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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,’ ‘Death at a Funeral,’ ‘Right at Your Door,’ ‘Joshua,’ ‘Becoming Jane,’ ‘Sicko,’ ‘Arctic Tale’

Oh, this is gonna be one of those weeks that reminds me why I love, love, love movies. It may well be that I won’t love every movie I see this week — in fact, I’d be shocked if that turned out to be the case — but I want to love all these movies.


Ioan Gruffudd: cute

No, wait: scratch that. I am not expecting to love Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, for several reasons. One: the first one was fantastically dull, and two: it’s not screening till mere hours before it opens. That is never a good sign. Still: it’s never a bad thing to gaze on Ioan Gruffudd for two hours. And if the TV ads for the film are anything to go by, his American accent, which was pretty good in the last film, has dramatically improved. [opens June 15]

But everything else this week is gonna be awesome, if I’m lucky. There’s Death at a Funeral, Frank Oz’s black comedy about how funny funerals can be, oddly enough. It has spectacular-quirky cast including Matthew Macfadyen, Peter Dinklage, and Alan Tudyk, and oh please, great gods of cinema, let this one be funny. [opens in limited release June 29, expands July 4]
I don’t expect Right at Your Door to be funny but — *fingers crossed* — freakily intense. An award winner at the 2006 Sundance, it stars Rory Cochrane (from A Scanner Darkly) and the always cool Mary McCormack as a couple struggling to survive after multiple dirty bombs are detonated in Los Angeles. I anticipate my neurotic-post-9/11-New-Yorker buttons to be pushed. [release date DBA]

Joshua might have potential to freak me out, too. It looks like a modern Rosemary’s Baby, if Rosemary’s baby suddenly found himself with a little sister he really, really didn’t want to share his parents with. Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga — why isn’t she a bigger star? — are the parents. Be a-scared, be very a-scared. I hope. [opens in limited release July 6, expands through July]

And then I’ll go all girly and romantic with Becoming Jane, starring Anne Hathaway — who is growing on me as she leaves behind all that Princess Diaries crap and matures into an actually intriguing young woman. Plus, it teams her up with the scrumptious James McAvoy as the fictional (or was he?) suitor who may have influenced her novels. *sigh* [opens in limited release August 3, expands wide August 10]


polar bears: cute

I’m really looking forward to Michael Moore’s new documentary, Sicko, because even if I don’t always agree with him — though I usually do — he is asking the tough questions and demanding answers and making a general pain in the ass out of himself like no one else is doing in these apathetic days. That’s a good thing. [opens June 29]

Also on the documentary front this week: Arctic Tale, a real-life adventure story about the lives of polar bears, and how we’re killing them by heating up the planet. *sob* Think March of the Penguins meets An Inconvenient Truth meets humanity’s inhumanity to our fellow creatures. [opens in limited release July 27, expands August 17]

Oh, and I still haven’t seen Once. Probably won’t have the chance to do so this week. *sigh* If I never slept, I’d still not have enough time to see every movie I want to see.

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  • I never saw the first Fantastic Four movie, and from what I’ve heard, it doesn’t sound like I missed very much. However, I’m tempted to see this new one, just because the marketing campaign is so brilliant: they don’t show Galactus at all. They don’t even make mention of him. All the focus is on the Surfer, but comic fans know that he’s just a herald of the Devourer of Worlds. I want to see how they handle Galactus. It’s like the marketing for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when they never showed Voldemort. They knew that’s what fans wanted to see, and they kept him out of sight, so that fans would flock to the theaters on opening night desperate to see He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. It’s genius.

    Also, if this does any business, start counting the days until the Silver Surfer spin-off movie premieres. Hey, it worked for Elektra… oh, wait…

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