Part One

September

by Bill Gibron

7 September 2009

 

25 September

Films That Should Satisfy

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Surrogates

Director: Jonathan Mostow
Cast: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames
Review [28.Sep.2009]
25 September
Surrogates

It sounds an awful lot like James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar, only set within a sprawling futuristic metropolis. This Bruce Willis actioner focuses on a society where people remain homebound, living life instead through surrogate robotic doubles. For some reason, our hero FBI agent must leave his isolation and actually go out into the real world, investigating the murder of the genius who came up with the automaton concept. Jonathan Mostow, last seen struggling to make Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines a worthy entry into said franchise, is back behind the lens, using everything he learned in the last six years to deliver the speculative spectacle goods. Willis is usually very dependable in this kind of role and the trailer looks promising indeed. Of course, just like the title invention, looks can be deceiving.

 

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The Invention of Lying

Director: Ricky Gervais & Matthew Robinson
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor
Review [21.Jan.2010]
Review [2.Oct.2009]
25 September
The Invention of Lying

Ricky Gervais should really be a much bigger star. Granted, he has created one of the most durable sitcom legacies in the history of television. His Office franchise currently has versions playing in the US, France, Germany, Canada, Brazil, and Chile. He’s also a well established and liked stand-up, though his routine is far more observational and dry than straight-up joke oriented. No, film is the one arena the talented UK comic has yet to conquer, even with a minor masterpiece known as Ghost Town under his belt. For his feature film debut as a director (with mate Matthew Robinson along for cinematic support), Gervais is offering a satiric take on a society where no one has ever lied…ever. He also plays the writer who learns how to take advantage of a little occasional fibbing. All signs point to a hilarious and irreverent romp.



Films That May Leave You Starving

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Fame

Director: Kevin Tancharoen
Cast: Asher Book, Paul McGill, Naturi Naughton, Paul Iacono, Debbie Allen, Kelsey Grammar
Review [25.Sep.2009]
25 September
Fame

Apparently, the original is NOT going to live forever. Seeing a High School Musical primed demographic eager to throw away more of their disposable income, remake fever has hit the New York School of the Performing Arts. Here’s betting this group of celebrity wannabes won’t be headed for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, or grapple with their sexual identity this time around. Indeed, MGM is keeping rather mum on the plot specifics, emphasizing the song and dance aspect of the production. And since this is 2009, not 1980, look for a lot more hip hop and rap “flava”. At least the soundtrack has a call back to the original. Supposedly, the ballad “Out Here On My Own” will be included in the narrative, as well as a take on the title track. Still, don’t be surprised if Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens come off looking like Tommy Tune and Patti LuPone after this one.

 

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Bright Star

Director: Jane Campion
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish, Paul Schneider, Kerry Fox, Thomas Sangster
Review [27.Jan.2010]
Review [25.Sep.2009]
25 September
Bright Star

Jane Campion started out her career making marvelous characters studies like Sweetie and An Angel at My Table. While they had cinematic sweep and scope, she rarely strayed from the most important part of the story - the people. But somewhere around the hoopla for The Piano, she lost her way. The Portrait of a Lady was a lost cause, and both Holy Smoke! and In the Cut failed to find an audience. Now she’s returning to her roots, so to speak, concentrating on the last three years of famed British poet John Keats. With I’m Not There‘s Ben Wishlaw as the famed writer, and Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne, his lover and inspiration. Naturally, tragedy pulls them apart. For some, Campion is still emphasizing style over substance. But there are hints here of the old artist, a woman in tune with the tempos inherent in humans.



The Ala Carte Menu

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

Director: John Krasinski
Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Ben Shenkman, Timothy Hutton, Michael Cerveris, Corey Stoll
25 September
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

The suicide of celebrated author David Foster Wallace makes the release of this independent effort from The Office‘s John Krasinski all the more melancholy. As the title suggests, the short story collection offers “interviews” with various subjects, each owning a repulsive physical characteristic that apparently defines their life. While a few of the stories were adapted into a stage play, Krasinski saw the inherent cinematic qualities in the tales. That Wallace died before seeing this version of his own vision come to life must be awfully painful for everyone involved. Still, it will be interesting to see if his darkly comic exploration of human frailty translates from the page to the motion picture screen - and if first timer Krasinski can live up to the material.



 

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I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

Director: Bob Gosse
Cast: Matt Czuchry, Jesse Bradford, Geoff Stults, Keri Lynn Pratt, Marika Dominczyk
25 September
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

Tucker Max. Recognize the name? He’s best known as a blogger, reporting on his often drunken escapes on the website that carries his name. Said entries ended up forming the main narrative for the book that carries this film’s title. Now we get the big screen adaptation of same, and from the sound of it, many are hoping for a Hangover like hit. Early word, however, is that this is a sad substitute for the Summer smash. With the similar set-up, a friend’s bachelor party, and a lot of inebriated idiocy, there may be an audience for this indie attempt. But one imagines that, just like the Internet boom from a few years back, the big bubble bust is just a few weeks away - as in when this film finally hits theaters.

 

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Coco Before Chanel

Director: Anne Fontaine
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Benoît Poelvoorde, Alessandro Nivola
Review [23.Feb.2010]
25 September
Coco Before Chanel

The title says it all. This French biopic intends to focus on the life and hard knock struggles of Gabrielle Chanel - from her time in an orphanage to her work as a seamstress for noted singers and nightclub performers. Amélie‘s Audrey Tautou plays the famed fashion name in her younger days, delivering what many believe is a career defining turn. Some have even cited writer/director Anne Fontaine’s sure hand with this material (adapted from a book by Edmonde Charles-Roux). Unfortunately, others have also called her manipulative and overly melodramatic. Apparently, we’ll have to wait until the movie makes its way over to these shores (it’s been playing in Europe for a few months now).

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