I was so busy with other things that I completely forgot to do my monthly look-forward at the upcoming releases. Not too big a deal, since as always, January is a month of few releases, and almost all of them can be readily dismissed with, “Looks like shit. Bring on May.”
And what is to be the first new movie of 2011? Why, the stuttering, delay-ravaged Season of the Witch, featuring Nicolas Cage going medieval on our asses. He does not, alas, play the witch, but the witch-hunter, though I have hopes for a cunning third-act twist.
There is really only one thing even remotely interesting about The Dilemma, which is that a joke in the trailer (“Electric cars are gay”) caused such a contretemps that the ad was re-edited. This will probably not mark a key moment in the removal of that particular meaning of that particular word from our culture, and so it is a sign of the movie itself that this is what I find significant about the thing.
Well, that, and the question: why in the hell is Ron Howard directing a sitcommy Vince Vaughn project? And why is any Ron Howard film being dumped in one of the famed assholes of the movie year? Is there any way to spin that so that it looks good?
If your taste in quippy bros runs more toward Seth Rogen than Vaughn, you can get your fix with one of the most desperate entries in the superhero cycle, The Green Hornet (now there’s a brand name with some major street cred), with Michel Gondry at the helm, and that surely means… something. The trailers have been running for so long that it’s sort of hard to believe this didn’t come out months ago, and none of them have suggested that it’s going to be much of anything stylish or fun. I have elected to conclude that Gondry put out something so wickedly idiosyncratic, they didn’t know how to market it. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
The first of the year’s two casual sex romantic comedies with premises so vague and so similar that I can only tell them apart by leading lady is No Strings Attached: the one with Natalie Portman. Which means it’s also the one with Ashton Kutcher, which means it’s going to be the worse of the pair. Oh, and it’s directed by Ivan Reitman – strike three! (Strike one was the fact that it’s a casual sex romantic comedy, and is thus going to end with the couple falling madly in love and marrying and having babies and all that jazz).
Not one, but two films meant for an Oscar release that, as far as I can tell, didn’t actually make it: The Company Men, a recession drama that doubles as the directorial of debut of John Wells, the man who ruined The West Wing before he kind of brought it back; and The Way Back, the first Peter Weir film in seven years. That’s not even as long as it took Terrence Malick. But hey, any Weir is good Weir.
If you are me – and I am sorry for you – you’ve been thinking, “wait, isn’t January usually when some really dreadful horror movie opens?” Sure is, and this time it’s The Rite, the latest in the bizarrely robust run of exorcism movies from the last couple of years.
“And a crappy action film?” Why, it’s Jason Statham in a Charles Bronson remake, The Mechanic! Not necessarily a bad sign, until you spend too much time staring at director Simon West’s CV, wherein Con Air (his debut, 13 years ago) is readily the highlight.
“What about a culture shock comedy about the filthy lives of L.A. Latinos? For preference, one with a title that seems kind of offensive the more you let it linger?” That’s oddly specific, but as it just so happens, here comes From Prada to Nada, in which Camilla Belle and Alexa Vega play holy shit is this actually a free adaptation of Sense and Sensibility? Christ almighty.