Opening Everywhere: American Reunion, The Hunter. [See also: This week’s guide to DVD and streaming]
Returning to Theaters Because James Cameron Got Jealous of George Lucas Re-releasing Movies and Making Another Absurd Fortune: Titanic (in 3-D!)
FilmDrunk Suggests: Honestly, I haven’t even thought of it, because I’m busy trying to organize a new year-end feature – The Worst Weekends To Be Alive In 2012.
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 49% critics, 89% audience, 100% me with chains, a few hundred flamethrowers and 50 one-way plane ticket vouchers
Gratuitous Review Quotes:
“The fact that the whole gang has returned for the big reunion — Natasha Lyonne and Shannon Elizabeth found time in their busy schedules to drop by — doesn’t provide the generational high producers thought it would; this isn’t exactly the cast of ‘American Graffiti.’ The guys mostly fake-laugh at their pals’ ribbing as the girls look peeved at all the immaturity. (Reid’s squawky, last-bar-call bleating is especially grating.)” – Joe Neumaier, NY Daily News
“Like many real-world gatherings of former high school classmates, ‘American Reunion’ is sometimes awkward and uncomfortable, caught between nostalgia for the old days and relief that they are gone forever. It has some good moments, but it goes on too long, and not enough happens that is likely to create new memories. Remember ‘American Pie’? If you do, this movie is redundant and sad. If you don’t, it’s irrelevant.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times
Armchair Analysis: I’m sorry, I don’t mean to seem like I’m bagging on a movie this hard before I’ve even seen it, but this franchise deserved to be left alone for good. It’s one thing if the original trio – and I refuse to even acknowledge the existence of the wretched spinoffs – had actually been great films, but they weren’t. Don’t get me wrong, I know they were money in the bank for the studio, as each of them grossed over $100 million, and they never pretended to be more than they were as gross-out frat boy comedies. But they don’t have a legacy, and they don’t hold up to the original generation, because that’s me and I thought the original was hilarious when it came out and now I can’t watch two minutes of it, because it is a bad movie.
And I hope I’m wrong in believing that Reunion won’t be something new, but I’ve seen the trailer and the commercials and it’s not. It’s the same damn movie, just 9-13 years later, and the problem with that is so many better, more hilarious movies have been made since then. I don’t know a single person who has thought at any point since American Wedding hit theaters in 2003: “Man, I really wonder what Jim and the gang are up to these days.” That said, I’m sure those people exist, and plenty will see this movie and it will gross a ton. I just wish they’d watch the original first and ask themselves, “Am I really willing to spend $12 to see Chris Klein act again?”
Also… WHO THE HELL HAS A 13TH REUNION??? Nevermind, I’m sure they’ll have some hilarious explanation that involves drinking bodily fluid.
[Vince’s Note: I’ll have a review up next week when people are actually around to read it, but you can hear Brendan and I discuss American Reunion on this week’s Frotcast. Chris Klein is Brando compared to Thomas Ian Nicholas. And his (apparently real) Mamma Mia audition video is one of my all-time favorites:]
[At least the guy has a sense of humor about himself.]
Titanic (in 3-D)
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 87% audience, 68% critics, 0% bros who took a girl on a cruise only to see her bone a poor dude
Gratuitous Review Quotes:
“Look, I hate retrofitted 3D as much as the next critic, though not as much as Roger Ebert, who called the loss of brightness that comes with the revamp ‘a shabby way to treat a masterpiece.’ But Cameron and 300 determined artists from Stereo D took 60 weeks and $18 million to get Titanic ship shape, and their artistry shows.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone (I got excited about Ebert’s comment for a second, but then realized he still called it a masterpiece, so screw ’em both.)
“But it must be said: This is still a straight-up postproduction 3-D conversion job, the sort of thing Cameron himself bad-mouthed (deservedly) after his own ‘Avatar,’ which was shot in ground-up and genuinely immersive 3-D, made such a splash. As a hunk of popular cinema, ‘Titanic’ is superior to ‘Avatar.’ But as a 3-D hunk of popular cinema, ‘Avatar’ wins because ‘Avatar’ was shot in 3-D, not converted later.” – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune (Translated: “Oh I’m gonna blow you, James Cameron. But I’m using some teeth.”)
Armchair Analysis: I was going to rant about how I never liked this movie, but then I remembered that Billy Zane could probably use the paycheck. So go see this and just think of Zane when the rest of the movie is terribly acted around him.
Rotten Tomatoes Scores:
Gratuitous Review Quotes:
“‘The Hunter’ doesn’t particularly test him, but Dafoe, who’s in every scene of the film, easily dominates it. Like the lithe tiger he hunts, he’s a lone wolf, surrounded by corporate and special interests and headed for extinction.” – Jake Coyle, Associated Press (Willem Dafoe hunting a tiger is all I need to know.)
“With chilly objectivity, Pitts navigates sterile industrial landscapes and the ghostly wilderness to evoke existential alienation. As a performer and a director, he maintains a psychological distance, but keeps the audience on pins and needles as Ali is pitted against two idiosyncratic policemen in a foggy forest. The plot is spare, but unsettling imagery elevates ‘The Hunter’ to the level of pure cinema.” – Ryan Lattanzio, San Francisco Chronicle (In the sitcom of San Francisco film criticism, I assume he’s Vince’s younger, socially inept neighbor.)
Armchair Analysis: This isn’t opening everywhere, but I had to include one film that at least makes up for an otherwise terrible movie weekend. In fact, if you go to see this, buy a ticket to American Reunion or Titanic for a homeless person and tell him to go cause some sh*t. I guarantee a few people will appreciate it.