REPUBLIBOT WEEKEND MOVIE PREVIEW: Movies Opening 10-30-09

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Mary ducked her head and darted forward through the hall, flailing the butcher knife from the kitchen in her right hand as she ran. Her gasps caught in her throat, threatening to turn into a desperate cry for help. A scream for anyone to save her. But she couldn’t afford to lose control now, not when she was so close to getting out of the house. And then she stumbled on something. She hit the floor hard and wrenched herself around as quickly as possible and saw Billy, covered in blood, red bubbles forming in his nostrils. He was reaching for her, pain and loneliness and fear etched in his eyes. He coughed and spoke, his voice slow, cracked and stretching, “ I‘m not reviewing anything here, so unless stated otherwise I’ve not seen any of the movies in this ‘Preview’. All I am doing is quite thoughtlessly passing judgment on films that are scheduled to open this week and that I haven’t researched at all (not in the least). All of the film information, including the plot summary, has been pulled from the Opening This Week page of IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/nowplaying/). In this week’s installment of the Republibot Weekend Movie Preview we are taking a look at: This Is It, and Gentlemen Broncos – among others….”

Mary began to sob, her body shuddering, and as she pushed herself slowly away from him a shadow blocked out the entry way light behind her…

This Is It [10/28]
Director: Kenny Ortega
Stars: Michael Jackson
Studio: Sony Pictures Releasing
The Plot: A compilation of interviews, rehearsals and backstage footage of Michael Jackson as he prepared for his series of sold-out shows in London.

The Republibot Take: Am I a horrible person? Am I just a terrible uncaring individual? Because I just don’t care the Michael Jackson has passed away. I didn’t care when he was alive that he was alive. The only time he entered into my consciousness was when I was a kid and my friends and I laughed endlessly at the loopy awfulness that was the Thriller video. Oh, and when he destroyed any higher esteem I may have had for Paul McCartney during my early Beatles worship phase. And now all of this hullaballoo around his apparently untimely death. And I just don’t care. Sure, there was that early recognition shock around the surprise of it and then the nosiness as the circumstances started to leak out, but honestly – nothing. I just don’t care.

Sci-fi Quotient is a solid 10 though – this guy was seriously not of this world, even if it was all an act. What a weirdo.

Gentlemen Broncos
Director: Jared Hess
Stars: Michael Angarano, Jemaine Clement, Mike White
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Plot: Soon after his latest work is published, science-fiction author Ronald Chevalier (Clement) faces charges of plagiarism from aspiring teenage writer Benjamin Purvis (Angarano).

The Republibot Take: Let me just say right up front here that I abhorred Napoleon Dynamite. I mean, I literally and honestly and intensely hated it. There was nothing about that movie that I found redeeming even in the slightest amount. The direction was poor, the characters were paper thin and heavily clichéd, there was no affection for their own protagonist, and the whole thing was mean spirited, intended primarily to make fun of the people that the filmmakers grew up with and now were better than. Wes Anderson should sue them for slander as well.

Nacho Libre was a bit better, but just didn’t work in the end result. Jack Black has pretty much one speed and is incapable of delivering an honest performance (though School of Rock was pretty damn close). Not to mention the obvious Hispanic stereotype undertones and the mean “oh, let’s laugh at those that aren’t as smart or perfect as us” way that infused Napoleon Dynamite.

Having said all of this, I am hoping for the best for Gentlemen Broncos. The story probably hits a bit closer to my heart than the other ones did. Plus Mike White is involved (and hopefully at a deeper level than just an actor – I honestly think he was probably the extra ingredient that saved Nacho Libre from being a completely odious project and rising it up the level of barely tolerable). And I am a big fan of Jemaine Clement from the Flight of the Conchords. So, here’s hoping, eh?

Sci-fi Quotient comes in at a solid and unbiased 8.5.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
Director: Troy Duffy
Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly
Studio: Apparition
The Plot: The MacManus brothers, who are living a quiet life on the family farm in Ireland, return to Boston to exact their unique form of revenge on the mob forces who have framed the brothers for the murder of a local priest.

The Republibot Take: Does it hurt my ability to preview this movie if I never saw the original to which this is a sequel? My son apparently loves the original and being the awesome dad that I am, all I have ever done is avoid seeing it and make fun of him for liking it. At first I thought it was a movie about the early Mormon Pioneers that sailed around the southern continent rather than walk across country on foot pulling wagons. But apparently, based on the plot synopsis I am way off on that. It looks like it has something to do with gangsters or the Irish. No idea.

Trivia of the day: Sean Patrick Flannery was teenage Indy in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. I find it interesting that he is about the same age now or older than Harrison Ford was when he made the first Indiana Jones movie and that they don’t look anything alike.

I will have to give this a Sci-fi Quotient of zero to try to offset that 10 I gave to This Is It. No idea what I was thinking there.

The House of the Devil
Director: Ti West
Stars: Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov
Studio: Magnet Releasing
The Plot: A broke college student (Donahue) is lured to a Victorian mansion deep in the woods for what she thinks is a lucrative babysitting job, though she soon realizes her creepy clients have nightmarish plans for her.

The Republibot Take: I’m not sure, but I think The House of the Devil gets the award for most useless title and plot synopsis. Could they have been any more vague than this? Holy cow – the movie could be about anything. What kind of nightmarish plans could her creepy clients have in store for her? Maybe the baby isn’t strictly speaking a “baby”. Maybe they are Satanists and they are looking to sacrifice the virginal babysitter on the altar of their Victorian gazebo. Maybe, they want to trick her into a getting freaky with the two of them for the video camera. Maybe aliens have abducted the real clients and replaced them with synthetic versions that immediately begin blaming her for the continued catastrophic decay of the climate and then give her a book entitled “How to Serve Humans”. I really need more information here before I can feel comfortable in giving any kind of misinformed opinion.

Go see Paranormal Activity instead, I have heard really definable creepy things about that. Sci-fi quotient could be anywhere from zero to 10, so let’s split the difference and say 5.

A really slow week overall. Hollywood has probably finally learned that it makes more sense to open the Halloween themed or appropriate movies a week in advance of the big day itself so they could at least one good week of receipts before everyone switches focus to Thanksgiving, family and the interminable winter blues. See you next week when we spend a minimal amount of time discussing The Men Who Stare At Goats, A Christmas Carol and The Box.

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