Friday, December 07, 2007

Movies opening this week

The Golden Compass (Dakota Blue Richards, Nicole Kidman, Sam Elliott, Daniel Craig, dir. Chris Weitz)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I didn't have enough time to read this book before reviewing the movie, but I did listen to the unabridged audio, which I think is almost as good. It was reasonably entertaining at times, but full of lots of boring expositional asides, and it didn't exactly make me desperate to read the next installment. From what I've heard about the trilogy, it only gets more ponderous and philosophical as it goes on, and while I agree with author Philip Pullman's anti-religion stance, I don't necessarily need it lectured at me in a fantasy novel. I'll probably only read the second book if I need to prepare to review the movie adaptation of it. I'm not sure what the chances of that are - this movie really rushes through the first book, and takes out the point of view that made it interesting to many fans. Without that it's just a generic and confusing fantasy, and given the cost of these movies, I don't know that it'll be successful enough to warrant a sequel. Wide release

Strength and Honor (Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Michael Rawley, dir. Mark Mahon)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Last week I marveled that tiny indie movie Holly somehow made it to Vegas, and this week I am once again baffled at the opening of an obscure oddity here in town - or anywhere at all, really. This movie is playing in seven theaters in Vegas! That's seven times as many as virtually all arthouse-type releases, for a movie that barely achieves the level of quality of straight-to-DVD releases. Some things about the film-distribution business I just don't understand. Limited release

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