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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Stardust,’ ‘Hot Rod,’ ‘The Bourne Ultimatum,’ ‘The 11th Hour,’ ‘Delirious’

I’ve been totally psyched for Stardust since my critical colleague Joe Utichi, who’s based in Britain, emailed me a while back to ask what I thought of the film. He’d seen it — apparently it’s been screening like crazy across the pond — and thought it was pretty Princess Bride-ish, and since I’ve literally written the book on that flick, he was curious to hear whether I was madly in love with Stardust too. I hadn’t even heard of the film at the point, but anything Princess Bride-ish is good with me, plus the movie is based on a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Charless Vess, both of whom I adore, and it’s directed by Matthew Vaughn, whose previous film was the fantastic Layer Cake. Oh please oh please oh please let this one be good. [opens wide August 10]

Any goodness on the Stardust front is sure to be more than balanced out by Hot Rod, my expectations of which I discussed last week. Stardust really will have to be as totally, life-alteringly awesome as The Princess Bride to make up for how excruciating I expect Hot Rod to be. I’m gonna make a daring prediction right now and call the number of groin-injury jokes here: eight. [opens wide August 3]

Saw The Bourne Ultimatum tonight. It rocks as hard as the first two. It rocks way harder than Live Free or Die Hard. Jason Bourne: 1. John McClane: 0. [opens wide August 3]

I’ve got a couple little films on my slate this week. Leonardo DiCaprio produces and narrates The 11th Hour, a documentary about how we’re fucking up the planet and rapidly approaching the point — if we haven’t already passed it — at which fixing the mess won’t be possible. I may want to cry at this one, either because it hits home, or because it’s way too indulgent of celebrity pet causes. [opens in limited released August 17] And then there’s Delirious, a little indie starring Steve Buscemi as a weaselly celebrity photographer who gets his comeuppance, or something. (Sounds like a nice bookend to Buscemi’s Interview, in which he plays a serious journalist forced to interview a famous actress — maybe I’ll review both films at the same time.) I love Buscemi, and this film also stars Michael Pitt, one of the more fascinating young actors working today who deserves to break out but hasn’t quite managed that yet. [opens in limited released August 15]

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