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Weekend Movie Forecast: <em>Dinner For Schmucks</em> Vs. <em>Get Low</em>

<p>Say what you will about him, but Jay Roach is the auteur of bad comedies that your parents just can't get enough of. Between his fleet of Austin Powers and Focker movies he's his own little giggling comedy Bruckheimer for Baby-Boomers. Today he unveils his newest creation <em>Dinner for Schmucks</em> and hopefully it'll turn out to be something that you can quote at Thanksgiving this year, but maybe not. </p>The film is actually a remake of the French comedy <em>The Dinner Game</em> written by Francis Veber, who also brought us the screen adaptation of <em>La Cage Aux Folles</em> (which translated fairly well to the U.S. as <em>The Birdcage</em>) but <em>also</em> wrote what would be translated into <em>Father's Day</em> (yikes!). The cast is pretty great so you never know, but have you actually seen <em>Father's Day</em> (double yikes!). The film follows a corporate ladder climber (<em>love</em> those guys) who needs to find a jackass to bring to his bosses dinner that's full of other jackasses, oops, we mean schmucks.<p></p>The perhaps overly intellectual Aaron Hillis from <a href="http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/film/87630/dinner-for-schmucks-film-review">Time Out New York</a> says: "Outside of the specifically Gallic brand of condescending intellectualism, the Americanized version reconfigures the plot as both a hazing ritual for corporate-ladder-climbers and a lazy hook to hang cheap jokes on.<p></p>"Once Tim is shackled to this deep-down lovable caricature, the mismatched buddy shtick with a tender resolution is on autopilot. The cast is effortlessly wittier than the sitcom-grade material they’re supplied with, especially supporting funnymen Zach Galifianakis, David Walliams and Jemaine Clement, the last as an insatiable, self-important art star who might be equal parts Julian Schnabel and Russell Brand."


<p>Robert Duvall stars in <em>Get Low</em>, a retelling of the real life story of one Felix “Bush” Breazeale, who was a Tennessee hermit who lived in the woods for 40 years but decided that before he died he would throw himself a ridiculously awesome living funeral party. Reviews have been pretty good, but Keith Uhlich from <a href="http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/film/87638/get-low-film-review">Time Out NY</a> dissents: "Until that point, a bunch of terrific actors—among them, Sissy Spacek as Felix’s old flame, Bill Murray as a dryly funny funeral-home director, Lucas Black as his loyal assistant—wander around in period dress prepping for Duvall’s Oscar clip. He might as well clear some space on the mantelpiece now. This is the kind of autumnal sentimentality that the Academy goes wild for—a (rightly) venerated performer acknowledging his own mortality by pandering to cheap-seat emotions.</p><p></p>Duvall is sleepwalking here, displaying none of the unsettling and deep-rooted vitality he brought to such recent films as <em>We Own the Night</em> and <em>The Road</em>. He’s forcing himself through an elegy when he’s got a lot more living to do."


<p>We know, we know, when was the last time Nolte was in a movie? It seems like his career hasn't moved much since that awesome mugshot a few years back and Busey is not cutting it anymore. Also, where has Bette Midler been? She's made us cry with both <em>Beaches</em> and on The Tonight Show when she sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" (not to mention at your cousin's wedding when Brian danced with his mother to that song). What kind of perfect movie would fill this void? A movie that would have Nolte's rugged stoicism and Midlers sass and teary-eyed wisdom. Well, boy-howdy do we have the movie for you: <em>Cats &amp; Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore</em>! Yeah they made a sequel, you're face hasn't completely melted yet, and yes that is a cleaned up version of Pussy Galore which only makes the Bond villain's name seem even more sleazy.</p><p></p>Reviews have been absolutely abysmal, even for a kids movie, with Scott Tobias from <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/cats-dogs-the-revenge-of-kitty-galore,43626/">The A.V. Club</a> saying: "Among other offenses, the 2001 talking-animal comedy <em>Cats &amp; Dogs</em> was a pernicious piece of anti-cat propaganda, firmly siding with the canines in the eternal struggle between household pets. Never mind that cats more or less take care of themselves, and spend most of the time curling up in the warmest, comfiest places they can find—they’re prissy and diabolical and must be stopped.<p></p> "The sequel, <em>Cats &amp; Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore</em>, eases off on the hatefulness by providing a token nice kitty, but even she’s subjected to waterboarding before she can be trusted. (Yes, a waterboarding joke. Because cats and dogs are just like people! Soooo cute!)"



