The options this week are sex with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher or suffering with the Siberian gulag...
- No Strings Attached- romantic comedy starring Natalie Portman (in the first of eighty thousand 2011 releases) and Ashton Kutcher. They're cute young things who don't want to bother with commitment, until, I suppose, love happens...I kind of the think the romantic comedy genre needs to go on a ten-year hiatus for retooling; just an aside. I worry that the middling reviews for this might hurt Portman's Oscar chances, it eerily recalls the 2009 flop Bride Wars that Anne Hathaway plugged in the middle of her Rachel Getting Married awards run; hopefully it won't be disastrous enough to recall Eddie Murphy's Norbit, which soiled his awards chances for Dreamgirls. And just for a quick editorial, I must admit the cringe-inducing aspect of the premise, and title-- sounds like maddening male fantasy. okay I'm done! This one is oddly directed by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Dave), and co-stars Greenberg's Greta Gerwig; the latter of which is a good thing.
- The Way Back- Peter Weir's survival tale starring Jim Sturges, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris and Saorsie Ronan has sadly already become an awards season victim, despite having a few very ardent supporters. It could never quite get it together, thanks to a distribution company without the proper resources and a story that sounds like a difficult sit. Accessibility or not, I'm totally looking forward to this one, as Weir is too exceptional a filmmaker to overlook-- Witness, Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show, Fearless, Master & Commander; grueling or not, he's earned our attention.
- The Company Men- Unless you're were one of the seven people who caught the film when it opened last November for three days in two cities, here it comes back. In what is hopefully the last week of 2010 leftovers, The Weinstein Company (who understandably had bigger fish to fry with The King's Speech and Blue Valentine) will unveil John Welles' (ER) timely tale of corporate suffering starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner. This one's been around since debuting at Sundance last year, so I suppose it's fitting that it's getting a proper opening whilst Sundance 2011 kicks off. The reviews have been kind, but buzz at a loss I suppose. What interests me is the supporting cast in Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married) and Maria Bello, who hasn't been given a role to rock since A History of Violence, sigh!
- Applause!- Yet again, another 2010 holdover, this one a Danish entry starring Paprika Stein (The Celebration, 1998) as an aging actress performing in a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, as her real life starts to mirror the events in the play. Stein has been afforded a Oscar campaign, and word is she's amazing, so this one might be worth checking out. Of course, the whole Oscar thing won't happen.