Friday, February 5, 2010

I meant to make an Oscar nominations announcement post, and in fact did elsewhere, but I'll post more about the nominees as we get closer to March 7.

Should have done this earlier in the week, but between working and catching up on "Lost" it just didn't get done. A surprising amount of potentially quality stuff for February, but some of it is very limited release. Here goes it.

Dear John - Much as I belatedly enjoyed The Notebook, and much as I love just about everything Lasse Hallstrom does, these kinds of movies are just not the kind that I go out and see in a theater. I think I can only appreciate them in the comfort of my home, where I can munch on Ben and Jerry's and keep a box of Kleenex nearby.

From Paris With Love - Have heard some good things about this, but I *still* don't buy John Travolta as a bad guy. Jury's still out on this one.

Frozen - (Limited release) A smash hit at BNAT back in December, and even though the Minnesota crew called bull on a lot of the plot elements, it was definitely the one we all talked about the most (for better or ill) afterward. Yes, it's implausible as all get-out, but no more than Jaws, and like Jaws it's built on something that a lot of people are afraid of. This is one you MUST see with a big audience.

Banlieue 13: Ultimatum - (Limited release) I really loved the first Banlieue 13 when we saw it at BNAT 7, but I'm wary of the sequel.

Red Riding: 1974 - (Limited release) I've been waiting for this one for a while now. This is the first part of a trilogy (the other parts being 1980 and 1983) that originally aired last year on television in the UK and has been the talk of movieworld ever since. Three different directors tackle each of these films featuring fictionalized accounts of the investigations into the Yorkshire Ripper murders. It's been compared to David Fincher's Zodiac and has been described as "better than The Godfather" which seems a bit of a step-out, but I very much hope to see for myself this weekend. The IFC Center in NY is screening the entire trilogy for a special ticket price.

The Wolfman - Speaking of waiting for things for a while, this one has been pushed back a couple of times but will finally fit theaters next weekend. I'm giddy as heck for this one, as much to see Rick Baker's makeup work as anything else. I'll have to bone up and watch the original with Lon Chaney Jr. first, though. *makes note*

Valentine's Day - This strikes me very much as a cross between He's Just Not That Into You and Love, Actually, both of which I loved but both of which (especially the latter) kind of make me hate myself for no good reason. Probably not something I'd enjoy so near Valentine's Day, which I'm something of a humbug about anyway.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - I'm curious to see how Chris Columbus kickstarts another very similar franchise to that other one. His limitations as a filmmaker were not an obstacle to Harry Potter because he was starting with such a strong story and clung to it for dear life, not changing much of anything. But however good Percy Jackson is ... I doubt it's Harry Potter calibre.

Shutter Island - Yes. Yes. YES. Cannot wait to see this again. One of the biggest hits of BNAT last year and a more than worthy addition to Scorsese's ouevre. Not to mention what is literally (in my opinion) the finest work of DiCaprio's career. Brilliant, from start to finish.

The Ghost Writer - No matter what you think of his personal drama, Roman Polanski is one of the great artists of the moving image, and this seems to be exactly the kind of film he excels at. As many people who swore they'd never see another of his films last fall, I'll bet many, many more will flock to this because of the controversy.

The Crazies - I'm hesistant, because these slick, soulless remakes of classic horror films (and the moviegoers who don't know they're remakes - GAH) drive me INSANE. But part of me needs to see this, because the director's next project is a remake (grrr) of one of my favorite horror films, The Brood. All I can do is hope that this version of The Crazies doesn't rape Romero's original too badly. And I have to admit, the trailer (especially the use of "Mad World") is pretty cool.

Cop Out - The first Kevin Smith movie that was not also written by Smith. I'm very curious. Originally titled "A Couple of Dicks," the eventual ditching of that title was a huge red flag for how big a crap the studio was taking on Smith and his movie (in fact, I think the eventual title "Cop Out" was a subtle tongue-sticking-outing to the bigwigs on Smith's part). And the first trailer did not abate fears. However, the new red-band trailer makes it all too clear to me - marketing this film to a general audience is selling it way short. This is raunchy and hilarious, and I'm kind of psyched.

The Yellow Handkerchief - (NY and LA) The plot kind of reminds me of a little film called My First Mister, which I adore. This might be one that slips through the cracks, given that there's at least one other must-see out this weekend, but I'm interested.

A Prophet - (NY) I've heard almost nothing but raves for this film from the festival circuit (though some dislike its portrayal of Muslims), and I'm terribly excited to see it finally. It's now been nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, and it will be nice to have seen at least a couple of the films in that category for once.

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