Friday, July 22, 2011

Weekend Movie Guide

"Captain America: The First Avenger" - Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones
During World War II, a young weakling named Steve Rogers (Evans) volunteers to be the test subject for a radical experiment involving the creation of super soldiers. The results are magnificent and Rogers soon dons the moniker of Captain America as he leads his own group of commandos against a secret Nazi organization known as Hydra and their leader, Red Skull (Weaving). There were plenty of other summer movies I was more excited about coming into this year but few that were more intriguing than "Captain America." Despite being a key figure in the Marvel comic world (and in next year's "The Avengers"), Captain America has been kind of a dud in the realm of movies and TV. He is, by his very nature, an antiquated and old fashioned beacon of everything good and right, but does that make him irrelevant in today's society? Also, Chris Evans is right on the cusp of becoming a full-fledged star but there's still legitimate questions as to whether or not he can carry a film. Could be a very interesting weekend for Marvel. Because I'm really cool, I'll be at a midnight showing of "Captain America" with a review to come next week.

"Friends with Benefits" - Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Woody Harrelson
Two longtime friends (Timberlake and Kunis) coming off of bad breakups decide to disprove the Hollywood cliches about friendships, sex, and relationships. Yes, this is virtually the exact same premise that we were treated to earlier this year in "No Strings Attached" which was, by the way, atrocious. Here's why "FWB" could be different (read: "better"). One, Timberlake and Kunis are both more naturally funny than Ashton Kutcher or Natalie Portman. I actually expect this pair to have comedic chemistry which was not the case in "NSA." Two, director Will Gluck knows how to take a relatively limited, straight-forward concept and make it seem fresh and smart, like he did with "Easy A." Three, the surrounding cast, including Harrelson, Andy Samberg, Emma Stone, and Patricia Clarkson, are all hilarious in their own right. Only one actor in the cast of "NSA", Mindy Kaling from "The Office", was someone I'd consider truly funny. Not saying I'm running out to see this tomorrow but I expect it to be much better than "No Strings."

"Another Earth" - Brit Marling, William Mapother (limited)
A high concept blend of sci-fi and family drama, "Another Earth" focuses on a tragic accident on the night that we discover a parallel planet complete with duplicates of ourselves. High concept is always dangerous but the buzz surrounding this film has been pretty solid. As a huge fan of low budget, high quality sci-fi, I'm pretty excited about this and hope the combination of two genres doesn't result in a disconnect.

"Sarah's Key" - Kristin Scott Thomas, Melusine Mayance, Aidan Quinn (limited)
Obsessed with tracking down the full story of a French atrocity during World War II, a reporter (Scott Thomas) finds her life unraveling as she attempts to bring a broken Jewish family back togther. This is clearly Oscar bait of the highest order but that's not always a bad thing. Scott Thomas is an underrated dramatic actor even if she is partly responsible for "The English Patient" which was for me 162 minutes that I'll never get back. I'm also always intrigued by Holocaust-related films so I could see myself rolling through this on Netflix someday.

"The Myth of the American Sleepover" - Claire Sloma, Marlon Morton, Amanda Bauer (limited)
This little Indie coming of age drama, about the adolescent pursuit of love on the final day of summer, has made quite an impact in the festival circuit this year. "Myth" is the first film for director David Robert Mitchell as well as many members of his young cast. It has an extremely limited opening (New York only) but could end up being a hit on Netflix if the attention stays positive.


  1. "Another Earth" is horrible, don't see it.

  2. Marshall, I read your review and was so bummed. Really hoped that would be good. But I guess concept films like that are always dangerous.


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