Summer of Same

July 2009

by Bill Gibron

28 April 2009

In a rare attempt at novelty, July jets along with only Harry Potter and the Ice Age crew sampling continuing series spoils. The rest provide unknown pleasures.
 


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Public Enemies

Director: Michael Mann
Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Stephen Dorff, Billy Crudup

(Universal Pictures)
US theatrical: 3 Jul 2009
2009

Review [3.Feb.2010]
Review [1.Jul.2009]
3 July


Public Enemies

When it was announced that Michael Mann would be going period to take on the story of John Dillinger, and that he was bringing an amazing all star cast along including Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Billy Crudup, and recent Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, film fan tongues started wagging in anticipation. Then the trailer arrived and, for most, sealed the deal. Still, there is something a little disconcerting about seeing 1930s America viewed through the handheld shaky cam lens of a digital camera (Mann went full non-analog back in 2004 with Collateral). Many find it refreshing. Others will feel like they’re watching some time traveler’s high tech home movies. Still, with the group of actors he’s collected, and the lush look of his early century America, Mann may have found a way to have his technology and still produce something spectacular.



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Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Director: Carlos Saldanha
Cast: Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck

(Fox)
US theatrical: 3 Jul 2009
2009

Review [1.Jul.2009]
3 July


Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Among film critics, there’s a certain 2D cartoon franchise that gets constantly ridiculed for going back to the direct to video well over and over again. Don Bluth’s Land Before Time holds some kind of record with 13 - that’s right 13! - VHS/DVD spin-off, though it looks as if Fox is preparing to do the same thing with this similarly themed CG series. As the joke often says, this third installment in the Ice Age franchise clearly exists to clear up all the questions raised in 2006’s The Meltdown, and with the addition of every kids favorite prehistoric predator, the cash coffers are guaranteed to be filled with babysitter substitute scratch. Wake us when Ice Age 7: Neanderthal Dance Party hits the big screen.



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Brüno

Director: Larry Charles
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Alice Evans

(Universal Pictures)
US theatrical: 10 Jul 2009
2009

Review [10.Jul.2009]
10 July


Bruno

Oh brother. This critic was not the biggest fan of Borat when it hit theaters back in 2006. Sure, it was funny, but it wasn’t the end all, be all of big screen comedy that every other film geek claimed. Like The Blair Witch Project and, to some extent, Neil Marshall’s The Descent, it was a good film gummed up by a web-based hype machine that couldn’t cool down enough to realize the truth behind the title. So Sacha Baron Cohen’s return to abuse humor is not that highly anticipated around here. Of course, this is just one opinion, and judging by the amount of pre-release foam the recently released trailer is churning up, the faithful are ready to laugh at their own homophobic foibles. With all of his Ali G characters now turned into cinematic stop gaps, it will be interesting to see where the talented UK chameleon goes next. The first stop, of course, will be the bank.



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I Love You, Beth Cooper

Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Hayden Panettiere, Lauren London, Lauren Storm, Marie Avgeropoulos, Jack Carpenter, Andrea Savage, Paul Rust

(Fox Atomic)
US theatrical: 10 Jul 2009
2009

Review [10.Jul.2009]
10 July


I Love You, Beth Cooper

It’s based on a book by Simpsons’ scribe Larry Doyle, a prize winning novel often described as the anti-John Hughes view of high school circa the ‘80s. And it stars a quality cast of fresh faced newcomers. Heck, there’s even a Greed Decade icon—Chris Columbus—behind the lens. So what could possibly go wrong, right? Well, if you know Hollywood, you realize that no other industry can take a ‘can’t miss’ idea and turn it into an unmitigated, unwatchable disaster. That’s not to say that this film won’t work, but it’s never good to rely on pedigree when the proof is a mere 89 minutes away. 


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