March 15th Movie Previews

Opening March 15th:
Why?

There is an answer to why for all of these movies, for some of them the answer is just stupid. The first why, for example, is why is there only one wide release this week that has any aspirations for box office success, while the rest of the films are quirky or indy or both? The answer … THE HUNGER GAMES. Look, Columbia, MGM and Relativity all have some hope for 21 Jump Street (is it ever a really good sign when 3 studios are sharing credit for a movie?), but even they have to know, as Disney did last week with John Carter, that in all likelihood these films are about to swept away by the tidal wave that is coming next week.
The second obvious why for those that read last weeks previews, is why are there only 7 (or 8 depending on how you count) movies being released this week when there were 12 last week? The answer to that is also pretty simple, because there were 12 last week. So, here are this weeks quite manageable 7 movies (or 8, you’ll see what I mean at the end).
21 Jump Street

Interest Level:  3

The why here is easy and I get it. As a fat man I get what Jonah Hill was thinking, just as I understood what Seth Rogen was thinking last year. You’re fat, everyone sees you as fat, fat is your defining characteristic, and then you are not and all you want to do is the stuff you could have never done when you were fat, like make an action comedy based on something you loved when you were a kid. Of course, there are a few of problems with this. First, just because you are no longer fat (although, of you saw Johah Hill’s very funny SNL hosting gig a week ago you know he is getting close to fat again) doesn’t mean you are in “action star” shape (The Rock or Jason Stathom vs. a less fat Jonah Hill, not really a fair fight). Second, while some people look younger when they loose a lot of weight, Jonah Hill actually looks older, making the believability of ANY high school kids thinking he was even close to their age laughable (even hollywood high school kids, who usually look 25, wouldn’t buy Jonah Hill who would have trouble passing for anything other than someone on his was to his 10 year high school reunion). Third, much like your buddy Seth Rogen’s Green Hornet, no one was clamoring for a 21 Jump Street remake and if they were it would have been with Zack Efron not an ex male stripper and the goofy one from Superbad. And fourth, if you are going to make a 21 Jump Street remake shouldn’t you at least pretend to be making something of a similar tone or that seems related or relatable to the original in some way?

Look, if all those issues weren’t enough to make you leery let me add these tid-bits for your consideration. In addition to being owned by 3 studios, the film credits 5 screenwriters and 2 directors, and they aren’t the brothers, Cohen or otherwise (that will make more sense when you read the rest of this week’s previews).
Casa de mi Padre

Interest Level:  6

Odds of most people thinking it is really stupid: 75%

Este es el caso, Will Ferrel desligarse de indy comedia ha sacado junto con los chicos de su sitio web, con sentido del humor de morir. Es en español, aunque Se Will Ferrel no hablan el español con fluidez para que parte de la broma será cómo perdió su español es. Como la autora este español es ya que yo también no hablan español y acabamos diarias apoltronados este en un traductor y ya estoy esperando lo mejor.


This is one of those movies whose destiny and aspiration is to become a cult classic. The kind of movie that your nephew or younger brother or sister’s best friend loves and you can’t figure out why. Of course, I am often the brother, nephew, cousin, uncle, sister’s best friend who loves these movies.

Oh, ¿Por qué esta película hecha? Porque Le Will Ferrel puede hacer pequeño y raro comedias y es evidente que él le gusta hacer comedias pequeño y raro.


Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Interest Level: 8

Odds of it ultimately disappointing me: 60%


So, I guess the why here is, why do I have hopes of this being something a little bit more? Yes, this is another man-child movie, a genre I can see that people are getting sick of. Yes, this seems to be having Ed Helms do his best Ed Helms opposite Jason Segel doing his best Jason Segel. But this was directed by the Duplass brothers (I believe two directors can only work if they are brothers apparently) who made Cyrus a couple of years ago, which, like Jeff, seemed to be obvious but really wasn’t in ways that were so subtle that I can’t really even tell you how it wasn’t what you would expect.  This film will not be a hit. You probably won’t see it. Even when it gets to cable and TV it will only play at weird times on channels you are not even sure you wave. But, if you do stumble across it, give it a little bit of time, you may be surprised.


