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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,’ ‘Pineapple Express,’ ‘Traitor,’ ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’

Since when did four movies in a week start feeling like a “slow week”? It must be the summer heat that’s sapping my ambition… or maybe it’s just the August movie malaise. I’d rather sit home and watch DVDs.

But here I am this week, out at The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 [opens wide August 6], a bullet I’m taking on behalf of the newspaper editors who run my reviews. I could probably have spent my entire life not learning how much further these pants could travel.

About Pineapple Express [opens wide August 6], the main thing I wonder is: Why, James Franco, why? Was it just the allure of a big fat Hollywood paycheck? If that’s the case, please just bank it and go back to making small, interesting movies. You really don’t wanna be Seth Rogen’s comic relief. I mean: Ugh. That’s the job of guys like Jonah Hill. Do you want to be the next Jonah Hill? No, dude, you don’t.

Traitor [opens wide August 27] is Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce in “a taut international thriller set against a jigsaw puzzle of covert counter-espionage operations.” How could that be bad? There’s FBI agents and spies and CIA dudes, and some of them are “obsessed,” as you might expect. It’ll be no fun it this ain’t fun.

Woody Allen directs a to-die-for cast in Vicky Cristina Barcelona [opens wide August 15]: Javier Bardem, Patricia Clarkson, Penélope Cruz, and Scarlett Johansson, and apparently it’s about some very pretty, very young women getting themselves romantically entangled with much older men. How Allen keeps getting away with this, I have no idea, because it hasn’t really worked since Manhattan. Or Annie Hall. Whichever one was more recent. Whatever: Scarlett Johansson hadn’t even been born when either of those were new. Allen is starting to remind me of the creep that Matthew McConaughey played in Dazed and Confused, the one who loved the fact that no matter how old he got, high-school girls stayed the same age. And Allen’s a lot older than McConaughey was then.

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