Let me say right at the outset that I truly meant to review a new movie this weekend. I did, really, but circumstances conspired to keep me away from the movie theater. First off, my partners and I are opening up a live theatre in Soldotna (Shameless Plug Alert: The Triumvirate Theatre in the Peninsula Center Mall opens this weekend with an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine showing Dec. 1, 2, & 3, with a Gala Grand Opening on the third from 12-4!) and you can’t believe (or maybe you can) how much work that is. I spent most of the weekend installing seats (the Kambe donated us their old seats - comfy! Sorry, that was another shameless plug.) Also, did anyone notice the exciting new features that Hollywood served up for the Thanksgiving weekend? Just Friends appears to be a ridiculous teen movie, slathered with Santa Clause-style effects and packaged for adults, and Yours, Mine, Ours smacks of Cheaper by the Dozen one-up-manship. C’mon, eighteen kids? Dennis Quaid is really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. Now, to be fair, I haven’t seen either flick, so don’t take that as gospel, but they sure don’t inspire one to run right out to the theatre.
Luckily, there are plenty of movies coming up in the weeks to come that do inspire. Here’s a quick run-down of some of what we have to look forward between now and Christmas. There’s, of course, no guaranteeing we’ll get all of these movies here on the Peninsula, but we can always hope.
Walk the Line - This Johnny Cash biopic is playing now and has gotten glowing reviews. This is the movie I would have gone to see had I been able to get to it. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon play Johnny and June Carter Cash, respectively, and Phoenix has been especially lauded for taking the Ray mold one step further by doing his own singing. Watch for Oscar nominations.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - This first in what will certainly be an epic series hopes to capture a Lord of the Rings-style following. Based on the fantasy novels of C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia follow the adventures of some intrepid British siblings who blunder into a magical world of talking animals and wicked witches. This first in the series introduces the land, Narnia, and its savior, the lion Aslan. The trick will be keeping this film from seeming like a cartoon, while still making it appeal to young viewers. I hope they can do it, because the rest of the books in the series are even better than this one, and it would very cool to see them brought to the screen. Opens nationwide December 9th.
Aeon Flux - Based on the avant-garde adult cartoon (I mean adult as in “not specifically for kids”, rather than as in “porn”) Flux will treat viewers to Charlize Theron as a leather clad assassin in the 25th century who attempts to bring down the “big brother” -style Utopia in which she lives. Theron fans will likely be glad to see her doing something fun after the string of Oscar calibre heavies she’s done lately, but there is every chance that this could be little more than your basic action vehicle, as vacant as it is loud. Here’s hoping that we all learned something from last year, and that Flux will be more Matrix and less Catwoman. Opens nationwide December 2nd.
Good Night, and Good Luck - This compelling look at the McCarthy scandal of the 1950’s is being talked up as one of the best films of the year. Directed by George Clooney in stark black and white, it tells the story of the nightly battle between the father of the modern anchorman Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn), and red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy. The film takes place in a faraway time when the news media still held the public’s respect, and Strathairn is said to be excellent as the stalwart Murrow. This movie was actually released in October, but with strong word of mouth, maybe we’ll get it briefly this winter sometime.
King Kong - Of course, who isn’t looking forward to this one? Peter Jackson proved his prowess with The Lord of the Rings, and there’s no doubt he’ll pull this off, too. Yeah, we all know how it ends, but you can’t tell me that the scene in the preview with Kong atop the Empire State Building swatting bi-planes didn’t make you want to cheer. Opens nationwide December 14th.
There you have it. Of course, there are plenty coming up that I didn’t mention, but there’s only so much time in the day. Got a theatre to build, you know! As for another coming attraction, here’s a little heads up: beginning in January, this column will be available in the Thursday edition of the Peninsula Clarion. Hope to see you there!
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