As next Friday is Boxing Day, we won’t be publishing a Film Friday, so we guess this sort of serves as a holiday movie guide of all the films that we can remember which run in the next week and a bit. So let’s pick something to start with. How about…Valkyrie? Easy pick, because you’re probably sick to death of seeing Tom Cruise absolutely everywhere in support of this latest film from Bryan Singer, who has taken a break from making overlong and flatly unexciting superhero films to make what is apparently an overlong and flatly unexciting Nazi thriller. Still, if there’s one thing this film has reminded us, it’s that although we get no pleasure from watching Cruise on screen (honestly; without him, Tropic Thunder could have been significantly better) he at least gives his all to the promotion of any film he’s in. He either really cares or he’s really good at doing what he’s told!
Anyway. Our train of thought goes Nazis—Maus—Mice, so on to The Tale of Despereaux, this season’s kiddie film. We don’t really have any thoughts on it, other than to note our amusement at Deirdre Swain’s review in NOW, where she claims Matthew Broderick’s “flat, nasal voice might seem an odd choice for vocal work,” apparently ignoring the fact that he’s had a long career doing it (including playing the adult Simba in The Lion King!)
Next up, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This is absolutely our pick of the season as the film we could not care less to see. The original story by F. Scott Fitzgerald was, if anything, a literary exercise more than a narrative, and while you can normally expand a science fiction short story into something (just add explosions!), forcing a tragic story of lost love onto this just strikes us as insincere, especially when it includes one of the most insincere actors we can think of (the awful Cate Blanchett, who may as well play every role wearing a sandwich board that says “LOOK AT HOW WELL I AM ACTING”).
Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino has been savaged by the local press, and honestly that’s disappointing—not because we think they’re wrong, but because the film just clearly isn’t what we imagine it as. Starring Eastwood as a Korean War vet dealing with an Asian gang that’s terrorizing his neighbourhood, it isn’t (as we thought) similar in any way to classic beaten-down war veteran revenge flicks like (the awesome) Rolling Thunder. Instead, according to Adam Nayman, the film doesn’t “make good” on its “Dirty Harry: The Later Years set-up.”
Ah well. One film we’re told does live up to its promise is The Wrestler (though we also mentioned that last week, so let’s move on). Also coming up: Yes Man, the Jim Carrey film based on the Danny Wallace “autobiography” of the same name; and Seven Pounds, the latest grotesquely sentimental film to star Will Smith. Someone wanted us to make a joke about “seven pounds of Big Willy style” when we referred to the film, but we just couldn’t make it work. Can you?