Remakes and sequels and genre formula, oh my! February is a great month for releasing exactly what the studios think the people will pay to see and this week's release schedule is a textbook example of this development by marketing focus group strategy. Oh well, doesn't mean Gothamist is ready to give up on moviegoing quite yet. Here's a few suggestions to guide your weekend viewing.
Of the offerings that are new in wide release this week, there's the classic children's book Curious George about the man with the yellow hat and his monkey friend, animated and voiced by Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore which is sure to capture the fancy of the 4 foot and under set. For the slightly older but still impressionable viewer, the third installment of the escape from death franchise, Final Destination comes out this weekend. We're not sure how many times you can trick the Grim Reaper but those darn kids and an elaborate roller coaster set piece are determined to try.
Have you ever noticed that Harrison Ford often plays rugged and brave family men named Jack? Han Solo's at it again with his favorite moniker in his newest action thriller Firewall with Mr. Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany as the high tech bank-robbing bad guy. Even though Gothamist has a soft spot for the star of the Jerk and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, we think Steve Martin's The Pink Panther remake with Kevin Kline and Beyoncé Knowles looks dreadful. It should probably be avoided, as should the Jessica Biel romantic drama, London even though that famous blogging comedian Dane Cook is in the cast.
As for things on the repertory scene, from the writer and director of The Third Man, Carol Reed and with a script by novelist Graham Greene from his short story "The Basement" The Fallen Idol begins tomorrow at Film Forum. It's a murder mystery with a young boy, a London embassy and a beloved pet snake that Andrew Sarris says "reminds us of the glories of the black-and-white cinema at its peak.” At MoMA as a part of their series of French films which have all won the prestigious Prix Jean Vigo, they'll be screening Jean-Luc Godard's masterpiece À bout de souffle (Breathless) on Saturday and Sunday. If you've never seen Jean Seberg stroll down the street selling newspapers with the rakish Jean-Paul Belmondo, consider that your official charge for the weekend. As we near Valentine's Day, it's nice to be reminded by classic cinema that at least your man isn't a petty thief on the lam with a Humphrey Bogart fetish.
This week's Gothamist pick is the Jonathan Demme directed concert film, Neil Young: Heart of Gold. Filmed at the historic Ryman Theater in Nashville over two performances in August, Young performed with many of his old friends like Emmylou Harris and Ben Keith as well as his wife Pegi, shortly after recovering from surgery on a brain aneurism. According to David Denby in The New Yorker, "Nothing in this movie is aggressively sold; nothing in it is intended to change your life. The attitude is Take it or leave it—this is what Neil Young is. One might call Neil Young: Heart of Gold soothing, even becalmed, but mellowness and ripeness, when they exist at this high level of craft, should have their season, too." Sounds like a strong recommendation for a film about an iconic musician and well worth your $10.75.
Production Still from Breathless with Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo