THE REPUBLIBOT WEEKEND MOVIE PREVIEW – Movies Opening September 18, 2009

Republibot 1.0
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Before we get started this week, Republibot 3.0 wanted me to be sure to clarify up front that this feature is to preview movies that are opening this weekend and that unless otherwise stated, I have not seen any of them. So, don’t be too confused, I am not actually reviewing the movie, I am just thoughtlessly passing judgment on them without yet having seen them. In the interest of full disclosure I have pulled this list of movies opening this week from IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/nowplaying/) In this inaugural installment we will be previewing: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Love Happens, and Jennifer’s Body among several others.

So hurry and make the jump.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Director: Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Stars: Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Bruce Campbell
Studio: Columbia Pictures
The Plot: Inspired by the children's book, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs focuses on a town where food falls from the sky like rain.

The Republibot Take: First off, just based on the trailer, if you are going to animate giant spaghetti you could at least make it look al dente – instead of woefully undercooked. Just saying, if you don’t know what properly cooked pasta should look like you really shouldn’t be making a movie in which it appears giant sized. And it’s not just how inedible the spaghetti looks that is giving me problems with this movie. I can’t begin to describe the hygiene issues I am struggling with regarding giant food falling out of the sky and landing in the street and then being eaten.

As far as the Sci-Fi quotient, on a scale from 1 to 10, I would have to give it a 7.5. My understanding is that it involves a well meaning scientist (probably a good natured one who is so caught up in his work that it is impacting his romantical relationships) that invents a machine that creates food out of thin air, which then falls to the ground in humongous portions only to begin to wreak havoc – so, points for trying, you can never really reuse the Jurassic Park plot enough (Jurassic Plot?). Obviously I know it is a kids’ movie based on a kids’ book, but really does that mean that the material has to be pandering? The same thing happened with Monsters Vs Aliens, decent premise, but pandering execution. Iron Giant didn’t pander. Wall-E only pandered in the second half and even then tried really hard not to be too obvious about it.

I won’t hold it against you if you take your kiddies to see it, but tread carefully and pull them aside afterwards and be sure to explain why stupid is stupid and that they are better than that.

Love Happens
Director: Brandon Camp
Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart
Studio: Universal Pictures
The Plot: On a business trip to Seattle, a popular self-help guru (Eckhart) sparks with a woman (Aniston) who attends one of his seminars. Their connection causes him to realize, however, that he hasn't truly confronted his wife's recent passing.

The Republibot Take: This sounds like a “Date Movie” built to a template (see above). A good natured guy is so caught up in his work that it is impacting his romantical relationships – in this case his wife’s death. Nothing says romance like a movie that says it is never too early to fall in love once your true love is gone. I haven’t even seen it yet, but I can tell you they will pay some lip service to his conflicting emotions over his wife’s death and whether it is too soon to date again, let alone fall in love – but Jennifer Aniston will toss her hair winningly and her quirky and sexy approach to life will help him realize that his barely dead wife would want him to be happy and move on as soon as possible.

Bleh.

Sci-Fi quotient is 2.5, but that is only because it has Harvey Dent, otherwise it would probably be a -1.75. If you see it please abstain from sharing your thoughts of it with me – I would like to live my life to its fullest without knowing any more than I do right now.

Jennifer's Body
Director: Karyn Kusama
Stars: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody
Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
The Plot: A cheerleader at a small mid-western high school becomes possessed by a demon and sets out to kill off all the guys in town.

The Republibot Take: Do you know how I know that I am getting old? I know that I am getting old because I most likely won’t see this in the theater opening day. I probably won’t even see it in the theater – and if I do, it will be because the decision is completely out of my control. I won’t rent it on DVD, either. I will wait till it is on OnDemand or Premium Pay Cable. And the kicker that proves my oldness is that the reasoning behind that has very little to do with the movie itself. In my younger years I would have gone first showing on Friday opening day. I would ignore the feminist undertones. I would ignore the combined resumes of the creative team. I would go because it has a hot lead actress with the potential of hot lead actress nudity and demons and monsters. But I am not – that is how I know I am getting old.

Sci-Fi quotient is probably about a 7.25. Probably no real science in it at all, but, again, it does have implied hot actress nudity and demons/monsters and that substitutes for real science content for the true nerd and geek any day.

Bright Star [limited]
Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw, Paul Schneider
Studio: Apparition
The Plot: A drama focused on the last few years in the life of poet John Keats (Whishaw), as seen through the eyes of his lover, Fanny Brawne (Cornish).

The Republibot Take: Is Jane Campion still making movies? I don’t mean any disrespect by that, it just seems I rarely hear anything about anything she is working on. Could be because I watch awesome genre films and rarely watch period dramas. I am assuming this is a period drama. Mainly since it is about a poet and directed by Ms Campion. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, I am just saying – my interest level is directly proportional to the amount of spaceships, zombies, and hot women in peril that there are. I am assuming in this case… None.

Sci-Fi quotient: 0

None of that should be taken as a complete pan – I am just saying is all. If a movie doesn’t have spaceships, zombies or hot women in peril then to capture me they have to really, really over perform at being well done or engaging or funny or smart… And this one is about John Keats. The poet.

The Informant! [limited]
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Matt Damon, Tony Hale, Patton Oswalt
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
The Plot: The U.S. government decides to go after an agri-business giant with a price-fixing accusation, based on the evidence submitted by their star witness, company-man-turned-whistleblower Mark Whitacre (Damon).

The Republibot Take: Where did this movie come from. I was just going along minding my own business, reading celebrity gossip sites, getting caught up on the Gaiman Sandman comics that I never read originally, keeping tabs on the film geek sites and then the ads for this start showing up on TV. I have to say I have tons of respect for Soderbergh. I don’t like everything he has made, but he definitely is out there trying to stretch himself and not coast. I even forgive him for Ocean’s 12. And Matt Damon has continued to grow on me as a performer. Beyond his humorless and text book partisan political screeds, he comes across as a funny and self-aware celebrity which are few and far between.

Sci-Fi quotient: a solid 3 and that is totally because it features Patton Oswalt. Imagine what kind of score it would have gotten if Oswalt starred.

I will most likely see The Informant over the weekend.

So that brings us to the end of our first (hopefully) weekly installment of The Republibot Weekend Movie Preview (if anyone has a better name for this thing, I am totally open to changing it – plus, maybe we can talk Republibot 2.0 into sending you a lovely gift as a prize).

In closing, I think for some reason it important to say that, though I never saw Juno I do think I am in love with Diablo Cody. But I don’t think I am in love with her quite enough to overcome being an increasingly grumpy aging nerd.

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