Sundance, #sundance, SUNDANCE! 15 of your friends posted about Sundance! Retweet blah blah SUNDANCE! It’s all anyone has on the brain this week. A welcome distraction from the travesty they call the Oscar nominations. Just when you think it’s going to be a merry Oscar nominations morning, the Academy goes and rewards all the sappy sentimental crap and snubs its nose at anything remotely interesting and original. Too dark and icky! Showing your squareness, Academy…. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about it, I’m still processing. Good thing we have all the shiny and new Sundance films to think about. Next year, next year my pretties.
So what do we have in theaters this week? Oh just Liam Neeson, Neeson-ing the shit out of some wolves in “The Grey.” Oh yeah. Neeson puts the smack down on those wolves with his bare hands. I feel like listening to metal when I think about this. Anyway, our review of the Joe Carnahan joint says the film is plagued by “inconsistent characterization and a coarse sensibility that reduces ‘The Grey’ to sequences of character actors trapped in dull roles, chased by cartoon animals.” Rotten Tomatoes: 76% Metacritic: 64
I will give you ONE guess to tell me the plot of “Man on a Ledge“… It’s about a man… on a ledge. Much in the fine tradition of “We Bought a Zoo” the “Man on a Ledge” filmmakers are going with the tagline as title approach. Good one guys, very original. Cardboard cutout Sam Worthington (gosh, I’m salty today) is the titular man… on a ledge. WILL HE, AT SOME POINT, BE NOT ON SAID LEDGE? Our review says it “asks viewers to go out to the edge and take your toes right to the precipice of B-movie boundaries. But ultimately, the film betrays that trust, and audiences are sent tumbling over into a story both ridiculous and rote, with a sloppily orchestrated finale as hamfisted as the film’s opening maneouvers were tight and lean.” RT: 22% MC: 40
While we try to figure out if Katherine Heigl has been sent from hell to torment us all, she’s in a new movie based on the Janet Evanovich paperback “One for the Money.” She’s a bounty hunter or something in this. And she’s wearing a brown wig and I think sporting a Long Island accent. No reviews yet, babies! It wasn’t screened for critics, but one of our staff bit the bullet so we’ll have a review soon.
Want to see what Oscar bait looks like? Look no further than Glenn Close dressing up and being all repressed in “Albert Nobbs” (and note, we avoided turning that title into a joke) going into wide release (gosh, everything sounds dirty doesn’t it?). Close is up for an Oscar for her role as a veteran staff member of the Morrison Hotel (not The Doors one) who struggles with her identity. We caught it at TIFF and called it a “a cross-dressing drama that plays it disappointingly straight.” But it’s worth watching for all scenes Janet McTeer steals; she truly deserves a statue. RT: 53% MC: 58
Oh my God, “The Wicker Man” (1973 version, puh-leeze) auteur Robin Hardy is back with a sequel or companion piece of sorts, “The Wicker Tree.” I cannot even imagine the magic of this film. Our review says, “while ‘The Wicker Tree’ is respectably strange (how many pagan horror musicals are out there right now?), it fails to capture the moody tension of the original, while offering nothing in the way of visual sophistication or stylization.” No scores.
“Declaration of War” is a French film directed by writer/star Valerie Donzelli, with a script by her partner and co-star Jeremie Elkaim, based on their struggle to cope with their young son’s illness. Our review says, “one of the ways our characters maintain their sanity is through art projects, and the very existence of ‘Declaration’ is proof that this method of coping continues for the pair. This is not the end of our story, Donzelli and Elkaim are saying, merely the beginning of your involvement. It is a philosophy shared by all great movies.” RT: 87% MC: 76