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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘The Invasion,’ ‘The Last Legion,’ ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday,’ ‘The Nanny Diaries,’ ‘The Nines,’ ‘Dedication,’ ‘Resurrecting the Champ’


psyched, but dreading

Oh, it’s August, all right. There’s not much I’m gonna see this week that is inspiring a great deal of excitement for me. I’m kinda looking forward to The Invasion [opens wide August 17], because it’s science fiction and I’m a sucker for that, and also because it stars Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, both of whom I love, and also also because German director Oliver Hirschbiegel made the fantastic Downfall. But of course, August remains a dumping ground for the studios to get rid of not-so-great films, and we all know what tends to happen when really good foreign and indie filmmakers start working for Hollywood…

I’m similarly of two minds about The Last Legion [opens wide August 17], which won’t even screen for critics — never, ever a good sign. But I’m gonna try to catch it on Friday anyway, because it’s a King Arthur thing, and I’m a sucker for fantasy, and it’s got a great cast: Colin Firth, Aishwarya Rai, John Hannah, Peter Mullan, Alexander Siddig… I liked the apparently similar Pathfinder earlier this year, even though that one got no support from its studio in the form of critics’ screenings either.


dreading, but psyched

I’m not sure what to expect from Mr. Bean’s Holiday [opens wide August 24], except for more Mr. Beaniness. I love Rowan Atkinson and I loved the Mr. Bean TV show, but the first Bean film defanged the character a bit. I hope that doesn’t happen again.

I’m terrified that The Nanny Diaries [opens wide August 24] is gonna be Uptown Girls Redux. The cast is good, though — Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Chris Evans, Paul Giamatti — and directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are responsible for the splendiferous American Splendor, so that’s gotta be cause for hope, right?

I know little about the three smaller films that will round out my week. I know that The Nines [opens limited August 31] is the directorial debut of screenwriter John August (Big Fish) and is supposed to be a bit trippy. On the other hand, it stars the excruciatingly unbearable Ryan Reynolds. Dedication [opens limited August 24], directed by actor Justin Theroux, is a romantic comedy pairing up Mandy Moore and Billy Crudup. Love him; not so sure yet about her (she’s good in the right movie — see Saved!). Resurrecting the Champ [opens limited August 24] is about an earnest young man (Josh Hartnett *gag*) saving a homeless man (Samuel L. Jackson). Can anyone say, “Lifetime Movie of the Week”? I knew you could.

Depending how crazy the week gets — I’ve got so much non-movie stuff demanding my attention at the moment — I may finally get to the Irish musical Once [now playing limited] that everyone is raving over. And if I get to that one, then I’ll probably see the Ten Commandments comedy The Ten [now playing limited, expands August 17] as well, since they’re both playing at the same arthouse in Manhattan, and pretty much nowhere else here.

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  • Cate

    Saw Resurrecting The Champ at Sundance, and while it wasn’t super-great-fantastic-big-screen-movieness (highlight of the evening was random ladies’ room photo op with Camryn Manheim), it wasn’t nearly so low as, say, one of those recent Nora Roberts movies on that channel I won’t admit to watching.

  • Pedro

    was also not sure about mr.bean’s holiday, vis-à-vis the first movie. this one is great, however, pure Beaniness loosely tied up in a simple storyline. and willem defoe is in it! definitely worth a watch.

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