The PopMatters Fall Movie Preview - November 2011

by Bill Gibron

16 September 2011

 
Like the seminal song by Queen, November is “no time for losers” as the Oscar races heat up (J Edgar, The Descendants) and superficial fluff (Piranha 3DD, Tower Heist) becomes scarce.
 

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A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Cast: Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris, Danneel Ackles
4 November
A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas


Stoners meet Santa as the famous bong fried duo take on the holiday season in this supposedly final entry in the marijuana soaked series. While not a traditional trilogy, this latest adventure promises to bring our waking and baking buddies full circle, whatever that means. Except lots of drug humor and you’ll be fine. Naturally, Neal Patrick Harris is present to provide substantial cult camp appeal. Similarly, the use of 3D is being both embraced and mocked by the production, creating a kind of meta-commentary on the culture. Perhaps one needs a few recreational pharmaceuticals to truly appreciate the level of wit involved.

 

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Puss in Boots

Director: Chris Miller
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris
4 November
Puss in Boots


With Shrek slinking off to the land of wait and see, it’s time to milk the mindboggling popular franchise for all its ancillary character worth. This time up, everyone’s beloved Hispanic accented cat goes toe to toe with his greatest enemy—public indifference. While recent surveys suggest that this is one of the most heavily anticipated films of the Fall Season, the feline’s ability to take center stage remains in doubt. Even worse, this is a prequel, with events occurring before our suave animal hero met the smelly green ogre. As long as it’s loud, obnoxious, and stays within the typical Shrek strictures, it should be a success.

 

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Tower Heist

Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Michael Pena, Tea Leoni
4 November
Tower Heist


Isn’t it convenient that two month before their major league comic action movie arrives in theaters, Academy Awards producer Brett Ratner (whose the director here) and star Eddie Murphy have just announced the latter’s gig as Oscars host? Would have nothing to do with drumming up interest in this otherwise suspect heist film, right? With a cast that includes Ben Stiller, Alan Alda, Casey Affleck, and Gabourey Sidibe, there is plenty of promise. But for the most part, the premise seems antiquated (a group of disgruntled building employees plot to rob the rich crook who conned them) and the approach is right out of a high concept crock from 1989.

 

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My Week with Marilyn

Director: Simon Curtis
Cast: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Dominic Cooper, Emma Watson
4 November
My Week with Marilyn


It centers on the making of The Prince and the Showgirl. It deals with the seven days the superstar spent being escorted around England by assistant director Colin Clark. It supposedly contains a crackerjack performance by Michelle Williams as the fabled blond bombshell. Yet there is the nagging question of “why” permeating this film, a feeling of unnecessary voyeurism given the set-up and situations. As usual, the motive must be to humanize Monroe, to turn her from an indelible sex icon into a regular human being. Of course, there was nothing ordinary about the troubled beauty and no single film can rewrite that reality.

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