Saturday, April 28, 2007

Movies opening this week

The Condemned (Steve Austin, Vinnie Jones, Robert Mammone, dir. Scott Wiper)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
It's odd that in a week with multiple movies not screened for critics (The Invisible, Kickin' It Old Skool) or screened too late for many print outlets to review (Next), this would be the one movie that they are opening up for coverage. Other than its rather hilarious moral hypocrisy, there's nothing of note about this movie, but it's sure getting a lot of press since nothing else is available for the nation's critics to write about. Hmm...maybe it's not so odd that they screened it after all. Wide release

Exterminating Angels (Frederic van den Driessche, Maroussia Dubreuil, Lise Bellynck, dir. Jean-Claude Brisseau)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I said when I saw Brisseau's last film, Secret Things, that I couldn't quite tell whether it was a good movie or not, but I feel confident now saying that this is a good movie, even though it's completely narcissistic and self-indulgent. Brisseau may indeed be an arrogant asshole, but he's got something interesting to say about how people disregard others' emotions in the pursuit of art, and how acting and reality don't necessarily exist in two separate, sealed-off realms. Also, hot lesbian sex, which shouldn't be discounted. Opened limited Mar. 7; in Las Vegas this week

Next (Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, dir. Lee Tamahori)
It's interesting to read the summary of the Philip K. Dick short story that this movie is allegedly based on and wonder why they even bothered to get the rights to it. The story and the film have essentially nothing in common, not even a title. I wonder if this started as a more faithful adaptation and just evolved somehow over the course of several drafts from "golden-skinned mutant in the future" to "Las Vegas showroom magician." It seems like a pretty big leap. Anyway, this is a curiously pointless movie, with a plot that puts all of its emphasis on what would seem like the least important goal. That is, the FBI expends nearly all of its efforts to track down Cage's magician who can see two minutes into the future, rather than, say, stopping the terrorists who are about to detonate a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. There's a great moment where some big FBI guy says to Moore's agent that the timetable for the bomb has been moved up, and she seriously says that this means they need to dedicate all of their resources to...finding Nicolas Cage. And after all his running from them, the whole terrorist thing is a big anticlimax, followed by the stupidest twist ending ever. The movie practically taunts you about how it's wasting your time. Plus, Cage and Biel have to be the ickiest and least believable screen couple of all time. Wide release

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