative grosses for most Vince Vaughn (and Kevin James for that matter) films, it will probably have a solid opening weekend.  Again, as with Green Hornet, I should reserve judgement until I actually see the product, but...

  • Barney's Version- a holdover from 2010 finally getting it's release.  This one stars Paul Giamatti, presumably playing a very-Giamatti like sad sack.  His performance did receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, so it may be worth checking out.  One caveat-- Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film in limited release only, and it seems like an unlikely candidate for a wide release; I could be wrong.  However, that's one of my major complaints about platform releasing-- LET PEOPLE SEE YOUR MOVIE! It co-stars Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver and Rosamund Pike (who was so good in An Education; I'm rooting for her.)  Here's the trailer.
  • Every Day- a small, slice of life film about a married couple losing their way; too bad it doesn't look as sexy, raw or good as Blue Valentine.  It stars Helen Hunt, Liev Schrieber and Carla Gugino.  Here's the trailer.  As a side note, where's Hunt been lately?  I feel like she's been missing from film for like a decade now.
  • Burning Palms- an omnibus ensemble film directed by Christopher B. Landon (son of Michael) set in Los Angeles.  Stars Nick Stahl, Zoe Saldana, Shannon Doherty, Rosamund Pike (two this week) and Dylan McDermott. Here's the trailer.  Could be good in a weird, mindfuck kind of way, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Or if none of these films sate your hunger for quality cinema, Black Swan is expanding into further wide release this week, upping it's screen count to 2,328.  Those who've missed out on Darren Aronofsky's beautifully bent ballet freak out, should seek it out.  And you will know why Natalie Portman deserves to win the Golden Globe Sunday night.  Swan's current box office take is $63 million, which is amazingly strong for such an odd, brilliant little movie; that the film is currently (possibly) on track to gross over $100 million is a strange and beautiful bewilderment that makes me optimistic about American audiences hunger for bold filmmaking.  YAY!

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