Wow! Time flies! Another week, another new batch of films. As we lead up to the holiday season (although our favorite holiday of the year was last week), it’s time for all sort of big movies -both in prestige and “get the family to the flicks”. One can argue the season started last week with the Christmasy mess Disney’s The Nutcracker and Four Realms (hey, Cody and I went see it this week – our video review with sideways camera work here) and the crowd-pleasing Bohemian Rhapsody (none of have seen it yet so no recommendation either way). Yeah, that’s probably true but we get ANOTHER Christmas movie this week too! Either way, the onslaught is coming.
Let’s get that Christmas feature out of the way, shall we?
The Grinch, animated family narrative, Directed by Yarrow Chesney and Scott Mosier (yes, the one who works with Kevin Smith… weird). Written by Michael LeSieur from the book. 86 minutes
Illumination has taken it upon itself to adapt Dr Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas , shortening it to The Grinch to differentiate itself from the still-in-rotation classic TV special and the 2000 Jim Carrey led live action film – a film which has lovers and haters. Me? The make-up and production design are great, the rest… eh. From what I can see from the trailers, this animated take seems to take more from that style than the original; adding in more soon to be dated references and playing very broadly. Voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, The Grinch seems less mean and vile and more whiny and annoyed. I am curious to how they’ll make this one stand on it’s own. We all know and love at least one version of the story, so what’s the need? What’s with the addition of the Yak thing? At least this version doesn’t seem to the the tie-in marketing onslaught the 2000 one had, rather going against the point of the story. Weird, as this is the same studio that put the Lorax in SUV commercials and has shoved the Minions down our throats for years.
Metacritic reviews have been decidedly mixed at 53. However, RottenTomatoes aggregates a 63% positive.
Now that The Grinch is out of the way, let’s look at the two other wide releases. The ones that will be much more up the alley of this site.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story, crime thriller narrative; directed by Fede Alverez, written by Jay Basu & Fede Alverez and Steven Knight from the book by David Lagercranz, based on characters created by Stieg Larrson. 115 minutes
First, that added subtitle is stupid and I won’t repeat it. Although I would much like to watch The Grinch: A New Dragon Tattoo Story. She helps Cindy Lou get revenge on the man who ruined her Christmas. Any”who”, this is a follow up to the David Fincher 2011 Girl with the Dragon Tattoo rather than the Swedish originals although I doubt really matters as this seems to stand alone from the original Millenium trilogy. Everyone involved is different so it really is it’s own thing. Claire Foy, continuing her banner year, is new Lizabeth Salander, the super-hacker who hurts men who have hurt women. Fincher is replaced by Fede Alvarez has a great track record so far after the Evil Dead remake and Don’t Breathe so even if the plotting is bad, at least we’ll likely get some well made tension filled sequences. Foy is a great actress I’m glad to see all over the place this year and the trailers look like a good cat and mouse with Salander and her sister. There’s also that Steven Merchant “made a bad program” story, so I hope it doesn’t get too convoluted. It’s a crime thriller so likely it will, maybe it’ll come together in some stupid way.
Reviews, like The Grinch are middling. 12 around 50 with varitions with 3 wholly positive and 3 wholly negative; averaging in all to 48. Rotten Tomatoes is at 54% positive.
Overlord, horror/war feature; directed by Julius Avery, Written by Billy Ray. Produced by J J Abrams. 109 minutes.
Now THIS is what I was excited for this week. World War II. Zombies. Over the top action! Weird Science! Fuck yes. I see shades of Michael Mann’s adaptation of The Keep. Overlord looks like a blast. Plotwise, some Allied soldiers and local civilians come across a Nazi stronghold where the Nazis are creating the perfect zombie soldiers. The trailers have focused more on the action than the horror and that’s fine. I’m hoping for big, glossy, bloody action set pieces and awesome monsters. We’ve not seen much of the monsters in the trailers yet, so that’s a little concerning but this is Abram’s producing so thoughts he’s keeping it to his chest. Early in production this was rumored to be a Cloverfield film. They SAY it’s not, but we’ll see.
Review wise – this is the week of middle level reviews. Nine critical reviews average to 54. Rotten Tomatoes is much more kind, avering 6.7 for it’s reviews with a 90% rating. A movie like that is great!
LIMITED RELEASE only has four entries this week.
El Angel, Thiller/biopic narrative, dir Luis Ortega, Written by Sergio Olguin and Luis Argeta
This one should be up Kim’s alley. El Angel is the story of young Carlos Puch, the notorious Argentian serial killer. By 20 he killed up to a dozen people.
Reviews look about 65 after a handful on Metacritic
Postcards from London, Drama narrative, written and directed by Steve McLean, 88 Minutes
I don’t know much about this but looks to be a colorful palate story of young becoming an escort in SoHo. Metacritic sits at 40 after 2 reviews.
River Runs Red, Drama narrative; written and directed by Wes Miller. 94 minutes.
Oh god, this looks awful. Trying to tap into the ziegiest of pushing back on cop on black teen shootings, River Runs Red looks tone deaf and ridiculous. Taye Diggs and an attempting drama but with weird readings George Lopez are fathers whose sons were shot by the same cops. John Cusack is slumming as a hacker. So the revenge is what seems to be badly designed action sequences and worse dialog.
As of right now there are zero reviews on Metacritic. There are two very negative reviews on RottenTomatoes.
Weightless, drama narrative, written and directed by Jason Albertin. 93 minutes.
Trailer looks like wanna be indie drama. Main guy wants to keep his autistic (maybe?) son but people want it taken away. Meh. Fitting name.The three reviews on metacritic are generally positive though. So that’s something.