Detachment

Interest Level: 2

Can 1 point of curiosity get me to invest a moment in this: Doubtful

Of all the why’s this is my favorite and the one I have no answer for. Tony Kaye, who directed the highly regarded and ultimately flawed film American History X (Ed Norton as a white supremacist who finds God in prison and tries to keep his younger brother from following his doomed path) and then proceeded to blow up his career by being crazy, finally comes back with this movie, which some are praising (or are praising the performances, a lot like American History X which got Ed Norton an Academy Award nomination), and reportedly wants to take his name off the movie! By all accounts this is a thoroughly depressing and hopeless film about inner-city teachers, a film that obviously has not been touched by any studio because any studio would insist on some glimmer of hope at the end (again, this movie is apparently devoid of any hope, joy, laughter or anything remotely positive). So why would the director want his name off of something he made in his own little bubble? It’s crazy. As for me, I don’t need something depressing, that is depressing from beginning to end, to sit through. If I am going to get an unhappy ending, or even an ending which I’m not sure this movie really has, I want it to be a surprise not something pounded into me for 97 minutes.



The Kid with a Bike


Interest Level: 5


Here’s another good why. Why have to films from Belgium been released in the U.S. within a 3 week time period? Look, this might be better than The Fairy or it might be worse, but the odds are it is going to be a slow, kid of quirky dramedy because, you know, IT’S FROM BELGIUM. Is the idea that some people went and saw The Fairy and then said “Man, you know what? I need to see another film in French from Belgium. If only another would get released here in the U.S.” You couldn’t wait a month or two? Come on U.S. foreign film distributors, you’re better than that.


The FP

Interest Level: 5

On a scale of 1 to 10 how much do I love this premise: 10

I am of the opinion that the Step Up movie franchise may be one of the subtly great comedy film franchises of all time. Why? Because they are movies where the dancers are the tough guys. Go watch Step Up 2: The Streets, kids from Juliard and a dance crew from the inner-city walk around the movie like they are the toughest, baddest people around. Same thing in Step Up 3. YOU ARE DANCERS! I fancy my self as a bit of a poet, do you think we should make a movie about the tough guy poetry club that the young kid has to prove he is man enough and tough enough to get into? And poets have more of a tough guy reputation in real life than dancers. The FP is about two rival gangs in the deadly arena of competitive dance-fights with the video game Beat-Beat Revolution. Awesome idea and my why for this is, why hasn’t someone done this before? Yes, it probably isn’t in the ball park of being as good as I want it to be, but I love that premise.




Natural Selection

Interest Level: 8

Odds of this being the best film released this week: 100%



The South by Southwest festival (they do it in Austin, TX and it has movies and shorts and a lot of other independent art and TV stuff) just ended and apparently distributors thought that this was then the best week to release the festival darlings from last year, The FP and the film with the most buzz coming out of the festival Natural Selection. Like most great first efforts, this film mirrors closely what Robbie Pickering was going through in his own life (he wrote it as his stepfather was dying) and it seems like everyone who has seen it wants to see what he will do next. This really is one of those movies that is supposed to be touching and funny and above all else just good. If you get a chance, go see it.

And, before I forget, the why here is why did they wait an entire year to release this movie? There seems to be no good answer for that one.

The #8 Film Released This Week

Last week I did a preview of Seeking Justice, the Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce soon to be classic. All reports were that is was to go into limited release last week, apparently it did not. So, Seeking Justice is officially part of this weeks new releases. If you want to hear my ramblings on the film you can go to my previews from last week. What I want to know is what happened? How awesomely funny would it be if no theaters could find room for the movie last week so they had to push it back. Oh, and here’s the why, why didn’t they just make it a direct to DVD release and be done with it? Do they want to make sure the actors have a shot at acting nomination in 9 months?

Epilogue

Clearly I have two favorites this week Jeff, Who Lives at Home and Natural Selection), but sadly each of those favorite might be a tough find. If you are desperate to see something this weekend … see if you can find and rent Let The Bullets Fly (the Cow Yun-Fat mobster/western that was released a couple of weeks ago) and save your night out when there is something better out.

But, what do I know, I haven’t seen any of these movies and I’m fat.