Running behind schedule with the Weekend Forecast this week so I’m going to keep it shorter than usual. Suffice it to say I recommend you check out Ed Helms in Cedar Rapids and check local listings for the Oscar Nominated Shorts 2011. As far as the rest, you’re on your own.

  • Cedar Rapids (****). The latest from Miguel Arteta (Chuck and Buck, Youth in Revolt) is not a Hangover style laugh riot, and thank god for that. Relying more on winning characters and an unexpectedly sweet nature, its modest pleasures sneak up on you rather than punch you in the face. Refreshing! Ed Helms gives a funny, straight-faced performance as the naive man-child of a small town insurance salesman who makes his first trip to the big city to attend an insurance convention. There his straight arrow nature is challenged by slob John C. Reilly and party girl Anne Heche. Think of it as a coming-of-age story about a man who doesn’t come of age until well into his 30s. Review (Limited)
  • Oscar Nominated Shorts 2011 (****). It’s time once again for the theatrical roll out of the Oscar nominated short films. In separate programs you can watch all 5 nominees in the Animated and Live Action Short categories plus a couple of extra bonus animated shorts.  For the first time this year, the Documentary Shorts will also be offered beginning this weekend in NY and 2/18 elsewhere. Shut ins will be happy to know that the shorts will also be available for purchase on iTunes beginning February 22nd. I haven’t watched the live action shorts as of this writing, but the animated shorts are uniformly solid. There is no knockouts along the lines of 2009 Oscar winner La Maison en Petits Cubes, but there is only one clunker in the bunch. The obvious highlight is Pixar’s Day & Night which played theatrically before Toy Story 3. Check the screening schedule and see if you can predict the eventual winners at Shorts HD.  (Limited)

  • Carancho. Ricardo Darin (The Secret in Their Eyes) is a shady ambulance chasing lawyer who has had his license suspended. In the course of business he falls for an ER doctor with some secrets of her own. (NY)
  • Poetry. The latest from Lee Chang-Dong (Secret Sunshine) tells the story of a woman in her 60s who takes solace in a poetry class amid some terrible news about her grandson and her own health. (NY)
  • The Eagle. Kevin Macdonald’s epic Roman adventure tells the story of the search for the 5000-man Ninth Legion which went missing 20 years before along the northernmost frontier of the empire. Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong and Tahir Rahim star.  (Wide)
  • Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. Never. (Wide)
  • Gnomeo & Juliet. I think the title of this animated family adventure about says it all, doesn’t it? (Wide)
  • Just Go With It. Adam Sandler pretends Jennifer Aniston’s kids are his in order to get into the pants of chesty swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. Guys are so dumb and girls are so hot! Hilarious, right? Right?  (Wide)
  • Carbon Nation. Promising solutions over partisan rhetoric, Carbon Nation attempts to make the case that a low-carbon economy is not only good for the environment, it’s good for national security and good for business too.  (NY, LA 2/18)
  • Certifiably Jonathan. What we have here is a mockumentary revolving around the painting career of comic Jonathan Winters. Sarah Silverman, Howie Mandel, Nora Dunn, Tim Conway and many others appear. (Limited)
  • Dream Home. How far will one woman go in order to afford her dream home in this Hong Kong horror thriller? (Limited)
  • In Her Skin. Guy Pearce and Miranda Otto star in this true story about the 1999 murder of a 15-year-old Australian girl.  (Limited)
  • Orgasm Inc. I haven’t seen this doc yet but it sounds like it deserves more than a once sentence dsmissal so I’m cutting to the official blurb: “Liz Canner’s shocking yet entertaining documentary ORGASM INC. explores the strange science of female pleasure, and in the process reveals the often warped mentality of our pharmaceutical and medical industries. ORGASM INC. begins when filmmaker Liz Canner is hired to edit erotic videos to be used in a drug trial for a pharmaceutical company. Her employer is developing what they hope will be the first FDA approved “Viagra” drug for women that will treat a new disease: Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). Intrigued, Liz decides to make a movie about the science of female pleasure. But she soon begins to suspect that her employer, along with other medical and pharmaceutical companies, might be trying to take advantage of women (and potentially endanger their health) in pursuit of profit. With unique access and a deft style of interviewing, Liz embarks on a nine year odyssey as she follows pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers who are racing to be the first to win FDA approval for their product – be it pill, patch, nose spray, or some other delivery device. The promised cure: “normal” sexual function and orgasm. The prize: billions of dollars in profits. Despite its serious agenda, Canner brings wry humor to her film. Featuring illuminating footage and interviews with activists, doctors and medical experts (including Chicago-based sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman, whose new show will debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network), ORGASM INC. is a powerful, timely and, yes, entertaining look inside Big Pharma and other medical companies with their often misleading marketing campaigns that literally and figuratively reshape our everyday lives. Upbeat, engaging, enlightening, and provocative, ORGASM INC. will change the way you think about sex.” (NY)
  • Vidal Sassoon: The Movie. A documentary look at the man who changed the hair care industry. (NY, LA 2/18)

2 Responses to “Weekend Forecast: Cedar Rapids and the 2011 Oscar Nominated Shorts”

  1. I had the misfortune to catch the trailer of Just Go With It. Wow, does that look like absolute shit. It’s another one of those movies that gives us caricatures that insult everyone.

    If I get to the movies I’m actually going to see Mooz-lum, which is getting a very limited release in specific cities starting today (although you can also click on the Demand button to try to get it in your city if it’s not listed there). Here’s a link to the trailer on YouTube. Danny Glover, Nia Long and Evan Ross star.

  2. Just Go With It looked bad even by normal Adam Sandler standards.

    I guess his “serious comedy” Funny People bombed so he’s going back to making dumb shit.

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