Four-Warned: May 2010

Every month I’m going to look at every movie on the release schedule and try to assign them a numerical value corresponding to how anxious I am to see it. The lower the number, the more I want to see it. A one means I would walk through hell and high water to see it; a four means there’s no interest whatsoever. The numbers are not arrived at scientifically but they aren’t arbitrary either.

The numbers aren’t a reflection of the artistic merit of any of these films, but merely a reflection of my willingness to go to a movie theater and see it. The top four scores will be gathered as a means of reflecting the movies I’m anticipating the most; you may use that as a guide or not.

Each entry is broken down as follows:

NAME OF FILM (Studio) Genre A brief description of the plot. Release plans: Wide = Everywhere, Limited = In selected markets. RATING A brief explanation

Keep in mind that release dates are extremely subject to change, even at this late date.

FOUR TO SEE

1. IRON MAN (1.0)
2. PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (1.1)
3. ROBIN HOOD (1.6)
4. SHREK FOREVER AFTER (1.7)

FOUR TO SEEK OUT (FILMS NOT IN WIDE RELEASE)

1. SOLITARY MAN (2.1)
2. THE OATH (2.3)
3. CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY (2.4)
4. PERRIER’S BOUNTY (2.4)
TIE. MICMACS (2.4)

RATING SYSTEM: 1) Must-see, 2) Should-see, 3) Perhaps-see, 4) Don’t-see.

MAY 5, 2010

SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL (Tribeca) Genre: Musical Biopic. The story of English punk legend Ian Dury who was afflicted with polio. Release Strategy: New York (Opening in Los Angeles June 2010). RATING: 2.9 Dury never caught on as much in the States which was criminal; Andy Serkis is perfectly cast for the role.

MAY 7, 2010

BABIES (Focus) Genre: Documentary. The movie follows four different babies in four disparate locations around the world during the first year of their lives. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.7 You could smell the estrogen during the screening of the trailer for it.
BADMAASH COMPANY (Yash Raj) Genre: Foreign Drama. Four young friends find business success in 1990s Mumbai by doing all the wrong things…the right way. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.8 While the vast Indian film industry has yet to make a significant impact in the U.S., movies like this one don’t sound interesting enough to make that big splash.
CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY (Magnolia) Genre: Documentary. The story of D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a cautionary tale about the corruption of the modern political process. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Worthy viewing if you’re interested in how the country came to the brink of economic ruin.
HAPPINESS RUNS (Strand) Genre: Indie Drama. A young couple attempt to escape from a polygamous cult. Release Strategy: New York/Los Angeles. RATING: 3.4 Who knew that Free Love could be such a bummer?
IRON MAN 2 (Paramount) Genre: Superhero. Shellhead returns to take on a billionaire industrialist and a Russian with a bone to pick with Tony Stark. Release Strategy: Wide/IMAX. RATING: 1.0 Marvel is on a roll and there’s no reason to believe it won’t continue here.
THE LIGHTKEEPERS (New Films International) Genre: Indie Romance. A confirmed bachelor escapes women by escaping to a New England lighthouse, only to find two attractive women moving in to the cottage next door. Release Strategy: Los Angeles only. RATING: 3.1 An exceptional cast includes Richard Dreyfus, Blythe Danner and Bruce Dern but does the material hold up?
MOTHER AND CHILD (Sony Classics) Genre: Indie Drama. Three interlocking stories about women whose lives are affected by adoption. Release Strategy: New York/Los Angeles. RATING: 3.6 I’m a fairly sensitive guy but this might be a little too sensitive even for me.
MULTIPLE SARCASMS (Multiple Avenue) Genre: Drama. A man deep in mid-life crisis resolves to write an autobiographical play, unaware of the consequences this will have on his life and the lives of the women in it. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.8 An intriguing trailer makes this something for me to seek out on DVD or cable later on as it’s unlikely to make it to Orlando.
THE OATH (Zeitgeist) Genre: Documentary. A look at two men who become the bodyguard and driver of Osama bin Laden. Release Strategy: New York Only. RATING: 2.3 What makes a man serve a monster?
OSS 117: LOST IN RIO (Music Box) Genre: Spy Spoof. The second in the series of French spy spoofs, this time set in 1979 Brazil. Release Strategy: New York/Los Angeles. RATING: 2.9 Think of it as a Gallic Get Smart.
SOLITARY MAN (Anchor Bay) Genre: Indie Drama. A used car magnate discovers his personal and professional lives disintegrate due to romantic and business indiscretions. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.1 Michael Douglas shows us the flip side of Gordon Gekko.
THE TRASH HUMPERS (Drag City) Genre: Horror. A small gang of Peeping Toms lurks in the shadows of a disturbing suburban landscape. Release Strategy: New York (Opening in Los Angeles May 14). RATING: 2.5 Horror goes avant garde.

