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.

21 Responses to “Weekend Forecast: 9/5/08”

  1. Momma’s Man looks totally awesome, I just love the trailer. Same for “A Girl Cut In Two,” but to a lesser extent.

  2. Isn’t Everyone Wants to Be Italian an adaption of an unproduced script written by Barton Fink?

    Yowzers, this week is chockful of nothing. I have a shot at The Edge of Heaven, which I’m curious about even with the mixed response here at LIC. I also might catch up on comedies…still haven’t seen Pineapple Express or Tropic Thunder.

  3. The showings here are truly abysmal. We might watch A Girl Cut in Two on OnDemand, though, so there’s that.

  4. I’d like to see Momma’s Man but I can’t stand the music of Abba.

  5. “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,”

    Lost ME at “dreams of swimming in the luxurious pool” Yikes! sounds like the kind of cutesy foreign fare dumped into this country because of a (mostly true) perception that Americans are suckers for stories about po’ folk who transcend their class, if only in their hearts!

  6. I’m all excited about getting into a screening of Burn After Reading this evening (Thursday).

  7. “Isn’t Everyone Wants to Be Italian an adaption of an unproduced script written by Barton Fink?” ahahahhahahah. Fade In: A New York tenement…

    Nick/Jennybee. Girl Cut in Two is getting some solid reviews, but it didn’t totally work for me. I’m willing to give it a second chance though and it’s certainly worth a look OnDemand. Your results may vary.

    Come on Harvey, it’s the sing-along version!

    Rick, it’s even worse probably because it’s made by an American.

    Pierre, I hope you like it.

  8. All I get is Boy A, which I’m looking forward to. The Pool is definitely up my alley (I’m one of those suckers, Rick!) but I have to wait a few weeks, and like I said last week, I’ve been waiting for Momma’s Man since January.

    I think The Edge of Heaven would be worth your time, Joel. Matthew, Alexander and I agreed that it’s very good but not excellent, while Sam I believe still includes it in his top few of the year so far. Either way, you might as well see it now because when Fatih Akin is winning awards in 10 years, this will be one less from his filmography that you have to revisit.

  9. I loved Edge of Heaven (I will finally review it this weekend when I get free time}, I did actually think it was excellent, despite its flaws.

  10. The Edge of Heaven eluded my grasp and now I’d have to drive up to San Francisco to see it.

    One thing about LA is we seem to get movies quickly, but they never stick around for long. Maybe it’s like that everywhere now, but I remember the good old days back Seattle when something like Cinema Paradiso would play for months.

  11. Mister Foe had such a strange, uneven trailer, and it feels like I saw it a year ago.. I couldn’t decide if it looked like just another piece of tripe or something interesting.

    The Edge of Heaven is definitely worth seeing, flaws and all.

    On the whole, very weak weekend… I saw Elegy last night and just started writing my review a few minutes ago… Should be up on CCC later today.

    I plan on seeing A Girl Cut in Two sometime tonight.

  12. I finally see MAN ON WIRE today…WOO HOO!

  13. BANGKOK DANGEROUS?

  14. Hah, fair enough, Daniel. Better to be ahead of the curve on that one in ten years. I’m sold.

  15. Nick Cage seems to grow his hair out in a cycle of one out of about every four movies, i.e. ConAir, Next and now Bangkok Express

  16. Bangkok Dangerous wasn’t screened for critics, which means it’s awesome. And by “awesome” I mean “not awesome.” And by “not awesome” I mean “turgid pile of diseased monkeys attempting to eat a hole into your brain.”

    Sorry. It’s been one of those days.

  17. by “turgid pile of diseased monkeys attempting to eat a hole into your brain” do you mean “flamboyantly craptacular”?

  18. Thanks again my very good friend Daniel for remembering me, and yes THE EDGE OF HEAVEN is still one of the very best films of the year so far. I do hope however, that Craig won’t have to travel to San Francisco to see it.

    MAMMA’S MAN is an exceptional independent offering and I am most interested in hearing what the LIC crowd thinks of it.

    HALLEM FOE (MISTER FOE) has been out on a Region 2 DVD for several months, and I thought it was a reasonably fascinating film, in spite of its flaws.

  19. Thank you for the recommendation of Mamma’s Man, Sam. I’ll be sure to take a look at it soon.

    Craig, come on up to San Francisco. We’ll dine on fish and chips at Fisherman’s Wharf and take a cable car ride. ;)

  20. For that cable car ride and the fish n chips, the trip is worth it!

  21. It doesn’t take much to make SF sound like a good idea. It’s only 4-5 hours by car.

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