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October 3, 2008


Fall movie season still struggling to get off the ground

Simon Pegg in How To Lose Friends and Alienate People

After a fun, goofy summer of some good blockbusters (Tropic Thunder, Wall-E) and a few wonderful weird little movies (Hamlet 2, The Edge of Heaven), the fall season seems to be off to a slow start. Some of the movies I've been most interested in all year are out now, but nothing has created much of a sensation.

Choke sounds bloodless and dull. Miracle at St. Anna unfortunately seems a little corny and stodgy, two words that I don't think could be used to describe any other Spike Lee movie.

This week we've got three movies coming out that at one point sounded potentially great, but are getting so-so reviews.

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist: Charming but trivial according to A.O. Scott. Wired says it's a movie for teens and aging hipsters, and advises "If you've got more ZZ Top and Doobie Brothers on your playlist than Fleet Foxes, Death Cab or Vampire Weekend, you might want to consider a different picture." The usually generous Roger Ebert says it "doesn't bring much to the party."

Rachel Getting Married: This one could be really good. It's directed by Jonathan Demme, shot on hand-held DV, and stars Rosemarie DeWitt, who was great on "Mad Men" last season. Hopefully Anne Hathaway's performance as an attention-hogging drug addict teeters on the edge of being irritating and self-indulgent without falling over. Slate likes it; A.O. Scott thinks it barely avoids melodrama and sentimentality--which means that it might actually be a big sloshy melodramatic mess, especially since he also describes Anne Hathaway's bangs as looking very Louise Brooks-ish, though she doesn't have bangs at all in the trailer. Gawker says it's "absolutely terrible".

Then there's How To Lose Friends & Alienate People, which I had been really looking forward to. Manohla Dargis says it's "crushingly unfunny and slopped together". Ouch. AV Club calls it "cheap and ugly". Roger Ebert is pretty much alone in thinking it's a hoot, and says Simon Pegg was born to play Toby Young, the British writer whose spectacular failure at Vanity Fair is the basis of the book and movie.

The AV Club has their annual Oscar-O-Meter up. There's some movies up there that look good, like Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky, W., Synecdoche, New York, and hopefully Milk (it's pretty much impossible to predict if Gus Van Sant's movies will be great or terrible these days.) So things should be picking up soon.

categories: Movies
posted by amy at 2:31 PM | #

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