The PopMatters Fall Movie Preview - October 2011

by Bill Gibron

9 September 2011

 

14 October

 

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The Thing (2011)

Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Davetta Sherwood, Eric Christian Olsen
14 October
The Thing (2011)


Yawn number one. When John Carpenter released his gross-out gory spectacular version of the classic sci-fi monster movie from the ‘50s, few were expecting a trial by blood drenched special effects. But with the brilliant Rob Bottin on board and a tightly wound suspense approach to the horror, a watercooler work became a genre watershed. Now, the ridiculous Hollywood remake machine, incapable of bettering what Carpenter created, goes the lame prequel path towards trading on the past. This version centers on the Norwegians (with the help of some Americans, apparently) who discovered the space thing in the first place. Wake us when it’s over.

 

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Footloose (2011)

Director: Craig Brewer
Cast: Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Andie MacDowell, Dennis Quaid, Miles Teller
14 October
Footloose 2011


Yawn number two. Granted, this tale of a big city boy discovering anti-dance intolerance in small town America was nothing more than a gender revised rip-off of Flashdance (even the titles have the same linguistic cadence) and it gave Kevin Bacon more hoofer cred than he deserved. The same question remains, did we really need a remake? Especially one that seems so staunchly similar to the original? At least the numerous dread retreads out there strive to bring something new to the fright night mix, but in this case, it looks like things have been darkened up a bit… and that’s all.

 

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The Skin I Live In

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Roberto Álamo
14 October
The Skin I Live In


He’s one of the few foreign film ‘event’ directors, meaning his movies are heavily anticipated by both critics and arthouse movie buffs alike. In the case of the latest effort from Pedro Almodovar, the expectation was doubly delightful as the famed director would be working once again with one of his favorite actors, Antonio Banderas. Tackling a genre he never truly attempted before—Almodovar calls his latest, an adaptation of Thierry Jonquet’s Tarantula, “a horror story without screams or frights”—several speculated on the movie’s more blatant narrative. As usual, Almodovar has surpassed expectations while staying solidly within the themes he loves to explore.

 

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The Big Year

Director: David Frankel
Cast: Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Jim Parsons, JoBeth Williams, Luke Johnstam
14 October
The Big Year


Bird watching. Bird… watching. Yes, that’s the foundational premise for his comedy starring an exceptional cast and directed by the man responsible for The Devil Wears Prada and Marley and Me. Granted, one assumes no birds will be put down in a heart wrenching bit of unnecessary manipulation, but the surreal source material (a book by Mark Obmascik) and the oddball core concept could make for one tired travelogue. Still, a chance to see Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, and Jack Black work together just might be reason enough to head out into this far left field film.

 

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Trespass

Director: Joel Schumacher
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Cam Gigandet, Jordana Spiro, Ben Mendelsohn
14 October
Trespass


Here are three people you probably never thought would work together in a film: Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, and Joel Schumacher. That the two Oscar winners are wallowing in such exploitative material—the story involves extortionists who kidnap the couple at gunpoint—is no big surprise. After all, Cage has quickly taken the place of Robin Williams as once respected performers who never met a script he didn’t approve of. But Schumacher is still trying to rinse the rotten taste of his Batman movies out of the viewing public’s mouth. This probably won’t do it.

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