Movies in Theaters on Friday, August 26, 2011
It’s almost Labor Day weekend already! The summer flew by, though the summer movie offerings are still coming in strong, as this penultimate weekend of the season brings us a remake of a 1973 TV movie that scarred many a child (and adult), another movie featuring Paul Rudd acting like an obnoxious jackass, Luc Beeson’s latest bullet-ridden, face-kicking sex fantasy and a slapstick portrait of a beyond dysfunctional suburban family.
Man, there are few things worse than moving into a giant house and finding it haunted by whispering little beasties that scurry about and hide under your bedsheets and tell you to do things. Producer Guillermo del Toro‘s creature feature is a remake of a 1973 TV movie that scarred many a child (and adult) with its unrelenting creepiness — unfortunately, early word hath it that this new incarnation is high on production design but low on actual scares. Still, we’re looking forward to this one, as the trailer is genuinely frightening, and those featured moments can’t be all the movie has to offer, can it? Guy Pearce (always welcome company, and a great actor we don’t get to see nearly enough of) and Katie Holmes (who can retire for all we care) play the dumb adults who of course at first don’t believe poor little Bailee Madison’s crazy stories about the little bastards that want to claim the young ‘un as one of their own. Speaking of young ‘uns, director Troy Nixey scored this gig after impressing del Toro with his short fantasy film, “Latchkey’s Lament.”
Does it ever bother anyone else that the same bunch of jackasses keeps making a (very, very good) living out of making these dum-dum comedies, endeavors that must be little more than (highly) paid vacations? And really, does the world need a movie about a buffoonish man-child whose sociopathic behavior is dismissed and (somewhat) tolerated because he’s just simply a lovable “idiot?” If you answered “No” and “Yes” to those questions, respectively, then Our Idiot Brother should delight and inspire you in ways we just can’t fathom ourselves, as Paul Rudd (once again) stumbles about with his long hair and that supposedly adorable “Who, me?” expression on his face and indulges in the kind of ridiculous and occasionally destructive antics that only jackasses that make movies like this are able to get away with. Paul, what happened to your more dramatic acting aspirations? You were Paris in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet! Guess the Bard doesn’t pay as well as being a Clown.
“Revenge is Beautiful.” We don’t know about that, but Zoe Saldana sure is, and this time she isn’t animated over to look like a giant blue tree-hugging alien warrior. Zoe plays the latest hyper-stylized, hyper-sexualized fantasy woman conjured by a man who’s made up a lot more than his fair share (writer-producer Luc Besson), a highly trained and often scantily clad killing machine driven by only the basest of emotions as she dishes out bloody revenge against the scumbags (and anyone vaguely related to them) responsible for the murder of her parents, her near-impossible and almost superhuman skills ensuring she’s never truly in any real danger. Yeah, that’s a Luc Besson gal in a (hot) nutshell, and Zoe looks to fill the part — and her skin-tight outfits — just fine. Meanwhile, Michael Vartan looks to still be doing that eyebrows-slightly-raised-in-earnestness routine he’s been doing since his days of trying to figure out another complicated, badass woman on Alias and Jordi Molla gets to go even more villainously insane than he did in Bad Boys II.
There’s hell, or at least ultra-dysfunction, in suburbia as the Burnett family — consisting of Bunnie (Hope Davis), Jack (Dermot Mulroney) and their twin teenagers Eric (Max Thieriot) and Kelly (Britt Robertson) — is about to tear itself apart with constant bickering and general non-communication. However, when Bunnie is knocked unconscious during an impromptu bathroom tryst with a neighbor (Chi McBride, who makes a “Hammer Time” reference during this fleeting moment of passion), she suffers from short term memory loss, giving the family a second chance at getting along. It’s a ridiculous premise, and what happens as it plays itself out looks to be even more over-the-top in that desperate, too-eager-to-please way that some indie comedies fall victim to (there’s even a wacky subplot involving a squirrel), but the impressive cast — including includes Christina Hendricks (who has large breasts, as a scene in the trailer reminds us), Rachael Leigh Cook, Gabrielle Anwar, Selma Blair, Jane Seymour and Keith Carradine — might be able to keep this silliness from going completely off the rails… or at least keep the laughs coming if it does succumb to complete and total absurdity.