Everything Else, TGITDNMAR — December 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm

TGITDNMAR (12/30/11)


It’s that time again for TGITDNMAR, which (obviously) stands for Thank God It’s The Day New Movies Are Released.

Who else is ready for the shitty slate of movies that January brings? I’m not sure if I could look forward to them much less than I do the films that Christmas brought us.  Aren’t these supposed to be the best films of the year?  Looks more like coal to me.  (I’m tired of feeling like the Grinch up in here!)

War Horse
I suppose I should be happy.  I guess I just wasn’t paying as much attention to the trailer as I thought I was, but I was under the impression that this was yet another WWII film.  Not so – it’s WWI, which, by my estimation, has about 1/10 the amount of films made about it in the last 40 years as its more famous, Hitler-influenced sibling.  Strange how a little matter of <30 years can have such an effect on the education and knowledge of those that weren’t alive within decades of either war ending, which is to say that I’m relatively certain that most people within a decade of my own age (35) know vastly little about the first World War in comparison to the second, while we were alive for neither of them.  They’re both World wars, right – is one supremely more important (historically) than the other?  Of course, the obvious answer is yes, since more than four times as many were killed in WWII, and that’s as good an indicator of historical value as anything.

What the hell – is this a history site, and if so, since when?  Chalk my erudite musings up to an overwhelming feeling of malaise towards Spielberg’s latest (latest being a somewhat ironic term, given that his “older” film opened some four days earlier).  It might be, as its fans are want to say, much more than just “a film about a horse,” but that doesn’t change how sachharine it looks, or how underwhelming the Spiel has been as a filmmaker for nearly a decade, or how fixated he is on war flicks, or how bored I am with them.  There are undoubtedly thousands of worthy stories to be told amongst all of the world’s war, but that doesn’t help me muster the interest to want to hear all of them.

Dylan’s Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 13%

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I’ve seen two of director Stephen Daldry’s films (The Reader and The Hours), and there’s no doubt that he makes high-quality, *serious* films, and yet (again) I can’t seem to get myself psyched up about this film that, at first glance, appears to be a modern-day set Hugo.  Really, how could anyone not see the trailers for both of these films and not do a double-take, mixing one for the other?  Both are about kids and their deceased fathers and locks and keys and searching for secrets and unlocking heartwarming tales or some such nonsense.

Blame this one on the inclusion of Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock as the tyke’s parents – a pair that screams “VANILLA TEARJERKER TAKE US SERIOUSLY OSCAR!” with all its heart.  It also gives me the August Rush heebie jeebies.  Pass (for now).

Dylan’s Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 18%

The Darkest Hour
Am I crazy?  I saw Juno in 2007 and would have bet money that Olivia Thirlby would be a star by now.

Not only is she not, but her co-star here, Emile Hirsch, seems to have squandered any kind of momentum his career had going for it.  I first noticed him in 2004’s The Girl Next Door (speaking of would-be stars…Elisha Cuthbert, everyone!), and genuinely liked that film – it’s more of a John Hughes film than Easy A is despite the latter’s insistence on being a modern-day version of a Hughes film.  To boot, it co-stars a pre-There Will Be Blood Paul Dano and Timothy Olyphant in the best kind of Timothy Olyphant role (good guy sleazeball).  Its genuinely funny and well-written and you should watch it if you haven’t.  Then he struck Critic Gold with Into the Wild, followed that up with a star turn in the alternately maligned/respected Speed Racer, and topped all that off with a great supporting turn in Milk.

Since then?  Ang Lee’s panned Taking Woodstock (which I don’t even think he has a significant role in) and Killer Joe, a film directed by William Friedkin but starring Matthew McConaughey…so make of that what you will – we won’t know for sure until it gets its release some time in 2012.

Dylan’s Chance of Viewing (in the theater): 7%


  • I had to laugh at the grinch remark, since both War Horse and ELAIC promise to make your “heart grown three sizes”, as they say. I’m anticipating that I’ll see both of those at some point (not so much for The Darkest Hour), and I’m already bracing myself and buying extra kleenex.

  • Y’know, when you are happy to just write-off the latest Spielberg film that has earned many-a positive review … and then write-off a multiple Oscar-nominated filmmaker in Stephen Daldry with a cast including Oscar-winners Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock …

    You have to ask yourself is this really MAN I LOVE FILMS or is it MAN I GET-ANNOYED-AT-ALOT-OF FILMS


    • Get off your high (war) horse, Simon. Your love affair with Spielberg is clouding your vision up there.

    • lol, I’m staying out of the argument… I just think it’s funny part of yours is “Sandra Bullock is in the movie!” simply because she won an Oscar in one movie which many people even debate the decision of in the first place. And it’s Sandra Bullock.

  • I’m curious what scenario would have to happen to make you land in that horrible 7% territory in which you’ll see The Darkest Hour?

    • 🙂 Ha!

      I’m thinking something along the lines of my wife and I desperately needing a break from Oscar contenders and overdramatic indies. The last three films I’ve seen in the theater are Shame, Tinker Tailor and Melancholia. To say nothing of their quality, sometimes you just want to see a stupid movie, and The Darkest Hour could serve that need. After all, in year’s past, I’ve seen National Treasure 2 and Pulse in theaters based off a similar desire to see something brainless that I’d otherwise be uninterested in.

  • Yea I still like The Girl Next Door. It’s odd that both Emile Hirsch and Elisha Cuthbert have gone basically nowhere since (although he did do Into the Wild while her… nothing).

    I might check out War Horse but I’ll probably wait for the DVD…

    • Seriously – where did Cuthbert go? Did people just decide that she was a terrible actress? Was she that bad in 24? At the least, she could follow Lohan’s lead and pose for Playboy…then again, if you ain’t getting nude for a role as a porn star, it’s probably not gonna happen elsewhere.

  • “Killer Joe, a film directed by William Friedkin but starring Matthew McConaughey”

    All I gotta say is WTF. Seriously, it’s weird that this exists.

    Also, I don’t really understand all the love for War Horse. It’s not a bad film, but really was not my cup of tea. I never got into it. But I’ve been told I didn’t like it because I “just don’t understand the special bond between a man and his horse!” So, I can totally live with that.

  • The Darkest Hour sounds so bad it makes Skyline look like District 9. That’s pretty bad.

    I think the only thing mentioned here that I’d care at all to see is War Horse. I’ve done my 2011 wrap-up, so it’s out of consideration for me, but it’s Spielberg. He won me over with Tintin, I bet he can do it again with War Horse.

    • It’s not really my favorite genre, but at the least, The Darkest Hour is directed by the guy behind Right At Your Door, which is a pretty solid paranoid thriller. Based on that alone, I give it props over Skyline.

  • So… I guess I’m the only person who thinks Darkest Hour looks cool?

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