I feel stressed right now. I feel stressed because it is my son’s birthday on friday and I still have gifts to wrap, balloons to blow up and everything else that comes along with the all important 8th birthday (not really any more important than the 7th was or the 9th will be, but 8 year olds have the gift of living in the present). I feel stressed because someone in hollywood decided that March 9th is THE day to dump movies into the theaters. 12 movies open on March 9th – TWELVE! That is just crazy. Since hollywood obviously can’t be spending much time worrying about the success or failure of these beauties I am no going to spend as much time reviewing what they will be (more because of the son-birthday-thing, but I don’t want to throw my boy under the bus)
John Carter (should be John Carter of Mars)
Interest Level: 7 or 8
I really enjoy epic sic fi movies. In fact, it is really hard to make one I don’t enjoy (yes, including the prequels). There are two exceptions – The Fountain and Battlefield Earth (no judgement if you feel differently about either of them, they just didn’t work for me). Why do I bring this up? Well both The Fountain and Battlefield Earth were “passion” projects (Darren Aronofsky fro The Fountain and John Travolta for Battlefield Earth). Both were based on classic sic fi novels. Both ran over budget and took longer than expected to complete. Again, why did I bring this up? Well …
John Carter is a passion project from director Andrew Stanton (director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E doing his first live action film). It is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs classic stories, stories that have been admittedly ripped off by everyone from James Cameron to Marvel Comics and just about every sic fi artist/writer/filmmaker of the last 60 years. Reports say the movie ran massively over budget and behind schedule.
I still want to see it. My son really wants to see it. But let’s be honest, there are a lot of Red Flags.
Salmon Fishing In Yemen
Interest Level: 4
Hats off to the filmmakers for getting this made. Lasse Hallstrom is good at making dramedies with rom-com underpinnings from Cider House Rules and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Chocolate to Dear John (one of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong). He’s Swedish, so he can’t make it normal, totally upbeat or anything but slow and slightly moody, because, you know, he’s Swedish. Still, the man has made a movie about fly fishing in Yemen river and convinced people to give him money in order to make it! Truth is, the movie will be fine and forgettable, but what an accomplishment.
Friends With Kids
Interest Level: 3
Interest Level if Kristin Wiig and Jon Hamm were the leads: 6
You see, it’s like Friends With Benefits, but instead of uncommitted sex its kids without commitment and what could go wrong with that? If the premise didn’t make you feel dubious (not even flipping the leads could get my interest above a 6 for this premise) how about the fact that it is written by, directed by, produced by and starring Jennifer Westfeldt. What? You’ve never heard of Jennifer Westfeld? She is what Bill Simmons would call a “that guy”. You know, one of those actors who has been in everything but the lead in nothing. A pro I believe is what they call it. Doesn’t that make you want to run out and see it? No? Same here.
A Thousand Words
Interest Level: 2
Morbid Curiosity Level: 9
This movie has been sitting on a shelf, completed and in the can as they say, since 2008. How bad does an Eddie Murphy movie have to be to not even want anyone to see it for 4 years? How horrid does a movie have to be for the studio to seem like they are trying to make sure no one has heard or seen that this movie exists or is being released (admit it, you had no idea an Eddie Murphy movie was coming out this weekend)? Pluto Nash bad (and I saw Pluto Nash in the theaters, trust me, that is bad).
It’s a rip off of The Invention Of Lying! … And The Invention Of Lying wasn’t that good!
Interest Level: 5
Trapped inside her family’s lakeside retreat, a young woman finds she is unable to contact the outside world as events become … OK, we all get the idea. The Olsen twins younger sister doesn’t want to be one of the Olsen twins, so she decided to make a horror movie instead. This would normally get a much lower interest level from me because I hate the Olsen twins, but there is actually some decent buzz around this one, so if you like horror it may not be bad.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Interest Level: 8
Odds of Ever Seeing It: 25 to 1
People are saying this thing is amazing, which is kind of amazing given that it is a documentary about an 85 year old Sushi chef in Tokyo. Still, is it amazing enough to get you to put forth the effort that will be required to find it/see it? I’m not sure.
Interest Level: 8
Odds of Ever Seeing It: 50 to 1
This one is a movie from Israel about a father and son who are rival Talmudic professors. Kind of cool, right? It has one multiple awards including at Cannes last year for best screenplay. But, well, see my comments above about Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
Anarchist musicians are being chased by a tone deaf cop! How cool is that?! See what I mean about the Swedes. You can’t make a normal movie, a normal comedy, a normal romance, a normal anything. You have to find something weird. Of course, as I have more than a little bit of Swede in me, I like weird. But, unless this shows on IFC sometime in the next couple of years I don’t even know how I would get to see this bad boy.
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jane
Interest Level: 0
Percentage of people who are fans of artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and his wife, Lady Jane, who are irate and offended that I would have no interest in this documentary: 100%
Percentage of people who have ever heard of the artist or his wife or the project for which they are “famous”: 5% or less
They made themselves look alike and formed a single identity. Very artsy. His wife has since passed and he still does the whole thing. I’m not claiming it is invalid as art, I just can’t make myself care even a little bit.
The Decoy Bride
Think Notting Hill with a little Leap Year thrown in for good measure. If you think that sounds even remotely good, trust me, its not. Then again, neither does …
A found footage horror movie! Yeah, we don’t have nearly enough of those and they are all great.
Interest Level: 2
Morbid Curiosity Level: 10
So, you know all that stuff I said about how bad must an Eddie Murphy movie be, ya da, ya da, ya da. Well this has Nic Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce and Jennifer Carpenter. That is 3 former Oscar nominated actors and the pretty lady who couldn’t act from the last X-Men movie. Crazy! You KNOW it is awful, but one night a year or two from now when it is on TNT or USA or HBO or STARZ at 2 am when I have insomnia I’ll watch it, and I will laugh out loud.
I’m going to John Carter. Not even my own reservations can stop me. Other than that, any of the three cool/weird/indie/foreign films sound fun, particularly the one with the anarchist drummers being chased by the tone deaf cop, but they will be hard to find if you don’t live in New York City.
But, what do I know, I haven’t seen any of them and I’m fat.