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Jan 23, 2009

TGITDNMAR (1/23/09)

It's that time again for TGITDNMAR, which (obviously) stands for Thank God It's The Day New Movies Are Released.

Oscar nominations on Thursday. A (football-free) weekend before the Super Bowl. A mostly crappy slate of new releases. Know what that adds up to? Catch-up time for American filmgoers. See your Ben Buttons and your Readers and your Slumdogs now, people - they're more likely now than ever to be playing all across America - heck, even that little movie everyone already saw (I think it co-starred Heath Ledger) is re-opening for awards season. Here's the new grime:

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
It's funny how a certain film defines your awareness of a star, regardless of what they did previously (or after, for that matter). To me, Michael Sheen is Tony Blair. Nevermind that I saw the original Underworld long before The Queen was ever released; I have no idea what role he played, even though I can see it was "Lucien." Maybe it's because I haven't seen that film that many times or maybe it's because I couldn't tell you the name of a single character (there's a ton of them, they all mumble, it's loud), but without a description (and I don't care enough to look), I don't know who Sheen was. Likewise, I saw the guy in Blood Diamond before The Queen and don't recall him at all; I assume he was some other journalist or something, but only because he's white and British and the film's set in Africa. Power of deduction there...

All of this is to say - what the hell's he doing in the third Underworld film? He wasn't in the second, was he? And why is Bill Nighy slumming so damn much? And why isn't Rhona Mitra a bigger star? Oh yeah, that's right - 'cause she can't act. Oh well, at least she has Oscar-nominated co-stars to lean on.
Fletch's Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 5%

Inkheart
I remember seeing trailers for this some months back. At the time, I thought that it had to be the holder of one of the worst titles in recent memory. No, it's no Snakes on a Plane, but something about it's overwhelming generic-ness got to me.

Come to find out it's been poorly marketed to boot. If you've seen the trailer as well, you probably know that Brendan ("Please don't make me act!") Fraser starred, with LOTR alum Andy Serkis on as the villain (and an appealing one at that). What you probably weren't aware of was that Paul Bettany and Helen Mirren co-starred as well.

Call me a big-time movie geek, but when you have high-caliber (read: British) stars in your film and don't publicize that fact, I think you're dumb. And that you have a bad title.
Fletch's Chance of Viewing: 15%

Killshot
Sweet everloving redemption!

If you've been paying attention to this feature at all, you are probably more than aware (and possibly annoyed) that it's become the de facto place for me to bitch about the red-headed stepchild treatment that Phoenix gets on the national stage by Hollywood, rarely-to-never landing limited-release flicks on their opening weekends and so on.

Well, the tide has turned (at least for one film this one week). As you can see here, Killshot not only has a limited release, it's release is limited to Phoenix only! Of course, as a story linked to the above page demonstrates, it's because Killshot, which stars Wrestler hot hand Mickey Rourke and Diane Lane, has been in turnaround for the past three years and it's distributor (The Weinstein Company) has been desperately trying to dump it in that time. But progress is progress, damnit, and I must support it, even though the closest theater playing it is 20 miles from my house).*

* It doesn't hurt that it's an Elmore Leonard adaptation that co-stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Thomas Jane.
Fletch's Chance of Viewing: 60%


7 people have chosen wisely: on "TGITDNMAR (1/23/09)"

The Cheap-Arse Film Critic said...

I like the fact that the new "Underworld" movie doesn't have Kate Beckinsale's character in it, yet they've still cast someone in the female lead who looks and sounds just like her.

Nick said...

Fletch: Underworld 3 is a prequel, so that's why Michael Sheen in this movie but not in the second. Same with Bill Nighy.

As for Inkheart... Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, and Jim Broadbent (who is also in the film) were the best parts about it. The movie was actually quite entertaining. But don't blame the title on the movie. Blame it on the book. But at least it's a cooler sounding name than the author of the book... Cornelia Funke.

elgringo said...

You live in the only U.S. area to see a release of the new Diane Lane movie. BASTARDO!

Farzan said...

Inkheart looks somewhat interesting, but I cant help, but feel that story has been told in another movie.

Fletch said...

Cheap-Arse - agreed. To the casual viewer looking at the poster for the new one, you'd hardly know it was a new lead.

Nick - prequel or no, I'm guessing neither Sheen nor Nighy signed any kind of 2- or 3-picture deal for the Underworld flicks.

Didn't see Broadbent's name listed in the credits. Even better - he's always great.

Suck it, elgringo. Phoenix-only releases for all new movies! Muahhahahaha.

Daniel Getahun said...

Wow, man - you got a coup this week! I was actually pretty curious about checking Killshot out - that cast is promising.

Guess I'll have to wait up here in the boonies...

Fletch said...

Daniel, I'll take my victories no matter how small they come.

And I have a feeling Killshot ain't gonna make it up there ever. How will you survive?