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Wall-E
The Plot: The story of a robot that looks like Johnny Five and talks like a mogwai.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Yes. Very much so. Although I think it will be hard for anything to compare to the wonder that was Ratatouille, this sounds like it’s going to be great. It’s already got a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the highest of anything so far this year. If you want to see a movie this weekend, make this a priority.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Cobble Hill Cinemas, United Artists on Court Street, Park Slope Pavilion.

The release of Wall-E is getting me wet. Oh no!

Wanted
The Plot: I don’t really know. But there’s guns and explosions and an emaciated Angelina Jolie.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Hm…to be honest, it looks pretty fun. The negative reviews thus far (ahem, Austin Chronicle), while trying to criticize, seem to be highlighting the more appealing points of summer movies. That it’s ridiculous, unbelievable, filled with special effects, and is aimed at thirteen year old boys (read: twenty-five year old men who still act like thirteen year old boys). Maybe it’s my fondness for Angelina Jolie, or people with spaghetti string arms, bit I’m going to say that this looks like a fun evening at the cinema.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Cobble Hill Cinemas, United Artists on Court Street, Park Slope Pavilion.

 

Angelina Jolie.

Trumbo
The Plot: A documentary about blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Yes. Dalton Trumbo gave us the scripts for films like Spartacus and Roman Holiday, but was a member of the anti-fascist Popular Front in the 1930’s. The documentary is directed by Peter Askin (Company Man) and features interviews with Joan Allen, Paul Giamatti, Kirk and Michael Douglas and Donald Sutherland.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Landmark Sunshine.

 

Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot
The Plot: A basketball documentary by Beastie Boy Adam Yaunch.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Probably not. Reviews thus far are pretty mixed, and the Beastie’s previous documentary – Awesome I Fuckin’ Shot That – was more of a rental.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: AMC Loew’s Village VII.

 

Finding Amanda
The Plot: Mattew Broderick plays a compulsive gambler who is sent to Vegas to convince his stripper neice to go to rehab.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Probably worth renting. Writer/director Peter Tolan has written a lot of crap (Bedazzled, America’s Sweethearts, Just Like Heaven, Stealing Harvard, Guess Who – wow that’s a long list) but he also is a writer and co-creator for the awesome show Rescue Me. This looks a lot darker than the other crap he’s made, and Matthew Broderick is great in darker material.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Landmark Sunshine.

Otherwise, Clue is the midnight movie tonight at the Landmark Sunshine and the IFC Center is playing Mad Max.

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For some reason, there’s barely anything coming out this weekend. I think it’s God’s way of telling you to go outside and fly a kite.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Plot: The kids return to Narnia. One of them has sex with a fawn. It’s awkward.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: No. There are going to be plenty of blockbusters this summer, so I suggest you take a weekend off. The first installment in the series, in my opinion, was pretty bland. All the subtlety that the book had was abandoned in exchange for bad special effects, intense religious themes and forgettable acting. Plus, the only two actors who were on the right track last time, Tilda Swinton and James McAvoy, are now gone. While this one has the potential to be darker and more mature, I’m still not going to pay full price to see it in theaters. I’d rather see the BBC version again. The Ice Queen made me shit my pants.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Pavilion, Cobble Hill Cinemas, United Artists on Court Street.

Reprise

The Plot: Two writers try to get famous, with different levels of success.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: It sounds like it. I’ve been reading some interesting reviews of this film so far (especially here). This is Danish director Joachim Trier’s first feature length film after having directed two award winning shorts.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Landmark Sunshine.

And that’s it. The midnight movie at Landmark Sunshine tomorrow is Dazed and Confused, and at the IFC Center it’s The Beales of Grey Gardens. Also, check out BAM‘s website for some upcoming screenings.

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Speed Racer

The Plot: Seriously, I have no idea. People were driving cars and there were lots of colors.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: No. Reviews are already pretty poor. I’ve seen the trailer a few times on the big screen, and even two and a half minutes of the film felt like someone had jammed six pieces of bubble gum in my mouth, spun me around for a half hour and kicked me in the forehead with a soccer cleat.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Pavilion, United Artists on Court Street.

What Happens In Vegas

The Plot: A movie is made based on the most annoying and overused catchphrase since “where’s the beef?”

Is it worth eleven dollars?: No. Although to be fair, I hate Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz. And I hated the movie Just Married, to which this film looks identical. And I hate that the plot of this film revolves around Judge Dennis Miller sentencing the feuding couple to “six months hard marriage,” which is so ridiculous is would be out of place even in a 1960’s sitcom. The only thing that might make me watch this if it’s on cable when there’s nothing else to watch is that Zach Galifianakis (who needs to be in better movies) costars.  

