The Weekender: Defying the odds


Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick
Written by Will Reiser
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Readers will know I have nothing but respect and admiration for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In fact, I think he’s one of the best actors working today. But he’s just one of many reasons I’m excited for this dramedy from the director of the underrated gem The Wackness. The autobiographical screenplay from newcomer Reiser promises laughs and heartache and there’s a killer supporting cast, including Bryce Dallas Howard as JGL’s girlfriend and Anjelica Huston—hopefully losing that stupid Carmen Sandiego hat from Choke—as his mother. For a movie about cancer, I’m quite optimistic.

Dream House (PG-13)
Starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts
Written by David Loucka
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Given the right material, Sheridan can draw out incredible performances from his actors and a flood of tears from his audience (In America). With the wrong material, he’s left with a muddled mess and actors who appear lost (Get Rich or Die Tryin’). I can only hope, especially given the cast, that’s it’s the former. But this one’s not screening for critics, and that can’t be anything but a bad sign. Rumor has it the cast and director really hate the final cut and refuse to do any press. Yikes.

What’s Your Number? (R)
Starring Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Joel McHale
Written for the screen by Gabrielle Allan & Jennifer Crittenden
Directed by Mark Mylod
In France, this comedy is called the (S)ex List and that should tell you just how deep this movie plans on going. Which is a real shame, given the stellar cast (including Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation, Joel McHale of Community and Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live). I’d love to be proven wrong. Anna Faris, whose talents usually go to waste, plays a woman who revisits her past 20 partners with her hunky neighbor (Evans), to find if she might have missed something and one of them could be her true love. I wonder if she’ll fall in love with that hunky neighbor. Hmm…

Courageous (PG-13)
Starring Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel, Kevin Downes
Written by Stephen and Alex Kendrick
Directed by Alex Kendrick
Oh, boy. Here we go. From the writer-directors of the uninspiring and cliché Facing the Giants and the slightly more challenging but poorly acted Fireproof comes this drama, a tale of four cops all trying to do the right thing in a world gone wrong. So I guess that makes it Brooklyn’s Finest with Jesus! *sigh* I know the creative team only has the most noble intentions, and they’re supposedly stepping things up on the technical end, but every scene in their films is thoroughly predictable and unconvincing, and the only thing different I expect from this movie than its predecessors is a higher box office gross.

Machine Gun Preacher (R)
Starring Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon
Written by Jason Keller
Directed by Marc Forster
On the other hand, this (sorta) faith-based film tackles the real story of Sam Childers, an ex-drug dealer became a Christian and moved to Sudan to live as a missionary, eventually becoming part of rebel faction fighting against the ultra-violent Lord’s Resistance Army. I’m hesitant to get excited about any movie starring Gerard Butler from the guy who unleashed Boredom Quantum of Solace on us. But this might be the movie to break through, to embrace its Christian roots and not forsake important filmmaking aspects like acting, editing, framing and pacing. Fingers crossed, rifle in the air.

Also opening:
Both Angelikas: Restless (PG-13), My Afternoons with Margueritte (NR)
The Magnolia: Love Crime (NR)
Inwood Lounge: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (R)
Texas Theatre: Shit Year (NR)

To rent:


To buy:
Music: Iggy and the Stooges: Raw Power LIVE – In the Hands of the Fans, Nirvana: Live at the Paramount

Comedy: Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos

TV: The Cleveland Show (Season 2), CSI (Season 11), CSI: Miami (Season 9), CSI: NY (Season 7), The Hour (Season 1), How I Met Your Mother (Season 6), How to Make it in America (Season 1), Hung (Season 2), Law & Order: SVU (Season 12), The Middle (Season 2), The Monkees (Seasons 1 & 2)

Blu-ray: Ben-Hur (50th Anniversary)*, Footloose*, Heathers*, Mimic

Criterion: Carlos, The Phantom Carriage


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