Saturday, September 01, 2007

Movies opening this week

Balls of Fury (Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, George Lopez, Maggie Q, dir. Robert Ben Garant)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Against my better judgment, I was actually looking forward to this movie, because I found the Reno 911! movie genuinely hilarious, and because this has such an endearing premise, and because I think Garant and Thomas Lennon clearly are talented despite all the Hollywood crap that they write. But maybe the Hollywood crap has infected them, because this turned out to be no better than your average dumbass comedy, even with Walken in a Fu Manchu get-up and David Koechner as a Reno stage act who duets with a bird. How you make that unfunny, I have no idea. Wide release

Halloween (Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton, dir. Rob Zombie)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Also against my better judgment, I was looking forward to this movie, too, since I think Rob Zombie is a talented and distinctive filmmaker who can bring something to the horror genre beyond what the typical music-video guys that they usually hire for these gigs have to offer. But this is an odd project for him, since it requires that he suppress his usual gonzo style in deference to slasher-movie conventions, and when he does put his own stamp on things, it fits awkwardly with the established formula. The decision to spend half the movie on Michael Myers' origin does not pay off, making the actual stalking-and-killing part feel like an afterthought. John Carpenter's original was about horror invading the placidity of suburbia; in Zombie's film, the horror's been there all along, and thus its presence is neither scary nor notable. Wide release

Self-Medicated (Monty Lapica, Diane Venora, Michael Bowen, Greg Germann, dir. Monty Lapica)
I am always excited when locally produced movies achieve any sort of success, and disappointed when they inevitably turn out to suck. This is by far the most successful local film that I can remember, and it's as competent and professional as any indie movie on its comparative level. So it's not as bad as the cheapo horror movies that usually do well from here, but it's still not a good movie, with a terrible lead performance from writer-director Lapica as a troubled teen, a treacly After School Special tone and a truly horrible deus ex machina in the form of a mystical homeless dude who teaches the hero about the important things in life. I interviewed Lapica for the Weekly, and he seems like a nice, humble guy, so I was happy we had an old positive review of this movie from CineVegas to run in the paper. But I still hold out hope for the day when some local feature will turn out to actually be, you know, good. Limited release

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