This Weekend At The Movies (Sept. 9-11)

CONTAGION

(MP’s Pick of the Week)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh.  Starring Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Bryan Cranston, Enrico Colantoni and Kate Winslet.

A lethal airborne virus that kills within days rapidly progresses into a fast-moving epidemic.  The worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself.  At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Steven Soderbergh.  I don’t think he’s a bad director by any means but his films never quite sat with me enough to want to see them again and again.  That being said, I’m really looking forward to this film as well as another film coming out soon from him called Haywire.  My excitement for the film doesn’t necessarily stem from the story of a virus outbreak but from the fact that the film will center more on how people react to the epidemic.  It looks to be very character driven and the cast looks fantastic.  Matt Damon has a knack for picking interesting projects and Marion Cotillard is riding high off of her latest role in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.  I will definitely be checking this film out when I get back from Italy.

THE GUARD

(Limited Release)

Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh.  Starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle and Mark Strong.

An unorthodox Irish policeman, with a confrontational personality, is teamed up with an uptight FBI agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.

The Guard is a film that will be playing at my local arthouse theater and I can’t wait to go see it.  It feels like it is in the vein of In Bruges, which was written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the brother of the director of The Guard.  I don’t mean to say that this film is derivative of In Bruges and may actually be very different but the trailer sells it as a character comedy that gives a similar vibe to the aforementioned film, not to mention that Brendan Gleeson stars in both films.  My favorite bits in the trailer revolve around Gleeson’s character and his innocent, but unapologetic, racism.  It looks like it’d be very entertaining and I recommend that you check your independent theater listings to see if it is playing and go see it.

BUCKY LARSON:  BORN TO BE A STAR

Directed by Tom Brady.  Starring Nick Swardson, Don Johnson, Stephen Dorff, Kevin Nealon and Christina Ricci.

A kid from the Midwest moves out to Hollywood in order to follow in his parents footsteps — and become a porn star.

I really don’t want to rag on this movie too much (because I could).  I know there are probably quite a few people who will laugh at and enjoy the film, so it is hard to just say skip it.  Comedy is such a hard thing to gauge as everyone enjoys different things.  For me, this is the type of movie that just makes my eyes roll and want to use it as an example of what is wrong with a lot of comedy today.  It’s way too broad, it’s derivative and uncreative.  It pains me to say this on a film that centers on Nick Swardson, who I genuinely find funny, but this is in the Adam Sandler playhouse and the films he produces have grown into mass appeal films that are neither unique or interesting.  They are good for the teeny bopper crowd who have yet to discern what smart comedy is.  Sandler’s next film Jack and Jill literally looks like it is gunning for a nomination for the Razzies Worst Picture award.  As far as Bucky Larson is concerned, I think I’m just going to have to skip it.

WARRIOR

Directed by Gavin O’Conner.  Starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Dunn and Nick Nolte.

An ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past, Tommy Riordan returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh and enlists his father, a recovered alcoholic and his former coach, to train him for an MMA tournament awarding the biggest purse in the history of the sport. As Tommy blazes a violent path towards the title prize, his brother, Brendan, a former MMA fighter unable to make ends meet as a public school teacher, returns to the amateur ring to provide for his family. Even though years have passed, recriminations and past betrayals keep Brendan bitterly estranged from both Tommy and his father. But when Brendan’s unlikely rise as an underdog sets him on a collision course with Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront the forces that tore them apart, all the while waging the most intense, winner-takes-all battle of their lives.

If there is one thing that appeals to me the most about this movie, it is Tom Hardy.  I’ve only seen Hardy in a few movies so far, but he’s been really great in the roles I’ve seen him play in.  Without Hardy, I probably wouldn’t be as interested in the film admittedly.  That being said, the storyline does sound intriguing.  I like a good familial drama and the trailer suggests some good, weighty performances.  I think I may wait a little while but I will definitely be checking the film out at some point.

CREATURE

Directed by Fred Andrews.  Starring Mehcad Brooks, Serinda Swan, Daniel Bernhardt, Amanda Fuller and Sid Haig.

In the back country of Louisiana, a group of friends unearth a terrible secret that unleashes a monster from the depths of the swamp.

I love horror movies, even bad ones, but sometimes there comes along a horror movie that no one asked for.  Creature is one of those films.  It looks like a SyFy movie with a poorly designed man-in-a-suit creature.  The advertising and poster for the film suggests that perhaps the direct-to-dvd route would have been a smarter option as I can’t possibly see this movie making any money at the theaters.  It has no stars in it, with exception to Sid Haig who really isn’t a “star” but rather a cult icon.  There’s just nothing enticing about the film, which looks like it was shot on video.  This blurb is more than enough time spent on the film, I just don’t have any interest in it.

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