Sunday, January 29, 2006

Movies opening this week

I know, I know, it's late.

Annapolis (James Franco, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, dir. Justin Lin)
I'm really disappointed in Justin Lin. I know a lot of people thought Better Luck Tomorrow was overrated, but I liked it a lot, and I'd hope to see Lin at least attempting to make movies that were, if not clever and socially relevant, perhaps, y'know, competent. This is one of the quickest slides into Hollywood mediocrity I've ever seen, and since Lin's next film is The Fast and the Furious 3, it doesn't look like he's really concerned about working on meaningful projects. Wide release

The Matador (Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, dir. Richard Shepard)
It's odd to me that they are pushing this for awards consideration, since it's an incredibly lightweight and forgettable movie, with not much aside from some charming performances to recommend it. The plot is amusing but doesn't quite hold together, the dialogue is only about half funny and the characters are pretty broad. Still, I found it mostly entertaining and a passable diversion, if not something that deserves any sort of official accolades. Opened limited Dec. 30; wide release this week

Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly MacDonald, Thomas Sangster, dir. Kirk Jones)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Another pleasant but ultimately forgettable film, a nice one to take the kids to that won't drive adults crazy but probably won't fascinate them either. Thompson brings a little of her Jane Austen sensibility from her Sense and Sensibility screenplay to the table, and the movie on the whole is very British. It's nice to see a major release in January that isn't awful, and is actually perfectly good. By the standards of the month, it's practically a masterpiece. Wide release

Transamerica (Felicity Huffman, Kevin Zegers, Elizabeth Peña, dir. Duncan Tucker)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Even though I saw this film about a month and a half ago, the hype was already in full swing, so I found it a little disappointing. Not that I didn't like it, but it's so conventional and predictable in so many ways that it loses a bit of its potential impact. I also wasn't quite as impressed with Huffman's performance as many people seem to be, although I warmed up to it as the movie went along. I do think that what at first seemed a bit false to me was the right note to strike, since this is a character who is working hard to sound like a certain conception of normal, and thus would probably sound a little off. Even if there's a lot about this movie that's sort of underwhelming, it's still got a lot going for it and is very much worth seeing. Opened limited Dec. 2; in Las Vegas this week

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