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Pavilion, Cobble Hill Cinemas, United Artists on Court Street.

The Fall

The Plot: A man tells a story to a young girl in the hospital.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Okay, so I doubt the plot line above does the film justice. You should watch the trailer. This is the newest film from Tarsem Singh, who directed the film The Cell, which was a beautifully filmed piece of garbage. From the trailer, I would say that Singh’s sophomore effort looks much better. Also, the film has been endorsed and released by both Spike Jonze and David Fincher. This is a film that it is hard to recommend, but I’m sure has to be seen on a big screen.  

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Landmark Sunshine.

Surfwise

The Plot: Documentary about an 85-year old surfer and sex guru who lives with his family of nine children on the beach in a small camper.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Advance reviews aren’t great, but this look like a fun movie, if you’re into these kinds of documentaries. Director Doug Pray has made a bunch of other documentaries including Big Rig, Infamy and Hype!.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: IFC Center.

The Tracey Fragments

The Plot: A girl hypnotizes her brother into believing that he is a dog, and then he disappears.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Yes. The trailer looks like something pretty original, and the combination of Ellen Page in the lead role and a Broken Social Scene soundtrack can’t hurt. Director Bruce McDonald directs an adaptation of the novel by Maureen Medved.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: CC Village Cinemas East.

Poultreygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

The Plot: A fried chicken restaurant is opened on Native American burial ground.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Only if you’re on acid. Troma director Lloyd Kaufman has directed plenty of other “classics” like Tromeo and Juliet and The Toxic Avenger. This film looks especially repulsive, but when was the last time you saw a movie that combined the genres of horror, musical, comedy and political satire?

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: CC Village Cinemas East.

Blue Velvet is playing as the Midnight Movie on Friday at the Landmark Sunshine, and the IFC Center is playing a midnight screening of Grey Gardens.

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I haven’t seen everything I want to see this year (which is why I’m holding off on the top ten films of 2007) but I can confidently say that these were the worst. I don’t mean worst in the Norbit sense either. These are the films that could have been great or interesting, but ultimately sucked.

Across the Universe: I’ve already expressed how much I hated this movie once on this blog, but here it is again. A collection of 60’s cliches, hammy dialogue and poor acting, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe is an embarrassing piece of work in an otherwise solid career. Honestly, if hippie culture was anything like this, maybe Nixon was right.

The Brave One: This movie really should have been called Jodie Foster Kills New York. Not only is this film bizarrely inaccurate (apparently you can’t walk two blocks in Manhattan without being raped and killed) but it was also just poorly executed. By the end it has dissolved into such a shitty action movie that Jodie Foster literally looks at one of her victims and says “Now who’s the bitch?”

Death at a Funeral: It seems Frank Oz wrote this script, realized it didn’t have a personality, and then injected the personalities of other farces right into it. Between the tired “guy trips on acid by accident and does crazy things” bit and the ongoing panic joke that Peter Dinklage is a gay midget (he’s gay and small! Get it?), I was ready for this movie to end within ten minutes of sitting down.

Smokin’ Aces: My expectations weren’t particularly high for this film. I was a fan of Joe Carnahan’s Narc a few years ago, and while Smokin’ Aces looked like another Quentin Tarantino rip-off, I thought he might be able to bring something fun and original to the table. Instead of a fun shoot-em-up movie however, Carnahan actually asked us to give a shit about these characters. Oh yeah, and there’s a plot. Who the fuck does this guy think he is?

Zodiac: While director David Fincher deserves praise for this tireless research and accuracy, he seems to have forgotten that he was making a movie and not a recreation of a crime for Court TV. I saw this with several friends and I’m pretty sure we all fell asleep. Fine, maybe we were kind of drunk.

Worst Casting: John Travolta in Hairspray. Travolta looked terrifying and sounded like a drunk, southern drag-queen trying to do a Dr. Evil impersonation while swallowing marbles.

Worst use of CGI: I Am Legend. This film had me going until I got my first glimpse of the crazy zombie (not vampires like in the book) “infected” bad guys. It gave the film a cartoonish vibe that ruined all of the suspense that followed.

Worst Amount of Product Placement: Transformers and Disturbia. Shia LaBoeuf had a big year with two blockbuster films. He also managed to promote a shitload of products in these films. After watching Transformers and Disturbia I had this weird urge to drive my Ford truck to Bed Bath and Beyond while listening to music that I downloaded on iTunes.

Worst Advertising Campaign: Good Luck Chuck. I remember walking out of my apartment hungover one morning and almost vomiting at the sight of a half-naked Dane Cook with a shit-eating grin on his face.