<p>Tell us, what could be hotter than Zac Efron? How about Efron as an effin' sailor! Well ladies, it's time to throw some kleenex and emotional baggage into your purse, leave your inhibitions at home and prepare to get your cry on because today <em>Charlie St. Cloud</em> is here to be your patron saint of doe-eyed sweetness. The film follows our young stud as he kisses girls and keeps sad secrets behind those beautiful blue eyes just waiting to come out for a nice, patient, pretty girl such as yourself. There seems to be a ton of scenes with him just kickin' it with his (dead) younger brother, just to show how much sugar this hot young vessel contains.</p><p></p>Reviews have been bad with A.O. Scott from <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/movies/30charlie.html?ref=movies">The New York Times</a> says: "Pop quiz: Name a current movie set in the Pacific Northwest in which a mopey young man with upswept hair who is frequently shirtless and played by an actor madly crushed on by millions of adolescent girls has unusually close relationships with the dead. If you guessed <em>The Twilight Saga: Eclipse</em>, you are of course not wrong, but the correct answer today is <em>Charlie St. Cloud</em>. Even if you haven’t seen the trailers, Sam’s death is enough of a foregone conclusion that it comes as a relief when the filmmakers (and an unseen drunken driver) dispense with the boy fairly early in the movie."


<p>All you ballers out there owe a debt of gratitude to Hugh Hefner. Although most of us know him as a character on <em>The Girls Next Door</em> he actually once started a fairly successful periodical which helped kick-start the careers of Kurt Vonnegut and Marilyn Monroe. He also basically started this whole idea of being a bachelor and actually <em>choosing</em> not to get married, which at the time was frowned upon by most parties. Seeing him in his recurrent role nowadays on <em>Kendra</em>, where he plays the well-mannered older neighbor, that whole bachelor thing looks like it might not pan out too well. Regardless, today comes the puff-piece doc <em>Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel</em> which will school everyone on the man's past career, before becoming a genial old man in pajamas.</p><p></p>Reviews basically coincide with how great the reviewer finds Hefner, which is quite a gradient, with Nick Pinkerton from <a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-07-27/film/all-gloss-no-dirt-in-hugh-hefner/">The Village Voice</a> saying: "Dirtbag Gene Simmons opens the film, flatly stating that every man envies Hugh Hefner. Is that what I was feeling, watching photo ops with frail old Hefner's orange young girlfriends obligingly 'keeping him young'? Many young people know only that Hef, an easy-grinning senior in leisurewear, floating on a silicone sea that empties into eternity.<p></p>"Playboy 'gave us some of the best literature of our time,' opines noted literary critic Tony Bennett, among a cast of mostly ridiculous and redundant talking heads. Hefner, the old psych major, wrote the script they're reciting. 'Repression' takes a beating, along with abstracted 'Puritanism.' The inner life of the film's subject, however, is only tactfully skimmed in passing."


<p>Also opening today is the film <em>The Concert</em> which follows the rise, fall, and—if the movie's a crowd-pleaser, another rise for good measure—in the life of one down-on-his-luck Russian conductor. This movie <em>does</em> seem to be a crowd-pleaser because they even threw in a hot French violin player for him to feel tension with, and perhaps, just <em>perhaps,</em> that tension will be released. You'll have to watch to find out though, because we don't know.</p><p></p>Reviews have been pretty poor for a movie about an alcoholic Russian artist (it's like pure heady, existential crack) with Stevesy Holden from <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/movies/30concert.html?ref=movies">The Old Grey Lady</a> opining: "Hoary stereotypes abound. Drunken Russians, thieving Gypsies, crooked oligarchs and zealous former Communist apparatchiks: all are caricatured in a story whose multiple subplots tumble over one another in a chaotic pileup.<p></p>"Unless you buy <em>The Concert’s</em> nonsensical premise — the film was written by Mr. Mihaileanu, Alan-Michel Blanc and Matthew Robbins — appreciation of this satirical fairy tale is next to impossible."



