It’s an annual tradition for somebody to declare that the just-completed summer movie season was the worst one in living memory, and this year it’s my turn: the fact that one three-month period gave birth to both Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra feels like the kind of sick joke that only a truly evil God could perpetrate.
Anyway, it’s over now. And with Oscar Season officially reduced to the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, September finds itself without any real identity this year: a bunch of random action films, horror films, and frivolous comedies, none of which are remotely interesting to anyone, plus two early prestige arthouse films, both of them idiotically opening on the same day.
The gentlemen responsible for the Crank films are swapping out Jason Statham for Gerard Butler – that’s a trade-down, in case you were wondering – to make Gamer, an action movie whose concept seems to be most easily summed up as “the remake of Death Race plus Ender’s Game“. Also, it has a repugnant title.
Two comedies are set to duke it out for second place: Sandra Bullock plays a crazy stalker lady in the romantic comedy All About Steve – for which title may the exec who came up with it burn in Hell’s flames always – and Mike Judge teams up with Jason Batemen for Extract; my instinct is to trust those two gentlemen, but the trailer seems a bit limp, n’est-ce pas?
Finally, a long-buried Chris Pine vehicle, the “deadly virus” thriller Carriers, is finally released to capitalise on his new popularity. Of all Star Trek‘s sins, “Chris Pine’s new popularity” is far and away the worst.
’tis 9/9/09! And thus we get 9, not to be confused with November’s Nine. This is the brooding post-apocalypse action cartoon, not the musical remake of 8½ by the guy who ruined Chicago. Certainly, the trailer makes it look like a worthy successor to the marvelous animated short from which it has been expanded.
Three horror movies in one weekend, cementing my notion that September has become the new February: Sorority Row, yet another goddamn slasher remake (having not seen the original, I shall keep my umbrage firmly in check); Whiteout, featuring Kate Beckinsale chasing a killer in Antarctica, a film delayed for what seems to have been a year or better – and long-delayed horror films are always a safe bet, amiright?; and I Can Do Bad All By Myself, the newest film directed by Tyler Perry, who once again stars as Madea. What? I’m horrified.
With all due respect to the many folks who have been waiting for years for a new Jane Campion film, compared to my week or so, I officially can’t wait for Bright Star, her dramatisation of John Keats’s love affair with Fanny Brawne. In the absence of any better arthouse-style drama this month, I’d probably be excited even if I hadn’t just decided that she was the bestest filmmaker ever.
Speaking of bestest filmmakers ever, Steven Sodebergh has a new film this very same day: The Informant!, starring Matt Damon. It is apparently a whistleblower film in the vein of The Insider, except done as dark farce. I can get behind that. Anyway, it’s no time for me to go turning on Soderbergh.
Also opening, and less likely to be positioned for Oscar runs, or in fact to be good at all: Love Happens, a grossly generic-looking romantic comedy with Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart, who once upon a time would have been the last man you’d expect to see in this kind of film, and then he started sucking.; and Jennifer’s Body, in which the writer of Juno takes a crack at horror. Honestly, that actually sounds interesting to me, but it stars Megan Fox, who has not yet demonstrated any skill at “acting” per se. And as one of the only people in North America who is sexually attracted to women and yet does not find her to be the hottest thing ever, her other assets are of little interest to me.
Meanwhile, the title of the classic children’s book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has been applied to a horrid-looking cartoon with a completely made-up plot.
If we cut out all the limited releases, this weekend bears witness to a truly rancid batch of program-fillers: a generationally-enhance remake of the already-terrible musical Fame; Surrogates, a peculiar future shock comic book adaptation directed by the asshole who made Terminator 3; and Pandorum, which in addition to an awesomely crappy title, boasts an ad campaign with the sheer ballsiness to brag about its relationship to the creative team behind the atrocious Resident Evil franchise.