Wow. I thought last weekend was a bad weekend for movies. This weekend is worse. Here’s the one new wide release:
- Bangkok Dangerous. Hong Kong’s Pang Brothers (the original The Eye) direct Nic Cage in this English language action thriller about a badass hitman (Cage) who travels to Bangkok…where things are…dangerous. Unceremoniously dumped from the summer to this weird pre-fall limbo. Read into that what you will.
Limited releases (in more ways than one):
- Everybody Wants to Be Italian. A lovelorn fishmonger decides to fake being Italian to impress a beautiful Italian woman and, in the process, learns how to love again. I think this might be the movie they’re forcing inmates at Guantanamo to watch in order to get them to talk. Oddly, the closest it’s playing to Los Angeles is Utah which is plenty close for me. Sorry, they lost me at “lovelorn fishmonger” and by the time “learns how to love again” came around, I was ready to start non-movie blog.
- Ping Pong Playa. Here you’ve got your sports comedy set among a ping pong loving Chinese American family. It got some good buzz at Toronto last year, but it smells like the kind of movie best enjoyed at a festival rather than as a stand-alone. Maybe that’s just me.
You have to go all the way to New York to find anything very interesting:
- August Evening. The winner of the jury prize for narrative feature at the 2007 LA Film Festival, August Evening tells the story of an aging illegal farm worker who looks after his newly widowed daughter-in-law. As he gets older and more frail, he’s unable to find the same work that once sustained him, but she rebounds and begins looking for a new love. As a result of their changing fortunes, the balance of their harmonious household begins to change. Filmed for a reported $40,000, this is writer/director Chris Eska’s debut feature and it sounds like one of those slow, quiet character dramas that can either really move you or bore the piss out of you depending on your mood. The smattering of Rotten Tomatoes reviews are generally positive.
- Mister Foe. Titled Hallam Foe overseas, the American distributor apparently figured domestic audiences were too stupid to figure out that Hallam is a bloke’s name. They may have a point there. British director David MacKenzie (Young Adam) has brought together an intriguing cast including Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), Ciarán Hinds (HBO’s Rome) and Claire Forlani (Mallrats) for this psychological drama about a 17-year-old (Bell) who retreats into a fantasy world in order to cope with the loss of his mother. This includes first falling for his new stepmother (Forlani), then becoming convinced that she killed his real mother and finally falling for another woman who looks just like mum.
- The Pool (Wed.) Before we go to India for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, here’s a comedy drama about a lowly 18-year-old hotel employee who dreams of swimming in the luxurious pool of a wealthy family’s house in Panjim, a city in India’s richest state Goa.
- A Secret (LA 9/12). An interesting cast that includes Ludivine Sagnier, Julie Depardieu and Mathieu Amalric star in this French drama about a Jewish family living in Paris after World War II. When their son uncovers family secrets from during the war, it’s lights, action, drama! Sorry, I was channeling Pete Hammond there for a second.
Here’s one premiering in Austin, Texas:
- Surfer, Dude (Expands 9/12). Seriously. Enough with the movies about surfing lately. In this one, Matthew McConaughey plays a longboarder torn between the purity of his sport and selling out for some much needed cash. Woody Harrelson is his manager, Scott Glenn is his mentor and Willie Nelson is his guardian angel. I was as glad as anyone to see McConaughey deliver the comic goods in Tropic Thunder, but I’m having a hard time getting enthusiastic about this one.
And finally, here are a couple of noteworthy films that are finally opening in Los Angeles:
- A Girl Cut in Two. Claude Chabrol’s darkly comic romantic drama about a girl (Ludivine Sagnier) torn between an aging intellectual and an unhinged rich man.
- Momma’s Man. On a business trip to New York, Mikey stays with his parents in his childhood home. When the business is concluded, he decides he’d rather stay for a while rather than go back to his wife and kid.
Filed under: Weekend Forecast