<p>War sucks. Let's just get that out of the way. Soldiers coming home usually are coming home with some major physical or emotional ailment and we usually spend the rest of our lives seeing some of them age drunkenly in front of the VFW and OTB and we just have to take that guilt and live with it. So we're not sure how many people will be lining up to see <em>The Dry Land</em>, a film that follows just how effed-up a particular returning Iraq soldier is. Seriously, most of us know someone over there (who keep getting stuck on yet another tour), a lot of you probably didn't even want to get into this whole expensive ridiculous mess, and now anyone who says 'bring home the troops' finds their words spun to somehow mean that they don't support them. So yeah, there's a movie about all of this if you feel like spending $10.25 on depression.</p><p></p>Reviews have been far from <em>Taxi Driver</em>, and even <em>Rolling Thunder</em> (I guess this character doesn't go on any killing sprees), with Nathan Rabin from <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-dry-land,43621/">The A.V. Club</a> saying: "No one can complain that American independent film has ignored the Iraq War. If anything, the subject has been tapped so extensively by documentarians and narrative filmmakers alike that new films about our country’s misadventures in the Middle East are bound to feel awfully familiar. Case in point: <em>The Dry Land</em>, a painfully earnest drama about post-traumatic stress disorder that sticks so closely to the soldiers-coming-home template, writer-director Ryan Piers Williams seems to be diligently working through a checklist of returning-warrior-movie clichés.<p></p>"<em>The Dry Land</em> is fundamentally concerned with stoic men who lack the eloquence to express the depth of their psychological torment, and who instead fall back on easy jokes and inane small talk. Williams designs his film as a character study of a man fighting and losing a war within himself, but his character remains an underdeveloped cipher throughout."


<p>Jonathan Ames is the kind of author that's just easy to hate. Hate in the immature way where you don't read any of his stuff, you just hate him for being a writer when you're not, and a sort of young one too, and just telling your friends you don't have respect for writers who write as good as you like to think you do. Then you hear he didn't have cable for the premier of <em>Bored to Death</em>, posted that he couldn't watch it, then showed up at fans houses to hang out with them and watch his own show. Maybe then you follow his pretty fantastic twitter account, or maybe read his graphic novel "The Alcoholic" or one of his many essays, then you might realize that he's not such a bad bloke after all. Well, they've made a movie out of one of his books <em>The Extra Man</em>, and it hasn't been getting <em>great</em> reviews, but it has Kevin Kline it and that man is great. Kline plays an "Extra Man" who accompanies old New York City society dame widows who want companionship. At some point he meets up with Paul Dano and it becomes an apprenticeship, of sorts, that gets volatile but interesting.</p><p></p>Stephen Holden from <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/movies/30extra.html?ref=movies">The New York Times</a> says: "Mr. Kline has established a virtual monopoly on the kind of male character whose suave, devil-may-care urbanity was once the province of actors like David Niven. A down-at-the-heels dandy who squandered his inherited fortune and now lives hand to mouth, he is a spiritual cousin of Cole Porter, whom Mr. Kline gracefully portrayed in <em>De-Lovely</em>, the otherwise execrable Porter screen biography. For all its flighty charms, <em>The Extra Man</em> never really lands. It hovers like a hummingbird madly beating its wings to stay aloft."


<p>Buckle up kids, because this weekend at the <a href="http://www.landmarktheatres.com/Films/films_frameset.asp?id=91836">Landmark Sunshine</a> has a huge treat for the horror kids out there (someone needs to go to Forbidden Planet and let them know). <em>All About Evil</em> is being shown at midnight <em>and</em> Peaches Christ, Alan Rowe Kelly, and Natasha Lyonne will all be there in person. Yeah, so deal with that. As if anyone needed more of a reason to go watch the tripped out, awesome mess of <em>All About Evil</em>, you just got three more. </p>