Friday, May 23, 2008

Movies opening this week

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, dir. Steven Spielberg)
Unlike my colleague Matt Hunter, I'm not a lifelong Indiana Jones fan; before a few weeks ago, when I watched them again to refresh my memory, I hadn't seen the original movies in nearly 20 years. I liked those movies fine as a kid, and I like them fine now, but they never seemed like more than clever, harmless fun to me, and this new installment fits in well enough. There are plenty of flaws here to pick at - Matt notes some of them in his review, and the turn into sci-fi territory bothered me more than it did him - but while I was watching the movie I was generally entertained. This fits right in with the summer of adequacy we seem to be having when it comes to blockbusters - like Iron Man and Prince Caspian, this movie does what you expect it to do with competence and relative skill, but isn't something to be revisiting over and over again (although clearly plenty of fans disagree with that assessment of the earlier Indy films, so I could be wrong). Wide release

My Brother Is an Only Child (Elio Germano, Riccardo Scamarcio, Diane Fleri, dir. Daniele Luchetti)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I refer you to my comments on The Year My Parents Went on Vacation, which opened here a few weeks ago: "This is one of those innocuous, perfectly pleasant foreign movies that in a year I will entirely forget I even saw. Still, it has some good acting from the lead kids, and a nice look to it, and I can't really think of anything bad to say about it." My Brother doesn't have kids as its lead actors, but otherwise everything else applies. I suppose I shouldn't be blithely dismissing movies from very different foreign cultures like this, but the truth is they made the same exact lack of impression on me. Opened limited March 28; in Las Vegas this week

Then She Found Me (Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick, dir. Helen Hunt)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I hate Helen Hunt with a probably irrational passion, so I was nicely surprised just that this movie wasn't completely horrible, since she's the star, director, co-writer and co-producer. Hunt is still a terrible actress and entirely unsympathetic, but Midler has way more fun here than one ought to in a dour, good-for-you movie like this, and at times she nearly saves the movie. Not enough to make it worth seeing, mind you. Opened limited April 25; in Las Vegas this week


Anonymous said...

Hey Josh,

Did you also dislike the supernatural elements of Raiders? Is it that aliens and god are in two totally different categories, perhaps subconsciously? I put them both in exactly the same place, so it seemed to fit just fine for me.

Also, I hate Helen Hunt with a similar irrational passion, so I feel you on that.


Josh said...

It's not just that God and aliens are in two separate categories, although I think they are. It's also that the stuff in Raiders and Last Crusade, in particular, is grounded much more in familiar mythology and archaeology, whereas the stuff in Crystal Skull to me seemed a lot more speculative and sci-fi-ish. Obviously it's all supernatural, and it's all unrealistic, but to me the Crystal Skull stuff was beyond the scope of what was previously established.

patrick said...

judging by the "hat hint" at the end of the most recent Indiana Jones, it seems pretty obvious that Shia LaBeouf will be the next Indy