October 2011 Archives
Johnny Depp goes gonzo, Richard Gere sees double and rockers become fathers in this week's round-up of indie offerings.
As a filmmaker, Roland Emmerich is first and foremost a savvy opportunist who cannily exploits topics and controversies currently percolating in the culture to grab attention for his particular brand of spectacle-driven entertainment. The Day After Tomorrow, for example, was a climate change-induced environmental disaster movie, while 2012 played off of the superstition that the world will end next year as the Mayans supposedly predicted centuries ago. With his new film, Anonymous, Emmerich has inserted himself another ongoing debate: Was William Shakespeare the actual author of such timeless plays as Hamlet, King Lear and The Comedy of Errors?
Time actually equals money in Andrew Niccol's (Gattaca, The Truman Show) latest adventure, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. That analogy is about as heavy-handed as you can possibly imagine and even if you can get past the social commentary, you'll still have to sit through nearly two hours' worth of enormous plot holes, uninteresting mysterious backstories and what is essentially a shoddy mash-up of Logan's Run and Bonnie and Clyde.
The last filmmaker you'd associate with an Elizabethan-era drama exploring the identity of the "real" author behind the work of William Shakespeare would be Roland Emmerich, the director of such spectacle-driven, explosion-filled entertainments as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. And yet, there's Emmerich's name in the credits for the already-controversial Anonymous, which opens in theaters on Friday. It's a daunting departure for Emmerich, but he's far from the first director that's attempted to upend his image by accepting an assignment that seems well outside of his comfort zone. Here are some of the other biggest directorial change-ups from within the past decade or so.
Over there, over there, send the word, send the word, over there/That Cap is coming, that Cap is coming/And he won't be back 'til the Red Skull is over, over there.
Check out an extended clip from one of the year's best movies before it arrives on DVD tomorrow.
A young girl escapes from a cult, a Wall Street financial firm goes into meltdown and a charming real-life love story comes to an unhappy end in this weekend's batch of indie movies.
Most sequels devote themselves to moving the story of a franchise forward; the Paranormal Activity movies seem to be going in reverse. As fans of the hit horror series may recall, the first film took place in 2007 and involved the haunting of a seemingly ordinary San Diego home shared by yuppie couple Katie (Katie Featherstone) and Micah (Micah Sloat). Paranormal Activity 2 turned the clock back roughly a year and introduced us to Katie's younger sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden), whose own house and family were bedeviled by the same poltergeist. And now Paranormal Activity 3 time travels two decades into the past back to 1988 when Katie and Kristi were little girls (played by Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown respectively) living in a picturesque Carlsbad, California split-level with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner), her new boyfriend Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) and -- you guessed it! -- the same violence-prone ghost. At the series' current rate of regression, by the time we get to Paranormal Activity 5, we'll be back in the silent film era and the characters will have to hand-crank their personal cameras Thomas Edison-style.
This Friday, bumbling British "super" spy Johnny English (played by British comic Rowan Atkinson) returns to theaters for his second mission, Johnny English Reborn. Don't remember the original Johnny English outing? That's okay... it came out eight years ago -- an eternity in movie years. Still, that's not the most excessive lag time between the first and second installments in a franchise. The wait was even longer between the following Parts 1 and 2. [Note: We're omitting sequels that went the direct-to-DVD or made-for-TV route, so don't go looking for Cinderella II or The Birds II.]
Cameron Diaz gets bad, Batman begins (again) and Kevin Smith is too fat for 40 in this week's batch of DVD releases.