Seriously, I can’t remember the last time that there were four films opening on the same weekend that I actually want to see!
The first, of course, is Jane Eyre. I would like to be able to punish Focus Features for yanking my chain and only opening it in two markets last weekend, you know the date on all of the promotional material that’s been peppering the web for months. I can’t, however, do it to Michael Fassbender. He had nothing to do with the shenanigans of the distributor and he deserves my support. (Yes, I do realize that I would only be punishing myself. I’m not totally delusional. And frankly, I’ve been too good to be punished… well maybe…nevermind…) Anyway, I’m going.
Much to my surprise given the numbers it posted in two cities last week, it is only playing in two theaters in this artsy, academic, cultural mecca. I saw the last Fassbender opus at the cool, eco-friendly art house so I think this time I’ll venture out to the old-fashioned, bohemian independent theater with the gigantic screen and red velvet drapes that dramatically part as the auditorium darkens. Seems fitting.
Next is The Lincoln Lawyer. I have not read any of Michael Connolly’s novels, although they have been recommended to me by friends. I keep meaning to. (I’d probably have gotten to them already if Ken Bruen weren’t so prolific…but I digress.) In any case, I have a soft spot for legal thrillers and an unashamed weakness for Matthew McConaughey. The finely chiseled actor Matthew McConaughey, with the piercing and intelligent blue eyes, at the height of his powers in Lone Star and another legal thriller, A Time to Kill, both from ’96. He was still there in ’97’s Contact with Jodie Foster and even up to Frailty (a superb and too-little seen creep fest from 2001.) There were even glimpses of him in 2002’s Reign of Fire, but then came the rom coms and the pointless action adventure movies wherein Actor McConaughey was subsumed by Shirtless Himbo McConaughey, the hunk whose roles often seemed a parody of his off-screen personality. Well, it’s 2011 and the Himbo has, if not a wife, at least a long term partner (with whom he did NOT co-star) and two small children. It’s time for an image make-over. It’s time for Actor McConaughey to take back his career. Enter The Lincoln Lawyer. We’ll see.
I want to see Paul because I think hearing Seth Rogan’s voice coming out of that little alien is enough to warrant the price of a ticket on its own, but I absolutely adored Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Both of those films starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and although Paul does not have Edgar Wright at the helm, it does reteam this impeccable comic duo. While they’ve achieved some success separately, most notably Pegg played Scottie in the recent Star Trek reboot and Frost was hilarious as Dr. Dave in Pirate Radio, they are brilliant together. After Paul, they’ll next appear onscreen in Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin… (Written by Edgar Wright and "Dr. Who" showrunner, Steven Moffat.) It also must be said that Paul director Greg Mottola comes with his own pedigree, having directed Adventureland and the waaaaay better than it had any right to be, Superbad. (His first film was The Daytrippers from ’96 with Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, Campbell Scott and Hope Davis. It’s got to be on Netflix Instant by now. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend this well-written, well acted and very funny little gem.) Along with Pegg and Frost, Mottola has filled Paul with a dream cast of familiar comic actors, like Jeffrey Tambor and Jason Bateman (that he worked with on "Arrested Development".) Oh and Sigourney Weaver, too. I certainly hope her comedic skills are put to better use than in last year’s You Again. (The trailer was enough to make my eyes bleed.)
Last, but not least, is Limitless. One of its stars is in danger of forever toiling in McConahunk territory, where all that’s required of him is appearing tanned and shirtless, and occasionally strutting while being filmed in slo-mo. His co-star is hopefully using this film as a ladder with which to crawl out of the Pit of Dismal Comedies with Bad Puns for Titles. The female lead is a wonderful actress who needs to make people forget that she broke up America’s Sweetheart’s marriage to an Uber-Douche who apparently knocked up some "model" either just before or just after THEY broke up. So I have high hopes for this one. It has a great premise. What would happen if there was a pill that let us use all of our brain instead of the small fraction we actually do? Kind of like a "Flowers for Algernon" for the new millennium. I don’t yet know if they end in the same or rather, a similar way, but I’m guessing there will be consequences.
this film contains FOUR former co-stars. There are no prizes if you can tell me who they are, (other than cyber-noogies) but you’ll have my complete admiration.