Summer of Same

June 2009

by Bill Gibron

27 April 2009

This month's "original" fare offers a take on a Sid and Marty Krofft classic, more battling seizure robots, and the retaking of '70s subway thriller. Everything old is new again.
 


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Land of the Lost

Director: Brad Silberling
Cast: Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone

(Universal Pictures)
US theatrical: 5 Jun 2009 (General release)
2009

Review [5.Jun.2009]
5 June


Land of the Lost

It seems like one of the more incongruous pairings this popcorn season—Will Ferrell and the psychedelic ‘60s kid vid imagination of Sid and Marty Krofft. While many would look at such a combination and say “makes sense”, the truth is that many a Star Trek scribe found their way onto the set of the Saturday Morning sci-fi series about a family lost in prehistoric times. They took the storylines seriously, even if the special effects occasionally let them down. Now Ferrell steps in and brings his standard mischievous irony with him. How that will mesh with the Land of the Lost faithful is yet to be seen. Surely those expecting a CG enhanced experience will not be disappointed, but one imagines that this is the kind of high concept moviemaking that gives the term “reimagining” a bad name.



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The Hangover

Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor

(Warner Bros.)
US theatrical: 5 Jun 2009 (General release)
2009

Review [17.Jan.2010]
Review [5.Jun.2009]
5 June


The Hangover

How can you tell when you have a sure-fire hit? When Tinsel Town plans on a sequel BEFORE your film hits theaters. That’s the case with this latest bro-mance comedy, a film by Old School‘s Todd Phillips which follows the madcap adventures of a group of guys who spend one of those clichéd nights in the City of Sin, only to wake up the next morning surrounded by all manner of liquor-induced trouble. With a cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and surreal comic sensation Zach Galifianakis, the ads promise a bad taste ride through the ritual of men being men. There’s even a quick cameo by Mike Tyson (whose air drumming to Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight” remains a trailer treat). Here’s hoping that this film can tap into the still ample Apatow groove before that style of wit gets worn out and wasted.



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My Life in Ruins

Director: Donald Petrie
Cast: Nia Vardalos, Richard Dreyfuss, Alexis Georgoulis, Harland Williams

(Fox Searchlight)
US theatrical: 5 Jun 2009 (General release)
2009

Review [1.Dec.2009]
Review [5.Jun.2009]
5 June


My Life in Ruins

No, this is not the directorial debut of My Big Fat Greek Wedding‘s Nia Vardalos. That film is entitled I Hate Valentine’s Day and is tentatively scheduled for later in July…maybe. Instead, this is a nominal RomCom from the director of cinematic stinkers as Turner and Hooch, Grumpy Old Men, and My Favorite Martian. Ew. Still, Donald Petrie has a reputation for bringing in modest moneymakers, and with a script by the Simpsons’ Mike Reiss, this might have a chance.



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Away We Go

Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal

(Focus Features)
US theatrical: 5 Jun 2009 (General release)
2009

Review [27.Sep.2009]
Review [12.Jun.2009]
5 June


Away We Go

After his criminally overlooked masterpiece, Revolutionary Road, failed to ignite audiences during the 2008 Awards Season, Sam Mendes stepped back and decided to make a pure comedy for a change—and he’s brought along John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph along for the ride. This post-modern road movie, about a couple seeking the perfect place to raise their expectant family, is apparently testing through the roof. Here’s hoping its success keeps the Mendes bashing at bay—at least for a little while.


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