Weekend Forecast: 8/24/07

Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett in Rod Lurie’s Resurrecting the Champ
Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett in Rod Lurie’s Resurrecting the Champ

This week’s wide releases:

  • Resurrecting the Champ. Josh Hartnett plays a sports writer whose career and marriage are stalling when he encounters Samuel L. Jackson, a homeless man who turns out to be a former boxing champion. Telling the forgotten champion’s story could be the key to turning the lives of both men around, don’t you think? It’s kind of a movie dead zone right now so it seems like strange timing for this independent inspirational drama, but maybe it’s just late enough to avoid the blockbuster season yet early enough to get a jump on the fall rush. Jackson is always enjoyable to watch. Rod Lurie (The Contender) co-wrote and directed.
  • The Nanny Diaries. Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney and the writer/director team behind American Splendor give me hope that this comedy might rise above the Garry Marshall level schlock it sounds like on paper. Maybe I’m just confusing the title with The Princess Diaries. Maybe I’m just afraid Scarlett Johansson will never prove to be anything more than a pretty face. Anyway, Giamatti and Linney are a rich couple and Scarlett is the nanny to their bratty kid. Yeah, see there I go again getting bored just writing about it.

  • Mr. Bean’s Holiday. I like Rowan Atkinson so forgive me when I say this looks like a noisier, less whimsical hack job on Jacques Tati. No thanks.
  • September Dawn. Based on the 1857 true story of a wagon train of settlers who run into conflict with Brigham Young and a congregation of Mormons in what came to be known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Terence Stamp is Brigham Young. Jon Voight also stars. Sharks and Jets? Meet Mormons and Settlers…
  • War. Jet Li and Jason Statham in a martial arts thriller about…really does it matter? You’ve already decided whether or not you’re going and I’m guessing the story doesn’t factor into your decision either way.
  • Illegal Tender. A college student and his mother seek revenge on the gang members that killed the young man’s father. Produced by John Singleton.

And in limited release:

  • The Hottest State. It’s just not enough for Ethan Hawke to be a successful actor. Nor enough to have gotten Uma Thurman pregnant. And it’s not enough to have written a novel. No, now Ethan Hawke must rub his success in our noses by directing that novel for the big screen. Oh and the novel is supposedly based on the true story of Hawke sticking it to Lisa Loeb when he was a struggling actor in New York. Jerk.
  • Closing Escrow. A comedy about the laugh-a-minute world of real estate agents…(sound of crickets chirping).
  • Dedication. Actor Justin Theroux’s feature directorial debut is a black comedy starring Bill Crudup as a writer of children’s books who doesn’t like children. Harvey Keitel and Mandy Moore also star.
  • Deep Water. Documentary about the first solo boat race around the world in 1968.
  • Right at Your Door. Thriller about a dirty bomb going off in LA. because, you know, normally LA is so clean…
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6 thoughts on “Weekend Forecast: 8/24/07

  1. If you’d told me in 2003 that I would be skipping the next film from the directors of American Splendor I would have probably not believed you. I thought that film was the best of its year, and has since become one of my favorite movies, a bit of comfort food that happens to be damn good on top of that.

    A bad movie I can live with, it happens. But The Nanny Diaries looks worse in that it seems to be just totally forgettable vanilla. I could be wrong, but the reviews seem to be backing this up. Either way I’m skipping it, and I’m skipping Lurie’s current white liberal guilt a thon too, I’ve seen Contender and Last Castle, and he makes Haggis look like Kubrick.

  2. Wow, after reading that, all that, I’ve got little or nothing…

    (crickets chirping)

    This is one slack weekend for Hollywood. Allow me to comment:

    Resurrecting the Champ: Don’t they know there are two things sure to kill a movie’s chance of success faster than Uwe Boll? A) Costarring Josh Hartnett, three magic words sure to erase at least 50% of the gross, and B) Samuel Jackson playing a homeless, destitute man.

    Mr Bean’s Paycheck: Eh.

    The Nanny Diaries: Eh part deux. Doesn’t this one also have Julia Robert’s niece in it?

    September Dawn: WOLVERINES!!! That’s all I got.

    War: Jason Stratham pretending he can even stand in the same room as Jet Li (fighting-wise) is almost as insulting as Mel Gibson beating Jet Li to death in Lethal Weapon 3. Stratham has become the Van Damme of this decade.

    All the rest are too uninspiring to comment on. Wow, what a roster of nothing.

  3. I forgot about War. I’m filing that under guilty pleasure. Joel, you’re very right about the Statham facing Li thing, but something about these two facing off appeals to me.

    Van Damme…ouch.

    I would go see Right at Your Door, but that’s so far away from being possible that I didn’t even really consider it. I may catch up on Stardust. Worth it anyone?

  4. Wow, there is just not a lot of love in this room! I mostly agree, though the fact that I put it on top and actually took the time to find an image for Resurrecting the Champ should tell you I’m most optimistic about its chances to thrill and entertain me. It’s the kind of thing that if it’s mishandled it would annoy the shit out of me, but if it’s artfully done I could find myself suckered. We’ll see.

    As for young Scarlett, I don’t know anyone who thinks she’s hotter than I do but she’s got about 12 more minutes to show me she’s a capable actress. Hell, even if she found a narrow but comfortable niche to get old in.

    Heh heh…”Wolverines”

    As for War and Statham, I’m neither for ’em nor against ’em though I would argue Van Damme never had anything even close to Lock Stock or Snatch, but then I’ve always held a special chamber of hatred and scorn in my heart for Van Damme.

    I can’t speak to your Stardust question Chuck because I’ve been a movie slacker of late…if the thin blog output and lack of posting on H-E didn’t tip you off to that already.

  5. OK, I agree that Stratham has far more screen presence and acting ability than Van Damme, but he’s become the poster boy for b-movie high octane action films so I’m having a hard time feeling sorry for him.

    I liked him in Lock, Stock and Snatch, but other than that he leaves me very cold.

    Stardust: I actually would like to see this but I fear I will just pick it apart technically as I watch it and not end up enjoying it. Sometimes I wish I were just 15 again…before I thought so hard about things and just got my genre rocks off.

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