Shiva! Kung Fu! Reggaeton! The death knell of Ben Stiller’s career! Am I excited about any of this? No! Although to be honest, I might feel better if someone takes Ben Stiller out back and gets rid of him Old Yeller style.
Feel the Noise: Take the Lead! Stomp the Yard! And now this. Feel the Noise! You know what? I’m tired of movie titles telling me to do things. I’ll take the lead if I want to. I’ll stomp the yard if I damn well please. And if I don’t feel like feeling the noise, I won’t. This one is about a kid who moves from New York to Puerto Rico and learns about reggaeton, only to come back to New York and perform at the Puerto Rican Day Parade. I might see it if it weren’t so damn pushy. It’s playing at Union Square.
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising: Ordinary kid with shitty home life finds out he has magical powers? Okay, I’m with you. Finds out that he is a key player in a war against a dark and magical force? Um…alright. Is whisked away to a fantasy world where magic and whimsy are commonplace and encounters a sniveling dark British nemesis? This sounds kind of familiar. The Seeker: The Dark is Rising is yet another children’s novel adaptation from the English writer Susan Cooper. For christ’s sake, even the title seems to be a reference to Harry Potter. This is playing at the Pavilion.
Harry Potter: Seeker Extraodinaire
The Heartbreak Kid: The success of Ben Stiller is quite interesting. There are those who, like myself, hate him. He’s made a funny movie or two, but most are now just commercial crap that are less funny and more painful to watch. Then, there are those who love him. The interesting thing is, those that love him seem to enjoy seeing him get hurt. The majority of his comedies feature him falling over, getting fish hooks stuck in his mouth, falling off roofs or being deeply embarassed in front of large crowds of people. So basically, it seems that even those that love him enjoy seeing him in pain. I like his movies where this doesn’t happen. Zoolander, for one. Royal Tenenbaums is another. He even made a painfully sad movie about a heroin junkie (Permanent Midnight) and actually acted for a little while. But now he seems to have discovered that the real money is in going cross-eyed after getting hit in the balls. This is playing at the Pavilion.
Finishing the Game: Justin Lin made the great and underappreciated film Better Luck Tomorrow. Then he made Annapolis and Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift, so I’m not quite sure what to think of this one. It’s a mockumentary about casting a replacement for Bruce Lee after his death in 1973. The trailer is amusing but so far advanced reviews are mixed. There is one interesting factoid about Justin Lin, however, and that is that he has an ongoing relationship with M.C. Hammer. Hammer (don’t hurt ’em) saved Lin’s Better Luck Tomorrow from shutting down by becoming a last minute financier. Hammer also has a song in Fast and the Furious 3 and appears in a cameo in Finishing the Game. I’m glad someone is giving Hammer the respect he deserves. This is playing at the IFC Center.
M.C. Hammer: Film Executive
The Good Night: This looks like a bizarre little movie, and I’m making it my pick of the week. Jake Paltrow directs his sister Gwenyth, Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Danny Devito and Penelope Cruz. The film is about an ex-musician in a boring relationship who starts having an affair with a hot woman in his dreams. From the trailer, it is hard to decipher whether the film is a comedy or a drama, but it certainly looks interesting. This is playing at the Angelika.
Michael Clayton: If you’ve seen this trailer, perhaps you laughed out loud just like I did when a disgruntled Tom Wilkinson turns to George Clooney with a straight face and says “I am Shiva the God of Death.” It was hard to focus after that. The movie is something about a head of a law firm who goes nuts and the guy who is sent to keep him under control. While this sounds like great material for a situation comedy, it’s actually a very intense looking drama. Sidney Pollack and Tilda Swinton also star. This is playing at Union Square.
My Kid Could Paint That: A documentary about a four-year-old girl whose paintings are selling for tens of thousands of dollars and who is often compared to Kandinsky and Pollack. The film also raises questions about whether or not her parents helped her in some way. You can see some of the artwork on the film’s website. It’s playing at the Angelika
Lake of Fire: Tony Kaye managed to make another movie. Kaye directed the majority of American History X, but then fought with New Line and Edward Norton to the extent that he wanted his name credit replaced with “Humpty Dumpty” and attempted to sue the production company for $275 million. With what does he follow this up? A two and a half hour documentary about abortion. So if you don’t have any plans this Friday night, grab your buddies, get loaded up on caffeine and watch this two and a half hour long, black and white film featuring some of the most graphic and haunting footage on the subject ever screened. This is playing at Film Forum.
In other news, Into the Wild, In the Valley of Elah and Eastern Promises are all now playing at BAM. It seems that it’s going to take another week for Darjeeling limited to open in Brooklyn, but it’s still playing in Manhattan. And Rushmore is playing at midnight tomorrow at the Landmark Sunshine.