Weekend Forecast: 6/8/07

Ocean’s Thirteen

In wide release this weekend: 

  • Ocean’s Thirteen: I’m one of maybe 5 people who admit to enjoying Ocean’s Twelve in polite company so you can probably imagine I’m looking forward to this one. They’re harmless entertainments delivered with an effortless skill that groove along like good jazz. High art? Absolutely not. They’re fun and they go down easy. Did we really need a 3rd one? Well, probably not, but this one adds Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin to the mix.
  • Surf’s Up: Is there some kind of tax break for movies about cute penguins or something? I’m bored with penguins.  Let’s fetishize some other member of the animal kingdom. I vote for the opossum
  • Hostel Part II: Wow this one has really got people’s undies in a twist, sight unseen. They realize that making a fuss over an Eli Roth film is just money in the guy’s pocket, right? You’d think he was torturing penguins or something. If you like your entertainment torturiffic, this might be the movie you want to see this weekend.

In limited release (In L.A. As always, your results may vary):

  • La Vie en Rose: The story of French chanteuse Edith Piaf whose music makes me want to drink wine, eat cheese and make love, though not necessarily in that order. Named for her signature tune. There’s talk you may be hearing about this film again come Oscar time.
  • Flanders (opened in NY 5/18): The horrors of love and war in a village in rural France, not the sequel to The Simpson’s movie.
  • Memories of Tomorrow (opened in NY 5/18): Another movie about Alzheimer’s.  This one has Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Letters From Iwo Jima) as a Japanese advertising executive who is diagnosed with the disease. Certified 100% penguin free.

7 thoughts on “Weekend Forecast: 6/8/07

  1. Count me in on Ocean’s Thirteen.

    Vaguely related:

    I recently watched The Good German and thought that Soderbergh kinda got the shaft in recognition on that one. It’s less Casablanca and more Far From Heaven, in that it presents the moral rot and ambiguities of the time in the manner of said time’s movies. Anyone who complains that Soderbergh botched his homage with profanity and sex is missing the point. I think its one of his best in a while.

  2. I also saw the first Hostel and didn’t think it was the end of the world. Roth uses more restraint in his scenes of mayhem than many seemed willing to cop to (the first Hostel also received surprisingly decent notices.) The largely violence free first half of the film works up a decent dread and style and forboding, but Roth gets a little stupid in the second half.

    Part II sounds like a more violent and tasteless retread, just like virtually every sequel. I don’t get why everyone jumps this guy, he’s not great, not yet anyway, but he is better than the large number of horror films that go about uncommented upon every year. Not a ringing endorsement I know, but he’s not Lucifer either.

  3. Well that makes 3 of us who are interested in 13. Thanks for stopping by Alef.

    As for Eli Roth, well I officially have no specific opinion on the man or his movies due to lack of knowledge. I was disappointed to find out he kind of looks like a loathesome frat boy instead of the nerd I would’ve imagined, but they can’t all be winners, right?

    Anyway, I saw the scene that’s causing so much fuss in Hostel 2, and sure, it was unpleasant but it doesn’t represent the end of civilization as we know it, at least not out of the context of the whole film. I’m completely anti-censorship when it comes to this kind of thing knowing full well I have the right to choose to see it or not.

    You’re probably right Chuck about 2 being more of the same only more-er since that’s the pattern most sequels seem to follow these days.

    As for people jumping on Eli, he kind of brings it on himself and I don’t think he’d have it any other way. He flirts with controversy.

    Anyway, interesting that you mention The Good German because I’m a lonely fan of that film and have been brewing a blog post to that effect. It might not be perfect, but I think a lot of people got caught up in Soderbergh’s stylistics and were unable to see the forest for the trees.

    Have you seen The Third Man? An excellent companion piece to The Good German especially with the new Soderbergh audio commentary.

  4. Love The Third Man, love it, love it, love it. One of the few honest to God perfect movies. I have not however heard the Soderbergh commentary, is that the new Criterion version? I have the older edition and don’t recall that being an option.

    But yeah, it seems that The Good German takes a much bigger page from Third Man than Casablanca, maybe the critics said that too, and I just read the wrong reviews. And I seem to remember you at one point praising Maguire, and I have to agree, its a nice satire of his fuddy duddy kid image.

    I think Eli Roth has a good movie in him. He’s young, having fun, making money and enjoying himself, nothing wrong with that. Something tells me he’ll hunker down after a few more of these things and test himself more(and doing King’s Cell is already a different step, and that’s a great opportunity for him, because mediocre King books always make the best movies: Carrie and the underwatched Christine being prime examples.)

  5. The new Third Man DVD is supposedly excellent. Two commentary tracks, one from Soderbergh, plus a whole extra disc of stuff. Plus I think the did a new transfer though I don’t know if they restored the print as well.

    A few critics noticed the thematic linkage to Third Man, but very few seemed to realize what Soderbergh was playing at. I don’t cry about it too much though because, as you know, I’m a total Soderbergh apologist. I think the only film of his I genuinely did not care for was Full Frontal, and even then I managed to admire the intention behind it.

    And yeah, I thought Maguire was terrific, though a lot of reviews said exactly the opposite. Part of the problem is that I think the actors were trying to fit into an older pre-method style of acting that A) they weren’t that comfortable with and B) audiences aren’t used to anymore. If I get my planned post off the ground, I’ll have more to say about the whole thing, for better or for worse.

    I heard an interview with Roth on The Treatment a year or so ago and he talked a lot about Cabin Fever (and maybe Hostel?) and he had a lot of passion for the genre and seemed genuinely interested in bringing something new to the table and I respected that. I suppose I should check out his movies so I can have a real opinion of him as a filmmaker. It’s so much easier to just talk out of my ass though.

  6. I strongly disliked Full Frontal and was indifferent to Ocean’s 12. The rest of Soderbergh’s output I like quite a bit, with special shout outs going to King of the Hill, Out of Sight and The Limey.

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