L I M I T E D
Darfur Now - Did yesterday's 20:07 give you a hankering to see more documentaries? And also, are you primed to save the world? I was embarrassed how hazy my specific knowledge of the Darfur genocide really was, so I went to see this year's other Darfur documentary, The Devil Came on Horseback during its late-summer theatrical run. That film grossed a whopping $122,521 and never played more than seven screens at a time, but it did debut on DVD this week, which may or may not be coincidental to the arrival of Darfur Now in three theaters in NYC and LA (with plenty of urban expansions planned for the next two weeks). The documentary follows six stories whereby a range of peopleDarfur natives Hejewa Adam and Sheik Ahmed Mohammed Abakar, UCLA student Adam Sterling, actor Don Cheadle, international prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, and World Food Program officer Pablo Recaldoas they learn about and grapple with the unfolding horror in the region. The possibility of progressive action, even on an individual basis, is a major theme here: Sterling, only 24 years old, drafts a bill that is eventually signed into California law, etc. I can't vouch for the movie yet, but let's get informed, follow some of the links and suggestions that the film and its website provide, and take whatever educated, active stances we can against the continuation of this global outrage.
Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten - Should I stay on this political-soapbox tip or should I go see something a little more punk, namely this documentary on the recently deceased frontman of the Clash? What I mean is, should I stay or should I go? It's the beauty of movies, at least in major markets. You can do both.
W I D E
American Gangster - In yesterday's IMDb poll, this movie emerged as by far the most anticipated November release, which was a little hard for me to get, because the trailer looks all right but doesn't bowl me over. Denzel's "They tried to kill my WIFE!" moment seems as ill-advised as Reese's "Just tell me he's okAAAAAYYYY!!!" situation. And look how well that one turned out. Still, we are talking about Denzel + Russell + Ridley + Jay-Z, with some Harris Savides thrown in for the film nerds, some Cuba Gooding for the Boat Trip fans, and some Buffalo Bill for the serial killers, who may or may not also be the Boat Trip fans. The point is, this movie has much for everyone. It's even got Fab 5 Freddy! And if you've spent the last twelve years chairing all the meetings for your local Virtuosity fan club, your Day has truly Come, my friend. (Seriously, the reviews are encouraging.)
Bee Movie - A regular bee has two compound eyes, meaning they see hundreds of images simultaneously with their eyes wide open, to say nothing of the three smaller ocelli or mini-eyes in the middles of their heads. That's 2 x (factor of several hundred) + 3 more eyes = at least 500 eyes. Which is funny and you knew where I was going with this because Somebody Who Must Not Be Named But Who Gives Her Voice To This Movie has zero eyes! Apparently Shark Tale didn't give a sister a sufficiently memorable experience of what it's like to bee on board a schticky and tacky-looking animated movie about sassy animals. That zzzzz sound you hear isn't the bees, honey. It's me, at home, not seeing Bee Movie. But feel free to correct me if I'm missing an actual party.
Martian Child - Now, I'm not even playing: somebody in Hollywood is trying to kill me. How many times have I seen this trailer, and how many times have I asked, "WHY??" I did learn, to my astonishment, that the spookily pale and severe-looking kid whom John Cusack adopts from inside a cardboard box is actually not played by the spookily pale and severe-looking kid from the Ring movies. (Seriously, can I get a witness?) Presumably, the same alcoholic at New Line who green-lighted Hoot and Shoot 'Em Up and The Last Mimzy and Tenacious D and How to Eat Fried Worms is the culprit behind this latest. I bet the popular kids who shepherded The Golden Compass and Hairspray and The Lord of the Rings totally ostracize this poor Martian Child exec in the New Line cafeteria. I bet even the bookish and venal Little Children team might give him the big brush-offadding insult to injury by repeating their rejections in needless voiceover. I feel sad for the Martian Child exec, but sadder for us. Because even while buying a ticket for a different movie, looking up and seeing the showtimes for something like this and remembering that it even exists adds that razor edge of degradation, that nauseating brush with the uncanny, to an otherwise happy night at the movies.
P L U S
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead finally rolls into my neck of the woods, and I am all, all, all excited. By contrast, Wristcutters: A Love Story, despite some good notices and Indie Spirit nominations last year, just can't get me to sign on. I think the title is trying too hard. Plus, Patrick Fugit has never appealed to me, and speaking of The Ring, Shannyn Sossamon has been getting her Samara on at all the premieres. So, I'm out. But the movie does expand to 91 screens this weekend, so with whatever time you've got left after saving Darfur and calling London and running from the bee bombardment of DreamWorks advertising, you can sneak this in and report back to the rest of us.