MAY 14, 2010

JUST WRIGHT (Fox Searchlight) Genre: Urban Romance. A personal trainer competes with her best friend for the heart of a professional basketball player she’s rehabilitating from a career-threatening injury. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.0 A Queen Latifah performance is always worth checking out.
LETTERS TO JULIET (Summit) Genre: Romance. A young American in Verona gets embroiled in a 50-year-old love letter asking for advice from Juliet (of Romeo and…). Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.9 The Italian countryside may be more attractive than the romance.
LOOKING FOR ERIC (IFC) Genre: Foreign Sports Comedy. A postman with a keen love of soccer and whose life is spinning out of control discovers the secret to life through a philosophical soccer immortal. Release Strategy: New York only. RATING: 3.6 I just don’t have that overwhelming soccer angst that would make this a must-see.
PRINCESS KA’IULANI (Roadside Attractions) Genre: Biopic. A princess during the last days of the Hawaiian monarchy must flee her beloved island for England. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 The history of the Hawaiian Islands is woefully under-taught in the United States.
RACING DREAMS (Hannover House) Genre: Documentary. The world of Kart Racing, long the “minor leagues” of NASCAR where many of today’s most famous drivers once worked. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.9 Not a enough of an auto racing fan to care.
ROBIN HOOD (Universal) Genre: Period Action Movie. A new take on the legend of Sherwood Forest by director Ridley Scott and star Russell Crowe. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.6 The team behind Gladiator taking on a subject last tackled with Robin Hood: King of Thieves which adds up to a must-see in my book.

MAY 21, 2010

HOLY ROLLERS (First Independent) Genre: Indie Comedy. Hassidic Jews are used to smuggle drugs from Europe into the United States. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 3.8 Based on a true story; you couldn’t make stuff like that up.
MAC GRUBER (Rogue) Genre: Spoof. A resourceful mullet-wearing agent must stop a madman from detonating a nuclear device in Washington DC. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 3.1 Movies based on SNL sketches have traditionally not done well, critically or commercially.
PERRIER’S BOUNTY (IFC) Genre: Comedy Thriller. Three unlikely characters go on the run from an Irish mobster. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.4 Solid cast and you gotta love UK gangster movies.
SHREK FOREVER AFTER
(DreamWorks) Genre: Animated Feature. The world’s most famous ogre gets to find out what Far Far Away would be like if he had never been born. Release Strategy: Wide Standard, 3D, IMAX 3D. RATING: 1.7  The last movie in the franchise – or so we’re told.

MAY 27, 2010

SEX IN THE CITY 2 (New Line) Genre: Chick Flick. The further adventures of Carrie Bradshaw and her friends. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 4.0 I just could never get into this show; a little too self-absorbed for my taste.

MAY 28, 2010

AGORA (Newmarket) Genre: Swords & Sandals. A fight for the ancient library at Alexandria is complicated by a love triangle. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.9 A terrific international cast but will probably be hard to find in theaters.
GEORGE A. ROMERO’S SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD
(Magnet) Genre: Zombie Horror. Two families on a remote island clash on their differing philosophies regarding the living dead. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.3 The latest in the horror master’s most famous series.
MICMACS (Sony Classics) Genre: Foreign Crime Comedy. A man whose life has been destroyed by disparate acts of violence plots revenge on those responsible. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 2.4 From the imaginative director of Amelie.
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (Disney) Genre: Fantasy. Based on the videogame, a prince in the Middle East of Sinbad and Ali Baba protects a powerful weapon from the forces of evil. Release Strategy: Wide. RATING: 1.1 From the filmmaking team responsible for the National Treasure movies comes the latest Disney franchise – looks awfully spectacular.
THE WILD HUNT (Hannover House) Genre: Adventure. A young man follows his girlfriend into a medieval role-playing game when he discovers she has been seduced by one of it’s players. Release Strategy: Limited. RATING: 2.5 As a long-time RPG fan I’m intrigued.

SCHEDULED TO BE REVIEWED HERE AS NEW RELEASES

Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, Just Wright, Shrek Forever After, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

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