It’s new movie day once again, and this week’s new releases present us with a score of moral dilemmas – is it OK to kill a person if you get money for it? Is it OK to screw over your employees until a ghost tells you not to? And is it OK to look at a goat until it dies? Answers to these questions and more can be found… at the movies!
The Box – Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) brings us a tale of bizarre suspense based on an old Twilight Zone episode. A couple receives a box with a button on it. Push the button, and someone will day. But they’ll also get a million dollars. Kelly apparently has embroidered the admittedly slight original tale with a number of side plots and bizarre happenings to get the movie up to ninety something minutes, but the jury’s still out on whether he can tie them all together into something resembling coherence.
A Christmas Carol – What’s worse than Jim Carrey? The answer might well be a computer-animated Jim Carrey. Robert Zemeckis’ latest “performance capture” flick replaces humans with sort of creepy automatons and parades them about a Silicon Graphics fantasyland, and to what end? There’s nothing about Charles Dickens’ classic story that needs a quadrillion dollars of technology to bring to the screen. Just get some great actors and some spotlights and the story tells itself. Instead, we get Jim Carrey as Scrooge and all three ghosts. Oy.
The Fourth Kind – Milla Jovovich is the hottest girl who makes the worst movies. What’s up with her – does her agent just send her to anywhere the checks clear? This latest thing is a pseudo-documentary allegedly “based on real events” in Nome, Alaska, where aliens apparently have been getting their jollies screwing with the local populace. The gimmick is that the flick contains sequences of alleged victims recovering buried memories under hypnosis – I wonder if any of them blocked out seeing Ultraviolet?
The Men Who Stare At Goats – Did you know that the United States military has been running a secret project designed to give men the ability to kill with their minds? That’s what the assorted schmoes in this offbeat comedy allege. When the agents are reactivated to help the effort in Iraq, a journalist stumbles upon what may be the story of a lifetime. Great cast, including George Clooney and Kevin Spacey, and a great premise. But can first-time director Grant Heslov, adapting a book by Jon Ronson, twist these true facts into a compelling story? I don’t know! I haven’t seen it yet!