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In Theaters: 'Shark Night 3D,' or 'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy'?

Photo of Katie Walsh By Katie Walsh | katiewalshwrites.com September 2, 2011 at 7:21AM

Feel that morning chill? That's right, it's undoubtedly September, and film fans should be rejoicing. Goodbye and good riddance, August 2011, you were not one of those Augusts that defied the stereotype as the summer dumping ground. In the past few years, auteurs like Edgar Wright ("Scott Pilgrim vs. the World") and Quentin Tarantino ("Inglorious Basterds") boldly ventured into the month of August with varying degrees of success, and many hailed these maneuvers as groundbreaking for August's status. Well... August 2011 promptly set all right again with the dismal releases we've experienced.
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Feel that morning chill? That's right, it's undoubtedly September, and film fans should be rejoicing. Goodbye and good riddance, August 2011, you were not one of those Augusts that defied the stereotype as the summer dumping ground. In the past few years, auteurs like Edgar Wright ("Scott Pilgrim vs. the World") and Quentin Tarantino ("Inglorious Basterds") boldly ventured into the month of August with varying degrees of success, and many hailed these maneuvers as groundbreaking for August's status. Well... August 2011 promptly set all right again with the dismal releases we've experienced.

And now it goes out not with a bang, but a whimper, on this Labor Day weekend. Disney and Lionsgate are even taking advantage of the roomy playing field by expanding "Cars 2" and previewing "Warrior." Clearly Disney is trying to milk those last few dollars from parents faced with a Monday off, and Lionsgate seems to be capitalizing on the good notices the MMA flick is picking up, and the red hot buzz of slabs of beef (and noted thespians!) Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton. If the sneak peeks just aren't enough, run on over to Amazon to pick up your copy of "Men of Warrior," a photo book by Lionsgate marketing co-pres Tim Palen, who shot those posters you're seeing everywhere. Only 10 copies left in stock! Or, if you have to see a movie this weekend, check out "Apollo 18," "Shark Night 3D," "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy" or try and seek out something small and arty. Or just try and go to the beach for the last time this year!


A found footage '70s moon voyage thriller! Whaaaahahhattt? "Apollo 18" attempts to be some kind of "Paranormal Activity" + "Apollo 13" = "Moon" mashup, but our reviewer says, "what we get is space stupidity, which is why 'Apollo 18' deserves to be forgotten in the annals of history." Rotten Tomatoes: 38%

Ain't no shame in a silly horror remake game, right? We all loved "Piranha 3D" and more babes in bikinis and bloodthirsty fish is more of a good thing, right? Well "Shark Night 3D" might not deliver the gonzo campy goods we were hoping for. Our review says the film, "is a full-fledged, bottom-of-the-ninth strikeout, a trashy, stupid, joyless, and overlong thriller that makes Aja’s grand guignol look positively arty by comparison" and that, burdened by a PG-13 rating, "it’s forced to find a middle ground between being scary or silly, and ends up being just plain stupid." Directed by "Snakes on a Plane" helmer David R. Ellis and starring Sara Paxton and Katherine McPhee as the freshwater shark bait. RT: 33% Metacritic:

In theaters since Wednesday, "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life" might be one of your best bets this weekend, starring Eric Elmosnino as the legendary French singer and lover of beautiful women. Laetitia Casta stars as one of his paramours, Brigitte Bardot. Our review says Joann Sfar's film is "isn’t the dazzling overview we hoped for nor is it even the standard run through we would’ve grudgingly accepted. Instead, Sfar’s film is ill-conceived from the first reel setting up a disappointing ride that never shakes that feeling." RT: 76% MC: 59

Also hitting theaters on Wednesday, "The Debt," starring Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Worthington, Ciarán Hinds and Jessica Chastain. This thriller directed by John Madden portrays a team of Mossad agents in two time periods-- carrying out their mission in 1966 and in 1997 questioning their actions 30 years ago. Our review says the film, "an effective thriller and character study in that it champions hard-won truth and condemns 'evil' in both physical and metaphorical forms. But it aspires to tell a story that’s more complicated than it feels comfortable delivering, and as a result the audience may feel like they’re the ones paying the price rather than the characters." RT: 76% MC: 66%

Jason Sudeikis rounds out his summer by hosting "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy" with friends Tyler Labine, Will Forte, Nick Kroll, Lindsay Sloane, Lucy Punch and Lake Bell. Our review says, "the film does find space for a deep comedic cast and a taboo-breaking premise, successfully capturing the sexual malaise of today’s aging Gen-Xers in a way that most indie films, studio efforts, or Slob Comedies© can muster. Except, you know, funny, because that sounds incredibly depressing." RT: 30% MC: 46

Andy Lau stars as the titular mystery man in "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame," a noirish period wuxia film co-starring Li Bingbing, Carina Lau and Tony Leung Ka Fai. Our review says the film, "succeeds as a mostly humorless, self-important martial arts epic, but for eye candy and portentous dialogue, the genre has plenty more to offer that might be better worth your time." RT: 86% MC: 79

Japanese filmmakers Sion Sono's sprawling 4 hour narrative epic "Love Exposure" plays at Cinema Village in New York this weekend. Our review says the film, "seems more concerned with torturing our characters than it is with allowing their exposure. But what exhilarating torture it is." RT: 89% MC: 75

"Bunraku" is available on VOD this weekend before its theatrical bow on September 30th. This pulpy futuristic swords and samurai film stars Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Ron Perelman and Japanese newcomer Gackt as the warrior. Our review says, "It’s fair to come for the fighting. To stay for the empty philosophizing by characters who may as well be puppets, is asking a bit much."

Also in theaters...

Ludivigne Sagnier and Kristin Scott Thomas star in "Love Crime," a French office thriller by Alain Corneau. RT: 53% MC: 60%

Robert Duvall, "True Blood" star Deborah Ann Woll and Lucas Black in "Seven Days in Utopia," a southern fried tale about a golf pro learning about life on a Texas ranch. RT: 12% MC: 36%

Why haven't we thought of mixing Mexican drug cartels and the Middle East before? Beto Gomez's "Saving Private Perez" riffs on the 'Private Ryan' genre, sending a drug lord to retrieve his brother from Iraq. Laughs and gunfire ensue.

Documentary "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of Toynbee Tiles" follows the appearance of mysterious tiles in various cities around the U.S. and South America. RT: 58% MC: 54

French film "I'm Glad My Mother is Alive" about a young man starting up a relationship with his estranged biological mother. RT: 88% MC: 72%

LA-set thriller "InSight" about a nurse who experiences a stabbing victim's memories after being electrocuted by a defibrillator. Yup. Starring Sean Patrick Flanery.

An expat girl searches for her father in Mumbai "That Girl in Yellow Boots." Lotta kids looking for parents this week.

Wow, they're still making these movies? "Hellraiser: Revelations" gives you all the Pinhead you need.

Tatum O'Neal and Penelope Ann Miller star in "Saving Grace B. Jones" about a man's sister coming to live with his family after she is released from an insane asylum in the wake of flooding. I love writing these synopses.

The Safdie Brothers and Alex Kalman bring a "found moments" film called "Buttons," showcasing the beauty found in New York City.

Italian abandoned baby film "La Pivellina" in the fiction debut from documentarists Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel.

Brooklyn's West Indian Day Parade is captured on film in "Below the Brain" from "Wah Do Dem" filmmaker Sam Fleishner.

This article is related to: Films, Modern Horror, Animated Films, Apollo 18, Warrior, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, Shark Night 3D, Cars 2


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