February is a shitty month for movies.
Apparently spent from months of pimping dozens of Oscar-season hopefuls — several of which were among the Academy’s typically questionable nominees for Best Picture — the big studios try to hide their creatively challenged, largely retread releases in the annual cinematic dumpster known as February.
After weeks of neglect, I finally caught James L. Brooks' How Do You Know at Danbarry Western Hills last week. (You know I was keen to catch it if I endured Danbarry WH, a second-run/rate movie house that hasn't been refurbished since its opening more than a decade ago). Released amid the crowded, late-December awards season, Brooks' latest fell off my radar in part due to its lame title and acutely glossy trailer, which played up the ever-distracting presence of Jack Nicholsonas much as whatever unique qualities it might offer.
When willLeonardo DiCaprio lighten up? It doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon.
Asked recently if he would consider doing something besides the heavy dramatic lifting of recent years (see Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, The Departed, Body of Lies, Revolutionary Road, Shutter Island, Inceptionand now J. Edgar), the 37-year-old actor responded with this to-the-point rebuttal: “Why would I want to do something I would consider a profound waste of time?"
Knight and Day, the action-comedy extravaganza starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, supposedly tanked at the box office last weekend, pulling in “only” about $20.5 million despite opening on a Wednesday (that's two extra days with which to build up its box-office tally, for those not keeping track of such things).
The James Mangold-directed movie was made for $107 million, we've continually been reminded, it has to do better than that in its opening weekend! Right?
This time I was struck by how different Jaws is compared to the sleek, sequel-laden, CGI-driven summer fare of today. Watching a drunken Quint (a thoroughly convincing Robert Shaw) stomp aroundJaws' grimy, pathetic boat — which is a character unto itself — is welcome aesthetic shift from the alienating pixelated mayhem of Thor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Captain America and the like.
Many people have complained in recent years (including Scott Renshaw in his review of Everybody’s Fine below) that Robert DeNiro is not the actor he used to be. Maybe, maybe not.
The Ides of March is nearly here. George Clooney's political thriller, partially shot here in Cincinnati, opens wide tomorrow, and the film's publicity blitz is now in full effect with TV spots flooding the airwaves (you know, the ones pimping Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers' typically overly exuberant blurbage) and Clooney himself doing a few selected interviews.
While CityBeat unfortunately didn't get one of those interviews (our bribe of complimentary CB T-shirts and a pass to the MidPoint Music Festival apparently weren't sufficient enough to sway his handlers; we instead talked to Ides actor Max Minghella), Clooney will appear on tonight's episode of The Charlie Rose Show on PBS to discuss the film. It's probably no surprise, then, to learn that Clooney's character in Ides — an articulate liberal Pennsylvania governor who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination — appears on Rose's show in the film.
I try to stay away from movie trailers as much as possible — either because they rarely give you an accurate idea of what a movie is truly about or because they reveal the entire thing in two minutes. (On the other hand, I suppose I'd rather spend a few minutes with something like Tron: Legacy or The Tourist than sit through two mind-numbing hours.)
An example of the first reason is on display in the difference between the theatrical trailer version of No Strings Attached (which is set to open wide Jan. 21) and its much racier red band version.
On Saturday night (Nov. 12) after the 7:30 p.m. screening of Take Shelter at the Esquire Theatre in Clifton, CityBeat contributing editor Steven Rosen will lead a discussion into the film's meaning — and what really occurs at the mysterious ending.