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maryann johanson, ruining movies since 1997

my week at the movies: ‘The Stoning of Soraya M.,’ ‘My Sister’s Keeper,’ ‘Year One,’ ‘Humpday’

I saw a woman in Manhattan the other day completely covered, head to foot, in shapeless robes, with only the narrowest slit allowing her to see. Her husband was taking a picture of her in front of tourist attraction, and I thought, What’s the point of taking a picture of someone you can’t even see? The husband, of course, was half naked, wearing shorts and flip-flops and a short-sleeved shirt. It infuriated me to see her reduced to an unperson while he was free to dress as he pleased. So I’m primed for The Stoning of Soraya M. (opens in the U.S. on June 26; no U.K. release date has been announced), which looks certain to engage my rage.

My Sister’s Keeper (opens in the U.S. and the U.K. on June 26) is a sure-to-be weepie about a little girl, conceived to be an organ donor for her older sister, who decides instead to fight her destiny. Director Nick Cassavetes is responsible for such over-the-top schmaltzy, phony tripe as John Q and The Notebook — which might be the most preposterously sentimental movie ever made — so I expect much the same from this one.

I look at the poster for Year One (opens in the U.S. and the U.K. on June 19) and I wonder, Why? I look at the trailer for the film, and I despair for Jack Black and Michael Cera. How could Harold Ramis have anything to do with this? Who thought this was a good idea? It’s not screening till Wednesday night, and that screening won’t end till about 27 hours before the film opens with midnight showings on Thursday. Which means the people in charge are probably asking, Why? too.

I suspect I’m gonna have to reschedule my screening of Humpday (opens in the U.S. on July 10; no U.K. release date has been announced) — it looks like I’m gonna run into a conflict with the press day for The Stoning of Soraya M. If not, I’ll get to see an indie bromance that apparently could be titled Ben and Andrew Make a Gay Porno. They’re not gay, of course: alcohol was involved in the origin of this dare. The film won a special jury prize for “Spirit of Independence” at Sundance this year, which I’m hoping means that the film is a subversive look at male friendship and sexuality, and not the standard homophobia-tinged grossout.



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