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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day,’ ‘Amelia,’ ‘Astro Boy,’ ‘Ong Bak 2: The Beginning’

I’m so not a fan of The Boondock Saints, the 1999 pseudo sorta cult flick, though it is one of the most hilariously bombastic bits of wannabe-Tarantino shit that I’ve ever seen. And Overnight, the tell-all documentary about what an ass writer-director Troy Duffy is, is a hoot and a half. So how could I miss The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (opens in the U.S. on October 30; no U.K. release date has been announced), Duffy’s followup? The answer is: I cannot.

Fox Searchlight is withholding screenings of Amelia (opens in the U.S. on October 23, and in the U.K. on November 13) from critics till Wednesday night — we’ll be getting out of that screening just a bit over 24 hours before public screenings begin at 12:01am on Friday… the precise moment until which our reviews are strictly embargoed. Not everyone is embargoed, for some bizarre reason: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Boxoffice Magazine already have reviews up on Rotten Tomatoes. THR’s and Variety’s reviews are linked at Metacritic, too. What really rankles is that Metacritic is supposedly “better” because it only features “real” critics and none of those pesky “fake” idiots-in-their-pajamas-blogger-critics… yet the “real” critics are allowed to break embargoes that the “fake” critics aren’t. What’s that all about? Are they afraid we’re going to reveal the surprise ending? (Spoiler! She’s lost at sea! Oh noes!)

I actually saw Astro Boy (opens in the U.S. on October 23, and in the U.K. on January 29, 2010) this past Saturday morning — I heard about the screening at the last minute, so there really wasn’t any point in mentioning it before. Morning screenings of kids’ movies on the weekends are always something of a chore: they’re packed with kids, but the kids aren’t the problem. It’s fun to hear a crowd of kids laughing at a movie — it doesn’t necessarily improve my opinion of the movie, but it’s nice to hear kids having fun. No, the parents are the problem. Though the theater was pretty packed, there were empty seats on either side of me, and I had to move down to accommodate a woman and her little boy. Which is fine, I didn’t mind. But then, mere minutes into the movie, she starts texting away on her phone — those little screens are bugger bright in a dark movie theater! — and then she gets up and leaves with the kid. He was enjoying the movie, far as I can tell — it was Mom who wanted to go. Then, the woman on the other side, the one who suggested, when I had to move to create two empty seats next to each other, that I move toward her, so that I wouldn’t be sandwiched between kids — the same woman whom I told, “Aw, that’s all right, it’s usually the grownups who are badly behaved” — she proceeds to answer her phone and engage in a long conversation in the middle of the movie. Oh, and then there was the guy behind me — who didn’t have any kids with him — who, before the movie started, shifted gears from crowing about how cool it is to have the privilege of seeing movies before the rest of the public to complaining because it was now ten after eleven and the movie was supposed to start at eleven. Which only demonstrated that he was not a cool enough cat to get invited to these exclusive advanced screenings much at all, because they never start at the announced time. Never. Ten past — which exactly when Astro Boy started — is the standard.

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior was pretty awesome. I’m not sure the world was clamoring for an Ong Bak 2 (opened in the U.K. on October 16; opens in the U.S. on October 23), but we’re getting it anyway. If you don’t want to hope it gets to a theater near you, you can catch it as a sneak preview on HDNet Movies tomorrow night, Wednesday, October 21, 8pm Eastern.



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    Boondock Saints was introduced to me during freshman year at college. My roommate came back with a dvd from the guys next door and said it was supposed to be great.

    I really enjoyed the movie, especially the jumping off the roof scene (It was cool I suppose). But over the years it’s become less and less enjoyable, and is capped off by watching the documentary Overnight, which did nothing for Duffy’s character.

    Astro Boy kind of has me interested, even with crazy cage’s participation. And Ong Bak was great, and I want to know why Tony Jaa isn’t the next big action start here yet.

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