denver premieres for 1/30/09...and this time, it's personal.
Dude, see? See? Qui-Gon Jinn didn't die, dude! He's back! Qui-Gon's back!
The Uninvited - In a surprise bit of meta-casting, Elizabeth Banks reprises her role as Laura Bush in this kinda-sorta-remake of the 2003 South Korean chiller, A Tale of Two Sisters (which, by the way, is carried by all fine video stores throughout the Capitol Hill area, and is doubtlessly much cheaper to rent).(Dex)
Waltz with Bashir - This highly praised piece of experimental autobiography appears in wide release just as Israel ends yet another senseless attack on the Palestinian people, this time in the Gaza Strip - irony, thy name is award season.
That a movie which bothers to reflect on one of the most wretched episodes in a long, long line of wretched episodes in the history of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians can open in a nation hypnotized by anti-Muslimism and the apparent strategic necessity of "our staunch ally" is notable, but as with any sort of discourse involving Israeli crimes (and as always, U.S. culpability at some juncture) in the Mid-East, that's only the beginning, and things get more uncomfortable the deeper we go: would audiences (and indeed, critics) be as receptive to a cutting-edge docudrama told from the POV of the victims, or would they cry "extremist propaganda"? And does that fact that filmmaker Ari Forman's story of rememberence and guilt is an animated one help convey the surreality and nightmarishness of his memories, or just obscure the fact that the '82 invasion of Lebanon happened to real people, in a real place? Is it a teachable moment, or a chance to duck responsibility? This one may be worth catching, if only to get a sense of where the conversation - such as it is in this country - might go.(Dex)
Taken- You have probably seen the trailer for this film and , like me, thought, "What the hell is Liam Neeson doing slumming in this piece of crap?" Well, after taking a look at Mr. Neeson's "esteemed" career I have come to the conclusion that I was partaking in what the scientists who study the reasoning abilities of the human mind call selective thinking. In my mind I was convinced that Liam Neeson was an actor of serious intent, above wallowing in a C-grade genre picture just to make a buck. I mean, after all he played Oskar Schindler for crissakes! Looking at Neeson's page on Imdb though disabused me of my faulty thinking, and how! For every Schindler's List, or Rob Roy or Husbands and Wives there was a Krull or Next of Kin (with Patrick Swayze) or The Haunting remake. It doesn't stop there though! How about the movie Satisfaction, which was supposed to be Justine Bateman's big break after the TV show Family Ties where she plays a member of a Bangles-like girl band called 'Mystery' (oh my gahd is that like, Julia Roberts on Bass!?!) and Neeson playing a bar owner/Bateman's daddy figure love interest. To continue with a list of films like Nell, The Dead Pool, High Spirits, Star Wars Episode I and K-19: Widowmaker only proves the point further that Liam Neeson is not slumming in this new movie but rather following a well established career arc. He is a ham from the C-list that gets thrown an A-list bone every once in awhile. He must have taken career advice from Ben "you can only play Gandhi once" Kingsley while they were working together on Schindler's List because they both have walked down the same path of being acclaimed and respected actors all the while signing up for one piece of shit movie after another. Next time Kingsley puts out a movie I'll list some of the winners he has been in and it might amaze you to see that Neeson, although he has attached himself to some of the most mediocre-to-awful films (listed above) made in the last twenty years, is a piker by comparison. (Pike)
New In Town- Another stupid fish-out-of-water comedy, this time starring Renee Zellweger who plays a big city executive who comes to a little Minnesota town to get the ball rolling on the 're-org' her company has planned for the local manufacturing plant. At first she treats the locals like dirt in her sassy, superior big city ways but sooner or later those quirky locals break her down with all of their naive, corn pone Americana cuteness, and teach our girl how to live, love and be happy. If this sound like a movie you are going to go see, please do me a favor. When you buy your ticket, buy a ticket for anything else that is playing at the time and then sneak in to see this. You might feel a little guilty sneaking around but that will be nothing compared to the guilt you would have felt after purchasing a ticket to this movie and realizing, as the final credits roll, that the twelve bucks you just spent gave some Hollywood studio executive the go-ahead to insult you again a year from now with New in Town 2- Down on the Farm. (Pike)
Frozen River- A hit at last year's Sundance Festival and a 'best of 2008' pick by some prominent critics, first time writer/director Courtney Hunt's Frozen River is a story about two women who smuggle Chinese illegal immigrants into the U.S. from Canada across the frozen St. Lawrence River. Melissa Leo (who is nominated for an Academy Award for this picture) plays Ray, a woman with a high school aged son, a low paying job, and a husband who just split for Atlantic City with the money for their double-wide trailer down payment. On top of this, she finds her husband's car is being driven around by a local Mohawk woman (Misty Upham). Lila, the Mohawk woman, tells Ray that she knows a man on the reservation that will buy the car for well above resale value but when the women take the car to this man, they find they can make a faster buck, not by selling the car to the man, but by working for him to transport illegals across the border. This film, along with Waltzing with Bashir are probably the only things worth catching this week, so watch the trailer and see if it's for you. Besides, if the film does promote the idea that, "crime pays, social consequences be damned" as David Edelstein's review points out, then I'm all for that. (Pike)