Previewing The Movies: Fall 2009
Saw VI (10/23/09)
Director: Kevin Greutert
Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Shawnee Smith
There's not that much information to be had about this movie, other than it seems like the final chapter in a franchise that's had a surprisingly long run. Who knew Jigsaw's demented brand of justice could be stretched out for six installments? Though it's kind of confusing now to figure out which character is continuing Jigsaw's legacy, the Saw series was never about seamless transitions and character continuation. This is a movie about traps, plot twists, and hiding the obvious right in front of your eyes.
Though the trailer for Saw VI is pretty vague, it does reveal a few details. There will be six characters, six tests, and six choices to be made. That isn't much to go on, but this is a movie that gets the benefit of the doubt because it has rarely disappointed in the past. One thing's for sure: If this is the final Saw movie we're going to get, there better be one hell of a twist to wrap everything up.
Other movies coming out this week: Amelia, Astro Boy, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (3D)
Youth in Revolt (10/30/09)
Director: Miguel Arteta
Starring: Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Portia Doubleday
Chalk another success up for Michael Cera, who's turned playing soft-spoken, skinny, awkward types into a hilarious science. I'm not sure what he does exactly, but it always seems to come out right. Whether its the tone of voice, the facial expressions, the physical reactions, or a combination of all three, there is no funnier straight man in movies today.
Youth in Revolt stars Cera as Nick Twisp, a disillusioned teenager who finds purpose in life when he meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), the girl of his dreams who doesn't dream about him. Trying to win her over, he creates a rebellious alter ego that gets him in escalating amounts of trouble, from spitting in the house and being ungrateful about breakfast to committing arson and faking his own death.
I know that this concept is overdone: Boy meets girl, boy loves girl, girl doesn't love boy, boy decides to make himself more dangerous in order to get girl. It's been done a million times. The difference here is Michael Cera, who as I said is the funniest straight man alive today. I don't think I've made a declaration that extreme about any other actor on this list. Trust me, go see this movie. You will laugh.
Other movies out this week: Michael Jackson's This Is It
The Men Who Stare At Goats (11/06/09)
Director: Grant Heslov
Starring: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges
This movie has a couple of things going for it, the most obvious being the title. It's simply the best title you're going to see this Fall. On the more relevant side, it also has George Clooney playing Lyn Cassady, the best psychic soldier that the U.S. Army's psychic military unit has ever had. When he gets reactivated for a new mission, he takes reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) along and gets him the story of a lifetime.
I watched almost the whole trailer for this movie before realizing that it's really just a buddy comedy, but don't let that turn you off - this is not your average two-friends-set-off-on-a-hilarious-adventure movie. The psychic soldier concept is unique enough to drive the comedy and keep things interesting, and the actors certainly have the talent to make the most of every scene. George Clooney in particular is perfectly cast, bringing confidence to a character that the audience isn't inclined to trust. You might not believe psychics are real, but George Clooney plays Lyn Cassady with a self-assurance that will make you think they are.
Other movies coming out this week: The Box, A Christmas Carol (2009), The Fourth Kind
Director: Roland Emmerich
Starring: John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Amanda Peet
2012 is an apocalypse movie, based on the idea that the world will end in 2012. Though some people say there is an actual Mayan prophecy that foretells this armageddon, most scholars disagree. Regardless, it's always fun to think about massive global destruction, and its even better to see it happening on a big screen with surround sound. This movie will certainly be an impressive sensory experience, but is that going to be enough?
I honestly don't know. On the one hand, the plot is based on an intriguing prophecy (real or not, it's still intriguing), and it seems the movie might involve a deeper story about government conspiracies and fighting off the end of the world. On the other hand, the director is Roland Emmerich, and the last time he tried to do this kind of thing (The Day After Tomorrow), the end result was a mediocre orgy of natural disasters, bad acting, and a cliché-spewing Dennis Quaid.
Basically, this movie is going to be a crapshoot. You might be pleasantly surprised, but go at your own risk.
Other movies coming out this week: Pirate Radio
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (11/20/09)
Director: Chris Weitz
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
The sequel to 2008's wildly popular Twilight, New Moon continues the story of Bella Swan (human), Edward Cullen (vampire), and Jacob Black (werewolf). After Edward (Robert Pattinson) leaves Bella (Kristen Stewart) behind for her own safety, she drifts into a depression that is slowly but surely alleviated by a renewed relationship with her childhood friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner). As the two become closer, Bella must come to terms with Jacob's secret (he's a friggin' werewolf), and figure out her feelings about the man who left her and the man who stayed by her side.
This movie has potential, even if, like me, you've never read the Twilight books and are not a teenage girl. Though it seems that Taylor Lautner's abs will get enough screen time to deserve their own credits, I also get the feeling that New Moon will try to be a darker, more mature kind of vampire/werewolf movie. If you like the genre, it'll be worth your time, and if you don't, it might convert you.
Other movies coming out this week: The Blind Side, Planet 51, Untitled Three Stooges Project
Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman
Let me start with the one detail that's going to make this a must-see for some people, and a must-avoid for others: This is a musical. Now that that's out of the way, Nine tells the story of middle-aged film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis), who faces a massive mid-life crisis while juggling relationships with the numerous women in his life.
Normally, I fall into the "must-avoid" musicals category, but Nine has me interested. Visually, it looks stunning; some would say that's to be expected from Rob Marshall, who also directed Chicago, but I saw the trailers for Chicago, and it didn't look this good. Combine that with good music, a good plot, and obvious star power, and you have a movie that can successfully take the experience of the stage and put it on the screen.
Other movies coming out this week: Ninja Assassin, Old Dogs
Story by Jose Flores
Starpulse contributing writer
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