So if you’re older than fouteen consider seeing these new releases.
High School Musical 3 opens this weekend, so as you read this the cineplexes are likely jammed with teens and tweeners all agiggle about the latest installment of the franchise based on a Disney Channel telefilm about singing and dancing. You know, ten years from now the HSM saga is going to be a cultural punchline, like the Frankie & Annette films of the 60s or Vanilla Ice from the early 90s. And because we couldn’t care less about such hokum, the following four films offer something for those of us past puberty who enjoy going to the movies.
Synecdoche, New York: Mad screenwriting genius Charlie Kaufman’s latest indie whirl-a-gig involves a regional theatre director (born again good actor Philip Seymour Hoffman) staging a play about “everything” inside a giant New York City warehouse. He builds a massive replica of the city, and in time becomes drawn into the play’s events. Early reviews claim the film is Kaufman at his most… Kaufman, really, and even he describes it as “creepy.” Hope Davis, Tom Noonan, Catherine Keener, and Jennifer Jason Leigh also star. Limited release.
Passengers: A grief counselor (Anne Hathaway) working with survivors of a plane crash finds her patients beginning to disappear under mysterious circumstances, while the best looking one (Patrick Wilson) has apparently developed supernatural powers. Director Rodrigo Garcia knows his way around intelligent but creepy stories after helming episodes of both Six Feet Under and Carnivale. The ensemble supporting cast is as good as they come: David Morse, Andre Braugher, Clea DuVall, and Dianne Wiest. Limited release.
Pride and Glory: NYPD cop Ray Tierney (Edward Norton, wearing the goatee he sports whenever the audience needs to see he’s “hard”) investigates the murders of four fellow officers – an investigation that may implicate his fellow policeman brother-in-law (Colin Farrell). Jon Voight plays the dad and Noah Emmerich (Beautiful Girls), the go-to guy for sidekick performances, plays Norton’s brother. Joe Carnahan (Narc) co-wrote the screenplay. Wide release.
Changeling: Based on a true story, in 1928 a Los Angeles phone operator (Angelina Jolie) loses her son to kidnappers. Months later, she’s told the child has surfaced but discovers the boy isn’t her own. Yet none of the male authorities involved in the case believes her. Director Clint Eastwood’s films are never accused of being too subtle, so Jolie’s acting-to-the-rafters style may settle in nicely alongside fellow Actor(!) John Malkovich. On the plus side, we’ll watch Amy Ryan (The Wire, Gone Baby Gone) in just about anything. Comics and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote the script. Limited release; opens nationwide October 31.
Monday we’ll publish our 100th post! Come back and see what we’ve learned since we reached our 50th post. (Hint: be nice to Skeet Ulrich.) Have a good weekend.
- Michael Kabel