Friday, January 18, 2008

Flickerish Whips

Ahh, Cloverfield. It sounds so pretty, so peaceful, so like something you'd just want to lie down in for a nice, sweet-smelling nap, so of couse it's an action horror flick about an alien that attacks Manhattan and beheads the Statue of Liberty (Metaphor alert! Metaphor alert!). Superstar TV producer J.J. Abrams, sooo hip with "Lost", "Alias", and "Felicity", is back to the big screen where his product has had mixed results ("Mission Impossible III", "Armageddon", "The Pallbearer", "Forever Young"). Director Matt Reeves combines twitchy, Blair Witchy camera angles and off-screen shouting with lighting seemingly provided solely by blinding explosions and flickering fluorescents. At least that's what I gathered from the trailer, which tries to add to the suspense by not letting you see the monster (hint: I don't think it's the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man). Rejected alternate titles included Dangerfield, Bloombergfield, Sallyfield, and Lambeaufield.

Mad Money
Any movie theater owner with half a brain would be offering Ladies' Night ticket specials this Sunday for "Mad Money" showtimes that go up against the NFL playoffs. Director Callie Khouri helped bring us "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and "Thelma and Louise", and with a cast that features Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes, "Mad Money" looks like the frontrunner for what women will really be talking about at their next book club meeting when they realize that none of them actually read a book this month. "Mad Max", "Mad Men", "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," heck even "Mad TV" and "Mad About You" before "Mad Money." What's it about? I dunno, a bunch of chicks steal government money that was headed for the shredder. Then they blow it all on shoes and and sea salt scrub pedicures.

27 Dresses
Am I the only person who hoped this was a documentary about former Redskin great Ken Houston's pregame routine? Yeah, I thought so. Double-dose of chick flick this weekend as we go from formulaic man-hating feminist empowerment power trip to paint-by-number romantic comedy wedding fantasy. You may have come to love Katherine Heigl as the blonde bombshell of "Gray's Anantomy" and "Knocked Up," but I'll always treasure her as the redheaded heroine of "Bride of Chucky," which perfectly employed Jennifer Tilly's acting skils by casting her as a wooden doll. Seriously, we need another wedding movie like we need another James Bond movie, but if you people keep throwing money away on these things, Hollywood will keep churning them out.

Thankfully in limited release, "Teeth" can be summarized by a phrase that strikes fear, loathing and nausea into the hearts, minds and souls of all heterosexual men: vagina dentata. there, I typed it. Now I need to go throw up. I'd really have to question the director, Mitchell Lichtenstein, regarding his motive for making this his feature film debut, but I guess when your dad is Roy Lichtenstein, you might be able to come up with some pretty wacky stuff. If I ever see this one, be assured I'll wear a cup.

Cassandra's Dream
Speaking of discomforting sexual imagery, there's a new Woody Allen movie coming out this weekend. Still in exile in London, Allen puts Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell and a bunch of Brits you've never heard of in yet another crime thriller, a dully recurring theme of late for him. You know, "Match Play" was okay, but it was no "Take the Money and Run." Here, the title makes obvious classical inferences, but unless Allen reprises the hilarious Greek chorus of "Mighty Aphrodite," I'm betting we won't be able to figure this one out. Worse yet, we won't care.

Taxi to the Dark Side
And, finally, your weekly anti-Iraq War movie. And it's a documentary. Doesn't that just set you all agiggle? Alex Gibney, the Oscar-nominated director of "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," studies the case of an innocent Afghan taxi driver who was tortured and killed in 2002 to examine the larger issues of the war and torture. We should all probably see this movie and become enlightened and enraged. But, we probably won't.

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