Worst Movie Featuring a Good Performance: Alpha Dog. Justin Timberlake made Alpha Dog, Nick Cassavetes’ poorly written juvenile crime drama, almost worth watching. Almost. While Emile Hirsch did his best Fred Durst impersonation and Ben Foster pretty much let the throbbing veins in his head do the acting for him, Timberlake came through with a sincere and powerful performance. Call me crazy, but I think the kid’s going to be big.

Worst Historical Representation: 300. Did you know that Xerxes was a ten foot tall trans-gender alien who sounded like Mr. T? Or all Persians are freakish, scarred creatures who like to experiment with their sexuality? Thanks for the history lesson 300!

Worst Film Title: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. I don’t think a film title has ever made me want to strangle a puppy as much as this one.

Worst Looking Movie That I’m Still Weirdly Excited to See in the New Year: I Know Who Killed Me. Lindsay Lohan as a stripper? Okay. A weird double personality plot? I’m with you. Clones and robot arms??? Holy shit. It may not have been a good year for LiLo, but at least she can rest assured that stoned college kids will be watching this movie for years to come.

I’ll be back soon with the best of the best of 2007!

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As everyone prepares to evacuate the city in the next couple of days to go home, see family and drink their own body weight in red wine (or is that just my family?), here are several good excuses to get out of the house for two hours and hang out in a dark (and hangover-friendly) room. All of these movies, with the exception of Starting Out in the Evening, start tomorrow.

The Mist: Remember that movie The Fog? And the remake of the movie The Fog? I’m struggling to see how this is any different. Between these movies, Stephen King’s Storm of the Century, and (to some extent) The Day After Tomorrow, perhaps the term “meteorological horror” is not far off. We’ll get movies like Murder Puddle, Gust of Death and Put on a Jacket or You’ll Die. In any case, this is directed by Frank Darabont, who has already directed two more serious Stephen King projects (The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile). It’s actually getting decent reviews so far, and stars Tom Jane and Marcia Gay Harden. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street.

Hitman: I’ve never played this video game before, but I can say that the trailer for this adaptation, which features a bald Tim Olyphant shooting everything in the entire world, does not really inspire a whole lot of confidence. To be honest, I don’t really understand why they’re still adapting video games. Has there ever been a good one? Ever? And has it ever helped an actor’s career? Did Christopher Lambert win an Academy Award for his potrayal of Raiden in Mortal Kombat? Was Raul Julia showered with praise for his role in Street Fighter? Honestly, it says a lot about the video game adaptation genre that the best in the bunch had Dennis Hopper starring as King Koopa. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street.

King Koopa

August Rush: I was okay with this movie until about half way through the trailer. This is when a cowboy Robin Williams shows up, complete with dyed hair, sideburns, and a soul patch. Honestly, he looks so ridiculous that Mrs. Doubtfire might have inspired less laughter from the audience. The film also stars Keri Russell, Freddie Highmore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I believe learned to act by starring at himself provocatively in the mirror. This is playing at the Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Enchanted: There is a kid inside me who still loves Disney. Although I haven’t been as impressed with them lately, this movie looks cute. Amy Adams stars as a cartoon princess who is cursed by a witch and ends up in real life New York City. It’s the kind of movie that you tell people your younger cousins made you see, even though they actually wanted to see Michael Clayton and kept calling you immature. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street and the Pavilion.

This Christmas: Another prematurely released Christmas movie. This one stars Regina King and Delroy Lindo, which is already an improvement on Vince Vaughn and a bunch of creepy looking elves. There will probably be a Christmas movie released every weekend until December 25th, so I guess we should all get used to them. This is playing at the Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

Starting Out in the Evening: Someone needs to give Frank Langella an Oscar. He consistently plays assholes, but he’s always happy to do it. Here he plays an aging, grumpy writer who starts a friendship with a young writer (played by Lauren Ambrose). This does not open until Friday, and the showtimes are not up yet.

I’m Not There: Despite the gimmick (multiple actors portraying Bob Dylan), this is my pick of the week. Director Todd Haynes has an incredible career behind him (and ahead of him) featuring films like Safe, Velvet Goldmine and Far From Heaven. While I’m not normally a fan of biopics (I’m the guy who hated Walk the Line), this looks like it is told in a less linear and more interesting fashion. While I’m excited to see how the different actors take on Dylan, I’m especially excited to see David Cross as Allen Ginsberg. This is playing at Cobble Hill Cinemas.

