Welcome to Annotate This, where we gather reviews, trailers, and annotate the posters for movies coming out this week. It will help you decide what to avoid, what to see, and what to pretend to see. Click on the image above to add your comments to the mix.
White House Down
In this Roland Emmerich explosion-fest, Channing Tatum is a handsome police officer and Jamie Foxx is the president. They team up when a paramilitary group seizes the White House. Don't worry if you need an emotional tie to connect to this $150 million detonation extravaganza—Tatum's daughter is in the White House and she's snippy at him because he missed her talent show so this lets him prove that he is a reliable protector. Also Maggie Gyllenhaal! Though one reviewer read it as "the most sharply observed spoof comedy since Team America," Emmerich told GQ, he's really picky and intentional about what he blows up—"I’m not Roland the Destroyer. For me, it has to be a symbol of something."
The second feature film from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig with a script from Parks and Recreation writer Katie Dippold, The Heat is an excuse for Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock to try out their best Boston accents. And it's a female-twist on the buddy-cop genre ("bosom-buddy cops" "get it" "they have boobs" "but they're also cops"). It's a little slow, though memorably ludicrous.
A Band Called Death
Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett's documentary about a protopunk band called Death, is a thorough tribute to visionaries ahead of their time. The documentary is a little slow, but the music is fast, and the story fantastic. My review here.
The director of Interview with the Vampire, Neil Jordan, returns with a film about a mother-daughter blood-sucking duo played by Gemma Arterton and the otherworldly Saorsie Ronan. It's lethargic and uninspired, mostly "gloomy, Rice-indebted schlock," but has cerebral moments of magnificence.
I'm So Excited!
Pedro Almodovar has set his latest romantic sex romp on an airplane. It's fun, but also claustrophobic. For being contained in a teeny place, it's also an amazing mess. Because it's Almodovar, and this is his thing, everyone is sleeping with everyone!
Written and directed by Steven Knight, Redemption stars Jason Statham as a homeless veteran in London, who is now taking charge of his life. One reviewer says it chooses brains over brawn, another said it's a brainless, brawny thriller, so who knows what to think? Oh but everyone agrees that Statham has charisma, just not the same kind of charisma (street-tough charisma, broody charisma, sheer charisma).
Based on a Neil LaBute play, Some Girl(s) is in full LaBute territory—secret sex lives/lies, with a twist! Adam Brody plays a narcissistic cad (well!) who is visiting a litany of his exes. It's like that part from High Fidelity, complete with a Catherine Zeta-Jones impersonation. Daisy Von Scherler Mayer, of 1995's Party Girl notability, directs—but sadly no one is wearing amazing, super colorful clothes. P.S. Brilliant LaBute description as M. Night Shyamalan of sexual warfare cinema.
How to Make Money Selling Drugs
From director Matthew Cooke and producer Adrian Grenier, How to Make Money Selling Drugs might be the shallowest film of the year. It's structured as part faux-educational about the business of dealing illicit drugs, and part screed against the War on Drugs. It's glib and preachy, overly-facetious with a relentless voice-over and random celebrity interviews (Susan Sarandon, Woody Harrelson).
The Secret Disco Revolution
This is an odd documentary about a great subject: disco's influence on sexual, racial, gender politics. It's fun and a little smart, with some great interview subjects like Gloria Gaynor, the Village People, and Thelma Houston. If you're interested, dig into Hot Stuff by Alice Echols, who is also interviewed in the documentary.
Petunia begins at an awkward wedding, which sets the stage for the awkward tone and awkward pacing. It's about sex addiction, family dysfunction, and therapy—it manages to cover each of these potentially rich subjects with relative immaturity, though the movie does boast some good performances.
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