Opening October 26th: Prepare To Have Your Mind Blown?

The Wachowski’s Are Back! And A Few Other Movie Open Too

I was a philosophy major in college. When people find out I majored in philosophy I find I often end up having this conversation:
See, they are all the same person
but also different people
“Why did you major in that?”

“I don’t know, it was easy. It’s a stupid major actually. The old joke was what do you do with a degree in philosophy… you put it in your back pocket and try to decide if it really exists.”
polite, if insincere, chuckle
“Yeah, I took philosophy 101 and I just didn’t get it. I mean, do we exist? What kind of a question is that? It’s just weird.”

“Yup, Descartes, asked the ultimate question and frankly didn’t have a particularly great answer for it.”
blank stare
Don’t get me wrong, not everyone feels compelled to tell me how nonsensical my major was, but the percentage is surprisingly high. Of course there are others who find it interesting and plenty who understand philosophy much better than I do and enjoy it much more. There is no doubt the Wachowski’s fall into the latter category as do most of the other filmmakers who have movies coming out this weekend. Meaning if you are one of those people who find abstract philosophical discussions pointless this may not be the weekend for you. If you are one who digs those kinds of discussions this may be the weekend of your dreams, or you may find the discussions presented by the filmmakers trite and obvious (you know, like the last two Matrix movies). To put it more simply, this weekend is littered with films that some will decree as mind-blowing, brilliant, life-altering experiences and others will simply say “yeah, I don’t get it.” And the truth is, neither one is wrong.

Cloud Atlas
Interest Level: 8
What Would You Say The Wachowski’s Batting Avg. Is: .400
Cloud Atlas is only the sixth movie the Wachowski’s have directed (yeah, I was a little surprised too). Of the previous five their first two were great (Bound and The Matrix) and their next three not so much (the two Matrix sequels and Speed Racer). On which side of the ledger Cloud Atlas will fall is hard to say, this movie is the epitome of what I described in the intro. A story that crosses time and investigates the ideas of interconnectivity and pre-ordained destiny Cloud Atlas wears it’s philosophy on it’s sleeve. The visuals will carry some through who don’t mind the abstract discussion, the ideas will completely turn some people off, and there will be those who claim this is the movie of the decade. Maybe the most useful thing anyone can say is that it is a well done version of what it is. It is not 2001: A Space Odyssey or anything as philosophically interesting as the Kubrick classic, but it is still worth watching if this kind of movie is your cup o’ tea.
Chasing Mavericks
Interest Level: 5
What Is Your Favorite Surfing Movie: Endless Summer, But I Am Not Embarrassed To Admit I Like Blue Crush
Poor Gerard Butler. The guy can’t seem to catch a break (no pun intended although I wish I had been clever enough to intend the pun). Since 300 he has been in a string of movies that range from really bad (The Bounty Hunter) to good but nobody notice (RocknRolla) and most of them have just kind of bee “there”. That is where Chasing Mavericks fall, it’s just kind of exists. Like most surfing movies the cinematography is at times spectacular and the film in general is professionally made and inoffensive, but it is also obvious and ultimately a little trite. Maybe Butler’s next movie, Playing For Keeps coming out in December, will be the breakthrough someone in hollywood obviously thing he deserves.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
Interest Level: 0
You’re A Little Sick Of Talking About Different Horror Movies Every Week Aren’t You: How Can You Tell
Horror, in this case with an attempt at really trippy visuals. It is based on a video game and it looks like a video game. Maybe it is a good video game and if you are not completely burned out on horror franchises at this point maybe this will be a nice change of pace from found footage horror movies. As for me, I need at least a two month hiatus from horror before I can get interested in a new one. One or two new horror flix a week for the last month and a half has done me in.
Fun Size
Interest Level: 0
A Lot of 0’s Lately: A Lot Of Movies Not Made For Me Lately
One of the things about this time of year when it comes to movie releases is that the studios put out films that are aimed at very specific groups of people in hopes that that will bring those people to the cinema at a time of year when people don’t just go to the cineplex and decide what they are going to see when they get there. This is a movie made for teenage and 20-something girls, starring teenage and 20-something girls from TV shows aimed at teenage and 20-something girls. I am a 46 year old man.
Interest Level: 8
Really: Oh Yeah
Maybe it is true of all of us, that we all have a genre or a kind of movie that we have such an affinity for that we knowingly overrate films that fit in that genre. For me it is martial arts movies and gritty British crime dramas. Maybe it is the accent or the different slang but there is something about following criminals through London that I really enjoy and if you made the exact same movie and put it in New York I wouldn’t enjoy it quite as much. Pusher is one of those movies where a two-bit criminal finds himself in the equivalent of crime world quick sand as a deal goes wrong and puts him in debt to the wrong people and the more he fights to find a way out of it the more he sinks deeper and deeper. Frenetic in visuals and pacing Pusher isn’t trying to be for everyone but since I am a sucker for London’s criminal underworld it is definitely for me. 
The Loneliest Planet
Interest Level: 4
Is It A Love It Or Hate It Movie: More Like A Love It Or Be Really Bored By It Movie
Do you like movies that take their time getting to the crux of their plot? I mean really take their time, like an hour of nothing happening just to set the mood? I actually don’t mind that if it is well done and this story of an engaged couple who are on a backpacking trip through the Georgian mountain (country, not state) and have something happen that changes their lives in an instant needs the long set up to give the “event” power. Still, most people will be extremely, even excruciatingly bored by this movie and for many the payoff will come nowhere near justifying the time spent. Will some people love it? Many already do as it has been banging around the festival circuit for sometime, but like many a festival circuit hit this is not the kind of movie that will play as well broadly.
The Zen of Bennett
Interest Level: 5
Do You Like Tony Bennett: He’s No Sinatra, But Sure
I met Tony Bennett once when we were both staying at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Maybe the thing I remember most about him was that there was nothing particularly memorable about meeting him. I don’t mean that to say he wasn’t nice (he was extremely nice in the 30 second conversation we had) or dynamic (he carried himself with assurance without any hint of vanity) it was just that there was no fanfare, no assistant or entourage or anything. We were just two guys staying at a hotel riding in an elevator up to the third floor (that almost felt like a “not that there’s anything wrong with that” kind of a moment). My point is Tony Bennett is a very nice, very talented man. Do I want to spend two hours hearing all about him? Not really, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like him.
For those of you who are regular visitors to my little dog and pony show of a web site I am sorry I got this done late and that I haven’t done anything but weekly previews for the last few weeks. I’m not really sorry and I don’t flatter myself that many people have noticed, but still I thought I should acknowledge it. Wreck-It Ralph and The Man With The Iron Fist next weekend so don’t let Cloud Atlas burn you out.
But hey, what do I know? I’m fat. (man did I set-up that ending poorly!)