Margot at the Wedding starts tomorrow at BAM. Also, the Big Lebowski is the midnight movie at the Sunshine on Friday, and everyone’s favorite psychopath, Crispin Glover, has invited everyone to spend Thanksgiving with him at the IFC Centre, where he is premiering his new film called It is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. It also starts tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Love in the Time of Cholera: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s award-winning novel has been adapted into a film by director Mike Newell, and stars Javier Bardem and Benjamin Bratt. Thus far, the movie is getting pretty terrible reviews, shocking both because of the subject matter and talented director. Garcia Marquez (who is now eighty years old) apparently asked pop singer Shakira to provide two songs for the film. This explains the one new scene in which Fermina tells Fiorentino “you’re lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you don’t confuse them with mountains” before ripping off her corset to expose a wet leather bra and tight pants. This is playing at the Pavilion.

Shakira

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium: Did the title of this movie really have to rhyme? And an emporium? When I hear the word emporium, I don’t think of an FAO Schwartz style toy store, I think of a large warehouse that sells discount furniture. All the rhyming does is add to the cutesiness, which star Nathalie “if I keep talking with a baby voice I’ll be young forever!” Portman already supplies. Dustin Hoffman stars as the titular store owner who decides to retire, making the magical toys throw temper tantrums. Jason Bateman, who thus far has not gotten the post-Arrested Development career he deserves, stars as an accountant. The only way this movie could look more annoying would be if Robin Williams provided the voices of all the toys. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street and the Pavilion.

Beowulf: While some people think this is going to be a huge hit, I’m (Brooklyn) skeptical. You’ve probably heard of the epic poem Beowulf, either by browsing through passages in a translation or having some douchey English major hit on you by saying they enjoy reading the whole thing in Old English. Either way, you might have thought it strange as well when Robert Zemeckis decided to adapt it to his Polar Express-style of animation, where the characters look so similar to real life that you wonder why they didn’t just film it in live action. While it’s garnering some decent reviews so far, I might still wait for DVD. It’s playing at the United Artists on Court Street and the Pavilion.

Redacted: Brian De Palma’s new film about the Iraq war is already causing an uproar with the conservative right, especially with talk show host Bill O’Reilly. The film is described as a “fictional story inspired by true events,” but also contains documentary footage. Whether you want to stand outside and picket the film as Mr. O’Reilly suggests, or you have the good sense to watch the film before protesting, it is playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

Margot at the Wedding: Filmed in Long Island this time instead of Baumbach’s native Brooklyn, Margot at the Wedding is the story of a writer who decides to attend her younger sister’s wedding to an oafish, unemployed artist. The film stars Nicole Kidman, Jack Black and Baumbach’s actual wife, Jennifer Jason Leigh. While it is so far not getting the same praise that The Squid and the Whale received, I’m going to make this my pick of the week. Also recommended: Baumbach’s Mr. Jealousy and Kicking and Screaming, which does not star Will Ferrell as a soccer coach. This is playing at the Angelika starting tomorrow, and BAM starting Wednesday, November 21st.

Southland Tales: Because I saw this on Wednesday I can officially say that it is definitely worth the price of admission. While you may be confused, frustrated and maybe a bit exasperated by the end, you will never be bored. Director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) tries to stuff far too much into this Los Angeles apocalypse sci-fi/action/comedy/drama/musical/clusterfuck but he does it will style and a giddy excitement that is refreshing. Any movie that features messianic figures, time travel, Jon Lovitz as a homicidal cop with bleached white hair, a floating ice cream truck, Christopher Lambert and Sarah Michelle Gellar as a porn star with a reality show is okay in my book. This is opening at the Angelika, but is also playing at the AMC on 19th and Broadway and the AMC on 84th Street.

Southland Tales

No Country for Old Men begins at BAM tomorrow, and Bottle Rocket is the midnight movie at the Landmark Sunshine tomorrow night. Also, several films from the After Dark Horrorfest are playing at the AMC Loews Village 7. Tickets can be purchased on Fandango. Enjoy!

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After being coldly turned away from the overcrowded Takeover BAM last weekend, I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder regarding the beloved art-hole. But I’m a forgiving person and I am going to open my heart again. What could make me feel ready to love after that debacle? The follow up to an awesomely Brooklyn movie, The Squid and the Whale.

Yes, that’s right. Noah Baumbach will host a sneak preview of his new film Margot at the Wedding on Saturday, November 10 at 6:50 PM. You can buy tickets for it online. I would suggest you do that or you assuredly will be left out in the dark, cold, sinister streets of Fort Greene just like me last weekend. Don’t do that to yourself.

Sorry for blowing up your Weekend at the Movies spot, PCM.

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