Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Slow Grinding Nothing: Opening This Month

This Friday we get a treat in watching Beyonce Knowles try and pull off Etta James in "Cadillac Records," a biopic about Chess Records and its classic artists. Apparently Knowles is the only star any studio executive can think if to play a R&B artist, since she's about a stone too thin to play the singer during her peak years. Mos Def is Chuck Berry, so I can't complain too much.

Also opening, for some reason, is "Punisher: War Zone," a rejiggered sequel with a new star and new director, though oddly enough it seems to have kept the same script. Original star Thomas Jane has been replaced by equally cardboard-like Ray Stevenson (seriously, are these guys grown in a lab somewhere?) though I doubt anyone will notice.

December 12 brings us what has to be one of the most useless things ever (and I'm including that tiolet paper dispenser with the iPod mount attached to it in this category) in the form of the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still." The film stars Keanu Reeves, to the extent that Keanu Reeves can "star" in anything. I'm guessing what happened here is that someone saw how much that "War of the Worlds" thing Spielberg did worked and decided to dig up another old chestnut from the classic sci-fi era and dump a useless lump of chalk such as Keanu in it.

Also opening is "Gran Torino," a new urban drama from Clint Eastwood. Though Eastwood has already released one piece of Oscar-bait this year, it seems he feels like hedging his bets a little for award season and is starring in this one as well as directing it. Still, he seems to have aged into his badassery pretty well and his voice sounds like an earthquake in a gravel pit, so no complaints.

On December 19th is "Seven Pounds," another Will Smith tale of hope and understanding that will make serious bank and be forgotten before the year is out.

Also opening is "The Wrestler," a film for all of those people who wanted to see Mickey Rourke back in a starring roll, with Marisa Tomei as his female lead. At least, I assume there must be people out there who wanted to see that. There are people who like to have sex while dressed in animal costumes, so why not?

Of course, we can't forget the latest Jim Carrey pain parade, "The Yes Man," in which America's beloved fartsmith comes back to form (and $20 million dollar paychecks) with some convoluted plot designed to make him do absurd things that make no sense. It truly is a season of miracles.

December 26 brings us "The Spirit," Frank Miller's adaptation of the classic Wil Eisner comic. The first preview I saw was impressive and at first I was looking forward to some cheap holiday badass entertainment. However, everything else I've seen from the film since then has been, to put it politely, llama shit. I'll probably still see it, just because some train wrecks deserve to be watched.

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