Fitz Film Festival Friday
Finally a day with some time to blog and since it's Friday, let's take a look at the movies coming out today. I haven't seen any of them, not even a trailer, and it's about a 95% probability that I won't see them, but I like movies, so let's have a look.
The Golden Compass
New Line Cinema tries to replicate its success with Lord of the Rings. Let's see .... best selling fantasy trilogy by British author? Check. Massive budget for special effects? Check. Numerous well-known British, Australian, or South African actors (they're all the same to us Yanks)? Check. Talking animals? Check. Whoops, sorry, scratch that. Talking animals are Narnia, not LoTR.
So what do we like about this one? Well, the religious right is up in arms about it, for one thing. And Nicole Kidman, for another. Always watchable, though I doubt this one will crack her Top Three (Dead Calm, To Die For, Flirting). And Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in LoTR. He is gay (McKellen, not Gandalf). So is Dumbledore, not sure about Magneto. For the ladies, we have Daniel Craig. For the fellas not captivated by Ms. Kidman, Eva Green. And finally, the protagonist is played by Dakota Blue Richards who has not one but two pretentious names. Anybody else think the casting director got fired for hiring the wrong Dakota?
A little Jane Austen is almost too much for me, and this one just piles it on with Keira Knightley (Oscar-nominated in Pride and Prejudice) and James McAvoy (Becoming Jane) and director Joe Wright (P&P, again). Knightley is great in movies with a sword or a light saber or a soccer ball, but I don't see any of those making an appearance here. Enjoy it, ladies.
Grace is Gone
AKA, Gone Mommy Gone. John Cusack plays a dad who takes his daughters on a road trip to tell them their mom died fighting the war in Iraq. Nobody is a bigger John Cusack fan than I am, but I can't see this particular spin on the classic road movie formula working. State of Grace, Maria Full of Grace, sure. Grace is Gone. Nope.
Finally, a movie for those of us in the testosterone division. It's a badass festival with Jason "The Transporter" Statham, Ray "Goodfellas" Liotta, and Andre "3000" Benjamin. Not in love with Guy Ritchie in the director's chair, but with a script adapted by Luc Besson, this one's got a chance, as long as it doesn't get too French. Otherwise, Hey-Ya!
Tough call. Writer and director Paul Shrader has been at the top of the Hollywood heap with his involvement in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Temptation of Christ, but if you take him away from Martin Scorsese, you get dreck like Cat People and Mosquito Coast. Here, he reworks his box office smash American Gigolo with Woody Harrelson as the escort who finds himself caught up in a murder investigation. Unfortunately, the setting has moved from LA to Washington DC, so instead of glamour and Blondie, we get political scandal and Ned Beatty. Ugh. And, somehow I can't get too excited about a male escort movie where the female costars are Kristin Scott Thomas, Lilly Tomlin, Mary Beth Hurt and Lauren Bacall (I think she plays the corpse). Pass.