This Weekend At The Movies (Oct. 7-9)

REAL STEEL

(MP’s Pick of the Week)

Directed by Shawn Levy.  Starring Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand and Hope Davis.

Charlie Kenton is a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot tall steel robots took over the ring.  Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next.  When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son, Max, to build and train a championship contender.  As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback.

Yea, a movie directed by Shawn Levy is my pick of the week.  I’m honestly as surprised as you are.  Levy has directed quite a few films that seem devoid of creativity and substance and, after watching the trailer for this film, I couldn’t help but laugh at the film and how over the top and cheesy it looked.  However, word has been spreading around the internet from multiple trustworthy reviewers that the film is actually really good.  Despite the astonishing praise for the film, I’m still in a state of bewilderment over the movie.  I still want to poke fun at it but everyone keeps comparing it to Rocky or a great example of what an Amblin film once was.  The film looks like a direct lift of Over the Top but with fighting robots and as much as I enjoy that film, I know it’s a bad movie.  Regardless, it seems I need to go see this film and form an opinion of it on my own and it is sounding like you should do the same for yourself.

THE IDES OF MARCH

Co-written and directed by George Clooney.  Starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Paul Giammati, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei.

During the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, an up-and-coming campaign press secretary finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency.  Based on the play by Beau Willimon.

I find George Clooney as a director to be pretty interesting.  He’s a charismatic enough actor but his directing choices I find intriguing.  I thought his work on Confessions of a Dangerous Mind showed he has a knack for being behind the camera.  Ides looks to be a taught political thriller that will no doubt benefit from the great cast, including Ryan Gosling, who has been involving himself in some pretty interesting projects as of late, such as Blue Valentine and Drive.  It might be a little while before I get around to this film but I would definitely like to see it.

GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE

(Limited Release)

Written and directed by Joann Sfar.  Starring Eric Elmosnino, Lucy Gordon, Laetitia Casta and Doug Jones.

Renowned comic book artist Joann Sfar’s GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE is a completely original take on one of France’s greatest mavericks, the illustrious and infamous Jewish singer-songwriter, Serge Gainsbourg. Born Lucien Ginsburg to Russian-Jewish parents, Sfar follows him from his precocious childhood in Nazi-occupied Paris to his beginnings as a small time jazz musician and finally pop superstar.  Along the way he romances many of the era’s most beautiful women, including Juliette Greco, Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin.  Employing a witty surrealistic style and a soundtrack that includes many of the musician’s greatest hits, GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE is a quintessential time capsule to ‘60’s Paris.

I don’t know too much about this film other than its biographical in nature and is based on the Joann Sfar’s own graphic novel.  I can’t say biopics attract much of my attention, let alone ones about people that I’ve never heard of.  However, if I ignored films like this, I could be missing out on learning something interesting or a well told story.  Doug Jones, an actor I like seeing get more roles, is in the film so I’d like to see it in support of his career but I don’t know when I’m going to get around to it.

THE FIRST GRADER

(Limited Release)

Directed by Justin Chadwick.  Starring Oliver Litondo, Naomie Harris, Vusi Kunene and Tony Kgoroge.

In a small, remote mountain top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school.  He is Maruge, an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life.  He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied, even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds.  Moved by his passionate plea, the head teacher supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don’t want to waste a precious school place on such an old man.

The premise sounds moving and inspiring and it’s probably a movie that I should watch but I can’t see every movie and this one, as well as Gainsbourg, are probably going to be films that I pass on.  However, if you are in the mood for an inspiring independent/arthouse film, I think this movie will be right up your alley.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

One Comment on “This Weekend At The Movies (Oct. 7-9)”

  1. Nancy October 7, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    I need to take a week off to see all these movies you write about. I’d probably see the last three and wait for your opinion on the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s