Summer of Same

July 2009

by Bill Gibron

28 April 2009

 

24 July


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G-Force

Director: Hoyt Yeatman
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Steve Buscemi, Tracy Morgan, Will Arnett, Bill Nighy, Zach Galifianakis

(The Walt Disney Company)
US theatrical: 24 Jul 2009 (General release)
2009

Review [24.Jul.2009]
24 July


G Force

Animated animals acting like humans? Hasn’t this been done before? Not if you’re mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer. His idea: take a group of highly trained guinea pigs, set them up as the savior of the human race (in this case, protecting the world from an evil billionaire) and then subvert their efforts by forcing them to play house pet. Granted, the concept has promise, even if the saggy screenwriting team of Cormac and Marianne Wibberley (The Shaggy Dog remake, the National Treasure films) are crafting the scenarios. And making matters worse, Oscar winning special effects wizard Hoyt Yeatman (The Rock, Armageddon) is using this as his feature film directing debut. If it all fails, the reasons will be patently obvious. If it works, all kudos to Bruckheimer. With over three decades and dozens of hits in his personal canon, he remains one of Hollywood’s surest bets.



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The Hurt Locker

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Christian Camargo

(Summit Entertainment)
US theatrical: 24 Jul 2009 (General release)
2008

Review [10.Jul.2009]
24 July


The Hurt Locker

There’s been a lot of good buzz about Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq film since the last wave of post-millennial war titles came and went without much impact. Of course, the problem with those previous entries is that Tinsel Town made the solider, not their situation, the source of everything awful. This time around, Bigelow (whose seven year absence from the big screen has been baffling, considering her previous resume) uses the situational intensity of an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit to amplify the suspense and draw out the dread. Since it premiered at the 2008 Venice Film Festival—where it received a 10-minute standing ovation—audiences have been anticipating a stateside screening. For those of us waiting for the Near Dark/Strange Days director to score big again, July can’t come soon enough.



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Orphans

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Vera Farmiga, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Jimmy Bennett

(Warner Bros.)
US theatrical: 24 Jul 2009 (Limited release)
2009

24 July


Orphan

No, this is not a remake of the Spanish horror classic The Orphanage (though one assumes that somewhere along the Hollywood periphery, a highly paid hack is churning out that unnecessary update right now). Instead, it’s yet another take on that tired premise of the innocent child with a hidden evil streak tormenting a foster family. Sigh. At least the movie poster looks menacing, though the track record of filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax 2005, Goal 2: Living the Dream) offers little actual hope.



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All Good Things

Director: Andrew Jarecki
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Frank Langella, Howard McGillin

(The Weinstein Company)
US theatrical: 24 Jul 2009 (Limited release)
2009

24 July


All Good Things

Capturing the Friedmans’ Andrew Jarecki goes fictional for this murder mystery romance about a hot shot man of privilege (Ryan Gosling) who may or may not be involved in the disappearance of his lover, a girl from “the wrong side of the tracks” (Kirsten Dunst). It is based loosely on the life of real estate mogul Robert Durst (though a quick overview of the facts argues for some far more interesting aspects to the man’s “character”). Depending on the route taken, Jarecki could have something special—or specious—on his hands.



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The Ugly Truth

Director: Robert Luketic
Cast: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Hines, Eric Winter, Bonnie Somerville

(Sony)
US theatrical: 24 Jul 2009 (General release)
2009

Review [24.Jul.2009]
24 July


The Ugly Truth

It’s got Knocked Up/Grey’s Anatomy‘s Katherine Heigl and 300‘s Gerard Butler. It’s directed by Aussie Robert Luketic, best known for Legally Blonde and the J-Lo/Jane Fonda romp Monster-in-Law. Still, there’s little buzz about this stunt-based RomCom featuring a narrative revolving around an uptight news producer challenged to a series of “outrageous tests” by a male chauvinist correspondent. Gee, that sounds entertaining, and realistic, right?


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