Just like that, we snap back to the beginning of the year, and the monstrous, wintry wasteland of Dumping Season. Ordinarily, this is the month were all the parts of the country that aren’t New York and Los Angeles get all of the big December Oscabait, but so very few films were given a platform release that even that cold comfort will be absent. Nor does it seem that there is a glut of foreign films making their North American debut.
The good news is that we are now in the same calendar year as The Dark Knight.
And the first film of the year is: One Missed Call, the last dying gasp of the J-Horror remake fad! Plus-
-nothing? Jesus Christ. Ah, well, it means a light week of blogging for me, which will be a nice little break. There Will Be Blood widens a bit, but I’m not sure how far.
If it’s January, it must be time for Uwe Boll’s latest: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Would you believe that it’s a video game adaptation? More to the point, would you actually believe that Boll managed to nab Ray Liotta and Jason Statham, amongst others? Sounds like quite a few people have new swimming pools to pay for.
If Uwe Boll is just too damn ruggedly masculine for your tastes, there’s always Katherine Heigl’s first star vehicle, 27 Dresses, which to all appearances will be significantly more gender-stereotyped than even the average wintertime rom-com. Making Heigl’s sniffy tone about the chauvinism in Knocked Up a little disingenuous.
And if both of those are just too damn violent and too damn sexy for your tastes, there are two faith-based movies: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, for little Christian kids with no taste, and First Sunday, which a bunch of white executives are trying to foist on non-white audiences, casting Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan and proclaiming that the director is the new Tyler Perry, like any of those things are a net positive.
Cloverfield is going to suck. Let’s get that out of the way right now. Kickass ad campaign or not (and the ad campaign surely kicked my ass), it’s going to suck. Why else open it in January? Actually, given that it was produced by J.J. Abrams, it’s going to be simply brilliant for its first quarter, a little weaker in the second quarter, and the second half will be a steady decline to unwatchable shite.
Then what I said about delayed releases not being a big deal this month is disproved by not one, nor two, but three of them: the feminist horror comedy Teeth that made such waves at last Sundance, the new Woody Allen film, Cassandra’s Dream, and City of Men, a spin-off of a TV show that was a spin-off of City of God. Despite all three of them having their own special kind of exciting pedigree, there just had to be a reason all three of them were delayed.
Meanwhile, Callie Khouri, who once wrote Thelma & Louise in nobler times, does her part to add to the degradations lately piled on Diane Keaton by writing and directing Mad Money, which appears to be about sassy ladies stealing money, in a sassy way. At least, that is what Queen Latifah’s presence indicates. Katie Holmes’s indicates that the film is about as funny as getting hit in the face with a sockfull of pennies.
13 months ago, Sylvester Stallone wrote and directed and starred in Rocky Balboa, which completely failed to suck. That’s not enough to make any right-thinking person excited about Rambo, mind you. I just want to float the possibility that it won’t be the worst entry in its series.
Nor will it be the worst film of the weekend, not with the Date/Scary/Epic Movie authors releasing their annual assault on humor, Meet the Spartans. A timely parody of 300 and the major celebrity news stories of the first half of 2007, there is also, I guess, the possibility that this will not be the worst entry in its series either, although I’m not sure how a mentally well person would go about ranking them.
And now that we have context, the Diane Lane vs. internet-based serial killer movie Untraceable doesn’t seem nearly so vile, does it?
Then, all of a sudden, there is a film with the possibility of greatness, Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, in which Jack Black plays a man whose magnetic brain erases videotapes and I’m reminded in a vague way of an alt-universe version of Heat Vision and Jack, although generally speaking seeking Jack Black always reminds me in a vague way of Heat Vision and Jack. Since I brought it up, here is Heat Vision and Jack. You can never have too much.
Finally, there’s a film with a well-established history of greatness: Cristian Mungiu’s Palme d’Or-winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days hits the States.