Yikes, guys. YIKES. It is really dismal for new releases this week. REALLY dismal. The first opening Friday of 2011 is kicking off with not a bang but a fizzle, as is traditional for the first week of January, which really should just be deemed Oscar Catch-Up Week-- go see one of the excellent releases from the last couple of weeks ("Blue Valentine," "True Grit," "The Fighter," "Rabbit Hole," "Another Year") or rent something ("The Kids Are Al Rright") to improve your chances of sweeping the Oscar pool, cause it's ugly out there. It could be possibly entertaining, as the inimitable Nic Cage 2.0 brings his delightful brand of crazy to "Season of the Witch," and most unlikable Oscar winner ever Gwyneth Paltrow gets her twang on in "Country Strong," and those performances are sure to provide some HI-larious high camp entertainment. If you're, you know, into that kind of thing.
Literally the best comment ever on our old site described "Season of the Witch" as "Cage's festival of wigs," which makes this writer crack up to this day. And pretty much yeah, that's what this movie is all about. It's some kind of unholy gothic-horror/medieval-adventure hybrid, there's a witch, Cage plays a knight, and hahahaha omg Ron "The Beast" Perlman (you may know him as Hellboy) co-stars. Nevermind, this is going to be straight up amazing!!!! Cage's Festival of Wigs 4 EVA. Surprisingly, or perhaps not-surprisingly, Gabe Toro gave the picture at B- in his review, and says it's "a better film than this type of film deserves." We like your style, Toro. He also says there's zombie monks, as if you needed any further persuasion. Rotten Tomatoes: 3% (double yikes) Metacritic: Doesn't seem to want to believe 'SOTW' is opening.
Gwyneth Paltrow tries her best to appear down-home and gritty in the record deal-baiting (EGOT, much?) vehicle "Country Strong," playing a country star fallen from grace and strung out on booze and pills....ooh, edgy. How very Joaquin Phoenix of her. Tim McGraw, Gossip Girl Leighton Meester and "Tron" hottie Garrett Hedlund entertain GP's histrionics and attempted Southern accent. Guess what, spoiler alert, she comes back and wows with a performance of "countreeeee strooooongggg, hard to breathe..." Whatever, you know it's all in the trailer. Sorry, Paltrow makes this writer salty. On the bright side, it should at least be a campy fun mess. Probably best enjoyed with your best gay and a strong batch of smuggled margaritas. RT: 18% MC: 47
What else.... some international and indie stuff in limited release, so if you get one of these in your hood, it certainly can't be worse than the previous two entries. In fact, it will most likely be better, and enlightening, and supporting small releases and independent arthouse theaters is a good thing to do, and it can be your small contribution to the CAUSE of cinema. Reduce, reuse, recycle, turn off the lights, save water, don't pirate movies, and go to the indie theaters and give them your dollars. Also, sometimes they sell beer. Listicle style:
- "The Time that Remains": Cannes entry from Palestinian triple-threat Elia Suleiman, a semi-autobiographical tragicomedy following a family in Palestine through the years. Looks great! Go see this! RT: 77% MC: 80
- "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle": Looks-to-be-harrowing juvie prison drama and Romania's Academy Awards entry, the film is not nearly as interesting as it could be. Regardless, the pro tip here is do not fuck with an Eastern European prison situation. They do not mess around. RT: 56% MC: N/A
- "No One Killed Jessica": Indian thriller about a murdered woman's killer being brought to justice. Looks kinda fun. Trailer here (but it's not in English or subtitled, FYI).
- "Americatown": Um, I have no idea. I'm just grasping at straws. I'm not even using third person anymore. Watch the trailer. Support some kids. Could be charming.
Godspeed, Playlisties. Report back here and tell us what you saw.