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Thursday, August 30, 2012

We've got one more release date in August left, I know, but just for a junky horror movie, so let's hit fast-forward and take a peek at the year's wobbly transitional month, when the crap genre films that wouldn't fit in summer meet and mingle with the crap prestige films that aren't actually good enough for the real fast and furious part of Awards Season. Okay, that's not fair, and one of this month's prestige movies actually looks very prestigey indeed. But you get my point: September has, over the years, become another dumping ground. So let's sack up and dig in.


Terrence Malick's sixth feature, To the Wonder, opens at Venice. Nobody knows whether this means it opens anywhere else in 2012. But it will officially exist, and that is all that matters.


And here's the very model of a crappy wannabe Oscar drama The Words, with Bradley Cooper as a struggling writer confronted with a moral choice. At some point, I hold out hope that our culture's Bradley Cooper Moment will be over, but I am aware that it is not going to be soon.


I don't like the word "limited". As in, The Master is in limited release as of today; but how limited? Less limited, I imagine, than the one-night-only 70mm projection that happened in Chicago a couple weeks back, when I wasn't looking. And will not be repeated until sometime in the winter of 2013, it is said. So even though it's the first film entirely shot on that gloriously wide format since the 1990s, I, for one, will not get to see it that way for months yet, which is a real pisser. And I don't even love Paul Thomas Anderson's movies, not really, but golly, was I excited for this one in 70. Bah. Still ought to be a highlight of a dodgy month.

How dodgy? Resident Evil 5 in 3D dodgy. I still haven't seen Resident Evil 4, and I fear this is the time to fix that.

The arguably less desperate & transparently mercenary use of 3-D this weekend comes in the re-release of a cartoon, Pixar's great Finding Nemo, and of all their movies, this is the one that wants it the most, so I, for one, am hugely excited.

Finally: Nic Cage wanted his own Taken, and they're calling it Stolen.


The surest sign that summer is completely over: weekends crowded with a bunch of wide-releases. In this case, no fewer than four, the first time that number has been hit since June. Which was, you may notice, in summer, but run with me here. More releases, fewer tentpoles, and that's what makes the last third of the calendar year go 'round.

And three, of them, at least, look positively fucking dreadful: House at the End of the Street, which had damned well better be more than just a stalk-and-kill teens movie, because Jennifer Lawrence is way too talented for that; End of Watch, a cops vs. druglords movies that, judging from the trailer, appears to have been shot on cell phones; and most unpromisingly, Dredd, a new adaptation of Judge Dredd with an eye toward being more faithful to the comic book than the Stallone vehicle was, though it does not seem to consist of anything besides Karl Urban seeing mean things in a less jokey way.

It's all enough to make a fella look forward to Trouble with the Curve, which may be naught but a feel-good movie about fathers and daughters starring the un-retired Clint Eastwood in a movie written and directed by first-timers, but at least it appears to involve recognisable human emotions.


People I trust admire the work of animation director Genndy Tartakosvky, making his feature debut with Hotel Transylvania; the whole project feels too thrown-together and the cast is a disaster of stunt casting and people I cannot stand, so it's going to take more than just a talented director who was hired as a replacement for somebody else to make the idea of Adam Sandler as a cartoon Dracula palatable. The annoying thing is that, of all the weekends this month, this is the only obvious winner of the box-office race, so I'll be obliged to see it regardless.

Jockeying for 2nd place are another Oscarbaitish drama about parenting, Won't Back Down, AKA "The Viola Davis Make-Up Oscar Role", and Looper, which I am inclined to call my most-anticipated of the month, which has a lot more to do with the combination of writer-director Rian Johnson and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt than with the rather overdone feeling of its sci-fi concept, because the last time those two collaborated on a genre riff that felt way too obvious and bland, it was Brick, and that was an awfully damn good movie.


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